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June 18, 2004

File under: ingrate

While I prefer to focus my frustrations on the good targets, some people just like to be pissed off at everyone. Not since my New Journal days have I been the object of such vituperation from someone so clearly in the grip of the narcissism of small differences!

Despite my repeated efforts to find middle ground, one gay business owner in Virginia keeps bashing us for launching VAhaters. Mind you plenty of straight Virginians have emailed to tell me they don't mind if it hurts their business--an honorable stance if ever there was one. But not this guy. He thinks we are out to shut down his internet radio station. Whatev.

Y'all know I never was very good at minding my own business, a fact that really seems to bother this guy. Apparently he thinks Viriginian homos can fight this one alone... given that the bill passed by an 80% margin, I beg to differ.

Gary, I've been thinking a lot about your "good Jews" post in conjuction with this, as you'll see if you read my latest response to this guy. Good jews and good germans--those are the officially sanctioned options these day, aren't they? F*** that.

June 17, 2004

Great new blog

One of the only pleasant things about being locked in mortal combat with Virginia and its bumper crop of haters is getting email from thoughtful and intelligent gays and lesbians from across the country. Tim, one such person, posted a really thoughtful comment on the site today, about needing to state more clearly that companies can "escape the boycott" by publicly urging the Commonwealth to reconsider. Turns out he has a brand new blog, security risk, which is as well-designed as it is well-written. And lo and behold, he has a whole mini-VAhaters thing going on there... including a much more economical summary of what the boycott is about that I have produced to date. In addition to that, there's a wealth of insightful posts based on great links--more than anyone's average week worth, if you ask me. If the death of Reagan isn't a good reason to start blogging, I don't know what is. But welcome Timothy to the blogosphere with a little traffic, won't you?

June 15, 2004

Site goes up, Virginia goes down

The site is back up, thanks to donations that will cover several months of our new hosting service. We can't thank those of you who donated enough. If everyone could visit the site and post a comment, we might be able to keep ahead of the crazy people who enjoy posting sermons and/or detailed descriptions of gay sex acts. Thanks!

Virginia: "If there's grass on the field..."

OK, OK... check out this Washington Post article and tell me: are same-sex couples really the biggest thing Virginia has to worry about?

RICHMOND, June 14 -- The blunt message will be pasted on billboards and barroom coasters across Virginia: "Isn't she a little young?" it will ask in bold pink and white lettering against a black backdrop. "Sex with a minor," the wording will continue. "Don't go there." The Virginia Department of Health is launching a campaign in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Roanoke to stop men from engaging in sex with underage girls. Health officials say they hope their program will reduce the number of pregnancies that result from such illegal conduct. The campaign, to begin this month with the distribution of hundreds of thousands of coasters, cocktail napkins and postcard-size messages in Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church, is one of the few such programs in the nation, public health officials and consultants said. "We are concerned about minors who are coerced into sexual relationships with adult men and the resulting health and social problems, which include pregnancy, fatherless children, sexually transmitted diseases and mental health problems," state Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube said.

So gays and lesbians get a law stripping us of our right to private contract because we (horror of horrors!) want to protect our consensual adult relationships. The horny straight guys get posters in bars--and only a misdemeanor for sex with a 15-year-old?

So many posters to the boycott site hewed to the tired old line about gays recruiting children. Does the Virginia Department of Health see that happening? Nope. As respected social scientists have known for years, straight men make up the vast majority of sexual predators. Maybe church groups could start there, do you think? Naaah. It's just more fun to pick on gays.

As my colleague Diane said in forwarding the article to me, "This article needs some audio with it--a banjo, perhaps?"

June 14, 2004

www.virginiaisforhaters.org forced offline

Jay and I regret to report that the Virginia is for Haters site has been forced offline by unknown anti-gay groups that wish to silence us. After switching to a new hosting service, a second denial-of-service attack (apparently a distributed attack out of China) has caused the hosting company to drop us. We seem to be out of options. My submitted question to Ask Slashdot (which was rejected) summarizes the problem:

Several weeks ago, my partner and I created www.virginiaisforhaters.org, to raise awareness about a damaging and patently unconstitutional law to come into effect in Virginia on July 1, which seeks to nullify contracts (such as wills and healthcare directives) between same-sex couples. We finally got some media coverage on Friday, but by Saturday the site was down: some anti-gay geek had launched a denial-of-service attack which overwhelmed our provider. We switched to a new provider which claimed to have DOS provisions, but following a second, distributed attack launched out of China they dropped us before the site was even live. They recommended switching to RackSpace, but we can't afford the several hundred dollars a month that would cost. It seems we're out of options for getting the site back up. Is there some other way we can continue to exercise our First Amendment rights on the Web?

Any suggestions?

[Update by Jay: Assuming we do get a new hoster--and I think we're close--you can help us pay the $100+/month fees by donating even a few bucks at our Amazon Honor System page.]

June 12, 2004

Fun with http

Wow. 150 newspapers publish the AP story about Virginiaisforhaters.org and as a reward we get a denial of service attack that our hosting provider couldn't handle. So thanks to one idiot 17-year-old in California, VAhaters has no host. And I have a mailbox full of the most vile email imaginable. Who knew there were so many ways to misspell "faggot." We have all these media interviews set up, and no website to point them to. It's really, really frustrating. What a crazy couple of days.

On the plus side, a couple million more people know about the Virginia law. But then again, 70% of them are now more likely to support Virginia. Australia now doesn't recognize gay marriage, and now even Canada looks shaky. Does everyone hate us? Should we just go eat worms and die??? Somebody cheer me up.

May 11, 2004

Oklahomos roll their own boycott

I know these guys! I used to be a member of Cimarron Equality Oklahoma, which is running ads nationwide telling gay-friendly companies not to expand into Oklahoma. A number of anti-gay legislative efforts prompted the campaign.

It may have to wait until June, but I'm going to have to call them and say congrats on launching such a ballsy strategy--and for validating my idea of using the economic-development process to gain leverage in beating the antis.

May 09, 2004

Don't quote me

Obviously I've been doing this Virginia thing ong the margins of a crazy personal and professional time... but I've done a lot of PR in my day and you would really think I could have pulled together some better talking points before my interview with the Washington Blade. How many times can one man use the word "just" in an interview? Just about a hundred! But the story came out pretty well, and people in Virginia definitely know about us now.

May 06, 2004

VAhaters in The Stranger

Oh how we love Last Days by David Schmader! We always have, but now our love is requited:

MONDAY, APRIL 26

This week of drug-addled athletes, dramatic arraignments, and deeply damning photographs got off to an uncharacteristically inspiring start today, as a pair of male homosexuals in Madrona launched their political indignation into cyberspace with VirginiaIsForHaters.org, a snappy website devoted to denigrating the so-called "love state" for its April 23 passage of House Bill 751, which not only outlaws civil unions, but prohibits "any partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage." "We're getting married in Vancouver on May 15," say site creators Jay and David, "so we had plenty of other things to do at the moment. But this was such an outrage it was either do the site or have an aneurysm."

Wisely avoiding brain damage, the soon-to-be-newlyweds staked their claim on the Internet, urging fags and their friends to boycott Virginia tourism and VA-based companies--starting with the beloved-by-homos clothier J. Crew. "There's nothing particularly evil about J. Crew," admits Jay. "But they're all into being from Virginia, and now that seems kind of disgusting. With their loyal homo customers, we definitely saw them as low-hanging fruit."

Apparently we're going to be profiled in tomorrow's Washington (D.C.) Blade as well; I did an interview with them on Monday.

Hopefully this will buoy our site traffic, which now seems to have shifted to haters.

April 28, 2004

Progress

Well, our Virginia boycott site launched Monday, and so far it's gotten over 8,000 hits. I've gotten some great mails from supportive readers, angry homos, and embarrassed Virginians. Oh, and at least one seriously scary guy. Anyway, check it out if you haven't.

April 26, 2004

Virginia is for Haters - the website

Update Jun 14 2004: virginiaisforhaters.org has been forced offline. For the time being, you can still see the front-page content at the Google cache.

If you missed the news (which we first mentioned here), Virginia sunk to a new low in the anti-gay-marriage fight last week, banning ALL contracts between same-sex partners that aim to approximate any of the rights and protections of marriage.

This is the most punitive and dangerous bit of backlash we’ve yet seen, and I felt viscerally that it couldn’t go unchecked. It may be unconstitutional, but overturning it could take years. In that time, same-sex couples with face illness, death, and other life changes without the benefit of the legal arrangements they painstakingly made in the past. David and I just did this last year, at great cost, and it was galling how little protection it offers compared with civil marriage. But Virginia is attacking even this slim recourse.

So this weekend, with a little help from David, I launched Virginia is For Haters … check it out. I’m still working out some of the style issues—it’s just another blog and none too pretty—but it’s up, just a few days after HB 751 was passed.

Basically, we’re going the boycott route, starting with every homo’s favorite source for preppiness, J. Crew. Our first activity is just to get people to cancel their catalog subscriptions. We’ll be looking for other good Virginia-based targets to add to the list—and of course we want people to skip any travel to the state. (Virginia’s decades-old “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan is, of course, the cognitive-dissonance inspiration for the site’s name.)

Longer-term and more strategically, we’re going to ferret out companies being courted by Virginia’s economic development department and let them know what’s up. (I have friends the other states' economic development offices, they will be more than happy to share what companies Virginia is actively courting.) Virginia’s governor was against the bill, but was overridden by a 2-1 margin in the Assembly. We think a little more ammunition might make them reconsider.

This is obviously a lousy time (wedding-wise) to launch a new site… but duty calls. Of course I’d ask all of you to forward the site around via email and blog posts.

April 23, 2004

Boycotting Virginia, starting with J. Crew

As first reported here, Virginia has banned all contracts between same-sex partners. A direct assault on basic rights of property and association represents a serious threat not only to gay couples, but is for me the first state action that really resembles the Nuremberg Laws, in its specific denial of basic rights to a specific class. It imperils even the meager protections gay couples can cobble together at great care and expense (already a tiny fraction of the protections a $50 marriage license gets straights).

While I don't think this means Virginia is drawing up a "Final Solution" for gays, I do think this should be a wake-up call. As painfully documented in The Pianist, European Jews didn't fight back against the Nazis as things got worse, seemingly convinced that they would wake up to find it was all a bad dream. I for one do not intend to make that mistake. It's a little early for us to take up arms (cf. Plato's army of lovers), but I think we all have to do the minimum: start collectively whipping the Commonwealth of Virginia with our wallets.

I'm going to do some research towards putting together a list of Virginia-based companies, but let's start with a favorite: J. Crew. Wow... that's a painful one for me. I've been a great customer for almost 15 years, buying so much there during college that people actually called me "Jay Crew."

It's not their fault, obviously, that the State Assembly are such bigoted idiots. But homos spend a lot of money on the company's products and I think we can make clear our displeasure rather rapidly. If Virginia wants to hurt gays and lesbians, gays and lesbians can take the fight back. It's pocketbook for a pocketbook.

To announce the beginning of this effort, here is J.Crew's customer care address: mailto:service@jcrew.com . I'd suggest writing to ask that they cancel delivery of their catalog until such time as the Commonwealth ends its discriminatory posturing.

Their postal address, should you care to write a letter:

J.Crew Customer Relations
One Ivy Crescent
Lynchburg, VA 24513-1001

April 19, 2004

Virginia considers ban on any contract between same-sex partners

A bill before the Virgina legislature proposes to render any contract between same-sex partners void. This isn't just about banning gay marriage. It's about banning same-sex couples from using ordinary legal contracts -- like the living will that Jay and I had a lawyer prepare so that one of us can make medical decisions for the other if he is incapacitated -- from providing any of the "benefits" of marriage. The text of the proposed bill begins:

A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited.

This is just appalling. It does seem like the governor is attempting to water down the bill, but this deserves an outright veto.