Category Archives: Gay Rights

Singing to Freedom: Op-Ed 2

Singing to Freedom

“I like to sing and write songs and poems and dance (badly).
I also like to talk about things that are uncomfortable, because they are usually important.” – Mary Lambert from

On March 19, 2018, East Carolina University students and faculty members were fortunate enough to witness bold, beautiful, and talented Mary Lambert perform about topics such as LGBTQ, body image, mental illness, self-love, and acceptance.

Making Light of Heavy Situations

Lambert freely and vulnerably spoke of her life experiences that helped shape the woman she is today. Starting with stories of being a Christian lesbian, she shed light on what it was like being in her shoes as a young woman attending church. She frequently experienced situations where she felt unaccepted, leading to her questioning herself and her identity. Lambert also began feeling depressed and started secluding herself from the world.

In many readings we have come across in sociology this semester, including that of Lennox and Waites (2013), we learned how acceptance is not an issue merely Americans in the LGBTQ community deal with, but people all over the globe. In many countries, LGBTQ individuals face marginalization, generalization, stereotyping, and are subjected to jail-time. It is those types of cruel behaviors that stigmatize and dehumanize LGBTQ individuals and individuals they feel do not fit their norm.

Many of Lambert’s songs also consisted of lyrics covering the topics of body image. One of her songs used a metaphor of fitting into a prom dress to describe the stigma’s women feel about having to look a certain way for society. Not only that, but society also tries to shape the behaviors of women, including trying to obtain a level of perfection that does not exist. Although we do not specifically talk about body image, Cathryn Goodchild (2017) discusses society in her article about abuse. She discusses how perpetrators are made and not born; they are shaped by society. I think that is one point Lambert was getting at. Society has shaped people to be accepting or un-accepting of factors that benefit society, rather than individual people.

Free From the Chains of Society

By the end of the show, Lambert performed songs emphasizing being comfortable in your own skin, embracing flaws, and sharing secrets with the world. Unfortunately, the world may always be filled with discrimination. At the end of the day, people must decide when to stop letting society control their happiness or unhappiness. Society will always want you in chains. Sometimes we just need to sit back, laugh a little, realize that “they tell us from the time we’re young, to hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves, inside ourselves, I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else,” but “I’m over it” and scream..

“I don’t care if the world

knows what my secrets

are, secrets are- I don’t

care if the world knows

what my secrets are,

secrets are- So-o-o-o-o




Goodchild, Cathryn. 2017. “Why Does He Abuse? Why Does She Stay? Social and Cultural Roots of Domestic Abuse.” Pp. 221-238 in Women, Law and Culture: Conformity, Contradiction and Conflict, edited by J. A. Scutt. London: Palgrave-MacMillan.

Lambert, Mary. 2010. “Secrets.” Retrieved from

Lennox, Corinne, and Matthew Waites. 2013. “Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the Commonwealth: from history and law to developing activism and transnational dialogues.” Pp. 1-59 in Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change, edited by C. Lennox and M. Waites. London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

Vatican acts after Polish priest reveals homosexuality

Thomas Hennessey

On the eve of a much anticipated meeting at the Vatican one monsignor reveals that he is a homosexual. After Msgr Charamsa revealed his secret he proclaimed that he is “happy and proud”, the Vatican however has told him that he is not welcome at the meeting where it is expected that homosexuality among other topics is expected to be discussed.  The reaction of Vatican comes as no surprise to most Catholics despite Pope Francis saying “who am I to judge” in reference to homosexuals and faith.

Pop Star Identifies As Pansexual

Pop star Miley Cyrus recently revealed to several publications that she considers herself to be gender fluid and pansexual, claiming that she doesn’t label herself as neither boy nor girl and doesn’t limit herself to those labels when choosing romantic partners.

Pansexuality is not new, as experts say there have always been people who fall within the realm, but the term is unfamiliar to much of the public.  By opening up about her own intimate choices, Miley has opened the minds of many millennials and drawn the ire of many less open minded individuals.

Either way, she has at least brought awareness to a topic that we’ll certainly become more familiar with in the future.

Kansas’ Anti-Gay Segregation Bill

Words cannot express how much this angers me. I found this article on Tumblr recently, and couldn’t believe it at first. A few days later and I am still in shock that this is really happening. Gay people in Kansas can now be denied service, anywhere, such as in movie theaters, hotels, and public schools. If a gay person calls the police, the police can refuse to help them. This sickens me. -Tamara Kovacs

Political Cauldron Boils on U.N. Women’s Rights

In this article, Amy Leiberman discusses the outcomes of this year’s UN Global Gathering of Women. While the gathering did produce conclusions via a 17 page document on the issue of violence against women, it is heavily criticized by many within gender and women’s rights. Many individuals say that the meeting has turned into a battleground over rights, rather than a public forum. As more agencies are included in this forum, the path to agreement becomes that much more bumpy. There are also issues of certain regions working together, such as Africa. Conservative nations get the larger voice in this group, while those which are more liberal are quieted. The meeting also concluded in the resignation of Michelle Bachelet, former executive director of UN Women. The meeting does hold value however, in the opportunity it presents for women from around the share their voices. Many travel far and long to be a part of it. However, the results of the gathering still fell short in addressing protections for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people and condemning violence against women in personal relationships.





Michelle Obama and Anti-Gay Laws in Russia

I found two articles this week that were equally relevant and thought provoking in light of our readings, and I could not choose to share just one.

The first is from the Feminist Wire where the first lady is being criticized for deciding to work in the home and how she is being looked at through the white patriarchal lens of feminism. My favorite quote from the article is from Flavia Dzodan  “my feminism will be intersectional or it will be BS.”

Washington Post and 'Feminist Americans' Won't Let Michelle Obama Have It All

The second article is about anti-gay legislation that is being pushed in Russia. We take our freedoms for granted all too often in the US and forget those that are fighting around the world to be able to kiss their partner or hold a public meeting. This is an excellent article about the LGBTQ movement on a global perspective.

Businesses in NY sign letter encouraging Gay Marriage

Business leaders in New York wrote a letter that states that they want legislation that would permit gay marriage.  The letter states that New York is losing business ground because individuals are moving to states that acknowledge gay marriage.  The letter is not addressed to anyone in particular but states the urgency that this is needed.  The governor of New York has already stated his support of gay marriage so maybe this letter will help his case.  Could this be a big advancement in New York legalizing gay marriage and could this possibly be a way that other states can get their Senate’s attention?  Here is the link to the article:

-Kelly Thompson-

S. Korea court upholds military ban on gay behavior

The following is the newspaper content I quoted from the Yahoo! News.

SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld a military law banning homosexual behaviour, saying the need to maintain discipline takes precedence over individual sexual freedom.

In a 5-4 split decision, the court ruled that the military criminal code which punishes homosexual behaviour with up to one year in prison is constitutional.

“The legal code cannot be seen as discrimination against gays because such behaviour, if left unchecked, might result in subordinates being harassed by superiors in military barracks,” it said in a statement.

The law’s purpose was to ensure discipline within the whole military organisation, the court said.

The ruling came after an army military court filed a petition with the Constitutional Court. It asked whether the military criminal code, written in 1962, was discriminatory against gay soldiers and thus unconstitutional.

Homosexuality is not illegal under the civil legal code.

Still, we have long ways to go.

Hyun Woo

Have A Gay Old Time – Liberating Homosexuality In The Middle East

Thought this article and video is very interesting. I just finished a paper for Dr. Russell’s class on homosexuality in the Middle East, and I talked about how organizations that are formed to fight for gay rights in the Middle East don’t usually last more than a few days. I thought it was fascinating the way they came up with doing this website:

It’s not easy being gay in the Middle East. If you get caught, you could face the death penalty, flogging, or an extended jail sentence – not to mention the probable spurning from your family and friends. It’s a lonely, dangerous life for many homosexuals in that part of the world.

But where there is fear, there is also courage. Mideast Youth – an all-volunteer team with representatives from countries like Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Syria, and Tunisia – is committed to working “against repression, discrimination and persecution” in the Middle East, and homosexuality is one issue that has recently hit their radar.

The group have created Ahwaa – “A safe space to debate LGBTQ-related issues in the Middle East.” It’s essentially an anonymous forum that utilizes game mechanics to allow legitimate users to get deeper into the site, while keeping the trolls and the haters at the surface, because the more the Ahwaa community like what you have to say, the better access you get.

They are trying to make it as inclusive as possible, by inviting people of all sexual persuasions to participate, and by making it bilingual (Arabic and English), thereby allowing non-Arabs to offer their perspectives as well.

With all the changes that have been taking place in the Middle East recently, the time is ripe to address issues there that are as controversial as this. And now you can be a part of it all.

What are you waiting for?

Here’s the introductory A space to debate LGBTQ-related issues in the Middle East