Friday, December 27, 2013

We Are Winning

Tonight A&E announced that they would not be suspending Phil Robertson, the (now) infamous patriarch of Duck Dynasty who last week derided gay men and inferred that black people were a-ok in the Jim Crow South. Understandably the LGBT community was horrified, with many LGBT people taking to social media and denouncing A&E’s decision.  

From the Christian Right’s announcement that they would be holding a “Chick-Phil-A” Day to support Phil Robertson’s “right to free speech” (because clearly, that was violated here), to GOP members from all over the country coming to the defense of Phil Robertson (including Sarah Palin, who actually admitted that she didn’t even read the interview with GQ that cause all the ruckus), the voices of bigotry seem to have won. It is still socially acceptable to call gay people sinners and that we are “full of murder” and must change our sexual orientation.

But have they won?

This week we saw two more states added to the list of states which will recognize the legitimacy of our marriages. I have seen people I know, people who I never thought would be on our side, being vocal allies against the oppression that we face as a community both legally and socially. Religious groups are starting to recognize that the love that we have for our spouses, partners, significant others, is just as a valuable as the love that a heterosexual person manifests. The culture is coming to our side.

Is it coming as fast as many of us want? No. I personally find it shameful that A&E would rather make money than to do the right thing. I find it shameful that in the majority of States we STILL can be fired for who we are, that we STILL are restricted from marrying the person we love, and that in all but two States, LGBT children can be forced into professional therapy which tries to change their sexual orientation. But where we are now, in comparison to where we were ten years ago, is stunning.

We are winning the hearts and minds of Americans. The bigots may scream. They may yell at the top of their voices that we are persecutors. They may demand tolerance for their hate. But they are losing, and because they are losing, we are seeing the dying breath of the anti-equality movement.

And that should make us all proud. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thank You Obamacare!!!

On December 24th, I was finally able to afford health insurance. After haggling with the exchange for months, I figured out what I was doing wrong (I had a glitch in my original application, so once I started over, it went smoothly), and was able to sign Nathan and I up for a health insurance AND dental insurance plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. We have a $300 deductible and $1000 out-of-pocket maximum for our health insurance and a pretty decent dental plan. Yes, we only have in-network privileges here in Michigan, but that is ok, as we generally don't travel outside of Michigan, and we have coverage for emergency room visits out of network. All in all, we are paying less than $30 per month for insurance that we would only have been able to dream about a year ago. We were also allowed to register for health insurance as a married couple, in a State which doesn't recognize our marriage as valid. 

Why is this important to me? Mainly because I have been without health insurance for a number of years. Some of that time, I was lucky to have access to the Canadian system (when I was living in that country), the rest of the time, when I lived in Tennessee and here in Michigan, I had to fend for myself.  I often made the decision NOT to go to the doctor, when I likely should have, because on my limited income, it was not economically feasible for me to pay up front or go into debt. Obamacare changed all that. On January 1, I can pick up the phone, go to the doctor, and pay a low out of pocket fee. I can be assured that if the doctor finds anything that needs to be taken care of, that I will not go into exorbitant debt that will take me years to pay.

Is Obamacare perfect? No, it isn’t, and if anyone says that it is, they are full of bull. But is Obamacare, in allowing those who cannot afford health insurance to access our healthcare system, in allowing those with pre-existing conditions (like myself) to not be priced out of the market, in ensuring that people do not go into bankruptcy because of lifetime coverage caps, worth it? I think so.  

This post isn't meant to be scientific and it isn't meant to be a "gotcha" post that says the Affordable Care Act is working. Anecdotes don't give us a broad picture of reality. But in my world, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has worked, and I am thankful for it. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Chick-Phil-A Day - Because Supporting Bigoted Chicken and Supporting Bigoted Beliefs Is What Jesus Would Want

We have had an amazing weekend in the LGBT community; from marriage equality coming to Utah on Friday, to that decision not being stayed by the District Judge today, to an Ohio judge invalidating Ohio's marriage ban for purposes of death certificates. That being said, it is hard for the LGBT community to forget what happened last week with the Phil Roberton/Duck Dynasty fiasco. And it is important that we don't, because social conservatives, still smarting at the cultural reaction, have not forgotten. Because these individuals cannot fathom that their their bigotry cannot be voiced without criticism, they have created  "Chick-Phil-A National Support Day", which already has over 13 thousand Facebook likes.

With the line of "Stand for Free Speech. Sit for Good Food", on January 21, 2014 the "persecuted" will eat at the "great" food chain Chick-Fil-A and wear Duck Dynasty/Duck Commander paraphernalia. Though I do not want to give this "protest" attempt any more clout than the 13K likes that it currently has, I am sure that organizations like the National Organization for Marriage will soon issue a press-release urging its supporters to join in the "protest". In fact, the group is encouraging its members to contact people like Mike Huckabee to let them know this is happening.

Because you know, nothing pleases Jesus more than eating at a greasy fast food restaurant and supporting a man who compares gay people to murderers, says that they can "pray away the gay" (if you want to see how that worked out for me look here) and infers that blacks were better under Jim Crow. Yes, Jesus would be super pleased.

Update: Yes, it looks like this will be a thing. Over 28 thousand people have indicated that they will be frequenting Chick-Fil-A on January 21. Hopefully Chick-Fil-A repudiates this event but I'm not holding my breath.

h/t to @randyrpotts
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