June 2, 2016

Gay Pride Month, Hall Monitor Hell and Samantha Bee

Caricatures of Russian president Vladimir Putin (left) and reality television star Donald Trump (right) making out. It says lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride month June 2016 in the upper left, and Celebrate Gay Pride with Vladimir and Donald. Happy Pride along the bottom.
Celebrate Gay Pride with Vladimir and Donald. Happy Pride!

Today we examine President Barack Obama’s support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and his executive actions in office since it's LGBT pride month. In stark contrast, we explain why we believe that the hall monitor du jour, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R-TX), is winning the contest for anti-LGBT bigot of the year. In TV Talk, Charlie Rose interviewed a pollster with a bad wig that diminishes his stature, and then he chatted with our favorite feminist and political satirist Samantha Bee.

It’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month


For the eighth year in a row, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation that June 2016 is LGBT pride month. President Obama’s unwavering support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community over the last eight years is historic and unprecedented. I don’t know about you, but I am incredibly thankful and grateful.

In the proclamation, the President said that LGBT people deserve to know that their government “stands beside them.” He notes that our community still experiences discrimination in housing, employment, and societal attitudes, despite the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Last year's landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals. 
Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are. I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love. And our commitment to combatting discrimination against the LGBT community does not stop at our borders: Advancing the fair treatment of all people has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and we have made defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals a priority in our engagement across the globe. In line with America's commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.
This is the sixth year that we’ve written about LGBT pride month. Some of our past coverage includes:







Happy lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride month!


The Bathroom Police Place An Undeserved Bullseye On Our Community


Hall Monitor and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is the head hall monitor. 

Politicians and political leaders continue to create a firestorm around transgender civil rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in general. Some states have filed a lawsuit against the federal government contesting the ‘guidance’ for school district administrators issued by the Justice Department to encourage local schools to accommodate their transgender students whenever possible.

One of the leading bathroom police hall monitors emerging in the anti-LGBT rights movement is the puerile Lieutenant Governor of Texas, talk radio show host Dan Patrick. “I will be sending a letter to every superintendent in the state of Texas letting them know that they should not move forward on the President’s guidelines.”

Dan Patrick doesn’t know anyone personally that’s transgender and doesn’t know if he’s ever met a transgender constituent. Since he openly admits that, we can surmise that the lieutenant governor is a bigot of the first order.

Zack Ford is the LGBT editor of ThinkProgress  at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Think Progress  has been covering this issue, and Zack and his team do a great job.

In his May 18, 2016, story “Two Paragraphs That Should Convince Everyone That Transgender Discrimination Is Wrong,” Zack writes about a 2008 federal employment discrimination lawsuit. A federal court ruled that a transgender job applicant experienced unlawful discrimination that violated federal employment protections that prohibit making hiring decisions based on the applicant’s sex.
Gender identity does have biological components — such as sexual differentiation of the brain — and a “person’s gender identity is the primary factor in terms of establishing that person’s sex.”
In the federal court’s decision, U.S. District Judge James Robertson found that the plaintiff experienced discrimination based on her sex and that being transgender wasn’t germane to whether the employer broke the law or not. The judge’s opinion is incredibly illuminating, and everyone should read it.
Imagine that an employee is fired because she converts from Christianity to Judaism. Imagine too that her employer testifies that he harbors no bias toward either Christians or Jews but only “converts.” That would be a clear case of discrimination “because of religion.” No court would take seriously the notion that “converts” are not covered by the statute. Discrimination “because of religion” easily encompasses discrimination because of a change of religion. 
But in cases where the plaintiff has changed her sex, and faces discrimination because of the decision to stop presenting as a man and to start appearing as a woman, courts have traditionally carved such persons out of the statute by concluding that “transsexuality” is unprotected by Title VII. In other words, courts have allowed their focus on the label “transsexual” to blind them to the statutory language itself.
Zack points out that “If religious conversion is protected under ‘religion,’ then gender transition is protected under ‘sex.’”

This argument is bound to drive religious zealots nuts, but it makes perfect sense to me. It also spells trouble for the specious lawsuits challenging the Obama Administration’s “guidance” related to transgender students.


TV Talk: Charlie Rose And The Man With A Wig Plus We Love Samantha Bee


Republican Pollster Frank Luntz and his wig, Samantha Bee and Charlie Rose
Republican pollster Frank Luntz and his wig, Samantha Bee and Charlie Rose

On Tuesday night’s Charlie Rose show on PBS, Charlie Rose had an update on the Presidential campaign with Frank Luntz, Gerald Seib, and Jonathan Martin. Then he interviewed Samantha Bee, the host of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee  to discuss political satire and her new show.

In the first half of the show, Republican Party pollster and GOP shill Frank Luntz did a piss poor job trying to convince the audience that reality television star Donald J. Trump will be our next president.

I don’t know much about Frank Luntz. He seems like a nice person (despite his partisan point of view) and someone in his life hasn’t been honest with him. Someone close to him needs to sit him down to discuss his hair weave or toupée or wig or whatever it is that sits on the top of his bald head. I can’t take him seriously when his wiglet is askew. It hurts his credibility. Gay men have hair weaves to cover male patterned baldness, and they know how to wear and style them, and they look fabulous. Straight men look like they’ve got a crow's nest on their head. Just look at Rand Paul. Ditch the wig Frank.

In the second half of the show, Charlie interviewed Samantha Bee. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee  continues to be sharp, funny and insightful, and Samantha and her team satirize news stories from a female point of view that I find refreshing and compelling.

Full Frontal  is 21 minutes long and airs once a week on TBS. I wish there were more episodes because the show is outstanding.

Charlie Rose confessed that when Samantha Bee was a Daily Show  contributor that ‘we wanted to see more of you.’ He asked if TBS would expand the show to more than one night a week, and she said no. She’s content with where things are because she’s a mom to three young kids, and the current schedule allows her time with her family.

In a wide-ranging interview, they discussed Samantha and her husband Jason Jones, the Daily Show and Jon Stewart, the sixty-five people on her Full Frontal  team, and the creative process of the show. Charlie noted that the show has an ‘attitude’ and a fresh point of view.

Samantha agreed and stated, “I think there’s an edge to us. We don’t build the show in comparison to any other show. We can’t do it that way. We just have our heads down and our eyes forward looking in the purest clearest way at what will amuse and thrill us to do on the show. We don’t care what anyone else is doing. We love what we’re doing.”

We love what you’re doing too. We just want more of it.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee  airs every Monday night on TBS at 10:30 PM EDT/ 7:30 PM PDT. Charlie Rose appears nightly on PBS and in primetime on Bloomberg Television. Check your local listings.

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