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5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Marriage Revoked in Utah, Homophobic NFL Coaches, and more.

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Marriage Revoked in Utah, Homophobic NFL Coaches, and more.

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Marriage Revoked in Utah, Homophobic NFL Coaches, and more.

Who knew the NFL was homophobic?! Chris Kluwe, for one.


Happy New Year, SheWired readers! We're thrilled to be back with our weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. Despite the holidays generally marking a slow point in the news cycle, there was no shortage of absurdity to kick off 2014. Read on, but expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day.

5. Sleazy Former Utah Attorney General Employed Equally Sleazy, Transphobic Idiots 

Former Utah attorney general John Swallow, who has been under investigation for a variety of alleged improprieties, reportedly employed staffers who once referred to a transgender convention delegate as a "cross dresser," "tranny," and "that thing." 

And they did it through their official campaign email accounts — which makes them not only intolerant, but also stupid. 

Seth Crossley and Renae Cowley, staffers in Swallow's 2012 reelection campaign, exchanged several emails using transphobic terms to describe a transgender woman who was a delegate to the Utah Republican Convention, according to documents obtained by the Salt Lake City Tribune. Talking Points Memo did additional reporting on the emails.

"77 graced us with their presence yesterday," Crossley wrote, referring to the number of delegates who had attended a campaign event in the weeks leading up to the convention. "Including the infamous cross dresser!"

Cowley responded to Crossley’s email by demanding a photograph of the delegate. "I’m still waiting for a picture of the tranny!” wrote Cowley.

"I offered a picture of that thing while it was next to me!" replied Crossley. "You declined."

"No, I didn’t," Cowley responded. "I just said not an 'up the skirt shot.'"

Jason Powers, a consultant on Swallow’s campaign, jumped into the conversation at that point, asking to be left out of any future emails on the topic and instructing Cowley and Crossley to continue the thread on their personal accounts. 

Because, you know, that kind of thing could reflect poorly on the future-and-soon-to-be-ex-attorney general. Good thing Powers put the kibosh on those bigoted messages before they got out, right? 

And that wasn't even the most heinous news coming out of Utah in the past week. Read on. 

4. Arsonist Tries to Burn Down Seattle Gay Club on New Year's Day

Seattle's active and sizable LGBT community has been enjoying dance, drink, and debauchery for the past three decades at Capitol Hill bar Neighbours Seattle. It was in that spirit that 750 celebrants had gathered on New Year's Eve to ring in 2014 with a steamy kiss. 

But things got a bit too hot when a would-be arsonist doused the club's back stairs in gasoline and lit a match at 12:15 a.m. New Year's Day, apparently trying to burn the club to the ground. Thanks to the swift action of staff and patrons who doused the flames and pulled the fire alarm, no one was injured, and all 750 people inside made it out safely. But there was an estimated $6,000 of damage done to the property between the flames and the sprinklers, according to a blog for the LGBT-heavy neighborhood. 

Police are seeking a suspect in the arson attempt but have yet to make any arrests. Citing the ongoing investigation, a statement on Neighbours' Facebook page didn't provide much detail, but did say the staff of the club is "thankful for the fact that no one was hurt, honored that so many of you have reached out with words of support since the incident, and happy for your continued patronage."

Find more outrage on the following pages...

3. Right-Winger Laments Robin Roberts' 'Tragic' Coming Out

Leave it to Peter LaBarbera, founder and president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, to bemoan Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts' classy, low-key coming out. LaBarbera even managed to squeeze some transphobia into his incoherent rant! 

LaBarbera has earned the nickname "Porno Pete" among LGBT activists critical of his yearly "research" excursions to San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair. Obviously,  he's just trying to expose the gross immorality inherent in the gay agenda. So what if he checks out some leather daddies in assless chaps in the meantime? LaBarbera is but a faithful servant of the Lord. 

Anyway… On a Christian radio program last Thursday, LaBarbera decried Roberts' "defiance" for coming out — along with the "tragedy" of every other LGBT person's coming out in the history of forever.

And just in case you weren't sure if LaBarbera was just antigay, or if he blindly hates the whole LGBT community, he offered this gem later in the program. "Transgender advocates are people who believe that their biological sex, male or female, doesn’t match what they feel,” LaBarbera began. "I'll tell you what, Vic, Satan really works through feelings, doesn’t he?"

But "life is not what you feel," continued LaBarbera. "If every married couple acted on their given feelings day-to-day, we would have a lot more divorces in this culture, wouldn’t we? Feelings do not determine truth."

You know what else feelings don't determine, Pete? Civil rights. Listen to the audio at our sibling publication, The Advocate


2. NFL Coaches Apparently Harass Even Straight Players If They Are Pro-LGBT

In a bombshell of an op-ed published last week at Deadspin, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe went into graphic detail about the kind of harassment and homophobic rhetoric he was subjected to inside the NFL locker room before he was released from the team last season. 

It's worth noting that Kluwe is straight (he's married with kids), though he's made quite a reputation for himself standing up for LGBT equality, namely in the fight to bring the freedom to marry to Minnesota. Remember the viral letter that admonished a legislator who opposed marriage equality by pointing out that supporting LGBT rights won't turn anyone into a "lustful cockmonster?" Yeah, that was Kluwe. He subsequently did radio ads and TV spots supporting marriage equality in Minnesota — which took effect last fall. 

But in his thorough and well-written op-ed, Kluwe recounts the vile homophobia he endured while playing on the Vikings. Not particularly from any of his teammates, with whom he said conversation about differing opinions was always respectful, but from the special teams coach. 

Kluwe's article (which is well worth the read) was unabashedly titled "I Was an NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards and a Bigot." In one November 2012 instance, Kluwe recalls special teams coach Mike Priefer saying "in one of the meanest voices I can ever recall hearing … 'We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.'" 

Now, it's not a particularly shocking statement to acknowledge that the NFL has some issues with being gay-inclusive. (I won't even pretend the league is anywhere close to using the umbrella term LGBT.) But the scope of this hostile environment, which, if Kluwe's account holds up, could have ripple effects through the league. 

In a notably commendable move, after Preifer "vehemently" denied that he was at all homophobic — he has gay family members, so obviously he can't be bigoted! — the Vikings management retained two high-profile attorneys to investigate Kluwe's claims. Kluwe is confident that witnesses will corroborate his account — so now, we wait… 

Find the most outrageous story on the following page…

1. Utah Says 'I Do,' Then 'I Don't' to Marriage Equality

Everyone at our offices was rather aghast when news broke that Utah was suddenly allowing same-sex couples to marry — thanks to a decisive ruling from a federal district court in a case challenging the state's voter-approved ban on marriage equality December 20. But by the time that same federal judge — and a two-justice panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals — rejected the state's request to stay the ruling, we were ready to celebrate the arrival of marriage equality to one of the most conservative states in the union… And celebrate the fact that twice as many states now embraced marriage equality as there were in June of 2013. 

Enter Sonia Sotomayor — the first Latina to ever sit at the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court — who oversees cases that come from the 10th Circuit, which includes Utah. Apparently with the backing of the other eight justices, Sotomayor decided to grant the state's request for a stay — bringing same-sex marriages in Utah to a screeching halt. At least until the case currently pending before the 10th Circuit gets resolved; opening arguments in that case are scheduled to occur next month. 

Now, it's not totally fair to place the full weight of our rage/heartbreak at Utah's backslide with Sotomayor, since it's the state's (male) attorney general and governor who begged every lower court to stay the ruling, then ultimately succeeded at the nation's highest court. But it is frustrating as hell to know that nearly 1,000 same-sex couples who married in Utah in the weeks it was legal are now on the verge of having their newly recognized families legally invalidated because of a procedural bullshit. 

And just to rub some salt in the wound, attorney general Reyes' statement on the Supreme Court's decision was practically dripping with holier-than-thou told-ya-so's. 

"This is the uncertainty that we were trying to avoid by asking the District Court for a stay immediately after its decision," began Reyes. "It is very unfortunate that so many Utah citizens have been put into this legal limbo… I believe this was a correct decision by the Supreme Court. There is an order to the legal process and this decision is just another step in that process."

He may as well have added "stupid commoners," to the end of that sentence. Gross. 

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Sunnivie Brydum

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>