Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Community of Lesbians!

In, there is an interesting article on a community of lesbians in Alabama (!) by Sara Kershaw, "My Sister's Keeper." The community began in the 1970s, and was both  product of feminist and lesbian philosophies.  Even a male baby was a cause for a debate.  The community, in Alapine, Alabama, is quite unique, and it is the hope of these women that the community continues after their founders' die.

Click here for more.



Friday, January 30, 2009

Sorrow: Ted Haggard Is Stuck! How Can We Help?

This morning, on CBS Morning News show and CNN's morning news show, there was Ted Haggard, either being interviewed live (CBS) or from the tape from the Larry King Show (CNN) that he did last night.

I heard Ted say two things:
1. He was told by one therapist that he was a heterosexual "with issues";
2. He was told by another therapist that he was a heterosexual with homosexual tendencies.

The man has had "feelings" or "homosexual tendencies since he was in high school (if not before). He has had sex with multiple male partners--with or without the substance.

Being a "homosexual" is not based upon acting upon such feelings. Feeling attraction to anyone physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, intellectually, and other intuitive impulse is what it means to be who we are, gay or straight. This is simply how God made us to be.

I agree with Andrew Sullivan: once Haggard is at rest with who he is, by God's own hand and design, then he will be able to live life fully. Until then, he will continue to live this contorted, lying life, because he is trying to be something he is clearly not.

Click here for more.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Mexico: The Next Frontier for Domestic Partnership (But Don't Call It Marriage)

According to and the New Mexico Independent newspaper, NM is pursuing legislating domestic partnership (click here for more). As is true with other States, and now with religious/faith communities, the issue that is the trigger button against domestic partnership or civil unions is when we call it a "marriage."

Here is what is intriguing about this wedge issue, e.g., marriage vs. domestic partnership. Those who talk about marriage and its timelessness are factually and historically wrong in their hopes and dreams that marriage is forever. The definition of "marriage" is context dependent. By that, I mean that marriage changes in each cultural context and time. The concept of what we call "marriage" has changed, is changing, and will forever change depending upon the people who call it "marriage." There is nothing objective and outside of cultural constructs that makes marriage the same thing throughout time.

If this culture--American middle class culture--wants to now include people who are LBTGQ as part of the body of people who want to marry, well, so be it. Voila! You may now kiss one another.



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Next Prime MInister of Iceland: A Woman Who Happens To Be a Lesbian!

This is great!  In celebrating the various elected officials in office, pre-Harvey Milk to today's politicians serving in a variety of elected positions, news is coming from Iceland that the next Prime Minister is likely to be a woman who happens to be a lesbian.  Johanna Sigurdardottir, the nation's 66 y.o. social affairs minister, is the pick of the Social Democratic Alliance Party to lead an interim government.


Click here for more.

Such role models are a must for those who aspire to public service AND are LBTGQ people.



Washington State: All BUT "I Do"

Here is what is interesting: most of the fermentation of our being wedded or in civil union is taking place in the cluster of States on the West coast and the northeast/New England area. Washington State (WA) is such a case, where there is a legislative motion of letting couples sign up for everything that all married couples get in the state in re: to taxes, benefits, etc., BUT the name of "marriage." This goes back to the debate that IF we don't go for the name "Marriage" society around us will let us, "unionize," for the lack of a better term. "Domestic partnership" is such an oxymoron: what union of any kind is always domestic. Some times we simply have to be human and we will simply not be domesticated, whether we are gay or straight couples and families.

Click here to the site.

So let's start from the outside and go inward to the Midwest.

Pace! B

Monday, January 26, 2009

In Israel, 20,000 gay families raising children

I found this tid-bit on, that was first posted on Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper: 20,000 gay families are raising children.

For a land that is about the size of New Jersey, give or take the West Bank and Gaza strip, and a land where the desert covers great swaths of land, this seems a rather sizable number of people.

And these are the ones who report that they are gay, lesbian, bi, or trans, and raising children. What is the number when we include those who are not self-identifying? Obviously, larger.

My hunch: same thing here in the States.

Click here for more.




Prayers for Bobby

Another movie was added to a growing list of resources that help young people who are LGBTQ understand that the questions that they may have about being gay are not to be considered in a vacuum.  "Prayers for Bobby" reminds us of what so many middle-class families in America have gone through, and continue to go through. This was produced by Lifetime, was shown on Sat. night, and will be out on DVD in no time flat. It follows the life and times of Bobby, a young boy whose parents--not knowing better--batter him not with welcoming love per se, but love that is done through condemning him for being who God created him to be: gay.  At times it was painful to watch, and I winced often with Scripture verses being taken out of context, read literally without an appreciation for the context in which those words were first uttered and/or written.  Such fundamentalism can be so destructive.

 While there was a little bit of "Hallmark" pictures predictable heart-tugging, tear-creating scenes, I see it as another important resource in helping people understand what has and is going on in America.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ted Haggard...Again!

If God made you gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, or queer-expressing, then that's simply how God made you.


One of the obvious failures of any reparative therapy project is that it is built and developed on a lie: that you can change how God made you. A straight person cannot be turned and re-made into a gay person. A gay person cannot be turned and re-made into a straight person. It just simply isn't how God created us to be: chameleons may change due to their environment, but such is not the case for straights and gays.

Proof of this? Ted Haggard.

Apparently Ted Haggard has also been living a lie. Ted has had more than one, um, relationship with another man.

This would be the Rev. Ted Haggard.

The evangelical Ted Haggard who ran a large mega-church of 10,000 members and was spiritual guru to FORMER President George W. Bush.

The one who is addicted to drugs.

That one.

Click here for more.

It is time to stop shaming people because they are simply LGBTQ and let us all celebrate who God made us to be.



It's the Little Things That Count

In the family blogs around the Triangle area (RDU), and in today's News and Observer, there was a small story that points out the kind of discrimination that LGBTQ couples face daily in this "liberal bastion" of the South (it is in quotes because we aren't that liberal after all). Turns out that a couple of women, who are in a committed relationship and happen to be lesbian, faced discrimination twice at a consignment shop of children's clothes in Raleigh, NC. In this consignment shop, if a volunteer is married, the spouse can come along with the volunteer. Because this couple is not married the one partner who was not the volunteer was not able to come into the consignment shop. They were also harassed when leaving, being told they were only allowed in this one time.

Are you serious?

Not only is it disturbing re: lesbian couples (and the same for gay, bisexual, or trans no less), but what if someone is a single parent and a friend wanted to come along? They would be turned down too?

Click here for more.

We who are LGBTQ couples raising kids are discriminated daily in the RDU area.

It is time to change.



Friday, January 23, 2009

Sad Sam

I am deeply troubled by the current problems of the mayor of Portland, Sam Adams.  Like many other Republican and Democratic office holders, he too has crossed a boundary of telling the truth the first time.  As we've learned with Nixon, Clinton, and other notables, the cover-up and the lie are worse than telling the truth.

Sam apparently had a relationship with an 18 year old, Beau Breedlove.  Unfortunately, he lied about the nature of the relationship the first time through with the press prior to his run for office of Mayor. Now he told the truth.  And now he must pay for the consequences.

The problem?  He told a lie.  He tried to cover it up.  Straight and gay people are held to the same standard if the issue is telling the truth as an elected official.

Tell the truth.

Click here for more, or the latest.



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Went to Obama Inauguration: Jan. 19, 2009

Went to the Inauguration, I did!

We arrived at our friends' house in Arlington, VA--Mark and Tom--and Tom said, "How'd you like to go to a cleansing ceremony, led by a shaman, cleaning the White House (WH)?"  Sure, we said.  And off we went.  

Dupont Circle is where the gathering was taking place around 6:30 P.M.  It was dark black night, with lots of activities on the street, motorcades running by, going up the street to the D.C. Hilton. We wandered around Dupont Circle, going to Lambda Rising bookstore, where we discovered 3 copies of ON BEING A GAY PARENT!  I signed the three copies they had, along with signing a leather book of authors who had visited the bookstore, and talked about coming by to give a talk. Cool!

We then got a hot cup of coffee from Starbucks and then wandered over to the park that is the Dupont Circle.  There was a twenty foot inflatable George Bush doll that people threw shoes at, ala the Baghdad experience Mr. Bush had recently with a disgruntled reporter.  With a Pinocchio-like nose, some shoes that had laces tied together would hang from his long nose.

The experience with the burning bundles of sage--a Native American experience  of cleansing a space of evil--was not that solemn, but rather fun and cathartic.  From a platform that had plenty of amps and speakers with a rock band playing, flags of all colors flying, the lesbian comedian Kate Clinton was the emcee for the sage burning ceremony.  She cracked us all up with her own ironic sense of humor while buoying us up with the next day's festivities of welcoming President Obama to the world.  She introduced an out lesbian rabbi had led us with an invocation.  Then a shaman from NY--yet another lesbian--both led the group in burning sage and banging a drum while we chanted "Reverence," all with a smile on our lips.  We basically did it because it felt good.  Kate Clinton came back after the shaman spritzed us with holy water (whatever), and then Clinton led us with a Protestant and Catholic practice of "passing the peace," with lots of hugging.  This was followed by a litany of sins of the Bush Administration, from denying us LGBT folks certain rights to issues re: the economy, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the environment, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Gitmo, oh, heck: ETC!  We would utter back, "Obama!"

Though it was chilly (20s) it was an exhilarating night.  Around one thousand people gathered together in that small park.  And what was special was watching the smoke from all the burning torches of sage circle, float up into the night air, and slowly travel south from Dupont Circle to the White House, cleaning everything in its path.  It was if the smoke knew where it was going.

Our inauguration pilgrimage had begun.

To follow up with more of this pilgrimage, go to 



Friday, January 16, 2009

Resuscitating Civil Rights Commission

Mary Frances Berry has a great idea in this morning's in re: to LGBTQ marriage: resuscitate the Civil Rights Commission! She says that the Commission on Civil Rights is moribund, and has been moribund, since Reagan (she is a political beast). She thinks that the Commission could help the nation forward in figuring out the next step for LGBTQ couples in re: to gay marriage, as well as other civil right issues:

AS the country prepares to enter the Obama era, anxiety over the legal status and rights of gays and lesbians is growing. Barack Obama’s invitation to the Rev. Rick Warren, an evangelical pastor who opposes same-sex marriage, to give the invocation at his inauguration comes just as the hit movie “Milk” reminds us of the gay rights activism of the 1970s. Supporters of gay rights wonder if the California Supreme Court might soon confirm the legitimacy of Proposition 8, passed by state voters in November, which declares same-sex marriage illegal — leaving them no alternative but to take to the streets.

To help resolve the issue of gay rights, President-elect Obama should abolish the now moribund Commission on Civil Rights and replace it with a new commission that would address the rights of many groups, including gays.

Likewise, the Commission could help with gays in military service, gays and hate crimes bills, and gays and discrimination in the work place.

Click here for more.

We'll take all the help we can get in addressing the issue, but also acting on these issues...yes?



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Speaking Up and Being Out: The Politics of Being LGBTQ

George Will has an interesting column in today's Wa. Post, arguing that since the way constitutions are amended in the state of CA can be through votes of the people, then the results of Prop. 8 should stand, rather than be knocked down by the latest suit brought about by the Attorney General, Mr. Brown:

In 2000, voters passed Proposition 22, enacting a law stipulating that marriage is a heterosexual relationship. Last May, California's Supreme Court struck down the law on the ground that there is no "compelling state interest" in not recognizing same-sex marriages under the constitutional clause guaranteeing "equal protection" of the laws. Opponents of same-sex marriage quickly gathered sufficient signatures to place on the November ballot the amendment to the constitution.

The breadth and depth of California's toleration regarding sexual lifestyles refute the worry that gays are a vulnerable minority menaced by majoritarian tyranny. Proposition 8 merely restored to California law the ancient and nearly universal definition of marriage, a definition resoundingly endorsed by the U.S. Congress (85 to 14 in the Senate, 342 to 67 in the House) and written into the laws of 47 other states. California advocates of erasing the right to same-sex domestic partnerships could not even get sufficient signatures to put their measure on the November ballot.

Just eight years ago, Proposition 22 was passed, 61.4 to 38.6 percent. The much narrower victory of Proposition 8 suggests that minds are moving toward toleration of same-sex marriage. If advocates of that have the patience required by democratic persuasion, California's ongoing conversation may end as they hope. If, however, the conversation is truncated, as Brown urges, by judicial fiat, the argument will become as embittered as the argument about abortion has been by judicial highhandedness.

Click here for more.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It is time!

I sense from my reading that, along with people like Barney Frank, we are in for some changes in the way people who are LGBTQ are treated by the government, especially at the federal level, and hopefully the state and more local area governments.


Here's the reason: Given that Mr. Obama has, in the past, supported the rights of LGBTQ people to marry, and given that Mr. Obama has started to hire many LGBTQ people in his administration outside of places and offices like AIDS issues, e.g., including State Department, etc., and given that Mr. Obama has Rev. Robinson praying along with Rick Warren, it appears that it is time for the following:

* Overturning the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), foolishly passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton;

* Overturning DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) in the military services;

* Signing a hate-crime bill that includes and covers people who are LGBTQ;

* Signing a non-discrimination in employment bill that protects LGBTQ people;

And last but not least: gay marriage. It is time for the federal government to follow up and do what state governments are starting to do, especially in New England and the West Coast areas: provide LGBTQ couples the right to marry or be in civil union.

Busy time.

But it is time.

Long past time.

It is time.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Illinois Politician Supports Gay Marriage...and the Politician's Name is Obama!

Even though President-elect Obama does not support gay marriage in his recent run for the Office of President, in 1996 (according to a source that found), Mr. Obama did support gay marriage:

Quote For The Day

"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages," - Barack Obama, to the Windy City Times in Chicago, in 1996.

Some context from the emailed press release:

During the final weeks of the presidential campaign last fall, several media outlets contacted Windy City Times because of an old internet story from the 1996 Illinois state Senate race. In that campaign, Outlines newspaper reported that 13th District candidate Barack Obama supported gay marriage. Reporters wanted to know what exactly Obama had said. Outlines summarized the results in that 1996 article by Trudy Ring, but did not list exact answers to questions. In that article Outlines did note that Obama was a supporter of same-sex marriage and that article was never challenged or corrected by Obama. Just recently, the original Outlines and IMPACT surveys were found in the newspaper's archives.

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I am not ignorant in believing that Obama wouldn't change his tune. Being electable in this country for straight politicians means you cannot support gay marriage: just ask Ms. Clinton.

Wiley politician, Mr. Obama thou art!



Hey Eugene! Nice Going!

So the Right Rev. Gene Robinson is going to do the first prayer for the inauguration activities!? As so many of the blogs--right and left--are asking: is this because of the uproar of the Rick Warren choice? After all, it doesn't seem that Robinson knew anything about his selection prior to the Warren furor, with Robinson also saying he was disappointed by the choice.

This morning's had the best line of the day: since Robinson prays first, God hears Robinson's prayer over Warren. And there is a group raising money for every second that Warren prays for LGBTQ concerns/issues:

Meanwhile we're thrilled that Rev. Gene Robinson is kicking off the inaugural festivities on Sunday, meaning that his blessing trumps all the others because it's the first one God will hear. At the same time, we're still planning to protest Rick Warren's two minutes of infamy by supporting the grassroots Rick-A-Thon:

The purpose of the Rick-A-Thon is to turn Rick Warren’s anti-equality stance into positive change for LGBT people. Every second that Warren stands at the podium, he will be raising money to advance LGBT civil rights.

Let's join the Rick-A-Thon!



Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gender Benders

I am watching a "Discovery" channel special on Thomas Beattie, the man who was a pregnant man. We also saw a performance of "The Young Ladies of..." by Taylor Mac, a New York performing artist who helps us question what it means to test boundaries of what is normal, what are the borders, what it means to be a man, a woman. Thomas is wearing a shirt on him that says "Define Normal." Taylor Mac asked the same question: what does it mean to be a man or woman? He was dressed in some ways as a woman but is clearly a man.

This leads to questions like the following: what is a man? A woman? Marriage? Family?

Courage is what I see these two people and their families exhibiting.

Pace! B

Persistence Works: Obama Must Address Warren

In today's column in the News and Observer, Peder Zane writes about Warren's presence in the inauguration. Peder Zane understands that most Americans are still against gay marriage (2/3s according to the latest Newsweek poll), as is Warren. Zane then writes this: "If Warren is an anti-gay bigot, then so are most Americans. Unfortunately, that's the case."

Zane rightly understands that we who are LGBTQ people live with discrimination daily. He also believes that Obama has an opportunity to address such discrimination and bigotry.

He ends the article with this affirmation:

Being discriminated against, however, is like being pregnant: Either you are or you aren't. Can we expect people to quietly accept legalized inequality? Would you?

Officially, Obama says he supports civil unions but does not support gay marriage. Considering his other progressive policies, I find it hard to believe that position is anything other than a political expedient.

Given the nation's myriad problems, tackling the divisive issue of same-sex marriage immediately would be counterproductive. If Obama wants to deliver on his message of change and hope, he must eventually find a way to summon our better angels so that we can overcome this prejudice. History will little note his invitation to Warren, but it will long remember how he handles this moral issue.

Please click here for more.



Friday, January 9, 2009

Rep. Barney Frank: Coverboy

On The Advocate, the New York Times Magazine, and with an inside story in the latest New Yorker (article by Jeffrey Toobin), I keep on running into Rep. Barney Frank. He's been on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc.

In other words, he is making the rounds.

He is outspoken about his place in the Congress; his coming out in the late '80s; his own "prediction" about the progress society will be making in over-turning DADT, non-discrimination of LGBTQ people in jobs, and a hate-crime bill. All that is missing is civil unions!

I remember Barney Frank speaking out in 2004 at Duke University, where he made a dramatic appeal for us to vote and not merely hold rallies. According to Frank, while rallies are great fun and emotionally intoxicating, they do little to change things. Frank wanted us to know and remember that what matters most are the votes in Congress. What matters in a democracy is the vote.

This also involves money. Watching the Prop. 8 campaign in CA, it was clear that money was important in the act of getting-out-the-vote machine, with the pro-Prop. 8 folks having much more money. Money does not necessarily buy an election, but makes it easier. Just ask the Obama folks.

In a discussion with others in the Presby. Church (USA) at a gathering of More Light Presbyterians, the issue of money came up: who has more money at their disposal in the upcoming amendment votes among Presbyteries: the conservative voices or the progressive voices? The conservative side of the debate has far more money, and a better machine in getting news out to its members than do the liberal/progressive side.

Care to bet who will win?

Money and voting: in a democracy, they go together like butter on bread.

This is the lesson for the day.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stop in the Name of (Equal) Love!

To borrow the old Temptations' song seemed a good way to begin this blog.

There is a UCC (United Church of Christ) congregation in Ashland, OR who are doing what they do at First UCC Church of Asheville, NC: they are not marrying anyone--straight or gay--until everyone who wants to be wed can be married. This is all under the banner of "equal rights for all."

Power to them.

OR is close to okaying civil unions for LGBQT couples. NJ is close to marriage for LGBTQ couples, with other state in the New England area looking seriously at this possibility. Imagine the entire corner of one part of this country being pro-LGBTQ marriage, followed by the entire West Coast. Soon, well, you know, domino affect coming in from both sides of the country.

Click here for more.



Monday, January 5, 2009

Harvey Milk High School

Two decades ago, Harvey Milk High School opened in Greenwich Village, NY. It has been and continues to be a sanctuary, a large "safe zone" for LGBTQ students and staff, along with straight allies. The need for such a high school is itself an indictment on many public and private schools, where being LGBTQ and out-straight allies may make someone a target of harassment. There was this moving statistic in the article from this morning's News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) that attracted my attention:

Last year the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network unveiled its "National School Climate Survey." Of the 6,200 gay middle and high school students surveyed, about 90 percent had been harassed and 60 percent said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.

Hannah Devane, 17, a student at Harvey Milk, said mainstream schools failed her. She felt alienated and became so depressed, Devane said, she didn't get out of bed in the mornings. She stopped attending classes.

When Devane was 13, she heard about the Harvey Milk school in the news, and decided to ask her counselor to help her transfer.

"Coming here changed my life," she said. "Now I'm an A student."

My high school son has told me that, repeatedly in his classes, students are allowed to make derogatory comments re: LGBTQ people, e.g., fag or "that's so gay," but are only reprimanded when making racist or sexist comments by teachers.

And this is in a progressive part of NC!?

Click here for more.

It is time to change.



Friday, January 2, 2009

Mayor Sam Adams: Congrats!

Having been named the "gay minister" by the Chapel Hill News in covering various blogs in my part of the state of NC re: my mulling over running for an open seat on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School board, I was struck by the news of Sam Adams (45 y.o.) being sworn in as Portland, OR mayor at 12:01 A.M. on Thursday morning.

Mayor Sam--billed as the Gay Mayor on now the first mayor of such a large metropolitan area who is openly gay. He brings with him a wealth of experience, knowledge, and energy for the position, having served as an assistant to a former Mayor, Vera Katz.

Click here for more.

Congrats, Mayor Sam!