The Noise Machine That Quells Dissent

Thor Benson | Truthdig | January 20, 2015

  This screen shot, taken from the video posted below article, shows NYPD officers using an LRAD in a protest setting on Dec. 5, 2014. YouTube

Police in a number of U.S. cities aren’t just tasering and tear-gassing protesters, they’re attacking their sense of hearing. The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), also called a “sound canon,” is a powerful, military-grade electronic megaphone that, in addition to broadcasting police commands, can be used to disperse crowds with a chirping noise reaching 162 decibels, 42 decibels above the level that can cause immediate and permanent hearing damage.

It condenses the noise into an acoustic cone with an angle of 30 to 40 degrees in front of the machine, which can be mounted on a vehicle or held by hand.

The U.S. military has already used the device against enemy combatants whom soldiers wanted to keep at a distance without firing upon them during the Iraq War.

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I Helped Start the Religious Right: Here’s How We Tried to Undermine Secular America — and Build a Theocracy

Frank Schaeffer | Salon | AlterNet | January 21, 2015

As someone who participated in the rise of the religious right in the 1970s and 1980s, I can tell you that you can’t understand the modern Republican Party and its hatred of government unless you understand the evangelical home-school movement. Nor can the Democrats hope to defeat the GOP in 2016 unless they grasp what I’ll be explaining here: religious war carried on by other means.

The Christian home-school movement drove the Evangelical school movement to the ever-harsher world-rejecting far right. The movement saw itself as separating from evil “secular” America. Therein lies the heart of the Tea Party, GOP and religious right’s paranoid view of the rest of us. And since my late father and evangelist Francis Schaeffer and I were instrumental in starting the religious right — I have since left the movement and recently wrote a book titled “Why I Am an Atheist who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace – believe me when I tell you that the evangelical schools and home school movement were, by design, founded to undermine a secular and free vision of America and replace it by stealth with a form of theocracy.

This happened because Evangelical home-schoolers were demanding ever-greater levels of “separation” from what they regarded as the Evil Secular World. It wasn’t enough just to reject the public schools. How could the Christian parent be sure that even the Evangelical schools were sufficiently pure? And so the Christian schools radicalized in order to not appear to be “compromising” with the world in the eyes of increasingly frightened and angry parents. (My account here of the rise of the home school movement is not aimed at home-schooling, per se, but at parents who want to indoctrinate, rather than educate.)

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Lee Suckling: What is the gay community?

Lee Suckling | The New Zealand Herald | January 21, 2015

The gay community means you'll always have family, wherever you are in the world.  Photo / Getty Images

The gay community means you’ll always have family, wherever you are in the world. Photo / Getty Images


Whenever anybody puts forth commentary about gay people in the media, whether it be in film, television, or here on a news website, it divides opinion. US gay writer Dan Savage is lauded and lampooned with every article or podcast he puts out into the world, just as the gay-themed HBO show Looking gets claps and criticism with every new episode.

The gay community has a broad spectrum of people – viewpoints, political standings, and personalities – and it’s impossible to represent everyone. Any portrayal, however accurate (or subjectively honest) is going to upset some people. We hate seeing ourselves in a negative light.

If you read this column regularly, you’ll note that I write about gay issues from time to time. Without fail, I receive feedback in both cheers and jeers when presenting my opinion (opinion, not empirical truth, being operative) on the gay community, and my views on its facets.

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NGLCC: Financial Services Diversity Leadership Awards

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce | Volume 5, Issue 1

Financial Services Diversity Leadership Award Finalists Announced 

Many NGLCC Corporate Partners among Finalists

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, in coordination with our partners in the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN), the United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC), and WEConnect International — are proud to announce the finalists for the 2015 Financial Services Diversity Leadership Awards (FSDLA). The winners in each category will be honored at the FSDLA event on Monday, February 2 at the New York Stock Exchange. Congratulations to all of our finalists!

PROGRAM OR INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR – Designed to recognize an exemplary program or initiative that was developed to better the lives and opportunities of internal and/or external diverse stakeholders.

OUTSTANDING CORPORATE LEADER OF THE YEAR – Recognizes a corporate champion who has demonstrated commitment and forethought in developing unique and creative programs and resources for inclusion of all their employees.

FINANCIAL SERVICES DIVERSITY CORPORATION OF THE YEAR – Given to a corporation for their outstanding support and dedication to ensuring fairness to and equality of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, race, background, gender, age, or physical ability.

Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists. NGLCC and the partners in the NBIC look forward to honoring the winners in New York.

Limited Tickets for FSDLA Reception and Award Dinner

The 2015 Financial Services Diversity Leadership Awards are Monday, February 2nd. There are a limited number of tickets available for both the NYSE trading floor reception and the awards dinner. To be on hand as we announce the winners of these prestigious awards, please contact

Got a compelling small business story? Share it with FedEx 
The third annual FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is accepting entries beginning Jan. 12, 2015, and will award 10 grants, including a $25,000 grand prize. Share your compelling business story with FedEx for a chance to win. Just upload your story, along with four photos, including one of your company logo, and a one-minute elevator pitch video (optional), at Then promote your entry via word of mouth and social media. The more votes you get, the better your chances of winning. The last day to enter is Feb. 12. The winners will be announced April 21. Learn more.


Need motivation to get started on your entry? Watch a short video featuring four contest winners and how they used the grant to grow their businesses.


And remember, as NGLCC affiliate member or certified supplier, you don’t have to enter a contest to enjoy savings on FedEx® shipping. With the FedEx Advantage® discount program, there’s no cost or minimum shipping requirement. Sign up here or call 1.800.475.67081.800.475.6708. Use passcode JHWPYF10.

Small Business Central to President’s State of the Union 

Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his seventh State of the Union address, in which he laid out a vision for how America should move forward in the 21st century. As is traditional, the President highlighted a number of issues facing the American people, but a reoccurring message was the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit and the role that small business plays in the American economy.

Responding to last night’s speech, NGLCC President Justin Nelson remarked, “This administration has been the best on record for LGBT issues. Moreover, there is no way to describe this State of the Union other than that this is a president who cares about small businesses and start up entrepreneurs as well as equality for all Americans. Economic justice is LGBT justice! Together let’s make this happen.” In that vein, NGLCC wanted to provide a quick analysis of the State of the Union and what the President’s proposals mean for small business owners in general, and LGBT business owners in particular. Here are five parts of the State of the Union that could have big impacts on the LGBT business community.


⇒ Read the entire article here

Registration for the NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference Opens in just 4 Weeks 

The 2015 NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference is set for August 11-14, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida! Attendance at last year’s conference increased by 30% from 2013 and you can be sure that this year’s event will be a sellout as well. Don’t miss out on the largest LGBT business development event in the world.

Registration opens Monday, February 16th, along with special early bird discounts. For additional event information please contact Sponsorship opportunities are also available, please contact for more information.

Small Business Healthcare Resources from Pfizer


Pfizer, an NGLCC corporate partner, is committed to providing resources and prescription assistance to small business owners and their employees.
The attached information from Pfizer RxPathways® provides an introduction to Pfizer’s patient prescription assistance program, along with additional resources for small business owners and employees. It is an effective way for employers and employees to find help accessing prescriptions.

Village Playwrights Events

JAN 28 — 30 mins — Larry Hassman “It’s Halloween”   A group of tough guys terrorize the Village on Halloween.

30 mins — Michael Rendino “Stretch”

30 mins — Samantha Charlip “YouTube Superstars”  Two would-be Evel Knievels spat after crack-up

FEB 11 — “Triangles and Squares” Short Play Reading Festival

The Village Playwrights will celebrate the Valentine’s holiday with staged readings of 8 short plays about LGBTQ romance and relationships. 

  • “Code Strawberry” by Margot Connolly.   It’s almost lethal when two girls kiss and one is wearing Strawberry lip-gloss.
  • “Mine or Yours” by Ducan Pflaster.   A Straight woman and her Gay friend debate an attractive visitor’s sexual orientation.
  • “Arranged Love” by Jyoti Dugal.  A woman rebells against an arranged marriage.
  • “Ding Dong” by Jon Fraser.  A man tries to screen his blind date on the date.
  • “Out and About” by Ed Friedman.  A woman wants to out her lover who is running for office.
  • “Mound” by Tom Block.  Talk of karma stops a baseball game.
  • “Pink Elephant” by Edmund Miller.  A man undergoes an operation to please his lover.
  • “John + Vanessa ‘78” by Albert Garcia.  Two men are inspired by names carved on a tree.

Space is limited and reservations are recommended.  Call 614-285-2515.

FEB 25 — 2 hours — Tom Block EMISSION


MAR 11  — 1 hour Marguerite Masse REMORSING LENNY

                   1 hour free


MAR 25 —  30 minutes — Stephen Bracco

30 minutes — Daniel Kitrosset “THE DOORWAY”

30 minutes — Drew Sachs “NUTURING THE BAD BOY”

APR 8 — 1 hour Marguerite Masse

1 hour free



Larry Hassman’s  WHAT GHOSTS AROUND COMES AROUND, a spoof on British Who-Done-It’s,  goes up in February as part of Midtown Short Play Festival and  “NOTHING …. IS TOO GOOD FOR OUR BOYs”, a dark play about PTSD and wounded Iraq vets, will be presented on March 4th at the Players Club.



ABOUT THE VILLAGE PLAYWRIGHTS The Village Playwrights meet at 8 PM on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at the LGBT Center, 208 W. 13th Street.  Participation is open to all Playwrights and Screenwriters. “This is a place to speak from the heart.  This is a place to find one’s voice.  This is a place to take risks.”

For information about attending a Village Playwrights’ meeting, call 614-285-2515 or e-mail

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Action Alert: Call Representative Oppose Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Please call your U.S. Representative toll-free right now at (855) 712-8441(855) 712-8441 and urge them to oppose Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

President Obama’s State of the Union address last night was chock full of excellent ideas for addressing economic inequality — but his request for Congress to approve “Fast Track” legislation wasn’t one of them. What’s worse, the TPP would add insult to injury for LGBT Americans.

We know the TPP will cost jobs, harm our environment, and create even more potential for unsafe food, but did you know it could also drive up the cost of HIV/AIDS medications as well? But the insult for LGBT Americans is the inclusion of Brunei in the TPP. Brunei, as we’ve told you previously, is phasing in a new penal code that calls for death by stoning of any person convicted of having sex with a same-sex partner (or if you’re a woman, for having sex outside of marriage at all!)

President Obama is not following his own precedent.

In December, the President removed the nation of Gambia from a trade agreement over human rights abuses and cited their new anti-gay law that would impose life in prison on gay people in that country. Yet, despite our repeated requests to the President to exclude Brunei from the TPP, negotiations continue.

If President Obama won’t remove Brunei from the TPP, then Congress must do so. That’s why we need to stop Fast Track in its tracks.

Please call your U.S. Representative toll-free right now at (855) 712-8441(855) 712-8441 and tell them to oppose Fast Track for the TPP because countries that punish LGBT citizens with death by stoning should not have privileged trade status with the United States.

The TPP has been negotiated in secret and has still not been released to the public. Meanwhile, hundreds of corporate lobbyists have been granted access to the texts and have, in fact, been enlisted to help write them. Countries that abuse basic human and worker rights are getting concessions that are typically reserved for our most favored trading partners. This is not something that should be rushed through the approval process.

Call Congress now at (855) 712-8441(855) 712-8441 and voice your opposition to Fast Track for the TPP.

Calling only takes a minute, but it delivers a powerful message to Congress that constituents are watching. Together, our calls and emails stopped Fast Track in the last session — and together we can stop Fast Track for good this year.

In solidarity,

Jerame Davis
Executive Director
Pride at Work

President Obama’s Speech and Impact on Global LGBT Persecution

meme AfricanHRC Obama SOTU
By African HRC, January 21, 2015.

The American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community is thanking President Barack Obama this morning for his historic inclusion of all LGBT people in last night’s State of the Union address before the US Congress, the American people, and the world.

This is the first time that Transgender people have been included in a State of the Union address.

President Obama stated:

“As Americans, we respect human dignity.… That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they are the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer.”

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Barack Obama Declares Marriage Equality A Civil Right In State Of The Union

Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | January 21, 2015

President Barack Obama reiterated his support for LGBT rights during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Obama told the nation that Americans respect human dignity because it’s the right thing to do and it makes us safer.

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained,” he said. “It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims – the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”

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Berlin Story

 | The New Yorker | January 26, 2015

n August 29, 1867, a forty-two-year-old lawyer named Karl Heinrich Ulrichs went before the Sixth Congress of German Jurists, in Munich, to urge the repeal of laws forbidding sex between men. He faced an audience of more than five hundred distinguished legal figures, and as he walked to the lectern he felt a pang of fear. “There is still time to keep silent,” he later remembered telling himself. “Then there will be an end to all your heart-pounding.” But Ulrichs, who had earlier disclosed his same-sex desires in letters to relatives, did not stop. He told the assembly that people with a “sexual nature opposed to common custom” were being persecuted for impulses that “nature, mysteriously governing and creating, had implanted in them.” Pandemonium erupted, and Ulrichs was forced to cut short his remarks. Still, he had an effect: a few liberal-minded colleagues accepted his notion of an innate gay identity, and a Bavarian official privately confessed to similar yearnings. In a pamphlet titled “Gladius furens,” or “Raging Sword,” Ulrichs wrote, “I am proud that I found the strength to thrust the first lance into the flank of the hydra of public contempt.”

The first chapter of Robert Beachy’s “Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity” (Knopf) begins with an account of Ulrichs’s audacious act. The title of the chapter, “The German Invention of Homosexuality,” telegraphs a principal argument of the book: although same-sex love is as old as love itself, the public discourse around it, and the political movement to win rights for it, arose in Germany in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This message may surprise those who believe that gay identity came of age in London and New York, sometime between the Oscar Wilde trials and the Stonewall riots. The brutal repression of gay people during the Nazi period largely erased German gay history from international consciousness, and even from German memory. Beachy, a historian who teaches at Yonsei University, in Seoul, ends his book by noting that Germans hold gay-pride celebrations each June on what is known as Christopher Street Day, in honor of the street where the Stonewall protest unfolded. Gayness is cast as an American import.

Ulrichs, essentially the first gay activist, encountered censorship and ended up going into exile, but his ideas very gradually took hold. In 1869, an Austrian littérateur named Karl Maria Kertbeny, who was also opposed to sodomy laws, coined the term “homosexuality.” In the eighteen-eighties, a Berlin police commissioner gave up prosecuting gay bars and instead instituted a policy of bemused tolerance, going so far as to lead tours of a growing demimonde. In 1896, Der Eigene (“The Self-Owning”), the first gay magazine, began publication. The next year, the physician Magnus Hirschfeld founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, the first gay-rights organization. By the beginning of the twentieth century, a canon of gay literature had emerged (one early advocate used the phrase “Staying silent is death,” nearly a century before aids activists coined the slogan “Silence = Death”); activists were bemoaning negative depictions of homosexuality (Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice” was one target); there were debates over the ethics of outing; and a schism opened between an inclusive, mainstream faction and a more riotous, anarchistic wing. In the nineteen-twenties, with gay films and pop songs in circulation, a mass movement seemed at hand. In 1929, the Reichstag moved toward the decriminalization of homosexuality, although the chaos caused by that fall’s stock-market crash prevented a final vote.

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Is a Marriage Equality Compromise Taking Shape at the Supreme Court?

 | Huffington Post | January 21, 2015

An earlier version of this essay originally appeared on the American Constitution Society Blog.

When the Supreme Court decided Friday to hear four marriage equality cases, it ordered the parties to file briefs addressing two separate questions: “1) Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?” and “2) Does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”  (Emphases added by me.)

By splitting the question in this way, the Court appears to be saying that state-to-state marriage recognition could be a stand-alone issue under the Constitution, related to but distinct from marriage licensing and creation.

I’ve been advancing this idea — that in addition to a right to marry, there is a separate constitutional right to remain married, and that non-recognition by some states of valid same-sex marriages should be seen as a distinct constitutional problem — for several years now, including in a 2012 article in the Michigan Law Review, titled “The Constitutional Right to (Keep Your) Same-Sex Marriage.”

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