ARTICLES

A Gay Inmate’s Last Chance, and the Weight of History

April 10, 2019

MEDIUM | Nathaniel Frank | Apr. 10, 2019 | In 1974, a lonely 17-year-old boy named Charles Rhines, who lived in a small town in South Dakota, joined the Army. Rhines had grown up closeted, and probably autistic, in rural America, and like many gay boys of that era, he hoped military service would prove his manhood and give him somewhere to belong. Instead, just months after enlisting, and days after a playful twirl in the barracks appeared to rile up a fellow soldier who accused him of showing off his back side, Rhines was struck from behind while in an open bay shower. He was hit so hard his forehead bounced off the hard tile wall and he fell to the ground. Through the mental fog appeared his accuser and three other soldiers, who held him down and took turns anally raping him.

The military's new transgender policy is a ban, no matter how the Pentagon spins it

March 20, 2019

Los Angeles Times | Mar. 20, 2019 | The Pentagon last week released its latest policy memo on transgender military service, an effort to bring President Trump’s tweeted ban in line with court rulings that had blocked the administration from implementing it. There are numerous problems with the policy, but one, in particular, ought to bring the entire edifice tumbling down: It is based on the wholly deceptive claim that allowing transgender individuals to serve would mean giving them “special accommodations” — a reprise of the religious right’s strategy of opposing gay rights by calling equal rights “special rights.”

Trump’s Shutdown Is a Historic Opportunity for Democrats

January 16, 2019

SLATE | Jan. 16, 2019 | With Democrats now in charge of the House of Representatives, and the country nearing a fifth week of the disastrous Trump shutdown, progressives are beginning to feel new momentum. But while Democrats may be poised to win the short-term political argument over the shutdown, the pain and suffering it has inflicted are part of a long-term right-wing strategy that’s older and broader than many people realize. That strategy involved a decades-long campaign to turn everything from the courts to the Congress to the country’s overall cultural character sharply rightward by stigmatizing forms of collective action—government, unions, even voting—that history shows are necessary counterweights to the greed of the powerful.

Six Reasons to STOP Trump, Six Months until Election Day

May 16, 2018

Medium | May 8, 2018 | After a year spent absorbing the shock of Donald Trump’s election to the White House, and watching to see if the world would sputter off its axis instantly or work its way to a slow, rolling boil before scorching the universe and everything in it, my husband and I felt ready to do what we could to keep the earth spinning. We discussed how to add the most value to the effort to stop Trump and the GOP from ruining our country. And we wanted our friends and family to be able to join the effort in a strategic way. Most were appalled by everything Trump said and did, but many didn’t necessarily view themselves as activists. They cared deeply, but felt powerless to effect electoral change because they already lived in Democratic districts, where their votes seemed not to count.

The Pentagon Is Wrong. Gender Transition Is Effective.

April 30, 2018

NEW YORK TIMES | Apr. 9, 2018 | What does it mean to be transgender? A Pentagon report released last month, recommending that most transgender Americans be disqualified from military service or forced to serve in their birth gender without full health care, has renewed debate over this question.

How Clueless Straight White Guys Excuse Religious Homophobia

December 8, 2017

Slate | Dec. 8, 2017 | Why does it seem that, every time a national debate erupts about the place of minorities in American life, a gaggle of Straight White Guys with little connection to or understanding of these minorities holds forth on how they should or shouldn’t resolve their grievance about unequal treatment? This week’s version came in response to Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Division, the Supreme Court case of Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. Phillips is seeking a license to discriminate based on artistic and religious freedom.

The Supreme Court wedding cake case isn’t about cake

December 4, 2017

Washington Post | Dec. 4, 2017 | The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in the case of a Colorado baker, Jack C. Phillips, who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Although Colorado law bans discrimination in public accommodations, some may feel tempted to sympathize with Phillips, who argues that the First Amendment protects both his religious and expressive freedom to choose who buys his cakes.

Attention progressives: Take a lesson from LGBTQ successes and learn to 'speak conservative'

June 23, 2017

Los Angeles Times | June 23, 2017 | Democrat Jon Ossoff’s loss in the Georgia special congressional election has demoralized progressives who hoped it would signal an anti-Trump wave that could turn the House from red to blue in 2018. The left is fractured, with disagreements between the Bernie and Hillary wings of the Democratic Party threatening to undercut its ability to turn out the base, appeal to independents and win over disillusioned GOP voters. The question remains whether the so-called resistance can transform itself from a throng of angry voices into a majority capable of creating lasting progressive change.

For a Kentucky Judge, “Personal Bias” Against Gays Is a Legitimate Reason to Ignore the Law

May 1, 2017

SLATE | May 1, 2017 | A Kentucky family court judge announced last week that he will not grant adoptions to same-sex parents because of personal religious objections to homosexuality. Although both state and federal law guarantee the right of same-sex couples to adopt, Judge Mitchell Nance will recuse himself from all relevant cases because he believes it is not in the “best interest” of children to have gay or lesbian parents.

The Problem With Gay Conservatives Isn’t Political Ideology, It’s a Lack of Empathy

April 28, 2017

SLATE | Apr. 28, 2017 | On Thursday, I attended an event at the Metropolitan Republican Club of Manhattan in which four conservative gay white men sat on a panel on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side to sing the praises of Donald Trump and the contemporary GOP. The panelists included Fred Karger, a gay Republican who ran for president in 2012; Gregory Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans; Chadwick Moore, a former Out editor who recently came out as conservative; and Lucian Wintrich, a disciple of the disgraced Milo Yiannopoulos, and a fellow gay provocateur who now covers the White House for the right-wing blog, Gateway Pundit. The question of the evening was whether conservatism, with its alleged emphasis on individual liberty, is a more natural home for LGBTQ Americans than progressivism. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.)

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