Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Please Email Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

And ask her why has the U.S Government  been SILENT on the  death threats  against  Malaysian Civil Rights activists  for  their  posted  "Ït Gets Better" Videos.   Secretary Clinton  herself,  posted an amazing  video  to the "It Gets Better" project  eariler this year.



The  silence from  our State Department on these  death threats,  some made by Malaysian Government Officials,  is  very disturbing.

You can email  the United States Department of State  here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Receiving Death Threats for Giving Hope


From my friend Pang - Via Facebook
Dearest Seksualiti Merdeka friends

As you may have been aware, Seksualiti Merdeka, which champions the human rights of sexually marginalised communities in Malaysia, particularly the rights of LGBTs, has come under fire recently for our video project "It Gets Better in Malaysia". Right now we are being overwhelmed by the majority view that we are destroying Malaysian society. The videos have been mistakenly interpreted as a series of coming out videos set to insult the country's religion. Nothing can be further from the truth. In our statement released last week, we said:

"It Gets Better in Malaysia is a video project about giving hope to young LGBT Malaysians: even though things can be rough during the teenage years, it can get better. This message is targeted at the minority of young Malaysians who are growing up as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT).

"This project is in response to accounts of suicides and attempted suicides by LGBT teenagers and adults. Statistics of such suicides are anywhere between three to six times higher than by heterosexuals. This is due to the overwhelming feelings of loneliness, fear or hopelessness that result from the stigma and discrimination against them. Most people have their families to turn to. For LGBT youths, even their own families can be a source of rejection. They have no one to turn to. We decided it is up to us who have survived similar situations to reach out to young LGBTs. This is why the project was born. It’s not about making coming out videos. It is about giving hope to youths at risk." (Read the full statement here:http://www.seksualitimerdeka.org/)

If anything, the widespread fear and ignorance towards LGBTs here, coupled with the state-sanctioned misunderstanding towards the community, prove that such messages of hope are necessary and vital. So far we have released 5 of the videos and intend to release more. But the one video that seemed to have attracted attention is the one by Azwan Ismail. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJLSteQIcms). And among the comments it attracted, some on blogs, are threats of violence, stoning and death towards him.

We have some support in blogs and commentaries, mainly in English-medium news portals. The mainstream news mainly carry articles quoting officials asking for action to be taken upon us. 

The individuals who have been quoted include Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and Perak Mufti Datuk Sri Harussani Zakaria, in Berita Harian and The Star respectively, asking JAKIM to take appropriate action. 


None of these people mentioned anything about the violent threats and death threats, almost as if legitimizing them. Harian Metro also ironically claimed Seksualiti Merdeka is threatening Muslims. (you can find the links to the articles at http://www.seksualitimerdeka.org/)

Only The Sun Daily and The Star mentioned the death threats against Azwan, but neither carried statements by Malaysian officials condemning the threats. (The Star carried the inteview by Associated Press.)

But for now we would like to request for the support from Malaysian NGOs, personalities and our supporters to speak up for us. Below are some ways you may help:

1. To oppose all threats of violence, stoning and death. One comment we saw asked for "sula" to be meted out. Another blog, after listing three ways of killing homosexuals, suggested that if the authorities don't take action, Muslims should not be blamed if they took actions into their own hands. Please oppose the legitimising of hate speech and violence.

2. To oppose insults, disparaging remarks and jokes made at the expense of LGBTs in Malaysia. To oppose discrimination of LGBTs who have committed no crime just being who they are.

3. To oppose criminalising and punishing LGBTs for being who they are. To oppose criminalising and punishing members of Seksualiti Merdeka for empowering marginalised communities and doing social work.

4. To support that we have done NOTHING to insult Islam. In fact, we are simply making it possible so that young people don't take their own lives. (But seeing all these hate going on, it might just prompt them instead.) In fact, we too believe that sexuality is a responsibility, no matter whether you are straight or LGBT. We want to be given a chance to show people how to be responsible with their own sexuality. This include being self-aware, self-accepting, as well as being aware and accepting of others. And respecting each other's rights.

5. To support allowing LGBTs in Malaysia to have avenues to express ourselves in order to create more understanding. This is included in the 4 recommendations at the end of our statement, which we hope you will support.

6. To support the human rights of all LGBTs in Malaysia regardless of their race, religion, age, gender identity or sexual orientation.

7. To support Seksualiti Merdeka's initiatives and the "It Gets Better in Malaysia" project.

We also hope you may offer your support, if possible, not only in English but also Bahasa Melayu, to be directed at the Malay-language media. We encourage you to write to the editors of the above publications, post blogs or facebook status or twitters to vocally support us.

Please check our website for our complete statement: http://www.seksualitimerdeka.org/2010/12/giving-hope-receiving-death-threats.html

Thank you.

Pang Khee Teik
Seksualiti Merdeka

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Friend Pang takes a stand in Malaysia for equality

Pang Khee Teik, one of Malaysia's most recognisable sexuality rights activists, shares his journey from being a schoolboy in Singapore who was often bullied by his classmates to undergoing reparative therapy at a church for 12 years to self-acceptance as a gay man.

He is one of Malaysia's most recognisable sexuality rights activists. His quote "Stop censoring who I am" was even Time Online's quote of the day on 25 Feb 2009. At the time he wrote a lengthy letter to the press to protest Malaysian cable TV operator Astro's decision to censor the words “gay” and “lesbian” from Sean Penn's and Dustin Lance Black's Oscar acceptance speeches – for their movie Milk about American gay rights activist Harvey Milk – in which they called for equal rights for gay men and lesbians.

Pang Khee Teik, 36, co-founder of Seksualiti Merdeka
Pang Khee Teik is also the co-founder of Seksualiti Merdeka, Malaysia's annual sexuality rights festival; and Arts Programme Director of The Annexe, Central Market.
In this video, the fifth of the It Gets Better in Malaysia series, Pang shares his journey to self-acceptance as a gay man from as a schoolboy in Singapore who was often bullied by his classmates to undergoing reparative therapy at a church for 12 years where he was told that being gay is wrong and it is possible to change one's orientation from gay straight.

"For 12 years, I stopped myself from loving. Every time I fell in love or had a crush on someone, a guy, I stopped myself. I did not allow my heart to feel what it needed to feel... There are many ways to kill yourself. One of the ways is to stop yourself from loving, to stop yourself from living. And for 12 years I did that. And I died slowly everyday. Until one day I realised and I asked myself what is wrong with love."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From Today's Huffington Post...


























There is a lot that can, and  will be said about all this I am sure.  But frankly that can wait.  What is  important to say right now,  is simply this;

Today the Congress of the United States finally agrees with the  proposition that someone who is willing to risk  his or her life to defend this nation should  not be deemed LESS equal than the citizens  they are defending.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pope Benedict likes to watch....

This is quite possibly the creepiest thing I have ever seen....


Nothing  Gay here... No Sireee Bob... Just a bunch of "celibate" men in dresses  watching  a male strip show...


Other than the  gaggle of  drooling old men in cassocks,   you gotta admit the Pellegrini Brothers  are pretty amazing :)

Hat tip to  Towleroad  for this  totally not-gay item..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mapping Facebook "Friendships"















From TIME Magazine Online:

Paul Butler, a Facebook engineering intern, transformed social data into a stunningly beautiful visual that outlines the geographical borders of Facebook friendships.

It worked like this--by using a random sample of ten million pairs of Facebook friends, Butler plotted both their locations and their connection to one another on a graph. By repeating that step with each member of his sample, Butler found that the resulting image formed the outline of a world map, with the most marked areas forming where major cities are located.

The result is this stunning map, which displays exactly what Butler had intended it to. "I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them," he wrote on Facebook's engineering blog. (Which is also worth checking out for a more detailed explanation of his process plotting the map).

True, it's not exactly shocking that a visualization of Facebook friendship data shows that most connections are within short distances of one another and that major cities have more connections than remote regions. But so what? This map is so neat that it's worth the time this experiment likely took. (via All Facebook)

The GOP's False Patriotism

The since 2001, the Republican Party has long claimed that ONLY the GOP truly understood the implications of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001; and how "everything changed" on that day. In addition they often accuse the Democrats and President Obama of having a "Pre-9/11 mentality". (By which they mean soft on terrorism.)

In the years that have followed, the Republican Party turned the memory of 9/11 into their party's political brand. Wrapping all of their candidates and polices in the red-white-and blue cloak of "September the eleventh"...



Last night on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", host Jon Stewart talked about the sheer hypocrisy of Republicans who have used the attacks of September 11th, 2001 as a political marketing campaign to claim they love America more than anyone else; while at the same time voting AGAINST help for first responders injured in the aftermath of those same terror attacks...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lame-as-F@#k Congress
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Just in What the Doctor Ordered...

And just in time for  Christmas too!

Interesting "status" seen on Facebook today...

"So, let me get this straight - Larry King is getting his 8th divorce, Elizabeth Taylor is possibly getting married for a 9th time, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage. Jesse James and Tiger Woods are screwing EVERYTHING, yet the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage?? ...Really??"

Hat tip to Alex for this one...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

The End of the Obama Presidency...

The  Presidency of Barack Obama  ended  today.



The Republican Party has  discovered  the sad and very inconvenient  truth about Barack Obama,    President Obama, is a good man,  an intelligent man,  who is very weak.  President Obama is not a Leader,  he is a negotiator, and not a very good one.  On issue after issue, from Health Care Reform, to Wall Street Reform,  Congressional Republicans, found that President Obama, seemed to prefer a really bad agreement,  to no agreement.

As a result,  the GOP learned very quickly , that it was all too easy to  back  the President into a corner,  where his natural  urge to "find common ground",   meant  he would abandon  his stated principles and  simply  give in and give up. All the while making  very eloquent statements about the  value of  bi-partisanship.

Today  President Barack Obama  apparently decided he doesn't want a second term.  The great  irony here is  that he will likely suffer the same  electoral fate as the first President Bush.  George HW Bush agreed to the 1990 budget deal  with Congressional Democrats.  Then in 1992 the Democrats turned around and attacked Bush for  breaking his  "read my lips" pledge on no new taxes.  



Make no mistake, in 2012 the GOP will  firmly lay the deeper hole, that this  "compromise" will dig  in terms of the deficit and the National Debt, firmly  at the feet of  the President and the Democrats.  You can almost see the ads,  labeling  the trillions of dollars of added  debt as the  "Obama  Record".

This deal is  the GOP's  biggest Christmas wish come true.   The Democrats have just lost  their only  real campaign issue.  The wildly unpopular  "Bush Tax Cuts for  Millionaires  and Billionaires"  are now officially the "Obama Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires".

The one year  extension of  Unemployment Insurance benefits is a very good thing,  but  to think it could not have been accomplished  with out caving in on tax cuts  for the  wealthiest of the wealthy is  the biggest  political cop-out since Bill Clinton signed  the Defense of Marriage Act.

With solid majorities in both  houses of Congress  the Obama Administration refused to even consider using even the threat of  budget reconciliation  to get his agenda through congress.  

From National Public Radio:
Budget reconciliation, a provision of the 1974 Congressional Budget Act, is designed to force committees to make changes in mandatory – or entitlement – spending and revenues.  The rules for budget reconciliation in the Senate restrict the procedure to provisions dealing with the budget. They also set strict protocols for consideration of the bills in both chambers. Under the procedures for reconciliation bills, debate in both houses is limited to 20 hours, and no Senate filibusters are allowed.  


Congress has used reconciliation occasionally for non-budget legislation, including rewriting health care and welfare policy, as the Republican majority did in passing major welfare reform in 1996. 
  
Resorting to budget reconciliation is the legislative equivalent of breaking out the heavy artillery in a pitched battle. Since the early 1980s, it has been used 19 times, primarily to steer controversial fiscal and budgetary policies through the Senate, including former President Bill Clinton’s fiscal 1994 deficit reduction and tax package and President George W. Bush’s major tax cuts.


So instead  we have had two years of  eloquent words, and abandoned priorities. I never thought I  would  look at the Obama Administration,  and find myself wishing  it was more like the fictional Bartlett Administration  of  "The West Wing".



It will be very hard  for Democrats to  campaign as the antidote to GOP fiscal insanity,  when their track record is just  as crazy.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Ok I have accepted the inevitable...

The Holidays are here...   The  Tree is up.
.  

Friday, December 03, 2010

The biggest threat to bigotry...

Isn't  the potential overturning of  Prop 8 in CA...
Isn't the  potential overturning of  "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"...
Isn't  the long-overdue classification of  Bigots like Tony Perkins as leaders of  "Hate Groups" by the Southern Poverty Law Center...
Isn't  Rachel Maddow,  Dan Savage, Ellen Degeneres or even Ricky Martin...

Nope,  the single biggest threat to ignorance, homophobia and bigotry in the United States today is obviously..

Glee.

video

major hat-tip to JoeMyGod

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Brilliance of Common Sense

The State of Illinois this week  approved  Civil Unions for  Gay and Lesbian Couples.    Given  the hate fueled hysteria on this issue across the border to the North in  Wisconsin,  it is  so refreshing  to see and hear  simple common sense  on this issue.   Cue IL State Senator  Rick Hendon...




Hat tip to JoeMyGod

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hey Middle Class and Poor Americans, The GOP Hates You...

The past week  has been  an amazing one in American Politics.  As the  outgoing lame duck Congress comes back into session  to  try to tie up a number of loose ends, the Republican Party  has decided to double down on their strategy of  preventing  anything  from  getting done, no matter the cost.
In one of the most remarkable displays of  politics at  its worst,  the  outgoing GOP minority has decided that  since  they have ignored sanity, reason, and  the good of American People for four years,  why should  they change now.    
With  over  two million  Americans  facing  the  expiration  of their unemployment compensation benefits at midnight tonight,  with a vital arms reduction treaty with  Russia  awaiting ratification,  and with pending action on the  debt ceiling  to  insure  ability of the  Government itself  to  continue functioning;  what  do you suppose  the  GOP  says  is  it's  ONLY  priority...
Tax cuts  for the  wealthiest of the  wealthy.  The  top 2% of  millionaires  and  billionaires.  The GOP is  so  concerned  about  giving  tax breaks  to the richest of the  rich that  today  they  announced that  they will  prevent  ANY and ALL  other  legislation from  being  voted on  until  the tax cuts for the uber-rich are  passed. Rachel Maddow  breaks it down for us.

So just to be clear, it is the  official position of the  Republican Party that Government stepping in to prevent  over  two million unemployed Americans from losing  their only means of  support  is completely  unacceptable,  because it would add  60 Billion Dollars to  the federal deficit in the short term.  But  giving  tax cuts to the wealthiest people in America  that would add more than 700 Billion Dollars to the  deficit...  THAT is  so important to Republicans that  they  will allow  NOTHING else to get done until  their tax cuts for the super rich are passed.  
It is clear that  in the mind of the GOP, anyone who dares  point  out that  tax cuts for the  mega rich do not  create jobs or stimulate  the broader economy,  (a FACT  that  the past 8 years have clearly shown)  must be  a socialist  who  clearly  hates America.  The GOP loves to talk about  Jobs, but  has no desire to  do ANYTHING that might actually  create more of them.  Again,  Rachel Maddow takes us down the  GOP's delusional garden path.

It is clear the if you are unemployed, or even if you are simply  not  among the wealthiest two percent of  Americans, the  Republican Party  thinks you  are  clearly  a lazy parasite and hates you  for standing between them and their beloved tax breaks for the ultra-rich.
video

Happy Holidays America!  For those of you who now will be  destitute because the  GOP wrecked the economy  and you lost  your job , and now have no unemployment benefits;  The  Republican opposition to you having  affordable  Health Care now makes sense.   They  want you to hurry up and die,  to  "decrease the  surplus population..."