Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Friday, September 30, 2005

In which Harper expresses her love for Jesuits

I have a soft spot for Jesuits. There's no theological or intellectual reason for this; rather, I was influenced by 'The Mission' at a pretty young age, and I also fell in love with Mary Doria Russel's The Sparrow. (And by the way? If you haven't read that book yet, what the hell are you sitting there on your butt staring at this computer for?! Go read! Read!)

Anyway, so I've liked Jesuits. After reading some of John J. McNeill's books, this love only increased. McNeill was a Jesuit and gay man who ministered to gay and lesbian people in the church. After writing “The Church and the Homosexual” in 1976, which challenged the Church's stance on gays in the church, McNeill was basically warned to shut up or he'd get in trouble. And he did shut up for several years, although he continued to minister. But finally his conscious could not allow him to be silent - especially after he was warned to stop ministering to gays - and so he spoke out against the Church's stance again. He was thus expelled from the Jesuit Order in 1987. (I think you can read about this story in his book, Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Lovers, Families, and Friends). But instead of despairing, this really awsome guy keeps going. He writes these great, life-affirming books that insist the Church must change. He's a great guy.

Here: the HRC has a great article up about him, focusing on the Church's recent gay witch-hunt.

The witch hunt that some say is going on in the Roman Catholic Church today – the one that would root out gay priests – is a necessary evil in the view of John J. McNeill, an openly gay Jesuit priest and author of “The Church and the Homosexual,” which in 1976 was the first book by an accredited theologian to challenge church teachings about gays and lesbians.

“That seems to be in the cards now. I marvel at how the Holy Spirit is going about this,” McNeill said. “I think this whole thing is the work of the Holy Spirit: Catholics have to learn to not find God in hierarchy; they have to learn to find God directly and immediately in their own lives. And in order to do that, God has to free us from dependence on the hierarchy. This whole process is how God is freeing us to find the voice of God in our own experience through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“The church could have made that change out of its own freedom, but it didn’t. So it has to be done this very negative and difficult way.”


Ah, but how I've digressed!

Allow me to return to my point: I have a soft spot for Jesuits. And look at this: Jesuit Official Rips Expected Ban on Gays:

A top Jesuit official has been contacting leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to protest a soon-to-be-released
Vatican document that is expected to reinforce the teaching that gays are not welcome in the priesthood.

The Rev. Gerald Chojnacki, head of the New York Province of the Society of Jesus, said in a letter to his priests that he was asking bishops to tell Vatican officials who are drafting the policy "of the great harm this will cause many good priests and the Catholic faithful."

Chojnacki wrote in the letter, dated Monday, that he had participated in the funerals of several gay Jesuit clergy over the last few years.

"I find it insulting to demean their memory and their years of service by even hinting that they were unfit for priesthood because of their sexual orientation," he wrote.


I'm really impressed that some in the Church are speaking out. I think we might see some real change in the Catholic Church soon. Now, mind you, I'm not saying things will change for the better. I doubt they're going to reverse their stance. But I think there's a chance that people are going to start speaking out, and that's going to affect a lot of people. It'll be interesting to watch.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ah-nold proves that he is too manly for equality

Can't say I didn't see this one happening.

Gov. Vetoes Calif. Gay Marriage Bill

What an asshole. What a complete asshole.

It's Robert's court now

Oh, wow. So Roberts has been confirmed, right? And he's now been sworn in, too.

Look what's going to be heard by the supreme court soon:

This session the court will hear a challenge to the Solomon Amendment which allows the government to withhold federal funds from universities that bar military recruiters. [link]


This is important because schools are blocking military recruiters because of the military's discriminatory policy against gays.

Robert's court is going to address a lot of gay issues, that's for sure. I really don't know what to say. I don't know what to expect of this guy.

Roberts confirmed

Well, Roberts was confirmed as Chief Justice. This will be interesting, to say the least.

I still don't know what to expect from the guy.

What would we be if we were godless?

I thought this was really interesting. I'm just going to put the whole damn thing here because it's a fascinating idea and, well, okay, because I can.

(Note: this is just one study, so take it with a big grain of salt).

Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side':

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.

It compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals in the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.

Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.

The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: “Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions.

He compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy.

The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

Mr Paul said: “The study shows that England, despite the social ills it has, is actually performing a good deal better than the USA in most indicators, even though it is now a much less religious nation than America.”

He said that the disparity was even greater when the US was compared with other countries, including France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. These nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added.

Mr Paul delayed releasing the study until now because of Hurricane Katrina. He said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills. “I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the Christian states,” he added.

He said that most Western nations would become more religious only if the theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of God scientifically proven. Likewise, the theory of evolution would not enjoy majority support in the US unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, Mr Paul said.

“The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.

“The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”


I'm not sure how I feel about this. I really, really want to believe that spirituality is a powerful and positive part of life, but then I need to remember that spirituality and religion are not synonymous. And religion to me may be Christmas Eve services and kind pastors and jubilant Easter celebrations and friendly faces ... but, no, that was what religion was to me. Now "religion" also includes hateful rhetoric, book banning, exclusiveness, censorship and frustration.

Just think about it for one second: what if we were a godless country? What would happen? I want to say despair, but how many religious battles would have been stopped?

It's an interesting thought. A hard one, yes, but also an interesting one. Eh, perhaps I just shouldn't think at night.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Who's the threat now?

So. I have a question.

We all know about Santorum's little man-on-dog obsession.

And O'Reilly's got his duck and goat fetish.

Wyoming might be passing a measure that'll allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense AIDS medication because God knows that dispensing medication to sick people is immoral behaviour.

A man in charge of a family organization compares sex with children to two, consenting adults engaging in a loving relationship.

And now, Melissa Fryrear of Focus on Family says:

“Sexual trauma is a huge piece of the puzzle. Having talked with hundreds of homosexuals, I have never met one that had not been sexually violated in his or her life.” [link]


(And I strongly recommend checking out that above link from Good As You).

So, anyway, here's the question part: look at those examples above and answer me this. Why are we - the lezzies and queers - the sick ones?

I mean, fucking hell, what is wrong with these people? I mean, look at them! They are liars and cowards and bigots and morons.

So let's play a game.

I am a twenty-two year old senior in college. I am an English major and creative writing minor. I am a lesbian. So what have I done today? I've requested several books for my senior thesis. I went to my job in the library. I went to one class because Wednesday's my light day. I had a meeting with a prof about my thesis. I just ate some hummus with my girlfriend. Recently, I marched for peace and designed some graphics for my personal online journal. I also read some books. I tried to eat vegetarian so I could help the animals. And I repeat: I'm a lesbian. So here you are, Republican Right Wing, I'm part of the gay agenda.

Now let's go on to President Bush. What has he done recently? Well, he's supported a criminal. He's messed up relief attempts in a disaster ravaged state and blamed local authorities. He's ignored signs of global warming. It looks like he nominated a supreme justice who is anti-equality.

So there you have it. On one side, you have a member of the gay agenda. On the other side, you have the leader of the free world. And what has that leader done recently? Helped world peace? Helped the environment? Helped end the vicious polarization this country faces?

No. He's done all those things I listed above witht he links and he has also moved his party and policies along so people like me - remember me? the girl working on her thesis and borrowing books and playing on her computer? - will not be allowed to marry.

Because in this world, apparently I'm a threat. Not the hate, not the inequality, not the cruelty, not the starvation, war, disaster, etc, etc. Nope. Those aren't as big of threats. If they were, we'd be more concerned with them. Instead, we're making policies to hinder gays getting married. Because we're the threat. It's us. It's the queers.

Jesus loves Emperor Penguins

This made me laugh.

So March of the Penguins has been doing well. One would think that it's doing well because of the darling little penguins and the way their butts waddle adorably when they walk. Alas, this is not the case. Sure, the cuteness of the penguins is a factor, but that's not the only reason the movie's succeeding. Apparently, the movie is very popular in the Christian arena because many think it is a good case for intelligent design and for monogamy (and here it should be noted that Emperor Penguins mate for a season, not for a life).

Film critic Michael Medved was quoted by the New York Times calling it 'the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child-rearing'. [link]


And, for the record, Wonkette wrote about this interesting relationship between Christians and penguins here.

So here comes the humor.

Caitlin Moran, who writes opinion pieces for The Times Online, had this to say about the phenomenon.

Still in the US, a Christian audience is making a documentary about penguins the biggest factual cinema release since Fahrenheit 9/11. Churches are block-booking seats for March of the Penguins, which is apparently a “condemnation of gay marriage” and puts forward the case for “intelligent design”, ie, Creationism. To be honest, this is good news. If American Christians want to go public on the fact that they’re now morally guided by penguins, at least we know where we all stand. [link]


Ah, good times.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

John Conyers, you're my hero!

In a time when I am becoming increasingly convinced that politicians could care less about actual people, it's really nice that sometimes I get pleasant surprises.

Like this letter from John Conyers

I am writing to request information regarding the treatment of individuals arrested on September 26, 2005 in front of the White House and processed at the United States Park Police Anacostia Station. Read On.


For the original stories on Cindy Sheehan et al's arrest, check out these links (Via Crooks and Liars) to the video and the story.

Ban gay books! Save the children!

Remember kids: if you read books about gay people, it's very likely that you'll turn into a gay, too! Oh, no!

Mirroring the heated debate over gay marriage, three of the 10 most challenged books in the nation last year were cited for homosexual themes - the highest number in a decade, according to the American Library Association. [link]


Here's a reason I love librarians:

American Library Association officials said they are battling these efforts as contrary to intellectual freedom.

"It all comes down to the imposition of your views on other people. To be honest, it seems to me to be downright un-American," said Michael Gorman, head of the library association.

He said the library association believes parents are responsible for what their children read.

"But it's important that the general public understand that there are people who want to censor the reading of other people's children," he added.


Ah, the battle over banned books. Nothing else can make my blood pressure rise so quickly.

(There's another link about this here, but I'm having problems with the site right now. And thanks to Fox for the link!)

Monday, September 26, 2005

-Censored-

Project Censored

They get submissions from normal people about which news stories (from alternative sources) are the most important and the most buried by the MSM and the government.

For a good cry, read the Voter Fraud 2004 article.

SCOTUS Report

So. Roberts.

Now that he's one dainty, mincing jig from being a fixture in American policy (At a time when social policy is up for the changing) I think it's time to start posting some informative resources.

The Center for American Progress (Frequently [actually I think daily] featured on The Al Franken Show) has a whole list of resources for progressives.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

This is what democracy sounds like

About a year ago, while my family was having a discussion about something or another, my dad concluded his argument by saying, "Well, that's because religion is under attack in our country." I quickly replied, "Or on the attack!" And then my mom cut us both off in order to prevent an argument, and that was the end of that conversation.

After I got over my brief spash of anger, I thought about this incident a little more thoroughly. And, you know, I think this really shows why there is such a gap between people on the right and people on the left. I truly believe that white, Christian, heterosexual males control this country and control it unfairly. My father, on the other hand, indubitably feels that his side is fighting bravely against constant attacks from the Left. And maybe this is why we - the right and the left in general, not just my dad and me - have so much trouble communicating. Our mindsets are just so different.

For example, look at the news coverage of today's counter rally in D.C. One Associated Press article said:

War supporters said the scale of the anti-war march didn't take away from their cause.

"It's the silent majority," said 22-year-old Stephanie Grgurich of Leesburg, Va., who has a brother serving in Iraq. [link]


Now, this comments seems almost obscene to me. Republicans hold the House and the Senate, a Republican is in office for his second term, gay right bills are being struck down everywhere, and more and more legislation is being used to upload religious agenda. I don't see how these facts make for a "silent majority;" rather, I would argue that these facts prove the existence of a loud, pervasive, strong majority. I mean, just look how quickly Roberts - a conservative - was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yet, this young woman at the pro-war protest, a young woman who is my age, feels that her political group has been silenced.

I'd like to see Ms. Grgurich try to marry another woman, and then she can see how "silent" her majority is.

Another news article I read contained this line:

"The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world," Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, told the crowd. "I frankly don't know what they represent, other than to blame America first." [link]


Again, this doesn't make sense to me. When I was at the protest, I sensed a strong feeling of love for America. Many protesters held signs that, in different words, said, "Support the troops by bring them home saftely." One of my pictures shows young Americans holding a sign that says, "Reclaim Democracy!" Although the news articles I read today implied that military families came to the pro-war protest, they failed to mention that a lot of military families were at the anti-war one.

I may be against this war and strongly against Bush, but I'm thankful that I live in a country where, theoretically, we can protest what are leaders are doing without fear of retribution by the govermental or anyone else. I remind you of what my fellow protesters shouted as we marched down the streets of Washington:

"Show me what democracy looks like!
This is what democracy looks like!
Show me what democracy sounds like!
This is what democracy sounds like!"


Of course - and this is hard to admit - I know that I'm probably as guilty of polarizing statements as the Right is. I have trouble getting past the "Republican" label. I suppose that in some ways I am blessed to have Republican parents; it helps remind me that we are on different sides of the polical spectrum, but we are not enemies.

Still, I firmly believe that our country is going down the wrong path. I absolutely believe that Bush is an incompetent and foolhardy leader. And I know - truly know in my heart - that the actions of us protesters on Saturday were formed out of love for our country and fear of what is happening to it.

And that's why I'll continue to protest Bush and his actions. I am not anti-American for this. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, said:

Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.


Preach it, Ike.

What you can do about California's gay marriage bill

The gay marriage bill is on Schwarzenegger's desk.

California's landmark legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry arrived at Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office Friday after a two week delay to allow LGBT activists to try to dissuade him from vetoing it.

Schwarzenegger has until October 9 to either sign or veto the bill. After two weeks of nonstop pressure on him the governor shows no signs of changing his mind on vetoing the measure. [link]


I got this following link days ago, but I didn't see it until now: here's something you can do.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

United for Peace Protest - 9/24

Well, Ion and I are back from the protest!

It went well. According to the big news sites, around 100,000 people showed up.

I'm not a reporter in any way, shape, or form, so I'll just tell you how I felt about the whole thing. It was a lot of fun. I took picture after picture of the signs. I even took some moving pictures when things got really neat.

There were protesters shouting, "Tell me what democracy looks like!" so that other protesters could reply, "This is what democracy looks like!" That's probably the moment that will stay with me. It was a really powerful feeling. I'm glad I was involved.

In all, I only saw a few counter-protesters. I heard someone say that maybe 100 showed up, but I can't verify that. There was one guy with a Bible and a sign about fire and hell shouting that Satan was going to take us to hell, but I didn't pay much attention to him. Unfortunately, some people were shouting back at him; I really don't think it was worth it.

Here are the pictures. I took about 100, but these were the best.

I feel bad for this sparse entry, but I think the pictures can really speak for themselves. I'll just repeat my final point: it was a great day, and I'm glad I was there.

(By the way, I put up all my favorite pictures, but if anyone has a problem with one of the pictures - i.e. his or her face being displayed to Teh Interwebs - please tell me and I'll take the photo down).

March on Washington

Well, Ion and I are off for Washington. Expect posts when we return.

Wish us luck!

Friday, September 23, 2005

O'Reilly the coward

If I had to pick an easy answer as to why I don't like Bill O'Reilly, I'd say it was the lying. But that's too easy. So let me try to delve a little deeper.

I think it all comes down to one very simple fact: O'Reilly's a coward.

Now bear with me: this is not a reasonless ad hominem attack. I am not calling O'Reilly a name just to call him a name. On his TV show, he shouts people down, he spins about the person after they've left his show, and he lies to protect himself. After he has chosen an argument, he'll carry on with it until the bitter end. Freedom of thought is not big in O'Reilly's world. And in my book, that makes him a coward.

For example, take the Jeremy Glick interview. Now this site is clearly biased against O'Reilly, but if you just read the transcript, I think you can make your own judgements. O'Reilly bullied this young man in a disgusting way. For more information on this, read here.

And now this most recent event.

Let me preface this by saying I've never had any interest in Phil Donahue whatsoever. He had a sensational TV show and that was all I knew about him. (I'll admit that I hadn't known he was a liberal and interested in women's rights until today).

But when I saw this video, I was impressed. O'Reilly bullies a lot of people, but Donahue did not allow himself to be bullied. He stayed on track, and he stayed strong. I was really impressed with him.

This was a display of strength on Donahue's part.

So, of course, O'Reilly got scared. He banned Donahue from ever returning to his show.

O'Reilly has said about this:

"There are two rules for guests here on 'The Factor.' No slander and no personal accusations without facts to back them up. If the guest violates those rules, they are scolded by me and will not be invited back. And only a few have violated the rules. [link]


As you can probably see, O'Reilly's struggling to regain power. He claims that Donahue "denigrated his nephew" when Donahue said to Bill, "You wouldn't send your children to this war, Bill." [link to transcript] Donahue did nothing of the sort. He made a statement that was a true statement. And does O'Reilly really think he can take credit for his nephew's choice?

Donahue challenged O'Reilly, and O'Reilly acted like a true coward. He runs his little world, his show, and when this control is threatened, he reacts violently and cowardly. For this reason, I think Bill O'Reilly is an example of a truly unsavory human.

But I will say this - Phil Donahue's gained a fan with me.

10 points to U Penn!

Ha ha! Well done, U Penn!

Penn joins recruiting fight:

Penn will take an official stand against military recruiters on college campuses, President Amy Gutmann announced yesterday.

The University filed a brief in a case against the Solomon Amendment, a law that allows the government to withhold millions of dollars of funding if universities refuse to allow military recruiters access to students.

The presence of those military recruiters, the brief says, requires the University to directly contradict its nondiscrimination policy.


Ah, it's good to be in Philly.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Philly's got the pedophile priest problem, too

Uh oh. Philly's apparently makings news in the Catholic Church pedophile cases.

As that blogger above pointed out, do you care to change your tune, Santorum?

Is Katrina a terrorist?

It's odd how the lexicon of the American people has changed over the past few years. These are subtle changes I'm talking about, but changes nonetheless. For example, today if you say "pro-family," it almost always means "anti-gay." This change was brought about by the conservative machine - because, really, who wants to be anti-family? Very tricky, Conservatives!

Anyway, I came across this CNN article the other day: Katrina the Terrorist.

The gist of the article is that a guy who was in charge of the FBI's international counterterrorism cases in Washington moved to New Orleans a few months back. He was there when Katrina hit, and now he's the special agent in charge for New Orleans. When he first moved to NOLA, the first thing he did was figure out how terrorists would attack if they did (ironically, he did consider the breach of the levees - wanna reword your statement, George?).

Anyway, there were a few parts of this article that really grabbed my attention.

"There's only one terrorist around here," said the Louisiana National Guardsman, as he paced outside the New Orleans Convention Center. "And her name is Katrina."


and

The city, he soon discovered, might just as well have been hit by a terrorist attack. "For New Orleans, the net result is the same. Clearly the tourism industry getting knocked out -- that happened. The only target of opportunity that didn't happen was sinking a ship in the river.

"What we were preparing for, relative to a terrorist attack, had been handed to us by Mother Nature." [link]


Now, on a very basic level, I think this is ridiculous. A terrorist uses force or violence to bring about fear. I highly doubt that "mother nature" or whatever wind, rain, heat patterns that brought Katrina into existence were sitting around thinking, "Ah hah! A big hurricane! That shall bring fear, and then those pesky Americans will have to listen to our beliefs!"

But, in another way, this use of the word is fringing on correct - in American language, you now use terrorist to explain anything that is bad and "anti-American." Think about O'Reilly calling the ACLU a terrorist faction.

And this idea is terrifying to me! We've let another word go to strange and uncomfortable places.

It makes me think of this argument I hear online a lot. First of all, you need to understand that I follow the fans of a few shows and books online, engaging in what "fen" (plural for fan) call "fandom." You hear this following argument a lot in online situations when people (often young people) are joking around: someone says the word "gay" to describe something they don't like, another person yells at them for this homophobic statement, and the first person says, "Oh, well, you see, I don't mean gay as in homosexual. A lot of people use the word gay to express displeasure over something, so I'm not using the word gay in a way that relates to homosexuality." I've also heard this argument for the word "retarded" and other words. I'd provide examples, but I don't want to pull this blog into the depths of the fandom abyss.

I don't know how often you guys have run into this argument, but I see it a lot. And suffice to say, this bothers me. No, imaginary person, gay means homosexual. You've been taken in by some pseudo-intellectual argument that numbs people to the importance of language.

I can use the same argument with the Katrina link above. The hurricane was not some evil force, Mother Nature isn't out to get us, and it's really improper to try to call an act of nature "terrorism." It makes me really uncomfortable to think about how many people read that CNN article and didn't think about it.

Have we just lost touch with language?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's sexy to stay at home!

I'm sure a lot of you heard about The New York Time's article that suggests many female Ivy League graduates plan to give up their careers and become housewives (ah, and what a loaded word that is!) Here's the article, in case you don't know about it, and use Bug Me Not if you're not registered, although I do recommend registering.

Anyway, this is a pretty controversial piece.

"My mother's always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time," Ms. Liu [the first subject in this study] said matter-of-factly. "You always have to choose one over the other."

At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.

There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.


And here's a line that's very interesting to me:

"At the height of the women's movement and shortly thereafter, women were much more firm in their expectation that they could somehow combine full-time work with child rearing," said Cynthia E. Russett, a professor of American history who has taught at Yale since 1967. "The women today are, in effect, turning realistic."


Excuse me? For the moment, I'll avoid the entire discussion that this line could open: what are the historical and social reasons that led to women staying home, how oppressive is idea, why is unrealistic for a woman to want to be a successful person in her job pursuits, etc.

Oh, and here's another great line:

Sarah Currie, a senior at Harvard, said many of the men in her American Family class last fall approved of women's plans to stay home with their children.

"A lot of the guys were like, 'I think that's really great,' " Ms. Currie said. "One of the guys was like, 'I think that's sexy.' Staying at home with your children isn't as polarizing of an issue as I envision it is for women who are in their 30's now."


Oh, yes. I understand now. It's sexy.

Anyway, I've already digressed. Allow me to return to the point of this post.

It appears that Louise Story, the writer of this article, conducted a very faulty survey to get the results that she did. Here's the information about her faulty methods. As the article says,

Those who did not reply probably included some who were too busy or uninterested to spend the time to fill out the lengthy questionnaire. It definitely included people like Emily Holleman, a current sophomore who says she declined to fill out the survey because she thought it was flawed. "I felt that it was very badly phrased and strongly suggested that ALL women at Yale planned to a) get married and b) have kids. It also assumed that all women at Yale were straight," she told Gelf in an email. "It was relatively clear to me and several of my friends that she was either unable to construct a suitable survey or had already decided what answers she wanted to receive and constructed her survey based on what questions would induce these responses." (Gelf emailed Story to ask about the survey but haven't heard back from her yet. When we do, we'll post an update.)


The article also provides the survey questions. You be the judge. Do these questions seem unbiased and professional to you?

When you have children, do you plan to stay at home with them or do you plan to continue working? Why?

At what age do you think you’ll have kids? How many kids do you want?

How do you think college-age men at Yale feel about whether wives should stay at home with their kids?


I call bullshit. This isn't a study. The use of the word "when" is especially bothersome for me.

What a load of horse shit.

Harvard Law School's okay with discrimination

Harvard's record hasn't been so hot lately.

Everyone knows about the president's comments earlier this year.

The president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, sparked an uproar at an academic conference Friday when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Summers also questioned how much of a role discrimination plays in the dearth of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities.


So guess what's new with Harvard? Why, Harvard Law School is no longer banning military recruiters from the campus. These recruiters were banned awhile back because of the army's discriminatory policy against gays. (The University has an anti-discrimination policy). But, as always, it comes down to money.

Harvard Law School will no longer ban military recruiters from its campus following a threat from the Pentagon that funding would be cut if it continued its opposition to 'don't ask, don't tell, the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces.

The move comes a day after funding was suspended to three other universities who barred military recruiters.

The universities are among 24 law schools that had refused to allow military recruiters on campuses citing the ban as contrary to the institutions' non discrimination policies.

Under a law called the Solomon Act, schools receiving federal funds are prohibited from denying the military entry to campuses, access to students on campus and access to student recruiting information.

Last November, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law, saying it infringed on the free-speech rights of the schools. In February, the US House of Representatives voted 327 - 84 to express support for law.

The Bush Administration has appealed the court ruling to the US Supreme Court. The case will be heard this fall. [link]


Way to stand up for what's right, Harvard. Well done there.

Anne Heche gets a point in my book

I'm not exactly an Anne Heche fan (and when I say "not exactly," I clearly mean that I don't like the woman at all), but this was good of her.

Basically, the story is that Nancy Heche (Anne's mom) has been on tour with Focus on the Family's 'ex-gay' movement. She's been saying that she prayed for her daughter to go straight, and she did, and that's why Anne and Ellen broke up.

Here comes the cool part. Anne is pissed.

"Ellen and I had a three and a half year relationship that ended sadly, not because we were both women, but because we both wanted different things for our lives," Heche says in a posting on her official website.

"This Nonsense about my mother praying for me is really making me angry. My mother never approved of my relationship with Ellen. Her hatred for our relationship is one of the many things that ultimately led to my breaking off all communication with her. (My mother, that is, not Ellen.)"

The actress also attacks the so-called 'ex-gay' movement.

"The "Ex-gay" events that are going on right now make me sick," she writes on her site.

"The fact that my mother is using my name to promote this movement makes me even sicker. I could not disagree more adamantly with what she and her group of unloving, unaccepting, Bible preaching hate mongers are doing. I do not believe that homosexuality is something that should be brainwashed out of someone. I do not believe that homosexuality should be anything but celebrated if that is the thing that makes an individual feel good about their life. I believe, as I have always said, that people should love who they want to love." [link]


Whether or not you like the lady, you gotta admit that's pretty cool of her to say. Well done, Anne.

Because we just can't escape Bill Clinton's penis...

Just go read.

I <3 China.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pope's banning gay clergy

I think we all knew this was coming.

Pope Approves Gay Priest Ban:

(Rome) Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly approved a recommendation that gays be barred from the priesthood.

In a report from Rome the conservative Catholic publication Catholic World News says that bishops will be directed to exclude gays from seminaries.

The recommendation is contained in a document prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries - the body that oversees all Catholic seminaries.

It was delivered to Pope Benedict earlier this month (story) but was not made public because the Vatican did not want it to conflict with the papal visit to Cologne.


There's no doubt about it: the Catholic Church is going to go through some major changes in the upcoming years.

Here's an interesting bit:

CNW reports that the document says that gay men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, "because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers."

Priests who have already been ordained "if they suffer from homosexual impulses, are strongly urged to renew their dedication to chastity, and a manner of life appropriate to the priesthood."


You know, I've got a better idea. How about YOU pull your dress-wearing ass out of the middle ages and try practicing some actual, I don't know, lessons that Jesus taught.

Or would you, Ratzie, rather sit up in your little corner of the world, wearing that dress and hat ensemble while you make up rules about us - people who have actully been in love with other people and held relationships with those people.

There's a reason less and less of us young people are affiliating ourselves with your Church.

And one of those reasons is that you are a self-obsessed asshole preaching a religion that should have been reconsidered in the 14th century.

Theraputic Bush-Name-Calling

ShakespearesSister has put up a post for thinking up new nicknames for El Presidente.

My favorite is her new suggestion: Drinky McCokenose

Dumbed-down, Tarted-up

Give it up for Dan Rathers.

He is awesome.

The Subject line is a quote of his from this article.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cindy Sheehan - Big Trouble in Union Square

I heard about it on the KOS first...

A small group of police began to congregate around 2:00 on the south east corner of Union Square. Cindy and her peace entourage were slightly late to the event, contending with public transportation.

Upon her arrival, applause and cheers filled the crowd awaiting her speech. A few other members of the tour movement spoke. Afterward, about 2:50, Cindy began her speech. It was friendly and empowering. She was grateful for the support and urged everyone to go to Washington DC on the 24th of September for a march on Washington.

At the conclusion of her speech, from my perspective, a few loud and impassioned boos erupted, then I saw a hand come from behind Cindy and grab her shoulder-strap on her backpack. The arm jerked her backwards, with such force as to snap her head forward, and she fell from my view.

Read More...


Questions, so many questions. But I decided to wait for more information --- it looked really bad and I didn't want to be an alarmist.

Just now, this article popped up on Rawstory.

Go, have a read.

I know she wasn't arrested, but keep in mind that:

1.) She was manhandled and her peaceful event was disrupted by government enforcers.

2.) Most of the groups that use amplification without a permit get a summons, not an arrest.

3.) Bloomberg.

4.) This is America people.

Now think about that.

And then come out to protest this Saturday (September 24th).

Using gay penguins to further the gay agenda

The Daily Show finally addressed one of my favorite gay couples: the gay penguins. (This is from One Good Move).

Samantha Bee: Just because it happens in nature does not make it natural!

Zoo guy (Dr Dan Wharton): Um ... I think by definition it actually does.


This is pretty damn funny.

Unfortunately, penguins Roy and Silo have recently broke up, as Fox was quick to point out here. But, they aren't the only gay penguins in the world, of course.

Ah, gay penguins. I love gay penguins.

Robets? Roberts? Roberts?

I'm still unsure about Roberts, and because of classes, I've had painfully little time to research.

However, Lambda Legal opposes Roberts, and their reasoning might be of interest.

Note: In case you don't know, this is the mission statement Lambda Legal gives on their "About Us" page:

Mission Statement: Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.


So, yes - check out what they have to say.

I have a button that says, "God Hates Phelps"

Some of you might remember that I mentioned Phelps and his group planned to picket Rehnqust's funeral?

Well, they did.

And RawStory has some excellent photos.

The protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas -- more or less all relevatives of anti-gay activist Fred Phelps -- attacked Rehnquist while celebrating hurricane Katrina, which they believe purged New Orleans of unsavory homosexual elements. Similar charges resounded among more right-wing Christian groups, who noted that the gay pride festival Southern Decadence was scheduled right around the time the hurricane hit.


I am far more concerned by the less radical proponents of conservatism - I'm thinking of Santorum, Bush, those in Fox News, etc - who can spread their bigotry in more insidious ways. Phelps used to upset me, but he's so far off base that he doesn't anger me so much as confuse me. Did you know that some people even think he's a gay plant, sent to make the right look bad? I just think he's off his rocker.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

So what exactly is a female speech?

Morris praised Bush's Katrina address as "a female speech ... a caring speech":

ALAN COLMES (co-host): Joining us now with more reaction to President Bush's speech tonight, former Clinton adviser Dick Morris. Dick, I thought that he sounded like FDR [President Franklin Delano Roosevelt], and I thought he sounded like LBJ [President Lyndon Baines Johnson]. And any liberal could have given that speech tonight.

MORRIS: I thought he sounded like a compassionate conservative, something we heard about in 2000 and haven't seen.

COLMES: Doesn't that mean liberal?

MORRIS: I thought that this speech was as important and as good a speech as any since his address to the joint session of Congress after 9-11. It was a female speech. It was a caring speech. And, you know, George Bush basically believes the federal government should do two things, fight wars and help people recover from disasters. And now he's got both on his plate.


(Dick Morris is Fox's political analyst).

I think someone needs to be reminded that gender is a social construct.

What exactly is a female speech anyway?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I wish I knew how to quit you.

The trailer for Brokeback Mountain, the gay cowboy movie, is now up on Apple Trailers.com. I heard it got good reviews at a film festival, but I have managed to lose the link.

Well, nevermind. I lied. Here it is:

Ledger said Brokeback, shot amid stunning mountain vistas, was the first "proper" love story he had played. "I find there's not a lot of mystery left in stories between guys and girls; it's all been done or seen before," he said. "I felt this was such a refreshing story of love. For me, our characters were also complex, and to...really investigate this form of humanity and expression of love was an opportunity that I hadn't had."


That impressed me. So many of these young male stars who share a male kiss for whatever reason spend the next few weeks talking about how they'll never do it again. Both Ledger and Gyllenhaal seem to be handling this well. Also, I've been hearing those delicious gossip reports that Ledger almost broke Gyllenhaal's nose in a kissing scene because he was so enthusiastic a kisser.

I admit that I'm a fan of both Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. (After all, I was in the right generation to adore 'Ten Things I Hate About You' and it's wonderfully feminist protagonist Kat).

I'm also so cautious about this movie, though. Hollywood has a lot of trouble moving away from the ol' punish the queer pattern. I keep wondering, "Who's going to die?" I don't expect all movies to have a happy ending, but I'm so sick of reading stories about the self-hating queer or watching movies about the gay character who dies in the end.

I probably shouldn't say much more, however, since I haven't seen the movie and I know nothing about the short story by Annie Proulx that Brokeback Mountain was based on.


Edit: Oh, nevermind. I answered my own question by looking up info about the book and movie. If you're curious, you can, too. Warning: there are spoilers for the ending.

Administrative: Additions to side bar

I've slowly been adding sites I like to the side bar on Dyke Squad. I recently added glbtq. It's "an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer culture." It's pretty neat. Go check it out if you have a chance.

At some point, I'm going to break up the side bar. It says "news links," but some of those links are more like the one above - not news, but queer information in general.

Bill O'Reilly + Rick Santorum = OMG OTP!!!!1!

Clearly the answer is that these two need to get together with a nice bottle of wine, a good date movie, and each of their respective animal lovers (Or in O'Reilly's case his goat and his duck...).

Yes, Bill O'Reilly has made yet another reference to gay sex equaling bestiality. This is just another little gem to add to the list of idiotic conservative hyperbolic diarrhea-of-the-mouth points. Criminy.

No, no I'm not kidding (that part comes later).

Look!

...that's what this gay marriage thing is all about. But now, you know, the poly-amorphous marriage, whatever they call it, you can marry 18 people, you can marry a duck...


Flagrant asshattery if I ever saw it.

A few points of special notice.

1.) How would one consumate one's marriage with said duck? I just don't see how!

2.) Why a duck? Can't we at least stick to mammals? How about something that could fight back at least. If there's going to be an animal being buggered (Or buggering), at least make it something that could fight back. (Think back, if you will, to a man and his beloved horse...)

3.) Bill, Bill, Bill. If you would look up from you falafel for just one minute every couple of weeks, though tasty and filled with delicious cucumber sauce it may be, I think you would realize that "poly-amorphous marriage" is (unless I'm seriously out of the loop) totally not the phrase you're looking for. From the context (removing the reference to your Beloved Mr. Ducky-kins) you've thoughtfully provided, I've figured out that you meant Polyamorous marriage. Fire your teleprompter's copy editor please.

But, even aside from the asshattery, Billy "Falafel King" O'Reilly should really have a date with Rick Santorum. Why? So they (Along with Leather Daddy, Rick's big ol' Pit Bull puppy muffin of love [whom he occasionally calls Cowboy or George in moments of passion], Mr. Ducky-kins, and Mr. Binky the Goat) and they can finally find someone to share their respective animal fetishes.

Of course the evening will probably end abruptly when Leather Daddy eats Mr. Ducky-kins and Mr. Binky eats all of the lube.

For more on Santorum and his canine fetish, check out this post on Think Progress.

EDIT: I just realized something else that adds an extra amount of hilarity. Bush is a Lame Duck President! Is Mr. Ducky-kins George W. in disguised? Stay tuned to "That's Bullshit and I Hate That!" with Bob Novak to find out.

Oh Noes! The Sierra Club!

If all else fails, blame the environmentalist groups.

Damnhellass government.

It's seriously making me nauseous.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

See? This is why you shouldn't be sexist

Sexism May Shorten Men's Lives: Study:

THURSDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In a somewhat unexpected finding, societal male dominance over women -- patriarchy -- may help explain why men have a lower life expectancy than women worldwide.

British researchers analyzed rates of female murders and male death rates from all causes in 51 countries in Europe, Asia, Australasia, and North and South America. The prevalence of violence against women was used to indicate the extent of patriarchal control in each of the countries. Socioeconomic factors were also taken into consideration.

The study found that women lived longer than men in all 51 countries. The study also found that those countries with higher rates of female murders (indicating higher levels of patriarchy) also had higher rates for male death and shorter male life expectancies, compared to countries with lower female murder rates, the researchers said.

In fact, statistical analysis showed that variations between countries in rates of violence against women accounted for close to half (49 percent) of the variation in male death rates, the researchers noted.

"Our data suggest that oppression and exploitation harm the oppressors as well as those they oppress," researchers at the University of Liverpool concluded.

They noted that the higher death rate and shorter life expectancy among men is "a preventable social condition, which can potentially be tackled through global social policy."

For example, changes can be made in the way that young males are socialized into patriarchal gender roles, such as the emphasis on risk taking, aggression and suppression of emotions, the researchers said.

The findings appear in the current issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health


Well, I don't really have any words to say about this. I guess I'll just conclude with, "Down with the patriarchy!"

Charities are for Suckers

My coworker pointed this Op-Ed column out to me:

CHARITIES ARE FOR SUCKERS

(The caps are from the original. I DON'T DO STICKY CAPS OK?!!!!1)

(Haha, Ion, you're soooooo funny...)

The title is extreme, I know, but give it a read anyway. Here's a little run-down of the content to entice you readers who are feeling apathetic:

There's only one reason flood victims aren't getting help from the government: because the government refuses to help them. The Red Cross and its cohorts are letting lazy, incompetent and corrupt politicians off the hook, and so are their donors.


As you can see this column is written a little nastily, but I think it's the thought that counts. Also, the blame is not on the charities, it is on the government. I know all of you Oldskool Conservatives (Fiscally responsible advocates of small government) think that this is just being typical Big Government propaganda. Well...

Cutting a check to the Red Cross isn't just a vote for irresponsible government. It's a drop in the bucket compared to what you'll end up paying for Katrina in increased taxes.


Now, let's consider this. You might be thinking "Oh, there's going to be a tax cut anyway." (Because there will be, just watch.) But, I need you to look at the big picture. Think about your kids. If you, say, don't want kids, think about someone else's kids, or even what your present taxes are helping to pay off. You know that budget Congress has to approve? That one your taxes pay for, and someday your kids will be paying for? Well, this Congress has been really bad about balancing that budget. By that I mean that we keep running this country on a deficit. Aha! Now I have your attention. Deficit. The big, bad "D" word. Now, a bit of a deficit might be okay (I'm not too too big on economics). But now we're at the point where it looks like we'll never really pay it off. Which, in terms of American complacency, sounds not so bad. However, the reason we can have that deficit is that we've borrowed money from other countries (hence the intrest on the deficit). Now, what would happen if one of those countries, say China, said "Hey, stupid Americans! We want you to pay off that loan!" We'd be caught with our pants down. Or maybe with a note explaining we needed a potty break.

But I digress.

The column also talks about what Congress spends money on, in units of Katrina.

For our leaders the optional war against Iraq is such a priority, which the Congressional Budget Office expects to cost $600 billion by 2010. That's four or five Katrinas right there.


That's a zinger right there. There's more of that too. Also a reference to puppies. So go read!

The Vatican's going after gays

Vatican Gay Witch Hunt Begins:

The Vatican has begun its investigation of America's 229 seminaries to root out gays.

The threat that the Catholic Church was embarking on a pogrom against gay clergy first arose last month when new regulations submitted to Pope Benedict for his approval suggested that gays not be considered for the priesthood. (story)

The Church is attempting to lay blame on gays for the child abuse scandal that has rocked Roman Catholicism. Vatican investigators arrived in the US this week to gauge the scale of the scandal and to determine how many gay priests are in the priesthood.

A document obtained by the New York Times shows the investigators will seek to have priests turn in suspected gays. The Times said it received the document from a priest "who was granted anonymity because he feared retribution".

It shows that the inquisitors will conduct confidential interviews with every faculty member and seminarian, as well as everyone who graduated in the last three years.

Among the questions all seminarians and teachers will be asked are: “Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?" and "Are there signs of particular friendships.” Both questions must be answered the document says.


Holy shit, they're really going on the attack. I didn't know that Pope Benedict was looking for a way to stop gays from entering seminaries.

The HRC's pissed:

“The real debate around this witch hunt isn’t between us and the Vatican, it’s between the Vatican and the truth,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “When the church makes gay men a scapegoat for pedophiles, it ignores one problem and creates another. It does nothing to keep children safe or punish criminals.”


This is going to have some interesting reactions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Four years ago today Falwell apologizes

I have to stop playing with 365Gay.com's quote of the day thingie.

Did you know that four years ago today Jerry Falwell had to apologize for those stupid comments he made about 9/11 being the fault of gays, lesbians, pagans, feminists, etc?

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. [link]


Ah, Falwell. Always good for some crazy.

Schwarzenegger's going to meet with the queers

Who knows it if will go anywhere, but this is a remarkably classy move from Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger Seeks Meeting With Gays Over Marriage Veto:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked Wednesday for a meeting with leaders of California's gay community, angry over his threatened veto of legislation to allow same-sex marriage.

The meeting will take place in the governor's Sacramento office next Wednesday. It will include Equality California executive director Geoff Kors and two other members of the EQCA board. Also taking part will be senior staffers for the governor. The meeting will be chaired by the governor's chief of staff, but Schwarzenegger has not committed to be there himself.

Nevertheless, EQCA Wednesday night called the invitation a major step forward.

On the table will be a number of concerns for the LGBT community in the state, but chief among them is the marriage bill.


I don't have a lot of faith in Schwarzenegger, but this move shows that he might be willing to think about his future policies. We can only hope, huh?

Another attempt at explanding hate crime laws

Here we go again.

The house just passed legislation to expand the hate crime laws to include gays, lesbians, and transgendered people. How many times have they done this now? In the past, they've passed it, and the senate has shot it down.

This legislation extends existing hate crimes laws that already cover crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion to include crimes based on actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity, including gender-related characteristics. The gender identity/characteristics language was added to this bill this year to make clear that anti-transgender crimes are covered.


I want to get excited about this, but past examples will not allow me. I don't doubt that this will be vetoed as well.

The numbers show that this would be a good measure:

Overall, NCAVP’s report noted a 4% increase in reported incidents of anti-LGBT violence. Such incidents rose from 1,720 in 2003 to 1,792 in 2004.

Included in the rise in incidents for the year, was an 11% increase in anti-LGBT murders, which rose from 18 in 2003 to 20 in 2004. During 2004, the total number of victims rose 4%, from 2,042 in 2003 to 2,131 in 2004.


But I don't think the law will go into effect. I'd love to have hope, but face it: most of the American government doesn't care about us.

Now, please don't interpret this statement as desperation or hopelessness. If this gets vetoed down, they we just need to shout a little louder and march a little longer.

I know that many people are against hate crime laws on principle, and we can have a jolly good discussion about that some other day, but let's look at the facts: hate crime law "already covers crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion." All we would be saying is that LGBTQ folks deserve protection as well. By vetoing this hate crime legislation again and again, those in the position of power are only repeating that we are second class citizens and they'd like us to stay that way.

AMERICAblog has more here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Evolution Schmevolution

For a really good laugh (and some fear as well), watch this clip from The Daily Show. I'm sending you to One Good Move, a site that often has video clips.

This clip is the first part of a multi-part look into evolution. The Daily Show calls it Evolution Schmevolution. It's really great. I <3 Ed Helms

Gay discharges

Commanders Ordered Not To Fire Gays Until War's End:

Scholars studying military personnel policy have discovered a document halting the discharge of gay soldiers in units that are about to be mobilized.

The document was made public Tuesday by Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM), a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was found during research for a story for the ABC news program Nightline.

The regulation was contained in a 1999 "Reserve Component Unit Commander's Handbook" and is still in effect, according to the Center.

It states that if a discharge for homosexual conduct is requested "prior to the unit's receipt of alert notification, discharge isn't authorized. Member will enter AD [active duty] with the unit."

The document is significant because of longstanding Pentagon denials that the military requires gays to serve during wartime, only to fire them once peacetime returns. According to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, gays and lesbians must be discharged whether or not the country is at war.

Gay soldiers and legal groups have reported for years that known gays are sent into combat, and then discharged when the conflicts end. Discharge statistics corroborate a pattern of rising expulsions during peacetime and plummeting rates during military conflicts, and Pentagon statistics confirm that, as has been the case in every war since World War II, gay discharges have declined during the current conflict in the Middle East.


That's so shameful.

I love Margaret Cho. Love her. In CHO Revolution, she ends with a really strong speech about the illness of this country. This segment begins with her talking about how she'd love to have a gay kid, and she says,

And he'd be a soldier and he'd change the slogan from, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," to, "Don't FUCK with me, Queen!"

..."Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

How dare they? How dare they ask you do die for your country yet not allow you to be who you are? As if you could win a war without lesbians. *laughs* Who gonna read the map?


I admire Cho because as much as I think we need those who turn the other cheek, I also think we need people who are willing to, as Cho says, "Go there." She makes you go there, makes you uncomfortable, and makes you think. I love her for that. Also, the lady doesn't take shit from no one.

And since I've begun to shift the point of this post to Cho, I'm going to end with my favorite Cho quotation. This is from the end of Revolution:

Racism and homophobia are the exact same thing. In that, when somebody insults me, and they say that I'm fat, or ugly, or not funny, or stupid, or whatever, I can argue that. But when somebody says something about my race, I feel it because that's who I am. When somebody attacks your sexuality, it hurts because that's you and you can't change that. Sexuality and race are the essential parts of ourselves that we cannot remove or destroy. They are the you of you and the me of me

And I'm so fortunate to have grown up in both pants. This activism, this history that I have in me. I think my favorite activism group was from the eighties, and they were Act Up. And they had this great slogan which was "Silence Equals Death," which means if we don't talk about AIDS, we will die of AIDS. And I adopt a similar slogan for me: "Silence Equals Nonexistence." If I don't give too much information, if I don't always "go there," it was like I was never there in the first place. And I noticed this most right after 9-11, when there were no gays or lesbians invited to give their opinions about what was going on. There were no women invited to give their opinion. There were hardly any people of color invited, and if they were, they were Muslim Americans and Arab Americans talking about the violence that they had experienced just because they share the same skin color as the terrorists, which is heinous and dumb. That's like arresting Emmanuel Lewis because Gary Coleman punched that woman.

And yes, I am very worried about the troops, but I am also worried that my reproductive rights might be taken way from me. I'm as scared of terrorism as everybody else, but I'm also scared that people over here are getting getting arrested by the FBI and the INS for having the wrong last name. I am so, so sorry that there is so much starvation in Iraq and so much starvation all over there, but I am so sorry that there are young girls here starving themselves to death so they can look like the actresses on TV. I am hurt all over for this awful war and all of this stuff, but I am hurt because someone just got called a fag, or a dyke, or a pansy, or a sissy, or a bulldyke, or a chink, or a nigger, or a kyke, or a wetback, or an injun, or a jap, or a bitch, or a whore, or a cunt, and unless to you that's a term of endearment (*laughs* in the right context it is) that person is being attacked because of who they are and I don't accept that.

So I think if racial minorities, sexual minorities, feminists (both male and female), hell, all liberals. If we all got together and had this big too much information, "go there" voice. If we just went and did it, that would equal power. And that power would equal change. And that change would equal a revolution.


Check out Margaret Cho if you have a chance. Revolution and I'm the One That I Want are my two favorite routines from her.

Coburn's rampant lesbians

I feel like such a bad person! I forgot that Tom Coburn is also the one who said this:

You know, Josh Burkeen is our rep down here in the southeast area. He lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that's happened to us?"

Tom Coburn, 8/31/04 [link]


How could I forget about this quote?! It's one of my favorites from right-wing hate-spewers. Also, Louis Black made some really funny commentary about Coburn on The Daily Show. He quoted Coburn and went on to say, "...think about that issue. Think about the issue of rampant high school lesbianism? ...OKAY! Mmmmm!" And the look on his face... Well, it was pretty damn funny. (Uh, I feel it's important to point out here that I don't think point of lesbianism is to get straight men off. Black's a comedian, and I recognize that).

So, yes, I had to apologize. How could I forget my favorite Coburn quote?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Tom Coburn cries for unity

I really like it when the writers of AMERICAblog get snarky.

Apparently, during the Roberts hearings today, Sen. Tom Coburn got a little emotional. He gave a "heartfelt" plea for America to move away from polarization.

Now I remember Coburn from this little moment:

"The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power. ... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda.'"


(I think I have a HRC file with this quote on it). Anyway, does that sound like a man who wants to move away from polarization?

Anyway, Rob from AMERICAblog remembers this moment, too. And he is Not Amused by Coburn's plea for unity.

Go read. It's fun.

Good ol' Scotland

Scotland's doing it. Remind me again why we can't?

The Scottish government is preparing to add gays and lesbians to the groups covered by a law against hate crimes.

Scottish media reports indicate the legislation will be presented to lawmakers this fall. It would increase the sentences of people convicted of crimes against gays and lesbians if it is proven the crimes were motivated by hate.

The legislation already covers racial minorities and religion.

Adding gays and lesbians to the protected categories grew out of a report showing there has been a marked increase in homophobic crime in Scotland. Throughout the UK gay men are almost four times more likely to be attacked than males in general.

LGBT rights groups praised the government initiative.

"It will send a message that homophobic crime is unacceptable. It will encourage people to report their complaints to the police and also put in place a system which registers these crimes as homophobic attacks," said Tim Hopkins, a spokesperson for the Equality Network in Scotland.


Good for Scotland.


Fun fact for the day: Did you know that a year ago today New Jersey Gov. James McGreeve announced he was a "gay American?" I remember watching the press conference - after the fact, of course. I didn't realize it was a year ago. This is why I love 365Gay.com. They have really great regular news information, and then they also have all that extra stuff, like a quote of the day and the Today In History section. So I shall pimp their site out. *pimp pimp pimp*

There are things that I'd like to do that you don't believe in

You know, I have always listened when people claimed marriage in the U.S. was founded on a religious background. This is usually used as a point against legalizing gay marriage, or for explaining why people might have trouble with it.

I am taking a religion class, and I was reading an article about religious practices of Puritans in 17th century--, the religious practices this country was founded with. ("The Ordinances of Public Worship" by Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe) Almost everything in daily life was religious:

Chief among these [devotional acts-religoius celebrations] were election day, militia training days, and civil days of fasting and thanksgiving proclaimed by magistrates. Weddings were civil affairs, and no evidence indicates that ministers participated in them or that they carried religious significance. Funerals, however, took on more religious and ecclesiastical characteristics as the century progressed...


Bolding is mine, as this is not an article about marriage rights or anything like that. The information was just there, facts to be stated.


Take that!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Trans evacuee released

Some good news: that transgendered woman was released.

Transgendered evacuee released:

A transgendered Hurricane Katrina evacuee jailed for five days after showering in the women's bathroom at a local shelter was released Friday after the county attorney declined to press charges.

Arpollo Vicks, a transgendered hurricane evacuee from New Orleans, talks to the media after her release from jail Friday. Vicks was arrested Sunday at Reed Arena for using the women's shower facility.

Arpollo Vicks, who was born male but lives as a woman, was arrested Sunday by Texas A&M University Police for criminal trespassing after she exited a women's shower facility at Reed Arena. Vicks, 20, had been staying at the shelter with other evacuees bused in from New Orleans.

Brazos County Attorney Jim Kuboviak said he first became aware of the situation Friday. Upon reviewing police reports, he ordered that Vicks be released.


I like what she says at the bottom of the article:

"Maybe this will make people more aware of transgendered and transsexual people," she said. "They are all over, and they have feelings, too. Maybe now this will help other gay people or transgendered people have a more positive experience in Bryan-College Station than I had."


My best wishes are with her. I'm glad she was released.

Gore's trip to NOLA

Gore airlifts victims from New Orleans:

Gore criticized the Bush administration's slow response to Katrina in a speech Friday in San Francisco, but refused to be interviewed about the mercy missions he financed and flew on September 3 and 4.

However, Dr. Anderson Spickard, who is Gore's personal physician and accompanied him on the flights, said: "Gore told me he wanted to do this because like all of us he wanted to seize the opportunity to do what one guy can do, given the assets that he has."

An account of the flights was posted this week on a Democratic Party Web page.


Well, that's interesting

Media ban won't go through

Did I mention this before?

The government was trying to ban media from reporting on the dead in New Orleans, but CNN filed a lawsuit, and the ban's not going to happen.

U.S. won't ban media from New Orleans searches:

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- Rather than fight a lawsuit by CNN, the federal government abandoned its effort Saturday to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of the dead in New Orleans.

Joint Task Force Katrina "has no plans to bar, impede or prevent news media from their news gathering and reporting activities in connection with the deceased Hurricane Katrina victim recovery efforts," said Col. Christian E. deGraff, representing the task force.


It's not that I enjoy dead bodies, but this is the type of thing that the public should have the ability to see.

I did a huge paper on Hiroshima once (in high school, to be utterly honest), and I read the book Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial, by Robert Jay Lifton, Greg Mitchell. This book made much of how we triecd to censor photos of the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, I was looking at the Time anniversary edition, and I was surprised that I couldn't find any pictures of bodies. There were pictures of the destroyed city, just not the people. It's like we still don't want to admit that people were killed so brutally.

I worry that if we tried to ban the photos from New Orleans, it'd be like trying to hide the fact that it happened. And if indeed there were terrible, terrible mistakes within our government that directly led to the disaster being at the proportion it was, I think these photos need to be released. You can't hide from bad things that happen.

(Another link)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Two articles on the late Judge Rehnquist

Here's a pretty interesting article on Judge Rehnquist's ardently anti-gay life.

Rehnquist Was Arch-Foe of Gay Rights:

William Hubbs Rehnquist, chief justice of the United States, died late on September 3 at age 80 after serving 33 years on the Supreme Court. He was undoubtedly one of the most steadfast opponents of lesbian and gay rights during his lengthy tenure, and the author of two particularly demeaning and homophobic opinions.


This article has a fairly good history of his anti-gay policies. I think this section is particularly telling:

The Gay Lib opinion is the more colorful and revealing, since a dissenting judge can express his feelings without having to compromise to hold together a court majority in support of their opinion. The trial court had ruled that the University of Missouri could refuse to recognize Gay Lib because a psychiatrist testified that an assembly of gay students would lead to acts of criminal sodomy. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, on a divided vote, finding the students’ right to assemble and advocate their views overcame the state’ speculative interest in preventing unlawful sex. Arguing that the Court should have taken the case, Rehnquist addressed the university’s justification for denying recognition.

“Expert psychological testimony below established the fact that the meeting together of individuals who consider themselves homosexual in an officially recognized university organization can have a distinctly different effect from the mere advocacy of repeal of the State’s sodomy statute,” the future chief justice wrote. “As the University has recognized, this danger may be particularly acute in the university setting where many students are still coping with the sexual problems which accompany late adolescence and early adulthood…

“From the point of view of the [gay student activists], the question is little different from whether university recognition of a college Democratic club in fairness also requires recognition of a college Republican club. From the point of view of the University, however, the question is more akin to whether those suffering from measles have a constitutional right, in violation of quarantine regulations, to associate together and with others who do not presently have measles, in order to urge repeal of a state law providing that measle sufferers be quarantined.”


However, if you want a more opinion-oriented article, this one might be of interest: Telling the Truth About Chief Justice Rehnquist.

My mother always told me that when a person dies, one should not say anything bad about him. My mother was wrong. History requires truth, not puffery or silence, especially about powerful governmental figures. And obituaries are a first draft of history. So here’s the truth about Chief Justice Rehnquist you won’t hear on Fox News or from politicians. Chief Justice William Rehnquist set back liberty, equality, and human rights perhaps more than any American judge of this generation. His rise to power speaks volumes about the current state of American values.


I recommend both articles. They make for interesting reading.

Trans woman arrested in shelter

Transgendered evacuee arrested:

A 20-year-old transgendered Hurricane Katrina evacuee remained in the Brazos County Jail on Thursday, five days after being arrested for showering inside a women's bathroom at Reed Arena.

Arpollo Vicks of New Orleans and her 16-year-old cousin were arrested Sunday night for criminal trespass after Texas A&M University Police noticed the two exiting a women's shower facility at the shelter. The two were born male but live as women and consider themselves female, Vicks said Thursday in an interview from the jail.

They are the only people who have been arrested at the local shelters since the first one opened Aug. 31, shelter officials said.

According to police who were providing security at the Reed Arena shelter, a woman complained Sunday night that several males were inside the women's shower facility.


Corps of Cadets Commandant John Van Alstyn, the man in charge of the shelter, says that he told Vicks not to use the shower, but she says no one told her anything like that.

"I don't think I should be here," Vicks said during a brief collect telephone call from the jail. "It's foolish. This is nothing to be in jail for. I live like this. This is my life.

"Right now, I'm just scared. I've been here since Sunday, and they haven't told me anything. I've never been in jail before. I'm just not used to this."


That poor woman. I understand that this is a he said/she said situation, but if you read the page I link to ... well, I'm inclined to believe her.

I remember explaining to my mom what transgender meant last winter when an episode of 'Law and Order: SVU' showed a trans teen. I told her that I can't even fathom what the discrimination is like for many of those people. And look at this woman: she had to swim out of her apartment, she slept on the highway, and now she's been evacuated into a new state, where she was arrested for going into the bathroom that best suits her.

What a heartbreaking story.

See? Smoking *is* bad for you

Wow. Go medicine. In not-Katrina news, apparently Smoking mothers increase chance of lesbian baby.

In a study on the hypothalamus, Swaab said a person's sexual preference is decided in this region of the brain. It also influences a person's predisposition to aggression, depression and symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

I wonder what the external cause for gay sons is. Club drugs?

(Link)

Saved kitten

Please excuse my childish squealings for the next few minutes.

Kitty!


This guy's holding a kitten saved from Katrina. I know there are humans to save and such, but ... it's a kitty. And he or she is saved!


I am such a tool for kitties. But the little fellow is adorable. And alive. Anyway, thank you for suffering my squealings.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Schwarzenegger's going to veto the gay marriage bill soon

The situation in California makes me really sad.

Schwarzenegger 'Sold Us Out' Gay Group Says As Gov. Announces Gay Marriage Bill Veto:

California's largest LGBT civil rights group is accusing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of selling out gays and lesbians for the support of conservative special interest groups.

Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday night that he will veto legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.

The announcement, made through his press secretary, Margita Thompson, said that the bill is in conflict with Proposition 22 a ballot initiative passed in 2000 to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

"We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote," Thompson, said. "Out of respect for the will of the people, the governor will veto (the bill)."

The gay marriage bill was passed in the Assembly Tuesday night by one vote


It was nice yesterday morning when I thought that maybe the gay marriage bill might go ahead. I knew it was unrealistic, but there's always hope, right?

Ah, well. We'll keep fighting.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Rules of marriage

There's nothing like a sex and gender course to make you think.

We were talking about Alice Lesnick's "On the Job: Performing Gender and Inequality at Work, Home, and School" Journal of Education and Work 18 2 (June 2005): 187-200 in class today. This led to a discussion on marriage and oppression. Questions arose. For example, is marriage, no matter who is involved and how voluntary this involvement is, an oppressive institution? Say a woman chooses to stay home with her children; she loves being a stay-at-home mom and she never regrets not having a job outside the home. Then she gets a divorce. Suddenly, she is without income or means of an income. So wouldn't that mean she was involved in an oppressive institution, even though she chose the involvement, to some degree?

I don't pretend to know the questions to these answers, although it was very interesting to consider the questions.

Eventually, we came to the question of gay marriage. This led to some interesting new thoughts I've never considered.

First of all, let me say that I am 100% behind gay marriage. I want us some rights and I want ‘em now! I'm also very aware that some queer folk are not interested in gay marriage because they don't want to ... well, to put it simply, they don't want to play on the het turf.

A fellow student made a very interesting point in class today. She said that if she were a US senator and the bill to allow gay marriage hit her desk, she'd sign it in a second because it'd be expanding the idea of marriage, and she thinks that's a good idea. But, at the same time, she admitted that she's not a big fan of gay marriage because gay marriage has become a heterosexual construct.

She made a very good point. (And side note: this is a queer woman who made this comment, so she’s not working with prejudice here).

This got me wondering. I'm for gay marriage above civil unions because as wonderful as civil unions might be, they are not marriage. And "separate, but equal" doesn't work: we know that. But, at the same time, when we fight for gay marriage, are we fighting on heterosexual terms? Are we creating a marriage in imitation of het marriage? And I think we can all admit that het marriage is not without its many faults.

Where's the middle ground? Separate, but equal doesn't work, but at the same time, I don't want to live in a pseudo-straight marriage.

It's complicated for us (and when I say "us" here, I mean queer people). Ion and I are trying to create a stable, healthy relationship, and we're trying to create it on equal footing with the typical straight union. But we don't want a straight relationship. We aren’t straight. And so we find complications everywhere.

Ion doesn't want to change her last name because she's attached to the first letter of that last name. (It's a long and complicated story, and I'm not going into that). At first, I thought that I wanted to share something with her, so I was willing to change my name. But then I considered the history of changing my name - I'd be throwing myself into a legacy in which women changed their names so they could be chattels of their husbands. And I cannot do that in good conscious.

Every step of the way, there's another problem. It looks like Ion's going straight into grad school, and I want to wait a year. She's going to pick a big city (so it will have things to offer to the Chemist and the English major), but I can't shake the feeling that I'm following her. She's the cook in our relationship, but she doesn't pick up after herself, so I am I acting as the housewife as I clean up after her mess? Who washes the dishes? How to we negotiate who washes the dishes? Should we have to set rules for this? Who washes clothing? We could do our clothing separately, but it makes more sense to combine our colors and whites.

We're making up these rules as we go. We're constructing a marriage, but the only rules we have to follow are the rules that were created by a patriarchal, oppressive culture. If we utterly ignore those rules, we’re moving down a road that hasn’t been set out for us. There are no “rules” for gay marriage. This is a good thing, but it makes everything so complicated.

There's no easy answer. But then again, isn't that the point of being a liberal? There can't be an easy answer to big questions. When you’re trying to figure something out, you can't just say, "It's hard work," and avoid the deeper meaning. It's impossible to define something with simple words and not consider the history behind those words. You have to consider the truth behind every word, and wonder if you can even define that truth. The world's not black or white - there are grays and blues and greens and fuchsias.

I don’t know where these thoughts leave me. I suppose I should just settle on being happy that I had the thoughts. It keeps my mind from being static, which is good because stagnant things rot. My only option is to keep reading and keep studying, because then I can keep learning and thinking. And that’ll make it easier for me to make my own rules, along with Ion.