I am writing on behalf of Outright Libertarians, the LGBT caucus in the Libertarian Party, at the request of those in Illinois who are concerned about a registration law that you have proposed. I wanted to make you aware that of the letters in our acronym, the transgender community in particular is vulnerable to hate violence at very high rates, and also come forward in greater proportion to demand their right to bear arms in self-defense.
But this desire is not limited to the trans* community, indeed it is almost universally shared by our entire membership. Our philosophy affirms the classical liberal principles of self-ownership and non-aggression, which includes the right of autonomy in defending oneself against the initiation of aggression by others as the ONLY justified use of force.
We urge you to withdraw the proposed legislation in the interest of solidarity with queer liberation activists who are uncomfortable with compromising their privacy by registering with the state. I would also add that as a person working to see a greater sense of unity in the community at large, divisive measures which pit the citizenry against one another are not just counter-productive, but ultimately destructive.
Thank you for your consideration,
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
Our very own Outright DC Chair and Mayoral Candidate Bruce Majors, a long-time and well-respected Libertarian advocate in our nation's capitol recently completed a candidate questionnaire for GLAA, a local network of activists that publishes a scorecard based on results.
Despite his well-written and nuanced responses, many of which speak even more deeply to the heart of issues core to the queer liberation movement since its inception, their dismissal of his candidacy by way of a public slam is a shocking breach of queer solidarity.
We think Mr. Majors is worth at least the basic decency of being heard with dignity and respect, when gays judge other gays, one can at least presume that common courtesy would apply.
After all, while Outright was once listed in the Wikipedia as an "anti-gay rights organization", the days when people could responsibly claim ignorance of our political theory have long since passed. Our advances in recent years make it extremely disingenuous for our ideas to be characterized so falsely by people claiming to speak for the interests of LGBT-Americans.
The right-libertarian press has gleefully seized on the issue, and with bad publicity being better than none at all we are inclined to welcome them to our fight. Let the Twitter wars ensue!! When prompted for a public statement for this blog, Bruce provided the statement below with permission to publish. We wholeheartedly commend Bruce Majors for his past and current successes in Washington politics, and we invite locals to consider contacting his campaign to find out how you can help put a Libertarian mayor into office.
"In some ways I think the GLAA rating is hilarious and what GLAA has really done is rate itself into irrelevancy and give itself a failing grade.
"I actually belonged to GLAA briefly in the early 90s and participated in one candidate rating (where no Libertarian candidate was involved) and was upset to see that they automatically gave incumbents extra points over challengers, as long as the incumbent had done even a slight bit for gay gay rights. An incumbent for example who had slowly evolved to supporting civil unions would get more points than a challenger who campaigned for gay marriage.
"I think it's clear the surviving GLAA members (who are not very numerous - this is a rating put out largely by a few people - if you dig through their website you find only two names, Rick Rosendall and Bob Summersgill, their third active member, Barrett Brick, a Republican, passed away this year) are statists. (One of them actually tweeted two years ago when I ran for Congress as a Libertarian in 2012 that no one need pay any attention to me picking up petitions, since I was running as a Libertarian - and I then got a high enough vote, 16,700 votes, to get the Libertarian Party permanent ballot status in DC). They actually say in their press release on the scoring that they "interpreted" my (lengthy) answers as "negative or non responsive" because they don't like libertarians, because it is an "unusual" ideology that "mistrusts" government. Which this year of all years means the GLAA has shown themselves to be completely antiquated and out of touch with public sentiment.
"But beyond this there is a brown nosing/rent seeking element to GLAA's ratings. They actually rate the Green Party members almost as low as they do the Libertarians, and give their high rankings to, as the headline of their press release crows, incumbent Democrats. One suspects the Greens would fund all the programs GLAA likes to put gays on the dole and give them a government housed, state controlled gay community center at a much bigger budget than the Democrats. But since the Democrats are much more likely to be elected, GLAA members want to curry favor with them."
Because government is essentially force – a tool used by those who wield it to achieve their own (or their benefactors’) selfish goals – it is not the proper source of addressing what some people commonly refer to as social problems or social injustice. A good example of this can be found in the area of homelessness. While many well-meaning people are sensitive to the plight and quality of life of homeless people, they often fail to see how governments not only contribute to and perpetuate homelessness, but often stand in opposition to those attempting to help in any meaningful way.
Look, for example, at: wars that leave service members psychologically unstable, destroy their families, and render them unfit to restore any kind of “normal” life; overzealous, and often self-serving regulations that create barriers to entry in the marketplace; an education system geared more to creating obedient citizens than developing educated, independent people; and then attempting to “fix” these problems by the creation of government programs that serve to only further establish and perpetuate the victimization of the people hurt by these policies.
More than serving as just another example of government ineptitude, this subject also highlights a real challenge in communicating principles of libertarianism. Not because the principles are incompatible with effectively dealing with social issues, but because the issues are far more complex than we’re accustomed to believing, and because if we are only focusing on the emotional side of things, we inevitably fall into the trap of looking to the creators of the problem for the solution. This does nothing but guarantee that the problems continue, and become part of the way our society functions, making it increasingly difficult to break free. To solve the problems that face individuals, we need to harness the power that only individuals possess – compassion, imagination, ingenuity, ambition, self-preservation, and so on.
Sadly, governments aren’t the only ones to blame, making the complexity even worse. Sometimes, other institutions (family, religious, educational, and social) assist in the creation of social problems, including homelessness. When a young person is struggling with homosexuality, for example, that person may not be connected to safe and supporting sources of help and understanding. In fact, the natural places from which most people find their support may be the very ones driving them away. This helps to explain why some calculate the percentage of LGBT youth as being 40% of the homeless youth population. Unfortunately, when the more organic social structures fail these people, they often find themselves stuck battling another set of problems created by governments. Florida is home to several well-known examples of this scenario. From feeding bans in Orlando to “camping” bans in Pensacola, governments have proven themselves to be incapable of not only providing help, but of providing at the very least, equal protection under the law. Instead, those claiming power over others’ lives, all too often make things even more difficult for the suffering among us.
Jail Awaits Texas Woman for Protecting Her LGBT Student from Bullying
Sierra Wood, 16, Attacked for Advocating Marriage Equality at School
HALE CENTER, TX - A Texas woman is facing jail today after her sister was accosted for verbalizing support for gay marriage in class. Kayla McLaughlin, 27, says she was threatened with confinement in jail for refusing to force her traumatized sister to return to Hale Center High School.
The issue began when teacher Diane Ivy asked students for one wish they dreamed to see fulfilled. Sierra Wood, 16, an openly bisexual student, she said she wished for marriage equality around the world. The Health Education teacher delivered this stern rebuke before she kicked her out of class: “This is a boy-girl class, not a boy-boy or girl-girl class.”
As she exited the classroom, Sierra greeted a friend with the simple phrase, “Sup,” and was subsequently sent to the office for disrupting the class with “gang-related language.” She was given the choice: suspension or JJAP, a program for unruly teens. Sierra chose suspension.
Kayla, her sister and guardian, says Sierra was punished for seeking the school nurse after she returned from suspension, had her cell phone confiscated, and was a victim to name-calling, rumors, tripping, spitting, and projectile attacks. Sierra is now suffering mental anguish at no fault of her own, Kayla says, and will not be forced to return to class for her protection.
The dilemma is typical of coercive systems that rely on force to achieve social goals. First, she is compelled to attend. Then, she is disciplined for doing so. The conflict is impossible for a teen to resolve.
This is dehumanizing, abusive, and traumatizing behavior by adults who are charged with her care. No child should have the abuse of their peers legitimized by authority figures in their schools, nor should either students or their guardians face a threat of enforcement for the act of courage and honesty represented by Sierra Wood’s actions.
Outright Libertarians of Texas joins our national organization in calling for an immediate response by the public. We are asking for investigative journalists, talk radio hosts, human rights activists, and LGBT advocacy organizations to join with everyday people in bringing transparency and a merciful resolution to this situation, immediately.
Programming Note: Kayla and Sierrawill appear in a joint interview on the Outright Libertarians of Arizona podcast on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, at 8 p.m. MST. You can hear the full interview at: http://tinyurl.com/justice-for-sierra
This is one of the most awesome things I've seen in a while. We would do well to adopt some of this language into how we articulate our ideology as something truly liberatory for those suffering the most under state power.
One of our members attended a public hearing before the Indiana State Legislature this Wednesday where a representative of Freedom Indiana told him that displaying a rainbow flag had the potential to embarrass the movement if it were photographed.
When contacted for comment on what, exactly, they find embarrassing about the rainbow flag and why Freedom Indiana is claiming authority over queer activists attending public hearings, campaign manager Megan Robertson replied by way of explanation:
"Freedom Indiana has become a brand in and of itself [...] while the rainbow flag certainly has a place in this overall movement, our campaign is currently focused on a very small constituency." She went on to say, "It is great to have these allies step up, some even to the level of contributing $100,000 to our efforts."
Freedom Indiana is a subsidiary of a Gay, Inc. mega-corp called Freedom to Marry, which was also the group involved in the failed opposition to Proposition 8 in California. It is also the group that talked Our America Initiative into abandoning a marriage campaign in Arizona because it wasn't beneficial this election cycle.
Freedom to Marry has lots of money they won't spend unless it gains their corporate masters power, and apparently the wishes of grassroots activists don't figure in to those goals. The integrity of the liberation movement, long ago compromised by Gay, Inc, has been replaced by the hegemony of a heteronormative non-profit industrial complex that sees the rainbow flag as a liability.
Though Freedom Indiana self-identifies as a "grassroots army" (in Megan's words), who is simply "encouraging folks to use official campaign materials", the reality of our members' experience is much different. In fact, the experience of being intimidated into folding up his rainbow flag prompted him to write the poem below.
Outright Libertarians joins the many voices calling for liberation across the country, not only from mainstream stigma and oppression, but from elements within our own movement. Gay, Inc. does not speak for all of us, in fact, increasingly it is seeking to prevent us from speaking. "Business as usual" is no longer acceptable. We shall be free!!
"Play the Game", by Walter Beck
All this blood spilled
Just to play their game.
Wear their suits,
Wear their ties,
Make the phone calls
And write the letters
Just like they do.
Get the corporate sponsors
And a congressman or two
In your back pocket.
Run the commercials,
Looking just as pretty as theirs.
All this blood spilled
Just to play their game.
Roll up the banners,
Put the picket signs away
And tear down the Colors;
Just so you don’t look too threatening
As they tear you down,
As they still call you sick,
Perverted and twisted,
As they still say you’re damaged goods
In need of fixing.
All this blood spilled
Just to play their game.
We’re burying our history
And letting our stories fade away,
We’re covering up our scars
And putting on the suits.
Our songs are becoming muted,
Our chants are becoming subdued,
We’re selling out and buying in.
Slamming the gates,
Locking the doors,
Shutting out anyone
Who doesn’t look like white bread America.
We think we're fighting for our rights,
When really we’re becoming
Just as exclusionary
As they are.
All this blood spilled
Just to play their game.
The Revolution has been copyrighted by Gay, Inc., all rights reserved.
Recent calls to boycott Coke when their corporate logo was spotted on the uniform of a security officer who arrested a gay activist during the Olympic torch relay in Russia has led to a flurry of conversation. Members of Outright may have different opinions on participating; it is not the purpose of this blog to take a position.
The purpose of this blog is to simply share some ideas generated by a supporter on Facebook who feels that the boycott may be ineffective or misdirected. WIth accusations of slacktivism flying, Sean was challenged by an Arizona trans* activist to list some other ways activists can protest the Russian state.
I'm pretty sure this entire conversation amounts to little more than a slight increase in effort to really, really strenuous slacktivism, but his list is pretty interesting. So I decided to post it publicly, in hopes that these ideas may rise to the attention of those with resources to carry them into action. Items 4, 5, 7, and 8 are especially creative.
By Sean Malone:
What people could do to protest the Russian state:
1. Don't go to Russia. Explicitly publish pieces about why.
2. Do go to Russia to participate in protests in Moscow/etc. with activists on this issue to add numbers.
3. Send money to activists in Russia.
4. Build a website that lists all of the anti-gay Russian politicians and provides an effective and easy means to contact them.
5. Do something super creative and organize a group activity that gains a lot of media attention in Russia that - unlike this Coca Cola boycott - has a meaningful target... For example, a friend of mine just launched a ton of balloons with flash drives and leaflets into North Korea advocating more freedom.
6. If you must support a voluntary boycott of the Russian Olympics itself as I suggested had been done in the past.
7. Go to the Olympics in Russia en masse wearing rainbow flags on all your clothes, luggage, and take flags to the ceremonies and make a big enough scene to get on TV. One idea might be to have about 100 people in the stands each with a card that when held up in unison shows a big rainbow flag or pink triangle on one side, and when flipped over has a pro-gay/anti-state message visible to any other spectator and camera in the world.
8. "Vuvuzelas for Gay Rights"
...I mean... I could go on, but these are just a few ideas off the top of my head. Almost anything I can think of would be more effective at getting the message across *to the right people* than this thing.
Also, here's my one-step solution for avoiding Coca Cola products: Drink water. From your tap. If you must purify it, use a Brita filter (not owned by Coke). Also beer, milk, wine, juice from many different brands... Not owned by Coke either.