Sunday, December 27, 2009

Five more stories of 2009

Here are the second five LGBT stories of 2009.  Again, they are in no particular order:

6. The Ugandan government considers a bill that would make homosexuality punishable by death.  Top notch reporting by folks like Rachel Maddow brought this story to the attention of millions.  Not only was the Ugandan government condemned -- and it looks like this condemnation worked to stop the death penalty of LGBT people -- the relationship between the Ugandan government and prominent religious and political figures were also uncovered.

7. Losses in Maine and in New York. Heartbreaking?  Of course.  But the loses highlighted two of the most moving moments this year: Ruth Hassell-Thompson's (right) stunning speech in the New York State Senate and the testimony of Phillip Spooner, the WWII vet who spoke out against the referendum in Maine.

8. President Obama signs a hate crimes bill that includes LGBT people. To have the government even acknowledge LGBT people without condemnation was unique after eight years of George Bush.

9. The war expands in Afghanistan. Yes, this story affected everyone deeply.  But the increase in troops in  Afghanistan  -- no matter what your feelings about the escalation -- highlighted once more the absurdity of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." As more and more of our troops are sent to this war, fewer and fewer are available for anything else.  In this light, is it logical to deny thousands and thousands of capable people the right to serve?  And remember: the first George Bush temporarily suspended the prohibition of LGBT people in the military during the first Gulf War.  Almost 20 years later, repealing that ban permanently is still being debated.

10. Intolerance grows in the right wing media.  I know.  This may seem impossible.  But the right wing media -- Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity (left) to name a few -- has led the charge to rid the Republican party of anyone who speaks with a modicum of moderation.  It is leading a purity movement that will either destroy the party or profoundly change our country.  From calling President Obama "a racist" to attacking Kevin Jennings for being gay, the right wing media has become more radical and hyperbolic.

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