September 30, 2018

I Was Raped


Because you might forget a lot of things, but probably not this.
In high school, a relationship can last only a few days or weeks, enough to get one through the social events of the season, which in this case were the Spring Formal and the Powder Puff Game. Today, I cannot recall which came first. I know this: I attended both the kegger that followed the game and the formal dance with a rapist. My Rapist.
He was the captain of a sports team and was regarded as having a shot at a professional career, even if he also was clearly deficient in the brains department. I liked him simply because I was concerned at the time with being popular, and dating a sports captain was an automatic ticket to the in the crowd.
I was also uncomfortably a member of the Most Likely to Succeed crowd, and dating a high school sports star was becoming a habit for me; I’d previously been dating another less-than-brilliant young man who ranked high on the rosters of both the football and baseball teams. He was no prince of morals either; he dated me behind the back of his “real” girlfriend, who ultimately was crowned homecoming queen. 
But we left the keg party to drive to the house where he lived with his parents and pick up some eight-track tapes for the party. I had consumed a little bit of beer at the party just to fit in, as I didn’t like beer and wasn’t accustomed to drinking. I felt drunk, unstable on my feet.

We went in through the garage; no one was home. He pushed me down onto my back on a sofa in the family room, pulled down my pants and forced himself into me. I recall feeling acutely aware of how weak my arms felt, like jelly. I still recall the sensation of utter helplessness. I could not push him off. I recall saying “no” several times. It didn’t matter. He kept going and was done quite quickly; he pulled up his pants and in mute shock, I assembled myself and we got back into the car and went back to the party.
I vaguely recall that the dance came after the rape and that I attended it with him despite the rape, because I was trying to maintain the facade that I was so cool and nonchalant about sex that the attack had not upset me.
Over the next several days my mind was preoccupied with only one thought: What would I do if I were pregnant? My parents were very strict immigrants from Eastern Europe who set a stern curfew, had complete confidence that I would attend a top university and regularly checked for signs that I’d been smoking cigarettes when out with my friends. We had never discussed sex, and I knew that although they were loving and supportive, they would be shocked at the idea that I’d had any sort of sexual relations with a man.
When I got my period, I was incredibly relieved. At the time, I felt pride at my cavalier attitude about the attack once my anxiety about pregnancy was relieved. By that time, I’d consumed a lot of literature from the ’60s, including Portnoy’s Complaint, and thought my sanguine attitude was simply because I was cool and cultured.

A couple of years later, I encountered my rapist on spring break from college at a hometown bar where my dad took me to demonstrate what a “grown-up” college student I now was. My rapist asked me to dance and I accepted, congratulating myself on my forgiving nature and again, my “cool” attitude about sex. My attitude at the time was that the “poor guy” was so stupid he knew not what he had done. I tend to still believe that.
But my rapist? Well, I found an item in the local police blotter: He’d ended up in jail on a petty theft charge. His bright athletic future never came to fruition. As for me, I went to law school when I was 28 and still never told anyone what happened to me. I worked hard to be published in the school’s law review — my topic was Rape Trauma Syndrome, inspired by an Indiana case in which the jury acquitted the defendant of a rape charge because the plaintiff had shown insufficient trauma.
The jury had been allowed to hear evidence that she’d gone out dancing in the days following the attack. The case outraged me. I knew from experience that it is eminently easy to pretend, even to oneself, that the attack “was nothing.” Yet, I still told no one of the motivation behind my interest in writing on criminal law, a field I did not pursue. To this day, although I mention the article on my résumé, I delete the reference to its title. 
So before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s letter to Dianne Feinstein was revealed to the general public, I’d recently begun telling the story of how I was raped at the age of 16 by a boy in my high school class. I had kept the story a secret from everyone in my life for nearly 40 years, with the exception of the young man I briefly dated as a freshman in college.
I never told my parents; I never told my younger sister, with whom I am still very close; and I never told any of the women with whom I was very close friends in high school and college. I never told any of my current girlfriends, until close to a year after the Harvey Weinstein allegations became public. I still have not told my sister, who knew the perpetrator. I want to shield her from it. I still have not been able to tell of it to a man I have been regularly dating for the past five years.
But I still remember the attack as if it just happened. I remember the sensation of terrible weakness in my arms and that I said “no” many times and was ignored. I remember that there was a pool at the house where the party was held, and that’s where the keg was located. It was a lovely, balmy night, typical of the town where I grew up, and I’m pretty sure the shirt I was wearing was light pink and had frilly cap sleeves.
And I still remember the cul-de-sac on which the rapist lived, and that no one was home, and details of the “rumpus room” where the rape occurred. I’m pretty sure he drove a gray Honda Civic, which was a relatively new model at the time. I remember vividly what he looked like. His name, of course, I will never forget.

September 29, 2018

US Congress Rejects Anti LGBT Adoption Amendment!

These are great news!


Ryan Thoreson 

Researcher, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people planning on fostering or adopting children in the US have a victory to celebrate.

The US House of Representatives approved an appropriations package for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Defense on Wednesday – but only after a  discriminatory amendment was removed. That amendment would have allowed child welfare providers to refuse to place children with LGBT parents.

The “Aderholt Amendment,” introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), would have forced the federal government to fund adoption and foster care agencies that discriminate against LGBT people for “religious” or “moral” reasons by refusing them services.

In July, an appropriations committee in the House unexpectedly inserted the Aderholt Amendment into the funding package.

Human Rights Watch expressed alarm about the harm this amendment would inflict on LGBT parents seeking to foster or adopt children and joined with hundreds of other organizations to oppose the amendment. Our research has documented how these types of religious or moral exemptions function as a “license to discriminate,” allowing providers to turn away LGBT people, deterring LGBT people from seeking out services, and violating the dignity of LGBT people. These exemptions also jeopardize children’s rights, and unduly limit children’s chances of being placed with loving, qualified parents.

Following the House vote, the US Senate passed its own appropriations bill without this discriminatory amendment. Finally, the Aderholt Amendment was excluded from the conference report reconciling the House and Senate versions, and effectively died when the House agreed to that report on Wednesday.

While the defeat of the Aderholt Amendment is a positive development, more work remains to be done. Currently, ten US states – Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia – have laws in place that are similar to the Aderholt Amendment. By contrast, only three states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and five more states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation alone.

In the upcoming year, lawmakers at the federal and state levels should reject these licenses to discriminate and strengthen nondiscrimination protections so that no loving, qualified parents are turned away solely because of who they are.

A Gay Couple of Penguins Were So Desperate in Having Their Offspring They Kidnapped A Baby Penguin From A Dad Not Paying Attention

Feathers were flying at one Danish zoo this week.
A same-sex penguin couple “kidnapped” a chick from another pair of birds within their home at Denmark’s Odense zoo this week.
The parenting scuffle went down while the baby penguin in question’s parents went for a swim in the creatures’ exhibit, Odense zookeeper Sandie Hedgegård Munck told Danish broadcaster DR.
According to Hedgegård Munck, the penguin pair decided the chick’s parents weren’t fit to look after the baby — and waited for the perfect moment to take action.
“The parents disappeared, and the kid was simply kidnapped,” the zookeeper told the outlet.
Gay penguin couple at Denmark's Odense Zoo
Gay penguin couple at Denmark's Odense Zoo
Hedgegård Munck places all blame for the animal miscommunication on the chick’s father. “I know that the female is very caring for the kid, and she is also very aggressive to us animal lovers if we get too close to the chick,” Hedgegård Munck explained. “I think the female had been out to get her bath, and then it had been the male’s turn to care for the kid. He may have then left, and then the [gay] couple had thought, ‘It’s pity, we’ll take it.'”
One day later, the chick’s biological parents wanted their baby back. In a video posted on the Odense Zoo’s Facebook page, the parents can be seen confronting the baby’s new adoptive family, who protectively nuzzled the chick in between their legs.
RELATED VIDEO: Adorable Penguin Gets A Wetsuit To Keep Warm

After their encounter turned physical, the chick was given back to his biological parents.
Nonetheless, the couple was rewarded for their paternal skills: They were given an egg from a female penguin that was unable to care for her child.
The happy pair aren’t the first same-sex penguin couple to want to start a family.
In 2004, the New York Times published a story about two chinstrap penguins who fell in love at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan.
The penguins, called Roy and Silo, “exhibit what in penguin parlance is called ‘ecstatic behavior’: that is, they entwine their necks, they vocalize to each other, they have sex,” the New York Times wrote at the time.
Like the Danish couple, Roy and Silo were desperate to have a baby, so they put a rock in their nest and sat on it.
Chief keeper Rob Gramzay noticed this and gave them a real egg that needed parents. Gramzay explained that Roy and Silo eventually welcomed baby Tango, who they cared for until she was old enough to be on her own.
Roy and Silo remained together for six years, but later split up. However, their story was even turned into the book And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.

Thank To Sen Jeff Flake White House Orders An FBI Investigation to Find Facts About Judge Kavanaugh

Trump's statements appear to have backed off a bit from the defiant attack on Democrats for a "search and destroy strategy" against the nominee that he tweeted Thursday night.

Speaking to reporters at the White House before a meeting with Chile's President Sebastián Piñera, Trump said that undecided senators must do what makes them "comfortable" regarding his nomination, adding that he had "no message whatsoever" for the senators who now face a vote to confirm Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice.

"They have to do what they think is right," he said. "There is no message whatsoever. They have to do what they think is right. They have to be comfortable with themselves and I’m sure that’s what they want."
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to advance Kavanaugh's nomination, but only after Republican Sen. Jeff Flake called for a one-week delay on a final vote to allow the FBI to investigate the sexual misconduct allegations.

 GOP Sem Jeff Flake, with the weight of the Senate on his shoulders

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake after speaking during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 28, 2018.
Flake said he would oppose moving forward with Kavanaugh's nomination in the full Senate if Republicans try to bring it up before then.
Asked about the delay, Trump said, "I’m going to let the Senate handle that."
"They’ll make their decisions," he added. "They’ve been doing a good job and very professional. I’m just hearing a little bit about it because I’ve been with the president of Chile and we're talking about some very important subjects. I’m sure it will all be very good."

"I guess the vote was a positive vote but there seems to be a delay. I’ll learn more about it as the day goes on. I just heard about it because we were together."
Look at Senator (R) Jeff Flake. His face shows all the turmoil he is going through and his disagreement at all the political wrangling. Getting an FBI investigation should be the least to ask about of an appointment of this magnitude when there is a credible testimony from a credible witness about Kavanaugh's behavior and maybe lying under oath.
Thanks to Se. Flake, there will be an FBI investigation and this locomotive will be delayed one more week or so until the FBI is done.

September 28, 2018

NYT Mentions 4 Takeaways From What We Saw Yesterday on The Confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh

Since the story is on every paper and cable channel I just wanted to give you in condensed way what we can take away from a nice well educated woman who was nearly rape by a someone who thought because of his standing in school and his parents money could get away with even rape.
I went in with my mind open and after Dr. Ford answered all her questions candidadly and even politely we got to Mr. K who los it. He came into the meeting like if Trump had just coached him. This is a Superior Court Judge and he comes in there with no decorum and not answering the question but to arguing with the Democratic Senators.You could see how a drunken K would have no control because  even f he was sober he had no control of himself.He is terrified of an FBI investigation! There is something he is hidding and do not want it to be discovered. 🦊Adam

WASHINGTON — Two weeks of chaos clouding Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation process culminated Thursday in a hearing that was stunning, even in a town notorious for partisan pageantry and intrigue.
Christine Blasey Ford, the first accuser to come forward and accuse Judge Kavanaugh of grave sexual misconduct, says that he assaulted her when they were teenagers, pushing her onto a bed, groping her, grinding his body against hers and covering her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream.
Viewers across the country — including a critical group of undecided senators who will decide the confirmation — were captivated as Dr. Blasey came forward to tell her story and Judge Kavanaugh fought to clear his name and salvage his spot on the nation’s highest court.
Here are the takeaways.
Dr. Blasey delivered raw, gripping testimony to the committee.
Dressed in a navy suit, Dr. Blasey maintained her composure throughout the hearing, though her voice often broke or shook as she detailed in raw testimony how “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life.” 

 “I struggled with a terrible choice: Do I share the facts with the Senate and put myself and my family in the public spotlight?” she said during her opening statement. “Or do I preserve our privacy and allow the Senate to make its decision without knowing the full truth of his past behaviors?”
Judge Kavanaugh was aggressive, tearful and partisan in his own defense.
Judge Kavanaugh mounted a defiant and tearful defense that stood in stark contrast to the measured and passive interview he gave with his wife to Fox News, denying Dr. Blasey’s accusations forcefully and hitting back at Senate Democrats.“My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional allegations,” he said.He seemed intent on rebutting each point that has been used to cast aspersions on his character. 
The result was wide-ranging, 45-minute remarks that addressed how he spent his summer weekends as a teenager; the encouraging texts his friends sent him in the days preceding the hearing; and that he repeatedly that as a teen he drank beer, but never to the point of blacking out. Before the Senate, his family and God, Judge Kavanaugh said, “I am innocent of this charge.”

Early in his prepared remarks, he went directly at the Democrats, accusing them of inciting a “frenzy” to “come up with something, anything, to block my nomination.”
“Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready,” he said.
He also proved to be a combative witness. Asked by Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, if he had ever blacked out from drinking, he batted the question back: “Have you?”
The committee avoided an Anita Hill moment, but Republicans made their fury known.
Eager to avoid the optics of an all-male Republican panel of senators grilling a sexual assault victim, Senate Republicans chose to employ Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona, to question Dr. Blasey.

The result of the format proved jarring at times, as the hearing moved rapidly back and forth between Senate Democrats’ politically freighted questions and Ms. Mitchell’s meticulous, prosecutorial style. But the effect of Ms. Mitchell’s careful, granular questions was limited by her five-minute blocks of time, and Senate Republicans expressed frustration at the impediment, though they defended their choice to retain an outside questioner.

While Dr. Blasey provided some small clarifications, she remained consistent in her testimony and appeared to gain confidence as the hearing went on.

When it came to questioning Judge Kavanaugh, however, Senate Republicans quickly took matters into their own hands — Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina exploded into a tirade directed at his Democratic colleagues.
“Boy, you all want power,” he said. “God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham that you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She’s as much of a victim as you.”
That outburst changed the tenor of hearings, and one by one, Senate Republicans, dismissing Ms. Mitchell, used their five minutes to apologize to Judge Kavanaugh and denounce their Democratic colleagues.
“You’re the first major target of a new strategy that’s developed here, and I think you’re right,” Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, told Judge Kavanaugh. “I think it’s just basically attack, attack, attack.”
All eyes will stay on the undecided senators.
Republicans on the committee, including Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, said they expect the committee to vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday morning, as scheduled. But while Mr. Kavanaugh’s scorched-earth testimony was well received by his conservative backers, he must also persuade a moderate group of senators known to break from party lines.

One senator who could delay a committee vote is Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, who fought to have the hearing in the first place. Mr. Flake, who is retiring at the end of the year, has offered few hints into his reactions to the testimony, and he declined to ask Judge Kavanaugh any questions during the hearing. But he previously offered his own test to reporters: “If you believe” Dr. Blasey, “you vote no.”
Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, both undecided critical votes, also maintained low profiles on Thursday. Both pledged to refrain from making a decision until they heard both Dr. Blasey’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimonies.
Undecided Democrats running for re-election in Republican states will also be scrutinized, including Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.

One Week After Coming Out Gay Zimbabwe Teacher Quits After Death Threats

Picture of Neal HovelmeierImage copyright

Image captionHe wanted to address the issue of homophobia in the school

A gay teacher at a top Zimbabwean boys' school has resigned after death threats and pressure from parents. 
Neal Hovelmeier, deputy head for St John's College's sixth form, came out to his students last week. 
He was encouraged to do so as a Zimbabwean newspaper was planning on outing Mr Hovelmeier, the school's chairman wrote in a letter. 
Some parents threatened legal action against him in a country where homosexual acts are illegal.  
"I will not submit myself to a sham trial," Mr Hovelmeier wrote in his resignation letter. 
The teacher, who has worked in the elite school for 15 years, apologised for the distress caused by revealing his sexuality, saying it has since led to "death threats as well as threats of physical danger to myself and my pets". 
"I have come to realise that my current position as deputy headmaster is now untenable," he wrote in the resignation letter. 
Mr Hovelmeier came out to the student body on 21 September when the school, which is based in the capital Harare, released a statement by him. 
He wrote that former students had confided to him that they had felt intimidated and ostracised at the school amidst a homophobic atmosphere. 
He said he could only deal with the issue if he was "open and transparent about it myself".

Presentational grey line

The emotive issue of homosexuality in Zimbabwe

By Shingai Nyoka, BBC Africa, Harare
The issue of gay rights has always been both controversial and emotive within Zimbabwe's conservative society.
It was one of the most contentious matters as a new constitution - adopted in 2013 - was being drawn up. The majority of Zimbabweans appeared to support the continued outlawing of homosexual acts - and a clause banning same-sex marriage was added to the country's laws.
Zimbabwe's gay community is small and largely operates underground. Secret gay bars do exist and the Gay and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (Galz) is formally registered and recognised as a civil society group, but in the past it has been raided by police. 
Former President Robert Mugabe was most outspoken against gay rights, describing gay people as "worse than pigs and dogs". Other government ministers have been at pains to say that no person should be denied healthcare, or have their children lose access to education, because of their sexuality.
More recently when asked whether he would champion gay rights, Mr Mugabe's successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, said a constitution voted for by the people was in place, hinting that amidst the myriad challenges facing the country, the issue was not a priority.

Presentational grey line

The move was applauded by rights activists, but also led to uproar among some of the parents. 
Footage of an emergency parents' meeting on 24 September showed participants angrily shouting at one another. 
On the same day, the school's chairman Charles Msipa released a letter to the parents. 
He took responsibility for Mr Hovelmeier coming out to the school, saying their hand was forced as a newspaper planned on revealing the teacher's sexuality. 
Mr Msipa thought it was in the college's best interest if Mr Hovelmeier "communicate directly to stakeholders in an open, transparent manner".
"The publication of the story in the Daily News newspaper of Saturday September 22 was based on the management communication of the matter - rather than conjecture and rumours," Mr Msipa wrote.  The following day, a law firm hired by some of the parents threatened legal action against the school if its board did not resign, according to a letter by the firm seen by the BBC.
It said the teacher's decision to come out "has no place whatsoever in a school environment where they are minors, who look up to your staff as their life models as they exercise their role". 
They also cited the country's Section 73 criminal law that criminalises gay sex, and said that their clients therefore reserved "a right to place criminal charges against your staff member". 
The British curriculum boys school was founded in 1986 and admits boys from the age of 12 to 18, its website says.

Man Arrested on The Hate Gay Attack at Williamsburg Brooklyn

Image: Metropolitan bar assault
The New York City Police Department identified Brandon McNamara as the individual identified in this image. He is a suspect in an alleged anti-gay assault in front of Metropolitan Bar in Brooklyn, New York.DCPI
Prior to Wednesday’s arrest, the New York Police Department released an image of the suspect — now identified as Brandon McNamara — and asked the public for help identifying him. NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot F. Shea credited the department’s “partnership with the community” with helping them find McNamara, who allegedly fled the scene of the crime.
“An arrest has been made in the 9-23-18 Hate Crime assault in Brooklyn in which a gay couple was brutally attacked,” Shea wrote on Twitter. “Grateful to those who contacted @NYPDTIPS & assisted the Hate Crimes T.F. quickly apprehend Brandon McNamara. #YourCityYourCall”
View image on Twitter
In partnership with the community, an arrest has been made in the 9-23-18 Hate Crime assault in Brooklyn in which a gay couple was brutally attacked. Grateful to those who contacted @NYPDTIPS & assisted the Hate Crimes T.F. quickly apprehend Brandon McNamara.
 McNamara was charged with 10 counts of assault and harassment for allegedly beating and hurling homophobic slurs at two men who had just left a popular gay bar, Metropolitan, in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.
“The individual punched the 34-year-old in the face which caused him to lose consciousness,” NYPD Sergeant Jessica McRorie told NBC News via email on Monday, prior to McNamara’s arrest. “He then grabbed the 29-year-old and threw him against a tree; also rendering him unconscious.”
McRorie said the younger victim was treated at a hospital for a broken finger, and the other was taken to a hospital with a fractured shoulder. The names of the two victims have not been released.
Reporter Henry Rosoff from local New York news station PIX11 posted a video to Twitter that reportedly shows McNamara’s exit from the NYPD’s 7th Precinct in Manhattan.
In the video, reporters can be heard yelling questions at McNamara, including asking him whether he hates gay people. McNamara did not respond.
According to the most recent FBI hate crimes data, 17 percent of hate crime victims in the U.S. in 2016 were targeted because of their sexual orientation, and most of those victims were gay men. 
Reporter Henry Rosoff from local New York news station PIX11 posted a video to Twitter that reportedly shows McNamara’s exit from the NYPD’s 7th Precinct in Manhattan.
In the video, reporters can be heard yelling questions at McNamara, including asking him whether he hates gay people. McNamara did not respond.
According to the most recent FBI hate crimes data, 17 percent of hate crime victims in the U.S. in 2016 were targeted because of their sexual orientation, and most of those victims were gay men.

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