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December 02, 2004

Lousiana, where "gay" is a bad word

And where, not altogether surprisingly, second-graders can't spell!

lafayette.JPG

Read the ridiculous story here.

Sadly, though, CBS and NBC apparently agree, even when it's a church group using the g-word. At least, when they use it to mean something other than "sinner."

Is this really happening in my country? Are those the sweet strains of "Advance Australia Fair" I hear???

November 15, 2004

Who we're fighting for, and the unexpected allies we have

I don't know how I missed thisWaPo article about a gay teen from a small town outside Tulsa. Whatever fears we have can be easily put aside when we think of the hardships kids like Michael Shackleford face. Read the article. (Update: then read part II, which starts with Michael's suicide attempt. Crushing.)

Then read the followup from this month, when the writer goes back to Sand Springs to cover the town's response to Fred Phelps' sick attack on the poor kid. Amazingly, the town comes together to support Michael--moving from "fag-bashing" to "leave our homos alone." This gives me so much hope--even the reddest corners of a red state know what hate is when they see it. And they reject it. Our challenge is to show how there is a Phelps hiding under every Dobson. When these hypocrites are unmasked, even deeply conservative and religious Americans will reject the division and discord they sow.

Now I want to figure out what organizations are doing the most to help kids like this.

November 12, 2004

Kerry, Mary, and the Mullahs

AMERICAblog has this charming little post about the gigantic knicker-twist some of America's favorite Christians mullahs have decided, in its post-eclection orgy of self-righteousness, to give themselves. It's hard to believe it was only a month ago when Kerry was evil, evil, EVIL for merely mentioning that Mary Cheney, Professional Lesbian, was a, um, lesbian. Now, read what the preznit's allies at the Family Policy Network are saying about her:

"The day after George Bush was elected president again, because of this morals revolution taking place in our country, he allows his vice president to not only put his lesbian daughter on the platform, but to bring her lesbian 'partner' up on the stage with him," Glover says. "It almost seems to be a slap in the face from the get-go against the very conservatives that re-elected the president at a time when he ought to paying them some homage and respect." Glover says the Cheney daughter's open flaunting of her homosexuality is the antithesis of what the administration claims to stand for -- and that the post-election display sends a mixed message to Bush supporters.

Clearly, the GOP can't tolerate any mixed messages (strong leader, rezzaloot). Luckily, Bush and Co. have some visiting experts on theocracy hanging out at Gitmo... I think what Glover really wants is to have the Taliban up for a little pan-fundamentalist love-fest where a bunch of straight monotheistic landowning men can get together and stone Mary Cheney to death. After which Lynne Cheney will, undoubtedly, blame it all on John ("not a good man") Kerry.

[And in a final note: do we think it's technically correct to say that a woman who looks so much like Dick Cheney in a bad wig could really flaunt anthing? If Mary is going to be America's Most Controversial Dyke for the next four years, can someone take her shopping? Ellen, she's a Republican but a sister first-- can you help her out?]

October 19, 2004

The gayness is spreading...

CNN.com has this headline:

"Gay novel wins Booker prize"

Wow, the gayness is spreading to inanimate objects...I always knew that you homosexuals were a corrupting influence...I hope my dog doesn't turn into a gay homosexual next.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004 Posted: 2227 GMT (0627 HKT)


LONDON, England (Reuters) -- British author Alan Hollinghurst has won the Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards, for his critically acclaimed gay novel "The Line of Beauty."

September 23, 2004

I Think Jimmy Swaggart is HOT and SEXY!!

I am sure that I need to go back and ask the Sister’s a few things, because this is not what I learned in Sunday School, nor can I find any guidance from the “Good Book” that allows me to use such ideas of hatred and actually get laughter and applause!
Well, thank heaven for the NY Daily News! Just when you think that the Christian Right cannot possibly top them selves, they actually do it!!! Now ya know when an article includes the prostitute toting Jimmy Swaggart, it’s going to be good…and Jimmy ya didn’t let us down!
BATON ROUGE, La. — Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologized Wednesday for saying in a televised worship service that he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically.
A complaint was filed with a Canadian broadcasting group, and Swaggart said his Baton Rouge-based Jimmy Swaggart Ministries has received complaints from gay groups over the remarks made on the Sept. 12 telecast.
In the broadcast, Swaggart was discussing his opposition to gay marriage when he said “I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry.” “And I’m going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I’m going to kill him and tell God he died,” Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

I am sure the interview was meant to go something like this:
BATON ROUGE, La. — Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologized Wednesday for saying in a televised worship service that he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically. “What I meant to say,” replied Swaggart, “ is that I would bash his faggot ass face in with a baseball bat and then shove it up his pansy queer ass, and then tell God that he must have slipped.” “If this offends anyone, I apologize,” Swaggart said, “ I use this saying all the time and you can’t lie to God, I’m just a damn dumb ass!”

September 22, 2004

Are they mentally disabled, too?

This has just got to be satire, but it doesn't appear to be a repost from The Onion: Black Gay Republicans Break with Log Cabin Republicans, Endorse Bush. I mean, come on. It was bad enough that the Log Cabin Republicans took so long to work out that the Bush Administration mightn't be the best thing ever for gays and lesbians in the USA, but to learn that black gay republicans still haven't figured it out ... well, the mind simply boggles.

September 21, 2004

DOMABSA

Read my latest The Seattle Times Backyard Blog post for the whole story, but let me ask you this?

Who among us is not ready to pass a Defense of Marriage Against Britney Spears Act??? She gets married twice in one year, and David and I can't do it legally even once?

DOMABSA. y'all. Let's write our congresscritters.

Gaymerica

Our dear friends Cathy Carl has sent us a link to one of the best political satires of the season. Those crazy kids at DDB have created Gaymerica for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to show us exactly the kind of homo-friendly republic we can create if we kick Bush out. That's all I'm saying. You've got to check it out!

September 20, 2004

Fire, brimstone, and FAAAABULOUSNESS

The hilarious Ladies Village Improvement Society has this surreal update. Facing the subway-car onslaught of crazy preaching folk, our new favorite blogger announced the following:

"If you all don't lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes."

Seriously, this is a must read. Especially for homos, New Yorkers, or both.

Louisiana is for haters, too

The following amendment to the Louisiana state constitution just passed with an 80% margin:


Marriage in the state of Louisiana shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. No official or court of the state of Louisiana shall construe this constitution or any state law to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any member of a union other than the union of one man and one woman. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized. No official or court of the state of Louisiana shall recognize any marriage contracted in any other jurisdiction which is not the union of one man and one woman.

Andrew Sullivan sums it up perfectly:

This is a radical denial of any civil protections for gay couples at all - the most radical attack on an American minority since Jim Crow. Even the mildest protections for a gay couple that are integral to any meaningful bond - visitation rights in hospital, inheritance rights, the right not to testify against one another in court, and so on - will now be vulnerable to legal challenge or flat-out denied gay couples under the law.

So much for visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Louisiana is off the list.

August 30, 2004

Gov McGreevey, meet Rep. Schrock

And the #@*! continues to hit the fan...this time it is a Republican. Ah, justice, how sweet you smell.

Va. Legislator Ends Bid for 3rd Term
Schrock Cites Unspecified Allegations Questioning His Ability to Serve

By Michael D. Shear and Chris L. Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, August 31, 2004; Page A02

Rep. Edward L. Schrock (R-Va.) abruptly dropped out of his race for a third term yesterday, citing unspecified "allegations" that he said called into question his ability to represent his Virginia Beach district.

In a statement, Schrock, 63, did not address the nature of the allegations, but he said they "will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region." His chief of staff, Tom Gordy, refused any further comment last night.

Schrock's announcement came after a gay activist claimed on a Web site on Aug. 19 that Schrock is secretly gay.


Michael Rogers said his claims about Schrock were motivated by anger over what he said was the hypocrisy of the congressman's opposition to gay rights while leading a gay life. He said the purpose of his Web site is to make public the names of lawmakers and other politicians who engage in such hypocrisy.

"Why should my community protect him?" Rogers asked. "He's the enemy."

Rogers said on his Web site that Schrock had been recorded several years ago using a telephone service on which men place ads to arrange liaisons with other men. Rogers posted an audio link of an unidentified man placing an ad. Rogers said the man is Schrock, who is married and has a child.

The accusation by Rogers had circulated widely among Republicans in the state during the past 10 days and spurred rounds of talks among members of Congress, House leaders and local party leaders.

"We were unable to get any facts. It was all rumors and conjecture," said one Republican familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity. "No one wanted to believe the rumors. Everyone wanted to stand with Ed."

Last week, Gordy called Rogers's accusations "unsubstantiated rumors" and insisted that Schrock would stand for reelection as planned.

But party leaders in the district began planning a meeting in case they needed to review their nomination. The 2nd District Republican Party is scheduled to meet tonight to select a new nominee.

Mark L. McKinney, chairman of the Virginia Beach Republican Committee, said he had not talked directly to Schrock. "It's a shame that he had to resign because of a Web site that is trying to push a point of view . . . but . . . I have to believe that this was the reason why he stepped down."

Schrock's announcement came on the first night of the Republican National Convention in New York.

Virginia's top Republicans publicly ignored the sexual allegations and offered kind words about Schrock's service in Congress. Schrock, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, was elected in 2000 to represent Virginia's 2nd District, a conservative part of the state that includes Virginia Beach, parts of Norfolk and Hampton and Virginia's Eastern Shore.

The area is home to many military bases and a large number of active-duty service people and veterans.

Schrock retired from the Navy in 1988 and later became an investment broker, resigning in 1995 to run successfully for the Virginia Senate.

In Congress, Schrock has served on the House Armed Services Committee. In 2001, he was elected president of the Republican House freshman class.

In 2000, the Virginian-Pilot said of Schrock that he favored ending the Clinton administration's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military. He supported asking enlistees whether they have had homosexual experiences in an effort to try to keep gays from serving.

"You're in the showers with them, you're in the bunk room with them, you're in staterooms with them," Schrock told the Virginian-Pilot. "You just hope no harm would come by folks who are of that persuasion. It's a discipline thing."

Sen. George Allen (Va.), speaking from the Republican convention in New York, said through a spokesman "I have enjoyed working with Ed Schrock for many years as governor and as senator. I respect his service to Virginia as well as the personal decision he made today."

Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for governor next year, said in a statement, "I think we should all thank Rep. Schrock for his tireless and devoted efforts on behalf of the Commonwealth."

The congressman's decision has prompted what the state's top elections official called "a scramble" to nominate a new candidate. Democrats have nominated David B. Ashe, an Iraq war veteran, as their candidate.

Politicians considered the seat a safe one for the Republican incumbent.

Jean Jensen, secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections, said Republicans have until 5 p.m. Friday to replace Schrock.

Several state Republican lawmakers said they are considering seeking Schrock's seat.

The leading candidates are state Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (Virginia Beach) and Del. Thelma Drake (Norfolk), according to several Republican sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the events surrounding Schrock's sudden decision. Del. John J. Welch III (Virginia Beach) also said he is considering a bid.

A clash between Stolle and Drake could exacerbate a philosophical split that erupted earlier this year over taxes. Stolle supported higher taxes; Drake fervently opposed them.

Republican Party Chairman Kate Obenshain Griffin, who presides over a state organization that has been rocked by one scandal after another in the past several years, said she hoped that her party would come together quickly to move on.

"It is now important for Virginia Republicans to unite behind our nominee and work hard to ensure the 2nd District continues to be represented by a Republican," she said.

August 12, 2004

NO!

I can't believe this!! The married governor of New Jersey resigns because the shit is about to hit the fan that he is gay-- and acted on it. It's about time that the news got juicy!!

I just saw this news, so I can't say I have processed it. I am sad that being gay is such a negative factor in his life, stunned that he was holding hands with his wife at the press conference, and proud that he admits it. I guess everyone thought he was resigning because he is corrupt, so it's cool that he is outing himself instead of just going with the flow. He has a bunch of kids, how sad for them that he didn't admit it to himself earlier before involving two wives and his kids in the lie.

And the horse you rode in on

I'd like to send a nice big "Fuck you!" to the California Supreme Court for being lily-livered cowards and giving in to the unreasoned bigotry of Christian extremists who brought suit against the city of San Francisco for issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Let's just hope that the Washington Supreme Court, as it reviews the case recently won in King County, is capable of thinking rationally and acting fairly.

August 04, 2004

Washington is for Lovers!

Not surprisingly, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled today that Washington state's so-called defense of marriage act violates the state constitution.

In his words, "The Court concludes that the exclusion of same-sex partners from civil marriage and the privileges attendant thereto is not rationally related to any legitimate or compelling state interest and is certainly not narrowly tailored toward such an interest."

July 29, 2004

Falwell to open GOP convention

If it weren't such good news for Kerry, this news would cause my head to explode. Falwell will pray, pray, pray! the Republican National Convention into session in New York next month.

While the media had a field day with Al Sharpton hitting W a little harder than the script read, do you think they will recap some of Falwell's greatest hits? Who can forget Christofacist ramblings like these?

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"
-- Rev. Jerry Falwell, 9/12/01, quoted in "God Gave U.S. 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says," The Washington Post 9/14/2001

"The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country."
--Sermon, July 4, 1976

"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"
--America Can Be Saved, 1979

"The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible,without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc."
-- Finding Inner Peace and Strength, 1982

"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."
--CBC television debate debate between Falwell and gay minister Rev. Troy Perry, 7/6/83

Falwell isn't just some kooky preacher. He founded the group "Moral Majority" that spawned the "Christian Right" politcal apparatus and has done more than any one person to twist the faith of my fathers into a hateful force bent on hijacking our democratic process with the ultimate goal of asserting theocracy. Before Pat Robertson, before Ralph Reed, there was Falwell, spouting a doctrine that sucks all the love out of Christ's ministry and replaces it with fear and discord. He is simply a false prophet, and the Bible he finds infallible is pretty explicit about what happens to them in The End. Let me just say, if I'm wrong, and Falwell ends up in Heaven I'll be happy to enjoy brimstone cocktails with Beelzebub every day at 5 for all eternity.

We had been hearing that the RNC wanted to keep the convention mainstream, but the far-right was pissed that prime slots were going to moderates like Rudy and Ahnold. And we know how thoroughly they have W by the, um, ear. If this is how the convention is starting it will likely turn into a repeat of 1992--where the Christian Coalition flexed its muscle and Pat Buchanan's "religious war in America" invocation terrified reasonable Americans and helped elect Clinton.

July 26, 2004

Margaret responds

Well, the HRC responds and has an interesting quote from Margaret Cho at the end. Sounds like she's pissed off, but not terminally.

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Human Rights Campaign regarding your concerns about the attendance of Margaret Cho at the Unity ’04 event at the Democratic National Convention. I want to assure you that the Human Rights Campaign loves Margaret Cho, and respects her as an artist.

We would like to apologize for any distress or embarrassment this may have caused her or the community. We too are disappointed and saddened about an environment where GLBT Americans are the focus of President Bush’s effort to distract American voters.
The best way to bring about a positive and inclusive America is to defeat President Bush in November. With enormous national press attention at our event, we want to ensure that the only messages coming out of Boston are positive.
We did not want to allow the GLBT community, and our celebration, to be used as political fodder for the extreme right at this particular time, in this particular setting. That’s why we made this decision. We look forward to re-uniting with Margaret Cho in the future and continuing our vibrant relationship with her.
To win in November we must all be united. You may also be interested in reading a statement posted on Margaret Cho’s website. This is viewable at the following link, http://margaretcho.net/blog/, but the text is provided below for your convenience.
I appreciate you taking the time to forward your concerns to HRC, and please know that feedback like yours is very valuable to HRC as an organization, as it provides us with the best way to evaluate how our members and supporters are responding to the work that we're engaged in. Should you have any future concerns or questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me again!
Respectfully,
Laura Dalrymple
Member Services Coordinator


Statement from www.margaretcho.com:
7/22/2004
A Call For Unity

I am very disappointed not to be going to the Democratic National Convention, as I wholeheartedly believe that this election is vital to the future of our nation, and no one has more emotionally invested in the outcome than I.

Although I don't believe it was the right decision, I am not angry with the HRC for withdrawing their invitation for me to perform. I will continue to support them, for we must remain united. Divided, we are of little use to each other. Unfortunately, I hear they have felt the destructive power of division as a result of their actions. I regret any harm that may have been done to them, and to the important cause of democracy.

I believe in the right for all Americans to be equal, and for us to be treated with decency and respect, no matter who we are. As long as we reside within these borders, and call ourselves citizens of this great nation, we have a responsibility to uphold that greatness.

I will continue to do my part, to rise above the unjust and unfair always, even when that justice and fairness is being withheld by my own people.

More on outing

MAJeff, the official homo on the DailyKos blog, has a great post on the Big Gay Controversy of the moment--the outing of gay staffers who work for anti-gay lawmakers (as I commented on last week). If you think Virginia is for Haters is tough, check out BlogActive, run by Michael Rogers--who has now replaced Michaelangelo Signorile as political outer-in-chief. (Don't miss the post about Rogers' beating O'Reilly at his own game.)

Having had my own first-hand view of the twisting of healthy sexuality that invariably comes when power heads into the Capitol Hill closet, I am unconflicted on this issue. The people outed recently aren't just closeted--one has even modeled in his underwear for a gay weekly--but leading double lives. And as the editor of the Washington Blade stated in an article in yesterday's NYT, the media have no obligation to protect anyone's double life. The idea that they do rests on a fundamental misunderstanding that MAJeff brilliantly lays bare: the idea that sexuality is a private matter. To quote MAJEff:


The larger point here is that heterosexuality is far from private. It's publicly enacted every day. Every time a married woman refers to herself as "Mrs. So-and-So", she's coming out as a heterosexual. When straight folks talk about their spouses or boyfriends or girlfriends, they're publicly enacting their heterosexuality. When the men on this site swoon over Stephanie Herseth, they're making their heterosexuality public. I'm not complaining about that, I'm just putting forth some of the ways that heterosexuality--as a social construct and a personal "lifestyle"--is far from private.

In the same way, when the people who have been outed belong to gay groups, when they frequent gay restaurants and bars, when they bring partners in public, they're making their homosexuality public.

What happens is that sexuality gets conflated with sexual acts alone. When I state on this site that I'm gay, I have told you absolutely nothing about what I do or don't do in bed. That part, for me, is private. My overall sexuality, however, is not. I'm part of a public community. I take actions in public settings; I frequent gay establishments. These are public, and they are related to my sexuality.

What many people need to understand are the myriad ways that sexuality is publicly enacted--and enforced. Sexuality is more than what we do in bed. It shapes so many other areas in our lives. Often, we aren't aware of the ways these things are done. But, just because we don't see them doesn't mean they don't occur.

While words like "Gay Uncle Tom" are undoubtedly hurtful, the metaphor is on target. The Times seems to sympathize with the "chilling effect on how many people navigate their lives, professionally and socially." I would hope so. The DC gay scene for too long has been happy to quite literally sleep with those who sleep with the enemy. That's the crux of this--as Republicans come to get us where we live, so the gay community is hitting the henchmen of the haters where they live.

We are talking here about people who are complicit with a political movement that would deny them--and all gays--full citizenship. For most of these lawmakers, their position rests on a denial of our full humanity. There will always be people who want to kiss the boot as it stomps on their face, to paraphrase one of the comments on Kos's site, so I don't really need to know much about how these staffers defend their choices. What I do know is that any argument about "trying to change the Republican party from the inside" rings more hollow at this moment than ever it has. Just ask any Log Cabin Republican you know--after years of laboring under the "change from the inside" delusion, they are faced with a party that has made it clear it doesn't want them. Or us.

I've read recently, on several VAhaters posts, that "the only good fag is a dead fag." While perhaps most Republicans don't go that far, it is clear is they believe "the only good fag is a silent fag." This new round of outing is about denying collaborators of their silence--and thus their utility to the masters they serve. Just as I intended with the Virginia boycott, these outings are a clear signal that we as a community are fighting back with whatever means necessary. Given the stakes, I find the moral calculus behind this new round of outing unassailable.

July 23, 2004

Smooth Moves

I was just watching CNN and saw a clip of Bush speaking to the Urban League. He was doing his usual disgusting little laugh and said "Blacks are choking on the donkey but not yet ready to swallow the elephant". Take that however you like...

July 22, 2004

Outing is OK

I think we have reached the point where being gay is mainstream enough that if you are closeted you are simply a cheater. Proof that you can't have it both ways--especially if you're in politics--comes from the Washington Blade, via AMERICAblog


Wow, the Washington Blade just released TWO amazing stories outing a flurry of gays who work for anti-gay Republicans.

The first story outed two gay advisers to anti-gay Republican Senate candidate Mel Martinez from Florida. Martinez, who recently ran a radio ad comparing gay marriage to life under dictatorship in Cuba, not only has a gay finance chair for his election campaign (Kirk Fordham) but he also had a gay adviser to his campaign WHO WAS THE FORMER HEAD OF THE FLORIDA CHRISTIAN COALITION, John Dowless.

The second story outs the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (Jay Timmons), the organization under the helm of anti-gay Senator George Allen (R-VA) that regularly uses gays to bash Democratic candidates.

But the more egregious story is clearly the first where it talks about the anti-gay gay who headed the Florida Christian Coalition.

Seriously, if you have any qualms about outing, read this story. Un. Be. Lievable. And what fun for all the wingnuts in Florida... to imagine that their Christian soldier was a polesmoker the whole time!

July 14, 2004

Unpack those bags, David!

Great news: we don't have to leave the country! Senate Vote Blocks Effort to Ban Gay Marriage in Constitution


Backers of a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriages suffered a stinging defeat in the Senate today as opponents easily killed the initiative for the year in a procedural showdown.

The tide has already turned on this issue... polls over the past year have shown a gradual but still significant softening of negativity on this issue among Americans--and no recent polls indicated that a clear majority of Americans wanted a Constitutional ban. But the fact that the Republicans lost so decisively indicates that even some conservative Senators were fearful of the political consequences of writing hate into the Constitution.

This vote clears the way for this issue to unfold in the several states, as it should. Equality will spread organically as the older Americans--who overwhelmingly oppose marriage equality--give way to tolerant younger Americans who (in poll after poll) see this as a non-issue.

Today's vote makes me optimistic that--as is our goal with the Virginia boycott-- Repubs are learning the hard lesson that beating up on gays is no longer a cheap way to score points with their conservative base. I can't imagine who'll they will pick on next, but the anti-gay hysteria is looking more plainly hysterical every passing day. (But they will find another boogeyman, because neither conservative politics nor extremist Christianity can function without one. To find proof that the appeal of the Repubs is based on fear, one need look no further than Bush.)

I believe that in 15 or 20 years, we will see the Defense of Marriage Act overturned. God willing, David and I might even be able to share our Social Security benefits... assuming Social Security is still around. Actually, I think the odds for legalized civil marriage for us is the better bet of those two!

It's funny. I just realized that I was sitting at this same desk in SS+K's New York office last summer when the Supremes ruled in the Lawrence case that states could not prohibit homosexual conduct. This city, in all its chaotic diversity, is where the gay equality movement started in earnest just 35 years ago with the Stonewall riot. It's good to be here and reflect on the progress we have made in a span just a little longer than my lifetime. It will be even better to come back to the home I share with my husband to toast this momentous decision, secure in the knowledge that the land of my birth (and his adopted home) has seen its way clear not to consign us to second-class citizenship. For another day, we remain the land of the free and the home of the brave. Never, friends, let us take that for granted.

July 13, 2004

Sully gets some things right

Andrew made me laugh more than scream today.

RED-HANDED? Pictures of priests having sex with each other and downloading child-porn is just a "childish prank." The Vatican has no comment. But allowing committed gay couples to marry will cause the downfall of civilization.

June 29, 2004

"I Ruck, therefore I am"

The Village Voice's "25th Annual Queer Issues" has a great meditation on gay rugby by Christopher Stahl of the Gotham Knights. But if you really want to see what the Knights are all about, check out this month's issue of Out magazine. Fashionable ruggers? It was inevitable when you think about it! Seriously, they are running like 20 pages of Gotham's hottest. I have to say, though, I'm feeling like this "gay rugby" thing might have peaked. It felt so much more transgressive in, like, 2002. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just dreading the work involved in getting my fat ass back on the pitch!

June 25, 2004

Portersmiths on the front page

Last post for the day. The Seattle Gay News has a front page article on Virginiaisforhaters.org.

Thirty years ago in Gay History

MSNBC links to a good PI article on gay rights then and now. The story quotes Jamie Pedersen, an old friend of mine who David met for the first time at the gay-marriage discussion we attended recently at the new Library.

Of course the important thing to remember is how many people want to drag us back down Memory Lane, and how quickly that could happen if we're not careful.

I'm a little prickly about the "Pride" in gay pride (as if Monday will be back to another 364 days of crippling shame). But if being gay (as opposed to being a good person) is something to be proud about, our collective ability to get out of the closet and keep from being shoved back in is that thing.

June 10, 2004

Pink Alert: Kiki and Herb in Seattle!

OK people, this is serious! God knows we could all use a laugh, and if Kiki and Herb can't make you do it, nobody can. David and I saw them last summer in New York (albeit not at the same time), and David has been a fan for years. I just reserved eight tickets for Friday, June 25... email me if you want to go (first-come, first served, tickets are $18). The show is at 9, which leaves plenty of time for a nice dinner ahead of time. And thank God, the show's 21+, so we can all try to keep pace with Kiki during the show.

April 14, 2004

Duplicitous son ... or duplicitous dad?

I confess I didn't know who Randall Terry is -- I guessed he was one of the pantheon of homo-hating right-wing ideologues. Turns out he's the founder of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group with a mission to "rescue those unjustly sentenced to death". Anyway, it seems his son is making the news, having outed himself in Out magazine.

Reading the response to this article from the father in the Washington Post -- a story "about being Randall Terry's homosexual son" -- is just heartbreaking. Not because his son is gay, of course, but how the father claims to "understand" his son, but clearly just loathes who he is. The entire piece is written as though the son is some distant adversary, not a member of his family.

Some quotes from the article, and my comments:

The Out story paints a picture of my son based in fraud. The story states, "I was baptized Catholic and raised Protestant, and I later returned to the Roman Catholic Church." This is not true. -- Randall says "this is not true" with such certainty. I wonder if he could ever believe his son could return to the church without changing his sexual orientation.

The story states, "My father seems to believe that the fact that I'm an adopted child may help explain why I'm gay ... I was adopted at the age of 5." Jamiel was adopted when he was nearly 15, not 5. -- And yet, Randall says that the boy joined his family at the age of 8 as a foster child (but not adopted until the age of 14). However, I'm sure the son counts joining the family as the defining event, not when the legal paperwork was finalized. And at that young age, the years kind of blur together -- my parents divorced at around the same time for me, but I still can't remember exactly how old I was at the time.

The story stated, "My father is still trying to get me to go to a three-month retreat to be 'delivered' from homosexuality." Not true. Jamiel has repeatedly asked me to pay for him to go to "Love in Action" (an in-patient program with great success with homosexuals). I'm happy to pay that tab. -- Offering to pay is a pretty clear sign the father wants the son to go. If the son had asked to go, and the father was willing to pay, why hasn't the son gone?

He told journalists from CNN and The Washington Post that he is not welcome in my home because of his homosexuality. That is not true. I've had him in my home repeatedly since learning he was homosexual two years ago. -- Having him in your home isn't the same thing as him being welcome there.

My point isn't to highlight the discrepancies between the father's and son's testimonies, though. What is so sad about this article is that the father apparently believes all of the discrepancies are due to the wilful distortions of the article's author at Out magazine. But it's plain that the real distortion lies with the father, who simply can't see -- or can't accept -- who his son really is.


April 06, 2004

Baby Okie has two daddies

Well this is one of those wild news stories where one knows pretty much everyone involved--as well as one of those that makes me hang my head in shame at being from Oklahoma. (If anyone ever wonders why I'm an expat Okie, read no further.

The short version is that the State of Oklahoma is giving some gay Seattle dads the run-around in getting a revised birth certificate reflecting both their names. It just so happens that Gregory, one of the dads, played rugby with David and I before the combination of daddy-duty and a nasty injury sidelined him. These are like the nicest guys in the world... and their daughter is darling. Too bad she came from where she did. The idiot Oklahoma Commissioner of Health (James Michael Crutcher, who has one of those great Oklahoma serial killer names) instructed the department to send a single-parent certificate listing Gregory, along with a note that they were unable to "establish maternity" for Ed. For that funny little quip, I hereby nominate Crutcher for the Golden Asshole award.

Thankfully proving that not all of Oklahoma's political establishment are homophobic knuckledraggers, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson swiftly supplied the following opinion: "Upon receipt of a certified copy of an adoption decree the parentage established therein must be reflected on the supplementary birth certificate."

Drew is a great guy--I met him several times when I was working for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (a group devoted to raising the "Oklahoma is OK!" standard a notch or two). I actually know his wife Linda much better, having worked with her on several good (which is to say, hopeless) causes in my Okie days.

Of course Gregory and Ed are still waiting for a revised certificate, but with the Christian Coalition having hijacked much of the state government, I'm sure the health commissioner knows he'll get maximum political benefit from making them wait.

January 07, 2004

In anti-gay poll, same-sex marriage gains

Yahoo! News - In anti-gay poll, same-sex marriage gains

Ha ha... not that it is shocking that more homos than haters are online--unless, I guess, you are the people who put the poll together. Still, to quote Shakespeare, I love to see them "hoist by their own petard."

October 03, 2003

Now we know why we like Dozer so much

Scientists in England have announced the results of a novel (to say the least) way of answering (duh) the age-old question (duh) Of whether sexual orientation is innate (duh duh duh)--by testing how quickly one startles at a loud noise. Huh?

Apparently this is an innate response, and the same brain regions that initiate it also involve sexual desire. Apparently, gay men, like women, startle easier. Lesbians are less easily startled, like straight men. Of course. That must mean Dozer is uber-queer, as he gets startled before the sound waves actually reach his freakishly large ears! (Sorry, Dozer, it's true.)

In unrelated gay news, Ananova also reports that several 17th century Cambridge chapels feature shared tombs of male lovers. Further research indicates that at least one of the couples referred to their relationship as a "connubium," or marriage. Apparently somebody in the church was OK with it back then, pity we got lost along the way.

September 10, 2003

Oooooklahomo!

Thought some nonfamous nonstrangers might find this an interesting article.

August 04, 2003

Of bears and bellies

OK, everyone... new category. When I do or say something really gay, Pete is always there to observe, "Well look at you, Gayee McGayerson!" It's quite endearing, and from a straight guy way nicer than "Fag!"

Anyway, David is still down in the Gay Area, I mean Bay Area, at a trade show. I went down with him for the weekend and we had a lot of fun hitting the bars (except for the Eagle having been taken over by what I could only describe as polyamorous Linux geek club kids fresh from a thrifting binge) and shopping in the Castro. (What did we shop for, you might ask? I'll never tell, but it was fun walking into the Leather Emporium in my floral-embroidered Hawaiian shirt carrying a bag of skin care products from Nancy Boy.) Overall, nothing that made us want to relocate-- but fun.

The trip did reinforce my appreciation of one of the many joys of being in a secure and non-neurotic male couple: the lack of drama when something big and hunky crosses your field of vision. You both see it, you both look, and unless one of you stops listening and does an obvious double-take, no harm/no foul. You might even engage in a little rating or mutual spotting ("Ooh, look left, hottie at 3 o'clock"). But after all that, you both leave knowing that you're leaving with the sexiest, most wonderful man in the place.

The key phrase in that paragraph was "big and hunky," as neither David nor I have much interest in the under-fed and over-scupted gym bunny look. Neither of us fit that mold either. I've been working out regularly for months and for a lot of reasons probably more comfortable with my body that I've ever been, so I'm more than a little unhappy to hear David bemoan the really cute and sexy little belly he has. I mean after all, where some guys have six-packs, I've got a pony keg-- so he better think bellies are sexy.

Well guess what? It's official-- bellies are the new Hot Gay Fashion Accessory. Don't leave home without one! When the UK's Guardian (which David loves) posts a story asking Is the potbelly the new gay ideal?, you know something is up.

This week in Salon (which of course you can't really read anymore without paying or watching doofy interstitial ads), Andrew Sullivan has a great piece on bellies and bears, and their (our?) relation to the whole "post-gay" concept. While I gladly sign on as post-gay (I'm here, I'm queer, I'm used to it), I've been a little leery of taking on the "bear" label.

I took my tall, pretty, reedy, and nearly hairless friend Topher to a "bear party" a couple of years ago on the heels of a breakup with another tall, reedy guy. I was ready to claim my Bear Identity... until I got there. Wow. I will never have facial hair like that, I thought, or wear flannel shirts with the arms cut off. And did you smell that guy??? Topher was nonplussed, and kept suggesting we go eat. "But where do bears eat?" he mused, bemused. "What do bears eat? Honey?" By the look of things, bears ate a lot without much discrimination.

I did get flirted with a lot that night, but generally by the non-bear guys. I decided I was the "demi-bear," kind of the gateway drug for skinny boys who just weren't really ready to call someone "Daddy" (or, more to the point, "Smokey.")

But it would seem that Bear-as-fetish is devolving into Bear-by-default, and that is something I can get with. I am always going to be hairy (and more so as the years go on). Even when I'm in prime rugby shape, I'm never going to be svelte. Getting "cut" or "ripped" just doesn't happen, even when I bulk up precipitously. The Bear-by-default model is just a more natural and less artificial mode for most guys, and I'm happy to see myself as part of a trend that lets gay men enjoy good food, good beer, and the attentions of our peers who appreciate unfussy masculinity. And rugby proves that you can be a big boy and in great physical shape. The belly/bear trend may make the Quake the sexiest bunch of butch bitches in Seattle by year's end (if we aren't already).

That said, I still use two styling products in my hair. I still use deodorant. And until we hit the retro-Grunge era, no lumberjack flannel will grace my form. But I couldn't agree more with Andrew Sullivan's premise. Given the challenges of getting to anything good on Salon, I've copied his article below. Eager as I am to see "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," I'm glad this "Ursa Rising" aesthetic is there to counter the "cult of style." It's fun, but deeply stereotypical. And just not as hot as a guy with a hairy chest and a nice, comfortable belly.

Text of Sullivan's bear piece, from the "premium area" of Salon.com...

I am bear, hear me roar!
The feminized men of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Queer as Folk" do not represent the maturing gay male culture. The truth is much hairier

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Andrew Sullivan

Aug. 1, 2003  |  I was flattered at first. A burly, stubbled, broad-shouldered man, who could barely keep tufts of hair from sprouting from under his T-shirt corners, leered at me across the bar. He was drunk, alas. But it was five minutes to closing and this was Provincetown in July. "You know what I think is so fucking hot about you?" he ventured. I batted my eyelashes. "Your pot-belly, man," he went on. "It's so fucking hot." Then he reached over and rubbed.

It was Bear Week in Ptown. Bear Week? Well, where do I begin? Every time I try and write a semi-serious sociological assessment of the phenomenon, I find myself erasing large amounts of text. Part of being a bear is not taking being a bear too seriously. And almost every bear and bear-admirer I asked during the festivities came up with different analyses of what it is or might be to be a "bear." But no one can deny that bears are one of the fastest growing new subcultures in gay America -- and that their emergence from the forests into the sunlight is culturally fascinating. Quite what it means for the future of gay America is another thing entirely. But my, er, gut tells me it's, er, a big deal. So here's my own idiosyncratic, CIA-unapproved take on what this new and obviously growing phenomenon in the gay sub-subculture amounts to.

Bearism grew up in San Francisco at places like the revived Lone Star bar in the early 1990s and has metastasized since. From a bunch of heavy, hairy fellas getting together casually, it's now a full-scale phenom, with "American Bear" magazine, a "bear flag," bear conferences, a "Bear Book," "Bearotica," and on and on. Perhaps the most obvious place to start is physical appearance. "Bears" almost all have facial hair -- the more the better. Of all the various characteristics of Beardom, this seems to be one of the most essential. The Ur-bears have bushy beards that meander down their necks and merge with a large forest of chest and back-hair to provide a sort of all-hair body environment. Bears are also big guys. Yes, I know that might come off as a bit of a euphemism. A townie friend of mine suggested making T-shirts for the week, with the slogan "Fat Is The New Black." But obesity, while not unknown, is not that widespread. Bears at their most typical look like regular, beer-drinking, unkempt men in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They have guts. They have furry backs. They don't know what cologne is and they tend not to wear deodorant. One mode of interaction is the occasional sniff of each others' armpits. Nature's narcotic.

Bears are known secondly for their attitude. They're friendly -- more Yogi than "Bears Gone Wild." They're mellow. They're flirtatious in a non-imposing kind of way. If a bear sees another hot-looking bear, his most likely expression will be the one word: "Woof." (Yes, I know that sounds like a dog. But somehow it makes sense.) The sexual tension isn't that tense, because the sexual imperative is less present than in other gay subcultures. This came home to me this year in Provincetown, because in a gay resort town in the summer, you get to see the various sub-subcultures intermingle or follow one another. The contrasts can be quite severe.

To give one example: We have what the locals call "Circuit Week" over July 4 when all the party boys and drug addicts show up to take drugs, dance and drink bottled water for days on end. I have no problem with that. But the perfect torsos, testosteroned rivalry, crystal-nerves and endless egg-whites all make for a somewhat overwrought time. When the bears arrive, all that unease evaporates. They're cheerful; they don't give a shit what others think of them; they're more overtly social than sexual; they drink rather than do drugs; they seem, on the whole, older and far more grown-up than their party-boy cousins. They eat and drink and joke and cuddle and stroke and generally have a great time. And their mellowness is wonderfully infectious.

Whence the name? Well, it's obvious in a way. They kinda look like bears. Big and burly and friendly, they are legions of Yogis, followed by quite a few Boo-boos. The smaller, younger ones tend to be known as "cubs." The more muscular ones go by the name of "muscle-bears." Some leaner types who aren't that hairy but enjoy the atmosphere that follows the bears are known as "otters." There are other nuances. Bears like to enjoy the outdoors and organize joint camping trips and festivals in the forests. They tend not to have kids; and they avoid politics. To the outside world, they are largely invisible, because they don't fit the obvious stereotype of gay men, the kind that is featured prominently, and somewhat offensively, on "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" and "Boy Meets Boy." These bears look more like the straight guys than the queer eyes.

But their masculinity is of a casual, unstrained type. One of the least reported but significant cultural shifts among gay men in recent years has been a greater ease with the notion of being men and a refusal to acquiesce in the notion that gayness is somehow in conflict with masculinity. In the past, gay manifestations of masculinity have taken a somewhat extreme or caricatured form -- from the leathermen to the huge bodybuilders. Bears, to my mind, represent a welcome calming down of this trend. They are unabashedly masculine but undemonstrative about it. They are attractive precisely because they don't try so hard. And they add to their outdoorsy gruffness an appealing interior softness. They have eschewed the rock-hard muscle torso for the round and soft and hairy belly.

As always, Camille Paglia gets it just about right, when she writes: "In their defiant hirsutism, gay bears are more virile than the generic bubble-butt junior stud, since body hair is stimulated by testosterone. But the bears' fatness resembles not the warlike Viking mass of a Hell's angel but the capacious bosom of the earth mother. They gay Bear is simultaneously animalistic and nurturing, a romp in the wild followed by nap time on a comfy cushion."

That captures something of their unforced maleness. But Paglia underestimates, I think, a rebellion among many gay men against both the feminizing impulses of the broader culture on the right and left and against prevailing norms in gay culture as a whole. In recent years, after all, men have come under withering attack -- not just from the p.c. pomo left, which tends to view all forms of unabashed maleness as oppressive, but also from the nannying right, which views men as socially irresponsible sexual miscreants.

Bears are simply saying that they're men first and unashamed of it. More, in fact. What they're saying is that central to the gay male experience is an actual love of men. And men are not "boys," they're not feminized, hairless, fatless icons on a dance floor. They're grumpy and kind and responsible, and also happy to be themselves. There is no contradiction between being a gay man and being a man as traditionally understood. And if that includes cracking open a six-pack and watching the game; or developing a beer-and-nachos belly; or working in a blue-collar job; or having the clothes sense of the average check-out guy; or preferring the company of men to women; then so be it.

But what bears also do, of course, is take this frumpy, ordinary image of undemonstrative masculinity and eroticize it. Instead of sexualizing the perfect abs or the biggest bicep, bears look at a mature man's belly and see in it the essence of maleness and the motherlode of their sexual attraction. What women (and, now, the gay men on "Queer Eye") often do to their men -- clean them up, domesticate them, clothe them properly, groom them, tame them -- is exactly what bears resist. Go to the Dug-Out at the edge of the West Side highway in New York on a Sunday afternoon, and you'll find a den of cheerful, frisky, thick and hairy guys, all enjoying a few beers and their own gender. Or check out the club "XL" in London and find hundreds of big, fat, hairy blokes dancing to their hearts' content until the early hours of the morning, without the slightest sense of self-awareness or embarrassment. In London, even the "pot-belly" is becoming formally eroticized .

Bears also resist the squeaky clean and feminized version of manhood that appears in most gay magazines and even pornography. Take a look at the Advocate and Out and you will barely find a man over 30 with a gut or a hairy chest anywhere. But that's what most men -- including gay men -- end up like! Bears in this sense represent the maturation of gay male culture. For the first time, we have a critical mass of older generations of gay men who have always been out but who don't identify with the boyishness and effeminacy of the old-school gay subculture. And they're not looking to replicate or mimic the male-female relationship in any way. Yes. There are "bears" and "cubs." But you are just as likely to find two mature, big guys who are simply into each other. As equals. As men.

Some of this aesthetic, of course, is rooted in class. Upper middle class and middle class bears tend to idealize the working class stiff; and working class bears, for the first time perhaps, find their natural state of physical being publicly celebrated rather than ignored. I made a point of asking multiple bears during Bear Week what they did for a living. Yes, there were architects and designers and writers. But there were also computer technicians, delivery truck drivers, construction workers, salesmen, and so on. Again, what we're seeing, I think, is another manifestation of the growth and breadth of gay culture in the new millennium. As the gay world recovers from AIDS, and as the closet continues to collapse, the numbers of gay men keep growing and the diversity of what was once called the gay experience is exploding.

At some point, in fact, it might be asked if bears are a subset of gay culture or simply a culture to themselves. From Ptown, it's pretty clear to me that the "circuit" set, for example, has next to nothing in common with bears and vice versa. Even the leather bars recognize bears as a discrete subculture. The impression of gayness that you get from, say, the New York Times' "Sunday Styles" section, or the excrescent tripe in "Queer As Folk," is light years away from what the bear subculture represents. In this sense, bears might be "post-gay" inasmuch as their fundamental identity is far more complex than any simple expression of their same-sex attraction.

And, as with most developments in gay culture, they could well influence straight culture as well. Bears, after all, are the straight guys in gay culture. Their very ordinariness makes them both more at ease with regular straight guys; but their very ordinariness in some ways is also extremely culturally subversive. Drag queens, after all, are hardly the cutting edge any more. Straight people love their gay people flaming, or easily cordoned off from the straight experience. Bears reveal how increasingly difficult this is. Their masculinity is indistinguishable in many ways from straight male masculinity -- which accounts, in some ways, for their broader invisibility in the culture. They are both more integrated; and yet, by their very equation of regular masculinity with gayness, one of the more radical and transformative gay phenomena out there right now.

But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. There's a lovely exchange in the invaluable book "Bears on Bears" that captures some of the weirdness of trying to explain such a natural and cheerful development too abstractly. Rex Wockner, furry gay journalist, is talking to Wayne Hoffman, another Bear follower:

"REX WOCKNER: A few intellectual eastern bears may think it's about subverting the dominant paradigm. Here on the West Coast, it's about sex.

WAYNE HOFFMAN: It's more about ignoring the dominant paradigm than rejecting it actively, in my humble opinion.

REX WOCKNER: It's more about not using words like 'dominant paradigm.'"

I take Rex's point. In some ways, bears represent gay men's long delayed embrace of their own masculinity in its simplest and sexiest form. In other ways, they represent gay men's desire for normalcy, for a world in which their natural state of being men is neither constrained nor tortured nor contrived. In a strange and undemonstrative way, it's therefore a sign of the extraordinary fluidity of a gay male culture that is changing out of all recognition before, perhaps, with accelerating integration, it disappears for good.