On Gay Marriage & Gavin Newsom...

After reading Cahir O'Doherty's May 29th Irish Voice article titled, Newsom Applauds Gay Marriage Ruling, we couldn't help but make a few comments.

It's great to see the Irish Voice covering LGBT issues! Not all Irish/Irish Americans are hardcore homophobes, and it's nice to see an Irish paper profiling issues pertaining to those of us Irish folks that fall outside of an ultra-conservative Catholic world view.

While it is positive that Gavin Newsom, an Irish Catholic heterosexual man from a privileged family, has stood by the affluent sector of the LGBT community in the fight for marriage equality, it is important to remember that Newsom is not a friend to all sectors of the LGBT community.

In the city of San Francisco, Newsom was responsible for Care Not Cash (Proposition N), a paternalistic program designed to cut cash grants given to homeless people in general assistance programs in exchange for encouraging them to enter shelters and seek other social services. This program limited the autonomy of homeless people and attempted to keep them off the street and out of sight, and was also meant to ensure any cash issued was not being used to buy drugs or alcohol.

In another attempt to "improve the quality of life" in San Franciso, Newsom also sponsored Proposition M, known as the "aggressive anti-panhandling measure." This measure defined "aggressive panhandling" as touching, following or threatening people and banned all forms of begging near ATMs, parking lots, check-cashing businesses, median strips, highway ramps, and on public transportation. (This measure even made it so that Girl Scouts could no longer peddle their cookies in Safeway supermarket parking lots.)

(And that's just a bit on two of Newsom's policies. Really, we could go on and on.)

We point this out because contrary to stereotypes, not all LGBT people are rich & white. Our community is every community - Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino, white, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, rich, poor, working class, middle class....you get the picture. The gay marriage ruling in California is a step forward, and it is commendable that Governor Paterson here in NY is seeking to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, but it is crucial that LGBT folks stay active on issues beyond gay marriage. To us, Gavin Newsom cannot be considered a hero to the LGBT community when he has such a strong record on "quality of life" issues that criminalize poor folks, which includes LGBT folks.

So again, kudos to the Irish Voice for covering more Irish/Irish American LGBT issues, but we can't in good conscience join in on any Gavin Newsom admiration. But blogs were made for this very reason, to debate and voice other opinions. And in our case, our opinions always veer to the left and are always tied to a human rights for all framework.


Support the Raytheon 9!

In 2006, members of the Derry Antiwar Coalition organized an occupation of a local facility of Raytheon, a U.S.-based weapons maker and world's largest producer of guided missiles to protest Israel's war on Lebanon. Nine activists were arrested and charged with vandalizing the building. They are currently on trial and could face time in prison if convicted.

For daily trial updates, click here.

To read Shaun Harkin's interview with Eamonn McCann, click here.

Click here to sign the petition in support of the Raytheon 9.


Film about Bobby Sands wins award at Cannes

Hunger, a film about Bobby Sands, received the Camera d'Or award at the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival. For more information about the film, click here and here.

Bobby Sands died on May 5, 1981 after 66 days on hunger strike in the struggle for human rights and political status for all Irish Republican political prisoners incarcerated in Northern Ireland. He was only 27 years old. Bobby Sands was one of ten men to die in the Hunger Strike of '81. The demands of the prisoners included:
  • The right not to wear a prisoner uniform (since they were not criminals)
  • The right to free association amongst Republican political prisoners
  • The right as political prisoners not to do prison work
  • The right to organize their own educational and recreational facilities
  • The right to one weekly visit, letter and parcel

For more information on the Hunger Strike of '81, click here.

More on Prisoner of the Crown...

(Painting by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

The Irish ultimately replied that – straight or gay – Casement had died for Ireland, and they honored his sacrifice. When his coffin lay in state in Dublin’s Garrison Church of the Sacred Heart, 165,000 mourners filed past to pay their respects.

Click here for the full Irish Voice review of Prisoner of the Crown.


Wanna go see Prisoner of the Crown at the Irish Rep?

Wanna join Irish Queers to see Prisoner of the Crown, a play about Roger Casement? Send us an e-mail and we'll let you know when we're thinking of going.

From the Irish Rep's website:

PRISONER OF THE CROWN, a broad and bitter indictment of judicial abuse, is the riveting story of the trial of Sir Roger Casement, an Irish patriot and one of the world's great humanitarians. A few short years after being knighted, Casement was sentenced to be hanged for treason in what was called, "The Trial of the Century." The sensational trial was tainted by the presence of the "Black Diaries," --an alleged explicit account of Casement's promiscuous homosexual lifestyle. Were the diaries real? Or, were they, as many believed, forged by the crown forces determined that he pay the ultimate price for his role in the Easter, 1916 uprising? The play, set in the jury room of the Old Bailey and in the minds of the jury, features 49 characters and paints a captivating picture of heroism, passion, and manipulative deception.

Roger Casement was born in Kingstown, now Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, in 1864. In the 1890s Casement joined the British consular service, and in 1903 gained an international reputation for his humanitarian efforts in the Congo and later in Peru where he exposed atrocities to which natives were subjected by agents of rubber companies using forced labor. His reports created an international sensation for which resulted in his knighthood. He was one of the world’s first great humanitarians in the modern sense. He retired from the consular service in 1912 and was hanged for high treason August 3, 1916.

Click here for Irish Voice article Irish Rep Season Ends With a Bang.


Race for Economic Justice this Saturday 5/17

This Saturday Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ) will be holding its Amazingly Queer Race for Economic Justice. This city-wide event will bring together a multitude of social justice organizations, celebrities, businesses and local and national community members to raise awareness of and gain support for QEJ and to further the necessary, unique and groundbreaking social and political work we do for low-income New Yorkers. This event will be comprised of 100 people, working in pairs as 50 teams, competing in a skill-based race/scavenger hunt throughout the city. Each team will be sponsored by family, friends, community members, organizations and businesses.

If you are interested in participating, please visit their MySpace page by clicking here. Please support this event by either volunteering or making a donation.

Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ) is a progressive non-profit organization committed to challenging the systems that create poverty and economic injustice in our communities and promoting an economic system that enhances sexual and gender diversity. They work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who are homeless, are on public assistance and/or are immigrants.

Nuala O'Faolain dies at 68

To read her NY Times obituary, click here.

Memorial for Bob Kohler this Sunday 5/18

Memorial for Bob Kohler, queer activist extraordinaire (and anti-racist, feminist, music & theater-lover, West Village hero plus much more...)

Sunday, May 18th
The LGBTQ Center
208 West 13th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues

Subway & PATH Directions
1, 2, or 3 to 14th Street and 7th Avenue
A, C, E, or L to 14th Street and 8th Avenue
F or V to 14th Street and 6th Avenue
PATH to 14th Street and 6th Avenue

Please join us on the day after Bob's birthday to celebrate the impact he had in our lives and on our communities. There will be speakers, star-studded performances, art, video and the launch of an ongoing archive of Bob's life.


May Day March for Immigrant Rights

Members of IQ marched down Broadway yesterday in support of immigrant rights.