Seattle Quake in the news

Neither Jay nor I have been playing much rugby this year, due to being too busy at work to commit to the training schedule. But I hope to get back into it again for the fall season. Although given the fact that the team has advanced by leaps and bounds this year, including winning its first Divisional game, I doubt I’d get much time on the pitch these days! The Seattle Times has a great article on the Quake, and how it’s earned respect within the division while being an ambassador for gay men into the straight world of rugby. Good on ya, Quake, and happy Pride to all!

“There was definitely that stigma from (other players) and from clubs as a whole,” says Dan Smith of division rival Budd Bay, a predominantly straight team in Olympia. “They didn’t want to give them too much respect: ‘Come on, man, this is a gay team.’ Saying they weren’t as good as everyone else.”

The Quake has defused misunderstanding with a common love of the game, and its progress on the pitch has shown that a team can build “ruggers” from scratch and play with anyone, gay or straight. That’s what team founders had set out to prove — that people who aren’t typically exposed to rugby’s world of mauls and scrums can be coached to win.

Quake plays rugby

Andrew Sullivan: New, improved, AIDS-ier

I can only say WTF?!?!

I’m sorry. It has taken me a long time to say this, but it’s time: I’m sorry.

It’s been almost 12 years since I became infected with HIV, and I haven’t died yet. I haven’t even had the decency to get sick. I am a walking, talking advertisement for why HIV seems not such a big deal to the younger generation—and indeed, many in my own age bracket. I know this is a terrible thing, and I promise in the future to do better. As gay activist Michelangelo Signorile recently told The New York Times, “If everyone in your group is beautiful, taking steroids, barebacking, and HIV-positive, having the virus doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.”

I’m sorry. At the tender age of 41—a year longer than I once thought I would live—I have never felt better. HIV transformed my life, made me a better and braver writer, prompted me to write the first big book pushing marriage rights, got me to take better care of my health, improved my sex life, and deepened my spirituality.

I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.

Americablog, quoting Signorile’s open letter back to Sully, is as freaked out as I am. Signorile makes the only sane response to such idiocy– he doubles down:

I just read your latest column, the one in the Advocate in which you – former New Republic editor and current right-wing blogger — extol the virtues of having HIV and the wonders of being positive. I must say: Very effective. It was enough to make any young gay man declare, “I gotta go get some of that hot poz seed!” Maybe we can get Fox to create a reality show in which we follow people around as they try to get themselves infected – you can be the host! — and then watch their lives transformed for the better, while all of those nasty, negative people who warn gay men against getting HIV are shut out of the most chic nightclubs, as their steroid-free bodies shrivel-up. We can call the show, “Getting Pozzed!”

Sullivan actually suggests that “HIV is fast becoming another diabetes.” To call this irresponsible is an insult to pretty much every responsible person on the planet–not to mention people who have lost kidneys, limbs, eyesight and decades of quality life to diabetes!

I’m sure he will say that all the humorless gay liberals don’t have enough of a sense of humor to understand his satire. This faggot certainly doesn’t! Fuck you, Andrew. I have read and loved many of your books, appreciated your struggle with religion and mostly tolerated your sado-masochistic-schizophrenic “tough love” of Bush. No more.

Of all the self-righteous, solipsistic bullshit in the world, this takes the cake. Not to mention the weathy white privilege of it all–plenty of people in this country can’t afford diabetes meds, which are cheap compared with the cocktail that keeps Sullivan and his upper-middle-class survivor buddies alive [and, as Sullivan boasts, buff]. Just a noblesse-oblige nod to the side effects that “some” get, and nary a whit about the long term dangers of the drugs. He even mocks concerns about a “super-bug.”

Because Signorile’s plain statement of observable fact hurt Sullivan’s feelings, he wrote an utterly irresponsible ode to the curative powers of one of the worst plagues ever to face mankind. This from a pro-life Catholic? Nice culture of life–viral life!

Maybe you’re not dead, Andrew. Maybe you’ll live to be 120 and Jesus will come down from the clouds and personally invite you to that neverending brunch in the sky. But you’re damn well dead to me–you and all the pretty words you ever wrote.

Protection or Oppression

High school students in Bakersfield, California, have gone to the ACLU to file a lawsuit against their school principal for censoring their story about openly gay students and their lives. The students were “out” prior to the article being written and if minors, written parental permission to be included in the story was obtained.

School officials are claiming that the story may incite violence among the student body. They are only interested in protecting the students.

Hmmm… I wonder. Are they protecting the students or themselves? If a high school must acknowledge their openly gay students and provide them a platform to express themselves, how does this endanger the students? Wouldn’t exposing the discrimination and persecution that these students almost certainly face help protect all of their kids? Shouldn’t an institute of learning shine a light on the ugliness and reinforce the idea that all students are equal regardless of sexual orientation?

Bullying has been shown to be a major contributor to the motives students cite for violently attacking their fellow students and teachers. Why would you turn your back on an opportunity for students, likely to be bullied, to share their experience and gain some support from their classmates?

Thanks to Amanda at Pandagon.

Microsoft regains its senses

This Businessweek article confirms what an email from the Pride Foundation told us this morning: Microsoft has learned its lesson and WILL be supporting the non-discrimination bill in Washington next year. I predict we will look back and regard this whole sordid episode as a great victory. The two Democrats who voted against the bill are going down, and we have shown every two-bit bible-thumper that their threats have less impact on corporations than the proven value of gay employees.

Congrats to Paulette and all the other Microsoft employees who, though not gay themselves, spoke out on our behalf. Here’s to Bad Germans!

Microsoft Reverses Decision

This just in from Seattle’s Pride Foundation:

We are pleased to let you know that Microsoft has just informed us that they will be supporting the Anderson-Murray Antidiscrimination legislation in the Washington State legislature next year, and will continue their historic support for the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Like you, we were disappointed with Microsoft’s change of position on HB1515 this year. Microsoft’s decision to reaffirm their support for these bills is consistent with the company’s long standing role as a strong ally of and friend to the LGBT community. Their decision to support this legislation in the future demonstrates that the management at Microsoft listens to their employees and their community and endorses equality for all Washingtonians

If true, this is another great coup for the Pride Foundation, who also managed to get Wal-Mart to add sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy. Let’s hope Microsoft confirms this news soon.

Welcome to Atwood, Kansas

Here’s a sobering example of what happens when you allow bigotry to become law. Atwood, Kansas, population 1242 (and declining), voted 984 to 113 to change the state’s constitution so that “no relationship, other than a marriage, shall be recognized by the state as entitling the parties to the rights or incidents of marriage”. Daniel, former publisher of the town’s website and on-line newspaper site, expresses his anguish in this
open letter, which replaces the town’s website.

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???

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.

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?]