Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

Above the Hate: Riled Up

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Through the Gay & Lesbian Leadership SmartBrief, I read Follow the money: The network behind anti-gay funding. I decided to pick out a name and look further. I chose Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage, who directed $1 million to California to promote Prop. 8. She’s a syndicated columnist for, which bills itself as “the Leading Conservative and Political Opinion Website.” The content and reader comments are appealing and appalling. I knew this stuff was out there. I’d just never seen it before.

I knew better than reading her column titled Above the Hate, but I did it any way. I got all riled up. So riled up that I signed up on to post a comment to the ‘marry a goat,” “because the bible tells me so,” and other conservative comments. I also wrote an email to Maggie. It’s below.

You want ‘marriage’ to be between a man and a woman? Start advocating for the government to get out of the marriage business. Work to transfer the institution of ‘marriage’ to religious institutions where it belongs. Churches and other private institutions are allowed to discriminate. The government is not. The government can and will provide all the legal rights and responsibilities to all couples who want to make the commitment.
You and your movement is mistaken if you think domestic partnerships “provide exactly the same legal rights and benefits as marriage.” Try filing a Federal tax return with a same sex partner.
When you talk about minorities exercising their civil rights, it makes these votes and their actions even more appalling. That sidelined and disenfranchised groups would be the strongest backers of government discrimination is a little incomprehensible and very hurtful, especially in the face of a government and people who have worked hard to insure that they are and remain protected classes. We did not put the civil rights gained in the 60’s to a vote. A vote would have institutionalized discrimination, and the Supreme Court would have struck down the vote. The civil rights changes happened because of national leadership and activist courts. (I’m making the assumption that you support “blacks getting the vote”. If you don’t, which I guess is a possibility given your other views, I’m not making a very strong argument.) I see your hate and discrimination.

I have my eye on you. You are the enemy. Your support for government-sanctioned marriage is a battle cry. You do not support the US Constitution and the Supreme Court will make you and your kind look as silly and appalling as Anita Bryant, Adolph Hitler and all the racists who amplified their attacks during the civil rights movement in the 60s. (Again, unless you support separate black and white drinking fountains, et al.)
You are presumably straight. Your movement is parallel to men saying that women can’t vote, another form of discrimination that seems laughable today. Now that you as a white woman have your rights, you don’t want to extend them to anyone else.

In this column, you talk about extraordinary attacks against Prop 8 supporters. GLBTI people have been subject to attacks like these FOREVER. It’s an ongoing problem that is underreported for fear of reprisals, community experience with local law enforcement, and a hateful society. That these attacks are happening to the oppressors do not make them right. I bring it up to point out that what you consider extraordinary are common, every day events for GLBTI folks. They are common because there is social, cultural and government sanctioned discrimination that gives dimwits permission’ to beat up a fag or rape a lesbian. The marriage issue is the most vocal face of that discrimination right now. Payback? GLBTI folks have been on the receiving end of payback since the beginning. We’ve been playing nice and following the rules. That has not worked.
Your actions on marriage means that young gay and lesbian teen will continue to be teased, beaten and killed. That LGBTI adults will continue to be at the receiving end of discrimination.
Once this is resolved, the next LGBTI battle is going to be for polygamy, a right we’ll fight for, this time with the Mormon Church at our side. The government needs to get out of people’s bedrooms.

Not sure writing the letter was a good idea. I think my passion might cloud my main point: to get them to put their money and effort toward getting the government out the marriage business, my favorite compromise on this ultimately insignificant issue.

Lead the nation forward Sam. You are in the perfect position.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I posted this on the Portland Mercury site as a comment to a picture of Sam Adams with Gnomeland Security and Sister Krissy Fiction:

Just before the beloved Gnomeland Security crew grabbed the focus of the mayor-elect for the photo op, I was trying to talk to Sam about fixing the marriage problem.
Sam Adams will be the mayor of the biggest city in Oregon. He’s gay and in a visible leadership position. Although Multnomah County issues marriage licenses in the Portland area, I still think Sam could play a role in this solution:
Multnomah County stops issuing all marriage licenses, offering instead civil unions to all couples. All couples could experience what a bunch of crap civil unions are at the institutional and Federal level. If you want to get ‘married’ you got to go somewhere else. Multnomah County, and by association and visibility, Portland, could lead the national discussion toward the ultimate resolution: the government gets out of the marriage business and leaves that to the churches.
The activist part of me wants everyone to have to suffer through getting their government marriages changed to government civil unions, and the practical part of me says that grandfathering will be necessary.
This issue is one where the far right and the far left have a common cause: letting religions have marriage. Our constitution dictates the separation of church and State. Our marriage laws do not reflect that.
Lead the nation forward Sam. You are in the perfect position.

This is a time for leadership. Sam Adams is in a perfect place to take the national conversation to the next level. (Straight) SF Mayor Gavin showed leadership by issuing marriage licenses. Just before he did, he said (I paraphrase), “Watch me throw away my political career.” That has not been the case. Getting rid of government-sanctioned marriage of any two individuals would be wildly unpopular, yet, ultimately, it’s the solution that makes the most sense. Lead us forward Sam Adams. I’m sure the Supreme Court will back you up.

California Marriage Case – What Caught my Eye Toward the Beginning

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

From the Legal Opinion (pdf)

…the legal issue we must resolve is not whether it would be constitutionally permissible under the California Constitution for the state to limit marriage only to opposite-sex couples while denying same-sex couples any opportunity to enter into an official relationship with all or virtually all of the same substantive attributes, but rather whether our state Constitution prohibits the state from establishing a statutory scheme in which both opposite-sex and same-sex couples are granted the right to enter into an officially recognized family relationship that affords all of the significant legal rights and obligations traditionally associated under state law with the institution of marriage, but under which the union of an opposite-sex couple is officially designated a “marriage” whereas the union of a same-sex couple is officially designated a “domestic partnership.” The question we must address is whether, under these circumstances, the failure to designate the official relationship of same-sex couples as marriage violates the California Constitution.

It also is important to understand at the outset that our task in this proceeding is … only to determine whether the difference in the official names of the relationships violates the California Constitution…the constitutional validity of the current legislative provisions.

Although, as an historical matter, civil marriage and the rights associated with it traditionally have been afforded only to opposite-sex couples, this court’s landmark decision 60 years ago in Perez v. Sharp (1948) 32 Cal.2d 7114 — which found that California’s statutory provisions prohibiting interracial marriages were inconsistent with the fundamental constitutional right to marry, notwithstanding the circumstance that statutory prohibitions on interracial marriage had existed since the founding of the state — makes clear that history alone is not invariably an appropriate guide for determining the meaning and scope of this fundamental constitutional guarantee. The decision in Perez, although rendered by a deeply divided court, is a judicial opinion whose legitimacy and constitutional soundness are by now universally recognized.
…we conclude that, under this state’s Constitution, the constitutionally based right to marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive legal rights and attributes traditionally associated with marriage that are so integral to an individual’s liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the Legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative process.
…our state now recognizes …that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.

There’s lots good to read, and I just got to the first 10 pages.

You Can’t Fix Nature

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

In an article here I read about the supposed spiritual “restoration” of the Rev. Ted Haggard, the meth and male prostitute guy. This caught my eye:

“I see success approximately 50 percent of the time,” said H.B. London, vice president for church and clergy at Focus on the Family, the conservative Christian ministry in Colorado Springs. “Guys just wear out and they can no longer subject themselves to the process.”

Those who fail “end up selling cars or shoes or something, and being miserable and angry the rest of their lives,” London said.

Have these people not seen A Clockwork Orange?

You can’t fix nature, or nurture for that matter.  Men and women have thoughts and feeling they are not comfortable with.  I have no reason to believe the Kinsey scale is wrong. So that means that a majority of people have some level of homosexual and heterosexual inclinations. It’s the belief that people are either homosexual or heterosexual. This polarization of sexual orientation creates tragedies that we’ve seen in the news lately.

Guys: It’s OK to have homosexual thoughts.  It’s even OK to act on them as long as you can stay in integrity with yourself and the commitments in your life. When you repress it, it becomes a mess. Your thoughts can not be fixed. You might be able to go against nature and “fix” your behavior.

New York Review of Book article on Brokeback Mountain

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

In An Affair to Remember, Daniel Mendelsohn concludes:

“The real achievement of Brokeback Mountain is not that it tells a universal love story that happens to have gay characters in it, but that it tells a distinctively gay story that happens to be so well told that any feeling person can be moved by it. If you insist, as so many have, that the story of Jack and Ennis is OK to watch and sympathize with because they’re not really homosexual—that they’re more like the heart of America than like “gay people”—you’re pushing them back into the closet whose narrow and suffocating confines Ang Lee and his collaborators have so beautifully and harrowingly exposed.”

The whole article

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ex-Gay Cowboys

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

From the NY Times, an article that sums it up well.

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ex-Gay Cowboys By DAN SAVAGE Seattle

FIRST, a little of that full disclosure stuff: I have not actually seen “Brokeback Mountain” or “End of the Spear,” both of which I’m going to discuss here.

But since when did not seeing a film prevent anyone from sharing his or her strong opinions about it? Before the posters for “Brokeback Mountain” were even printed, everyone from the blogger Mickey Kaus to the Concerned Women for America to gay men all over the country had already said a lot about the film. (Their opinions were, respectively, con, con and pro.)

So, let’s get to it: Remember when straight actors who played gay were the ones taking a professional risk? Those days are over.
Shortly after Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, both straight, received Oscar nominations for playing gay cowboys in “Brokeback Mountain,” conservative Christians were upset when they learned that a gay actor, Chad Allen, was playing a straight missionary in “End of the Spear.”

“End of the Spear” tells what happened after five American missionaries were murdered in 1956 by a tribe in Ecuador. Instead of seeking retribution, the missionaries’ families reached out to the tribe, forgave the killers and eventually converted them to Christianity. An evangelical film company, Every Tribe Entertainment, brought the story to the screen. In a glowing review, Marcus Yoars, a film critic for Focus on the Family, noted that the “martyrdom” of the slain missionaries has “inspired thousands if not millions of Christians.” But after conservatives took a closer look at the cast list, the protests began. Many felt Chad Allen’s presence in the film negated any positive message.

The pastors claim they’re worried about what will happen when their children rush home from the movies, Google Chad Allen’s name, and discover that he’s a “gay activist.” (“Gay activist” is a term evangelicals apply to any homosexual who isn’t a gay doormat.) They needn’t be too concerned. Straight boys who have unsupervised access to the Internet aren’t Googling the names of middle-aged male actors gay or straight — not when Paris Hilton’s sex tapes are still out there.

Frankly, I can’t help but be perplexed by the criticisms of Mr.
Allen from the Christian right. After all, isn’t playing straight what evangelicals have been urging gay men to do?

That’s precisely what Jack and Ennis attempt to do in “Brokeback Mountain” — at least, according to people I know who have actually seen the film. These gay cowboys try, as best they can, to quit one another. They marry women, start families. But their wives are crushed when they realize their husbands don’t, and can’t, ever really love them. “Brokeback Mountain” makes clear that it would have been better for all concerned if Jack and Ennis had lived in a world where they could simply be together.

That world didn’t exist when Jack and Ennis were pitching tents together, but it does now — even in the American West. Today, the tiny and stable percentage of men who are gay are free to live openly, and those who want to settle down and start families can do so without having to deceive some poor, unsuspecting woman.

Straight audiences are watching and loving “Brokeback Mountain” — that’s troubling to evangelical Christians who have invested a decade and millions of dollars promoting the notion that gay men can be converted to heterosexuality, or become “ex-gay.” It is, they insist, an ex-gay movement, although I’ve never met a gay man who was moved to join it.

This “movement” demands more from gay men than simply playing straight. Once a man can really pass as ex-gay — once he’s got some Dockers, an expired gym membership and a bad haircut — he’s supposed to become, in effect, an ex-gay missionary, reaching out to the hostile gay tribes in such inhospitable places as Chelsea and West Hollywood.

What should really trouble evangelicals, however, is this: even if every gay man became ex-gay tomorrow, there still wouldn’t be an ex- lesbian tomboy out there for every ex-gay cowboy. Instead, millions of straight women would wake up one morning to discover that they had married a Jack or an Ennis. Restaurant hostesses and receptionists at hair salons would be especially vulnerable.

Sometimes I wonder if evangelicals really believe that gay men can go straight. If they don’t think Chad Allen can play straight convincingly for 108 minutes, do they honestly imagine that gay men who aren’t actors can play straight for a lifetime? And if anyone reading this believes that gay men can actually become ex-gay men, I have just one question for you: Would you want your daughter to marry one?

Evangelical Christians seem sincere in their desire to help build healthy, lasting marriages. Well, if that’s their goal, encouraging gay men to enter into straight marriages is a peculiar strategy.
Every straight marriage that includes a gay husband is one Web- browser-history check away from an ugly divorce.

If anything, supporters of traditional marriage should want gay men out of the heterosexual marriage market entirely. And the best way to do that is to see that we’re safely married off — to each other, not to your daughters. Let gay actors like Chad Allen only play it straight in the movies.

Dan Savage is the editor of The Stranger, a Seattle newsweekly.

Fear is the root of Homophobia

Friday, January 6th, 2006

The Truth, spoken by a straight man:

Cowboys Are My Weakness

Published: January 1, 2006
Op ed in New York Times

SOMEBODY had to write this, and it might as well be me. I haven’t seen “Brokeback Mountain,” nor do I have any intention of seeing it. In fact, cowboys would have to lasso me, drag me into the theater and tie me to the seat, and even then I would make every effort to close my eyes and cover my ears.

And I love gay people. Hey, I’ve got gay acquaintances. Good acquaintances, who know they can call me anytime if they had my phone number. I’m for gay marriage, gay divorce, gay this and gay that. I just don’t want to watch two straight men, alone on the prairie, fall in love and kiss and hug and hold hands and whatnot. That’s all.

Is that so terrible? Does that mean I’m homophobic? And if I am, well, then that’s too bad. Because you can call me any name you want, but I’m still not going to that movie.

To my surprise, I have some straight friends who’ve not only seen the movie but liked it. “One of the best love stories ever,” one gushed. Another went on, “Oh, my God, you completely forget that it’s two men. You in particular will love it.”

“Why me?”

“You just will, trust me.”

But I don’t trust him. If two cowboys, male icons who are 100 percent all-man, can succumb, what chance to do I have, half- to a quarter of a man, depending on whom I’m with at the time? I’m a very susceptible person, easily influenced, a natural-born follower with no sales-resistance. When I walk into a store, clerks wrestle one another trying to get to me first. My wife won’t let me watch infomercials because of all the junk I’ve ordered that’s now piled up in the garage. My medicine cabinet is filled with vitamins and bald cures.

So who’s to say I won’t become enamored with the whole gay business? Let’s face it, there is some appeal there. I know I’ve always gotten along great with men. I never once paced in my room rehearsing what to say before asking a guy if he wanted to go to the movies. And I generally don’t pay for men, which of course is their most appealing attribute.

And gay guys always seem like they’re having a great time. At the Christmas party I went to, they were the only ones who sang. Boy that looked like fun.
I would love to sing, but this weighty, self-conscious heterosexuality I’m saddled with won’t permit it.

I just know if I saw that movie, the voice inside my head that delights in torturing me would have a field day. “You like those cowboys, don’t you?
They’re kind of cute. Go ahead, admit it, they’re cute. You can’t fool me, gay man. Go ahead, stop fighting it. You’re gay! You’re gay!”

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

Larry David appears in the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Sleeping with the Enemy

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

For those into danger or extreme activism:

…this should be the new path for the gay rights movement. Every gay … should henceforth dedicate himself to seducing every gay-basher they can find.

The Guardian Unlimited Article

GLBT-Friendly Katrina Relief

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Lambda Legal, an organization I know nothing about, has links to LGBT-friendly organizations that are accepting donations for Katrina relief for LGBT folks.
Why should you care? Read here about how Mississippi and Louisiana law can affect LGBT Karina survivors.
I want to add another option: The Washington DC Radical Faeries have set up a fund for faes who have ended up at Short Mountain Sanctuary. Click the “Faerie Relief Fund” button.

Robertson blames hurricane and September 11th on choice of Ellen Degeneres to host Emmys

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Robertson blames hurricane and September 11th on choice of Ellen Degeneres to host Emmys.
I may hang out with some nut cases, but I’d draw the line at Pat Robertson.