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COMMENTARY: Stonewall Citizens' Patrol: What authority does security have?

I have been asked a few times about what authority that security guards and neighborhood-watch and citizens-patrol groups have.

The answer is not as complicated as you might think. Let's start with neighborhood-watch and citizens-patrol groups, including Stonewall Citizens' Patrol.

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COMMENTARY on domestic violence: The view from the other side of the wire

You’d think a survivor of an abusive relationship would lend one of the most empathic of ears to women incarcerated for charges related to domestic violence. Women who committed crimes because their abusers forced them to. Women who, without the resources to buy a get-out-of-jail-free card, were caught up when the men who terrorized them broke the law. Women who ultimately erupted in one excruciating moment of self-preservation, one violent demand for freedom, and killed their abusers.

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COMMENTARY: "Ex-gay" activist John Smid makes stunning admission

For decades, John Smid had been the leader of Love in Action, the infamous "ex-gay" ministry that took away the underwear of clients if the undergarments appeared too gay. The strict Memphis-based ministry also used an egg timer in the bathroom to make sure its clients would not masturbate while showering.

Of all the "ex-gay" ministries this was the most cult-like - with Smid keeping tight control over the social lives of his clients, who paid a pretty penny to live in the residential program.

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COMMENTARY: The past is never dead with the n-word

In a supposedly post-racial society one would think that the n-word was buried and long gone with it troubled eras of race relations in this country.

But as American novelist William Faulkner wrote in "Requiem For A Nun," his 1951 novel, "The past is never dead. It’s not even past."

As we all try to move from America’s ugly racial past, there are still rock solid vestiges of it.

At the entrance of a secluded 1,072-acre property in the West Texas town of Paint Creek is a rock painted in block letters with the word "N*****head."

COMMENTARY: NOM attacks gay congressman over birth of son

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) certainly knows how to get under one's skin with its vulgar campaign to demonize the LGBT community in the name of "protecting" marriage.

On Monday, NOM posted on its blog an item that attacked Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) over the birth of his son. Polis and his domestic partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of Caspian Julius on Friday and posted a photo of their newborn.

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COMMENTARY: Koala at CSUSM rings in Domestic Violence Awareness Month touting rape, racism, homophobia

Warning: Adult content

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COMMENTARY: Flying while gay not a good idea on Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has issues.

And those customer issues, on any given day or flight, appear arbitrary.

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COMMENTARY: The scent of a memory

I catch a trace of Father’s scent each year. He’s been dead since 1996, which makes his lingering essence kind of magical. I’ve smelled him in Dayton and Houston, in San Diego and Midland and Minneapolis… — and he was not a traveling salesman.

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COMMENTARY: Repeal of DADT ignores transgender troops

One minute past the stroke of midnight on Sept. 20, the long-awaited repeal of President Bill Clinton’s 1993 "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" (DADT) policy went into effect.

At precisely 12:01 a.m. EST, the popping of champagne bottles began along with cheers and tears celebrating the end of a repressive era that prohibited LGBTQ servicemembers from honestly and openly serving in the military.

But the celebration was bittersweet.

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COMMENTARY: What does it mean to be a feminist these days?

I vaguely recall the first time someone asked me what it means to be a feminist. I was still a kid, freshly baptized in the blaze of radical feminism. Or so it seemed, as our consciousness-raising group met in Anita’s living room. She was into her middle years, a professional woman returned to college, and the group was a school project. Its existence in our small town was a damn miracle for us and a disturbing mystery for the men, who didn’t understand why a gaggle of gals would get together for no better purpose than to talk — just talk — to each other! — what the hell?