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Gay Navajos demand respect of tribe

WINDOW ROCK, Navajo Nation — Gay marriage advocate Alray Nelson blasted Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” in his battered Lexus several times on the long Arizona road to Tuba City, to give testimony at a hearing on violence and discrimination against gay Navajos.
“You’re on the right track, baby. You were born this way,” sang Nelson, adding that the pop lyrics are a kind of anthem for his movement to demand a reversal of a gay marriage ban he says is tantamount to respect from the tribal government.
But it is not an easy task Nelson faces as he carries on his campaign to persuade the Navajo Nation to accept gay marriage. Unlike gay-rights activists off the reservation, who are fighting to legalize same-sex unions, Nelson must counter not only the opposition of social conservatives, but also a frought discussion on Navajo spiritualism and his own checkered past.

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Photo: Massoud Hayoun/Al Jazeera

aljazeeraamerica:

Gay Navajos demand respect of tribe

WINDOW ROCK, Navajo Nation — Gay marriage advocate Alray Nelson blasted Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” in his battered Lexus several times on the long Arizona road to Tuba City, to give testimony at a hearing on violence and discrimination against gay Navajos.

“You’re on the right track, baby. You were born this way,” sang Nelson, adding that the pop lyrics are a kind of anthem for his movement to demand a reversal of a gay marriage ban he says is tantamount to respect from the tribal government.

But it is not an easy task Nelson faces as he carries on his campaign to persuade the Navajo Nation to accept gay marriage. Unlike gay-rights activists off the reservation, who are fighting to legalize same-sex unions, Nelson must counter not only the opposition of social conservatives, but also a frought discussion on Navajo spiritualism and his own checkered past.

Read more

Photo: Massoud Hayoun/Al Jazeera

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Women front and center in Obama’s State of the Union address

The focus on working women — vis-a-vis larger themes of income inequality — was the distinguishing feature of this year’s State of the Union address. From GM’s Mary Barra, the factory worker’s daughter who became “CEO of America’s largest automaker,” to Andra Rush, a Detroit-based manufacturer, to Misty DeMars, an unemployed homeowner and mother of two, President Barack Obama emphasized that “women make up about half our workforce” but still face pay and pregnancy discrimination, as well as “Mad Men”–era workplace policies.
Advocates for working families had expected the president to further detail his universal pre-kindergarten proposal — announced during last year’s State of the Union — which would expand early-childhood education programs. But he spoke only in generalities. (The White House website provided more specifics.) Obama instead encouraged the states to pursue early education as part of school reform and promised to assemble a “coalition of elected officials, business leaders and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.”

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Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters

aljazeeraamerica:

Women front and center in Obama’s State of the Union address

The focus on working women — vis-a-vis larger themes of income inequality — was the distinguishing feature of this year’s State of the Union address. From GM’s Mary Barra, the factory worker’s daughter who became “CEO of America’s largest automaker,” to Andra Rush, a Detroit-based manufacturer, to Misty DeMars, an unemployed homeowner and mother of two, President Barack Obama emphasized that “women make up about half our workforce” but still face pay and pregnancy discrimination, as well as “Mad Men”–era workplace policies.

Advocates for working families had expected the president to further detail his universal pre-kindergarten proposal — announced during last year’s State of the Union — which would expand early-childhood education programs. But he spoke only in generalities. (The White House website provided more specifics.) Obama instead encouraged the states to pursue early education as part of school reform and promised to assemble a “coalition of elected officials, business leaders and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.”

Read more

Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters