Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Posting during the State of the Union Address

I should have posted about this sooner - and I'm sure everyone in the world knows by know - but Coretta Scott King has died. I encourage you to check out this post and read some of the wonderful things she has said about equality for all.

What a lady.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Should I make the "fag means cigarette" joke?

I think the world would be a lot better of a place if people would think before they say anything.

For example, look at this case:

University Compares Expelling Gay Student To Stamping Out Smoking:

A small Christian liberal arts university that expelled a gay student for failing to adhere to "lifestyle" rules set down by the school is now comparing his dismissal to a hospital asking someone to leave because they are smoking.
Michael Guinn said John Brown University expelled him Jan. 13 for violating " campus lifestyle guidelines".


Okay, granted, this is a bit more complex than that. For example, look at this next paragraph:

According to Guinn, he was required to sign a pledge that he would not dress in women's clothing, not slap others on the buttocks if he was a member of a sports team, not hug or shake hands with other men for too long, not "broadcast his lifestyle", and not tell other students he was gay until he knew them well.


So, yeah, there are other issues afoot.

But back to my main point. Didn't 'American Idol' just get in trouble for saying some stupid things, gender/sexuality-wise? And what about film critic's Gene Shalit's recent comments about 'Brokeback Mountain.' Now, clearly the issue is different with John Brown University - they have some deeper problems with homosexuality than just thinking that expelling a student for being gay is like kicking someone out of a hospital for smoking.

But, none the less, I think the point still holds that people say stupid things and wouldn't it be nice if they thought about them first?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

As a World of Warcraft fan, this confuses me

...Blizzard?!

Blizzard, no!

Sara Andrews thought it was a big misunderstanding when she received an e-mail from a game master in Blizzard Entertainment's popular online role playing game "World of Warcraft" citing her for "Harassment - Sexual Orientation."

Andrews had posted that she was recruiting for a "GLBT friendly" guild in a general chat channel within the game.

Believing that her notice had been accidentally flagged, she e-mailed Blizzard to correct the problem. Blizzard, to Andrews' surprise, upheld the decision.

Other gay guilds have been alerted and are planning to request clarification on the policy from Blizzard.

Blizzard's policy on "Harassment - Sexual Orientation," which is set forth in the games' "Terms of Use" and cited in the e-mail to Andrews reads, "This category includes both clear and masked language which insultingly refers to any aspect of sexual orientation pertaining to themselves or other players."

A series of e-mails back and forth concerning the incident, seems to make it clear that Blizzard may be inadvertently using a policy meant to protect GLBT people as a way to discriminate against them.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Kerry

According to CNN, Kerry's calling for a filibuster of Alito's nomination.

Some are probably going to say it's a little late to start acting tough, but I'm glad Kerry's doing something.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Canada news

Er. Uh oh.

If the polls are correct, Stephen Harper will lead the first Conservative government in more than 12 years.

However, the indications are that it is unlikely he will gain an outright majority and will require alliances.

This second election in 18 months was triggered when Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin lost a confidence vote.

Two TV networks, CTV and Global, predicted a Conservative minority win.

The Conservatives had enjoyed a comfortable lead in opinion polls but some reports suggested the Liberals had fared better than expected.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Good ol'Al

Al Sharpton makes me smile.

The Rev. Al Sharpton told a conference of African American gay leaders Friday that the Bush administration is fostering homophobia in the Black community for his own political gain.

The New York Democrat said that Bush focused on same-sex marriage and traditional fears of gays among Blacks to get re-elected in 2004lwhen he should have been addressing education, health care and jobs.

Speaking in Atlanta at a national conference called by the National Black Justice Coalition, Sharpton said that gay African Americans must engage in dialogue with Black church leaders.


Preach it, Al.

Good new in Washington, despite idiots

Washington state has done well lately.

Legislation banning discrimination against gays, lesbians, and the transgendered in jobs and housing was passed in the state House on Friday.

The measure was approved on a 60-37 vote.

"This discrimination is a reality,” said Rep. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) leading off final debate on the bill and working diffuse critics who claim there had been no proof the legislation was needed.


But explain to me how this works:

The no votes came mainly from Republicans.

"We think this needs to go the people," said House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis). “We don’t think we should impede on the religious freedom."


So ... he's basically admitting that discrimination is religious freedom, huh? Well, I guess it's nice that one of these guys has admitted it. No more hiding behind that whole "Jesus was all about the love" thing.

Christians confuse me so much. The kindest, nicest, and sweetest people I know are the members of the UCC church I attend. And the most hateful people I've ever witnessed are the pundits, politicians, and clergymen who shout religious rhetoric to hurt others. It's hard to wrap my mind around this. There exists such a dichotomy within this group of people.

Come on, UCC. Keep shouting. You need to outnumber the people who want your religion to be synonymous with discrimination.

Go Ireland!

Ireland's doing well: Ireland Moves Closer To Civil Partnerships For Gay Couples.

An all party committee of the Irish Parliament is recommending legislation to permit civil partnerships similar to those in the UK but rejects the possibility of same-sex marriage.

The report will be presented to Prime Minister Bertie Ahern next week, ending a year of consultations with citizens groups across the country.

LGBT rights groups have been pressing the government to legalize gay relationships, but the report will advise Ahern that a move to allow same-sex marriage could lead to a national referendum that would prevent Parliament from any recognition of gay and lesbian couples.


Wouldn't it be nice if one day the US looked around at its closer neighbors and close friends and realized, "Huh. We're the only one left with intolerant and homophobic laws. Maybe we should do something about that."

That'd be sweet.

Gay family crashers

Gay families plan to attend White House egg roll:

hree months before the annual Easter egg roll at the White House, the usually festive event is already taking on a divisive edge because of plans by gay- and lesbian-led families to turn out en masse in hopes of raising their public profile.

The Family Pride Coalition and other organizers envision the April 17 action as a celebration that will earn good will and showcase their families engaging in the annual tradition.

"It's important for our families to be seen participating in all aspects of American life," said Family Pride executive director Jennifer Chrisler.

Yet some conservatives, alerted to the plans this week, accuse gay activists of trying to "crash" an event for children and turn it into a forum for ideological politicking. Some groups are discussing ways to respond.

"It's improper to use the egg roll for political purposes," said Mark Tooley of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy. Tooley wrote a critical article this week in the Weekly Standard magazine about the planned event that has circulated widely on conservative Web sites.


How come when it involves straight parents it's just a cute tradition, but when it involves gay parents it becomes a political challenge?

How can they "crash" if families are invited - don't families with gay parents count as families?

And most importantly, why exactly are people so dumb?

This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't experience. If gay families don't become involved in national events, they're invisible. But if they do become involved, they're "politicizing" nice family events.

Let this be a lesson, gays: stay in the closet. Stay quiet. Don't raise your voice. Don't "politicize." You are unwanted.

You'll forgive me if I'm being over dramatic. It's late and I'm tired.

Still ...I say screw 'em. Get out in the streets and shout it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Justice Dept. wants Google records

This is kinda creepy.

Justice Dept. Seeks Google Records In Porn Probe:

The Bush administration, seeking to revive an online pornography law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, has subpoenaed Google Inc. for details on what its users have been looking for through its popular search engine.

Google has refused to comply with the subpoena, issued last year, for a broad range of material from its databases, including a request for one million random web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period, lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department said in papers filed Wednesday in federal court in San Jose.

Privacy advocates have been increasingly scrutinizing Google's practices as the company expands its offerings to include e-mail, driving directions, photo-sharing, instant messaging and web journals.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Good ol' Europe

I love Europe.

The European Parliament passed a joint resolution on Wednesday condemning homophobia.

The measure passed on a 469 - 149 vote with 41 abstentions. It calls on the European Commission to take a more proactive roll in fighting anti-LGBT moves in several EU states.

The resolution says the Commission should begin proceedings against those countries that fail to implement the directive on equal treatment in employment and occupation, and it says the Commission should consider the use of criminal penalties in cases of violation.

The Commission is also asked to put forward proposals that would guarantee the rights of same-sex couples and their children.

Lesbians can have babies!

This is good news.

Virginia Drops Move To Block In-Vitro For Lesbians:

A bill that lesbians said was designed to keep them from having children has been dropped.

Although the legislation would have prevented any unmarried woman from receiving in-vitro fertilization - its impact would have been felt most by lesbians.

Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) filed the bill on the first day of the new session of the legislature.

The measure would have prohibited licensed health professionals from performing medical procedures for unmarried women who want to get pregnant, including everything from in vitro fertilization to artificial insemination by a donor.


This was a ridiculous. I'm glad it failed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gore's speech

Anyone get the chance to listen to Gore's speech? (Text here, thanks to Page One Q).

I was impressed by what a passionate speaker he is. Ion says that he was stifled during his election campaign so that he'd come across as more moderate, and I'm inclined to believe her. I almost didn't recognize the man speaking.

I liked this part:

Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women."

The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

Our state

Say it ain't so, Pennsylvania:

A proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution that would prevent same-sex couples from marrying is expected to be introduced in the legislature next week.

State Rep. Scott W. Boyd (R-Lancaster) said the measure already has 88 co-sponsors and the number is growing. Most are Republicans but some Democrats have signed on as well.

The Pennsylvania House is controlled by the GOP.

Boyd said that the amendment would say: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this commonwealth, and neither the commonwealth now nor any of its political subdivisions shall create or recognize a legal status identical or substantially equivalent to that of marriage for unmarried individuals." [link]

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bush is a hypocrite - anyone surprised?

So Bush said:

"At the dawn of this new century, America can be proud of the progress we have made toward equality, but we all must recognize we have more to do," Bush said during a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. "The reason to honor Martin Luther King is to remember his strength of character and his leadership, but also to remember the remaining work." [link]


I don't see how he can even think that if he continues to push an anti-gay, discriminatory, hateful rhetoric like he does.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tiananmen Square kiss

'Goodness,' says the guard, 'that's something you don't see every day.' Via BoingBoing: Why yes, that's two lesbians kissing in Tiananmen Square, under the watchful gaze of Chairman Mao and a couple of weirded-out guards.

Rock on, sisters.

Apology from Shalit

Responding to this incident, Shalit has apologized. He said:

"In describing the behavior of Jack, I used words ('sexual predator') that I now discover have angered, agitated and hurt many people. I did not intend to use a word that many in the gay community consider incendiary...I certainly had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone in the gay community or on the community itself. I regret any emotional hurt that may have resulted from my review of Brokeback Mountain." [link]


Good for him.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Women want to be eye candy, apparently

I can't even believe this guy:

On the January 10 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh asked the women in his audience: "How many of you in the secrecy and privacy of your own dreams and hopes would love to be hired as eye candy?" Limbaugh's question was part of a discussion about a January 10 report on the conservative news website NewsMax.com about six women who filed a lawsuit for sex discrimination against their company, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Securities, a division of Germany's Dresdner Bank. According to the article, the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan by five employees working in New York and one working in London, asserts that they were hired as "eye candy," and that one woman was openly called "the Pamela Anderson of trading" by her boss.


And then later:

LIMBAUGH: Now, I have, I have a real-world question for those of you women in the audience. Just something I, I'd like to know. How many of you in the secrecy and privacy of your own dreams and hopes would love to be hired as eye candy?


I think I block it out that people like this exist in the professional world. No serious, thinking person would say this, right, Harper?

I guess I've been living in Dream Land.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Daniel

So I watched 'The Book of David,' and I really don't understand why everyone's getting their knickers in such a twist. It was a good show - not a great show - but I think it has a lot of potential. And the message seemed really nice.

Of course, it's always about the gays.

Two more stations have cancelled NBC's "The Book of Daniel" bringing the total to four.

KAMR-TV in Amarillo, Texas, and WTVA-TV in Tupelo, Mississippi each said they were bowing to community demands to drop the series which features one of primetime's few openly gay male characters, has a lesbian supporting character and is written by a gay screenwriter.

"The Book of Daniel" stars Aidan Quinn (“An Early Frost”) as the Reverend Daniel Webster an unconventional Episcopalian minister who not only believes in Jesus - he actually sees him and discusses life with him. [link]


I've begun to wonder if we should feel proud that we take up so much of right-wing conservative America's time. If they're worrying about gay sex, they can't go sticking their noses in other business. That's gotta count for something.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

O'Reilly, O'Reilly, O'Reilly

I feel like a bad person because this made me giggle a little inside.

It seems like more and more people are recognizing O'Reilly for the bully that he is. I found a good article from the AP on Yahoo about O'Reilly's recent appearance on Letterman and the media's current view of him.

Many Ready to Spar With Bill O'Reilly:

If Bill O'Reilly truly loves a good fight, then he's had quite a week.
ADVERTISEMENT

The Fox News Channel personality's confrontation with David Letterman Tuesday night made for some gripping television. The cranky "Late Show" host told his guest: "I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap."

That same night, nemesis Keith Olbermann on MSNBC once again named O'Reilly his "Worst Person in the World," this time for battling with two people at The New York Times. That's the 15th time O'Reilly has been cited since Olbermann began his half-facetious, half-serious nightly "award" to wag his finger at bad behavior.


And here's a good quote from Olbermann - you can find it further down the page:

Olbermann said he's thinking of holding fire a bit lest it seem like an obsession. While he's not a watchdog in a serious sense, Olbermann said that "it's important to me that you provide an alternate perspective to whatever the elite is in a given field.

"I look at them — they're clearly the popular clique, led by the bullies in the school — so if you get an opportunity to point out what stupid thing has been said or what moronic action has been encouraged by them or simply when they have fallen all over themselves in relation to the facts, you should do it," he said.


O'Reilly tries to present himself as such a straight-arrow, balanced reporter, and I'm really glad when people recognize him for what he is. I would have less of a problem with him if he'd just admit that he's biased.

Brokeback Success

'Brokeback Mountain' is doing really well. According to Yahoo, it's doing fine in the box office and now SAG gave it a number of nods.

This could be the year gay-themed films dominate Hollywood's awards season. The cowboys-in-love drama "Brokeback Mountain," a potential Academy Award front-runner, led nominees Thursday for film prizes from actors and directors unions, including performers Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal and filmmaker Ang Lee.


Of course, there are always shadows.

Gene Shalit, Today film critic, made some remarkably silly comments about the movie, and GLAAD is lashing out at him for those comments. (You can watch Shalit here - scroll down a bit).

Shalit called Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal's character) a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts." [link] I'm getting flashbacks to 'Celluloid Closet' - remember how the gay character is a villain, one who tries to corrupt our young hero?

Good As You has a funny little update about it here, in case you're curious.

I'm still hesitant to see the movie right away because of my own emotional ... pyrotechnics. Let's leave it at that. But I know I'll be renting it soon enough. Can't pass up a movie like that, I know, no matter how silly I can be at sad parts.

Robert Marshall, the enemy of all potentially pregnant women

Virginia's government continues to, well, creep me out.

Va. bill would halt lesbian insemination:

A bill in the Virginia state legislature would prevent unmarried women from using assisted reproductive technology, including lesbians who frequently use donor insemination to have children.

Del. Robert Marshall (R-Manassas), who has also sponsored measures to ban same-sex marriage and strictly limit abortions, pre-filed HB 187 on Jan. 2 for the 2006 state legislative session, which begins Jan. 11.

The measure would forbid medical professionals from providing to unmarried women “certain intervening medical technology” that “completely or partially replaces sexual intercourse as the means of conception.” The bill provides a list of medical procedures, including “artificial insemination by donor” and invitro fertilization.


Where do these men - and I'm talking to you, Robert - get off thinking they have any right in the world to create laws that could control my body? And especially in relation to birthing rights. He's against abortion and now he's against the making of babies as well? Oh, right, because babies made potentially by lesbians could be corrupted! Oh, noes! I might turn the babies into gays or worse ... liberals! What an ass.

As my mom says, "They've got nothing better to do with their damn lives."

Right on, Mom. Right on.

Another Barbie bites the dust

Tsk tsk. Barbie has fallen to the homophobes.

Under pressure initiated by a variety of conservative groups, the Barbie website has been amended to no longer include "I Don't Know" as a choice in addition to "Girl" and "Boy."

The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC),a DC-based advocacy organization said the changes were not necessary. The group characterized the change as a "retreat."


When Barbie won't stand against conservative groups, who will?

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Jersey

I don't want to dismiss the threats to gay rights that are occuring in other states, but New Jersey is expanding its domestic partner law.

The New Jersey Senate late Thursday passed sweeping amendments to the state's domestic partner law that would, upon a partner's death, give the surviving partner control of the estate and inheritance in the absence of a will.

The legislation also would give the surviving partner control of burial decisions absent a directive otherwise.

In a vote that stunned even LGBT civil rights advocates the Senate vote was unanimous - 35-to-0. [link]


It seems to always be two steps forward, one step back, but at least we're moving forward. That's good news.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Silliness with the gay agenda

I just like the title of this article: "Gays Take Control Of Councils In 3 Cities" [link].

New Jersey has its first gay mayor, a gay man was returned to the mayor's chair in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a prominent lesbian became Speaker of the NYC Council, while in Arizona a lesbian joined the state Senate - all in all it has been a good week for LGBT politicians.


Oh noes! It's the gay agenda! They're taking over! Run for the HILLS!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Spain's step for asylum

Wow. The Netherlands and Canada already offer asylum to gays and transgendered peoples, and now Spain now wants to as well.

Spain is about to join the Netherlands, Canada and a growing number of other countries that grant political asylum to gays and the transgendered.

People fleeing their homelands over persecution over their sexuality would be granted status under the new law proposed by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

LGBT applicants in the United Sates are often granted asylum, however some judges continue to deny claims. Last month a gay Zimbabwe man who says he faces persecution at home has had his appeal for asylum rejected by a federal appeals court.


This is really important and impressive. Well done, Spain!

Listen to this:

A spokesperson for the Spanish government said it was amending its asylum laws to bring the country into line with other "progressive" countries.

Spain in June became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage.


It's the little things that restore one's faith in humanity.

Gay council speaker

Christine Quinn will be New York's first female and gay Council speaker.

Read more here.

Barbie wants little girls to be gay

In a bit weird news, the conservative group Concerned Women for America (and their Culture & Family Institute) has decided that Barbie is promoting gender confusion.

Yes, you read that right.

A conservative group claims that Mattel's popular doll Barbie is promoting gender confusion among children. Concerned Women for America says that because the company's website for the doll asks children their sex Matell is giving in "to the homosexual agenda".

The questionnaire provides 3 boxes: "girl", "boy", "I don't know".

"It’s the idea that well, maybe people aren’t born a particular biological sex, or they are but that shouldn’t determine their gender identity," said Bob Knight, the director of CWA's Culture & Family Institute. "And that’s a very big component of the homosexual activist agenda now." [link]


For all my issues with Barbie, "gender confusion" has never made the list.

AMERICAblog has a good post here.