JamesMichael Nichols

Justice (Northern Flicker)

Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand, with son Khaya, in court at Mobile, Alabama, 24 July 2015, after Visiting Judge James Reid approved an intrafamily adoption petition.  Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange protested the Searcy-McKeand marriage all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  (Detail of photo from Let Love Define Family)

This is why:

Imagine sitting at your critically ill son’s bedside with your wife, watching the life ebb from the infant’s tiny body. Your baby is losing weight and desperately needs a feeding tube to sustain him until he receives an open-heart surgery, his only hope for survival, that is still two weeks away.

Your wife, upset and emotional, is unable to learn how to insert the tube. She is bullied by nurses and becomes hysterical so you step in and volunteer to take her place. But, because you are also a woman and living in a state with arcane marriage and adoption laws, you are denied. You are told, “You are not his mother.”

Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand of Mobile, Alabama, didn’t have to imagine this nightmare, because they had to live it. First they were stunned, then they were furious. And then they waged war against those arcane laws and changed history when they won.

(Hallstrom and Nichols)

And last month, on 24 July, Cari Searcy, whose name might ring a bell, and her wife Kim McKeand, went before Visiting Judge James Reid―sitting in for the infamous Probate Judge Don Davis―to receive approval for an intrafamily adoption. Khaya’s mothers are now both legally his mothers.

And this is why. Stand, speak, fight, win. Love. Live.

For all these years of fighting, Cari and Kim and Khaya now begin their adventure anew. It is our honor to bear witness, that this family should triumph over harmful and hateful Alabama “values”.

This is what Attorney General Luther Strange sued to stop. This is what even Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could see when he conceded the inevitability of marriage equalityα. This is why Chief Justice Roy Moore would refuse the U.S. Constitution, and Probate Judge Don Davis choose derelection. This is why Alabama would disgrace itself.

This family.

____________________

Image note: Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand, with son Khaya, in court at Mobile, Alabama, 24 July 2015, after Visiting Judge James Reid approved an intrafamily adoption petition. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange protested the Searcy-McKeand marriage all the way to the United States Supreme Court. (Detail of photo from Let Love Define Family)

α From Justice Thomas’ dissent in Strange v. Searcy, in which the Court majority denied the State of Alabama stay against recognizing the same-sex marriage of Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand: “In this case, the Court refuses even to grant a temporary stay when it will resolve the issue at hand in several months.”

Hallstrom, Beth. “Here’s How Two Women Changed The Lives Of LGBT Families In Alabama Forever”. Ed. JamesMichael Nichols. The Huffington Post. 8 August 2015.

Thomas, Clarence. “On Application for Stay”. Strange v. Searcy. Supreme Court of the United States. 9 February 2015.

Steve Beshear’s Headache

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear speaks during a press conference after a closed joint whip and caucus meeting on the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, 5 December 2013. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)

Meanwhile, in the Bluegrass State:

David V. Moore and his fiancé went to the Rowan County Clerk’s office, armed with a copy of that Supreme Court ruling, in addition to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s executive order requiring all county clerks to issue marriage licenses. In the video, employees appear to ignore the legal documents provided, continuing to refuse the couple’s request for a marriage license, while the Clerk Davis hid in the back of the office.

Writing on his Facebook wall, Moore says, “We were denied a marriage license on Monday, July 6 at the Rowan County Clerk’s office. Kim Davis is at the end of the video, but we turned it off at her request.”

The recording shows the men entering the clerk’s office and waiting patiently while other residents — including people who came in after the couple — are served. Staff at the counter refuse the men’s request and tell them that Clerk Davis is “busy right now.” Then employees called the police, insisting that the couple’s supporters stop filming the anticipated rejection.

A police officer arrives at the office toward the end of the video and speaks with employees. When Clerk Davis finally emerges from her office (around the 11 minute mark), she tells the supporter to “Put your phone away.” The two continue to bicker for a moment before the video ends.

Kentucky law does not forbid filming any interactions with public officials in a public place.

(Browning)

Oh, and you know there’s more.

(more…)

Almost Funny

Round Two: Detail from FLCL episode 1, 'Fooly Cooly'.

No, really, this is very nearly funny:

Last month, Nick Jensen wrote an op-ed for the Canberra CityNews in which he claimed that he and his wife Sarah would “as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognize the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnization of same-sex couples.” Jensen went on to attribute his beliefs to the definition of marriage as a “union of a man and a woman before a community in the sight of God.”

In response to these claims, Jesse Mount, also an Australian citizen, created a Facebook group for people who will celebrate the Jensen’s divorce by having a massive party once marriage equality comes to the country as a whole. The group currently has over 175,000 members who have RSVP-ed for the party.

(Nichols)

In the end, though, it’s just sad. You know, though, that couple probably shouldn’t be married, anyway. If the fact of gay people having human rights is enough to compel them to get divorced, it occurs to wonder why the hell they ever got hitched in the first place. Seriously, this is enough to wreck the marriage? What the hell kind of marriage is that?

Very nearly funny. In the end, though, this is just sad.

____________________

Nichols, JamesMichael. “175,000 Pledge To Party If Anti-Gay Australia Couple Divorces Over Same-Sex Marriage”. The Huffington Post. 19 June 2015.

Another Loss

TG-logo-dark

Look, this can’t keep happening.

A 16-year-old transgender teen and YouTube personality has died after allegedly being subjected to intense bullying at the hands of her classmates.

Taylor Alesena made a name for herself on YouTube talking about her experiences with bullying and the loneliness she experienced at the hands of her peers. Now, the transgender teen has reportedly taken her own life ....

(Nichols)

It is easy enough to look at the homophobes and sneer, “I hope you’re fucking happy.”

And, “This is what you want, after all.”

Still, there is this: That pressing whisper in the back of the mind; this comes down to us. The hatred will continue; the bigots are desperate. So it seems that it comes back to us. This can’t keep happening.

Doesn’t mean I have a clue, though.

What the fuck are we going to do?

This just can’t keep happening.

____________________

Nichols, JamesMichael. “Taylor Alesena, Transgender Teen And YouTube Personality, Dies”. The Huffington Post. 9 April 2015.

Full Color Fabulous

“They have the same daily challenges as anyone else but also have the struggle of trying to navigate obstacles and attitudes. China is not an easy place sometimes, but for many they face the greatest difficulty in finding acceptance from their families.”

Kevin Frayer

Two words―breathtaking humanity.

Chinese drag queens perform at the Chunai 98 club on January 9, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Other than that, JamesMichael Nichols’ brief Q&A with photographer Kevin Frayer, for Huffington Post, is just another link sitting on my desktop for far too long. And they really are awesome photos, really are that fabulous.

____________________

Nichols, JamesMichael. “Kevin Frayer, Photographer, Showcases Stunning Drag Queens In China”. The Huffington Post. 8 March 2015.