National Coming Out Day is approaching. But young people are slipping through the cracks. Some of them kill themselves, because they feel they cannot come out…because they are tormented by bullies…because they fear it won’t get better. Activist and “Savage Love” columnist Dan Savage created the It Gets Better YouTube channel to reach out directly to young people and give them hope.
To see other stories of inspiration, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterprojectMore >
UU congregations in the Centennial State joined the First Unitarian Society of Denver at their 5th annual Standing on the Side of Love public worship service on Sept. 26th at the state capital. Check out video footage of this inspiring celebration of life, love, and inclusive family values, calling for repeal anti-gay Amendment 43 and enactment of marriage equality.More >
In this inspiring video that should make us all proud, members of various Unitarian Universalist congregations in North Texas explain why they chose to spend a very hot day marching in the Freedom Parade for LGBT pride.More >
I am angry, and I am confused.
Yesterday, Senate Republicans led a filibuster of the National Defense Authorization Act, to which the DREAM Act and repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were attached.
As an immigrant to this country and as a member of the clergy engaged in multicultural ministry, I am profoundly disappointed. The Senate’s cynical posturing on the DREAM Act has dashed the hopes of many promising young people. And in response to this setback, I am committed to working with you to redouble our efforts for a comprehensive, humane solution to our broken immigration system.
As a United States Air Force Veteran, I am left trying to fathom why, in 2010, the issue of gay, lesbian and bisexual service members is a conversation we are still having. However, even with this setback in the Senate, President Obama has the opportunity to lead on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Please join me in asking President Obama to issue an Executive Order ending military discharges from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and in urging the Justice Department to not appeal the recent federal district court ruling that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is unconstitutional:
This law must breathe its last breath.
Queer people have been faithfully serving in the military since time immemorial, and the armed services have not fallen apart. Rather, it is those who serve in gagged silence who suffer.
I should know.
In 1996, I was a Senior Airman (SrA) deployed by the U.S. Air Force to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. During my time abroad, the Khobar Towers, housing foreign military personnel, were bombed. Nineteen U.S. servicemen were killed, hundreds others wounded. I remember vividly how everyone around me was able to call their spouses and reassure them that everything was okay, and receive much-needed support. Not me.
I was anxious to reach my partner at the time, and also to have her connect with my mother on Tobago to let the rest of my family know I was okay. But I had to call her in secret, lest anyone find out I was in a same-sex relationship. At the time, amid tragic losses, it seemed a trivial price to pay. Looking back, I know how deeply it compounded my stress to worry for months about how I could, without risk to my career, be in touch with the one person who was the primary support in my life.
I left the military after 10 years, when I could no longer serve with integrity. The more out I was in the other spheres of my life, the more living a lie on the job was simply too high an emotional price to pay — especially for a war I just didn’t believe in. I left as a First Lieutenant, but had I felt I could stay, I surely would have offered my service as a military chaplain. I think the messages of Unitarian Universalism have a place in the military with our troops, and I believe pastoral support and compassion should be offered to people everywhere, and not just in congregations.
It is past due that individuals like me be allowed to serve our country freely, with honesty and integrity, and that our country be able to reap the benefits of all we have to offer.
Join me in asking that our president show leadership in ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:
By using his power as Commander in Chief, President Obama can demolish the power of this shameful, unconstitutional law once and for all.
Rev. Alicia Forde
UUA Program Coordinator for Multicultural Congregations
Next week, the U.S. Senate will vote on two crucial human rights measures – a repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which bars openly same-gender-loving people from serving in the military, and enactment of the DREAM Act, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16, and have been here for at least five years, to earn legal status if they pass background checks, attend college or serve in the military for at least two years.
Over the past year, you have urged your legislators to support these measures, and asked Congressional leadership to bring them to the floor. Because of your advocacy, the time for a debate and a vote has finally arrived.
Both of these bills will be voted on as amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. For those of us who passionately advocate peace over war, consideration of these two priority measures in a bill dealing with the expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense is a bitter pill to swallow. Still, there is no denying that the tactic of using this spending bill as a means to pass progressive legislation has proven effective, most recently with the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
It appears that the only opportunity to move forward legislative priorities of the immigrant rights and LGBT civil rights movements in 2010 are through these two crucial votes next week. Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and passing the DREAM Act are moral imperatives that every legislator should support, regardless of how these measures come to the floor. Unfortunately, Republicans are threatening to filibuster to prevent these measures from becoming law.
We need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, and we need your help to make this happen!
In the wise words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.”
In partnership and equality,
Standing on the Side of Love
P.S. If you can, take an extra 2 minutes and call your U.S. Senators to let them know you support the Dream ACT and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Dial (202) 224-3121 and a switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.More >