Think before you speak.

11 Aug 2009 Current Events

“That’s gay!” … why is this normal for people in our day and age to say? It’s used to describe something that’s dumb, stupid, or lame, so is that what the LGBT community has been reduced to?

It’s about taking ourselves out of our comfort zones and speaking out when we hear someone we do or don’t know saying it… people know that it could be seen as offensive but they say it anyway because nobody has told them otherwise. Think about it, most conversations you’ll have regarding this phrase or others will likely end up with, “I didn’t know you felt that way” or “I didn’t think it was a big deal, you never said anything?” They’re right! if we allow ignorance to fester, guess what… it will.

It can be uncomfortable to have to actually do something on behalf of yourself or perhaps even other people, but our society has to get to the point where ignorance is not tolerated any longer. “Everybody says it” is another one that you’ll hear, but just tell them that nobody that knows YOU should be saying, plain and simple. This argument crosses gender, race, orientation, ethnic, and political lines; I was forwarded a video by a friend today that really made me think about the words that I hear and the words I personally allow to be said around me. Here is the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWS0GVOQPs0

Damage control

4 Aug 2009 Current Events

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what our community can do to win the social debate for our equal rights… since the country’s starting to let our plight for equality take the back burner. There are many ways to come at this problem; there are the far lefters and the radicals that want to protest and picket, that’s fne but nobody really cares about protests in this country. Then you have the moderates that want to work from within the system, and that works great as well over a potentially extended amount of time like the organizations for other civil rights movements from the 60′s. I’m saying that our community go on a nationwide PR campaign to improve our public image! It works for this nation’s largest corporations, why couldn’t it work for us?

Think about it, you’ve got oil companies putting out commercials on how much they’re trying to save the environment, when really only a fraction of one percent of their total company’s budget is dedicated to more fuel efficient technologies. Then you have some of the global conglomerates coming out in support of healthy options at their restaurants, green labels on their products, and community outreach programs after their company had a hand in devastating the community they’re now helping. If it can work for them… why not the LGBT community?

It’s simple PR, we have got to get positive exposure! I know that a lot of us are going to be resistant to actually having to do something, but it’s something that has to be done! I have a few general ideas that can be done between the major LGBT groups and organizations here in Vegas, but we would definitely need the help of regular people like you and I. One thing that I was thinking that we could do is to volunteer as a community to organize fundraisers for different charities, who doesn’t like helpful people? We could all participate in the race for the cure event next year, the march of dimes next year, and plenty of other events that would get us out in the public eye as productive members of society.

It’s the cold hard truth that we have to prove ourselves to society… I’m sorry to say it, but it’s the truth. The conservatives are always going to win the social debate over our role in society if we don’t do something to condradict those statements! I’m not talking about running pro-gay events and educational seminars on homophobia… no! We need to get involved in what other people are passionate about, so that we can forge bonds in other communities, thus building more support for our agenda without having to fight to the death against the conservatives.

If there is a group that is fighting against breast cancer, we should be there in support of them, both financially and in numbers! If there is a group advocating for the homeless, we should be there too! We should organize and volunteer within the city limits at soup kitchens, women’s shelters, charities, fundraisers, and anything else that will get us in the news for being the good people that we already are!

Plus… who wouldn’t like to get their picture in the newspaper or be interviewed on the news? We’d be the most fabulous humanitarians in the state!!!

Once we get out there and start becoming involved with making our local community a better place, it will catch on and people will start to realize that we’re not the social deviants that the religious right makes us out to be. The public will see that we’re kind hearted, caring, and good people just like everyone else, and that we deserve equal rights just like everyone else. That’s our final goal, isn’t it? I’ve said it on my blog before that we can play the political game, we can play the radical game, but nothing’s going to matter if we haven’t played and won the social game! In my opinion, our community has to first change the hearts and minds of regular people before we can change Washington.

Give it a try, even if you’re the only one there! Be out and proud while volunteering, and change one mind at a time!

God bless America.

Congress/DADT

1 Aug 2009 Current Events, politics

Earlier this month, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand presented an ammendment to a Department of Defense spending bill that would place an 18 month moratorium on the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell legislation that was passed by Congress in 1993. Prominent Democrats in the Senate such as Majority Leader, Harry Reid, came out earlier this month in support of the Matthew Shepard hate crime legislation as well as Senator Gillibrand’s moratorium bill, stating that he’d repeal the DODT law altogether. This proposal by the senator was later shelved after the Supreme Court refused to hear a case from a soldier that was discharged in 2004 after being discovered as being gay. Earlier this week, the Senate Armed Services subcommittee held a hearing on DODT, and Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania testified in order to repeal the DODT legislation.

Congressman Murphy is fighting on our behalf, not because he’s gay, but because he knows that the service men and women of the military are looking for other men and women that are willing to fight by their side. He challengess Congress to accept our soldier’s professionalism and willingness to serve next to openly gay soldiers; Congressman Murphy is also the first and only Iraq veteran to be elected to Congress. Smart guy.

This is big news…

In an interview with Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, he told reporters that the office of the President has issued executive orders that have changed the political landscape of the military in the past, citing President Truman’s desegragation of the military in 1948; however, Secretary Gates went on to say that these measures took the Truman administration over 5 years in order to reach completion. Gates stated that his office has barely begun to speak with the Obama administration of DODT policy, offering an explanation for the slow progress, he said, “If we go down that road,” it was important “we do it right and in a way that mitigates any downsides.”

This brings to the forefront the idea again of an executive order from the office of the President to end DODT…

According to the US News and World Report, 296 service men and women have been discharged under the Obama administration, with no movement on the President’s behalf towards rectifying this situation. Congressman Murphy is gaining prime support from various factions within the Democratic and Republican parties (mainly the Deomcrats obviously) with his claim that it is more costly for the military to train a replacement for these discharged gay soldiers. We all know that the fastest way into a Republican’s heart is through their wallets, so perhaps this will be a successful tactic.

Either way, it appears as if the Obama administration will be keeping a tight lip about gay rights until they can get healthcare panned out in Congress. It looks like the LGBT community will have to wait until healthcare legislation is done before their voices will be heard.

Two bills in one month against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in Congress, is someone going to tell the President that we’re all talking about this?

God bless America.

United States of… China?

27 Jul 2009 Current Events, politics

This week, high ranking officials are welcoming Chinese diplomats to the states in order to undergo serious talks about the future relations between both countries. The matters at hand? China’s grip on trade with the United States and China’s apprehension over its consumption of American debts… matters that won’t be discussed? China’s affiliation with the Darfur atrocities, simple human rights defined under their constitution that are almost non-existent, and the crushing weight of the communist regime over its people. The American representatives (Treasury Sec. Timothy Geitner, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, and President Obama himself) won’t be discussing any issues that may “embarass” the Chinese delegation, as usual. The question that we should all be asking is why our country allows China’s government to continue to support a second agenda throughout the world that in no way creates a better one? We should all be wondering what good will come out of these talks… it looks like China’s yearning to gain a more powerful seat on the international stage, but is the world ready for that kind of China?

You’ll hear on the news what happened with the “matters at hand”, so I’m going to cover the items that would embarass the Chinese government, sound good?

First:

The Chinese/Darfur connection… I’m hoping that you’ve heard of what’s going on in Darfur, Sudan; if not, it all started in early 2003 when two armed rebel groups began to wage war on the Sudanese government by targeting and killing government officials right along with civilians. The crisis has claimed an estimated 400k lives since it began, according to former U.N. Humanitarian Chief Jan Egeland… the Sudanese government has long been accused of supporting a rebel faction that is responsible for murdering thousands of civilians. It was reported by the BBC in 2008 that China was found to be aiding the Sudanese government by providing arms and military aircrafts… China’s weapons have provided the means for killing thousands of innocent civilians in this struggle, going against an arms embargo that was set on Sudan in 2005 by the U.N. The crisis has created one of the worst migration of refugees in modern history as well as the death and starvation of hundreds of thousands more… who’s to say that this wouldn’t be happening without the Chinese involvement? We’ll never know, because this conflict isn’t getting any better with their help in any aspect. Nice, right?

Second;

Simple human rights allowed under the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) constitution are most commonly overturned by citing their “subversion of state power” clause… basically, freedom of speech exists as long as the people don’t speak out against the Chinese government, it’s officials, or express their feelings of mistreatment by the above. Yeah, other than that… they have freedom of speech. Other rights beign ignored are the rights of the Tibetan people, because the Chinese government had issued a mandate during the original communist installment under Mao that would remove all “old things” from Chinese society. The Tibetans are seen to be a sort of rebels because they continue to practice their ancient traditions, therefore their society has been pushed to the limits of absorbtion into communist rule… gay rights you say? The official stance on gay rights is… they don’t have a stance, because they don’t want to make a decision for, or against the gay community. That means that gay people are allowed to live freely, but they’ll have no type of protections in any fassets of their lives.

Third;

You may have heard about the recent uprising in China by the Uyghurs/”Weegers”, an Islamic minority ethnic group in China’s northwestern region a few weeks ago… the communist regime has initiated its own war on terrorism against the Uyghurs. This group of people are trying to create their own state seperate from China in order to live their lives free from Chinese oppressions against their faith-based views and lifestyles. Clashes between the Uyghurs minority and the Han majority ethnic group resulted in the death of over 190 people… protesters became violent after Chinese police responded against the group with a harsh physical response… The Chinese police took similar force against the Uyghurs that the Iranian forces took against the opposition party protesters, but no one said anything. China did it the right way though, because they shut down all internet connections and cellular communications in the region in order to prevent the story from reaching the outside world. Even better, right?

Lets sit around with the Chinese delegation and pat their backs for buying up our debt, while we turn a blind eye to their human rights abuses. No problem, right? You let me know… because this doesn’t seem right to me. It’s really too bad that China owns our country, because otherwise I’d suggest that we do something in response to these offenses, but it appears that blogging against them is all we’re going to get.

God bless America.

Gays don’t mind discrimination, right?

25 Jul 2009 Current Events, politics

I was recently having a discussion with one of my straight friends about politics, and I found out some interesting things that I didn’t know before…

I was over at his house and like I had mentioned, we were discussing politics, something that I find myself doing quite often with almost anyone that will have me. Well, we began discussing how I thought President Obama was doing in office, and I’ve said it before that it is our right to disagree with the president if something he’s doing doesn’t rub us the right way. We may disagree on a few key items like gay rights, full disclosure terms, as well as national security; however, I still know that he’s doing a better job than McCain/Palin would have done. I’m a Democrat through and through. That’s fine, we discussed why I had my opinions of the president, and we both went back and forth on the wars, what happened there, why we’re still there, and why Afghanistan is going to keep getting worse/whether or not our allies will support our mission in that country.

We share similar ideas about politics and how it should work for the people instead of against, because we also went into great detail over the new healthcare legislation that President Obama is trying to get passed. We both agreed that people should be allowed to keep what coverage they have now if they want, that small businesses shouldn’t be overburdoned with having to provide their employees with benefits (price tag for small business benefits shouldn’t bee too high if possible), and that we should increase the taxes on the wealthy in order to help fund this project… sounds good to me so far.

Then we moved into my favorite topic… gay rights, the grand daddy of them all. Here, I was a little taken back that we differed in our views somewhat. When I discuss gay rights, I tend to take the argument back to the civil rights era of the late 50′s, 60′s and early 70′s, because that’s when the women’s lib movement captivated the national arena, blacks took the stage and demanded equality and an end to discrimination, and the gays began to make their move for a piece of the same pie. I discussed how blacks and women were treated as being inferior to white males in their respective ways; I brought up some of the large organizations that represented each of the groups and why they either were or weren’t successful…

We were together all the way up to this point, and then things went askew…

I went into the fact that women’s place in society was that of a subservient housewife, and that blacks were seen as inferior, second class citizens to whites… then he chimed in; “I honestly don’t think that gays are being treated as if they’re inferior.”

I took that in for a second…

How could someone see the current state that our community’s in and not think that we’re being treated unfairly and less than equals to the heterosexual majority? Like I said, I took that in for a second before responding… I then asked him if he thought it was okay for blacks to be forced to sit at the back of the bus, I mean, they at least got to ride didn’t they? He responded with a confused tone, saying that it wasn’t the same thing… I didn’t get upset because anger only makes a situation like that hostile and can damage friendships, so then went into the larger cases and key points that the gay community was fighting for, marriage and the rights that go along with it, don’t ask don’t tell, and the social change that needs to be accomplished in order for all of those to come to fruition.

In my personal opinion, our community is fighting for our civil rights, to get the same rights that all other Americans get to enjoy, the same rights that other minorities had been denied in the past. Interracial marriage was against the law at one point, women weren’t offered protection in the workplace, nor were they allowed the same job opportunities as men throughout history and the early 20th century. I bring up the other civil rights movements because I feel that we have to put everything into context of the time that these events occured… revolt was imminent. There was a social upheaval of the status quo that made the stage right for the civil rights movement to swing into full effect. The context where we find ourselves now is pretty unique, because in the new millennia, we find the attempted upheaval of the status quo being bogged down by special interest groups that tell the people what to think, and when to think it. That’s why our community hasn’t been able to break through to the national arena as effectively as other movements have… but, we’re also in drastic times, with the worst economy since the Depression, international tensions focused solely on us, political cobwebs grinding down the infrastructure of our country’s principles, and on top of that… people deplore discrimination, unless it’s against gays.

My friend and I discussed this part of the issue for quite some time before we were able to meet at a common ground of sorts… what did he honestly expect me to say? “Yea, that’s cool… gays don’t mind missing out on some rights, not worries.” Or, “Who needs all their rights anyway?” Something along those lines I’m sure… it’s fine to differ on opinions as long as there is room for communication and debate. There weren’t too many counterpoints on his part, so I’m pretty sure that he has been enlightened by education. I talked about the social change that needs to occur before we make our move onto the national stage, and I meant it… my friend for quite some time didn’t see this argument my way, and that was news to me. Doesn’t he know that I’m gay? It kind of made me laugh, out of disbelief really… we need to get people educated to the fact that homophobia is wrong, inequality is wrong, and discrimination, above all else, is wrong. I think I won one over for our team, go me!

Our move for equal rights has to take on a grass roots strategy as well as a large scaled one that works within the system… if regular people don’t change their minds about giving us equality, what’s going to make the government change its mind on the issue?

Talk to people that you care about first, and try to get them to see our side of the debate if possible; there aren’t any winners or losers, just people that are willing to share their points of view, regardless if they’re the same or not.

God bless America.

America’s got Obama…?

22 Jul 2009 politics

So today, the popular tv program, America’s got talent, aired one of their most successful broadcasts this season… it’s a fun show that I peronally enjoy watching! Also today, President Obama made his best Billy Mays sales pitch for the healthcare plan that he’d like to see happen. Which one was everyone watching? Most likely… America’s got talent, or another show like it. There are many other bills that are affecting our community as well as our state that should be getting attention… I’m not saying that healthcare isn’t important, because it most certainly is. I’m just saying that Washington has a way of pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes in order to take the nation’s attention off of the issues that really matter.

Once again, our community gets pushed to the back of the bus… DODT and DOMA related concerns are nowhere on the senate/house legislative websites, or at least none that I have seen. These are things that affect everyone, not just our community. At a time where we need the most qualified soldiers that we can get, this President is sitting by while they are being cast out and dismissed in shame from service… it doesn’t seem right, does it? Healthcare is a very tricky measure that has conspiracy theories all over it, what with some of the key politicians receiving up to almost half of their campaign financing from large health insurance agencies and their lobbyists… that’s not what we’re talking about here, we’re talking about the fact that healthcare should be passed with a group of intelligent people in charge. Not necessarily politicians… the President pointed out the hospital system in Cleveland and others as good standards for what he wants done; we should find the best systems that work around country, and try to implement their principles on the grander national scale.

I’m sure the gays can wait for their equal rights for another year, right? I mean… we’ve waited this long, what’s another term? Hey, we’re patient, make it two! There are organizations making their stealthy moves around Washington on our behalfs, but it’s everyone else’s job to start making noise about what we want. I’ve said it on my blog, and I’ll say it here… email your representatives and make them represent you, it’s quite the clever concept, but I hear they used to actually do that at some point in the past. What ever happened to no taxation without representation? I don’t feel represented… should we also have a tea party? It’ll probably/hopefully be a little more glamorous than the ones the elephants/conservatives had last year.

Maybe I’m just beating a dead horse, and you’re probably right… however, this is a dead horse that should get the crap beat out of it until congress does something about it. It’s about our civil rights; Although, they’d probably vote on and pass an animal right’s bill that would prohibit me from beating the dead horse before they passed legislation that would give us what we deserve… Maybe I’m crazy, just maybe.

God bless America.

Hello Qmunnity

20 Jul 2009 Current Events

Hi Qmunnity!

My name’s Leo Murrieta and my blog is called Citizenzero, and it’s a great privilige to offer the GLBT community my services. First things first, this is going to be the new QBlog for QVegas, but some of you might be asking yourselves what a blog really is, fear not because I’ll walk us all through it. Basically, I’m going to be updating this blog whenever I come across a political issue that I feel affects our community directly, or when I feel that we should all know about other current events important to us as regular people (and what fabulous “regular” people we all make, might I add). My favorite part about blogging is the feedback that I receive from my readers, so please, if there’s something that you feel is important and you’d like to see it on here just send me an email and I’ll check it out and blog accordingly. This blog is about everyone getting “in the know” about what’s going on in our community, so don’t hesitate to get involved, both here and through other QVegas outlets.

Simple right?

Don’t worry, it’s a learning process for all of us, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll all be alright…

You can email me at citizenzerolm@yahoo.com with any ideas or comments.

Thanks for allowing me to give back what I can to our community/Qmunnity.

Ignorance tried to take away my bliss…

18 Jul 2009 Current Events

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance”  -Socrates

Earlier today, July 18th, I was driving down the road on the boulevard when a man in an old pick up truck with a camper pulled up right next to me… normally not a problem because he was going the same way that I was going, nothing out of the usual. That is until I saw what it was that he had written and painted all over his truck cab…

“Obama supports HOMOS!!!”

“Homos die!!!”

“Homos are baby killers!!!”

“Obama is a baby killer!!!”

I only glanced at the truck at first, but when I actually began to read what the truck said I instantly became enraged! I haven’t been that mad since the last time I almost got into a fist fight with someone earlier this year… I rolled down my window, ready to throw any obscenities I could think of his way! Then… I decided that ignorance doesn’t cure ignorance. I calmed down, looked at the man because he was looking in my direction and I just shook my head… and called the police.

I have rights too…

He has every right to his own opinion, but this was just too much… this was something that nobody else should be forced to witness. The hatred that was all over the man’s car was alarming to me, and so I called the non-emergency line… just in case there was nothing they could do. I told the operator what was written on the man’s truck and she immediately put me through to dispatch. I was becoming even more upset by this point because the truck was right next to me and there was nowhere I could go to get away from it! There was literally nowhere else that I could move to NOT see this man’s garbage. I tried to hold myself together for the dispatcher, but the man was just sitting there so smug, that I lost it…

I told the dispatcher that I demanded this vehicle be taken off the road, because I didn’t deserve to have my rights as a tax-paying citizen infringed upon just so that he could ride around spreading his hatred on the main strip of Vegas! I told the lady on the phone that tourists don’t come to see hate speech, they come to enjoy themselves and that removing this vehicle was a matter of our city’s main industry! Once again, I tried to stay calm, but I couldn’t take it… this man was trying to parade his filth around the strip as if nothing was wrong with saying that homosexuals didn’t have an equal right even to life!!! I raised my voice at the lady after giving her the full details of this man’s truck, because by now the light had finally come on and I was now tailing this guy to make sure that the cops could find his truck and show him a thing or two about Vegas justice.

I looked to the sidewalks and I could already see all the people looking over and reading this man’s truck, and I began to go stark wild at this point. “If the police don’t get this man off the road, he’s about to incite a riot, and you’re talking to it!” I exclaimed to the dispatcher… she was very calm, telling me that he has no right to have such slurs forced upon the public and that the police would be there shortly. “You better come get him because it’s taking everything in my power not to lose control of my vehicle up into the back of his!” I told the dispatcher…

The dispatcher and I both agreed that it was best for me not to continue following the man, for both of our sakes… as I turned the corner, I heard the sirens blaring down towards the man, and I knew it was over.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so violated… but I knew that I had to do something, I couldn’t just sit in shock while this man actively sought to de-humanize me. I did something that I thought was right, after I heavily considered doing something that I knew was wrong, but what matters is that someone stood up against hate… I’m nobody special, I’m just a face in the crowd as far as that man was concerned, but I was the one that said no to ignorance.

God bless America.

Party politics… for party or country?

15 Jul 2009 Current Events, politics

Civil servants as of late have been clinging to the theory of party first and country second. How much should party loyalty play in terms of policy? National politics is an arena that I proudly don’t claim to have any experience in… I say that because it appears that politicians on both sides of any debate are holding the party line instead of representing their constituent’s best interest.

Watch the news lately, and you’ll see it repeatedly from Democrats and Republicans in varying degrees… what does this mean for you and I? It means that our elected officials need quite the reminder that we did not elect them to serve their party, but to serve US! One great piece of tv that I watched was during now Senator Al Franken’s acceptance speech… he said to the national media that his seat in the senate doesn’t give the Democratic party a rubber stamp and their guaranteed 60th vote, that he’s, “not going to Washington to be the 60th Democratic senator, I’m going to Washington to be the second senator from the state of Minnesota.” This is how things should run… you and I should have more elected officials see politics like this.

Have the representatives now serving subscribed to the Washington doctrine of party politics and loyalty first… the question is how do we dislodge our representatives from the grips of Washington party games? I’ve said it before and I must say it again… email your congressmen and women as well as your senators until they know you by name! Let them know that you are a constituent and that you’re not happy with how they’re representing you as a voter. It works, because if regular people don’t stand up and say something valid about an issue, the only people that make any noise will be the fluffs that don’t have anything better to do but send letters, and the special interest groups that pay their way into their offices.

The national arena is an animal all its own, and perhaps it’s more complicated than I think, but it’s better than nothing, isn’t it? I’m a Democrat by belief, but even I have spoken out against some of the things that the President has done, as well as other members from this party… that’s what democracy is all about! I think that politics on the local and national level can be turned on its ear if people would simply tell their representatives how to represent them! I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy…

Shouldn’t the government work for us? Do we have to wait until the previous generation dies off for the young and middle-aged people in this country to wake up and realize that if we don’t fix it, that someone else with a lot of money most certainly will…?

God bless America

Independence Day

5 Jul 2009 Current Events, politics

This blog was supposed to be about the rights that the LGBT community has been denied, and it was also supposed to be about my experiences as an American and how I’ve seen this country change… but I’m not going to do any of that. I’m not going to because I know it’s more important that I give thanks to the men and women that are allowed to protect our freedoms. It doesn’t matter which side of the great debate that you fall on, because those brave people deserve our appreciation regardless.

If everyone knew a soldier, we’d all be fighting just as hard to ensure that they receive the treatment that they deserve… they’re people that we can take great pride in, because of the selfless burdens they take on. We can’t truly understand what it feels like to be a soldier unless you are one, but we can empathize with them and their families. I’m filled with great pride for the men and women that serve so that I don’t have to… that serve because the government won’t let me. There are gay veterans too, and the LGBT community should highlight them and their accomplishments more often so that the country doesn’t forget that gays and lesbians would fight and die for this country just as hard as any straight person would.

I took the time to thank a soldier the other day and tell him how grateful I was for what he did, because I feel like they give up the most and receive the least; he stopped dead in his tracks as he was passing me by, and just looked at me with a blank look on his face… then he told me that no one other than his immediate family had ever thanked him like that. It’s really sad to hear that our veterans can’t even get the praise they deserve from the citizens they protect… we can do more and it’s easy. Now I haven’t taken the time to volunteer at the VA, but I’ve given my time to write letters to soldiers in Iraq before, and it’s something small that everyone could do. Use this link to do it yourself;  http://www.letterstosoldiers.org/formletter.html

I thank them for what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and for what they’ll continue to do for me and our country… it may not be perfect, but it’s worth fighting for.

God bless America.

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