Utah gay rights protest against Mormon bigotry

This video from the USA is called Top LDS ‘Apostle’ Boyd K. Packer: Mormons will always oppose Satan’s counterfeit marriages.

From Associated Press in the USA:

Utah gay activists protest Mormon church remarks

October 7th, 2010 @ 9:50pm

Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY – Gay rights activists staged a silent protest Thursday outside the headquarters of the Mormon church in Salt Lake City in response to a church leader’s remarks that homosexuality is an immoral condition that can and should be overcome.

The sermon by Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, came Sunday during the 180th semiannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

In his remarks Packer said some would argue that gays “were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”

Activists nationwide have called Packer’s remarks hurtful and say they ostracize gay church members and can lead some to consider or attempt suicide.

On Thursday night, activists dressed in black to symbolize the loss of young, gay Mormons to suicide, activists lay head-to-toe on the sidewalks circling the church’s six-block downtown campus.

Police estimated the crowd at roughly 1,000, although organizer Eric Ethington, who runs the blog PrideinUtah, said event staff counted close to 4,500 participants.

“We want to tell men like Boyd K. Packer that we are tired of watching our children die. There are consequences to your words,” Ethington said to the crowd to kick off the event. “You cannot change us, we cannot change ourselves and the more you try, the more dead bodies you leave behind. Stop.”

Ethington defended Packer’s right to express his opinion, but say the church’s gay youth also need to hear a message of hope.

“We love you. You are beautiful. You are perfect just the way you are,” he said, drawing cheers.

… Packer, 86, who is next in line for the church’s presidency, said those who tolerate or advocate voting for same-sex marriage want to legalize immorality, “as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national civil rights organization for the lesbian, gay, transgender community, has since called for Packer to recant his “inaccurate and dangerous” comments.

In a news release, the group noted that the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association dispute the efficacy of reparative therapies that attempt to alter a person’s sexual orientation and said a 2009 study in the medical journal Pediatrics found that telling teens they can change their orientation often increases the likelihood of suicide.

Protest participant Elan Matotek, 26, was raised Mormon and said the messages she heard in church _ that homosexual behavior is wrong _ were difficult to hear.

“It makes you uncomfortable for people to come out. It makes you feel like less of a person,” said Matotek, who attended the protest with her girlfriend, 22-year-old Jasmine Clark. “But, I feel like I am the person I’m supposed to be.”

Packer’s message _ heard by more than 20,000 in the church conference center and millions more through worldwide television, radio and Internet broadcasts _ could have far reaching affects on young church members wrestling with their sexuality, Matotek said.

“You know they will listen to him and believe that what they are doing is wrong,” she said. “I think it’s just wrong. He has power and I think he’s using it in the wrong way.”

A report by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) has found significant homophobia and discrimination in the state of Utah, home to the Mormon Church: here.

BOY SCOUTS END BAN ON GAY LEADERS “The Boy Scouts of America voted Monday to lift a long-established ban on gay adults as employees and volunteers within the organization. The BSA’s full executive board voted 45 to 12 in favor of the change, effective immediately.” The Mormon church is considering leaving the Scouts in protest. [Lydia O’Connor, HuffPost]

Mormon officials turn away 150 female members from all-male conference: here.

Women’s rights groups, LGBT organisations and teaching unions in the US are coming out in force against Senator Jim DeMint, who said recently that openly gay people and unmarried pregnant women should be banned from teaching in state schools: here.

Increase in gay teen suicides needs addressing: here.

Ozzy Osbourne ‘disgusted’ by anti-gay church’s use of his music at protest: here.

7 people arrested after series of hate crimes targeting gays in New York, police say: here.

The controversy over extreme homophobic remarks by the Republican candidate for governor of New York State, Carl Paladino, emerged in the context of a vicious hate crime: here.

USA: An appeal court has frozen a judge’s ruling halting the military’s homophobic “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy even though the Pentagon has made it clear it will accept openly gay recruits: here.

Russian court rules LGBT Pride parade ban ‘illegal’: here.

Ugandan gays and lesbians ‘attacked after being outed’: here.

Lessons in gay history help eradicate homophobic bullying: here.

17 thoughts on “Utah gay rights protest against Mormon bigotry

  1. Japan’s lesbians still scared to come out

    Despite public parades and celebrities among their number, social pressures continue to keep many of Japan’s gay women in the closet

    By Ulara Nakagawa 19 November, 2010

    More than 1000 participants dance during the Lesbian and Gay Parade 2006 in Tokyo.

    “Homosexuality itself — as long as you don’t say it — is accepted in Japan. Once you start saying it you put yourself in a box,” says 29-year-old Miho Kashimura, describing the situation for many gay women in her country.

    “Then sometimes you get in trouble, and maybe you get all the images put on you that come with the word,” she says.

    In Japan, while there is no law against homosexuality, being gay or lesbian is something that remains generally ‘undesirable’ in mainstream society. Marriage in the country is only permitted for heterosexual couples.
    High profile transexuals change thinking

    Still, in recent years more lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT) in Japan have trickled into the public eye, including some high-profile celebrities through the powerful channel of the Japanese showbiz industry.

    Twenty-five-year-old singer and actress Ataru Nakamura’s popularity is rumored to have grown after the 2006 disclosure of her male-to-female (MTF) gender reassignment, while transsexual celebrities Ai Haruna and Ayana Tsubaki are a common sight on the variety show circuit.

    Outside the entertainment world, several openly gay politicians have seen the spotlight as well, including Aya Kamikawa, the only openly transgendered official in Japan, who was re-elected for a second four-year term in 2007 to her seat in Setagaya ward, the largest ward in Tokyo.

    And this August, the Tokyo Pride parade received international media attention as it returned with gusto after a three-year hiatus.

    But there is still a noticeable lack of openly lesbian figures in public arenas, leaving many in the dark when it comes to the lesbian community in Japan.

    gay and lesbian culture in japan
    In 2007, some 2,800 people participated in the Gay and Lesbian parade in Tokyo, which then took a hiatus.
    Lack of meeting spots

    Even in the well-known gay 2-Chome section of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, there are approximately 10 to 12 exclusively lesbian bars to 400 or so gay and mixed bars and clubs.

    Kashimura is a Japanese woman now working and residing in Tokyo, who came out as a lesbian to her friends and family in the mid-2000s while interning at a venture consulting company in Seattle.

    She remembers coming out to her friends and family back home in an email that she stared at for hours before finding the courage to hit “send.”

    For Kashimura, who knew she was “different” since high-school, leaving Japan and going to university in the West was the only way she could start a fresh life and be open with her sexuality.

    “I needed to get out. In the United States, I knew in my head that they’re pretty open. I knew that if I went to a Japanese university I would repeat the same thing and then I’d always be hiding who I am. I had friends that I couldn’t come out to, who I was too afraid to lose. I just wanted to escape and go to a new environment and have new friends, a new everything and then I could restart my life,” says Kashimura.

    To her surprise, the response from Japan to her life-altering mail was all positive.

    Kashimura says her parents’ divorce, during a time when legally ending marriage was not widely accepted in society, might have contributed to their more liberal mind-set.

    As for her friends, she guesses her popularity in high school combined with her tomboy image, might have helped make her coming out more widely accepted.
    gay and lesbian culture in japan
    The lesbian community in the parade are a small minority of the total.
    Fear of coming out

    However, for Kashimura’s partner, a 34-year-old whom we will call KM, the situation is very different.

    KM still lives at home with her family. When Kashimura sleeps over, which is often, they place an object at her bedroom door to give a warning call when her mother stops in — so one can quickly roll off the bed, onto the guest mattress laid beside it.

    KM is still in the closet, although she plans to soon come out to her family and friends.

    Wearing make-up and dressed in a feminine, up-to-date outfit, she looks like a typical Japanese female in her early-30s, next to the more athletic and makeup-less Kashimura.

    However, her dual life hasn’t come without certain sacrifices.

    KM explains that when she first started going to lesbian and gay bars in Tokyo 10 years ago, it was fine, until her friends began to ask questions.

    “They asked about my future. ‘When will you marry?’ ‘Why don’t you have a boyfriend?’ They would ask me, and it was trouble,” she says.
    Dating men to avoid suspicion

    In the past, KM went on dates with men, to avert suspicion, but she became so stressed from the deception she developed an eating disorder. Later, to appease her friends, she pretended that her girlfriend at the time was a man.

    “I couldn’t go into specifics that way, and they would press for more details and that was sort of the last straw. So I just stopped seeing my friends at that point. And I just started hanging out with my lesbian friends,” says KM.

    KM guesses that less than 10 percent of the Japanese lesbians she knows have come out to their friends, and that the number who told their parents is likely even lower.

    She explains, “The lesbian community in Japan is pretty big, not like Canada and America but then you don’t realize there are so many lesbians because you don’t see it. They don’t act like they’re lesbians.”

    “Lesbians in Japan are considered kawaretteru or hen (odd or strange). People think maybe you had a family problem in the past, like maybe it’s your parents’ fault that you are a lesbian or something, maybe like it’s a strange deviance. They think it’s something you can change, not a natural thing, a choice of sexual activity. Then it’s considered to be perverted or gross,” says KM.

    When asked what she thinks about gay marriage, KM replies, “Men and women falling in love, is considered normal. Even if we could legally marry here, because there is this image, it simply wouldn’t go well, I think.”
    gay and lesbian culture in japan
    Lesbians stood — and dressed together.
    Dyke Weekend

    Chu is a pioneer in efforts to bring people closer together. She is the chief organizer of the three-times-a-year Dyke Weekend gatherings held in the prefecture of Saitama.

    Chu is also a well-recognized face in the community and among international lesbians living in and passing through Tokyo, having run the Chestnut and Squirrel, a popular weekly lesbian international bar night in 2-Chome for eight years.

    The bar where the night took place closed earlier this year, much to the dismay of many.

    According to Chu’s partner, Toby Siguenza, a 31-year-old U.S.-native who lives and works in Japan, “everyone felt like it was their home away from home. Everyone was so upset, and people around the world were like, ‘this is a travesty.'”
    Lesbian segmentation

    Chu, who was inspired to get more involved in the Japanese gay and lesbian community after traveling to New York and seeing the more free and politically active LGBT scene there, notices a fragmentation that exists among lesbian women in Japan, who are spread out and grouped into categories like ‘international’ or ‘younger,’ ‘older,’ ‘on-line,’ and more.

    She explains, “Maybe our problem is that we don’t connect with each other well. Maybe we’re not as good at connecting as other kinds of communities. I think we still need political action in the community. There are still problems in society.”

    Therefore, Chu is currently focused on promoting awareness and unity through partner Siguenza’s new venture — an English cafe for lesbians in Tokyo in the 2-Chome district.

    She explains, “Maybe if Japanese lesbians learn English we can break the language wall and help them. Cultures in the West are more open while Japanese tend to hide because of cultural reasons and the language issue. Maybe they want to explore the world but they’re shy.”
    gay and lesbian culture in japan
    Staff tend a community center in Shinjuku’s 2-Chome district.
    Gold Finger

    Chiga Ogawa is another famous figure in Japan’s lesbian community for designing parties for women including the girls-only monthly club event Gold Finger, which has been running since 1991.

    She is currently also the owner of Motel, a popular lesbian bar in 2-Chome. Ogawa seems similarly determined to continue to bring people together — not through language, but rather, through fun.

    Weaving swiftly through the vibrant clientele at her popular girls-only gathering spot, ducking in and out from behind the bar — she is an impressive businesswoman with an air of authority, a figure who is called the boss of the lesbian community by many.

    When asked her thoughts on lesbian culture in Tokyo, she is hesitant to categorize or define anything, instead describing the atmosphere of her bar as “just fun. It’s just people coming together to have fun. That’s all,” before darting away to attend to clients walking in the door.
    Reaching the younger generation

    For lesbians who live in urban areas, and who can afford to take part in the night scene, there is something exciting and friendly on offer.

    But for younger generations, who are still in school or living in rural areas, or just not into going out to bars, Siguenza says they find other ways to interact with others like them.

    ‘‘There’s this site, bianbian.jp and it’s purely lesbian and it’s purely Japanese and this is the most popular one,” says Siguenza.

    Whether it’s flourishing online communities or events like Dyke Weekend, there are lesbian-aimed efforts in Japan. But with such a varied and scattered community across the country with so many women opting to stay in the closet, it is hard to come close to defining a Japanese lesbian culture or what the future holds.

    After being asked about the prospect of being able to legally marry in Japan, KM suddenly remarks, “If I could, maybe, maybe I’d come out.”

    But she adds that for most lesbians in Japan, that’s still a faraway dream. “I think most people just want to be together. That’s enough.”



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  7. Saturday 14th November 2015

    posted by Morning Star in World

    Lesbians’ foster baby court fight

    UNITED STATES: Officials are challenging a Utah judge’s decision a to a take a baby away from lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple.

    Utah Division of Child and Family Services officials vowed on Thursday to fight the ruling in the appeals court if Judge Scott Johansen does not rescind his decision.

    The agency said the judge went against its recommendation that the nine-month old baby should stay with married couple April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce.



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