Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Back from outer space

Aaaaand I'm back. I'm settled into my room, my schedule is set, and I can return to the web at long last.

Let's start with a happy story. We need more happy stories in the news.

Gay couple aim for wedding date:

Mike Dunn always knew he was gay.

But for 16 years of his life he was married to a woman.

The 55-year-old grew up in an era where homosexuality was still illegal, and attitudes were different.

Now, nearly 30 years after gay acts between men were made legal, Mike is hoping to be - with his partner Miles Harding, 40 - one of the first couples to have their partnership legally recognised.

The Birmingham couple were at Manchester's Pride festival, and took part in The Celebration, held over the weekend to mark the advent of the new Civil Partnership Act, which becomes law in December.

They were among couples who signed a book to "pre-register" their civil partnership declaration.

"It's about time," Mike says. "When I was growing up there was nothing for gay people, no bars, no clubs, nowhere to go, no community - nowhere you could have a relationship with someone.

"It's amazing to see how times have changed. I've just finished a job with a council where every single person knew I was gay. Thirty years ago, that just couldn't have happened."


This is a nice "feel good" stories. I think it's good to read stories like that when there are so many problems in the world. On that note, my thoughts are with those in Katrina'a path. I hope New Orleans can bounce back from this. I've been in my happy little college bubble lately, so I didn't know what was going on until I visited CNN a few hours ago.

So let's return to some good news.

Calif. Legislature Passes Gay Civil Rights Act:

The California Assembly has passed legislation banning discrimination against gays, lesbians and the transgendered in employment, housing and the delivery of goods and services.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

California law prohibited discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability or medical condition. But, it did not specifically name members of the LGBT community as a protected group.

Although courts have consistently interpreted the law as applying to gays civil rights groups in the state fought for a number of years to have the law amended to be fully inclusive.

The legislation adds sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status to the existing law.


I always like it when I hear that another state is opening up to gay rights. That's always another state I can live in with Ion in the future.

Well, I'm back to checkiing out the videos I missed while I was on hiatus. Crooks and Liars and One Good Move have put up some great videos lately. I like this one especially. (Oh, Jon Stewart, my love for you is pure).

Saturday, August 27, 2005

More pulp covers

There's an exhibit in San Francisco right now called "Out at the Library: Celebrating the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center." They're showcasing several queer pulp fiction covers, and Gay.com is giving a preview by showing nine covers and giving commentary. I love pulp covers, and seeing another collection of them just makes me swoon.

The act of taking one of these books off the drugstore rack and paying for it at the counter was a frightening act for many women; during the McCarthy trials of the 1940s and early 1950s hundreds of lives were destroyed by accusations of homosexuality. Guiltily tucked under mattresses, hidden in the back of bookcases or stored deep in closets, these books were cherished and passed from woman to woman in the underground community. They were also burned and thrown out for fear they would be discovered. But they provided for many gay men and lesbians a rare source of affirmation.


(Link)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Hiatus for me

I'm driving back to college today, settling in tomorrow, showing my parents around Philly on Saturday, and going through a library workers training thing on Sunday. For these reasons, you can see why I won't be able to do much for this site for a few days. Hopefully, my fellow Dyke Squad members will keep things going.

Don't forget about us!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Apology

I found some pretty obnoxious typos in one of my recent posts. Sorry about that. I'll be more careful next time.

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

Ha ha! Another excellent outing.

Ex-teen queen Lesley Gore says she's a lesbian:

Former '60s teen queen Lesley Gore has declared that she's a lesbian. The singer, best remembered for such tunes as It's My Party and You Don't Own Me, tells Web site AfterEllen.com that she's been with a female partner for 23 years.

Gore says she didn't try to conceal her sexuality during her heyday.

"I just kind of lived my life naturally and did what I wanted to do," she says. "I didn't avoid anything; I didn't put it in anybody's face. Times were very different then, so, you know, I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible."


How thrilling! I really like what she said. She sounds like an excellent person.

So if you're not with us, you're against us?

I admit it: I don't understand the "If you're not with us, you're against us" argument.

My mom sometimes listens to Howie Chizek, a radio personality on Akron's WNIR (motto: "The talk of Akron"). Howie's pretty conservative, and he angers me a lot because he often comes off as chauvinist, homophobic, and anti-environment. My mom likes a lot of what he says, but she admits that disagrees with him on these points.

The guy drives me nuts. He's prone to racial or national slurs. Today he was discussing the Lance Armstrong debacle, and he concluded that it was all nonsense, made up by ... I think he said a smelly, hairy Frenchman, although he might have said that it was a Frenchman who smelled in his armpit hair. I apologize for not having the correct quote - I was in the car and didn't write it down. Anyway, Howie concluded that this was further evidence of France's anti-American feelings.

First of all, while nothing's certain yet Armstrong and the drugs, this is a serious allegation and one that should be looked into, not laughed away.

And secondly, I've had two friends travel abroad this summer, and both spent time in France. Both said they loved it and weren't made to feel alienated or ostracized. I can't speak for all people, obviously, but I can say firmly that both of these friends had a great time and loved France.

The whole argument that France hates America comes from their disagreements with us over the war in Iraq. And I don't understand what's wrong with disagreement. What's wrong with discussion? How is disagreeing with the government anti-American and helping the terrorists? Yet, all over, people are saying nonsense like this. And that leads to such hatred. For example, Fox's John Gibson said that Paris should have gotten the Olympics rather than London because then Paris would get blown up. He said this a day before the London bombings:

By the way, just wanted to tell you people, we missed -- the International Olympic Committee missed a golden opportunity today. If they had picked France, if they had picked France instead of London to hold the Olympics, it would have been the one time we could look forward to where we didn't worry about terrorism. They'd blow up Paris, and who cares? [link]


We also have Ann Coulter's truly stupid comments on November 30, 2004's 'Hannity & Colmes,' in which she talked about US bombing Canada because Canadians protested during Bush's visit.

COULTER: They better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent.[link]


(I think I should take this moment to sing praises for the wonderful Media Matters. What a great site!)

-I deleted a bit of the entry here because I missed a word and misinterpreted something the President said. I take full responsibility for sloppy reading. To make up for it, read this link for more people with a "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality.-

So now there is this idea (supported by some people) that if you disagree with the President or administration, you weaken the US. And that's just ridiculous. No other way to say it. That's ridiculous. And it's dangerous, too. I know I say that word all the time; this or that is dangerous. But I really think it is. People don't spend enough time thinking about their words.

I'll end with this quote, which I find pertinant to the above thoughts:

"Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." [link]


Hermann Goering said that on April 18, 1946. Interesting, huh?

Robertson's a nutjob

By now everyone knows about Robertson's incredibly dumb statement about Chavez:

[Chavez] has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. [link]


Two of my favorite quotes are these two gems:

"The feminist agenda ... is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encouraged women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft and become lesbians."
-Pat Robertson, fund-raising letter to Iowans

"You know who's pushing [abortion]. You saw some of those women out there. I mean those women aren't ever going to have a baby by anybody. I mean, these are primarily lesbians, and lesbians don't have babies. And it's the one thing a mother has - that a lesbian can never have - is this feminity, and they can never achieve that. And so, in order to level the field, they say, 'Hey, let you abort your baby so you'll be like us, because we don't have them.'"
-Pat Robertson, 700 Club [link]


And everyone has probably heard about Robertson and Falwell's little blame game on 9/11.

JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. 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."

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system. [link]


Well, through Crooks and Liars, I found this compilation of some of Robertson's best quotes. It's a "fun" read.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

People of the lie

Someone emailed Crooks and Liars an interesting quote they found in M. Scott Peck's book People of the Lie:

"It is characteristic of those who are evil to judge others as evil. Unable to acknowledge their own imperfections, they must explain away their flaws by blaming others. And, if necessary, they will even destory others in the name of righteousness."


Go check out the link.. There's a discussion going on in the comments.

I don't know anything about Peck or his book, so I won't say anything about that, but I found the quote to be very interesting. My mom used to use the phrase "People of the Lie" all the time when I was young, and I only found out recently that it wasn't something she just made up.

I also don't believe that Bush is evil. I think he is misguided, I think he is wrong, and I think he gets caught up in his own idea of righteousness, so much so that he'll pursue a course he feels to be right no matter what the consequences are. But I also believe he thinks he's doing the right thing for the country. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this point, but I do think Bush believes he's truly helping America. And, in all honesty, that's what I think is really scary about him: he believes that he's chosen by God, and he believes he's right.

Anyway, I think it's really tough to use such a charged word like "evil." I'm sure a hundred college professors could spend a hundred years debating and never reach a proper fool-proof definition for "evil."

Back to the quote: I don't think it's right to use the above quote as evidence that Bush is "evil," but I do think it's interesting if we look at the quote and then at Bush's tactics. So, yes, go check out the link.

So tell me. What do you think?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Point, Click, Boom.

Okay, so this post may be a little off-topic for this blog. Or maybe not. It's not really up to you to decide about that; and for that matter, it doesn't matter.

Video Games are Bad for Kids

You know what? This article pisses me off. By a lot.

No, it's not because I'm a moderately avid video game fan. (I say moderately because I love playing and if given an oppertunity, I will game for hours on end but I am still able to put it aside in favor of other more important things. I am also gauging myself against my brother, who is an avid fanatical gamer prone to indulging in 48 hour LAN parties.) In fact, unlike most of the female gamers that I have met, I enjoy the bloodiest, goriest, first-person-shooteriest games the most. (That is even if my favorite game is an RPG and my second favorite game is a strategy game.) Nothing pleases me more than sitting down to a nice Deathmatch and fragging bots until 3 AM. I will admit it is an addiction. I will also admit it is bad for my eyes.

But, I will not admit to the fact that it makes me more aggressive and violent.

In fact, I don't think it makes anyone more violent than they naturally would be.

But, but, but, you may be protesting, sputtering with holier-than-thou busy-bodying anticipation, I am old enough to have missed most of the goriest games during my formative years. That's utter BS and everyone knows it. First of all, just because a game doesn't have spurting gore doesn't mean it isn't violent. Let's take the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (check out Wikipedia fore more info on TMNT) game for NES (that's Nintendo Entertainment System, or Famicom depending on your background and/or ignorance). In this game, you play one of the original Fab Four and battle evil ninjas/mutants to...uhhh I forget to what end (I think just to defeat the Evil Shredder)...

Anyway, the point is that the name TMNT was deemed too violent in the UK and they were renamed TMHT (that "H" is for "Hero"). Not only that but those tubular Turtles fought with some pretty deadly armaments. Leonardo had twin Katana (he used a pair which is considered unorthadox), Raphael had twin Sai, Mikey had a pair of Nunchaku and Donatello had a Bo staff. All four of those weapons are very serious arms to be toting about. In the original comic series, actual violence was portrayed because of the comic's mainly adult audience. The cartoon, however, kid-ified the violence. Because the original game was based on the cartoon, the violence in the game with these very lethal weapons was turned to cartoon mischief. (I.E. When you defeated the enemies they exploded into cute little fireballs instead of squirting gore.) Couple that with the fact that plastic replicas of the Turtle's weapons were readily available at all toy stores...well...let's just say the neighborhood kids (myself included) spent a lot of innocent hours whacking away with the plastic toys pretending that when you defeated your enemies, they turned into orange fireballs and when you left the area and came back, they were resurrected and when you died, there was always a continue. It never really occurred to us that we might bleed (and therefore feel pain) when we got hit with a sword.

So what, you may be saying. TMNT taught the little brats what to do with those weapons.

Hah. I say HAH to you. You've obviously never watched small children at play. What do toddlers do when you give them a stick (after putting it in their mouth and thoroughly checking it out)? They hit things with it to see what will happen. I've observed this phenomenon with all 5 of my cousins as well as the various siblings and younger friends of any kids I ever played with. This even includes some extreme cases where the child is not allowed to watch any television or anything with commercials or violence. He still whacked his mother in the face with her keyes.

We also need to be talking about potentials in people's personalities and the reasons why these boys are playing these games. Every person on Earth has the potential for aggression. Some, for whatever reason, have greater potential. And now, in the era of zero-tolerance and other such things (which I'm not saying are bad, quite the contrary), schoolyard brawls are nearly nonexistant and even outdoor running around type playtime is severely limited. All kids have their aggression within them and need to naturally explore it. But, if we keep them inside with nothing but sitting still quiet time, then they have no physical outlet for their aggression. This is especially so once the child starts attending school full time.

Actually, that's when I started to get aggressive myself. In first grade I felt myself growing frustrated and angry with my surroundings. I had not yet begun playing video games. My brother and I began to fight, physically, in earnest. Then, suddenly, as I made more friends (who had the NES systems that I craved after playing at a friend's house the first time) and started to regularly compete in some pretty violent video games (for that time), such as Double Dragon and later on Wolfenstein and Doom, I began to feel more mellow. Sure, while I was playing I was hyper-competitive and hyper-aggressive (I was the same way in sports, fancy that...), but most of the time I was a normal, calm kid.

The moral of this long rant is that playing my Unreal Tournament calms me down and merely sates the urge to do harm that I've had my entire life (and that I view as a very human characteristic).

The only thing making me angry right now are these "Pro-Family" wingnuts who want their assault rifles within easy reach but censorship over the violent games where assault weapons are used.

"Women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy"

I don't understand women who won't be feminists. Maybe this is short sighted of me, but really, I want to know: Women, how can you not be feminists?

I've often heard the argument that women are now equal to men in the US, so feminism is no longer necessary. I've heard arguments against "feminazis" often, and I seen again and again a woman say something like, "Well, I'm not a feminst, but..."

I don't understand this. You think we're equal and it's all A-okay?

Watch this then: here's a clip on Crooks and Liars. Please, please go watch this. It shows Reuel Marc Gerecht, the Director of the Middle East Initiative at the Project for the New American Century, talking about the Iraqi constitution on an Aug. 21 edition of Meet the Press. He says:

"Women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there, I think they will be there, but I think we need to keep this perspective."


This infuriates me so much. I can barely get words out because I don't understand how he can say this. How can he get away with saying this? Just ... how? That's what I want to know: how can he say this?

BlondeSense has some good commentary:

So let me get this straight. Even though women in Iraq had comparable rights to the women of the west under Saddam’s rule, with our help to “free” them we will be okay with some of those rights being taken away. Are women’s rights in Iraq some of the eggs we have to break to make the constitutional omelet? [link]


Read her post. It's far better than what I've assembled here; I'm still too angry to speak in articulate sentences.

The Rude Pundit also addresses the rights of women in his post here.

And here's another article about what Gerecht said.


If you need to cool off after reading all this, then for a fun time (i.e. watching Jon Stewart pretend to be Harry Potter), watch this clip on One Good Move.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Visiting a United Church of Christ

I'm up early on a Sunday for the first time in a very long time. We're off to check out one of the local United Churches of Christ. We picked this particular church by - how else would one pick in the modern world? - its webpage. I was impressed with what its front page said:

The family of faith of Grace UCC of Loyal Oak is an inclusive, welcoming, affirming community committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that the Social Gospel Jesus taught and lived calls us to be nothing less than a church of people dedicated to welcoming all who walk through our doors as wonderful creations of God, made in the image of God. We celebrate diversity, pray and work for peace and non-violence in the world, and deeply care about the poor, the hungry, the dispossessed and marginalized by our society. We're not about judgment and tearing down, we're about supporting and building up! If you've been hurt and mistreated by other religious communities, know that you are safe with us...and can learn more about the God of love and grace who we love so passionately. Come spend some time with us...just as you are! GOD IS STILL SPEAKING....COME LISTEN!


(I apologize for not linking back to the church's website, but it's very local, and I do live in a small town, so please understand my desire for privacy).

The above bolded sections were written in a different color than the rest of the introduction on the church's website. I was impressed that they'd draw those bolded parts to the reader's attention.

I'm staying optimistic about this church. I am not into proselytizing, and an Episcopal church I tried to visit during college scared me away by how much they wanted me to get out into the community. I respect churches who try to help communities and help others, but I am a person who appreciates private faith. I hope that this new church - it looks so small - is into that private sort of faith. Let's wish me luck.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

"Someday a woman will be president" = Too controversial for Wal-Mart!

This is a must-read!

Someday a woman will be president!

The part that really grabs your attention is on the second page. Ann Ruben of Women are Wonderful tried to sell a shirt (the front showed Margaret from the comic 'Dennis the Menace' declaring "Someday a woman will be president!) to Wal-Mart. At first, all was going well, but then....

It was around that time that a business reporter from the Miami Herald came to interview me about my company called "Women Are Wonderful." I told her about the many women's organizations that were making money selling the Margaret T-shirts. "But don't you have any stores buying the T-shirts?" she asked. In an excited fashion, I told her about the recent sales to Wal-Mart. As any good reporter would do, she called the national office of Wal-Mart and asked the T-shirt buyer if they were going to carry the Margaret T-shirts in any of their other stores. "What T-shirt?" the buyer asked. When the T-shirt was described, the buyer said that Wal-Mart would never buy a T-shirt like that. "Its message is political and it goes against our philosophy of family values."

The next week the Margaret T-shirts were removed from the racks and I was told they were "banned." When I asked the manager what happened, he explained to me that he was told a customer had called Wal-Mart's 800 number and had complained that the message on the T-shirt was offensive. He was also told that Wal-Mart felt the need to please its customer and therefore the T-shirt was banned. Of course, I believed there was no truth to that explanation and decided to fight Wal-Mart's decision. [link]


In the end, Ruben succeeded. This is a great read. Please go visit the link!

O'Reilly loves to cut microphones

No commentary here, I just wanted to record this link:

O'Reilly revived an interview tactic he has made common -- cutting the guest's mike:

August 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly revived a long-standing practice of shutting off the microphone of a guest, in this case, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable communications director Jasmyne Cannick. The August 10 incident on Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly marks at least the 11th time that O'Reilly has shut off a guest's microphone on either his television or radio show, usually to retain control over or to end an interview. He last resorted to this on August 6, 2004. Perhaps the most famous incident was O'Reilly's barking to anti-war protestor Jeremy Glick to "shut up" and ordering his microphone cut.


This link records the number of times O'Reilly has cut his guest's microphone.

Apparently rights for women is anti-capitalist

Aaaand I'm taking back the good things I said about Roberts.

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. consistently opposed legal and legislative attempts to strengthen women's rights during his years as a legal adviser in the Reagan White House, disparaging what he called "the purported gender gap" and, at one point, questioning "whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."

In internal memos, Roberts urged President Ronald Reagan to refrain from embracing any form of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment pending in Congress; he concluded that some state initiatives to curb workplace discrimination against women relied on legal tools that were "highly objectionable"; and he said that a controversial legal theory then in vogue -- of directing employers to pay women the same as men for jobs of "comparable worth" -- was "staggeringly pernicious" and "anti-capitalist."[link]


I'm feeling a little lost here. You hear good things about the guy, and then you hear bad. I try not to label someone right away because they are a member of the GOP, but this above information makes me feel really shaky about the guy. I'm going to have to do more research before I say anymore. The last thing I want to do is become a reactionary, panicking at every bit of news I hear about the man.

But from the above information, I'm not feeling too good about him. What do you think?

Friday, August 19, 2005

God is in the business of keeping our faith, clearly...

I was sitting at the train station today (with enormous Bed Bath & Beyond bags full of bedding) with my usual bored where-the-fuck-is-the-train annoyance going on when this huge black guy with a dozen red roses saunters over and plunks himself down next to me. He's a little on the heavy side with stubble from a recently shaved head and jaw growing in. His nose is crooked from a badly set break and he has a thin scar on his right cheek. In spite of this, he was well dressed and just seemed like your average guy.

Then he starts talking. This happens to me all the time. People --- men, older men, especially --- love to single me out and tell me about their problems. Damned if I know what is is. I certainly don't have a friendly face (My natural expression is kind of a bored scowl.) He starts talking about his girl and how he's trying to go surprise her at work and take her out to dinner and on and on and on (I'm being polite at this point) when he suddenly stops, squints at me and asks:

Are you a boy or a girl?


Naturally, I'm amused at this. But, especially because the subject in mind was a big guy, I was also very wary. I didn't know how, really to respond. So I answered, a little cheekily because he seemed like a nice guy, "Does that even matter, really?"

He stopped. He thought about it. And then he answered.

No, I guess not. I was just curious.


Aha! An honest man. I relented and told him (because I was surprised and amused) that, "biologically speaking, I am female." I didn't expand because I don't go into the spectrum of gender with strangers. He kind of "hmphed" at this and went on about how cell phones were the tools of the devil.

For the record, I was wearing a white t-shirt, big baggy black cargo shorts and a hat with a dancing blue tiki man from AEO. It was also dusk.

Still, though, I was surprised at his response.

Roseville High's Protesters

What the hell kind of purpose does this serve?

Two anti-gay protesters greeted students at Roseville High School Thursday. The pair denounced homosexuality and called for an end to school-sanctioned groups such as the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Protesters Luke Otterstad of Placerville and Tim Bueler of Rohnert Park were positioned directly across the street from Roseville High as students arrived for the first day of classes Thursday morning.

Carrying signs and banners with slogans such as "Homosexuality is sin" and "Gays hate God," the pair said the demonstration is part of a regional tour to promote their message. "We want to get homosexuality out of our public schools and we're touring Northern California schools to do that," Bueler said.

Bueler and Otterstad complied with city laws and remained across the street from students, staying in position through the noon student lunch period.


No, really, you tell me: what purpose does this serve other than intimidation and hatred. Nothing constructive at all.

I suppose I'm asking too much by asking pro-hate groups to show some logic.

"I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong..."

"My husband, Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny…an inescapable network of mutuality.… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.” Therefore, I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."


-an excerpt from a speech given by Coretta Scott King at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 13th annual Creating Change conference (shortly after the 2000 election)

My thoughts and prayers have been with Coretta Scott King. I posted this following speech in my personal journal a while back. The original copy I got of this was from a site that is no longer in existence. I Googled the speech, however, and was able to find it once again.

Following are the remarks made by Coretta Scott King at the opening plenary session of the 13th annual Creating Change conference, organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in Atlanta on November 9. (Some of Mrs. King’s introductory greetings upon taking the podium have been omitted.)

I think we all need a few days to recuperate from the stress-filled election we have just experienced, but not much more, because we have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination.

I say “common struggle” because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.

My husband, Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny…an inescapable network of mutuality.… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.” Therefore, I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.

In addition to this fundamental moral principle, there is a very practical reason why people involved in human rights should support each other and work together. And that reason is that the whole of us united makes us stronger than the sum of our parts. This principle of synergy is eloquently summed up in the equation “One plus one equals three.” In other words, there are things we achieve together that we can’t achieve separately.

In a way, we have just had an object lesson in the power of coalition unity. And I think we have just seen the future of American democracy flash before our eyes last Tuesday. The coalition that gave Al Gore a popular majority can surely be as powerful as the New Deal coalition that transformed America in an earlier era.

So what comes next for the NGLTF, the King Center, and indeed all organizations working for human rights and social justice must be a new emphasis on working together in coalitions. With this commitment, we can pass comprehensive hate crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and secure full funding for AIDS research, prevention, and treatment. We can defend affirmative action and support a broad range of common legislative and policy priorities.

It is encouraging that we have seen more gay and lesbian candidates elected to political office. It is important for lesbian and gay officeholders and their constituencies to achieve greater visibility as supporters of laws that benefit the entire community. I think this will help educate the American public that lesbian and gay people seek the same goals of quality education for young people, cleaner air and water, safe streets and better health care that straight people want. We have to work harder for the broader vision of the compassionate and caring society that demands decent living standards for all citizens.

Now that the election is finally behind us, we must turn our full attention to building a tightly knit coalition of human rights groups that can act swiftly and effectively for needed policy reforms. Let’s make this first decade of the 21st century an era of unprecedented expansion in freedom and democracy.

And as we work for needed reforms, we must also look ahead to the next elections, mindful that we need more people of color in America’s federal, state, and local political institutions. And we also need more women and more lesbian and gay officeholders as well. This is how we make our political institutions reflect the diversity of the American people.

In closing, my friends, I just want to say that I’m proud to stand with you today as we build a great new American coalition for freedom and human rights for all people. Despite the formidable challenges we face, I believe that we will succeed in creating a more compassionate and just society.

I’ll conclude my remarks tonight with a few words spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. at the National Press Club in July of 1962. The 38 years that have come and gone since then have done nothing to diminish the relevance of his remarks. Indeed, they seem particularly appropriate to the challenge we face today.

“We are simply seeking,” said Martin, “to bring into full realization the American dream—a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men no longer argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; the dream of a land where everyone will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality—this is the dream. When it is realized, the jangling discords of our nation will be transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood, and men everywhere will know that America is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

With this faith, sisters and brothers, let us work together with renewed passion and commitment to create the beloved community of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, where all people can live together in a spirit of trust and understanding, harmony, love, and peace. [link]


What an amazing woman. I hope she feels better soon.

GAY BATMAN!

Batman kissing Robin in watercolors. And DC Comics wants it removed.

How Gay is that?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Exciting Game of Career Girls

Via BoingBoing:

Brad, of Bradley's Almanac, reports a 1966 board game meant to help young girls figure out their futures. Their choices? Teacher, actress, nurse, model, ballet dancer, and airline hostess. Clicking on the link will show you the fascinating game tokens used in all their slightly-horrifying glory.

As Brad says:

Looking at it now, nearly 40 years removed, it's mostly just a riot, or maybe kinda sad, depending on how far you think workplace gender equality has come since the mid-sixties.

(Link)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tides of hate

I was recently talking with my mom about how hate travels. I brought up Eminem. He recently got a lot of support from the progressive community for his song and video for "Mosh." While I appreciate the song and video (the man is a talented artist), I have no reason to support him for any reason. He writes misogynistic and homophobic lyrics. Yes, he may do this to sell records, but the young boy who listens to the music and idealizes the rapper doesn't necessarily know that Eminem's lyrics are for selling records.

Here are two of my "favorite" quotes:

Don't you get it b*tch, no one can hear you?
Now shut the f*ck up and get what's comin to you
You were supposed to love me
NOW BLEED! B*TCH BLEED!
(from Kim)

My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge
That'll stab you in the head whether you're a fag or lez
(from Criminal)

[link]


People listening to music like this can internalize it. For this reason, I think Eminem's lyrics are dangerous. I think Eminem has a right to say what he does - 1st amendment, after all - but I wish he weren't so successful.

This is why I think it's dangerous when Bush and his administration support an anti-gay platform. When the President says we have to protect the sanctity of marriage, he teaches that it's okay to bash.

In a similar vein, I just read this article on Page One Q: The Ripple Effects of Hate. Donna Payne's article is about the ripple effects caused by Rev. Wilson's hateful words. She says:

Speech should be protected. But we all have a responsibility for the strength and power of our words. The pulpit is a powerful resource that should be used for love and unity. Rev. Wilson should know this, as a minister and activist. The Million More March is supposed to bring us all together — from the pastor to the protestors to the actors inside the “Noah’s Arc” studio — all were meant to feel welcome.

In talking about the goals of the last march, the minister Louis Farrakhan said that the march “Demonstrated our willingness to reconcile differences at home, school, church, organizations and in the society in general; it demonstrated our willingness to accept responsibility to change our behavior and to strive to make our communities a more decent place to live.”

Now, instead of working together for the better of our communities, Rev. Wilson and others are tearing us apart. Rev. Wilson, it is time for a dialogue. Unity is our need.


It's a good article. I highly recommend you read it and think about the ripple effects of hate, as Payne calls them.

Loaning lesbians

I think this is a pretty neat idea: Library offers imam, gypsy, gay person for 'loan'.

If you think all lesbians are sexually frustrated or all animal rights activists aggressive, then a Swedish library project that allows you to 'borrow' a real live human being may provide some useful insight.

Ulla Brohed, of the Malmoe Library in southern Sweden, says the Living Library project will enable people to come face-to-face with their prejudices in the hopes of altering their preconceived notions.

"You sometimes hear people's prejudices and you realise that they are just uninformed," she said.

Nine people, including a homosexual, an imam, a journalist, a Muslim woman and a gypsy, will be available at the Malmoe Library for members of the public to "borrow" for a 45-minute conversation in the library's outdoor cafe.

"Maybe not all journalists are know-it-all and sensationalist, just unafraid and curious," Ms Brohed said.

"Maybe not all animal rights activists are angry and intolerant but intelligent and committed."

Mr Brohed says the nine "items" on loan were not hard to find but admits that they will be paid "a small sum" for their efforts.

If the experiment is a success, the Malmoe Library may repeat it later this year.

- AFP


What a neat way to help decrease ignorance.

And here's another link about this same event.

And Kerry flip flopped?

Here's some interesting stuff from Crooks and Liars:

"Here's what Republicans said about Clinton and Kosovo

Why did they second-guess our commitment to freedom from genocide and demand that we cut and run?


And here are some of the quotes:

"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."

-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/5/99

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."

-Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate George W. Bush

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarifiedrules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"

-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)


The bolded parts are my own.

Go read the full list. It's interesting stuff.

Gay Orbitz

I just saw this amazing commercial for gay travel with the Orbitz company. The commercial follows their recent theme: two people compete to find hotels and travel faster. I found a copy of this commercial on the wonderful and useful Commercial Closet. Here's their summary:

On a game show, a colorful door turns, revealing a man in a lavender shirt. The announcer says, "HE'S a travel editor from Miami!" The man femininely grabs his chest in mock surprise.

As door number two swings around, revealing a tall, handsome fellow with another clinging to his shoulder, the announcer says, "HE'S got a new boyfriend!"

"And this is Take On Orbitz," he continues, "the game that pits other travel services against Orbitz.com."

The host, game show favorite Wink Martindale (from "Tic-Tac-Dough"), walks on stage. "Today's contestants need a hotel in San Francisco with a mini-bar and gym," he says as the display behinds him lists the amenities in typical game-show fashion. The unseen audience gasps at the challenge.

The couple and travel editor face off, each with a computer trying to make their vacation plans the fastest through online booking. The new boyfriend is still hanging off his beau, playfully distracting him from typing by toying with his ear and rubbing his shoulders. (The set-up is that a travel editor should be a wiz at booking, while the distracted couple should not be, but they use Orbitz.com.) The couple wins, despite the "handicap" of new love.

The couple high-fives and hugs, while the travel editor is peeved at being shown up.

"Orbitz makes it fast and easy to find the right gay-friendly hotel," explains the host. The new boyfriend runs over to Martindale and hugs him, to which Martindale remarks: "I like that!"

The ad ends with the URL, www.orbitz.com/gaytravel. link


I can barely express the excitement I felt upon watching this simple commercial. It was on an ordinary channel at an ordinary time, and I was overjoyed to see two men holding hands and embracing like any other couple. They word "gay" was unabashedly used!

I'll admit the tone is campy, but I don't think that detracts from the overall implications. This is a gay commercial on a mainstream channel. Wow! I'm sending off an email to praise Orbitz. It's a small gesture, but the I feel they deserve whatever support I can give.

Please visit this link to see the commercial.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bizarro news


While I was at a friend's yesterday, she showed me a Bizarro comic that made a reference to gay marriage. I loved the comic. (Comic belongs to King Features Syndicate and and Dan Piraro, not me).

Turns out I saw the original, however, because a revised version had been created. Here's an article about what happened:

Here's how divisive the United States has become: A liberal cartoonist has to think twice about what he says in his artwork.

That's what caused a glitch in the text of the cartoon Bizarro on Thursday, so that some newspapers printed a cartoon with a reference to gay marriage and others got a much tamer version that made no reference to homosexuality at all.

"As you might expect, I've been dealing with nonstop e-mails from people who either saw both versions and want to know what happened, or saw the gay spouse one and have strong opinions about it," the cartoonist, Dan Piraro, wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle.

Piraro said the original version of the cartoon, which showed a male doctor talking to another man, had a text block that had the doctor saying: "Your husband is in the recovery room. You could go back and see him if you like, but our government-sanctioned bigotry forbids it."

He said his editor at King Features Syndicate (which is owned by Hearst Corp., as is The Chronicle) mentioned to him that he'd been getting a lot of complaints from editors about the cartoonist's left-leaning politics, and that running the cartoon could result in some cancellations.

Piraro said he had changed the text to the following: "She's going to be just fine -- she's quite a fighter. The anesthesiologist has a black eye and I think she may have cracked my ribs."

"Not wishing to lose my voice entirely, I thought it was wise to send in a replacement caption for the same picture," Piraro wrote.

He said he had sent the tame version out with a black-and-white cartoon. Later, he went to color the cartoon, and when he did, he inadvertently used the version with the original gay-marriage-themed caption. So, around the country, newspapers that ran the cartoon in color ran gay marriage, and those that ran it in black and white ran the tame version.


Unbelievable. Go read that article in full.

Gay animals

I've spent much of my TV time in Ohio watching Animal Planet. I love the station - absolutely love it. Jeff Corwin's shows are probably my favorite, but I really enjoyed the Growing Up: Seal program last night. Perhaps I'm a little young to make statements such as this, but if I had the chance to redo my college experience, I think I might have chosen to go into biology and animals, along with English.

After watching so much Animal Planet, you can imagine my joy at finding this article on 365Gay.com: Gay Rams, Lesbian Swans, & Queer Penguins: The Summer Of Love.

Gay rams in Corvallis, Oregon, lesbian swans in Boston, and gay penguins at several zoos around the world - they may shock conservative Christian groups fighting gay rights but for scientists they offer an insight into the origins and development of human sexuality.

Researchers at Oregon State University have found that about eight percent of rams are gay. The scientists, at the university along with those at the Oregon Health & Science University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sheep Experiment Station, say that the finding may prove sexuality in general, and homosexuality in particular, may be biologically driven.


Who doesn't love those gay penguins? According to this site, Roy and Silo were together for six years. They made a lot of news when, after taking care of a rock like they would an egg, their keeper finally gave them a fertilized egg which they hatched. They took care of the resulting chick, Tango, just like any other penguin parents. Unfortunately, these two penguins "broke up," but according to the 365Gay article,

Zoos in three countries have gay penguins. There are three gay couples at the Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany. There are about 20 same-sex pairs at 16 major aquariums and zoos in Japan.


The 365Gay article also goes into the two swans in Boston. I think probably everyone's heard about these two recently. As one article says,

Boston's beloved pair of swans -- feted by city leaders, residents, and tourists alike as one of the Hub's most celebrated summer attractions -- are a same-sex couple. Yes, scientific tests have shown that the pair, named Romeo and Juliet, are really Juliet and Juliet. (link)


I'm a sucker for all these stories.

Links - What Makes People Gay?

AMERICAblog links to a study on BostonNews.com, What Makes People Gay? Both the article and the AMERICAblog post are interesting, and I recommend both.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Homeless gay youth

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhich word is more important?

The New York Times brings us a photo slideshow of some gay young adults who, in many cases, have been forced to the streets because they are homosexuals.

"When you think about being gay, you don't think, 'Oh, this poor kid has been thrown out on the streets.' You think about Chelsea, a Chelsea boy, or somebody who is a drag queen and people having fun and, like, lots of sex. And you don't think, oh, this kid, his parents are kicking him out on the streets."
The children here are hurting because of the anti-gay propaganda being promoted by our government. Maybe they would have been messed up anyway; maybe they could be doing more for themselves now.

We'll never know. Their lives have been permanently affected by a simple message of hate.

(Link)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Gay Kids in Canadian Schools

I'll be away until tomorrow night, so one last post from me today.

Move To Make Canadian Schools Safe For Gay Kids:

To mark today's International Youth Day, Canadian LGBT rights group Egale is launching a national safe schools initiative.

The organization is circulation petitions across the country calling on provincial governments to outlaw homophobia in the nation's schools.

The U.N. International Youth Day focuses on the World Program of Action for Youth to increase the "opportunities available to young people for full, effective and constructive participation in society."

Education and human rights are two of the key focus areas of the UN program.

"Schools should be safe for all children, regardless of personal characteristics like race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity," said Laurie Arron, Egale's Director of Advocacy.

"While it is generally agreed all children deserve protection, all too often lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified youth, as well as children of same-sex couples, are left out in the cold. That's why provincial and territorial governments must take action to explicitly provide for their protection."


Can you imagine what would happen if they tried to start this here in the US? There'd be cries from all over that the liberals were finding new ways to show love and tolerance towards the perversion of homosexuality.

These right-wing conservatives cry so loudly and so often about "the children," but when it comes to actually caring for the kids, what do they do? How about try to keep good parents from adopting because said parents are gay? How about publish material about how to keep one's child from "turning gay"? How about stopping childrens shows that present homosexuality as an alternate way of life?

I don't think this Canadian initiative would ever go forward in the US. I'm a little envious that it will work there and not here, but I don't want to begrudge the Canadian children this lesson in love and acceptance. I just wish the US could learn from it.

Yuri and Shoujo Ai

I'm feeling very cranky and angry right now (re: Lutheran church thing), so I'm posting fun stuff.

I'm a geek. userinfodokool linked me to this out of the kindness of his geeky heart.

An Introduction to Yuri Manga and Anime:

A princess-turned-soldier falls for another female soldier. Two schoolgirl athletes competing against each other fall in love. A young woman determined to become a prince (not a princess) wins another young woman's hand in a duel.

These are just some of the storylines you will find in lesbian-themed forms of Japanese animation, called "yuri." Typically used to mean any lesbian content in entertainment media-- whether sexual or romantic, explicit or implied--yuri (also called "shoujoai") is found in both manga (Japanese comic books) and anime (animated Japanese movies and TV shows).

Manga is one of the earliest forms of comic books, originally produced in the late eighteenth century for adult males and packaged as books, rather than in the magazine-style format we are accustomed to in the West. These books dealt with a wide range of subjects including romance, drama, fantasy, action and even pornography.


I had such a crush on Haruka when I was in high school. That just sings of geek, huh? Well, she's a total dyke, so I think this is ENTIRELY within my rights to post on Dyke Squad.

Goodbye, Lutheran church

The Lutheran church voted to reject gay inclusion.

A national meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted Friday to rebuff what many saw as an attempt to push the denomination toward approval of blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

On a day when the weeklong meeting focused on gays' role in the church, delegates stripped language from a same-sex blessings measure that many Lutherans thought would give local pastors leeway in deciding whether to conduct the ceremonies.

Once the language was removed, the proposal then became an affirmation of current church practice, which bans such blessings and expresses "trust" in pastors ministering to gays and lesbians. It was approved overwhelmingly.


I'm going to be calling my church tomorrow to explain calmly and politely that I can no longer be a member for these reasons. It won't change anything, but at least my voice will be heard.

Tomorrow, I'll update with what happens.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Softball lesbians.

If you have a chance, go see your nearest women's fastpitch professional softball league. I've gone often in the past few years, and tonight I saw a great game. Everytime I return to the field, I remember every single wonderful thing about the sport and every single anxiety. I was a pitcher at varsity level for four years. That's something that stays with you.

The best part about going to these games - in my narrow minded opinion - is being in the crowd. This is because softball brings the big dykes. I say that in the most loving manner. The crowd is filled with lesbians. When I'm not at my college, a softball game is where I feel the most at home and safe. Remember when Margaret Cho said that lesbians love whale watching? Well, I've witnessed that they also love softball.

I suppose you always hear things like that, though; lesbians like softball. Lesbians teach PE. Lesbians like etc, etc. This made me think about the roommate's most recent post, I know what boys like.... You might have seen this similar site floating around: Dr. Dobson's Newsletter: Can Homosexuality Be Treated and Prevented? Like the roommate's site, there are all these little keys. Here's what the site says:

Dr. Nicolosi has permitted me to share some quotes from this manuscript that will answer many questions. These are some of his words:

There are certain signs of prehomosexuality which are easy to recognize, and the signs come early in the child's life. Most come under the heading of "cross-gender behavior." There are five markers to [diagnose] a child with "gender-identity disorder." They are:

1. Repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex.

2. In boys, preference for cross-dressing, or simulating female attire. In girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing.

3. Strong and persistent preference for cross-sexual roles in make-believe play, or persistent fantasies of being the other sex.

4. Intense desire to participate in stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex.

5. Strong preference for playmates of the other sex.


I find this newsletter idiotic, yet I have to admit that I experience a warm feeling when I see all the other lesbians at the softball game and think, "Yes. This is home." I don't want to generalize and say that softball players are lesbians - that would be incorrect - or that all male dancers are gay - again, not true - but I can't help but feel pride when I think of myself as a lesbian softball player.

I played for twelve years. I was a pitcher for many of those years. Ion played for eight years. She was a catcher. I find this coincidence to be delightful.

Anyway, I don't think this post has much of a purpose. It's just me thinking outloud. I'd love if you'd think outloud as well - what are your opinions on anything I mentioned?

I'll close with this direct quote from the newsletter:

Meanwhile, the boy's father has to do his part. He needs to mirror and affirm his son's maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.


And some of the straight community says the gay community is obsessed with sex/genitals/whatever. Huh.

I know what boys like...

Sometimes I see these things, and I want to laugh, and sometimes I want to cry. this site will tell you helpful "facts" like symptoms your young son might be leaning towards teh gay (For example, if he likes to spend time around...girls. Yup, girls. Everyone knows boys being gay is all about them liking girls. wtf?) But don't worry, turnin g gay can be prevented. Unfortuinately, those pesky gays are trying to turn our kids by promoting pedophelia. *vomits*

I know we run across crap like this all the time, and some of us feel a sick need to keep reading. I'm wondering if there's anything better we can do? Something that would actually help in some way? Because just reading it and posting it here where other people who already agree with me see how stupid it is-this isn't changing anything.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Gay stars - just for fun!

I'm more than a little embarrassed to admit what I read last night. I'm afraid that this post will be a far cry from my regular political and spiritual ones. I'll explain it off as a social post!

My mom left a copy of The National Enquirer open on my bed last night. The paper was opened to the sensational and awful cover story, "Who's Gay, Who's Not." In the dark of my room, I read it with embarrassement, glad that no one could see me.

Now, of course, that secrecy is all for not as I announce to the Internet that I've read the darn thing.

Anyway, it was fun to find out about Hollywood's openly gay stars. I'm a bit of a gossip - a trait of my personality I try to control - and it makes me feel good to see out, successful, and happy stars, presenting themselves and their love lives as a positive and beneficial aspects.

So let's have some fun. Who is gay and proud in Hollywood?

  • Naming Rosie or Ellen would be an insult to our intelligence. Everyone knows those two!


  • I'll start off with Cynthia Nixon. Her girlfriend is walking proof that there is hope for all of more plain lesbians.


  • Jillian Armenante and Alice Dodd: This one's really sweet. These two ladies are on the show 'Judging Amy.' They got married in San Francisco when Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed all those marriages. I'm such a sucker for sweet marriage stories. (If you want a nice picture of them shortly before their marriage, click here).


  • Heather Matarazzo recently came out. I liked her in 'Saved!'


  • Sara Gilbert, of Roseanne fame, recently had a baby with her partner, Allison Adler.


  • Do I even have to mention Portia DeRossi and Lilly Tomlin?


I'm sure I've missed a lot. Anyone else want to add something?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

To deny baptism

Some members of the Catholic Church have hit a new low. The archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, has threatened to deny baptism to children of gays and lesbians. Yes, you read that right: he is threatening the children of gays and lesbians.

I found this link through AMERICAblog, which led to The Advocate's online site.

The author of The Advocate artile, John Sonego, says, "I read about the archbishop of Quebec’s threat to Canadian lawmakers last week. Once Canada’s same-sex marriage bill becomes law, Cardinal Marc Ouellet announced, the church could refuse to baptize children of gay parents" before going on:

The child of a drug addict can be baptized. The child of a murderer can be baptized. Even the illegitimate child of a fornicating priest can be baptized (and if you’ve studied Catholic history, you know many children of wayward clergy grew up to be cardinals and even popes).

All these children are considered worthy before God. The only exception Cardinal Ouellet and his church would make, based on the circumstance of their birth alone, is the child of a same-sex couple who have made a legal life commitment to one another.

Perhaps Ouellet’s statement is a publicity ploy to draw attention to the church’s displeasure with progressive Canadian law; Canadian clergy have engaged in an escalating war of words to express their opposition. But even if Ouellet’s bark is worse than his bite, there is something fiendishly wrong with a spiritual leader who petulantly announces restrictions against innocent children simply to make a point. At best, such a pronouncement is unconscionable; at worst, diabolical. (read more here)


I told my mom about this. She was a Catholic before she married my father. She managed to sputter out some indignant, furious statements before finally concluding that many of the old, powerful men in the Catholic church are "stuffy old men" who care more about their offices and administration than their faith.

Sometimes my mom really impresses me.

The last thing I want to do is attack the Catholic church as a whole. I went to a Catholic service for Easter, and I found that it was a beautiful, spiritual, and loving experience. I grew up in the Lutheran church, so Catholicism has an air of mystery and fascination for me.

But the Church, the capitol C, the thing behind the Vatican ... I feel very hesitant about this. The Church is very powerful, and I think there's a lot of merit to the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I don't think this ploy of denying baptism will happen. But the threat, the words, and the intent behind it all is the most important thing. One church refuses to baptize, you can go to another. But you cannot erase these words of Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

People surprise you

My parents are Republicans, and fairly conservative ones at that. My father watches 'The O'Reilly Factor,' and my mom wants Condoleezza Rice to run for president. Sometimes, this makes me really angry; it was especially hard during the last election while Bush was throwing around phrases like, "the sanctity of marriage." Sometimes I'm just sad because I honestly don't understand how they can support that man and his croonies.

But every once in a while (and this is a rare once in a while, indeed), I'm a little glad that they're Republicans. I think it'd be very easy for me to become hateful. It would be easy for me to decide that the red states only have stupid rednecks, or the midwest is filled with cruel bigots. While I may intellectually know that these generalizations are wrong, it's hard to fight the fear and hate I feel when the Article 8 Alliance attacks another company for being too "pro-gay" (Cass brought you a similar story about a Tylonel ad, I bring you this one about Avis). It's hard to try and be fair when all signs point toward an up in anti-gay hate crimes.

But my parents serve as a reminder that Republicans from Ohio aren't gay-hating, oppression-rearing, hate-mongering monsters. I disgree with my parents politically. I think they've bought into fear and lies. I think they are wrong. But I respect their independence and choices, and despite the occational political scruffle, I respect their political choices. Both of my parents are nothing but supportive of my relationship with Ion. My mom asked the other day when we were thinking of getting married (or having a commitment ceremony, depending on where we end up living). The other day, I caught my dad bragging about Ion and her chemistry successes on the phone to his old boss. My mom has been a supporter of this blog. Both of my parents think Bush is wrong for pushing his marriage amendment.

While I believe that Bush's vulgar approach toward civil rights deserves an abandonment of support from all humanity-loving people, I understand that my parents believe differently. I don't understand how they believe, but I understand that they have the right to these thoughts. I'll never stop wishing that my parents will see the light and become progressive thinkers, but I know that they help me every day avoid hate and humble myself. And this is a blessing in an otherwise bad situation.

In this vein, I was reminded again today to remain fair. Whenever I return to Ohio, I feel a twinge of fear in the back of my spine. I become more conscious of the way I act and speak, and no matter how kind the people around me are, a bit of me wonders, "What would happen if they knew I was a lesbian?"

I have an aunt who is not really my aunt (I'm sure we all have a family member like this), and today my mom told her that Ion is my girlfriend. This aunt has spent years teasing me about boys, and I know it never crossed her mind that I was gay. Today, my aunt was wearing a shirt with an American flag that read, "If you don't love this country, leave it," but she didn't even bat an eye about my relationship. She asked questions about Ion and took a real interest in Ion's chemistry.

I think the lesson of all this is that people surprise you. A lot of Ohioans are homophobes; after all, look at our marriage ban. And I still can't see how a person can be gay and Republican. I still have trouble when I think about the past election: how can I not believe that my parents voted against me? But instead of turning my back on my parents and the other Republican Ohioans, I'm trying to keep an open mind about them. Because some of them are like my aunt, and some of them will support my relationship with Ion.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bob Novak

At last I have returned!

I'm sure you all saw my protest escapades...

That is such a terrible picture of me too...

Anyhow:

Bob Novak and "Bullshit"

An Essay By Ion

Bob Novak said a naughty word on television. I don't really mind that it was a naughty word. As an unashamed South Park watcher, I have to say that potty mouths do in fact have a rightful place on television (read: Comedy Central). Right-wingers do, however, seem to have a certain twist in their knickers about foul language. (I can't seem to dredge up any really fun links about it, but I trust you faithful readers don't need convincing.) (If you do, comment and I'll devote more time to hunting.) (Baba-booey!Baba-booey!Howard Stern's Penis!Baba-Booey!) This is in spite of the fact that Dick "The Dick" Cheney dropped the f-bomb onto the Senate floor a week before Theresa Heinz Kerry got Media-Firebombed for "Shove it." Let's not even get into Bush's itchy middle finger... Okay so it might be a thumbs up... But this one isn't.

Anyway, I speculated immediately after seeing Bob "Bullshit" his way offscreen that he was trying to dodge questions on the Plame Affair, especially since he seems to be shaping up into quite the Sacrificial Lamb for the Bush Administration (Read: Dick "The Dick" Cheney). Well, Dara Purvis, of Rawstory Editorial Contributor fame seems to agree:

The real reason for Novak’s meltdown has been offered by Ed Henry, and the many others who have noted that he had been planning to ask Novak about his role in the exposure of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative. This illegal “outing” came after Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote a New York Times editorial critical of George W. Bush. Henry speculated that Novak did not want to talk about the debacle, so stormed off the set to avoid doing so.(read on)


AHA!

Purvis obviously has better resources than I do (read: Google) as well. She goes into greater detail in her column.

So, for some fun, check out the original BS video as well as a fun remix.

Unsurprisingly, Family Research Council finds special treatment for gay/lesbian businesses yucky

The Catholic World News reports that a Christian think-tank is keeping a close eye on welfare moms! homosexual business owners and the government's decision to give "preferential treatment."

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, reports that he wrote to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, requesting an explanation for an agreement struck by the Interior Department with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The agreement would give homosexual and lesbian business owners access to funding that Congress has established for "small and disadvantaged businesses."

"Beyond the obvious question of whether [gay and lesbian business owners] are actually 'disadvantaged,'" Perkins observed, "there is no basis whatsoever in federal law for such special treatment."
Ah, yes, because in no way does being openly homosexual present a possible problem for a business -- for instance, in the town where Mr. Perkins lives. Granted, none of us homosexuals would be disadvantaged if we kept our little lifestyle preferences to ourselves -- or better, got straight! Whoohoo! Who needs funding when, dude, it's so easy to stop being someone discriminated against?

(Link)

Hate crimes increasing

Violent Summer For New York Gays:

In June and July alone there were 85 violent hate crimes against NYC gays and the number has been rising almost daily in August.


This is scary. If things are bad in New York, I don't like to think about what it's like in places less liberal. It's necessary to not let fear control one's life, I think, but that's difficult when one lives in Ohio.

It is part of a disturbing trend, Clarence Price of the Anti-Violence Project told 365Gay.com.

"Hate crimes against gays jumped in the second half of 2003 and have remained high," Patton said.


I think it'd be hard to ignore a connection between the hate spewed by this administration and the increase in hate crimes.

365gay.com has full of stories related to the one above. For example, check out these below:

DJ Beaten For Playing Too Much 'Gay Music'.

Andrew Cleeson says he was just playing the music people wanted to hear at a dancehall in Dorset. But, for construction worker Roy Nash there was just too much "gay music" being spun.

When Cleeson started playing the Wham! hit Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Nash, 48, charged the DJ booth, crashing over the turntables and headbutting Cleeson.

The shocked DJ received a broken nose.


And ACLU: Gays Abused In Los Angeles Jail

The sheriff's department is investigating claims by the American Civil Liberties Union that gay inmates were publicly called derogatory names and strip searched last month at a county jail.

About 20 gay inmates were forced to remove their clothes in a busy hallway July 19 at the Men's Central Jail while being called names and taunted with vulgar sexual language by some deputies, the ACLU said in a letter to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, citing inmates' claims.

"Such behavior by staff demonstrates a level of immaturity, lack of professionalism, and sadism, which tarnishes the reputation of the entire department," wrote Ricardo Garcia and Jody Kent, who monitor jailhouse issues for the ACLU of Southern California.

The ACLU wanted anti-discrimination training for all deputies.


It's hard not to worry about safety.

Aw

Peter Jennings has died.

I liked him. He always seemed like a nice man.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

From Ohio

Blogging in from Ohio.

It's strange residing in two places as different as Philadelphia and a small canal town in Ohio. As I drove across PA with my parents last night, stopping at various gas stations along the way, I could feel a change happening around me. The people started to look very different from my Philadelpha neighbors, and I soon saw American flags on every empty suface, including the clothing of people. I have to physically stop myself from lowering my voice when using the word "queer" in a conversation with my mother. I've also noticed a startling difference in newspapers. The Philadelphia Inquirer has nothing in common with my local newspaper, especially when one considers the opinion section.


A little amusement for now: check out this site if you want some smiles over this Intelligent Design/Evolution debate.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Harper away!

I'm going back to Ohio for the last three weeks of summer. Posts will be coming from there for the time being.

Photos from the Santorum Protest

A very kind Mawrtyr emailed me some of her photos. I was originally going to blank out faced to be cautious, but she's put her pictures online as well, so I decided against blanking out the faces.

Here are a few I uploaded earlier:








And here's Ion in her doggie suit.


My fellow Mawrtyr provided a link to her photos in a previous comment. I'll repeat it here. (And if there's a problem with me posting these and showing faces, please tell me).

Friday, August 05, 2005

Santorum at Bryn Mawr's Barnes and Noble today

Today, Rick Santorum came to Bryn Mawr's Barnes and Noble to promote his book It Takes A Family. I assume Ion will make her own post at some point, but here are my thoughts. I'm going to try and report what I saw with as much detail as possible.

We got to the Barnes and Noble at 6:30, an hour before the event was to start. There were already protesters outside the store. (I'd say there were only ten to twenty at this point). We smiled at them and headed up into the Starbucks area to watch the protesters and supporters as they entered the store. The Starbucks in B&N is located at this great spot: it’s against the front windows of the store on the second story. Because of its location, it provides a great spot for watching the front driveway and the road in front of the store.

Two men that I took to be Santorum supporters sat right near us in the Starbucks. They were dressed in suits and I heard one man say, "You see what's going outside?" He sounded amused. A little later, he leaned over our table to look outside and said to our friend, "It's not that much worse ... or better," as he looked out over the protesters. By this time, I’d say there were around one hundred people outside protesting.

I'd like to describe some of the protesters. There were a great many women in aprons and skirts with signs mocking Santorum's stance on women and the home. Many women had their children with them. One woman had three or four baby dolls tied to her waist, there was a pillow under her shirt to imply pregnancy, and she had a sign that read, "Santorum's vision for women." I’d say the crowd was pretty equally split, gender-wise.

Other signs included:

  • Kick Rick Out 2006

  • I Love My Working Mom

  • Rick 4 Sale

  • No To Homophobia, Sexist, Elitism. No To Santorum.

  • Honor Thy Working Mom

  • College Isn't Wrong, You Are [this was held by a girl from my college]

  • Sick of Rick

  • A Woman's Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

  • Santorum's Family Values: Tobacco, Guns, and Man on Dog



There were many, many other great signs, but these above are the only ones I was able to write down.

Eventually, Santorum came into the building to the applause of his supporters. You know how you'll see someone on the TV or in magazines, and they won't be as impressive in real life? This wasn't the case for Santorum: he's a tall, handsome and imposing man. He was quite charming as well, and it was a neat experience to see his charisma at work.

After he was introduced, he spoke for about fifteen minutes. Ion was wearing a shirt with a front pocket, so I slipped our voice recorder into it and sent her into the midst of Santorum’s supporters. She got a pretty good spot. The recording is not perfect, but it's good. I tried to clean up some of the extra noise, but she was standing near a young boy who talked a few times. I'm sorry for that.

Here's the link. (Mirror)

Santorum spoke first about the fatherlessness, and then he moved onto his big theme: community. He pushed his book as one of common sense, and he said it wasn't meant to be a controversial book. I wrote down a few quotes/paraphrases that I found interesting:


  • "Running around doing whatever you want to do isn't freedom."

  • He said that you can't lose/ignore history because "truth doesn't change."

  • He spoke about true freedom coming with responsibility, not just to oneself, but to a community.

  • One of his final statements was that the book wasn't about intolerance or hate. It was just common sense. I think this statement was the one that made me smile bitterly the most.



After he was finished speaking, he started the book signing, and Ion and I went outside to stand with the protesters. They kept starting up the chant, "Kick out Rick!" We got quite a few supportive honks from passing cars, and that was a good feeling.

We talked to a few people. Some of our fellow students from our college were there, and one promised to send photos. I will put them up here and credit them to her when she sends them. We made friends with a kind older woman who was carrying around a funny sign (which is shown below). She had been talking to one of Santorum's PR guys and bothering him. I liked her a lot.

Around 7:45, a woman came by asking if anyone would wear a dog suit. Ion agreed to do so, and she was supplied with a Scooby Doo outfit. Ion put it on (I promise pictures soon!), and then she held a sign reading, "Man on Dog!" A man from a local Jewish paper took her picture and name, I saw a camera man taking footage of her, and she ended up talking to a lot of interesting people because of that suit. Ion also made friends with a little girl who was fascinated by the suit, but a little scared of it as well. The man who supplied the suit kept calling to Ion to turn around so people could get photos. Unfortunately, he hadn't caught her name, so he kept calling, "Man on dog!" to get her attention. I found this to be pretty funny.

The nice older woman I mentioned before made another sign, and she gave it to me. I wish I had caught her name. She looked like a sweet grandmother, and it was funny considering that THIS is the sign she made:


At this moment, it’s sitting at my right.

My parents arrived a little after eight thirty, so we left then. I had to call their cell phone so they would know where to find us, and I made my mom get my father to promise that he wouldn't flip anyone off (he ... occasionally does this to people he disagrees with). He agreed as long as I understood that he is and always will be a Republican. I think this is a positive step for us: we can respect and love each other despite this different opinion. It made me feel happy.

So this was how I saw the events. I will put up pictures soon.

Oh, one more thing: as I said, there were about 100 protesters. I saw one man for Santorum. He simply held a sign that read, "Vote for Santorum." As we drove away with my parents, I saw him leaving, his sign hanging near the ground. It was getting dark, but the protesters were still outside B&N, shouting and laughing.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Gay marriage is sane

The American Psychiatric Association's board of trustees has voted "to approve a position statement that supports civil marriage for same-sex couples." Considering that this is the same group of people who, until 1973, listed homosexuality as a mental disorder, that's pretty damn cool.

"Marriage is a stabilizing force in society and APA’s position reflects its belief that providing the stability of marriage for same-sex couples and their families can only benefit all of society," [Dr. Jack] Drescher said.

The vote was 14-1, with two abstentions, and there are some comments regarding the validity of APA making commentary one way or the other on what some consider "a cultural and political issue and not a medical issue." Drescher, a member of APA and the head of APA's Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, responds with:

"There is abundant literature showing that discrimination adversely affects the mental health of minority groups who experience irrational stigma/discrimination," he said. "There is also a growing literature citing the mental health benefits of marriage for heterosexual couples. These are important mental health issues."

(Link)

Biden and McCain?

For a good time, watch the Daily Show's response to Bolton and those who booed him at the UN. Link here. This clip also includes an interview with Joseph Biden. I know Biden has messed up before; he's one of the guys who attacked Dean a few weeks ago, saying,

Dean "doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats." (link)


I love Howard Dean, and I feel like he's made some very positive steps. He's loud and opinionated, but I'm glad for that. Too many Dems (1) whine or (2) let themselves be walked all over. I hope Biden is just talking for the press, and I hope he doesn't do this again.

Anyway, watch the clip above for the Biden interview. He has messed up before, but he is one of the good guys. In this interview, he alluded to a desire to run for president with John McCain. I think this could be a good idea. I'd be interested if anything came of it.