Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spring has arrived in Tucson.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I went to the protest with high hopes. When I moved to Tempe, Arizona in 1988 the Circle K convenience store chain announced that they were going to fire all homosexuals- to keep their insurance costs down because in their eyes, all homosexuals were diseased. Even though they quickly changed their mind, it was still a shocking wake up call.

At Arizona State University I joined the LGBT group and in the second year was its president. This was in the pre-internet days and the group was small, many members fearful of being found out. I went and spoke at psychology classes, where one male student asked me how gay men could have anal sex- "The butt is for excretion." I pointed out that the penis was used for sex and for urination. He was so stupid that he did not see the connection. There were other incidents- being called a sodomite by the student government vice president, having to confront the student newspaper editor about the paper's publishing the names, addresses, and majors of men caught having sex in bathrooms (he quickly backed down when I threatened a law suit).

I moved to Tucson and the Center for Arizona Policy was formed. The leader of the group, Cathi Herrod, is a fanatical fundamentalist who hates gay people. There is a Youtube video in which she says she was commanded by god to fight things like gay rights. When Tucson decided to offer joint library cards to same sex couples, she attempted to get the State Legislature to ban that. It was too close to same sex marriage in her beady eyes.

Efforts to have a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage and civil unions failed in 2006. In 2008, it passed after the Catholic Knights of Columbus and the Mormon Church blanketed the state with advertisements implying that gay folks were going to get the children of straight families.

It was very disheartening, to say the least when that passed. And in the years since I have celebrated as each new state legalized same sex marriage.

Last year a half hearted measure to put the marriage amendment on the ballot took place. I collected about 150 signatures, but in the end the organizers gave up- it was very disorganized.

This was supposed to be a video, but it turned into a slide show instead. You can see the moment the veto was announced.

And then the Center for Arizona Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom got the Republicans to pass SB 1062. Government-sanctioned discrimination directed toward LGBT citizens and visitors. All of the testimony pointedly mentioned photographers, florists, and bakers who did not want to serve same sex couples. But after the bill's purpose became known, the backers and supporters all started lying and claiming it was not anti-gay, but defending "sincerely held religious beliefs." (Exactly how does the government determine whether a belief is sincere?).

The negative publicity brought to the State of Arizona has been humiliating. I have been very depressed, unable to focus my attention. Stressful, I found myself eating chocolate to medicate myself, lol.

And then today I drove by the protest on the way home, and then told my mother I was going back. Perhaps 75 to 100 people were assembled, mostly young people. One elderly woman, I stood next to a nurse and a vet tech. Nearby was a young couple with two kids, the cute father carrying a child with the sign "Baby Against Hate." When Jan Brewer announced that she had vetoed the bill, we all cheered.

The Center for Arizona Policy will never be able to get another anti-gay bill passed in Arizona. Cathi Herrod's power is slipping away. I sent her an email- ending it with HA HA HA. Yes, immature, but the knowledge that she knows that she is on the other side of history makes me so fucking happy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Some Civil Rights facts about Arizona:

1). Between 1865 and 1956 it was illegal in Arizona for people of different races to marry. 

2). From 1912 into the 1950s, schools were racially segregated. 

3). Native Americans were not allowed to vote in Arizona until 1948. 

4). Sodomy laws were finally repealed in 2001.

5). The 2006 anti-gay marriage amendment was voted down. The 2008 anti-marriage amendment passed after heavy advertising by the LDS and Catholic churches.

These are just some of the state-level civil rights problems we have had. 

In 1976, a young man named Richard Heakin was beaten to death outside a Tucson gay bar by four teenagers and the judge let them off on probation because they had only killed a homosexual, not somebody who deserved to live. 

There is a lot of hate and fear among white, religious people in this state. White people will soon be a minority. Young people have little tolerance for hate towards other people. Values have changed, but for many people the values they developed in the 1950s or 1960s have stuck and they find change repellent. 

I have to admit, the last week or so has at times made me so discouraged. The blatant lies and the underlying hatred exposed, just makes me sad. On the other hand, the nation-wide outcry- something that would not have happened even five years ago, gives me hope that someday I will have the same civil rights as the people who want me to not have them.

Friday, February 21, 2014

How not to have a protest. Tucson's LGBT center WINGSPAN used to be run by an excellent staff, used to actually do things. Under the current director long-time staff members have been fired or quit, they flubbed the collection of signatures to repeal the anti-gay marriage amendment. The place is invisible.

They organized a last minute protest of SB 1072. Their website announced the protest while not providing clear directions as to where it was being held. It started at 4:00 PM, marching from their headquarters to the Arizona State Office Building. When I found out where they were at, I left my house at 5:10 to get there. As I drove up, the marchers were already leaving.

There were the news cameras waiting to cover the event, and the marchers were walking away. And then there was the biggest sign being carried:


Ohmigod. What a fiasco. What is ironic is that WINGSPAN has two staff members who work on anti-violence programs. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

So the Arizona legislature has passed a bill that would allow people with "sincere" religious beliefs to discriminate against anyone. Of course, the bill is meant to target LGBT folks.

Currently, according to the Arizona Attorney General's website, it is illegal to discriminate based on:

- race
- color
- national origin/ancestry
- sex
- religion/creed
- physical or mental disability

I'm not a lawyer, so I can't tell whether this new law makes these prohibitions against discrimination moot. I have a feeling that these are based on Federal laws, but honestly I am too tired to look this up.

In any case, LGBT people are not covered. It is completely legal to fire someone because they are gay. To deny them housing.

I don't know whether Governor Brewer will sign this. I suspect she will, unless pressure is put onto her by major business interests.

It is embarrassing to live in a state where fundamentalist Christians promote hate with such glee.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

One of the bobcats keeps walking by my window at work. It is male, or at least it pees like one.


At work I spent time adding numbers up for tables and matching the numbers in the text. Science!

While the rest of the country is freezing and snowy, it is in the 80s here in Tucson. I'm hoping this will help with the horrendous electricity bills ($300 last month, $200 this month).

I left work early and the modern streetcar was ahead of me. They are testing the new cars, training the drivers. Can't wait for it to begin.


I took mother to the Gem and Fossil show, instructing her not to touch anything. Some of the things on display had price tags around $80,000.

Mother is not a fossil.

She found something to buy and then complained about how hot it was. We went to three different places and saw the same stuff in many of them. Not sure who buys all of those random rocks.

Dinner tonight: scalloped potatoes, asparagus, and gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Mother liked her supper. 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

I just finished a genealogy book I have been working on for several years. It provides information on people who died in the part of northern Michigan I grew up in between 1845 and 1870. I was surprised when I counted the number and it was about 730. Feels good to have a project finished. Now I need to print copies and mail them off to various libraries.

Patrick gave me some dress shirts and bow ties and I purchased a pair of vests from the Victorian Emporium and have been dressing up for work two or three times a week. People at work were freaked out over this- "Are you interviewing for a job?" Archaeologists are not known for wearing nice clothes.

Dressy me and Buddy.

Really, dress clothes are just a form of drag, just like wearing t-shirts and jeans is a form of archaeology drag. So no, I wasn't dressing up for job interviews. 

Mother continues to confound me at times. She fell down today because of low blood sugar. At least this time she didn't fall on her face. She once told me she walks with her hands behind her back so that if she falls down she won't break her arms. Instead she gets huge black and blue marks on her face. SIGH.

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