Election 2012, remembering 9/11

By Howard Israel

S/he Said

"It's time for me to start wrapping my head around the idea that Barack Obama may not make it. I'm not saying he will definitely lose his bid for reelection, merely that things are looking a little bleak. As a gay man, I am positively terrified. At the moment, the future of our nation appears to hinge on how crazy the Republican nominee will be, and how much of this insanity the voters will be tolerant of (or enthusiastic about) on election day. I ask you to envision this future as you watch the Republican presidential candidates debate over the next few months. Try to hold back the vomit, and listen to their responses when the inevitable questions regarding gay rights come up. Unless Obama can pull it together, this is our future. Discouraging? You bet. Not a fan? Then do everything in your power to see that Obama gets reelected. He isn't perfect, but he's far better than these yahoos."

-Humor writer Benjamin Phillips, in his column titled "Time To Start Facing The Gay Rights Realities Of A Post-Obama America?", about the direction of LGBT rights under any of the current Republican presidential candidates, http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com, Sept. 10.

"On 9/11, the one thing we can take from Mychal Judge is, in the midst of this hell and war and evil and violence, here is this man who directs us to another possible path as human beings: We can choose the path of compassion and nonviolence and reconciliation. Mychal Judge had a heart as big as New York. There was room for everybody. And I think that's the lesson."

-Brendan Fay, Irish-American gay activist, remembering his friend Father Mychal Judge, the first recorded death from the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, fatally hit by falling bodies or debris while giving last rights to a stricken fireman during the collapse of the first tower, in a column titled "9/11 Victim 0001: Father Mychal's Message," http://www.truthdig.com, Sept. 6. A Franciscan friar attached to the Fire Department of New York, Father Mychal was much-revered by NYC's underprivileged and homeless, and was one of the few Catholic priests willing to minister to people with HIV/AIDS during the AIDS crisis, and an acknowledged gay man to his friends and diary.

"All of this doesn't even begin to deal with the simple stress of traveling by airport. I am fortunate in that the gender on my documents matches my appearance, but for many folks this is a huge issue because of the barriers around people being able to (or being able to afford to) change their documentation. I stress about full body scanners, about whether I can wear my prosthesis or whether I should put it in my luggage (and the stress that if I put it in my luggage or carry on it will be deemed suspicious and result in an embarrassing search). I worry about pat downs or about potential outings/humiliation. I am also privileged. Because I look like a straight white male I can sometimes avoid further scrutiny. I don't have to worry that I am going to be singled out for my race as well as my trans status. It's things like this that make a vacation stressful. Things that are above and beyond the usual hassles of traveling. Things that most people don't even have to think about."

-Anarchist Reverend, in his blog posting titled "Traveling While Trans," about a trip he took to see his family, http://www.anarchistreverend.com/, Sept. 9.

"She texted me and said something like 'They kicked me out,' and I made a joke, 'What, are you pregnant?' and she said, 'No, worse. I'm gay.'"

-Heather Lodovico, former coach at The Master's School, a K-12 Christian school in West Simsbury, Conn., about former student, Rachel Aviles, in a text message exchange, about Aviles' admission to the school administration that she is a Lesbian and was subsequently "encouraged" to withdraw from the school before her senior year or be expelled, in a column titled "A Student's Honesty Cost Her A Place At This Christian School," The Hartford Courant,http://www.courant.com, Sept. 8.

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