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September 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM
It’s mystifying to see Seattle City Council President Sally Clark’s Twitter account has blown up with criticism from gay activists, thanks to an off-hand comment from Mayor Mike McGinn. Mystifying, because Clark, the first openly gay council president, co-sponsored council resolutions in support of same-sex marriage in 2012 and donated to the campaign to affirm its legality. Her record on LGBT issues is rock-solid.
But she became a target nonetheless when she declined McGinn’s offer to sponsor a city council resolution denouncing Russia’s retrograde law criminalizing “homosexual propaganda.” (For background, read this New York Times story).
McGinn suggested the resolution in response to a letter from the Seattle Russian Consul General Andrey Yushmanov, who criticizing the mayor’s participation in a Sept. 3 protest outside Yushmanov’s Madison Park home. “… I would appreciate if you could clarify whether such your (sic) support of the protesters reflects the official position of the authorities of Seattle,” Yushmanov asked in a letter.
When McGinn, in an interview with The Stranger, said Clark had declined to sponsor a council resolution, editorial director Dan Savage (who has 167,000-plus Twitter followers), pounced on Clark as hypocritical.
August 26, 2013 at 3:47 PM
A new dimension was added to the criminal case of the soldier sentenced to 35 years in prison for stealing state secrets last week. The soldier charged and convicted as Bradley Manning announced a desire to be known as a woman named Chelsea.
“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,” Manning said in a statement read on NBC’s Today Show. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”
Manning’s announcement prompted considerable discussion about whether the Army would comply with the request. The private was returned to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after sentencing. Though this issue has not come up before with military prisoners, a 1-year-old Federal Bureau of Prisons policy requires federal prisons to establish treatment plans, including hormone therapy if necessary, for inmates diagnosed with gender-identity disorder. Manning was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2010.
Last week Seattle Times editorial writer Bruce Ramsey wrote a blog post about Manning that offended many people. Though Ramsey wrote a clarication to explain he was commenting on the irony of the government possibly paying for such treatment for a stealer of state secrets, the post was written in an insensitive way. The post prompted several emails expressing dismay and hurt. Some very thoughtfully discussed the complexities of gender-identity issues and the challenges of seeking medical care that most insurance companies don’t cover.
Manning’s story and this episode provides an opportunity to have a dialogue about transgender issues. These panelists have confirmed their participation in our chat. We invite you to join our discussion to share your thoughts, comments and questions.
Danielle Askini, founder of the Gender Justice League in Seattle. Askini was featured in a Seattle Times news story on transgender pride in June.
Bruce Ramsey, editorial writer for The Seattle Times.
Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions editor/digital for The Seattle Times, will moderate the discussion.
Update 10:20 a.m. 8/27/13:
Ina Fried, senior editor at AllThingsD. Fried, who is based in California, covers mobile technology for the technology news site. Before joining AllThingsD she spent a decade at CNET covering, among other things, Microsoft and Apple. She a former board member and vice president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the current chair of its Transgender and Allies task force.
May 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM
The U.S. Senate is on the verge of debating comprehensive immigration reform, and there are signs Republicans and Democrats are cooperating to finally pass a substantial bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s 13-5 decision Monday to send the measure to the floor is a big deal, and though I support equal rights for same-sex couples (and this board advocates enthusiastically for same-sex marriage), now is not the time for any special interest groups to exploit an emotional issue that risks killing the entire legislation.
Here’s an Associated Press story outlining the sweeping changes in the proposal. In general, the bill provides a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants and a legal means for foreign workers of all skills levels to cross the border. The measure was in limbo for days over a proposed amendment that would have granted gay Americans the right to obtain a green card for their foreign-born partners. Some Republicans call the idea a “non-starter.”
I think that view is antiquated and totally unfair, but we have to deal with the issue before us. Comprehensive immigration reform needs the support of both parties to get anywhere. As the editorial board noted in April 10 and April 20 editorials, it’s taken nearly three decades to reach this point.
Focusing on making immigration laws more effective doesn’t mean we have to sweep the struggles of same-sex couples under the rug. It means we should simultaneously look at changing the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act. Repealing DOMA would make this controversy over granting visas to foreign-born partners a non-issue. The Supreme Court is expected to weigh in any day now.
Not an ideal solution, but a pragmatic one that will — eventually — satisfy everyone.