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Pay No Attention to Those People Over There: They Don’t Exist

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by Brian Leubitz

I think that today’s attorney for the defendant-intervenors, Mr. Nielson, should have come out in a resplendent coat of Emerald. And maybe appeared as a floating head on a screen. After all, he’s trying to play the Wizard of Oz by making gays and lesbians disappear.

In his cross-examination of Dr. Gregory Herek, Nielson tried every possible way of getting Herek to say that gays and lesbians aren’t a real group of people. And that since identification is always in flux, gays and lesbians shouldn’t be protected under the law. Under the equal protection clause, in order to be granted a stricter level of scrutiny, a topic that I will discuss over the weekend, you need to show a group of people that are being discriminated against.

Herek did acknowledge that for some gays and lesbians, the three main components of the label “gay”, identification, same-sex attraction, and same-sex sex, did not always coincide. That is to say, that those who might be attracted to people of the same gender, and even have sex with people of the same gender, might not identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. However, a great majority of gays and lesbians do fit all three dimensions, despite the fact that some do not. For several hours, Herek repeated this mantra. Some gays and lebians do not fit all there dimensions, but many, if not most, do fit all three categories.

Of course, trying to make gays and lesbians disappear is nothing new. As Ryan Kendall testified earlier in the week, the so-called “reparative” therapies have been attempting to make the gays and lesbians disappear for years.  Dr. Herek added in his professional opinion that such efforts are far more likely to harm the expirement patient, than it is to “change” that person straight.

The right-wing would love us to disappear, but, unfortunately, in the real world, we are very real. And for all the effort Nielson expended to show that wasn’t the case, he had little to show for it.

87 Comments

  • 1. Barb  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Don't forget the other…they try to "PRAY AWAY THE GAY"

    I exist and they, no matter how they try, cannot convince me I don't exist. I matter and they better get used to it.

    Love,
    Barb

  • 2. Richard  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

    And if this is what they are doing on cross-examination, I truly feel sorry for how ill-prepared their "witnesses" will be when they are cross-examined by a team that has their stuff together. They ahve not even begun the defense and they have been grasping at straws the entire time of this trial. I will be seeking a complete trial transcript once Judge Vaughan hands down his decision. If nothing else, I will download it onto as many CD's as it takes. I am so grateful for this site and for all of you who are giving so much time and effort to keep it going. And I hope for the chance to meet all of you. You have given me even more reasons to get out in myown area and work at the grass roots lvel to restore in this area (Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg/Cumberland County, NC) the level of unity and solidarity we had in the aftermath of Stonewall. that is what we truly need in theLGBTQ community if we are to win our fights for civil rights. This is only the beginning, folks.

  • 3. Richard  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Yes, and some of the "reparative therapy" quacks even go so far as to use electroshock therapy if "praying away the gay" doesn't work.
    Barb, I really hope I get the chance to meet you someday. If you are ever in Hope Mills, North Carolina, look me up.

  • 4. Jeff G.  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I interpreted Nielsen's argument as, "sexual orientation changes over time" and "there is no consensus on what makes someone gay versus straight."

    With regard to the alleged "changeability" of sexual orientation, I'd have to argue that it's the self-identification that might change over time, not the actual sexuality of the individual. For example, while I was in high school, I self-identified as straight, then bi (even though I was having sex exclusively with other boys in my class throughout both self-applied labels). My sexual orientation didn't change; I changed the label I applied to myself (as I started the process of coming out, I self-identified as bi because it was safer socially in the environment I was in at that time to say I was bi since it implied that I might settle down with a woman and raise a family). I also said I was bi because I wasn't yet ready to accept that I'm gay; I've never had sex with a woman. I know many other men who self-identified as bi when they first started the coming-out process. The idea that women are "more susceptible" to changing their sexual orientation rings false to me. I suspect that it may appear that way because I believe it's likely to be easier for women to "pass" as hetero in hetero relationships than it is for men, mostly because we have a double-standard for social behavior in this country. Women are expected to be much more affectionate with their ladyfriends than men are with their manfriends. It's socially okay for women to kiss on the cheek and hug as a greeting or farewell, but it's not acceptable for (hetero) men to do the same, so women may be more able to hide intimate relationships "in plain sight," as it were.

    When it comes to "causes" of homosexuality, that indicates a more disturbing thought process. Many who are on the proponents' side are obsessed with finding "causes" of homosexuality. Anything that has identified causes can potentially be cured, so finding causes for homosexuality would support the idea of "reparative" therapy, so many on the other side search for something they can point at and say, "Fix this, and there won't be any more homosexuals." We could interpret the lack of consensus about what "causes" homosexual identity to mean that there isn't any cause per se, but I suspect defense counsel is going to use that lack of consensus to say that there are a great many "causes," and that therefore homosexuality is something can be "cured," and the means of cure will vary by individual. And if it can be cured, it can be eradicated. The other side still believes we're a disease.

  • 5. Vast Variety  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:58 am

    They don't really want us to disappear, especially groups like NOM, because if we did disappear then they wouldn't be able collect all those donations anymore.

  • 6. Rene and Daryl  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

    My dad said "I will beat it out of you"
    With belts, Sticks and Shoes he marked my skin.

    My family is very Catholic and very proud of our last name.
    Im proud of lasting the abuse, proud of loving God, proud of my last name and Very proud to be Gay.

    Rene Born in Guatemala, now living happily ever after with Daryl for 26 years

  • 7. Marlene Bomer  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    What pisses me off more than anything else during this entire trial is the conscious and *deliberate* invisibility of another vital group in the argument against Prop 8 — TRANSSEXUALS AND INTERSEXUALS!!!!!

    I've posted on here and in other blogs and forums about the religious reicht's mantra regarding Prop 8 and ALL of the state and federal DOMAs is "one man, one woman".

    Just the *existence* of transsexuals and intersexuals puts the lie of "one man/one woman" in stark detail! Many states have already decreed that "biology is destiny", meaning that a post-op transsexual is banned from marrying a natal male because they consider it a "same-sex" marriage.

    Not knowing CA's laws in detail, does a transsexual who has changed the gender designation on their birth certificate able to legally marry someone of the opposite sex?

    I live in Ohio, where I'm unable to change my birth certificate gender. This means I *can* legally marry a natal female have have a *legal* lesbian marriage license!

    If we moved to CA, would our marriage be invalidated by Prop 8 because to the outside world, we'd look like every other lesbian couple? Would we be forced to carry copies of our marriage certificate to prove to law enforcement, medical personnel, etc. to back up our claim, even though no straight couple has to do the same?

    As to our intersexual cousins — because they are neither male nor female, how does Prop 8 effect them? just who would they be allowed to marry in order to follow the dictates of Prop 8 ban on "same-sex" marriage??

    Intersexuals have either missing or extra sex chromosomes. If the proponents of Prop 8 are so worried about "same-sex" marriage, why haven't they demanded genetic testing to insure an XX person marries an XY person?

    What about those with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome? They look, sound, and respond just like natal females, but are XY genetically, are they banned from marrying natal men because Prop 8 considers them a "same-sex" couple?

    As great a job as the lawyers for our side have done, they should've brought this up in the trial as well! The religious reicht's opinion on TSs and ISs are more pathetic than they are on sexual orientation, primarily because of the opinion that "biology is destiny"!

  • 8. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Oh my….I just hopped over to the NOM site, and their version of this trial is completely different. They are lying through their teeth, but that doesn't matter in the slightest; because their 'followers' will believe whatever they're told, and repeat it as fact.

    When is this trial going to get some real, unbiased news coverage?

  • 9. Ann S.  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Brian and Rick and everyone else at Courage Campaign,

    Thank you so much for providing this site and your reports of the trial and your analyses. It is very much appreciated.

    Love,
    Ann

  • 10. Kim  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I think that they are genuinely convinced that reparative therapy works, and because they think that, they genuinely convinced that they can be turned gay.

  • 11. Roy  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    what the LGBT community should do when putting initiatives on the ballot is trademark the phrase
    "Yes for Marriage"…and have any props/initiatives listed
    that way, then there'd be no confusion as to our stance…and the loons would be confused and vote for it.
    I picture the religious goofs with placards saying
    'No for Marriage' which would make their heads implode.

    just a twisted thought of mine..heh

  • 12. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I love it!

  • 13. Roy  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Except for the first day and the follow up with the camera decision, I have seen NO mainstream press reports of the trial, which is a real shame. This is the kind of stuff the bigots need in print to show how their 'leaders' are telling them all lies.

  • 14. Anne  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    what I love is that one of the "yes on 8"'s witnesses – who had chosen not to testify – said in his deposition that SO is very hard to change! After they spent all day trying to come up with some kind of numbers that it's fluid….

    no wonder their witnesses are dropping like flies!

  • 15. Jeff  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    This has been typical for a long time. Most adults when asked are either straight or gay. A very small minority claim to be bisexual, I have always challenged this myself. You either know if you like men or women. There are those that say they can go either way, and they may, but they are always attracted to one sex over the other.

    When growing up,being gay or lesbian was unspoken,then in the late '80's people would say they were bi. It was more acceptable and people "figured" they'd eventually make the right choice and be straight.

    I'm sorry, doctors,psychologists aside; you are what you are, the only things in your way are societal attitudes, how your parents feel about it,etc. Religion is a huge factor of us being kept down.

  • 16. Roy  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    sorry, but I just have to vent this…about the use of cameras, etc in the trial and the ludicrous reasons the other side spewed as to why its afraid of cameras…
    (from the NOM site)…
    "supporters of Proposition 8 in California have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, loss of employment, economic hardships, angry protests, violence, at least one death threat, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry.”

    umm, seeing how every one of those 'reasons' are real things that have happened to nearly every gay & lesbian citizen year after year at some point…yet to them that's OK…but they get exposed an all of a sudden its not OK?? Gee, now they know what WE have to endure from them every damn day.

  • 17. JonT  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    JeffG: Exactly correct IMO. As long as I can remember, I've liked dudes. Started calling myself 'Bi' in college, and finally went with the truth: 'Gay' a few years after that. That's the only 'changeability' I've personally experienced.

    So called 'repairative' therapy simply seems to be all about trying to turn back that particular mental clock. How can that possibly be healthy for anyone?

    Anyway, big props (no pun intended) to the CCI for running this site during the trial. The end of the day summaries here are my main read for the evening.

  • 18. Christopher  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    At least for the fundemantalists, the choice argument is based on the Bible. As an example: Romans 1:25-27:
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=roman

    In other words, the "choice" argument isn't so much the we choose to be homosexuals, but rather that we choose to reject God. This is the crux of reparative therapy: Bring the homosexual back to God and let God "heal" them. (However, when it doesn't work, well then it's the homosexual's fault, right?)

    Bottome line: There is simply no reasoning with these people for one reason, and one reason alone: If the bible is wrong about this, then how can they trust in where the bible says we (the human race) came from and where we are going? For the fundamentalists to believe that people are born homosexuals, and that sexual orientation is immutable, is to also believe that the bible is in error.

    Therefore, these people have been conditioned to reject facts. It doesn't matter what any of the professional medical and pysche organizations say, because if it doesn't agree with the bible, than it must be wrong.

    Someone once said, with or without religion, good people will continue to do good things, and evil people will continue to do evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion…

  • 19. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I don't believe their accusations anyway. I know that here in Fresno, when Jim Franklin's church was vandalized he called the police and the news and said it was the LGBT group that did it. No proof, no evidence, nothing. And that's what was reported.

    I think that most, if not all, of their stories of mistreatment are lies.

  • 20. Dieter M.  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I think that just for shits and giggles, OUR attorney Boise, should show up on Monday with a whole wheelbarrow full of binders……

  • 21. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    There are some who are truly bisexual; my girlfriend is one. She can connect emotionally and psychologically with both sexes.

    Hmm….so, out of the entire world she picked me. :)

  • 22. JonT  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    That's an excellent point Kim.

    It's similar to the common religious mantra: "Being gay is a choice", because if it really isn't a choice, then god must have created you that way, and… then what? :)

  • 23. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Exactly! There's no resolution. We cannot exist. If we are legitimate, then the Bible is wrong, and that just can't be.

  • 24. JonT  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Yes! 'Bottom Line' – Absolutely on target :)

  • 25. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Dieter, that's priceless!!!

  • 26. michael  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    The "other side" is delusional.

    Though from their perspective, I suppose it's probably too difficult to imagine how someone else lives. They only know their own experience and like a stubborn child, is unwilling to compromise, educate themselves or change their opinion.

    Which may explain why they have such a high divorce rate.

  • 27. Jan  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    They really are. I had a "friend", who hasn't really spoken to me since finding out I was bisexual, refuse to vacation in a certain city in fear of being turned gay from the reasonable percentage of gays there.

    Do not get that at all. I'm thinking that if people honesty think they can be turned homosexual, that they are not exactly straight to begin with.

  • 28. RebeccaRGB  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I am transsexual, and agree with you that we tend to get ignored all too often. :) However, in this case I feel it would add too much. The defendants are already trying to tear apart our case with the point that sexual orientation is hard to pin down; imagine what they would do with the point that gender identity is hard to pin down. Most of the discriminating articles against gays and lesbians have been discredited, while there are still a great many discriminating articles against trans people (some being written right now!) that have not. Judge Walker already has too much to think about wrt sexual orientation as well. So I can understand why this issue has not been introduced.

    "Not knowing CA’s laws in detail, does a transsexual who has changed the gender designation on their birth certificate able to legally marry someone of the opposite sex?"

    I am a resident of California, and I have legally changed my birth certificate to Female. My understanding is that since Prop 8 is in effect, I am only able to marry a Male. (I have no desire to, of course, since I am, after all, a lesbian as well.) (However, I am not an attorney, and I could be wrong.)

    I am all for starting a lawsuit to get gender identity added as a suspect class, but who should we sue?

  • 29. RebeccaRGB  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Oh, and
    Love,
    Rebecca

  • 30. Lesbian - not trappe  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Dare I talk about myself, but hey, better now than never, I will never write a book about ME.

    I was a narcoleptic – diagnosed at age 4, and through therapy learned so much about why I slipped into blankets of slumber. I knew at age 9 something I was feeling…was a difference from what others felt. It was certainly not tomboyish feelings (not the natural lesbian things girls go through before learning they are lesbians) as I liked dolls, flamboyant outfits, drama and theater…I just always felt/knew I was really different (not special though). I knew what 'it' was called when i was 11, I had three older brothers who were extreme chatter boxes. Knowing this horrible thing about myself (hey why have others judge myself, I was defendant, prosecutor, jury and judge) and I didn't like it one bit. No way, I could not be gay. My family asked, my best friend asked…all said, “it's okay if you are homosexual”…but THAT was NOT okay with me. Not because of what other would say, but because what I thought it meant, what it said about ME, what I already knew what people were saying about the pervert homos. I did NOT want to be gay. I wanted to be straight. I tried hard, harder than I ever thought others tried (I know there are worse stories than mine) but I couldn't shake the that term…gay.

    Later in life (around 19) I suddenly started to have major panic attacks. So much so I had been hospitalized. No one knew what was wrong. but, I literally couldn't go anywhere in public without thinking i was going to pass out, die, suffocate. My throat has swallowed 100 times more than the average person.

    The days when I was coming to terms — that this is who I am was horrific. I called 'myself ' so many things, I am surprised I survived my own hatred of myself. I remember crying at the thought of talking to someone about it (a catch thought here, I was 31 years old when I came out – when I finally told someone – no same sex experience had ever occurred, it wasn't about sex, it was about me). I wanted to tell one of the therapist I was seeing, but oh, that judgment I had about myself poured through my skull.

    I knew one girl who was gay (bisexual, but I didn't understand bisexuality, honestly, still don't but I also don't get heterosexuals either)…I could talk to her, I thought at least she would understand…NO! She argued with me for three hours, until she realized I hadn't stopped crying since two hours BEFORE i told her.

    BTW, if anyone who is going through the same thing. I eventually did stop crying and finally accepted gay is okay. Although I would rather not be homosexual, I accept it. I have my own terms -even- to still deal with.

    I am still an agoraphobic. Can't travel too far from home (can – if I have alcohol, and that's not a good thing.)

    Most of my friends would point out I am a lesbian trapped in a drag queen's body.

    My story may not be good one for someone coming out. But remember, I am now 46 years old, almost 47. I came out when I was 31, pretty much knew when I was 11. 20 years is too long to find oneself, even though – i am still learning to love myself, well, heck I do love myself!

    Times have changed. Acceptance has changed. If you are hurting, seek out someone to talk to (pretty much all psychiatrists, therapists KNOW we are who we are and don't judge) Thankfully!

    I should shut up. Well, actually one more bright point. The second person I told was my best friend, Kent. We went to dinner and i told him. While we were walking out of the restroom he said, “well, girlfirend, we need to find you a girlfriend.” It made me smile. There is always someone who GETs it.

    Wondering at this point, will I hit the submit button or quit my browser…I guess you will know.

  • 31. JonT  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Yeah – I found that pretty funny myself. It was like, "Awwww, welcome to my world!" :)

  • 32. JonT  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Did they disable commenting as well? (I don't have the stomach to look right now).

  • 33. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    All this effort just to keep two people who love each other from getting married. It reminds of the spoiled child who frantically clutches his toy and screams, "MINE!!!"

    Perhaps a lesson on sharing is needed.

  • 34. JonT  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Michael, it's easy to ignore reality when you have 'absolute truth' on your side… :(

  • 35. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    No, the NOM website allows comments. But don't look, they will disgust you. :(

  • 36. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Bingo! That's why arguing with them is useless. The courts–our government–is our only protection.

  • 37. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Sharing the right of marriage, I mean. :)

  • 38. JonT  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I didn't mean to imply that being 'Bi' was not valid. I was simply relating my own experience.

  • 39. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Oh Jon, no offense taken! Actually, I did the same thing you did; claimed to be bi at first, then finally 'owned' being lesbian. I think I needed time to adjust to my 'new' identity.

  • 40. Richard  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Nor would they have anyone against whom they could spew their vitriol.

  • 41. Richard  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Christopher, my husband, Rabbi Jernigan, concurs and agrees wholeheartedly with you. I also agree with you. And the worst part is that they are using a bastardized version of the Bible. The disregard of humankind is as evil and as ungodly as evil done by any other name or names. When "religious" factions find themselves in a position that they no longer serve humanity, they are not "religion" or humane, and have absolutely no value to the Creator, humankind, or society on any level. Hate is hate, by any name.

  • 42. Richard  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Linda, I did the same thing you did. I had to adjust. Thank you for sharing that I was not the only one in the world who did this. Love you, young lady!

  • 43. Richard  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I know whereof you speak, Rene, except I was raised as a Protestant with an atheist father. Just a few months shy of my 16th birthday, he showed me a 357 Magnum and 27 bullets with my name engraved on them and promised to kill me, and put all 27 bullets in me, if I ever told about how he was taking unfair, abusive advantage of my sexual orientation. Yes, you should be proud for outlasting the abuse. This means that, like me, you can understand others who have been there, lived through that.

  • 44. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Isn't it amazing how even though we are 'out' in so many ways, we still feel closeted? We still have this sense of guilt or shame associated with what we went through in coming to terms with ourselves.

    We are condemned daily. We cannot enjoy holding our loved one's hand in public. We cannot talk about our happiness to our co-workers. I couldn't even acknowledge a gift my gf gave me. She gave me a necklace, and I wore it to one of my school's functions; but when I received compliments, I couldn't say who had given it to me. We sensor ourselves constantly just to avoid offending someone. We live our lives apologetically and secretly, even if we're technically 'out'. And they want to say that we are not disadvantaged or discriminated against?

    We may be small, but we are mighty; and the biggest accomplishment of this trial is the pulling together of all the LGBT's. We have united, and there's no denying us now.

  • 45. Lesbian - not trappe  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I am not sure what to say here. 27 bullets with your name engraved….literally or biblically … cause, with either I am glad you are still around…but hopefully far far away from him.

  • 46. JC  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Would you believe my local TV news station has a reporter on it and I think the live reporting by the San Jose Mercury News is good. But you might mean ABC/NBC/CBS or some such. I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed not to see anything on Rachel Maddow or even Comedy Central–the darn trial is PERFECT for Mr. Stewart and company.

  • 47. Linda  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    JC–Yes, I was thinking of the national networks. It seems we're the only ones who recognize the significance of this court case. I guess they're all just waiting for the verdict.

  • 48. Susan R Barnes  |  January 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Does anyone have a link to the reparative therapy website for fundamentalists who wish to be changed into rational, thinking individuals?

  • 49. Bob  |  January 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I don't think it would matter. All they have to say is that god makes people gay as a test or as their personal cross they have to bear, and that what god wants for those people is to overcome their gayness by being celibate. It's exactly the same argument I read someone making about aliens: if it's discovered there's life on other planets that won't disprove the theory that there is a god; rather it will confirm it (since god can do whatever he wants, and we can't be expected to know what his plan is). Basically religious people will tie themselves into knots to 'prove" that the mumbo jumbo they claim to believe is true.

  • 50. Susan R Barnes  |  January 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I believe we all need to speak up about ourselves, our stories, and our lives. If we continue to buy the societal bullsh**t by hiding and allowing guilt and/or shame to rule our lives, then we will never win full equality. Let the Prop 8 defense be the ones to hide, hide, hide. We must engage others in conversations about ourselves.

    I know I may have it easier in this regard than a lot of other GLBT in this country; I live in Northern California and have spent most of my adult life working in San Francisco. I also imagine that for a lot of you, the threat of physical harm may prevent you from speaking out. But conversations, if only with one other trusted person, can go a long way toward helping to change people's perceptions about equality for the LGBT community.

    After the CA Supreme Court ruled in May of 2008, I was beyond being excited; it woke me up emotionally. My partner Lynne and I were married on June 17, 2008.

    Even though I had been out for 27 years, and even though everyone in my extended family had to know I was a lesbian (it had never been openly discussed–my family has always been rather religious, in a rather non-traditional sense, spanning periods in a Pentecostal church, church services at relatives homes complete with tamborines and people rocking back and forth speaking in tongues, big tent revivals on my grandparent's property, uncles who claimed to be pastors, an attachment by some relatives to a certain cigar smoking TV preacher (recently deceased), to some relatives now identifying as fundamentalist evangelicals), I made a point of mailing a handwritten letter to my parents and each of my six aunts and uncles informing them of my marriage. I included a copy of our wedding announcement from the SF Chronicle and a copy of the article from the local paper in Placerville, where we were married. I told them how important the recent court ruling was to me, and of the happiness I now felt knowing that I was now legally married. If they harbored any doubts about my being a lesbian, I put them to rest.

    I could write a few short stories with the results of my letter writing campaign, however, the point I am trying to make here is that I feel we should all do something, anything, whatever we can, to share our stories with other people. Only by doing this will we truly no longer be invisible.

    Thanks for listening!
    THANK YOU COURAGE CAMPAIGN!
    Love on ya, Susan

  • 51. Ali  |  January 22, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Ted Olson is a right-winger. I'm a right-winger. Granted the Republican Party is overwhelmingly against equal marriage rights, but I'm not sure it's true that "the right wing would love us to disappear."

    More accurate might be: "Many on the right (and some on the left) would love us to disappear."

    I believe the consensus supporting same-sex marriage rights will someday transcend party. In fact, I suspect John Roberts might be winnable, given his history of offering pro-bono assistance to Romer vs. Colorado in 1996.

    The issue will not have the lasting power of the abortion debate. It will go the way of Loving vs. Virginia when people realize that same-sex marriage has only made the institution stronger. The abortion issue's lasting power stems from the fact that, despite the insensitivity of many pro-lifers to gender discrimination, there's also a powerful case to be made that fetuses are alive, that men are outnumbering women (especially in asian communities), and that technology increasingly allows elective abortion of disabled individuals. None of these arguments require religion.

    By contrast, those who oppose marriage rights have nothing rational to bring to the table. They have animus and religion, and that's it. That's why same-sex marriage will prevail in the long run, and the issue will fade away.

    In any case, the lead counsel in the case you're blogging about is a conservative. If you want universal acceptance of marriage rights, someday you'll have to open the tent instead of pretending that we don't exist.

  • 52. Susan R Barnes  |  January 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you. Comments such as yours will help pry open the tent flap sooner rather than later!

  • 53. Alan E.  |  January 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I heard something on NPR today about marriagetrial.com

  • 54. J. Stone  |  January 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Absolutely spot on assessment of the mindset of so many of our opponents. I know this, because until the age of about 25, I myself was a conservative, evangelical Christian.

    I believed that the Bible was God's word and, as such, was the standard against which everything else had to be measured. If my own observation of the world around me (i.e., facts) didn't square with what the Bible said, I chalked it up to demonic deception. I know that sounds crazy, but within the framework of the faith I grew up in, it made perfect sense: the Bible says that the devil is "the father of lies," and that believers are to "trust in the Lord with all of [their] heart and lean not on [their] own understanding." (Sorry I don't remember the citations for these verses off the top of my head; the quotations are accurate though.)

    I might still believe this way if it hadn't turned out that I was gay. I didn't want to be gay, and consistent with the belief structure described above, I tried to convince myself that I was only being deceived into believing I was gay. Over and over I told myself exactly what the defense attorney was trying to say today–that "gay people" don't exist, that there are only men and women, some of whom have been duped into believing a lie about themselves.

    Ultimately I was unable to go on denying the undeniable about myself. I'm sorry for typing so much about my own story; my real purpose in writing was to provide some insight into how some of our opponents think–for whatever it's worth.

    Thanks to all who care about this trial, and especially to those who are making it possible for the rest of us to follow along from afar.

  • 55. michael  |  January 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I agree with you Ali. Sadly what the Conservative party has become is not what the Conservative party has ever been before. It has morphed into something unrecognizable.

  • 56. Steve  |  January 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    There is a very obvious explanation for the fact that not all G&L people self-identify ("come out") as G or L — They are afraid. People who do identify as G or L are often bashed, ridiculed, condemned, fired from jobs, or even murdered.

    There is a very obvious explanation for the fact that not all people who have same-sex attractions also act on those attractions — They are afraid. People who do act on same-sex attractions are often bashed, ridiculed, condemned, fired from jobs, or even murdered.

    It is well established in the literature that most G&L people "know" that they are attracted to same-sex long before their first same-sex acts, and also before they learn the words to self-identify. And, all of that happens before they "come out" to anyone other than a prospective sex partner. Recent youth seem to learn the words earlier, likely because the knowledge is more available in society.

    I knew by age 12, and became sexually active at about 16, but I did not tell my parents until after I graduated from college and moved out of their house. The delay was mostly because of fear. I knew that I needed parental support to finish school, and that it would be unavailable if I told them.

    The fact that such a high fraction of G&L people have all three traits (attraction, acts, and identify) indicates that the nature of same-sex attraction is very powerful — enough to overcome that fear.

    Love,
    Steve

  • 57. Jen  |  January 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I am attracted to men, and I have sex with a man, my boyfriend. I am a woman, but I do not fit into the category of "straight" I consider straight to be something other than what I am, as I am somewhat butch, and my personality is certainly dykie. I say that with pride. So…. if the argument stands then "straight" people have no right to protection under the law for marriage either, since not all people attracted to the opposite sex fit into the category "straight." Therefor under that argument, all marriages between a man and a woman should be dissolved because they don't fit into any "certain group" to be "discriminated against," and DESERVE no protection under the law either! I hope someday the human race, as a whole, pulls itself out of the pool of ignorance it has been rotting in for so long.

  • 58. Jen  |  January 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Very true! Often people who are afraid, as your (former?) friend is, have some degree of self questioning, wether on a subconscious level, or outright… their inability to act or identify the feelings are usually a result of society's intolerance and ignorance. As Steve says in comment #57, it is mostly fear that keeps many people from exploring and discovering who they really are. I am sad for these people, as they may never feel completely comfortable with themselves, and I wish our society promoted that! I am in a "straight" relationship, and I have no attraction to women, but i by far do not consider myself "straight." (see comment #58) Anyhoo, I hope that marriage for everyone becomes legal within my lifetime. xoxoxo Jen

  • 59. Lesbian - not trapped any longer  |  January 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    restaurant, not restroom. it did take a beer to finish my dissertation of my life to finally hit the submit button.

  • 60. Jane  |  January 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Are they going to say that before you can get married you have to have a test of some sort to determine what you are? Slipperly slope as there are some groups who believe you are not a real woman unless you are able to bare children.

  • 61. AMC  |  January 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Jeff: Seriously? Shame on you. If you don't think the defendants in this case have the right to tell you that *you* don't exist as a member of a group deserving of full acceptance and full legal rights and the same recognition as anyone else, then who are you to say those things to me?

    Contrary to your neat little worldview, I know exactly who I am. My truth is that I am not straight or gay: I am bisexual. I have known this since about the age of 10 and I still know it now at 35. I have never wavered from this identification, even when it has brought criticism and rejection from both sides of the fence, and I don't think the past 25 years are simply some stage in my process. I have had loving, sexual, intimate, long-term relationships with both men and women.

    And all along I have heard these messages that I do not exist. Once I was told *at my job* that bisexual people are really just gay people who don't have the courage to be gay. I have also been told several times that I'm straight, or "basically straight," whatever that means. Only recently have I started to realize how corrosive it is to get these messages.

    I have always been conscious that when I did choose a life partner it would imply something to the world that is only half my story. When I started dating my sweetie she said "you know if you're with me people will assume you're gay" (she is a lesbian and more on the butch side than not). I didn't care — it doesn't really matter to me what strangers assume about me, and anyway I was busy falling silly in love with HER, for who she is, which for me has nothing at all to do with her gender.

    We were married in CA on Oct 11 2008, before prop 8 passed. So here I am: a bisexual woman married to a lesbian woman, and I have JUST as much stake in this as you presumably do, and JUST as much right to be here and to define *for myself* who I am. And I would rather not have to read through these comments denying my legitimacy. They make me feel as though I'm not accepted here on this site, which is a very confusing thing for someone who's in a same-sex marriage.

  • 62. Marlene Bomer  |  January 22, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Gender identity's not all that hard to pin down, Rebecca… all we have to do is show the studies showing the physical proof in our BSTc structure of the hypothalamus, not to mention the centuries of forst-person accounts.

    Same thing goes for our intersex relatives as well.

  • 63. Marlene Bomer  |  January 22, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Easy, Roy… it's because the Dominionists are decreeing they have the *special* right to not be opposed, and the *special* right to have their perverted interpretation of their Bronze Age book (badly translated and heavily edited!) and impose it into secular law!

  • 64. bubu  |  January 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Lesbian – not trapped any longer, I really relate to your story and am moved to share my own.

    I came out to my family at age 27 without so much as ever having kissed another man. Growing up I too experienced much self-loathing, so much so that once in young adulthood at the communion rail I was trembling so badly that the (Episcopal) priest could barely put the wafer in my mouth. That's how effectively I had been taught that God and the universe must despise me for my very existence…even though at that point I was still a virgin. After I came out and became sexually active my self-loathing continued with destructive behavior, including a nasty cocaine addiction.

    It took years and, most of all, the love of a great man for me to become comfortable in my own skin. Today, at age 53, I'm in a 16-year committed relationship with that same incredible man, and our family includes our amazing 8 year-old son who we adopted when he was 11 days old. I couldn't ask for more. Except for my constitutional right to marry.

    Love,
    Barry

  • 65. Marlene Bomer  |  January 22, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    It looks like an adult (in the form of the judiciary) is going to give this spoilt little brat a spanking!

    They did it in the 60s when they told the spoiled ones they'd have to share their toy called "voting". They scolded the spoilt brats, telling that others are just as equal to them, so they can't deny others to play equally, just because of silly things like religion or skin colour and *especially* those yucky girls and their cooties!

  • 66. tech guy  |  January 22, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Jesus at least hinted that homosexuality can be a naturally occurring form of human sexuality. We are talking about two thousand or so years ago, so Jesus didn't have the benefit of twenty-first century scientific evidence to make his point, but I think he did a fairly good job of it nonetheless.
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matth

  • 67. liz  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Meanwhile, back in Northern Virginia… http://doorbellqueen.blogspot.com/2010/01/meanwhi

  • 68. Richard  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Lesbian-not trapped any longer, I want to reassure you. Yes, I am far away from him, and have been since 1985. He drank himself into an early grave. John Barleycorn did for me what I grew up wanting to do. Thank you for your support. This does, however, show how desparately we need our full civil rights.

  • 69. Phil Grisier  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:37 am

    The fact that some peole who admit sex attraction for their own sex act as if they are straight only helps prove they are members of a suspect class. It's very common for a small segment of repressed minorities to pretend they are not a member of that group. Phsycologists would call this a coping mechanism. We have only to review the history of Negroes as a suspect class in America, with epithets like "Uncle Tom" having been around for 150 years, to see stron evidence of such a coping mechanismas a marker of descriminated gropus. And then, you have contemporary public figures, like Michael Steele, Clarenece Thomas, and Ward Connerly , modern-day Uncle Tom's who continue proving the point that African-Americans are a descriminted group of people in American society.

  • 70. Sheryl Carver  |  January 23, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Thanks, AMC, for saying that more eloquently than I could. I, too, am bi. Even my brother (who has always been fine about my orientation) told me he thinks I'm emotionally & mentally an equal blend of male & female. I agree, & this has been both a blessing & a curse. Not talking about society, just what goes on in my head sometimes. I can usually feel the emotions & see the POV of both men & women on many issues, so I can often explain to men like my brother why women think (whatever), & to my female friends why men think (whatever). This is the blessing part. The curse part is that I often have both genders' emotional responses & POVs in my own brain, which can lead to some long-winded internal discussions.

    Sorry, don't think I've explained this very well. Haven't had enough caffeine yet. But know if I don't write now I'll forget later.

    Love,
    Sheryl

  • 71. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Right. I was a conservative Christian..and a good one! I've even got a degree in Theology from Oral Roberts Univ. I've been on missionary trips, as well as the standard church service stuff–singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School. Consequently, I denied myself for years. I knew I wasn't right, but I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I knew I could 'go that way' (go lesbian), but that was sinful, so I didn't even let myself think about that. Until I finally got so lonely, depressed, miserable, etc. that I just had to accept myself. I couldn't avoid it any longer.

    I no longer call myself Christian. I no longer believe all that stuff I was brainwashed into thinking. It's amazing how your thinking clears up when you don't have that dogma being preached at you week after week.

    But I also know that it is useless to try to convince 'them' that they are wrong. We're talking about their religion here, and they will defend that to do the death. This is a holy was to them.

    So, in my opinion, we should not even engage in arguments. We should let their accusations, their ridiculous 'facts' just fall to the ground. We should, instead, just talk about our own experiences; what we went through, what it was like realizing we weren't hetero. We should not give their views the attention; the attention should be focused on us, as people. I don't mean we should be quiet, or even passive; I just think we should promote ourselves as the normal, healthy, rational people we are. If we don't, nobody will.

    Love,
    Linda and Leslie

  • 72. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 3:57 am

    should read 'holy WAR..'
    sorry about the typos. Are we all a bit fuzzy today? :)

  • 73. Katy  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Thanks AMC, That was very well-stated and interesting to me. I'm hetero, but what I CAN'T understand are people who seem unable to fathom that the HUMAN mind (about which we still know relatively little) and heart are capable of experiencing a multitude of variations; that this IS natural and not inherently good or bad, right or wrong. I think it shows extreme cynicism; a limited vision of humanity–bordering on misanthropy; and sells the magnificence of humankind (and God, for those who believe created us) short.

  • 74. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:01 am

    My girlfriend is bi, and it does bother her to not be acknowledged (believed) that she is bi. She is not interested in denying part of herself anymore that anyone else. Bisexuals are a part of our 'family', whether they're in a ss relationship or not.

  • 75. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Susan, I couldn't agree more. Our stories are what we need to tell. Repeatedly, and unapologetically.

  • 76. RebeccaRGB  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:50 am

    @Marlene Bomer The only issue with that study is that we don't know if BSTc size caused gender identity or if hormones caused BSTc size. Nobody in my knowledge has proven a causation.

    You make a good point though that pointing to all the facts about intersex people would do quite a thorough job of throwing "traditional gender" out the window.

    Even then, I'd still be gravely concerned about what the other side would dig up from nutjobs like Ray Blanchard and Kenneth Zucker. (Especially since said nutjobs are involved with writing the DSM-V, it gives them credibility they don't deserve.)

  • 77. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Marlene-you're right. They do have the mindset that they are not to be opposed. And they are shocked at our affrontery!

  • 78. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Ali, you are right. The Conservative party has been hijacked by this powerful fanatical group.

    I consider myself fiscally conservative, but socially liberal–which I believe is actually the true definition of Republicanism, isn't it? Less government intervention coupled with a mind-your-own-business-and-I'll-mind-mine attitude when it comes to living our lives? But now, Conservativism is aligned with political Christianity; and the effort seems to be to insert the Bible into all legislation.

  • 79. Joe  |  January 23, 2010 at 7:37 am

    There's no definition for what makes someone "black" either (does one great great great grand mother/father make them black?) but you better believe it's still a discriminated group.

  • 80. fiona64  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:44 am

    As a result of another conversation here on P8TT, I started paying attention. CBS5 had one little squib on Friday night's news. That was it.

  • 81. fiona64  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Yes, Maureen, in CA a transperson can legally marry someone of the opposite sex. I have several such couples in my circle of friends.

  • 82. Dena  |  January 24, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I think it might be a good thing that this is not getting loads of mainstream coverage. I am an American, civil partnered lesbian, residing in England with my wife and our two children. This trial means life for us. If we are not granted equal marriage rights, we are not coming home. I cannot bear to have my marriage stripped away, we have no way to immigrate back as my partner is British and our civil partnership is not recognised at a federal level. My family and friends in Illinois cannot believe or understand why we can't 'just come home.' Like the fact that we have been together for 18 years, two weddings, two kids and a mortgage…should be enough proof! Our family and friends here in UK cannot believe America has not got it sorted yet. Europe has this warped idea that America is ahead of the rest on all this. How wrong they are!! Back to the press coverage…I think it's better not over-dramatise it on the news. Over here the law passed without event, no big riots or parades. When it was done, it was mentioned on the news and that was how we found out! Im not sure if this has made any sense, but I am watching closely online because if marriage equality is finally granted, I can finally bring my family home from England.

  • 83. Lance Lanier  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Ok soooo, I should mention. Just as it has been mentioned teens these days have adopted queer, we also stereo type in a way. Such as, I might not consider myself Gay, but Homosexual.
    Confused…. lol

  • 84. roxanne  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    My father once told me he couldn't come visit me in the SF bay area because he was afraid of aids. In addition to being completely taken aback at his ignorance, I had to question what bodily fluids he was going to exchange if he did come to visit me. Maybe there is more to my father that I know? Anyway, his family always thought and still does think he is the smartest person in the family. I think he's the stupidest. He died that day in my heart and I haven't talked to him in over a decade. His loss.

  • 85. roxanne  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I'm not more attracted to one sex over the other. I'm much more attracted to a person for who they are, not what flesh they carry.

  • 86. Shun  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Just in case, do you know about Immigration Equality? They are also working hard day and night to make sure the UAFA (Uniting American Families Act) is passed so that binational couples can stay together in the US.

    I totally understand your plight and in sorta the same boat myself. I hope that the rights can be granted as soon as possible.

  • 87. FastLane  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:43 am

    The strange thing about this approach is that I don't think the Pro-H8 people realize how it could backfire on them, at least from a legal argument point of view.

    Specifically, let's grant them the point that sexual orientation is a choice, and every homosexual person made the conscious decision to have to deal with being called names, threats and acts of physical violence, etc, just so they could piss off their parents and the religious ninnies. =P

    Also, take the argument that because it's a choice, there shouldn't be any legal protection for people of different orientations.

    With those two points in mind, apply it to religion. =) Somehow, I don't the the H8ers would like the conclusion.

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