The New Year is upon us. It’s 2018! We know one thing that won’t change this year: your brunch plans. So while you saddle up to the bar, you should start your year off in-the-know. Whether it’s knowing which Mormon Church leader finally kicked the bucket or having all the info to decide whether Dave Chappelle is a homophobe, we’ve got you covered in this week’s edition of Don’t Be Dumb at Brunch.
Here are the news stories that’ll keep you looking well-informed at brunch this weekend:
This one has special meaning for us.
Thomas S. Monson, 90, the 16th president of the Mormon Church, has died after overseeing the church for nine years. Monson died Tuesday night at his home in Salt Lake City according to a church spokesman. He will certainly be remembered by us and other LGBTQ citizens for leading the Church’s involvement in the passage of Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban ballot initiative in California in 2008.
Monson wrote a letter to all Mormon members in California during the summer of 2008 asking them to donate their time and money to support the marriage ban. Donations poured in, and Mormons began campaigning against the measure through knocking on doors and working phone banks. The late push by the Mormon church is believed to have pushed the ban over the finish line. The Church had to deal with significant backlash and protests (including by us). Ultimately, to Mr. Monson’s chagrin, we had the last laugh in June of 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court officially killed Prop. 8 once and for all.
After having been found hiding in a safe house, executioner and high-ranking ISIS leader Abu Omer, or “White Beard” as he was known, has been captured.
Omer was known for stoning and throwing gay men — or those suspected to be gay — off of roofs.
For years ISIS has recorded these executions and released its “death to gays” videos on social media as homophobic propaganda. Omer can often been seen in these videos professing ISIS’s rigid ideology, which calls for the death penalty for homosexuality.
ISIS also supported beheading, mutilating and burying their victims alive. Here’s to hoping some karma comes for Mr. Omer.
3. Trump’s Trans Ban Abandoned Yet Again
The Department of Justice announced Friday that it has abandoned its bid to prevent openly transgender people from serving in the military. Trump, who tweeted his trans military ban in July, was trying to delay President Obama’s decision to allow trans people to serve openly starting on Jan. 1, claiming “tremendous medical costs and military disruption” even against the advice of his military generals.
After multiple lawsuits were filed, two federal appeals courts upheld rulings that the Trump administration could not enforce the ban. The Department of Justice is not appealing these rulings, but is rather waiting for an independent study to be released by the Pentagon regarding the effect of transgender troops serving openly.
Sound familiar? The same thing was done back in 2010 regarding the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy regarding gays and lesbians in the military, and how that might affect unit cohesion. (It said there would be little effect on troops.)
According to a study by the Rand Corporation, there are somewhere between 1,300–6,600 transgender troops serving voluntarily in the military. We say if they’re willing to lay their lives down for our freedom (something our president didn’t do, for the record), they should be able to serve openly and proudly. We should all thank them for their service.
Is Dave Chappelle funny or kinda funny, kinda a dick? He’s at it again with arguably homophobic jokes in a new special that was released on New Year’s Eve.
In the Netflix special he uses the #MeToo movement as fodder and targets Hollywood figures, amongst others accused of various sexual assaults. Beyond the obvious question about why you’d joke about sexual assault, it’s when he sets his sights on Kevin Spacey and Anthony Rapp that it teeters (or maybe lands) a bit homophobic. He says, “I mean, it is really bad out here. Kevin Spacey’s out here grabbing men by the pussy! I didn’t even know that was possible!”
He goes on to say Anthony Rapp “grew up to be gay anyway,” which means “Kevin Spacey sniffed that shit out like a truffle pig.” But here’s the part that really left us raising our brows: Chappelle adds, “Not to victim-blame, but it seems like the kind of situation a gay 14-year-old kid would get himself into.”
We’re not sure about you, but any 14-year-old — gay or not — should never be put in a situation where they are sexually assaulted, and we think that most aren’t out for a “situation” like that. Congrats, Dave, on making fun of something that’s not funny at all.
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were one of two plaintiff couples in California’s 2013 challenge of Proposition 8, which brought marriage equality back to the state after being ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. These activists also host the weekly podcast The Husbands. Catch them there or follow them on Instagram @JeffZandPaulK.
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