aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, May 01, 2008
First Gay Senate Candidate in Czech Republic
On April 19, gay rights activist Jiří Hromada was nominated by the Czech Republic’s Green Party as their candidate for the Senate, a nomination which has already sparked plenty of controversy, according to the Prague Post:
“Following reports of his nomination, news servers such as Novinky and Aktuálně.cz had to shut down online discussions because they were full of homophobic and vulgar comments. The right-wing extremist National Party immediately issued a press statement branding Hromada a ‘homosexual deviant.’ Despite years of hard work by many gay and lesbian activists, it seemed from such reactions that homophobic feelings are still a part of the national culture, and Hromada’s candidacy in the upcoming election could serve as a test of the public’s tolerance and open-mindedness.”
Hromada ended his “career” as a gay rights activist, according to the paper, in 2006, when the nation’s Gay Initiative rights group felt that it had completed all its goals (imagine that!).
As it happens, I was in the Czech Republic two years ago at this time with a study abroad program and the Czechs were indeed very proud of their accomplishment: registered partnerships for same sex couples after a 17 year struggle.
I was there to make a film with the students about their experiences in the country. They also kept a video blog. This was their first post:
Conservatives launch web campaign to retain gay military ban
An advocacy group in the United States has launched a Congressional petition against calls for the country’s military to allow openly gay people to serve. [...]
An online advocacy website, www.americansforthemilitary.com, was launched by the conservative Centre for Military Readiness and urges voters to sign a Congressional petition to continue the gay ban.
“It is outrageous that some in our country would answer the service and sacrifice of their fellow citizens by calling for them to be fired simply because of who they are,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) .
“PFLAG supports all of America’s military and their families, including LGBT service members. No amount of shrill fear-mongering will ever change the fact that our country is better because of their service.”
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Australia to Remove Almost 100 Anti-Gay Laws
Australia will remove almost 100 discriminatory laws preventing gay couples from sharing financial and social entitlements enjoyed by married and defacto couples, such as superannuation and pension death benefits.
But the legislative overhaul, to occur when the Labor government sits for its first budget session in May, will not change marriage laws to include gay marriages.
“The government believes that marriage is between a man and a woman so it won’t amend the marriage act,” Attorney-General Robert McClelland said on Wednesday in announcing the changes.
“But in all other areas that we’ve identified, the issue of discrimination against same-sex couples will be removed,” McClelland told reporters.
A Catered Affair gaily splits Broadway
Friends don’t want to go. The reviews have been tepid. And Harvey’s musical has stirred a debate about the history of gay people in America:
The critics (the same ones who loved Mr Fierstein’s Fiddler) pounced on A Catered Affair for numerous reasons, especially complaining about verisimilitude. The Village Voice claimed that Mr. Fierstein “makes the uncle openly gay to a degree that Chayefsky certainly wouldn’t have contemplated”. Focusing on a scene in which Mr. Fierstein’s character drunkenly insults a society lady (played with splendid Margaret Dumont-like aplomb by Lori Wilner), Newsday called him a “jarring ... anachronism”, adding that the “character feels too flip for the era”. The New Yorker described the character as “surprisingly uninhibited for the Bronx in 1953”. New York gossip columnist Michael Musto, who delights in outing closeted celebrities, expressed doubt about whether “such a gay [would] exist in the Bronx in the ‘50s”.
That such questions are even discussed may be part of the canny Mr Fierstein’s self-appointed role as agent provocateur in the guise of entertainer, which has included incarnating Mrs Santa Claus in the starchy, all-American Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Of course, there were out gay men in 1950s America, like Harry Hay, born in Worthing, Sussex, who founded the Mattachine Society and the Radical Faeries movement. To prod so many spectators of his new play into merely discussing the topic may be Mr Fierstein’s ultimate goal and achievement.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
No truth in “Day of Truth”
The religious right legal group Alliance Defense Fund started an anti-gay “Day of Truth” in response to the pro-gay “Day of Silence.” The “Day of Truth” is little more than an excuse to push ex-gay misinformation on queer youth in public schools which prompted me to make a video examining and mocking ideas promoted by the “Day of Truth.”
Via Pam’s House Blend.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
A whole lot of love for the Fag Bug!
Anyone remember Erin Davies? She’s the Albany woman whose Volkswagen Beetle was defaced with “fag” and “u r gay,” and instead of fixing her car - she decided to take action. She kept the slurs on the car as a way to start conversations and to raise awareness about queer issues and homophobia.
Davies says, “Fag Bug has become much more than when it started. And to be able to transform it into something positive, rather than have people look at my car and be upset and hurt, I’d rather they look and see how bright the colors are, see something fun and playful instead of something hurtful.” Davies is also has a book and movie in the works. Awesome!
Monday, April 21, 2008
Harvey Fierstein Times Talk
On the ride home yesterday we listened to the podcast of Harvey Fierstein’s April 1 Times Talk celebrating the 25th anniversary of New York’s LGBT Community Center and Fierstein’s latest Broadway show, A Catered Affair.
He discusses his Broadway productions in detail beginning with the background and development of Torch Song Trilogy and ending with a scene from A Catered Affair. In classic Fierstein form, he holds nothing back.
Like many gay men of my generation, Torch Song was an important marker for me. In the early eighties I was a segment producer for one of the first gay television shows on cable, OUR TIME with Vito Russo. Harvey was one of our interviews:
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Generational cleavage (!) among evangelicals
Go to minute 36:45, where homosexuality comes up, and stay tuned for a striking contrast between Colson and the younger men.
Colson answers a question about homosexuality with a doctrinaire natural-law exegisis of Paul. The younger men warn against Colson’s hard-edged judgmentalism. Boyd agrees that homosexuality is wrong but can’t understand why evangelicals pick on this one moral failing as a “deal breaker” while downplaying so many sins of their own (divorce, e.g.). He argues that evangelicals’ reputation for “homophobia” (his word) is well earned and that Jesus ministered to prostitutes, rather than trying to pass laws against them. (Subtext here: the tension between the churches of Paul and Jesus.) Claiborne asks what sort of place the Church has become if it can’t minister lovingly to a young gay man who feels like he is one of “God’s mistakes” and wants to kill himself. “If that ‘mistake’ can’t find a home in the church, who have we become?” He goes on to condemn the “meanness” of evangelical political style and speaks intriguingly of “post-Religious Right America.”
I’ve yet to listen but I promise I will. Rauch sees it as evidence “that homosexuality has become a major point of generational cleavage among evangelicals.” I’m right there with you Jonathan—on the gay point. But I think that gay cleavage comes at the same time we’re seeing a depoliticization of evangelicals.
Evidence for that depoliticization comes from a speech Laurie Goodstein gave at Princeton back in October 2006, Backlash: Are Evangelicals Disillusioned with Politics? (podcast here) and, more recently, from Frank Schaeffer, author of the memoir, “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back” in his talk Crossroads of Religion and Politics (podcast here), and a myriad of other examples.
It’s the same old story: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Religious Right leaders had unchecked devotion and used it to fleece their flock. Gays were an easy, vulnerable target.
If, in fact, I am correct and there is a depoliticization taking place, I am not a liberal who will celebrate it. I find that here in the south we are not as politically engaged as back home in NYC. And my bias inclines me to suspect that is because government here has not worked well for the people so we are stuck in a self-reinforcing downward spiral of bad governance.
For government to succeed—for government to be good—it needs full participation. I’m ready to engage and debate my Christian neighbors on the topic of same sex love and any other topic of their choosing. Bravo Shane Claiborne. I look forward to hearing what you had to say.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Gay scientists isolate Christian gene
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Gay marriage: a tie that binds
You’ve got to love this. In those states where we can get married, if we move out of state, we can’t get divorced. Or something like that…
Try following this, from MSNBC:
Gay couples had to struggle mightily to win the right to marry or form civil unions in certain states. Now, some are finding that breaking up is hard to do, too.
In Rhode Island, for example, the state’s top court ruled in December that gays married in neighboring Massachusetts - the only state to allow the practice - cannot get divorced because state lawmakers have never defined marriage as anything but a union between a man and woman.
In Missouri, a judge is deciding whether a lesbian married in Massachusetts can get an annulment. [...]
Over the past four years, Massachusetts has been the only state where gay marriage is legal, while nine other states allow gay couples to enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships that offer many of the rights and privileges of marriage. The vast majority of these unions require court action to dissolve.
Gay couples who still live in the state where they partnered can split up with little difficulty; the laws in those states include divorce or dissolution procedures for same-sex couples. But gay couples who have moved to another state are running into trouble.
Massachusetts, at least early on, let out-of-state gay couples get married there practically for the asking. But the rules governing divorce are stricter. Out-of-state couples could go back to Massachusetts to get divorced, but they would have to live there for a year to establish residency first. [...]
Getting a divorce could prove toughest in some of the 40 states that have explicitly banned or limited same-sex unions, lawyers say.
In Missouri, which banned gay marriage in 2001, a conservative lawmaker has urged a judge not to grant an annulment to a lesbian married in Massachusetts.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Georgian recalls rooming with Michelle Obama at Princeton
Catherine Donnelly shopped at Kmart, settled into her dorm room and soaked up the Gothic stone buildings where, over the next four years, she would grow into her own woman.
But her first day at Princeton held a surprise, too. And Donnelly knew it would mean confronting the past.
The reason: One of her roommates was black.
“I told them we weren’t used to living with black people - Catherine is from the South,” Brown said. “They probably thought I was crazy.”
Today both Donnelly, an Atlanta attorney, and Brown, a retired schoolteacher living in the North Carolina mountains, look back at that time with regret. Like many Americans, they’ve built new perceptions of race on top of a foundation cracked by prejudices past - and present. Yet they rarely speak of the subject.
Barack Obama’s run for president changed that. When the Democratic senator from Illinois invited more dialogue on race last month, Donnelly and Brown, both lifetime Republicans, were ready.
But their willingness to talk isn’t a response to the candidate born to a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya. It’s more about Obama’s wife, Michelle.
She’s that roommate from a quarter century ago.
READ ON. To entice you further I’ll add these two lines… “[Donnelly] came out that first semester, chopped off her hair and partied with other lesbians on campus. Soon she, too, learned what it feels like to be part of the ‘other’ group, to be seen as a student second.”
Sexual tales from my old Pennsatucky home
I was raised in Central PA. Ran away at 17. Remember that my nephew, who is gay, lives here now with Doug and me. Ironic that he had to leave the liberal Northeast and flee to the Old South to find loving support and family acceptance. My brother is, er, oh, never mind…
I’m going on about this because I just read about the Republican commissioner of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, who had been accused of rape. By a man!
He denied it.
TPM Muckracker picks up the story from there:
On March 31st, police, investigating the allegation of rape by the 20-year old Marshall McCurdy, obtained a warrant to search Barclay’s home. They didn’t find evidence of rape. But they did find videotapes of hundreds of sexual encounters with men that Barclay had filmed on high-tech surveillance cameras. The cameras were hidden inside AM/FM radios, motion detectors and intercom speaker systems, among other places. There was also one at his business office.
None of the subjects were aware they were being filmed and no permission had been obtained, Barclay admitted. According to a second warrant issued on April 9th, Barclay also admitted to hiring prostitutes on a weekly basis from the now-defunct website harrisburgfratboys.com.
On April 10th, the rape charges were dropped. One of the videos found during the search showed Barclay and McCurdy engaging in apparently consensual sex.[...]
Sadly, his vindication was his undoing. Barclay was forced to resign.
And legally, Barclay’s not quite out of the woods yet-- he’s still facing possible charges for privacy violations and promoting prostitution. McCurdy, however, has been charged with making false reports to law enforcement authorities and unsworn falsifications to authorities. He’s up for a possible 3-year prison stint and $7,500 in fines.
Ah, just as I remember home.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
And we wonder where violent kids come from
The gaming site for parents, WhatTheyPlay.com, runs a “Question of the Day” poll that asks visitors to the site (i.e. mostly parents) a question that usually reveals something about people’s general attitudes towards games. Recently, the poll asked “As a parent, which would you find most offensive in a video game?” The results, as you can see to the right, found that more parents would be okay with cursing or even a severed head in video games over hetero-sex and “two men kissing.” Yep, horrific violence just ain’t so bad compared to two adult sharing a passionate moment together… a Norwegian gaming site decided to run the same poll. Their results were almost the exact opposite, with 65.8% of people saying they’d be most offended by a severed head.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Sally Kern: lying homophobe exposed
I think I have been fairly generous towards Sally Kern. Appalled at the outset as any self-respecting gay person would be, I thought her son made a decent case that his mother might come around one day.
While the meeting with Oklahoma PFLAG was hopeful, things turned sour quickly. From PFLAG’s National Blog:
Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern just doesn’t seem to learn: Tape recorders are decidedly not her friend.
It’s been just over a week since the midwest’s favorite homophobe told her local paper, The Oklahoman, that PFLAG supporters from the state took her “statements and have spun them” to misrepresent her views on anti-gay job discrimination and her vow to at least consider an ongoing dialogue with us. Her comments followed a meeting at the state capitol with Oklahoma City PFLAG president Rev. Loyce Newton-Edwards and two other local supporters.
PFLAG applauded Kern for agreeing to the sit-down . . . only to be on the receiving end of a mad Sally slap-down. Kern and her supporters went so far as to refer to the three members of the clergy who took part in the meeting as “false prophets,” and attacked the credibility of our Oklahoma PFLAG families. And even though we weighed in with our own fact-check of Sally’s allegations, she continued to insist that she did not say what she said.
So now it’s time to get out the audio player again. Sally Kern, meet yourself on the YouTube.
That’s right. Sally’s staff consented to having her meeting with PFLAG recorded, and her words speak for themselves. . . listen in as Sally pontificates on job discrimination . . . gay millionaires . . . lesbian golfers . . . and a little boy named “Jimmy.”
As the full 40-minute audio recording released this morning by PFLAG proves, Kern said not once (at about 15 minutes and 30 seconds in) that she does not believe GLBT people should be fired from their jobs . . . but she said it twice (again at about 33:15), confirming her stance when Rev. Kathy McCallie recaps the meeting near its end. [...]
Kern also weighs in on “the homosexual agenda,” which, she explains, is a lot like a “to-do list.” And to-do lists are suddenly all the rage, for sure. According to Kern, everyone has one these days, Jesus and Tim Gill included.
But perhaps Sally’s most poignant moment is one that exists only in her head. Midway through the conversation, and clearly an hour or so before her next round of medication is due, Kern waxes philosophical on the awesome power of teachers . . . to convince our children they’re gay.
It is the story of little Jimmy, a theoretical Oklahoma school boy who leaves home one day, presumably heterosexual, and heads off to learn his ABCs. But little Jimmy is unaware that his teacher has an entirely different “to-do list” for the day.
The teacher, Kern explains, lines the children up on the playground and begins to count off: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 . . . and then, abruptly, declares little Jimmy to be a little bit gay.
Yes, it’s all included - in five parts, kind of like the Star Wars saga - in the long awaited Sally Kern sequel. Our lady of the perpetual audio tapes answers all of our burning questions.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Ellen tops Oprah in popularity poll
The results of a March 26, 2008, AOL Television popularity poll of television hosts reveal Americans may now embrace Ellen DeGeneres over Oprah by a wide margin. Forty-six percent of the 1.35 million people who participated in the poll said the daytime talk show host that “made their day” was Ellen, compared with only 19 percent who chose Oprah. Nearly half (47 percent) said they would rather dine with Ellen, compared with 14 percent who preferred Oprah.
To be sure, Oprah remains one of the most popular figures in America, but recent data suggest her popularity has eroded. One possible explanation for this decline is that her endorsement of Obama and her support for him may have done more to damage impressions of her than to strengthen support for Obama. Then again, Obama may become the next president of the United States, and he may feel he has Oprah partly to thank for going out on a limb for him - not a bad situation for the talk show queen.
If this analysis is correct, daytime chat viewers don’t much like overt political endorsements by show hosts, but are comfortable with Ellen ("Yep, I’m Gay") Degeneres, who doesn’t browbeat her audience over the issue but did recently movingly address the murder of young Lawrence King.
As both Rosie O’Donnell (back when she was seen as the Queen of Nice) and Ellen have shown, gay women have broken through a media barrier. But no out and proud gay man has come anywhere close to such onscreen success as of yet.
I’m not so sure I agree with the analysis of wither Politico’s Panagopoulos or IGF’s Miller. But I can’t say that I’ve got a theory of my own either!
Monday, April 07, 2008
Edits to gay soldier’s Wikipedia entry traced to Pentagon
I was traveling when the story of Maj. Alan Rogers, a gay soldier who was killed in January in Iraq, made news because media sources such as the Washington Post and National Public Radio chose not to mention that Rogers was gay in their coverage of his posthumously awarded Purple Heart and a second Bronze Star. See, for example, here, here and here.
Well, it turns out that a Pentagon computer was used last week to edit the gay soldier’s Wikipedia entry. The Washington Blade:
A Wikipedia article about Maj. Alan Rogers, a gay soldier who was killed in January in Iraq, was apparently edited by someone in the Pentagon, who removed any mention that Rogers was gay.
The user on Monday redacted details about Rogers that appeared on the online encyclopedia site. Information that was deleted included Rogers’ sexual orientation; the soldier’s participation in American Veterans for Equal Rights, a group that works to change military policy toward gays; and the fact that Rogers’ death helped bring the U.S. military’s casualty toll in Iraq to 4,000.
Rob Pilaud, a patent agent and a friend of Rogers who attended the soldier’s funeral, restored the information to the Wikipedia article the next day. Pilaud was among Rogers’ friends who created the Wikipedia page.
The anonymous poster also provided the following comment in the “discussion” section about the article:
“Alan’s life was not about his sexual orientation but rather about the body of work he performed ministering to others and helping the defense of the country,” the poster wrote. “Quit trying to press an agenda that Alan wouldn’t have wanted made public just to suit your own ends.”
The IP address attached to the deletion of the details and the posted comments is 126.96.36.199. The address belongs to a computer from the office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G-2) at the Pentagon. The office is headed by Lt. Gen. John Kimmons, who was present at Rogers’ funeral and presented the flag from Rogers’ coffin to his cousin, Cathy Long.
The Army’s public affairs office did not return a call seeking comment.
RELATED: Kevin Naff has an editorial in that same edition of the Blade, The Washington Post’s gay problem—Why did editor Len Downie go to such lengths to hide the simple fact that a soldier was gay?
Sir Ian McKellen becomes bishop for a day
Never one to shy away from controversy, Sir Ian McKellen is secretly plotting to launch a campaign to shame the Anglican Church over its refusal to give equal rights to homosexual clergy.
In an act of solidarity with the Rt Rev Gene Robinson, the Church’s first openly homosexual bishop, the celebrated actor intends to read out a sermon written by the prelate, who has been barred from the landmark Lambeth Conference this summer that is seeking to prevent a schism over the issue.
Standing alongside the bishop, who will remain silent throughout, the star of The Lord of the Rings will deliver a broadside against the Church’s attitude to homosexuals with the kind of passion and force normally reserved for his performances on the stage.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Violet Blue, Jay Leno & the Homo Homophobes
Violet Blue had a wicked fun column in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday. It begins:
It happens every time I innocently go to the neighborhood grocery store for soy milk. You see, I live in the Castro, in San Francisco, and everyone knows what that means.
The streets are teeming with homosexuals. It’s just like in those horror-movie fundamentalist videos: Everyone’s in leather with their bits and butts on display; murderous Baby Jane drag queens run amok day and night; gay sex is happening in the streets at all hours. There’s a huge lube slide at the corner of 18th and Castro by the Bank of America, where of course, virgin straight men are sacrificed should they wander haplessly into our own little Sodom-by-the-Bay. And because I’m a heathen too, every once in a while I lure and toss a straight boy into the fray, just for kicks. It’s like a zombie movie, but gayer.
Don’t get your homophobic hopes up; It’s not really that fun in my neighborhood. But the gaya hatas love to obsess, their imaginations running wild with Bacchanalian scenarios far more creative (or physically impossible, a la “South Park") than anything Falcon or Raging Stallion’s best porn screenwriters can come up with. Unfortunately, as we all know, homophobes get so lathered and frothy about the things they hate that they take action, sometimes political, sometimes physical and occasionally with murderous intent.
The reason for Violet’s rant? Jay Leno’s recent homophobic run-in with Ryan Phillippe. She goes on to point to the 1996 UGA Homo Homophobes study last seen a couple years ago in the Know + Tell section of Details magazine (pictured above).
The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.
Gay people are well aware that those most vociferous in their anti-gay attacks are typically covering their shamefully guilty tracks. If they’d just fess up, honestly and forthrightly, about who they are we’d all be better off.
Meanwhile, I am sorry to learn that Professor Adams passed away in 2000.
LATER: Neither I nor Violet Blue is implying that Leno is a homo homophobe. No, he’s just clueless! In my first post on this topic I called him a washed up unfunny has been. Confirming both that he’s clueless and a washed up has been, he’s unapologized for the Ryan Phillippe remarks.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Justice Department attorney fired for being lesbian?
That’s the suspicion. All Things Considered:
The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating whether a career attorney in the department was dismissed from her job because of rumors that she is a lesbian. The case grew out of a larger inquiry into the firings of U.S. attorneys and politicization at Justice under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Several people interviewed by the inspector general’s staff described the case to NPR and said they came away with the impression that the Attorney General’s office decided not to renew Leslie Hagen’s contract because of the talk about her sexual orientation. Hagen received the highest possible ratings for her work as liaison between the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys’ committee on Native American issues. Her final job evaluation lists five categories for supervisors to rank her performance. For each category, a neat X fills the box marked, “Outstanding.” And at the bottom of the page, under “overall rating level,” she also got the top mark: Outstanding.
The form is dated February 1, 2007. Several months before that evaluation, Hagen was told her contract would not be renewed.
The line that’s making the rounds of the gay blogosphere is what’s “even worse than being a Democrat” in Monica Goodling’s eyes.
Goodling, you will recall, was Alberto Gonzales’s senior counsel who “At the height of the scandal over the fired U.S. attorneys...admitted to making personnel decisions about career Justice Department lawyers based on improper partisan considerations.”
She took a personal interest in Hagen:
The Justice Department’s inspector general is looking into whether Hagen was dismissed after a rumor reached Goodling that Hagen is a lesbian.
As one Republican source put it, “To some people, that’s even worse than being a Democrat.”
Several people interviewed by the inspector general’s staff said investigators asked whether people drew a connection between the rumors and Hagen’s dismissal. The witnesses, who spoke to NPR on the condition of anonymity, said they felt that the rumors led to the decision not to renew Hagen’s contract.
Someone who worked in Hagen’s office says that in a 2006 meeting, senior officials were told that Hagen’s contract would not be renewed because someone on the attorney general’s staff had a problem with Hagen. The problem, it was suggested during the conversation, was sexual orientation - or what was rumored to be Hagen’s sexual orientation.
One person at the meeting asked, “Is that really an issue?” But the decision had been made.
When a different NPR story today called African Americans “the most reliable voters the Democrats have,” Doug disagreed. He thinks gays are.
I don’t know. Hagen’s “a GOP loyalist.” Look at the Cheney family. And the Log Cabin Republicans. It’s clear to me that this is yet another reminder of why we need a Democratic president in 2009.
Leno apologizes for gay remarks from Phillippe interview
Jay Leno has apologized for remarks he made to Ryan Phillippe when Phillippe appeared on his show [inset] to promote the movie Stop-Loss. Leno mocked Phillippe’s first role as a gay teen on One Life to Live before pointing at the camera and asking a visibly disturbed Phillippe to give it his “gayest look.”
Said Leno in a statement: “In talking about Ryan’s first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong. I certainly didn’t mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say, and I apologize.”
The incident prompted an angry letter from Avenue Q scribe Jeff Whitty, who wrangled with the late night host about his homophobic remarks during the Brokeback Mountain days, and inspired the creation of My Gayest Look, a website at which you can find dozens of pictorial messages for Jay Leno (including mine).
LATER: Proving just how clueless he really is, he’s unapologized for the Ryan Phillippe remarks.
Fact of GAY life? Or time to change the POLITCAL world?
The husband of a colleague died recently. They were married four years. She will receive his pension for life.
Next year my partner and I will celebrate 9 years. We, of course, don’t have—can’t have—shared health insurance, tax benefits, inheritance, visitation privileges, or a myriad of other things taken for granted by heterosexual America today.
When I had that recent health emergency, we had to rush to see lawyers and worry that the Power of Attorney and Living Wills we put in place would be honored and not litigated.
Yadda yadda yadda… you know the story. You may wonder why I’m going on.
I was moved by this story posted on Towleroad as told by DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias by his friend Joel Kelly of the Slain Gay Hospital Worker Remembered as Hero in Georgia:
On Thursday afternoon in Columbus, Georgia, as reported here, a man entered Doctor’s Hospital, shot and killed two hospital workers and then another man in the parking lot on his way out before he was apprehended. My boyfriend Kevin Perry works at the hospital on the floor where the shootings took place and was at work when this happened. I knew both of the nurses that were killed. They were two of Kevin’s closest friends. A couple of things which I feel are important to say...one of which is that the second person who was shot and killed was gay. Not that this particular fact is noteworthy in and of itself...but I would like to say that Les Harris was shot in the face while he was trying to wrest the gun out of the hands of the shooter. The man was trying to kill a young woman and Les gave his life in order to save her. We don’t often hear about gay heroes . . . too often stories in which our humanity is front and center are lost in the chorus of the Christian Right. We deserve these stories to be told. The second part of this and the reason that I am sending this to you is to let you know that his partner, Keith Cavender, another nurse at the same hospital, was unable to secure his partner’s personal belongings, was kept from seeing him before and immediately following his death, and of course will receive none of the benefits due our heterosexual counterparts. Common human decency is not a privilege accorded us under current law. Please let the powers that be in the Party know that we desperately need to win back the White House and let everyone know that we have heroes among us.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Despite economic slump, gay retirement community moves forward
Marigold Creek, a resort-style retirement community marketed toward gays and lesbians might face more trouble developing the property in Surprise because of the economic climate than from opposition because of the community’s clientele.
On Saturday, representatives from Out Properties Development hosted a buyer’s event at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park. About 46 potential purchasers had registered for the sales event.
Deborah Purvis of Out Properties said she has heard more people say the company is crazy for moving forward in the current economic climate than for building a community for gays and lesbians in Arizona.
“We’re hopeful that when all is said and done that the economy will have (righted itself),” she said. “My partner asked me if I was crazy doing this.”
Purvis said the community has received support not only from the city but from potential buyers.
She said Surprise officials seemed pleased that anyone is building and that initial reaction from buyers also has been uplifting.
The project still has to wend its way through the Surprise planning and zoning process and, should it remain on schedule, Marigold Creek should open the first units late next year.
Many of the 46 people who registered for the event traveled to Arizona from out of state.
The first phase consists of more than 80 total units and will include single-family homes and condominiums.
Twelve of the 17 single family homes in Marigold Creek have been reserved.
For more info visit their website.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Prison rape is not funny. And it is NOT gay sex.
Ezra Klein has an OpEd in the LATimes today that starts out by looking at the dropped soap joke in the ”Let’s Go To Prison” DVD preview and the “Don’t Drop the Soap” board game created by the son of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas before going on to make the point that there’s nothing funny about prison rape.
Prison rape occupies a fairly odd space in our culture. It is, all at once, a cherished source of humor, a tacitly accepted form of punishment and a broadly understood human rights abuse. We pass legislation called the Prison Rape Elimination Act at the same time that we produce films meant to explore the funny side of inmate sexual brutality.
Occasionally, we even admit that prison rape is a quietly honored part of the punishment structure for criminals. When Enron’s Ken Lay was sentenced to jail, for instance, Bill Lockyer, then the attorney general of California, spoke dreamily of his desire “to personally escort Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, ‘Hi, my name is Spike, honey.’ “
The culture is rife with similar comments. Although it would be unthinkable for the government today to institute corporal punishment in prisons, there is little or no outrage when the government interns prisoners in institutions where their fellow inmates will brutally violate them. We won’t touch you, but we can’t be held accountable for the behavior of Spike, now can we?
As our jokes and cultural products show, we can claim no ignorance. We know of the abuses, and we know of the rapes. Research by the University of South Dakota’s Cindy Struckman-Johnson found that 20% of prisoners reported being coerced or pressured into sex, and 10% said they were violently raped. In a 2007 survey by the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 60,000 inmates claimed to have been sexually victimized by other inmates during the previous 12 months. Given the stigma around admitting such harms, the true numbers are probably substantially higher.
But by and large, we seem to find more humor than outrage in these crimes. In part, this simply reflects the nature of our criminal justice system, which has become decreasingly rehabilitative and increasingly retributive.
In the 1970s, as economist Glenn Loury has written, “the corrections system was commonly seen as a way to prepare offenders to rejoin society. Since then, the focus has shifted from rehabilitation to punishment and stayed there.”
Today, though, I will recall instead that in the late 1970s in LA there was a separate prison for those prisoners who were or were perceived to be gay. Thing was, if you were gay you were advised by those in the know not to go there. Guards, it was said, assumed that because you were gay you deserved what you were bound to get when you got there.
Gay prisoners in LA then had the worst of all possible worlds—they got it either way. I have no reason to believe things have gotten any better.
And just as we have hopefully come to understand that rape is a crime of violence, it must also be understood that while predatory sex as practiced in prisons may technically include some homosexual acts as practiced between gay men, they share nothing at all in common with gay men.
While it seems this should be obvious to anyone and everyone, I doubt it is obvious to Bill Lockyer or the folks who laugh at “Let’s Go To Prison” or those who find the Sebelius’ board game funny.
Klein closes with both the moral and the money argument for addressing prison violence. I find the moral argument persuasive—that “our tacit acceptance of violence within prisons is grotesque [and] counterproductive”—and wish that it would win.
Klein points out that California spends $8.8 billion a year on its prisons, up 216% in 20 years. Georgia’s in that same boat. The fact is we are hardly willing to fund our schools, so James Q. Wilson not withstanding (and Loury has convincingly refuted his argument long ago as far as I’m concerned) I don’t believe we are going to be willing to keep this up for long.
Friday, March 28, 2008
ex-gay camp leader John Smid leaves Love In Action
The rumors are true. I spoke with Josh Morgan, communications manager at Love In Action. He has confirmed that John Smid has resigned from the Memphis-based residential ex-gay program. A quiet announcement was made to staff and supporters, and an official announcement will be made in their April 1st newsletter to subscribers. Josh had no further details or statement about the announcement.
Love In Action gained worldwide attention in 2006 when a gay 16-year-old by the name of Zach posted on MySpace blog that he was about to be involuntarily committed to Love In Action’s youth live-in program “Refuge.” Thanks to Zach’s myspace post, the world was able to learn about the complicated and bizarre rules that all house residents are expected to follow. When he was committed to a two-month stay in the residential program, his plight spawned international outrage along with unprecedented protests in Memphis. It also inspired filmmaker Morgan Fox to begin filming the documentary, “This Is What Love In Action Looks Like,” which is currently in post-production. Last July, it was announced that the controversial youth program was shut down.
More recently, we examined just a little bit about what goes on in Love In Action. I talked about my reaction to hearing him talk at last summer’s Exodus conference on the evils of masturbation. Particularly disturbing: Smid’s bragging to an audience of mostly celibate men that “my wife’s vagina is enough for me!”
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern meets with PFLAG
Hosting a group of parents from Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in her office at the state capitol today, Oklahoma House Rep. Sally Kern has taken a stand opposing discrimination against gays in the workplace. The embattled lawmaker is also considering another meeting with more PFLAG parents at their local chapter, sources tell PageOneQ.
More from Gay.com. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
UPDATE: More of the same. At this point, I’m part of the problem. It has to quiet down and become less political, more personal.