Showing posts with label Gay President. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay President. Show all posts

May 1, 2019

Peter Buttigieg Builds His Campaign With Gay Donors Setting The Foundation


Pete Buttigieg now rarely goes more than a few days between private events hosted by prominent gay donors The New York Times

Barely two months ago, when Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., was rating no higher than 1 or 2 percent in national polls, he had a well-worn punch line he used as he pitched himself in living rooms and conference rooms where many of the guests were, like him, young, male and gay.

“I’m not asking for monogamy,” he would say.

It was fine to give money to the bigger names in the race like Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker or former Representative Beto O’Rourke. He asked only that they save some for his historic candidacy, too.

Now, Mr. Buttigieg is looking for commitment.

After vaulting into the top tier of presidential candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination — going from “adorable” to “plausible,” in his own words — Mr. Buttigieg is building on the fly a nationwide network of donors that is anchored by many wealthy and well-connected figures in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political circles.

From more intimate cocktail parties on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the composer Stephen Sondheim appeared in March, to larger events, like a planned June gala at the Beverly Hills home of the television producer Ryan Murphy, the L.G.B.T. donor base is helping push Mr. Buttigieg from the margins of the presidential contest into the same moneyed circles that raised millions of dollars for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 

Top L.G.B.T. donors face no shortage of loyal allies among the 20 Democratic candidates. But Mr. Buttigieg’s candidacy has struck an especially powerful chord with many of them. Though many said they believed they would see a gay man or lesbian become a serious contender for the White House one day, most of them had never considered it beyond the abstract. Mr. Buttigieg’s ascent has made a sudden and unexpected reality of something they thought was still years away, if not decades. 

Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Ind., has gained surprising early visibility in the 2020 presidential race. Also known as “Mayor Pete,” he is vying to become the first openly gay president.CreditCreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times
“There is absolutely no way to be cavalier about this candidacy — it is extraordinary,” said the television producer Richie Jackson, who with his husband, the Broadway producer Jordan Roth, hosted a fund-raiser for Mr. Buttigieg at their New York City home this month.

The L.G.B.T. support provided Mr. Buttigieg a crucial early financial foothold before his candidacy began to surge after a CNN town-hall-style event in March, and now is poised to power a campaign staffing up nationally and in the early-primary states. His rise has threatened the donor allegiances that other candidates, led by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., have established over many years in the L.G.B.T. world.

The flood of money does not come without risk. Though Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign announced last week that it would no longer accept contributions from federal lobbyists, and also said it was refunding $30,250 from lobbyists who had already donated, many of his gay donors have ties to the kinds of elite businesses that could tarnish his image as the embodiment of small-town, Midwestern America. 

Mr. Buttigieg’s sexual orientation is not central to how he has sold himself to the voting public — as a veteran, a Rhodes scholar and a government executive with the thoughtfulness and temperament needed to bridge the country’s bitter partisan divide.

But his sexuality became a much larger part of his political identity after he spoke this month to the Victory Fund, a group that supports L.G.B.T. candidates. In that speech, he described his struggle with coming out of the closet and challenged Vice President Mike Pence, an opponent of gay rights.

And his husband, Chasten, known for his prolific Twitter commentary, has become such a draw on the campaign trail that Mr. Buttigieg sometimes says he is “better known as the husband of Chasten Buttigieg.”

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know. 

Now he rarely goes more than a few days between private events hosted by prominent gay donors. Through mid-May, he has nearly two dozen fund-raisers planned, including one in New York hosted by Andy Cohen, the Bravo host, and Michael Stipe, the former lead singer of R.E.M.

“Pete is committed to standing with fellow members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community as the struggle for equality continues,” the Buttigieg campaign said in a statement. “He is grateful for the support he’s received.”

On Tuesday, he was in the Boston area for back-to-back fund-raisers with other prominent L.G.B.T. guests. The first featured Mr. Buttigieg in conversation with Brandon Victor Dixon, the Broadway actor who confronted Mr. Pence from the stage of “Hamilton.” The second was being hosted by Bryan Rafanelli and Mark Walsh, longtime confidants of the Clintons. 

Brad Lippitz, a real estate broker, is already organizing a second fund-raising event for Mr. Buttigieg because the first he was part of was such a success. Mr. Lippitz said he had had every intention of staying neutral in the primary — until he and his husband heard the mayor address Equality Illinois, a gay rights organization, in February.

“We were blown away,” he said.

But the L.G.B.T. community is no monolith. And Mr. Buttigieg’s candidacy is exposing tensions that have been papered over during the period of relative unity and common purpose that has taken hold since President Trump took office. The political priorities of the affluent white gay men who have mostly filled Mr. Buttigieg’s coffers often differ from those of other gay men, lesbians and transgender people. And the enthusiasm for his campaign is not universal.

“People are excited that there is, at least nominally, a viable candidate that is gay. That is uplifting,” said Alix Ritchie, a Democratic fund-raiser and board member of LPAC, a group seeking to empower L.G.B.T. women. But, she added, “I personally feel rather discouraged that the only attention being paid to Democratic candidates is a bunch of white guys. In terms of media coverage, the women are just being wiped off the map.”

April 22, 2019

Pete Can Be Gay, BA Christian and a Serious Candidate for The Presidency: Some $$ Spigots are Opening Up

Pete and his husband
DES MOINES, Iowa — Blake Carlson’s mother took the news hard when he came out to his parents last August. “My mom and me,” he said, “pretty much completely separated for a hot second.”

But as the 20-year-old Iowan waited for Pete Buttigieg to arrive at a Des Moines rally Tuesday night, he wondered if moments like this could help: an openly gay man emerging as a top-tier candidate for president, speaking to a crowd of more than 1,500 people.

“I grew up in Steve King country,” said Carlson, referring to the Republican lawmaker from northwest Iowa known for his racist and intolerant comments. “I grew up in the heart of Steve King country. I mean, even if he doesn’t win, even if he doesn’t get the nomination, for this to be just on the news, for this to be on the mainstream, and for her to be able to see that just means a lot to me. It’s just very meaningful and very powerful at this point in my life.”

In Buttigieg, Carlson and others in the LGBT community see a transformative figure not unlike Barack Obama in 2008. Being gay is not central to the 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana mayor’s message, just as being black was not central to Obama’s historic run. But “you can’t separate it,” Rufus Gifford, formerly Obama’s chief fundraiser and a prominent gay Democrat, told BuzzFeed News. Gifford made a maximum contribution to Buttigieg’s campaign, though he said he also plans to support other Democrats.

Buttigieg’s rise, LGBT Democrats told BuzzFeed News, has been powerful for its symbolic moments — a major candidate kissing his husband on stage, or speaking on national television of his own coming-out — but also because of the fact that Buttigieg’s sexuality has, so far, been only a piece of his candidacy.

Buttigieg has tapped into a powerful network of LGBT donors, a wealthy, engaged, and motivated group that has for years been a driving force behind Democratic presidential candidates but that has never had a gay major-party candidate to rally behind in a presidential election.

They include Barry Karas, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, plus celebrities like Jane Lynch, who gave a maximum donation to Buttigieg. Karas, who also fundraises for the DNC, said he was moved by Buttigieg to jump into a primary that he’d planned to watch from the sidelines.

“Mayor Pete is such a wonderful voice for our community that I feel I want to support him in spite of the fact that I was trying to remain neutral,” Karas told BuzzFeed News. “His voice is so clear. The more and more he talks, it’s like, 'This guy is for real.'”

Friends had told Karas about Buttigieg, he said, but he remembers the moment he was truly taken by him: when Buttigieg spoke earlier this month at a brunch for the Victory Fund, a group that endorses LGBT candidates. There, Buttigieg spoke of a specific thought that is painfully familiar to most gay people: the idea of magically turning himself straight.

“If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “That’s a hard thing to think about now.”

“That realness,” Karas said, made him think of his own coming-out experience. “This guy really speaks the truth.”

Buttigieg at a campaign event hosted by the Asian Latino Coalition at the Machinists Hall April 17, in Des Moines.
Buttigieg at a campaign event hosted by the Asian Latino Coalition at the Machinists Hall April 17, in Des Moines.

Some donors told BuzzFeed News that they were first motivated by the simple goal of getting Buttigieg onto the debate stage — what they hoped would be a symbolic moment of progress. But like with Obama, who appealed to a wide swath of white voters, it’s Buttigieg’s resonance beyond his own community — a precipitous rise in national polls, the growing support of major Democratic donors — that has resonated most with many of his LGBT supporters.

“When I was looking at social media feeds, I thought I was living in a bubble, because it was all Mayor Pete. I thought, maybe it’s just in the LGBTQ community, especially gay men,” said Chris Massicotte, a Democratic consultant who sits on the board of the Victory Fund, which is likely to endorse Buttigieg.

“What’s really exciting is seeing somebody with his background making this kind of splash,” Massicotte said. “I really think that he’s going to appeal to a broad swath of voters.”

Buttigieg doesn’t have a total lock on big LGBT donors, and many have contributed to other candidates, too, notes Annise Parker, Victory Fund’s president and CEO and the first openly LGBT mayor of a major American city. But they are almost universally “making small investments in Pete.”

“They don’t know if they’re voting for him in the fall, but they think it’s so important,” Parker said. “They want to see the diversity of the party on stage, and they’re investing in that.”

Buttigieg’s admirers believe he’s risen so fast in the Democratic field not because of his sexuality — though they acknowledge that’s part of the intrigue — but rather his résumé and engaging style. He’s a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar, with consulting experience in corporate America and military service in Afghanistan. His theme of “intergenerational justice” highlights his youth, but also has captured the interest of senior citizens showing up at his events in large numbers. (“There’s a lot of that,” he said Wednesday when a reporter asked him if elderly voters he meets tell him he reminds them of their son.)

“To have such an extraordinary candidate is making us all proud,” Rep. David Cicilline, a gay Democrat from Rhode Island who has had conversations with Buttigieg but not yet endorsed a presidential candidate, told BuzzFeed News. “It kind of reinforces what we all know: that people should be evaluated on their own ideas and the content of their character, rather than their sexual identity.”

Buttigieg’s sexual identity, though, was more than tangential to his breakout. His surge began in early March, when at a CNN town hall forum, he took several shots at Vice President Mike Pence, who as Indiana governor pursued a “religious freedom” measure seen as an attempt to discriminate against the LGBT community. Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, has become a Twitter phenom. And Buttigieg’s Victory Fund speech has been central to his appeal, especially to LGBT supporters.

“That really got to me,” Kirk Kinderdietz, sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the pronunciation of Buttigieg’s name — “BOOT EDGE EDGE” — said of the speech as he waited for the Des Moines rally to begin. “It made me realize ... I now know what my parents felt like when Kennedy was running. That was my revelation. I didn’t think I would ever see that in my lifetime.”

But Kinderdietz had a quick reply when asked how transformative the first major gay candidate for president could be.

“Gay’s not the center focus,” he said. “The center focus is he has good ideas that are good for the country, that are good for every Americans.”

Later, during the rally, a man in the audience wanted to know what to tell his friends who say America isn’t ready for a gay president. “First of all, tell your friends I said hi,” Buttigeg began, before talking about how he came out in 2015, not long after Pence’s religious freedom fight, and then won reelection with 80% of the vote.

“I think people are ready,” Rich Eychaner, a Des Moines business leader and LGBT activist who supports Buttigieg, said after the rally. “Being gay is not the major issue that drives people to him. The thing that drives people to him is he’s incredibly smart. He’s obviously done a lot of homework on what he wants to do, what needs to be done, and how to present it.”
Buttigieg talks to press after a meet-and-greet at Madhouse Coffee April 8 in Las Vegas.

Eychaner, whose brother Fred is a major philanthropist and Democratic donor, runs a nonprofit foundation that sponsors an annual Matthew Shepard Scholarship Program, named for the gay Wyoming man beat to death 20 years ago. He’s booked Buttigieg to give the keynote speech at the awards dinner in June. Buttigieg also will headline a Human Rights Campaign event next month in Las Vegas.

“You hope he’s the real deal,” Eychaner said. “Whether he’s going to get all the way to November of next year, who knows? But he certainly reinvigorates your confidence that the political process can solve the current problems and that the strength of our democracy is vibrant enough that we can get back to the kind of values we’re used to believing.”

Some LGBT donors and activists are now putting more energy into supporting Buttigieg than they would have anticipated just several months ago. Alex Slater, who runs a public relations firm in Washington, DC, had never been “all in” for a candidate before. But after he saw Buttigieg in person for the first time, Slater said, “I was sold.” He’s fundraised aggressively for Buttigieg, sending thousands of emails and making dozens of phone calls that have brought in significant sums for the candidate.

For Slater, who is gay and on the Victory Fund board, Buttigieg’s sexuality is just a small piece of why he was so drawn to the South Bend mayor. “It’s his youth too. He’s incredibly articulate — he’s the anti-Trump,” Slater said. “There’s a lot of people that are excited that he’s a gay candidate, but for me, I’m also excited that it’s almost irrelevant.”

Still, Slater says, of seeing Buttigieg onstage with his husband, Chasten: “Ten years ago, would you have ever even thought? I mean, would you?”

Ira Madison III, a television writer and the host of the Crooked Media podcast Keep It, is cohosting a fundraiser for Buttigieg in May, though he said he also supports other Democrats, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. “The idea of a gay man running for president is something I want to be involved in as much as I can,” he said.

For Madison, who is black and gay, there are strong parallels between Buttigieg and Obama, whom he was drawn to in 2008.

“To put it bluntly, there was a way that when Obama was running for president, you were criticized for saying you liked him and wanted to vote for him because he was black. But people have been voting for people because they’re white for years,” Madison said. “Why can’t I say I’m interested in voting for someone because I am black? Why can’t I vote for someone because I am gay?”

Several Iowans see Buttigieg’s candidacy less as a watershed moment and more a continuation of progress they’ve helped foster. Eychaner was an openly gay candidate for Congress — back in 1984. (He was a Republican at the time.) And as a state, Iowa was ahead of the US Supreme Court in legalizing gay marriage.

“Iowa has a way of embracing people in ways that are unexpected,” Andy Bock, a Democratic activist from Ames, said while waiting for Buttigieg to arrive Wednesday at a house party in Marshalltown.

But the excitement and expectations surrounding Buttigieg’s candidacy also are evident in the behavior of those threatened by it. Randall Terry, known nationally for his opposition to abortion rights and for reveling in the culture wars, led a trio of protesters who interrupted Buttigieg’s Iowa events this week.

“Remember Sodom and Gomorrah!” Terry, wielding a biblical reference often used as a weapon against gay people, shouted in Des Moines. The next day, at the Buttigieg house party in Marshalltown and right in the middle of Holy Week, Terry arrived dressed as the devil and heckled through a loudspeaker as one associate, wearing a “Mayor Pete” sign, lashed another dressed as Christ on the cross.

“It’s sad,” Bock said as he watched the spectacle a few dozen yards away. “But they’re from out of state.”

In Des Moines, both “Sodom and Gomorrah” interruptions came as the mayor was talking about his husband. “You know, the good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God,” Buttigieg said after the first. “But the Iowa caucuses are up to you.”

Cicilline was impressed with that response.

“I’m certain it’s not the first time he’s confronted it in public life,” he said. “But I think he handled it with grace and dignity.”

After the Marshalltown event, a reporter asked Buttigieg if the demonstrations offended him.

“When you’re in politics, especially at this level, you’re going to see the good, the bad, the ugly, and the peculiar,” Buttigieg said. “That’s just part of how it works, and you’ve got to be prepared for that. Look, the next president is going to have to confront things a lot more challenging than being interrupted or having to talk over a little noise at an event. It may be irritating, but it’s also part of the landscape.”

LGBT activists are eager to see how Buttigieg reacts as his campaign continues.

“There’s going to be a lot more of that,” Gifford, the former Obama fundraiser, said of the anti-gay protests. “We’re going to have to have this conversation like we had a conversation electing the first African American president.”

Madison, the television writer, said he was moved by seeing Buttigieg kiss his husband onstage at his campaign launch — but also reminded, immediately, of Barack and Michelle Obama, whose simple fist bump in the midst of the 2008 campaign set off a chorus of racist and anti-Muslim backlash from the right.

“Everything they do,” Madison said, “is going to be dissected, the way that fist bump was.”

Henry J. Gomez reported from Des Moines. Molly Hensley-Clancy reported from Washington, DC.

April 1, 2019

America Is Ready For A Gay President and Pete Buttigieg Could Be The First One

                                                                 Image result for pete buttigieg on the white house

Data analyst and political columnist

Right now, the political world is in the middle of the Buttigieg Boomlet. Everyone in the media (and even some voters) is going nuts for South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He’s a 37-year-old Harvard-educated Afghanistan war veteran who speaks about half a dozen languages and, like almost every Democrat in the United States, is running for president. And if Mayor Pete were to win the Democratic nomination, he’d be the first openly gay major-party presidential candidate.
A couple of decades ago, Buttigieg’s sexuality probably would have been a deal-breaker. But polling data suggests that American opinions on LGBT issues have shifted dramatically over the past couple of decades, and those shifts have created real room for a gay candidate. Buttigieg would undoubtedly face hurdles if he were to win the nomination, but Democrats could pick candidates with more serious deficits.
It’s hard to overstate how quickly Americans have collectively changed their mind on LGBT issues. Over the past couple of decades, both Democrats and Republicans have become much more likely to say that sexual relations between adults of the same gender are “not wrong at all” and much less likely to say “always wrong.” Opinions have changed on marriage equality, too — both through generational replacement and persuasion. Younger voters are more likely to favor same-sex marriage than older voters are, but older generations also seem to have moved left on the issue over time.

Attitudes on LGBT issues have changed quickly within both parties. (David Byler/Washington Post)

Change in views on same-sex marriage broken down by generation. (David Byler/The Washington Post)
Unsurprisingly, Americans have simultaneously become more comfortable with LGBT people holding positions of power. In 2015, Gallup found that 74 percent of Americans would vote for a well-qualified gay or lesbian presidential candidate from their party. Only 24 percent said they wouldn’t. That’s a big shift from some similar 20th-century numbers — only 26 percent said they’d vote for a gay or lesbian candidate in 1978, and 59 percent said they would in 1999. A 2019 NBC-Wall Street Journal poll also showed that 68 percent would be “enthusiastic about” or “comfortable with” a gay or lesbian presidential candidate. In 2006, that number was 43 percent. 
Gay and lesbian candidates face more opposition than candidates who are straight but are not white and male. Gallup found that a greater percentage of Americans would vote for a Catholic, female, black or Hispanic candidate than a gay or lesbian candidate, while evangelical Christian candidates and gay and lesbian candidates had similar numbers (73 percent would vote for an evangelical, 74 percent would vote for a lesbian or gay person). The NBC-Wall Street Journal poll also found that respondents were more comfortable with a black, female or white male candidate than they were with a gay or lesbian candidate. But respondents were more comfortable with “a person who is gay or lesbian” as a presidential candidate than one who is older than 75, relatively young (under 40), Muslim, socialist or politically independent.
These are all basically good results for Buttigieg and gay and lesbian candidates across the country. Looking at these numbers, I think Buttigieg’s youth and his midsize-city governing experience might present more of an obstacle to his presidential hopes than his sexual orientation.
But Buttigieg still might face some unique struggles. It’s possible that there’s some amount of social desirability bias in these poll results. Those who are cooler toward LGBT people might tell an interviewer that they are pro-LGBT because they don’t want to seem backward or judgmental, causing pollsters such as Gallup and NBC-Wall Street Journal to underestimate the prevalence of anti-LGBT sentiments. 
In fact, political scientists Gabriele Magni and Andrew Reynolds recently found (using some fancy survey experimentation that controls for other demographic factors) that gay, lesbian and transgender candidates got somewhat less support than straight candidates. And there’s always the problem of implicit bias. Everyone brings subconscious assumptions to day-to-day life, and some voters might unknowingly judge a gay candidate by different standards than they would judge a straight one. The top-line findings from Gallup and NBC-Wall Street Journal should be encouraging to Team Buttigieg. But they don’t necessarily mean that he’ll have an easy campaign.
Stll, Democrats can — and arguably have — elected candidates with more substantial weaknesses than Buttigieg in the past. If his semi-longshot presidential run doesn’t pan out, he has a pretty good shot at becoming the nation’s first openly gay vice presidential nominee. And even if Buttigieg doesn’t end up in the White House in any capacity, his ability to run a campaign in which his sexual orientation is a virtual non-issue is a real, if subtle, victory for LGBT equality.

March 28, 2019

He is Gay and Proud, A Christian Who Challenges The Religious Right

As someone whose identity includes serious Christianity and serious progressive political stances, I’ve always been wary of trying to counter the Christian right with some sort of Christian left, in a Bible-quotation–loaded competition to claim God for a party or ideology. As Barack Obama once convincingly argued, doubt about what God wants people to do politically is an important part of an attitude of humility which used to be called “the fear of God.” It’s also part of the foundation for the great American doctrine of separation of church and state, which was sacred to Southern Baptists when I was growing up in that faith community (they’ve dramatically flip-flopped since then, alas).

Still, it’s important now and then to challenge the conservative assertion — often shared in ignorance by secular media — that religiosity, and particularly Christian religiosity, dictates reactionary positions on culture and politics. So I found it interesting and provocative that 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker goes out of his way to talk about his own religious faith:

[Booker] bids fair to become the most overtly Christian Democratic presidential candidate since Jesse Jackson and perhaps even Jimmy Carter, at a time when his party is trending irreligious and the opposition claims a monopoly on all things biblical. What makes Booker different from many left-of-center figures who are “personally” religious is that he purports to be progressive because of his faith, not despite it or incidentally alongside it (e.g., the way John F. Kennedy referred to his own faith as an “accident of birth”). If this becomes central to his identity as a presidential wannabe, it will be provocative to both the Christian right and to secular Democrats. And that could be both a benefit and a handicap for Booker ’20.

As E.J. Dionne observes, there is another 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who’s conspicuously talking about his faith, the fast-rising dark horse Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana:

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last week, the 37-year-old from South Bend, Ind., made a modest plea: “I do think it’s important for candidates to at least have the option to talk about our faith,” he said. He specifically targeted the idea that “the only way a religious person could enter politics is through the prism of the religious right.”

An Episcopalian and a married gay man, Buttigieg pointed to the core Christian concept that “the first shall be last; the last shall be first.”

He added: “What could be more different than what we’re being shown in Washington right now — often with some people who view themselves as religious on the right, cheering it on? . . . Here we have this totally warped idea of what Christianity should be like when it comes into the public sphere, and it’s mostly about exclusion. Which is the last thing that I imbibe when I take in scripture in church.”

Dionne notes that Booker and Elizabeth Warren share Buttigieg’s willingness to talk about Christian faith. But what makes Mayor Pete especially interesting is that he challenges the idea that Christianity is inherently homophobic in a direct and personal manner. To him, LGBTQ folk aren’t third parties who are the subject of some argument between Christians and progressives: He’s Christian, progressive, and gay. So conservative Christians who like to imply that their more accepting co-religionists aren’t “real” or “orthodox” because they don’t exclude gay people need to be willing to tell Buttigieg he’s taking the Lord’s name in vain. And that may be — and certainly should be — uncomfortable for them.

The Episcopal Church of America accepts gay parishioners, priests, and bishops in churches that recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday and have as authentic a claim to “orthodoxy” as any other church and more than many. So, too, do such solid elements of the American and global religious landscape as the United Church of Christ (a.k.a. Congregationalists), the Presbyterian Church (USA) (the largest gathering in that faith tradition), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ditto), the Unitarian-Universalist Association, and many congregations and whole regions of the United Methodists and my own Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that embrace gay people as equals in every way. There are many smaller denominations and nondenominational gatherings that do the same. And that’s aside from the millions of individual Catholics, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals who reject, quietly or openly, the homophobia of their own denominations.

Any Democratic presidential nominee who can authentically talk about his or her faith would be well advised to do so if only to confound Christian-right leaders and followers who have cast their own lots with the heathenish warlord in the White House. But Pete Buttigieg offers a particularly interesting contrast with the 45th president. Would anyone be confident in accusing this married, churchgoing, Afghanistan veteran of being ethically inferior to Donald Trump? Not without risking hellfire.

June 10, 2017

JFK and RFK Shared Everything-Even a Boyfriend From Youth to Death

This story originally published on Sunday by the  Daily Mail, Written by Jerry Oppenheimer, NY Times best-selling author.

Born 100 years ago, John F. Kennedy was revered as the 35th president but quietly chided for his womanizing
One of his closest relationships was with his gay best friend and prep school roommate Lem Billings
Billings told JFK about his romantic intentions toward him in a love note written on a piece of toilet paper at their elite Connecticut boarding school
The future president wrote back  'I'm not that kind of boy'
But one point Billings confided  that his friendship with the future president 'included oral sex, with Jack always on the receiving end'
They remained close even after the election, despite warnings from JFK's advisers who thought Russian agents could use the relationship as blackmail
After JFK's assassination, Billings had romantic feelings for JFK's nephew, Bobby Kennedy Jr.

Jerry Oppenheimer is a New York Times bestselling author who has written two books about the Kennedys. His latest book, The Kardashians: An American Drama, will be published in September. 
John F. Kennedy, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year with a Kennedy Centennial postage stamp, TV memorials, a slew of books, and much media coverage, was revered as the 35th president of the United States. 
But the man married to Jackie Kennedy was quietly chided for his compulsive philandering. The one iconic photo of President John F. Kennedy up close and personal with a woman other than Jackie shows him and his attorney general brother, Robert, coming on to curvaceous Marilyn Monroe at a party. 
While the photo of Kennedy cozying up to Monroe is the best known of him with one of his purported lovers, other far less public snapshots show the flip side of Kennedy's intimate relationships.

 Among the snapshots is one that shows a handsome pre-presidential Kennedy sunning himself, sprawled on a chaise at Patriarch Joe Kennedy's Palm Beach estate. And seated close to Kennedy is his shirtless, tanned and oiled best friend forever, his very gay chum, Kirk LeMoyne 'Lem' Billings.
While JFK is legendarily known as a master womanizer who frequently cheated on his first lady, his curious three-decades-long intimate friendship with Billings suggests more than a simple bromance.
They met in 1933 in their sophomore year at Choate Rosemary Hall, the exclusive Connecticut prep school, when both were teenagers, working together on their class's yearbook, and Billings instantly became attracted sexually and otherwise to the handsome scion of America's self-styled royal family.
Their very intimate relationship would last from those school days to Billings even having a room in the Kennedy White House – distressing for the first lady – to the day of Kennedy's assassination.
Details of Lem Billings and JFK's three-decade relationship are revealed in 'Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And The Dark Side Of The Dream' +13

Details of Lem Billings and JFK's three-decade relationship are revealed in 'Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And more.

One of the most credible accounts of the Kennedy-Billings relationship was told by David Pitts, who I interviewed extensively for my book, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And The Dark Side Of The Dream, because the strapping, bespectacled Billings, with a high-pitched, effeminate voice, would later become the fawning surrogate father – and fellow drug user – of JFK's nephew, Bobby Kennedy Jr., with whom Billings also had intense romantic feelings.

As one source told me, 'Young Bobby replaced Jack in Lem's heart of hearts.'
Billings, who was a year older than Jack Kennedy, made his desire known while the two were still at Choate in a bizarre love note, penned on a piece of toilet paper that could be disposed of easily to avoid incrimination at a time when homosexuality was illicit. 
While Billings' missive is long gone, a startled Kennedy responded, 'Please don't write to me on toilet paper anymore. I'm not that kind of boy.'

But Kennedy's reaction to Billings gay come-on soon changed and he became more amenable to his friend's advances, according to the writer Lawrence J. Quirk, author of 'The Kennedys in Hollywood.' Quirk had met Billings in the mid-Forties when both were volunteers in Jack Kennedy's first congressional campaign.

Quirk immediately pegged Billings as gay, noting his 'high, screechy laugh,' and 'high nasal whine of a voice.' As they became close, Billings confided that his relationship with Kennedy was, in fact, sexual, to a point.

According to Quirk, Billings revealed that his friendship with the future president of the United States 'included oral sex, with Jack always on the receiving end.'

Their arrangement, Quirk asserted, 'enabled Jack to sustain his self-delusion that straight men who received oral sex from other males were really only straights looking for sexual release,' and he further observed, 'Jack was in love with Lem being in love with him and considered him the ideal follower adorer.'

The Kennedy patriarch, Joe, a noted philanderer himself, was suspicious of Billings' sexual orientation from the start of his son's close friendship with him. He noted that everywhere Jack went, Billings was sure to follow, like a puppy dog. On school breaks, Jack often brought Billings home with him, sparking Joe Kennedy to complain to his wife, Rose, 'Do we have to have that queer around all summer?'

Still, the Kennedy clan accepted – even welcomed – Lem Billings into their exclusive inner-circle, practically adopting him, and he became a part of the family.
As Billings' biographer David Pitts told me, 'Once JFK decided that Billings was his best friend – like it or leave, everybody in the family sort of fell in line with that. The Kennedys were a liberal family and one that tolerated a lot of heterosexual promiscuity as well.'

 While her husband had his qualms about Billings and couldn't stand to have him around, the matriarch Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, had a different take. In her memoir, Times To Remember, published eleven years after Jack's assassination in Dallas in 1963, she wrote that Billings had 'remained Jack's lifelong close friend, confidant, share in old memories and new experiences…He has really been part of 'our family' since that first time he showed up at our house as one of 'Jack's surprises.'

One of Jack's five sisters, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, found it hard to describe her brother's relationship with Billings, once stating, 'It was a complete liberation of the spirit…' for Jack, and that her brother was a 'complete liberated man when he was with Lem.'

But Billings was embarrassed about his effeminate mannerisms – he'd remain publicly closeted for his lifetime. 'People think I'm a joke,' he once acknowledged. 'They make fun of my voice. But I'm stuck with the Kennedys emotionally, and I will be to the end of my life.'

After Jack Kennedy's election to the presidency, Billings was a constant presence and overnight guest at the White House. Knowing the kind of intimate relationship that he had with the president, advisers were concerned about political repercussions, and even blackmail. 
The Cold War was still raging, and there was fear Russian agents might use the friendship against Kennedy.

Gore Vidal, the gay writer who claimed he viewed homosexuality as normal as heterosexuality, disparaged the JFK-Billings relationship during the Kennedy administration.
 He once called Billings the 'chief f****t at Camelot.' As for Kennedy himself, Vidal asserted that the President 'felt quite comfortable in the company of homosexuals as long as they were smart enough to hold his interest.'

After the assassination of RFK in 1968, the flamboyant Billings transferred his obsessive affection for Jack, to handsome teenager Bobby Jr.

David Pitts, the author of 'Jack and Lem: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship,' told me, 'Lem was a gay man and he had a 14-year-old, good-looking kid living in his house with him and there had been rumors because of that. I have no evidence one way or another, but I would discount [any sexual activity.]

Still, Billings was viewed by many I interviewed for my biography of RFK Jr. as his gay Svengali who guided and literally tried to control every aspect of Bobby Jr.'s life from the time he was in his mid-teens.

During the night of May 28, 1981—almost two decades after JFK's untimely death – 65-year-old Lem Billings died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack.
Billings had once told Bobby that when he died he wanted the pall-bearers to be members of Bobby's circle of young friends, whom he knew well and with whom he had done drugs.

It was Bobby Kennedy Jr. who gave the eulogy.
'I'm sure he's already organizing everything in heaven so it will be completely ready for us – with just the right Early American furniture, the right curtains, the right drugs, the right paintings, and everything ready for a big, big party.

'Yesterday was Jack's birthday. Jack's best friend was Lem, and he would want to remind everyone of that today. I am sure the good Lord knows that heaven is Jesus and Lem and Jack and Bobby loving one another.' 

 DailyMail, edited by Adamfoxie*blog

'To clarify' from Adam Gonzalez, Adamfoxie*blog Publisher

To clarify any confusion from someone who might not understand sexuality and how it flows, let me say that sexuality as in my experience, readings and teachings is fluid. There are truly bisexual men that feel very comfortable with either sex, sexually speaking. The environment and society's laws, norms and myths mixes in that fluidity and sometimes can make a person's sexuality as hard as cement. Sexuality is something we are born with and to some that refuse to believe that I would say hat if a person were not inherently born gay then is for sure something that happens in the early life of a boy or girl even before they are aware of what sex is. You can only understand this only if you are gay or bi yourself or have studied it and have listened to people that are gay and bisexual without judging but a desire to learn what a person feels. If you are to understand anything in nature including space, the sun, space travel, you must put aside religious and society's norms. Why? because just like people were imprisoned for saying the earth was round, society's rules don't change with evidence. Sometimes if those norms are so ingrained that it takes a new generation altogether to be born and have an open mind to understand these things. Imagine killing somebody because they say the earth is round, the same applies to killing somebody because they have been a member of the same sex. One thing is to read something and another is to experience it yourself.
It is obvious to me what JFK was looking for in a man. He had been with plenty of women but up to know there is only this account of having a friend since he was a boy, an older brother you might say.
Since there was not related by blood the relationship expanded into also sex. That is normal because what he was looking for is something most people look for; Trust(with his life), loyalty, understanding, sharing, no judging, openness and the feeling that he could be himself with all other trappings. JFK followed the rules of the family by dating a girl marrying and having a family. In private he wanted to have his own life.
One day after the boomer generation is all gone and this world but particularly the western world if govern by millennials you will see if you could time travel the numbers of LGBT growing. It's not going to be because there will be more LGBT but because people won't be ashamed in admitting having been with a man or woman of their same sex. People will look back at today's norms as we do look back to the argument that the earth was not round.
It is all silly and should not be a cause of argument when we talk about who we are. We already know there are no or LGBT killers and criminals than any other group. It's a percentage just like everything in our lives is a percentage weather is our DNA and what type of chromosomes ar together or not to the water that we drink. Yes, sexuality is fluid, is not one thing you can just hold with your hands or say that is pure no matter if you filter it. It all depends on what container you use to keep it contained for you.

Thank you for reading. As always if you have a google account you can easily leave a comment, question, message (not commercials, they are never allowed in). If not, you can always use facebook, tweeter or google plus.
We work hard for you and will only be here while there is a healthy audience to share and fight fake truths be sex, science or politics. Allergic to rumors and lies.

The book: Details of Lem Billings and JFK's three-decade relationship are revealed in 'Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And The Dark Side Of The Dream' 

November 12, 2015

Another First Between Obama and the Gay Community: Front of Out Magazine


President Barack Obama is the first sitting president to cover an LGBT publication, a historic moment for both OUT magazine and the nation. The President was named "Ally of the Year" in the magazine's annual OUT100 issue due to his positive stance on marriage equality and his support for the LGBT community.

Not only is the President on the cover of the popular gay and lesbian magazine, the issue also features a candid interview with him about the people who influenced his positive relationship with the community, including his daughters. Obama states that Sasha and Malia, now 17 and 14, have shown him that there has been a big shift in how people address homosexuality across generations.

 "To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn't make sense," the President tells OUT. "It doesn't dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends' parents who are same-sex couple should be treated any differently. That's powerful."

President Obama also talks about how his mother inspired his support for LGBT rights. He states that Dunham, who passed away in 1995, taught him that "every person was of equal worth," something that prompted him to focus on the rights of the gay and lesbian community during his administration.

Obama hasn't always been on board with same-sex marriage. According to CNN, the President has flip-flopped about it since he was a state Senate candidate in 1996. During his 2008 presidential campaign and up until 2012, he voiced his opposition to marriage equality, despite his support for it back in 1996.

It wasn't until 2012 that Obama fully supported the right of same-sex couples to get married in the United States. In an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, he stated that he initially "hesitated on gay marriage" because he thought civil unions would be good enough, but was "proud and happy" when the Supreme Court's decision came down.

"I was honored to stand in the Rose Garden and reiterate for every American that we are strongest, that we are most free when all of us are treated equally," Obama told Roberts. "I was proud to say that love is love."

December 12, 2014

Who would Have Guessed? Obama’s Greatest Legacy to be Support for Gays


With attention increasingly turning to the legacy of the Obama administration, one area of civil rights seems sure to be viewed as a breakthrough success: the recognition and advancement of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. And while this legacy is already on solid footing on the domestic front, many opportunities still exist to entrench support for LGBT rights globally.
In 2008, Obama ran as a "fierce ally" of the LGBT community, yet many were unimpressed by the early months of his administration. In 2009, the LGBT magazine The Advocate ran a parody of his iconic "Hope" poster with the caption "Nope?" Shortly before the 2012 election, however, the same magazine ran a cover with his face superimposed on the grand seated statue in the Lincoln Memorial.
What changed so drastically over time? The evolution of the administration began with a host of incremental steps, such as ensuring hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners and lifting the ban on entry to the U.S. to people with HIV. Over time, Obama led the successful repeal of the ban on "gays in the military" and ensured the enactment of an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill. Using the bully pulpit, he filmed a segment for the "It Gets Better" campaign in support of LGBT teens, and in his second inaugural address, he cited the landmark Stonewall Riots of 1969 alongside Seneca Falls and Selma as turning points in civil rights history.
Perhaps most of all, Obama personally endorsed same-sex marriage and his administration refused to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA in 2013, the administration has been diligent and proactive in extending the full range of marriage equality rights with regard to immigration, access to federal programs, taxation and more. At the same time, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act this year has begun to be interpreted, for the first time, to confer federal anti-discrimination protections on transgender people.                                                        
Much less noticed has been an equally impressive parallel track taken with regard to promotion of LGBT rights around the world. Three years ago this week, in December 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech emphasizing that "gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights." The phrasing echoed her famous speech as first lady on women's rights, given in Beijing 15 years prior, which signaled the inclusion of gender equality as a central focus of U.S. foreign policy.
Concurrently, Obama issued a "Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons." Unlike on the more scattered and improvised domestic-policy side, this one landmark document has served as a coherent strategic blueprint for action by the federal government.
The memorandum contains several major elements, including combating anti-LGBT criminalization abroad, protecting LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, responding to anti-LGBT human rights abuses internationally, providing targeted foreign assistance and engaging international organizations to secure LGBT rights. In all of these areas, the State Department has outlined a range of accomplishments.
For example, a Global Equality Fund has been established to bridge government, companies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to provide emergency and long-term assistance. The fund promotes LGBT rights through a small grants program, an emergency protection rapid response mechanism, and long-term capacity-building efforts for human rights organizations overseas. Protections for asylum seekers has also been expanded; in one notable case, a Ugandan LGBT rights activist was recently provided asylum rather than being forced to return to a potentially fatal environment in his home country.
Likewise, embassies around the world have begun proactively engaging with governments and human rights organizations. And at the United Nations, the U.S. is a charter member of the LGBT Core Group, which in September issued a ministerial declaration on "Ending Violence and Discrimination against Individuals Based on Their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity."
Despite these crucial steps, much more work remains to be done. "The U.S. blueprint for action can be a powerful force, but only if its approach is consistent and guided by the understanding that all rights are indivisible and universal," said Jessica Stern, executive director of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
"Achieving change will demand focused attention. One crucial step forward would be the immediate creation of a Special Envoy for LGBT Rights at the State Department," Stern noted. Such an envoy would act as a high-level advocate for LGBT concerns, working within the State Department, bilaterally with other countries and through multilateral organizations. The position of special envoy is the focus of bill introduced last summer by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.).
Likewise, the Council for Global Equality, a Washington-based NGO with the goal of advancing an American foreign policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity, "has identified a series of actionable next steps that could advance the Administration’s commitment by moving the government from a reactive posture to a longer-term human rights protection agenda," according to the council Chair Mark Bromley. These objectives, added Bromley, "are designed to harmonize the Administration's commitments into a coherent human rights policy — and an enduring legacy of President Obama."
In addition to creation of the special envoy position, other priority areas include:

  • Requiring automatic policy reviews whenever foreign countries enact new anti-LGBT policies. The review could be triggered by legislation, changes in enforcement patterns or failure to protect LGBT populations. Such a thorough review was conducted after the passage of a particularly repressive anti-gay law in Uganda last year, but it's unclear that comparable reviews have been undertaken in the case of similar laws enacted in Nigeria and, most recently, Gambia.
  • Mandating that government contractors and grantees globally have LGBT non-discrimination policies as pre-conditions for contracts or assistance. Such a move would parallel an executive order issued last summer banning anti-LGBT discrimination policies among government contracts within the U.S. for domestic contactors.
  • Strengthening policies to protect LGBT rights in multilateral organizations such as the U.N., the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Organization of American States. The U.S. should also advocate for adequate funding and staffing for such policies to be enforced and monitored.
  • Establishing annual reports and other mechanisms to make information more widely available about federal effort in the realm of global LGBT rights, and also holding more extensive consultations with a range of stakeholders about how best to implement the memorandum.

Whatever further steps the Obama administration takes, some critics will inevitably dismiss the relevance of LGBT rights, or consider LGBT rights a marginal issue when it comes to the forging of a presidential legacy that will stand the test of time.
But such voices have been proven wrong before. They're the same ones that in the 1960s saw no need for the Civil Rights Act, in the 1970s resisted signing the Helsinki human rights accords, in the 1980s rejected sanctions against apartheid South Africa, in the 1990s mocked steps to advance a global women's rights agenda and in the 2000s endorsed human rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism.
Yet, today, each of these incidents is recalled as a badge of honor — or a mark of shame — for the president who presided over them. So, too, will today's struggle for LGBT rights, both at home and abroad, be recalled as a substantive and productive element of the Obama legacy.
Smith is a senior fellow at the ProgrRaymond A. Smith, contributoressive Policy Institute; an adjunct assistant professor of political science at Columbia University and New York University; and author of Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World to Reform and Revitalize American Politics and Government.

Raymond A. Smith, contributor

Just to think  to
 hear gays badmouthing Obama and saying that maybe he should resign.  Resign for what? These guys are uninformed republicans that swallow that hook from the GOP like it was the seamen of another man. They don’t check the unemployment figures, people that have benefited from his programs, no not the top 1% and neither are these poor not even middle class gays that are too ignorant to be democrats and not have any objection to the party that has called them from sick to child molesters and many in the party still do. They are loyal to what ? I wonder? The more I think about it they are being loyal to the color of someone’s skin with a white sheet than a black president of this United sStates dully elected two times for 8 years.
Publisher, Adamfoxie blog Int.

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