Thursday, January 23, 2014

After LGBT Twitter Activism, Is Sochi Olympics Social Media Marketing Dead ?

LGBT Activists Twitter Bomb McDonald's Olympic Hashtag Campaign Until McDonald's Apparently Gives Up.

The Sochi Olympics corporate sponsors, who have been coldly indifferent to President Vladimir Putin's violent crackdown on LGBT Russians, have become targets of online protests by LGBT activists.

Ever since the fastfood chain McDonald's announced a Twitter hashtag campaign around #CheersToSochi, LGBT activists have been reappropriating that hashtag for messages about McDonald's callous response to the ongoing state-sponsored violence and discrimination against LGBT Russians by their very own government.

LGBT activists have been challenging Olympic sponsors, like McDonald's, to break their silence around the violent crackdown against LGBT Russians. When multiple users coordinate tweets with the same hashtag on Twitter, it's called Twitter bombing, a term used to describe either activism or a form of guerrilla advertising, as a way to increase visibility about connotations surrounding a particular hashtag. In the case of McDonald's, activists were trying to convert the commercial aspect of McDonald's Twitter hashtag into a protest about cold, corporate callousness.

The effort of some LGBT activists to challenge McDonald's gained the attention of one prominent openly gay media figure, Michelangelo Signorile, who has been following the LGBT Twitter bombing.

After about three days of the Twitter bombing campaign, McDonald's has appeared to have ceased using #CheersToSochi on Twitter, leading LGBT activists to believe that the large fastfood giant had seen its online goodwill deteriorate beyond salvation.

The damage that McDonald's is doing to its own reputation following it's deadly silence on the violent Russian LGBT crackdown comes at a time when the world's largest hamburger chain is losing customer loyalty and is facing an embarrassing sales slump. "We've lost some of our customer relevance," CEO Don Thompson told Wall Street analysts during a conference call this week.

Activists from around the world are questioning why the media and people in the media are refusing to acknowledge the human rights abuses taking place against LGBT's in Russia. Last year, the French pop superstar Mylène Farmer was in Russia when anti-LGBT violence broke out in Saint-Pétersbourg. Ms. Farmer, who enjoys a huge LGBT fan base, remained mum about each of the violent attack and the over-all crackdown that claims as victims her very own LGBT Russian fan base.

LGBT activists have also been targeting special NBC Olympics commentator Johnny Weir, the former figure skater. Mr. Weir has been using many media appearances to deny that the violent LGBT crackdown is taking place in Russia -- leading activists to label Mr. Weir as a "Putin apologist."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Senator Elizabeth Warren Floor Speech on ENDA

Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered remarks about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on the Senate floor, on November 6, 2013

Read also : ‘Asterisk Equality’ Isn’t Real Equality: Fighting for an ENDA Without Exemptions

Senator Elizabeth Warren : Floor Speech on the Employment Non-­‐Discrimination Act (ENDA) November 6, 2013

Madam President, I rise today to speak about the importance of passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a bill that I am proud to co-­‐sponsor and to support.

It has taken us far too long to arrive at this day. For nearly forty years, Members of Congress have worked to pass legislation that would protect LGBT Americans from discrimination in the workplace.

Much has changed since Bella Abzug introduced the Equality Act of 1974. Equal marriage is now the law in fourteen states. Twenty-­‐one states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to protect against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and sixteen states and the District of Columbia also protect against gender identity discrimination. The Supreme Court has rejected DOMA, a law that legalized discrimination against same-­‐sex spouses, by calling that law exactly what it was – unconstitutional.

In the private sector, a majority of Fortune 500 companies have adopted policies to protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and polling data show that a majority of small businesses have similar policies in place. By nearly every measure, we have made progress in the long march toward equality.

And yet, in the face of all of this progress, nearly a half-­‐century since Congress first enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin – we still have not extended these basic federal protections to LGBT Americans. Let’s not mince words here. The failure to treat all our citizens with the same dignity is shameful. In America, equal means equal.

Many have tried hard to reach this day, and our legislators from Massachusetts have long been leaders in the fight. Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman Barney Frank both spent decades working on this issue. Senator Paul Tsongas from Massachusetts introduced the first Senate bill to prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT Americans all the way back in 1979.

But progress has been slow. The last time the full Senate voted on ENDA was seventeen years ago, when a version of the law championed by Senator Kennedy failed to pass by a single vote – 49 to50 – back in 1996. In 2007, the House passed a version of ENDA introduced by Congressman Frank, but the bill made no progress in the Senate. Today, there are 55 cosponsors of ENDA in the Senate – Democrats and Republicans – representing the broad majority support for the bill, signaling that tremendous progress has been made.

It is all the more shameful that it has taken us this long to arrive at this day because Americans believe in equality. According to one survey, some 80% of Americans believe that it is already illegal to discriminate against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, however, this is one of the rare instances where the American people are giving Congress way too much credit, because the truth is – we haven’t acted yet. And the consequences of Congressional inaction remain all too real for millions of LGBT Americans.

Despite the successful efforts in many states to pass nondiscrimination measures, Americans living in over half the country can still be discriminated against in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And it happens. Between 15% and 43% of LGBT individuals have reported experiencing discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

A quarter of transgender Americans have reported being fired from a job due to their gender identity, and a whopping 90% have reported experiencing harassment and mistreatment. There’s been a lot of progress toward a more inclusive nation, but for LGBT workers, a law to stop employment discrimination can’t come fast enough.

The Employment Non-­‐Discrimination Act pending in the Senate will protect LGBT individuals in the workplace, update the law to reflect what the vast majority of Americans already believe is the law, and help fulfill our constitutional responsibility to protect equality in this nation. ENDA doesn’t provide any special rights to any particular groups of Americans. It does not compel any religious organization to change its views. It just creates a level playing field for LGBT workers; it makes sure that all workers are judged by the work they do, not by who they are or whom they love.

America is ready for this day. An overwhelming majority of voters, both Democrats and Republicans, support the enactment of this law. They know it reflects the values of our nation.

And America’s businesses are ready too. Recent polling shows that a large majority of small businesses supports the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. As for big businesses, 88% of Fortune 500 companies have already implemented policies prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace.

Raytheon, one of the nation’s top defense contractors and a proud Massachusetts-­‐based company, bars LGBT discrimination. One executive at Raytheon was quoted as saying that the organization’s “culture of inclusion absolutely gives us a recruiting edge” when it comes to hiring the best and the brightest.

Shortly before his death, in March of 2009, Senator Kennedy joined with Senators Merkley, Collins, and Snowe in what would be his final attempt to push this bipartisan legislation over the finish line. At the time, Senator Kennedy eloquently explained his continuing support for the ENDA by noting that “the promise of America will never be fulfilled as long as justice is denied to even one among us.” Those words were true in 1974 when Bella Abzug introduced the Equality Act. Those words were true when the Senate came within one vote of passing ENDA in 1996. Those words were true when Senator Kennedy offered them in 2009. And those words are true today. The promise of America will never be fulfilled so long as justice is denied to even one among us.

We deal with a lot of different kinds of legislation in the Senate. This week we have a chance to vote on a law that is a measure of who we are as a people and what kind of world we want to build. I believe in a world where equal means equal, and that is why I will be voting to outlaw employment discrimination against my neighbors and my friends.

Senator Kennedy, Senator Tsongas, and Congresswoman Abzug, are no longer with us, but like so many others, they fought so hard to get us here – to get us one step closer to equality for all of us. It has taken us far too long to arrive at this day. But we are here now, and we are not going back.

Read Sen. Warren's press release : Senator Warren Urges Colleagues to Pass ENDA

Monday, October 14, 2013

Are Angela George and Sanjay Sola thwarting a FOIA request about Lt. Daniel Choi ?

Why won't the the US DOJ answer the FOIA Request about Lt. Dan Choi's arrest ?

I'm sharing with you an update on the freedom of information request sent to the U.S. Department of Justice.

On May 6, 2013, the DOJ received my FOIA request. The request sought information and records pertaining to serious questions of the government's prosecution of Lt. Daniel Choi. Since that time, the DOJ has denied my application for expedited processing, and it has delayed the production of any information and records. After several attempts to determine when the DOJ was going to answer the FOIA request, I have produced a YouTube video about the history of the request. I'm also asking you for your help.

Please send an e-mail to : or call : (202) 252-6038 and ask the DOJ to answer FOIA Request 13-1506.

What you can do :

  • Kindly send an e-mail to Angela George, the prosecutor in Lt. Choi's case, at : -- and ask her for her help to expedite the DOJ's response to the FOIA request. Please refer to the DOJ's FOIA Request No. 13-1506. - and/or -
  • Kindly call Sanjay Sola at : (202) 252-6038 and ask him when the DOJ plans to answer to the FOIA request.

Prior to the government shutdown, it appeared that the DOJ was not going to provide any information or records in response to my request. Indeed, the Obama administration now has a track record of not answering FOIA requests.

See : Obama Administration Failing To Meet Transparency Pledge With FOIA Requests (Firedoglake)

There are several problems with the government's case against Lt. Choi. The most serious issue is that a judge ruled that there was enough evidence to show that the government was carrying out a "vindictive prosecution" against Lt. Choi.

The third day of the U.S. government's trial of former Lt. Dan Choi ended with a 10-day delay for the government to seek an order from a higher court stopping the decision made today by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola to allow Choi's lawyers to argue the government singled out Choi for "vindictive prosecution."

Facciola said this morning that he had found there was prima facie evidence for "vindictive prosecution," meaning enough evidence was presented to allow Choi's lawyers to pursue such a claim. As a result, Choi's lawyers would be able to ask for more documents and evidence from the government in order to investigate if higher-level officials advised their subordinates to try Choi in federal court rather than district court.

See : Updated : Judge Allows Lt. Dan Choi's ''vindictive prosecution'' Defense (Daily Kos)

The mixed motivations of the government's case against Lt. Choi seem to follow a pattern of other federal prosecutions of activists. Examples of the government's questionable persecution of activists are mentioned in the YouTube video and are cited in the FOIA request.

Link to YouTube video : Why won't DOJ answer FOIA Request about Lt. Dan Choi ?

Link to FOIA request : Lt. Daniel Choi - Vindictive Prosecution DOJ FOIA Request (Scribd)

If you are able to e-mail the Hon. Madame Prosecutor or are able to speak with or leave a message for Mr. Sola, I would greatly appreciate it. Even if there is a government shutdown, your e-mail or voice-mail message can help us. Please let me know if you make contact with anybody.

2013-04-30 Lt Daniel Choi DOJ FOIA Request Louis Flores by Connaissable

Please share this video, the information, and the link. Thank you for any help you can provide.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Gay Man Shuts Down Hateful Urban Preacher on NYC Subway

A man, who identified himself as gay, spoke up for himself and on behalf of all LGBT people, after an urban preacher began to shows hateful religious messages. The other straphangers applauded several times in a show of support to the gay man.

The video was posted on YouTube on Saturday, February 16, and it has begun to go viral.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Transgender teacher fired from Queens Catholic school

Sign the petition : St. Francis Preparatory High School: Formally Apologize to Mark (Marla) Krolikowski for Sexual Discrimination

From WABC Eyewitness News :

Transgender teacher fired from Queens Catholic school
By : Sarah Wallace, Eyewitness News
Web produced by Cristina Romano, Eyewitness News

QUEENS (WABC) -- Meet Marla Krolikowski. She no longer has any reason to hide. For 32 years, Krolikowski lived a dual life, teaching at St. Francis Prep School in Queens as a man, Mark, who professionally dressed in a suit and tie.

"I valued the job so much that I was willing to internalize everything, because the job met so much to me," said Krolikowski.

Krolikowski says she did start to add more feminine touches over the years, but claims no one seemed to mind. There are plenty of yearbook photos of her like that.

"I noticed it was a bit more feminine, but I mean, I didn't think it was anything to write home about," said former student Christina Guarino, "so it didn't matter, no."

Apparently, a parent did care. Krolikowski says in October of 2011 that school officials brought her in and confronted her.

"They said, 'are you a drag performer, are you a female impersonator?'" Krolikowski said, "they gave me all these different things, so finally I said 'I'm transgendered and I identify as a woman. Then everybody's jaw dropped, and then, I said, 'Oh God, what did I do?'"

Krolikowski said that someone told her "it sounds like you're worse than gay", and it took all her strength not to cry.

Krolikowski claims she was told to tone down her appearance, and did, but was fired anyway.

When September came, she was not going back to school for the first time in 32 years.

In a statement denying the allegations, St. Francis said: "Mr. Krolikowski's employment was terminated for entirely appropriate and professional reasons, and in no way discriminatory."

"All he wanted to do was to be judged by who he is and not what he is, and it's a horror that in this day an age, the school has chosen to judge him by what he is and not who he is," said Krolikowski's attorney, Andrew Kimler.

"My time is running out. I'm 59 years old and I want to live the way I was intended to be," adds Krowlikowski, "which is as a woman."

Krowlikowski has had breast implants, has started hormone treatments, and plans to have more surgery. She says she doesn't want people to look at her as a freak, because she didn't get to do all the things that girls got to do.

Krowikowski says she has been overwhelmed by support from thousands of current and former students who have signed an on-line petition on She doesn't have long-term plans but does have an immediate goal - to attend Lady Gaga's Born Brave bus tour that is coming to New York later this month.

Sign the petition : St. Francis Preparatory High School: Formally Apologize to Mark (Marla) Krolikowski for Sexual Discrimination

Monday, January 21, 2013

Opening Digital Firehoses On LGBT Activists

Confronting the President of Magical Thinking : A Vocation of Agony

Barack Obama and his family, the vice president and his family, other government officials, and their supporters celebrated the president's second inauguration today, which coïncided with the federal holiday commemorating the life and accomplishments of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

LGBT Americans were jubilant, because the president said some aspirational words in the second half of his inaugural address.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well."

Immediately, the president's supporters acted in lock-step to express support for this expression of a longing for equality.

Corey-Johnson-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Corey-Johnson-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-UpdateScreenShot2013-01-21at130513_zps0280c1b5.png

Corey Johnson is an up-and-coming LGBT politician, who is patterning himself after New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's doctrine of putting politically-expedient identity politics before having to deliver any government reforms. Note how the president failed to say the words lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered in "LGBT," but already the president's supporters were having to say the words that the president found unspeakable.

It appears that Mr. Johnson's excitement could be being based not so much on the president's promise of legal reforms that would result in LGBT equality, but, rather, on political party discipline that calls for a self-motivated unity in messaging to sway Progressive voters into believing that the Democratic Party was on their side.

But for the incomplete messaging that the president's words offer, there is no plan attached to how the president plans to "complete" our "journey."

On Facebook, some LGBT activists picked up on the incomplete messaging in the president's rhetoric, because they had noticed a pattern in his prior speeches.

Peter-Equality-Frank-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Peter-Equality-Frank-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-UpdateScreenShot2013-01-21at132820_zps7eeddfbf.png

Some LGBT activists were already picking up how President Obama was unable to utter the words lesbian, bisexual, and transgender.

To the president's army of speech writers, did those words lack any dignity and respect, and, therefore, did not need to be mentioned ?

In his speech during his second inaugural ceremonies, President Obama seemed to be channeling the "great communicator," who, we may all remember, was notable for his failure to uttered the word "AIDS" until after thousands of people had died.

Barack-Obama-Ronald-Reagan-Creation-Painting photo Barack-Obama-Ronald-Reagan_zpsdcee3945.jpg

Many of the president's supporters have made a choice to be excited for the president's re-election. But ...

"By the time President Reagan had delivered his first speech on the epidemic, of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with the disease; 20,849 had died," Randy Shilts once wrote. Along a similar vein, when will President Obama say all the words in LGBT ?

So many people want to believe in the hope, change, and love that the president so skillfully articulates in his scripted speeches. We are supposed to want to believe in the magical thinking that the president really is on our side, because doesn't he, after all, say so many nice things that he knows that we want to hear ?

While President Obama's lack of clear communication during this inaugural address may not lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of our "gay brothers and sisters," he nonetheless sets the tone for that which the American people become familiar : either feelings of shame and embarrassment that prevent a president from mentioning lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered Americans, or feelings of equality and respect by dignifying and acknowledging the journeys still being made by lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered Americans.

Some activists on Facebook took a more diplomatic, but forward-looking approach to the editing of the president's words : by using the occasion of the president's rhetoric to build forward momentum on the social movement for LGBT equality in the United States.

Get-Equal-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Get-Equal-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update2013-01-21at125359_zpse0265865.png

The hopes and actions of LGBT Americans and their allies are to fulfill on our shared dream for equality.

But LGBT activists and allies already exchange amongst ourselves the vision and prayers for equality.

 photo Nadine-Equality-Smith-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update2013-01-21at135407_zps678bc08c.png

For all the president's rhetoric, we already seem to have, at first blush, the president's love and affinity for our community, at least that which could be expressed in his own way. What we need now is action.

The longer LGBT Americans have to wait for full federal recognition of their equal rights, the more that members of our community remain fully exposed to legally-permitted forms of discrimination in broad areas of their life, including in the workplace.

The skepticism within the LGBT community about President Obama's commitment to true LGBT equality stems from some major examples of actions that the president refuses to take, which contradicts his rhetoric.

For example, the president refuses to sign the Federal Contractor's Employment Protections Executive Order. National LGBT civil rights groups, such as GetEQUAL, have been mounting a multi-prong campaign to pressure the president to sign the executive order, but the president refuses.

President Obama embarrassed both his administration and the Democratic Party by once having said that while he was nominally committed to the idea that all Americans shared the same civil rights, he still had to "evolve" on marriage equality. It was as if President Obama was admitting that his thoughts on civil rights resembled that of someone a little bit ignorant and a little bit intolerant, like former commissioner Bull Connor, who once, among other depraved acts of discrimination, ordered the opening up of firehoses on African American civil rights activists.

Surely, President Obama was not seriously putting himself into the same league as Bull Connor, but why was the president torturing hisself by proclaiming in speech his support for LGBT equality that could not be matched by his actions ?

And lest we neglect to mention how so many people conveniently seem to forget to remember how it took a national campaign of civil disobedience, among other actions, for national Democratic Party legislators to repeal the military's discriminatory policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The president's political operatives love to mention how the president "repealed" DADT, but they overlook what it took to get a bill introduced in and voted by Congress.

And if the constant push and pull amongst LGBT activists and civil rights groups to define a winning national strategy to deliver a full federal equality bill through Congress wasn't enough, activists must contend with the political trappings of trying to challenge a president who says all the right things and knows how to manipulate support for his administration. And then there are the other unknown, but nonetheless predictable, obstacles for LGBT activists as they set out to challenge power holders, who fail to act to end de jure and de fact discrimination.

Robin-GetEqual-McGehee-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Robin-GetEqual-McGehee-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-UpdateScreenShot2013-01-21at154835_zps7571456a.png

While community organising and activism has evolved since the 1960's with the advent of online tools and other empowering platforms of the Internet like Facebook, YouTube, and blogging, every now and then activists must overcome the occasional opening up of digital firehoses.

Read also : President Obama Must Evolve Again on Marriage Equality

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Presidential Debates and LGBT Equality Questions

The Advocate magazine : 3 debates, 0 questions on LGBT issues. (2012-10-16)

In France, LGBT activists organized a national platform, Meeting LGBT pour l'Égalité, where major candidates were questioned on issues related to LGBT equality. And then the activists posted questionnaires online. But not before they held a national forum of major candidates. And just like that, they helped to alter the national conversation around LGBT equality. Two measures of their impact : activists elected the progressive candidate (François Hollande), and now Hollande will deliver legislation soon for nation-wide marriage equality. Meanwhile, in the United States presidential debates, NOT ONE question has been asked about LGBT equality. What are nationally or regionally elected LGBT politicians and allies doing about keeping the Commission on Presidential Debates accountable ?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dan Choi's Judge Steps Down

Dan Choi's Judge Recuses Herself

Tuesday, September 25, 2012,
12:00pm EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Only 23 hours before Lt. Dan Choi's scheduled criminal hearing, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth C. Wingo, recused herself. The recusal and unprecedented delay is based upon Lt. Choi's motion related to Government Misconduct. Over 30 officials, including Former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina were subpoenaed to testify about their political roles in the Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (2010) and the Tarsands Keystone XL Pipeline Protests (2011).

Lt. Choi has been on trial for over one year and is prohibited from stepping foot on the White House Sidewalk. Lt. Choi's attorney, former Army JAG Officer Capt. James E. Pietrangelo II, remarked "there is something very wrong here. We subpoenaed White House Officials and all of a sudden the hearing is cancelled." Professional Process Server Mr. Daniel Portnoy of D.C. Legal Process has "never seen this before in over 700,000 high level subpoenas served in over a decade."

The hearing tomorrow is cancelled, incurring Lt. Choi over $5,000 in legal preparation and travel fees.

Lt. Choi is still on trial for protesting Don't Ask Don't Tell in federal court, and a hearing in that separate case is still set for October 17, 2012. Further details about the rescheduling of the vacated Tarsands Case will appear on this site. The Tarsands case will likely go before the Chief Judge of the Superior Court, Chief Judge Lee Satterfield, unless he reassigns it.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Open E-mail to Emmett Burns Regarding Baltimore Ravens Marriage Equality Advocacy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Subject: Chris Kluwe Explains Gay Marriage To The Politician Who Is Offended By An NFL Player Supporting It
Date: 8 septembre 2012 08:46:21 UTC-04:00

Dear Hon. Delegate Mr. Burns :

Many of my friends are spreading links to a viral news story about you on Facebook :

The language is crude, but I think it was inspired by your shocking attempt to stifle free speech on the fight for marriage equality.

I'm also posting this on my blogs this morning. I hope that there is a way that you can meet with LGBT community leaders. The only way we can put an end to de facto and de jure discrimination is by opening up a dialogue to achieve a greater understanding about the ways that people's lives are diminished by prejudice and bigotry.

If we are all born equal, why should any American put up with government attitudes to make some people "less than" equal to others ?

Louis Flores
1 (646) 400-1168