“Philanthropy Needs to Go Where Government Won’t.” A Funder Looks Out for Sex Workers – Inside Philanthropy

The health and safety of sex workers: It’s not an issue most of us tend to think about every day, but it’s yet another example of how marginalized populations are often left out of essential public policy discussions on subjects like health care, housing, education, and workforce development.

That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to jump on the phone with some leaders in the field of health and safety for sex workers to find out what philanthropy is doing, and what philanthropy could do, about this segment of our community. We talked with Scott Campbell, executive director of the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF), and Crystal DeBoise, co-director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, to learn more about what is going on for sex workers, and what philanthropy can do to bring this issue in from the margins.

via “Philanthropy Needs to Go Where Government Won’t.” A Funder Looks Out for Sex Workers – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Behind the New Housing Developments for LGBT Seniors – LGBT | Grants | Fundraising – Inside Philanthropy

LGBT seniors in Philadelphia now have a new housing option in the “Gayborhood,” the nickname for the neighborhood where the William Way Residence opened. The 56-unit housing development, funded by the Dr. Magnus Hirshfeld Fund, is a haven for elderly LGBT folks who need affordable housing.

via Behind the New Housing Developments for LGBT Seniors – LGBT | Grants | Fundraising – Inside Philanthropy.

Who Was David Kato and Why Should We Care?

David Kato got up on the net briefly following his murder in 2011. He knew that he walked with a target on his back every day he lived as a gay-rights advocate in war-scarred Uganda.

This may seem far-removed from American politics, but there’s more than Ugandan trauma and prejudice at play here. American Evangelical ministers and politicians see a fertile mission field for converts and allies. Ugandan politicians, on their part, see a chance to make connections with Americans who wield power in Congress.

And who loses? Just some Ugandan citizens and organizers who have less power than Jews in pre-war Germany. This comparison is not made lightly. Proposed laws would spark an internal war on gay Ugandans, their associates, and anyone who could be labelled as gay- whatever their orientation and lifestyle.

And this is not hypothetical. Uganda has not recovered from recent civil wars. This is a match to gasoline. The name of Idi Amin is familiar to some Americans, there are other disastrous regimes that afflicted Uganda.

To see more about David Kato and the American snake-oil preachers who set him up for the hit, see here.

If you’re wondering why a Kenyan witch-hunter blessed Sarah Palin in her Alaska church, there’s an answer. It’s a small world now.

Tough Cases in Family Therapy

Three case studies are presented as examples of the complex problems married clients bring to the therapist. [These clients have approved the use of their real names because they are exhibitionists.]

Case History 1.
Jacob and Leah sit side by side on a couch. To the experienced eye the couple’s body language reveals tension and stress. Jacob gazes into the distance while Leah shrinks into the cushions. Rebecca, Jacob’s other wife, squats on the floor. Rebecca is rending her garment, one thread at a time. The steady plinking noise punctuates the session. It’s very irritating.
The handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah are outside in the parking lot watching the kids.

Leah to Jacob—“I know you never really loved me. You resent it that my father tricked you into marrying me? Well how do you think I feel? I was fruitful and bore you sons and Rebecca couldn’t stand it. She gave you her maidservant to lie with. That’s cheating.”
Rebecca to Leah— “You should talk about cheating. You found a mandrake root and wouldn’t give me any unless I sent Jacob to lie in your tent. I think you were on mandrake all along.”
Leah to Rebecca— “I had to give Jacob my maidservant to lie with to get even with you. Now I hardly ever see him. Why couldn’t you just accept that you’re barren?”
Jacob to Wives— “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Case History 2.

Tamar has occupied an armchair on one side of the room. Her expression is aggrieved and defiant. Judah sits as far away as possible, his expression unreadable because he has veiled his face. He is wearing dozens of small protective amulets that rattle when he moves.

Tamar– “Every day I ask G–d why I was forced to marry into this family. It’s not my fault that Judah’s son, my first husband Er, got smote. And Onan– he was even worse. I still have a burn mark from when the lightning struck. And don’t even ask about PTSD–I was right next to him in bed. I know they were your sons, Judah, but fair’s fair. I should have been married to the youngest when he grew up. Instead you would have left me at my father’s house to wear widow’s weeds until menopause. If I hadn’t dressed up like a prostitute and stopped you on the way to sheep shearing I’d be childless today.
I want a brother or sister for your twins. How come you shun my tent? I think it was pretty generous of me to overlook the fact that you tried to have me burned to death.”

Judah–“Wife, let me put this in terms you can understand. It’s the bottom of the ninth, you already have two strikes. Third strike and I’m out. I’m the coach of this game and it’s the dugout for you.”

Case History 3

Solomon comes to the therapist’s office alone. He looks very tired. He had arranged some sessions of individual therapy before scheduling couple’s therapy with his wives–

“When I was younger, I really liked to party. Even if I didn’t, some things are expected of the King of Israel. I’m married to Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. Some nights I can’t even remember their names. For instance, I’m married to three sisters named Jun, Jen and Jeun. And my first wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, is a real drama queen. I thought she’d mellow out but she’s still jealous as a cat. I think she’s been gossiping with some of my Edomite wives because my scouts report armed troops on the border and they’re getting intelligence from someone on the inside. It’s hard to establish trust when you have 1,000 wives, most of whom are from enemy tribes. I can’t seem to please any of them these days.”

Despite the challenges these tough cases present, the therapist can resolve all conflicts using simple rules based on the wisdom of millenia. It’s fortunate that traditional marriage has not changed in the last 3,000, 6,000, since Adam and Eve served dinosaur eggs at their wedding brunch. Though some complain that it’s hard to find room for all the cattle a bride brings to her husband’s family, mere convenience should not justify experimenting with an institution that has remained changeless through the ages and has served men so well.

(For more details on these cases see– Genesis 29-30:22, Genesis 38:6-30, 1 Kings 11:1-9, and do read your Bible for remedies to false claims.)

A Step Forward

Today Governor Chafee signed an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages performed in states where the marriages are legal.

This is a small, reasonable step that will clear up confusion and save lawyer hours. When Rhode Island finally joins the rest of New England in marriage equality nothing much will change for most of us. But some will miss the controversy. From what I heard at the State House, we should all be very worried about Communists. Let’s legalized gay marriage and end this distraction from our crusade against the Bolshevik threat.

We Do — In North Carolina

Pam Spaulding, blogmistress of Pam’s House Blend, is an inspiration to all citizen journalists. Carrying a day job, living with chronic pain and disability, Pam tirelessly advocates for fairness and equal rights. Pam lives with her wife in North Carolina, they are an interracial couple. Pam campaigned, along with individuals, organizations and churches, against Amendment One– a law that bans all unions, gay or straight, except traditional marriage. This will affect straight couples when it comes to such rights as visitation in the hospital. It might just foul things up enough to discomfort the average North Carolinian.

About a year ago I heard Maggie Gallagher of NOM (National Organization for Marriage) testify in the Rhode Island State House that we should put marriage equality to a popular vote. Putting the rights of a minority to a majority vote is almost a guarantee that those rights will be denied, as we see in North Carolina.

Pam links here to the day after Amendment One…

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality is ready to roll with an equality action following the results of today’s primary. Its WE DO Campaign involves LGBT couples in Southern communities requesting – and being denied – marriage licenses in order to call for full equality under federal law and to resist unjust state laws. During these actions clergy, family and friends stand with them. She shares her feelings about passage of Amendment One.

This is a hard night. As I sit in Wilson, N.C. I’m thinking most about the LGBT youth across the state who, for months now, have been hearing increasingly vitriolic messages that they are less than. My heart is heavy for them, and heavy with the news that Amendment One has passed.

But that’s not all that I feel. Looking forward, I feel deeply hopeful about what is possible – tomorrow and in the years to come. This hope comes from knowing people like you and from knowing that we are building a new southern equality movement that, I truly believe, can accelerate the path to full federal equality.

We can’t change the results of this vote, but we can determine what comes next. Tomorrow when kids across the state wake up, I want them to know that this story isn’t over.

Follow the link above if you want to know what is happening nationwide.

I hope to get Pam’s autograph at NetRoots Nation. She is always worth reading. You can visit the Blend here.

I’ll probably be hearing more about this in church. The Unitarian Universalist Association has a campaign for human rights called, Standing on the Side of Love.

It All Comes Down to Religion

Last night, May 2, the House of the Rhode Island General Assembly held hearings on three bills related to same sex marriage. I was in the area and stopped by after 5:00, decided to stay, listen and testify. I was allowed into the hearing room at about 5:45.

Compared to last year, attendance was light– but the crowd overflowed in to the hall and the secondary room they use for watching on video. Hearings started at the rise (around 4:00) and went on till after 9:00.

I was struck by the consistency of the arguments against marriage equality. Without exception the speakers cited religion–specifically, conservative Christianity. A man in clerical dress blasted the sixties as the root of all our problems– oblivious to the fact that bringing back the fifties would place some of us in legal segregation and others in legal second class status. There was some name dropping of medical or psychiatric authorities that I doubt would stand a Google search. Two men testified that they gave up being gay since they found Jesus, and are now celibate. They called other gay men to convert. Many speakers claimed to be full of love for the people they were characterizing as sinful by nature and requiring an orientation change.

By contrast, pro-marriage speakers talked about their relationships, the legal and social advantages of legal marriage that they wanted to attain in this world, in their own home state. Tom Marlin,RN was one speaker who is in a long-term relationship he wants to have legally recognized. He sounded like he was reaching a point after years of this same scene playing out and said he hoped his testimony would act like Metamucil and promote peristalsis in the General Assembly so they would finally pass– actually a rather strained metaphor we might not want to take too far. Especially considering some of what the GA passes.

I was sitting next to a young woman named Kelly Reid, who testified that she is a military veteran, straight, and supports marriage equality as a matter of justice. Two young people spoke about growing up with two mothers, and how their families are no less ‘normal’ than any other families. Two clergy from the Old Catholic Church testified that they bless same sex marriage. Other religious people, a rabbi and ministers also testified in favor. It’s important to recognize that the loudest and most politically connected religious groups don’t represent all religious people.

Times like this I wish I was a reporter and not a tired blogger typing this out before work. I just have some general impressions–

The buzzword this year is ‘communist’. Chris Young accused the GA of being communists, but pushed it too far when he accused them of taking bribes. Rep.Costa objected, and Chris clarified that he meant to accuse Rep.Ajello. That made the usual impression. Kara seemed off her game, reading from a sheaf of papers. No police confrontation this time.

A man who described himself as just a regular guy, accused the GA of deliberately scheduling the hearing for a night when all right thinking conservatives would be in Woonsocket, protesting the cross challenge in the veteran’s park. He slammed education “these public school teachers couldn’t teach a snowball how to melt” and promised to mobilize voters in huge numbers. He sounded really angry– kind of like ‘Joe’ the ‘Plumber’. Seeing as I had walked there from a long day at work I was not terribly impressed with his prole creds.

Several of the religious speakers talked about God’s love right before vividly invoking the flames of hell that awaited most of us in the room. There being no harm in this world if the two ladies next door get married, they took refuge in their faith that most of us are toast when we all die.

I got an insight into how conservative Catholics view this, as some took slams at the Affordable Care Act and claimed that Catholics were forced to shut down charities. Charity is a wonderful thing, but if it is used as a down payment on political favors expected in the future we would be better off with less faith-based services. It is our tax money being invested– charity should not exclude some people for religious reasons if all taxpayers are supporting it.

Almost the last to speak was a man who showed the GA an actual rock from Sodom and Gomorrah (both cities I guess) that he said he paid a lot of money to send away for. He said it was 99% pure, nothing on earth was that pure, only God could make such a rock. They found melted teeth and bones in Sodom.

For me, the terrors of this world are more than sufficient. We have not really defused the nuclear threat.

The priest from the Old Catholic Church said that the sin of Sodom was the attempted rape of strangers, violence against those who were different, who were in need.

It occurred to me later that if Christianity defined the sin of Sodom as rape, Western culture would have been less brutal and kinder to women and children.

At this point, it’s past time to join the rest of New England and recognize committed partnerships and let them make it legal. It takes nothing away from the rest of us. My marriage is surviving the sink full of dishes, the ladies next door are minding their own business and we will mind ours.