Showing posts with label Anti Gays Military. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anti Gays Military. Show all posts

July 27, 2017

Trump's BS Argument About Transgender Costs= 4 Trips Mar O'Largo Will Cover Any Costs

Let's do the Trump's math:
OF all the editorials and news articles I came across since yesterday this particular one appearing on GQ hit me as most different because  it takes the Emperor's invisible clothes completely off. Some republicans agreed with Trump on merely 'fiscal' reasons. For those that arre using fiscal reasons to hide their Transphobia and bias, there are no fiscal reasons. Transgender volunteers join the armed servces, not for helath care which most already have but to serve and in these times possibly die for their country. These are young, highly motivated young recruits ready to serve their nation just like Gay and Lesbians are and did when they had to keep quiet about it or get socked. This is bull shit from trump like msot of the stuff that comes out of that mouth. I hope if we learn nothing from all his actions that try to dismantle what we have accomplished as a nation for the last 70 years, we learn that it matters to get the least evil or devil into government. It applies to your State Senator, Conresssman and to the President of this United States. Let's all get ready for the next one.
1) Vote 2) There is always a better choice. I learn that young, some never learn but I hope these shocks to our form of governments educates us all. No matter what laws are in the books if we stopped fighting it can all change in six months or less.
Adam Gonzalez
Jack Moore, GQ:  

The beleaguered Donald Trump, who currently sits in the epicenter of a constantly growing investigation into Russian collusion and at the head of a very public and very unpopular attempt to strip health care away from millions of Americans, is definitely trying to distract us. During the campaign, Trump would do and say outrageous and hateful and offensive things that would dominate the news coverage while distracting from real issues. And I get why that was so frustrating for people. But this is different. Trump isn't a candidate anymore, he's the president, and these distractions have real consequences for real Americans. Today's attempt at changing the narrative is no exception.
This morning, in what is just the latest attack on the transgender community, Donald Trump made the hateful and shameful decision to ban trans-Americans from serving in the military. Why? 
First, there's the bullshit "distraction" argument, which is what bigots have used to excuse everything from segregation in the '50s to employment discrimination against women to banning gays from the military. This is not a good reason to stop anyone from doing anything. "Distractions" like these are good. They're society moving forward and becoming more welcoming and kinder. 
But let's focus on the other claim Trump makes. The idea that the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs." When Barack Obama reversed the ban on trans service members, the Pentagon released a report saying that the change, including medical considerations, would cost between $2.4 and $8.4 million a year. Now, let's forget for a moment that this is a drop in the bucket of a military budget that amounts to somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 billion (with a "b") a year, and is by no means a "tremendous" cost. On the high end of that estimate, allowing trans men and women to serve in the military would cost about the same as four of Trump's weekend trips to Mar a Lago. Four! And that's the high end of the projection and using a very conservative estimate from the Washington Post ($2 million) of how much a Trump Mar a Lago trip costs taxpayers.
And a Trump administration official defended the decision by saying, "This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?" (Note: A good response from Democrats might be to point to people like Kristin Beck who is a transgender woman and served on SEAL Team 6.)
So not only is Trump lying about the cost, his administration is openly doing this to appeal to bigots. This isn't even a dog whistle. This is just a cynical, disgusting decision designed to get people to stop paying attention to Russia and health care long enough that he can fire Jeff Sessions so he can replace him with someone who will fire Mueller and give people something else to call their representatives about so they can take away health care from millions while we're looking somewhere else.

June 12, 2017

There is a Military Gay Witch-Hunt In South Korea, Dozens Arrested

"Sergeant A" doesn't want to give his real name, his exact rank or show his face. 
Speaking to CNN, he said he was afraid the South Korean military would find out he was talking to the media. He faces charges for having sexual relations with another man, a crime within the South Korean military punishable by up to two years in prison. 
Sergeant A is part of a wider investigation which human rights groups are calling a homophobic witch-hunt, an accusation the military rejects. 
    Homosexuality is not illegal for civilians in South Korea but human rights groups say the rights of sexual minorities are not always protected.

    'Witch hunt' 

    Investigators visited Sergeant A in March -- telling him they knew he was gay and his ex-partner had already admitted their "crimes." 
    They asked him deeply personal and explicit questions, leaving him feeling "uncomfortable and humiliated," Sergeant A told CNN. 
    South Korea's military 'sodomy law' should go
    South Korea's military 'sodomy law' should go
    "The atmosphere was very oppressive and humiliating," he said. "I was scared." 
    The South Korea military and the defense ministry declined multiple requests for an interview and referred CNN to an April statement:
    "To keep the military community sound and given the special nature of military discipline, sexual relations with same sex soldiers are being punished as 'disgraceful conduct' under military law." 
    The military penal code bans homosexual activity under Article 92-6 "to keep the military community sound." 
    The law regards same-sex relations between soldiers as "disgraceful conduct," akin to sexual assault. One man convicted last month was given a six month suspended prison sentence. 
    In a statement, Amnesty International East Asia director Roseann Rife called for the conviction to be immediately overturned and the group condemned what it described as "an outrageous military gay witch-hunt."  Gay panic
    The recent investigation started earlier this year after a video was posted on social media showing two male soldiers having sex. 
    Since then, according to human rights groups and local media, at least 32 soldiers have been charged. The military declined to give a number. 
    Lim Tae-hoon, an activist with the Military Human Rights Center for Korea (MHRCK), said the military has been using gay dating apps to try and track down homosexual soldiers. 
    Sergeant A told CNN his phone was taken and its contents copied, he claimed investigators insinuated his unit would find out about his sexuality if he refused.  
    "They knew that I would not want my identity revealed so they made me cooperate in the investigation," he said. 
    Amnesty has called on Seoul to "repeal this archaic and discriminatory provision in the military criminal code," criticizing the government for being slow to protect the rights of sexual minorities within the country. 
    During the recent election campaign, now President Moon Jae-in drew intense criticism from LGBT groups after he said he was "opposed" to homosexuality in a televised debate. 
    Days later he walked that back slightly, saying that it was "still a little early to allow homosexuality within the military" on the ground that South Korean society was not ready for it. He has not broached the subject since being sworn in.

    June 5, 2017

    Don't Give Up on The Chechens, Particularly America!

    Chechnya, last year

    Amy Mackinnon is a senior editor for the crisis reporting site While based in Moscow, she oversaw Coda Story's reporting on LGBT rights in Russia. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone. CNN
    When the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the news that gay men are being systematically abducted by security services and held in secret detention sites in the Russian republic of Chechnya, it shocked the world.
    This story highlighted a fundamental flaw in international asylum practices: If one of these men were to knock on the door of the US Embassy in Moscow and ask for asylum, he would likely be turned away. 
    Amy Mackinnon
    The men who have escaped have shared harrowing accounts of beatings, electrocution and humiliation. Their revelations have prompted condemnation from the United Nations, members of Congress and the State Department. 
    But in a private meeting with US officials, the Russian LGBT network, one of the country's largest gay rights advocacy groups, says it was told that if any of the Chechen men were to apply for US visas, they would "most probably" be denied.
    The men who have fled Chechnya face a Catch-22. While they have excellent grounds on which to claim asylum in the United States as persecuted members of a defined social group, they first need to secure a visa to travel to the USA or any country that recognizes persecution of LGBT people as grounds for asylum. 
    Even for a simple tourist visa, they need evidence they have enough money to support their trip as well as work and family ties that would ensure their return to Russia. For someone who has fled one of Russia's poorest regions -- fearing for his life -- this can be difficult, if not impossible, to prove. Hundreds may be left stranded and at risk in Russia.
    Over a month after reports first emerged of alleged abuse against gay men in Chechnya, Russian President Vladimir Putin backed an investigation into what he described as "rumors" about what was happening to Chechen men of "nontraditional orientation," a Russian euphemism for gay people. Investigations are still underway.
    Journalist who exposed Chechen gay oppression
    Journalist who exposed Chechen gay oppression 
    The Russian LGBT Network says it is working with 80 Chechen men, 42 of whom have been evacuated from the republic to other parts of Russia. Having left Chechnya they are safe from the immediate threat of detention, but as long as they are still in Russia they risk being discovered by Chechnya's tight-knit diaspora and tracked down by their families.
    Sevetlana Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian LGBT network, says the families of some of the men have already tried to find them. Chechen society is highly conservative, and LGBT people are at risk of "honor killings" at the hands of their own family.
    Zakharova adds that almost all of the men are hoping to seek asylum abroad. However, to date, the Russian LGBT network reports only nine have been able to do so.
    While the United States -- and the 148 other countries that have signed international refugee conventions -- is bound to assist those facing persecution, these conventions only apply to asylum seekers who have already reached American soil. There is no obligation to assist those who are trapped in their country of origin by the red tape of visa applications.
    It is a problem that is by no means unique to the United States or the experience of LGBT Russians. It is why thousands of refugees have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean in the hopes of making it to the shores of Europe, where they can claim asylum. Without a European visa, flying is simply not an option.  
    International refugee conventions were forged in the wake of the Second World War to deal with the thousands of displaced people within Europe, at a time when asylum seekers predominantly fled overland to neighboring countries.
    But since then, the nature of conflicts and persecution have changed, as have immigration policies. Visa requirements offer a discreet way for countries to indirectly limit the number of asylum seekers they take in. The financial and familial evidence required to secure an initial visa mean that the system often discriminates against the most vulnerable.
    It is a plight that I have seen firsthand. Between 2015 and 2016, I spent six months reporting on LGBT rights in Russia, and much of that time was spent following the story of Vika, a transsexual woman from Siberia. 
    Ostracized by her family and discriminated against by potential employers, Vika lives an isolated life in total poverty. "I am an alien here. To everyone and to the government as well," she once told me. 
    Vika is desperate to leave Russia and claim asylum in Canada. If she was wealthy or had a job that enabled her to travel, getting a visa would be straightforward. But as a truck driver from Siberia, Vika is stranded.

    Immigration and asylum policies are not immutable, and there are ways to offer safe passage to those fleeing persecution in Chechnya, if only there was the political will. 
    Western governments could offer humanitarian visas that enable people like Vika to travel legally and safely to another country where they can apply for asylum upon arrival. The Russian LGBT network says it has been in discussion with the embassies of three European countries who are considering expediting visas for men who have fled Chechnya.
    There is also precedent for the United States to run in-country asylum processing programs, but their implementation is often dictated by political and diplomatic considerations. 
    "'It's not like we couldn't do it, it's that simply we have chosen not to," says Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, a US advocacy group which works with LGBT asylum seekers. Russians are their second largest client group. 
    When Russia began to clamp down on LGBT rights with the passage of the "gay propaganda" law, which makes it illegal to discuss LGBT issues around minors, Immigration Equality lobbied to have asylum applications of LGBT Russians processed in-country, but their appeals were denied.
     Even for those who make it out of Russia, their problems are far from over. In big American cities they may have to wait years for an asylum interview, while in the United Kingdom they can be subjected to humiliating and invasive questioning to "prove" their sexuality.
    While asylum is not a panacea for the plight of LGBT Chechens, it's the least we can do until the law and culture shift in Chechnya.

    April 26, 2017

    FollowUp: South Korean Military Cracking Down on Gays

    At a time when South Korea is struggling to deter North Korea’s nuclear threats, human rights advocates say its military is targeting gay soldiers in its ranks.

    In recent weeks, the army has focused on dozens of those soldiers in what rights groups say is a campaign against gay men in the 620,000-member military. At least 32 faced criminal charges of “sodomy or other disgraceful conduct,” according to the domestic news media and lawyers and rights advocates familiar with the cases.

    On Tuesday night, the issue of gay rights became a focus in South Korea’s presidential race, when the candidate who leads in the polls, Moon Jae-in, joined another contender in saying that he opposed homosexuality. Critics said the statement was a stark tactic to win support among conservative voters.

    In South Korea, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are a largely taboo and politically unpopular subject. In recent years, powerful right-wing Christian groups have intensified a campaign against homosexuality, scuttling a bill that would have given sexual minorities the same protection as other minorities. 

    “Our military remains stuck in a barbarian and medieval culture,” said Lim Tae-hoon, director of the Military Human Rights Center. “The investigators preyed upon gay soldiers’ vulnerability like a cat playing with a mouse.”

    Mr. Moon made the comment during a debate in which the issue of the military’s treatment of gays was raised. Under the conscript system, all eligible men are required to serve about two years.

    But the Military Criminal Act outlaws sodomy and other unspecified “disgraceful conduct” between servicemen, whether or not there is mutual consent and whether or not that conduct takes place in or outside the military compounds. Those found to have violated the act face up to two years in prison.

    The army declined to provide details of its investigation. It insisted that it was not cracking down on gay soldiers; instead it said that it was trying to root out sodomy and other homosexual activities, which right-wing Christian groups have called a growing blight on its readiness to fight North Korea’s 1.2 million-strong military.

    But in the past week, evidence has emerged to support the allegations by gay soldiers that investigators flouted the army’s own regulations on how to treat gay service members by preying upon the soldiers’ fear of shame and abuse if they are outed in the military. Analysts and veterans said bullying, hazing and sexual violence were chronic problems.

    In a series of telephone conversations secretly recorded in March and April, an army investigator warned a gay sergeant against seeking help from lawyers or the National Human Rights Commission. In one conversation, the investigator complained that another gay soldier refused to cooperate with the inquiry and wanted to hire a lawyer.

    “If he hires a lawyer, that means he is outing himself,” the investigator says in the recording, uploaded to the website of the Military Human Rights Center for Korea, based in Seoul.

    It is unknown how many gay soldiers were punished under the anti-sodomy law before the recent flurry of charges.

    Gay soldiers said they feared that they were being scapegoated in the recent inquiry as part of an effort by the army to contain sexual abuse. In a survey of 671 veterans commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission in 2004, more than 15 percent said they had been sexually abused.

    Mr. Lim, the director of the Military Human Rights Center, said the inquiry also detracted from looming security concerns.

    “It’s time for our military to focus on how to deal with the North Korean threat, but by going after gay soldiers, it is actually shooting at its own troops,” Mr. Lim said. “They don’t seem to realize how grave our security situation is.” 

    Lim Tae-hoon, director of the Military Human Rights Center, in Seoul this month. “Our military remains stuck in a barbarian and medieval culture,” he said. “The investigators preyed upon gay soldiers’ vulnerability like a cat playing with a mouse.” Credit Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press
    The crackdown began early this year when the army was tipped to a video clip on social media that showed a soldier and an officer, both men, having sex. The soldier was arrested on charges of violating the military criminal code, as well as a law against spreading obscene content online.

    But the case did not end there.

    Using information they learned from the case, investigators expanded the inquiry. Army regulations ban discriminating against gay soldiers and forbid identifying or outing gay men or asking about their sexual experiences.

    The Interpreter Newsletter
    Understand the world with sharp insight and commentary on the major news stories of the week.

    But the investigators routinely asked gay soldiers questions about their sexual history and orientation, said Mr. Lim’s group, which is providing legal advice for 14 of the service members implicated in the case. They seized mobile phones without warrants and forced the men to identify gay soldiers on their contact lists and to confess to having sex with them. They also forced some to log onto dating apps to dupe other gay soldiers into revealing their identities, the group said.

    “I’m just curious, but does it make you feel good when you have sex with a man?” one investigator was quoted as saying to a gay soldier. “I want you to take this opportunity to readjust your sexual orientation.”

    The army declined to respond to individual accusations by Mr. Lim’s group.

    But the army denied that its chief of staff, Gen. Jang Jun-kyu, ordered the crackdown. “The investigation is proceeding legally while protecting human rights and privacy,” it said.

    Although South Korea has made strides in democratizing and improving basic rights in recent decades, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been largely left out, rights groups said.

    South Korea does not recognize same-sex marriage. All major candidates for the presidential election in May have vowed to oppose it.

    After the Constitutional Court ruled in 2015 that adultery was no longer a crime, many churches seized on homosexuality as a vice to denounce, organizing rallies to counter gay-pride marches.

    The Ministry of Education does not allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues to be part of sex education for students.

    “Our society has been busy erasing sexual minorities,” said Jeong Min-seok, the director of the DDingDong LGBTQ Youth Crisis Support Center.

    And the military has been the least receptive.

    In 1998, Mr. Jeong, then an army private, was sent to a military psychiatric ward after he was outed. He said he was forced to take tranquilizers and was separated from other inmates at night. Once he returned to his unit a month and a half later, it tried to ban him from conducting a nighttime guard-post duty with another soldier.

    In 2011, when a male and female officers were found having sex on duty, they were suspended for three months but not criminally charged. By contrast, all 18 gay service members identified by Mr. Lim’s group in the current investigation faced criminal charges, even though they had sex on leave or off duty.

    The Constitutional Court has repeatedly upheld the anti-sodomy code, giving more weight to the argument that it is necessary to fight sexual abuse and protect the discipline of an almost all-male military.

    “The problem is that the army is abusing the law to launch a systematic ferreting out of gay soldiers,” said Han Ga-ram, a human rights lawyer. “This is not that different from the Nazis’ roundup of homosexuals and the anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya.”

    For months before the Constitutional Court gave its last ruling on the military criminal code, in July, conservatives rallied outside the courthouse, saying that abolishing the code would undermine the military’s ability to fight North Korea. Some warned against empowering “pro-North Korean gays.”

    One of their banners said: “Who’s going to take responsibility if my son goes to the military and learns homosexuality?”

    “What the investigators have found is just the tip of an iceberg, so widespread is homosexual activity in our military,” said Kim Young-kil, a retired army colonel who leads the Just Military Human Rights Institute and supports a crackdown on gay sex in the military.

    Featured Posts

    Fewer People Think LGBT Face Discrimination But Is That True?

     Over the past decade, the gay rights movement has had a lot to celebrate. Within a single generation, a politically divided countr...