Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pride Month: Final Thoughts

As Pride Month comes to a close today, I wanted to address its importance, as well as some adjacent issues.

I am a follower of Davey Wavey on YouTube (if you aren't, you should be, he is awesome). Yesterday - I think it was yesterday - he put up a post about something that I have heard many times before. Sometimes, you hear straight people ask, "If there is a Gay Pride Month, why is there no Straight Pride Month?" Yes, some people are dense enough to not know the answer to this question. Sometimes, it isn't that they are dense, but they are people like Tony Perkins or Peter Sprigg: professional bigots who are against all things LGBT friendly (they are in the minority of people asking this question though). So what should one say when they hear this question?

Is there a anti-straight version of DADT? Is there an anti-straight version of DoMA? Are straight kids bullied solely because they are straight? Are straight people fired from their jobs solely because they are straight? Is there a straight version of Tyler Clementi? Is there a straight version of Matthew Shepard?

I made a post about the purpose of pride earlier in the month, but it is worth reiterating. What people need to know about Pride Month and the events therein is that it is about a previously invisible minority which has been persecuted and prosecuted for centuries (at the least) finally standing up for itself and saying, "NO MORE." Pride is about being free to be who you are and breaking the shackles of what society is trying to force you to be. Pride is about saying that you will not just lie down and be subjugated into second-class citizenry and demanding your rights.

It seems fitting that it was during Pride Month that marriage equality was won in New York State (not to mention in the manner it was won). We have cause to celebrate and hope for the future. This particular Pride Month illustrated how we are at the tipping point. It may be that the next few years will see more victories than defeats as opposed to previous years. I wholly believe that Pride is part of that. It encourages people to be themselves, it helps people to be comfortable in their own skin, which can help them to be more honest and open about their sexuality. This is one of the primary ways that we get allies and change minds because this is how those around us learn that there are not in significant fundamental differences between LGBT people and straight people. Sure during Pride events cameras are usually turned to the most "flamboyant" people, but I still believe that Pride events are more an asset than a liability. So let those Pride flags fly high.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Elementary: Kids on Marriage Equality

I found this video on AfterElton.com which is from about 16 years ago (i.e. 1995). It makes me think how good we are until corrupted by people with malevolent motives. However, it is heartening to think that these kids are the next generation and most of them have the opinions that they have. There is hope for the future.



Now that I think about it, these kids are within a year or two of me (i.e. mid-20's or so). Interesting.

Wind At Our Backs

One of the best things about the New York victory is the momentum it brings. The pro-equality movement has been emboldened in several states. In Maine, where a ballot initiative (pro-marriage equality, not the usual anti-equality kind) previously failed has been given hope for another go. Lambda Legal is suing the state of New Jersey for marriage equality. People from Maryland are urging Governor O'Malley to take a more active role in the state's quest to legalize same-sex marriage the way that Governor Cuomo of New York did (O'Malley has already said that he would sign a marriage equality bill if it came to his desk and the state's Senate passed an attempt this year, though the measure failed in the Democratic assembly). Minnesota will see a ballot initiative to amend the state's Constitution and institutionalize discrimination in November of 2012 and hopes are high that this will provide time to build support for equality. North Carolina is in the same situation to Minnesota. If that state could give its electoral votes to a Democrat even in 2008, anything is possible. And there are of course continuing cases against California's Prop. 8 and DoMA.

Obviously all of these battles are going to be tough fights. They will take a tremendous amount of effort, time, man power, and money to win. They are all, however, winnable.

A Steaming Pile of Brown

Sure it's almost 12 minutes long, but it is worth every second.

I wasn't even aware Rev. Al Sharpton was such a fierce advocate for LGBT equality until I saw this video.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Religious Wrong: Empty Threat


Oh where to begin? First, God let America survive despite slavery, the "trail of tears," the internment of Japanese Americans, but the big bad gays will incur his wrath by loving each other.

Second, there are 10 other countries that have legalized marriage equality at the national level. None of them have been destroyed. God is going to skip those 10 and go straight to a nation that still has DoMA in affect?

Pat Robertson really has no concept of logic. Luckily, most people do and don't lend him credence.

The Conservative Agenda: A Ruinous Amendment

With the passage of marriage equality in New York, there has been a chorus of voices from the haters saying that this is why there needs to be a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality at the federal level. Of course we have heard this for many years, but there has been a temporary up-tick as a result of recent events. I completely believe that there was a time when such a measure would have passed. Luckily, at that time, marriage equality was not really on anyone's radar to the extent that even the haters thought it was necessary, so there was not really any effort to do it. As time has gone on it has become more of an issue. However, a thought occurred to me this morning. 

As I am sure we are all aware, as time has gone on, the trend has been for Americans to become increasingly accepting of gay rights, up to and including marriage equality (as indicated by the New York vote). Sure, there have been setbacks in the fight for LGBT rights, but the general trend is towards equality. Thus, the longer we go without an anti-equality amendment, the harder and harder it will be to actually get on passed at the national level. If you actually look at how the Constitution is amended, you can see the uphill battle that has to be fought by the homophobes. So far as I know there has never been a serious attempt at passing this type of amendment and there is certainly not one on the horizon. This makes me happy because as much as the likes of Bryan Fischer huff and puff about this issue, the likelihood of it coming to naught is very high because fewer and fewer people are on their side.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Marriage in New York: A Spectrum of Reaction

Some people denounced it, some supported it. Some were personal, some were political. The best made jokes. Reactions are literally all over the place on Twitter (and elsewhere) after the passage of marriage equality in New York










Marriage in New York: Why This One Mattered

-Four Senate Republicans broke ranks to join all (but one) Democrats in supporting marriage equality. Even in the face of a threat from the (so-called) National Organization for Marriage, these four Republican Senators voted to make the Empire State a progressive and inclusive state.

-The effort to sway the New York Senate was not just from the political left but also from large donors on the political right (and no, I'm not just talking about the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative gay organization).

-Under New York law, there is no way a ballot measure can be proposed. In other words, no Proposition 8-type situation.

-The New York legislation does not have a residence requirement. In other words, same-sex couples from all over the nation can come to New York to be married.

-New York is the most populous state to have enacted marriage equality. In fact, when the law goes into effect in 30 days, the number of people living in marriage equality states will double.

-The New York legislature attempted passing this three previous times. The fourth time being victorious goes to show that persistence and being steadfast in the face of opposition can yield positive results.
-The pro-equality forces won rights for their friends, family and community members. What did the other side lose? Absolutely nothing.

Also, I just found some video Such Is Life posted on their YouTube account. I loved every second of it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Marriage in New York: To the Governor's Desk

VICTORY!!! 33-29!!!

30 days after Governor Cuomo signs the bill, same-sex couples will be able to legally marry in New York. This vote comes just in time for Pride Weekend in New York. It is time to celebrate. However, we should all keep in mind that this was a victorious battle, but the fight for equal rights will continue on all over the nation. This is no time to rest on this victory. We must keep pushing the nation forward to full equality. Keep on fighting the good fight. Like the song says, "Let us march on 'til victory is won."


Also, aren't you happy you don't have to hear the likes of Bryan Fischer and Tony Perkins bragging about their side winning? Thank the good Lord for that.

Marriage in New York: The Book of Love

I remember after the Proposition 8 vote in California in 2008 when Keith Olbermann, then on MSNBC, made a statement condemning those who voted/campaigned in favour of the discriminatory measure. It was a very strong statement and I agreed with pretty much every word of it. Now it is three years later. Olbermann has since left MSNBC but has recently debuted a show on Current TV. While his network affiliation may have changed, his support for marriage equality and his penchant for strong statements certainly have not. If there is any reason that I am glad Keith Olbermann is back on television, this clip is it.

Marriage in New York: Black Balled

Marriage equality in the Empire State is still in limbo. We still do not know when/if the bill will come to a vote. What we do know is that one of the main holdouts, Senator Gregg Ball, who has long been (at least publicly) on the fence, has come out as a "No" vote on marriage equality. This decision, as he says, comes because there were certain religious exemptions that were not included in the bill. Even though I'm sure many hoped that he would be the one to tip the balance in the New York State Senate, I am hearing that no one is particularly surprised by this outcome.

That is one thing. However, what has happened in less than a day after this decision was made public is quite another. It is being reported that Senator Ball is blocking and deleting messages on Twitter (maybe elsewhere as well) who have been supporting marriage equality. Were we merely talking about someone just voting against marriage equality, that would be bad enough. However, this censorship shows a very distasteful attitude that the Senator has. He is being taking to task by his constituents (and others) which is something that all elected officials must do. It's a very "if you can't stand the heat..." type of situation. If he can not take the criticism of the way he will vote, then perhaps he needs to re-evaluate the way he intends to vote...or maybe he should resign if can't take the rigors of the job.

In response to this, a FaceBook group was started to voice, at the very least, displeasure in the actions of Senator Ball.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cross-Current: Friends Like These

When I was in grade seven during middle school, this girl and I were really close friends. We were constantly talking during classes we had together and roaming the halls of the school. There was this phenomenon going around the school where two people would share a notebook, write personal messages in it during class, pass it back to their "notebook partner" between classes and they would write back. She and I were notebook partners. It kept middle school bearable (I hated pretty much everything else about middle school). Given how close we were, I was gutted when I found out she would be going to a different school during grade eight. That separation was the bad news. The good news ended up being that the separation would be short lived when we ended up going to school together again for high school.. Those four years were really great, and this friendship was part of that greatness. 

Heritage High School
Those four years, as high school tends to be in hindsight, were also fleeting. After high school as was the case with so many people I knew from those days, even the ones I went to university with, she and I lost touch with each other. These were the days before FaceBook, Twitter, and MySpace. Hell, most people still did not have cell phones yet, so keeping tabs on friends across the miles (everyone going to disparate colleges, joining the military and so forth) was not particularly feasible. Besides seeing people during breaks, most of the months were spent buried in books.

HHS's flag in Iraq (we are everywhere)
And so the years marched forward. College came and went. Friends got married. Some had children. Some moved hundreds of miles away. A few joined the armed forces. We all went farther down our diverging paths in life.

Some years after I had started a FaceBook account (I was a little late to the party on that one), I received a friend request from an unfamiliar name. I looked at the profile and found out that it was her, who I had not seen since we graduated from high school. The name was different because she had gotten married (she also had two or three kids). I was excited that she had looked me up, but that feeling did not last. As I was looking through her profile, I noticed that she had joined some FaceBook groups that were anti-gay (the likes of the so-called National Organization for Marriage, though I do not recall off-hand the exact groups she had joined). I had been on the verge of accepting her friend request. However, after seeing these groups affiliations I ended up ignoring the request instead. I didn't make a pointed decision to do so. It was more that I am not particularly interested in being friends who would have me be a second-class citizen under the law. To be fair, she didn't/doesn't know that I'm gay. Still, I can not consider such a person a friend.

This story may seem a bit out of the blue. There is actually a reason that it was on my mind. Many times, I have heard politicians who have very anti-gay voting records and have made very anti-gay statements say "I have gay friends." I always find this statement strange. Of course there is no doubt in my mind that this is said so that they will not appear to be bigots, but I think that they fail in doing so every time. The latest anti-gay politician to say they have gay friends is the loathsome Rick Santorum.


If you have "friends" against whom you have voted in terms of rights and personal freedoms, how can you  call yourself their friend? How can they consider you a friend? I believe that friends see themselves as equals. Friends want the best for each other. Friends do NOT under any circumstances discriminate against one another or vote against each others rights.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NOH8 Campaign: Alyssa Campanella (aka Miss USA)


Alyssa won Miss USA after being crowned Miss California. I'll bet Carrie Prejean is really kicking herself now (hopefully).

Marriage in New York: Hanging By A Thread Named Senator Ball

Senator Ball (R) is one of the Senators who is on the fence about marriage equality in New York. The sticking point is religious protections for churches and such. Here, he talks to CNN about his vote on the bill (assuming the bill comes up for a vote...the clock is ticking).


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Religious Wrong: Another Baseless Fear


The fact of the matter is that for this (completely false) claim to be true, there would have to be a very elaborate conspiracy going on. I mean these books have to be written, edited, approved, published (and maybe some other things too), and I am positive there would have been some report saying this was going to happen. You know like those reports of right-wing conservatives re-writing history for the Texas school system in recent years. If that couldn't get through the cracks, this certainly would not either.

Marriage in New York: Justice Delayed...For 61 Years

A touching story that speaks for itself.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marriage in New York: Giant Conflict

Two members of the New York Giants family, former player Michael Strahan and current chairman/executive VP Steve Tisch, have done/will do ads for marriage equality in the Empire State. I'm always happy to see people on our side, especially when they are from groups that classically are seen as not particularly gay friendly (such as the world of sports). However, their is another former Giants player, David Tyree, who has done an advertisement for the so-called National Organization for Marriage against marriage equality:



The idea of same-sex marriage causing a decent into anarchy is categorically debunked by the fact that 10 nations have legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level and are still intact years later (including Holland which has had marriage equality for over a decade). Obviously, Tyree has no idea what he is talking about, which became evident when he was taken to task on CNN:


The Religious Wrong: 4 Minutes of Hate

See if you can get through the whole thing.


P.S. I got half way through before I threw in the towel on this one.

Marriage in New York: A Message to the Senate Majority Leader

This may well come down to whether or not New York State Senate Leader Dean Skelos brings the marriage equality bill to a vote. A lot of people have been have been leaving him messages on his Facebook page from within and outside of the Empire State. Tonight I became one of those people:
  
"The time has come to bring marriage equality in the Empire State to a vote. I may not be a citizen of New York, but I do know that a majority of its people want this for their gay & lesbian family members, friends, neighbors and community members. Do the right thing Senator & move New York into the future it deserves."
I urge anyone who reads this, especially any of his constituents and fellow New Yorkers, to leave him a message as well (or email him, or call him at 516-766-8383 or 518-455-3171).



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Glitter Bombed!!!

It has happened again. Another public figure has gotten glitter-bombed. The first time I heard this happen, it was to Newt Gingrich. This time, Tim Pawlenty during a book signing. He was glitter-bombed by a woman who was yelling at him over his stances on woman's reproductive rights and LGBT equality. For anyone who doesn't know, Pawlenty is a Republican, the former governor of Minnesota and is currently running for the GOP nomination for president. Among other things he is pro-life and anti-gay equality.

When I heard about the glitter-bombing, my first thought was to laugh. The entire concept of glitter-bombing just sounds funny. I thought about it for a little bit, and my opinion changed somewhat. Now I think that the whole glitter-bombing thing is counter-productive. While it is at least a nonviolent form of protest, I just think it makes the people doing it look a little crazy, even if their cause is one that I agree with. Thus I think that the glitter-bombers are doing a disservice to themselves and their cause. There is video of the incident below, and I have to say that the woman's yelling makes the entire situation worse.

Don't get me wrong, I have zero sympathy for Pawlenty or Gingrich, recent glitter-bomb victims. I am adamantly opposed to their views in many ways. Besides which, it's not like they were actually hurt. However, I don't believe that glitter-bombing, or anything of that sort, will do anything to change peoples' minds on gay rights or anything else...except in the wrong direction.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Best Mugshots Ever






This should look so much worse given what he did. Then again, he better look good with a $400 hair cut.

Marriage in New York: Outing For the Cause

I found a great article on Salon.com (written by Alex Pareene) about outing politicians and how that relates to the current marriage fight going on in the New York legislature as well as the marriage vote in general (which will take place on Friday).

The case for outing closeted politicians

A formerly anti-marriage equality New York legislator switches his vote after his secret life is exposed 

Senator Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn)

New York's state Senate is going to vote, again, on legalizing same-sex marriage. The last vote, held when Democrats had a tenuous majority, failed after every Republican and a number of Democrats voted against it. This time, though, there is a better chance at passage. Three former Democratic "no" votes (and one Republican) have announced that they now support marriage equality. The most interesting switch is that of Carl Kruger, who didn't just vote "no" last time, he participated in a legislative coup designed to punish Democrats for even attempting to hold the vote to begin with. What changed?

When, in 2008, the Democrats gained control of the New York Senate, a "Gang of Three" Dems threatened to switch parties, in part because they did not want a vote on gay marriage. In 2009, two of them engineered a leadership coup, with the support of two others. These four Democrats: Hiram Monserrate, a corrupt former cop who slashed his girlfriend's face with a broken glass; Pedro Espada, who famously didn't live in the Bronx district he represented and whose healthcare nonprofit was used to employ Espada's family and purchase $20,000 worth of sushi, delivered to his home (Espada actually voted yes on gay marriage after doing everything in his power to cause it to fail); Ruben Diaz Sr., a virulently anti-gay pol whose own family (including his lesbian granddaughter) is regularly appalled by his hatred; and Carl Kruger, who, by the standards of these assholes, is a pretty run-of-the-mill corrupt anti-gay Albany pol, except that he had a long-term secret gay partner.

Espada and Monserrate are now out of office. Diaz is still against gay marriage. But Kruger has switched his vote. And all that's changed is that his secret life was revealed to everyone in the New York Times.

While the FBI investigated Kruger for bribery, they learned that he lived with his longtime male partner while pretending (or at least allowing people to believe) that his partner's mother was his girlfriend.

I find this to be pretty compelling evidence that reporting on a politician's sexual orientation serves the public interest.

Kruger's secret life was surprising to many, but in Albany, his weirdness was well-known. It was known that he was unmarried, but he sometimes appeared at photo ops or events with a fake (rented?) "family." Most signs pointed to closeted pol. But it took the FBI to actually do the legwork involved in outing him. And now, though he still insists he's a victim of "media attacks," Kruger has seen the light, and says he has "a better understanding of the impact that this bill will have on the rights to countless New Yorkers." I bet he does!

The ethical argument against outing closeted public figures is that, basically, it's "none of our business." Their private lives are not relevant or newsworthy. But in the case of anti-gay politicians, their private lives seem very relevant. Ted Haggard has certainly sounded more tolerant -- or he has at least ceased engaging in hypocritical political activism against gay rights -- since he was outed. ("I don't judge people anymore," he said, which is about as much as you can ask for.) Barney Frank became one of the most prominent gay politicians in the world since his outing, long ago. Ken Mehlman now fights for marriage equality. Carl Kruger switched his vote. Keeping "open secrets" that "everyone knows" from the public is already a questionable journalistic practice, and now there's a great deal of evidence that the private lives of politicians have very real effects on public policy.

Something similar happened in California. A Republican with an anti-gay voting record was caught exiting a gay bar and he came out shortly after and apologized for his anti-gay past.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Marriage in New York: Nearing the Finish Line

There are only days left in the legislative session in New York and there is some good news on this front in the battle for marriage equality. First, two GOP Senators - who previously voted no and were on the undecided list this time around - announced that they will be voting yes. They, plus all but one Senate Democrats (the one being the despicable Ruben Diaz) brings the total yea votes up to 31 of the needed 32. Second, Governor Cuomo introduced the marriage equality bill into the Senate today.

It seems like it was not to long ago that this bill was thought to have been dead-on-arrival into the Senate. It seemed as though what happened in Maryland this year would repeat itself in new York: a relatively sure thing going belly-up. All of that despite a massive coalition of pro-equality groups coming together to get this bill passed. There is of course still the chance that the last needed vote will not materialize, but I know that I (and many many others) am hopeful that it will. Since it has already passed the House and the Governor campaigned on signing a marriage equality bill, the Senate is, yet again, the final hurdle. Cross your fingers everyone...

Also, I really don't think any of us wants to hear the likes of Maggie Gallagher and Tony Perkins if the measure fails.

Religious Wrong: Spotted

One of the primary targets of this segment, as you may have noticed is Bryan Fischer, one of the leaders of the so-called American Family Association. He gives me a lot of material, most of which comes to me from Right Wing Watch and their YouTube account. Well, it appears as though mister Fischer is on to them:


Well, when someone says things like you do Bryan, you can expect a heightened amount of scrutiny. If you can't stand the heat as they say...

The Religious Right: The Heartland Proclamation

Further proof that being Christian does not necessitate homophobia. Some are on our side, even clergy members:

The Heartland Proclamation
by the Heartland Clergy for Inclusion
As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publically apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.
In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:


• to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;


• to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;


• to declare that the violence must stop. Christ's love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;


• to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;


Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

(Document approved 4/5/11)

Twitter Watch: Parents or No Parents


Does he not realize that these unadopted kids are completely deprived of parents? Apparently he thinks they are better off with no parents at all. What a great guy.

Why I Won't Be Voting For a Republican

This comes to us from the CNN GOP Presidential debate which took place in New Hampshire last night:



Ron Paul is probably the only person in this debate I do not despise or view as an utter homophobe.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Scandal Lies: Conservatives & Liberals



Here's the problem with what this guy said: HE IS WRONG!!!

When New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) was caught in a sex scandal, he resigned. When New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy (D) was caught in a scandal, he resigned as well. In other words, even though President Clinton did not resign, some Democrats have resigned in such situations.

Conversely, when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) was caught on the "Appalachian Trail," he resisted resigning. When Nevada Senator John Ensign (R) was caught in a scandal, he did not resign until it was clear that his colleagues were about to kick him out of the Senate because of enormous ethics violations. Louisiana Senator David Vitter (R) is in office to this very day even after it was revealed he was involved in a prostitution ring. Not only that, but his fellow Senate Republicans gave him a standing ovation upon his return to the chamber.

To sum it all up, neither party is consistent when it comes to how they handle their own personal scandals or those of their fellow party members. When people like this Matt Barber character claim that they do, let alone that those who share their ideology have the "moral high ground," they are either deluding themselves, or lying to their followers.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Foot-In-Mouth Disease

It looks like Tracy Morgan really stepped in it. During a stand-up act, he went on an anti-gay and said he would stab his son for talking in a "gay voice." He went on to say, "I don't "f*cking care if I piss off some gays, because if they can take a f*cking d**k up their ass ... they can take a f*cking joke."Well congrats Tracy, because you pissed off some gays so mission: accomplished.

There were some in the audience that laughed at this, but I'm not really sure how threatening the life of any child, let alone your own child, for any reason is humourous. The statement, even without the gay angle, was completely out of order. The homophobic aspect just makes it so very much worse. This kind of language is extremely dangerous in a world where members of the LGBT community are constantly victims of violent acts up to and including murder. Morgan is fanning the flames with statements such as this and that must be addressed.

I know that there are people out there who are going to say he has the right to say what he said, and I agree with that. The thing is that everyone else also has the right to say that his speech was absolutely reprehensible, and utterly unacceptable. That is how freedom of speech works in this country. You can say whatever, but people can disagree with you and hold you accountable. Freedom of speech is a two-way street. Unfortunately for Morgan, he has an 18-wheeler headed right at him.


Now the inevitable question has come up: should Tracy Morgan be fired (from from his show "30 Rock")? Personally, I'm not sure one way or the other. Having said that, I definitely feel like his supposed "apology" (which, by the way, came a week after the actual incident occurred) leaves A LOT to be desired. Everything that I have seen, read, and heard leaves me to believe that he meant every hate-filled word he uttered that night. It is not just that his apology doesn't go far enough, it's that I don't even believe it to begin with. He has much to atone for. Remember when Michael Richards went on a racist rant some years ago? There is not much of a difference between that incident and this incident. This should be met with the exact same outrage.

Here is part of the statement issued by 30 Rock's executive producer Tina Fey: "I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at "30 Rock", without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket"

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Religious Wrong: Rainbow Reich?

Bryan Fischer strikes again (it really seems like half of these segments, at least, are about him).



Fischer has been hooked on this idea that Hitler surrounded himself with gays (apparently we are more vicious killers...or whatever). The problem with that is that on the long list of "undesirables" that Hitler sought to wipe of the face of the Earth were homosexuals. Given this, I don't know why Hitler would surround himself with gay people, or why said gay people would not have seen the threat Hitler posed to the gay community (and, by extension, ro themselves) and assassinated him. Then again, I use logic. Silly me I guess.

Also, gay people wouldn't have been Brownshirts. That colour is way too drab.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NOH8 Campaign: Bret Lockett


Bret Lockett: New England Patriots Safety.

Outsports.com did a write-up on Lockett and his various stances on the LGBT community in general as well as gays in sports specifically

The Religious Wrong: Gay Day

Thousands of gays and lesbians clad in red went to Disney World in an unofficial event called Gay Days. Given that this is "the happiest place on Earth," such an event seems to make sense. I guess it wasn't the happiest place on Earth that particular weekend for everyone because the Florida "Family" Association hired a plane to fly a banner around the event which said "WARNING GAY DAY AT DISNEY 6/4."

Image c/o Towleroad


This cost $7,000 for them to do throughout the weekend. This is what they spend their money on: harassing the LGBT community instead of, say, feeding and clothing the poor. How..."Christian"...of them.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Know Your Allies: Believe Out Loud

One of the main excuses (read: THE main excuse) people use to justify their homophobia is religion. We hear time and time again, the Bible says this, Leviticus says that, and so on and so forth. The LGBT community has been burned time and time again by people hiding behind various religious texts. As someone who classifies himself as a Christian, this irks me to no end. It feels like my religion is being hijacked and used against me at the same time. These are the same people who seem to forget that the Bible also says things like "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right," [James 2:8] and "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins," [1 Peter 4:8] "Judge not, lest ye be judged," [Matthew 7:1] and many other verses besides. That is the bad news. 

The good news is that despite the fact that the loudest Christians tend to be adamantly homophobic (I'm looking at you Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer, and Peter Sprigg), there are groups of Christians out there who the diametric opposites of the likes of Focus on the Family, the (so-called) American Family Association, and the (so-called) Family Research Council (all of which are considered hate groups, by the way). Believe Out Loud is one of these positive forward thinking organizations. This organization is a collaboration between Protestant clergy, LGBT activists, and others which aims to make the religious community more accepting of the gay community. Since religion in general is a major roadblock for so many Americans when it comes to supporting gay rights organizations like this are incredibly vital for the LGBT community in its fight for equal rights. Building bridges like this is the way we can win.



So send these guys some love for bucking the trend of their religious compatriots. You can find more information on their website, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

The Religious Wrong: Talking From Your...You Know

You know how sometimes people act as if they are experts on something, then when they talk about it, they show nothing but ignorance? Well, Bryan Fischer does that on a regular basis. He has topped himself on this one by acting like he knows why gay people join the military and how our minds will "change" on DADT.


Ignorance at its worst.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weiner-Gate

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner
I don't want to add too much to the media saturation, mainly since the rest of the media is currently obsessed with this. I just want to note a few things.

First, it goes without saying, though I will say it anyway, that what he did, as well as the attempted cover-up that followed are utterly inexcusable. He should be held accountable for it mainly by his family. If it is found out that state resources were used for what he did (but since we are talking about sending pictures and messages through Twitter, I don't really think this will be an issue), then his constituents should hold him accountable as well.

Second, as sex scandals go, this is probably the least of the ones that have happened in recent years...and probably my entire life. Why? Well here are a few things that differentiate this one from others so far as we know at this time. He was not with hookers, which differentiates him from Senator David Vitter and Governor Eliot Spitzer. He did not spend state resources to commit adultery, which differentiates him from ex-Governor Mark Sanford. His cover-up did not involve paying people off, which differentiates him from (soon-to-be former) Senator John Ensign. There were no underage people involved, which differentiates him from ex-Representative Mark Foley. There was no love-child, which differentiates him from former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. For that matter, there was no actual sex, which differentiates him from former President Bill Clinton and former Governor Jim McGreevy.

Third, what I have liked (and still like) about Rep. Weiner particularly over the last few years is that he has been an absolute bull dog for progressive causes, including pro-gay causes. He stands up for the little guy, the middle class instead of for big business and the super-rich. His statement that he would not resign was exactly what I was hoping to hear yesterday because we need a loud voice in Congress. I expect that voice to be quiet for a time as this incident blows over. But I have no doubt that we will hear that voice doing what it does best. I can't wait to again hear that voice that stands in the face of the other side when so many others are too cowardly to do so.



Monday, June 6, 2011

Know Your Allies: Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor
This guy is truly amazing. He has no direct personal stake in the fight for gay rights (he is straight). Despite that he took it upon himself after graduating from  the University of Maryland to start an advocacy group called Athlete Ally which aims to get his fellow athletes and coaches on board with supporting their gay teammates and creating a more positive atmosphere for gay athletes. He started on this road while being a college athlete, a time when speaking up for gay rights might get you some grief...to say the least. It seems that his efforts are paying off. In a recent visit to Bates College he got about 500 student athletes to sign his pledge. I think however, Hudson's story is best told by him:




The Gay/X-Men Connection

I'm a big X-Men fan so anytime something about them is in the news, it catches my attention. I came across this article that talks about the X-Men film franchise and how it relates to the story of being gay/gay rights from "The Atlantic:"

In X-Men: First Class, one young mutant-human tells another, "You have no idea what I'd give to feel ... normal." It's a moment anyone who went to high school can empathize with, though it might mean something more to those who grew up gay—the adolescent experience when you discover, like the X-Men, something in your nature that makes you different from the majority of the people around you.

Parallels between the mutant experience and the gay experience pervade First Class, which opened on Friday to a weekend box-office haul of $56 million. The film, a prequel to the modern X-Men movie series, tells the franchise's origin myth: Genetic mutations create a cadre of young superheros who use their powers for good—in this case, by attempting to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis. The mutants are, unmistakably, a social minority. The film's catchphrase is "mutant and proud," a playful riff on post-Stonewall self-acceptance, and a "don't ask, don't tell" joke even finds its way into the dialogue.

In its own way, X-Men has become the most subversive modern comic-book franchise, translating for a country of summer moviegoers the entire theater of gay politics. The agenda was set with the original X-Menreportedly told actor Ian McKellen, a fervent LGBT-rights activist, to lure him into a starring role as Magneto. "It's a parable." And indeed, it has been. In the first film, the superheroes are opposed by a U.S. senator who cries out, in a nod to Anita Bryant's "Save Our Children" campaign, "I think the American people deserve the right to decide whether they want their children ... to be taught by mutants!" The follow-up, 2003's X2, made its point more boldly, in a scene that so closely resembles a "coming out" it borders on camp—the mother asks her son, "Have you ever tried not being a mutant?" before she gives up entirely and says, "This is all my fault."

Singer moved on and was replaced by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour), not exactly known for his queer sensibilities. But if anything, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand amped up the symbolism with a plot about a pharmaceutical company that develops a "cure" for the mutant gene. While drugs and biology play a role in other superhero movies, notably the Blade series, none has so convincingly pointed to the AIDS epidemic and the way the gay community came together in solidarity to fight it. "There's nothing to cure," an indignant Storm (Halle Berry) says at one point. "Nothing's wrong with any of us."

But what if
in 2000, directed by the openly gay Bryan Singer. "It's not just a fantasy story," Singer X-Men was gay from the beginning? The idea may not surprise those who know the comic books well. Creator Stan Lee came of age as a writer in the 1960s, when anti-fascist superheroes like Captain America gave way to anti-heroes who challenged the status quo. One of his earliest creations, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, featured a cast that was for the time unusually diverse (black, Italian, Jewish), including one character—a scarf-wearing Brit named Percival Pinkerton—that intentionally played on gay stereotypes. “We didn’t make a big issue of it,” Lee told CNN years later. “He's just a colorful character who follows his own different drummer. He follows a different beat.” 

Lee has been coy about sexually identifying X-Men, calling it one of several stories directed “against bigotry of all sorts.” At the time the comic book first came out in 1963, it made more sense to think of the characters’ plight in terms of the civil rights movement. Since then, however, it’s become a natural echo of the growing LGBT movement, which is likewise based on a minority that’s “hidden” from public view. In his article “Making Gay Sense of the X-Men,” William Earnest notes how Mystique’s shape-shifting ability, allowing her to “look like everyone else,” closely mirrors the gay phenomenon of “passing.” In one of First Class’s more poignant subplots, Mystique starts embarrassed by her “natural blue form” before learning to embrace her true appearance. Magneto chides her, “You want society to accept you, but you can’t even accept yourself.”

Of course, X-Men is hardly the first to comment on a social movement in a medium known for its progressivism—it just happens to be the most popular. A lesser-known Marvel character from 1966, Black Panther, was the first African-American superhero, though his transition to the silver screen has been bumpier, following a Wesley Snipes adaptation left in limbo. That might make X-Men’s resonance mostly a matter of timing—homosexuality, after all, still counts as a headline controversy, and one ripe for fictionalization. A scene from The Last Stand, in which a teenage mutant shamefully tries to cut off his new angel wings, eerily foreshadows the suicides that have inspired the enormously popular “It Gets Better” campaign. Science fiction or not, that’s a hard parallel to ignore.

DADT: Marine Sgt. vs Sec. Gates on Opting Out

Defense Secretary Robert Gates
This story comes to us from Reuters.


Marine Sgt: Sir, we joined the Marine Corps because the Marine Corps has a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector. And we have gone and changed those values and repealed the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. 
We have not given the Marines a chance to decide whether they wish to continue serving under that. Is there going to be an option for those Marines that no longer wish to serve due to the fact their moral values have not changed?

Secretary Gates: No. You'll have to complete your ... enlistment just like everybody else. The reality is that you don't all agree with each other on your politics, you don't agree with each other on your religion, you don't agree with each other on a lot of things, but you still serve together. And you work together. And you look out for each other. And that's all that matters...If we do this right, nothing will change. You will still have to abide by the same rules of behavior, the same discipline, the same respect for each other that has been the case through all the history of the Marine Corps.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Some People Refuse to Learn


1) I don't know how anyone can listen to that voice for extended periods of time. This video isn't even two minutes and it gave me a headache.

2) I would suggest people who need to learn about American history get a video from The History Channel instead of listening to Palin. That way, not only will they learn something, they'll learn something that is actually true and not made up.

3) Seriously, why do people listen to what this woman says (unless they need a laugh)? She knows nothing about history, policy, or what America actually is. Her being anywhere near the White House would be an unmitigated disaster.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Perspective on Pride Month

Pride month is upon us. On my last post, I mentioned this and was asked if I thought it was necessary. I answered there in brief (well..semi-brief), but I think my opinion needs a bit more explanation.

First and foremost, yes. Pride month is necessary, as much so as Black History Month (February) or any such type of recognition period. It is important to bring attention to the issues that are still faced by the LGBT community from bullying to marriage rights and everything in-between. Sure we have come a long way in terms of rights that are recognized, but there are still many, many miles yet to go (down with DOMA). This month offers a huge opportunity to have those conversations. Secondly, pride month, again being about visibility, serves as a direct contrast to all of the years that members of the LGBT community had to hide who they truly were. Now that so many of us are out, we have no intention of being pushed back in or pushed around.

However, when it comes to certain pride events, especially pride parades, I think some can take it too far (of course the same could be said for most such situations and holidays). I won't tell anyone they shouldn't be who they are or have fun in these events (by all means, do both). Some people however may be giving our enemies fodder by taking the event to excess. The last thing we as a community need is to give the other side ammunition. Of course even if that were not the case, they would find something else to use, so maybe that concern is ill-founded.

Having said all of that, I do think it is important for everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE, gay, straight, or whatever) to go to at least one pride event at some point and hopefully, sooner rather than later, I will too.