Wednesday, September 30, 2009

See "Opus" by Michael Hollinger at Playmakers Rep, UNC!

For those in the area, go see a performance of "Opus" by Michael Hollinger, currently playing at Playmakers Rep at UNC-CH!

Or, "Run, Don't Walk, to See 'Opus'!"

It is a play about the ins and outs of the Lazara String Quartet, and how there is the performance of the Quartet, and then there is the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and practical parts of the process of being and becoming a Quartet, in which four lives must meld together to perform extraordinary music. "Opus" is about the process of the collaboration of the musicians, and not the product. And that made it incredible!

What was novel was that this was one of the rare moments that we have a gay couple working out their relationship in the play. And it wasn't pretty. Neither was the heterosexual relationship being lived out. Thank you, God, for reality!

This is a "thumbs up" recommendation. The play closes on Oct. 11th.



Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweet Story: Two Dads Get Married

We found this sweet story on the back pages of the (Raleigh) News and Observer, in which a young daughter wanted her two dads to get married. Chelsea Montgomery Duban wanted her "Dad" and "Daddy" do the wedding when such marriages were allowed in CA. Why?

"According to me, marriage is not just a man and a woman. It is two people who love each other and promise to be together in sickness and in health," Montgomery-Duban says in the video. "Marriage is not even a beautiful white dress. But it is love blossoming between two individuals and the promise that what they have together can only get better."

It is a sweet story.

I am convinced we need more such sweet, normal, everyday stories to be shared with the wider public. Because it is through such exposure that we will finally be part of the American quilt, with our own unique squarish-rectangular-like-trianglish-roundish patch.

Click here for more.

Pace, B

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another Married Couple

As promised, I will continue to post the wedding announcement of LGBTQ couples from the New York Times:

Douglas Edward Mortimer and Dr. Loren Alva Olson were married Saturday by the Rev. Matt Mardis-LeCroy at the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Des Moines.

Mr. Mortimer owns Malabar Farm in St. Charles, Iowa, with Dr. Olsen, a psychiatrist who has a private practice in Des Moines.

Mr. Mortimer, 52, operates the farm, on which the couple raise Belted Galloway cattle. He is a son of the late Dorothy M. Mortimer, and the late William E. Mortimer, who lived in Rimersburg, Pa.

Dr. Olson, 66, graduated from the University of Nebraska, from which he also received his medical degree. He is a son of the late Martha K. Mortenson who lived in Wakefield, Neb., and the late Alva H. Olson, who lived in Hartington, Neb., and is a stepson of the late Marvin Mortenson.

Mr. Mortimer’s first marriage ended in divorce, as did Dr. Olson’s.

Today, I went to NC Pride at Duke Univ. (East Campus), and I was reminded of the fun and importance of fully telling and showing the world that we are here.

Wedding announcements do the very same thing.



Friday, September 25, 2009

NYT Magazine: Middle School and Coming Out

“When I first realized I was gay,” Austin interjected, “I just assumed I would hide it and be miserable for the rest of my life. But then I said, ‘O.K., wait, I don’t want to hide this and be miserable my whole life.’ ”

I asked him how old he was when he made that decision.

“Eleven,” he said.

This is from the article on being in middle schoo/junior high and coming out.

I knew that I was gay when I was eleven years old. I had absolutely no idea of what to do with those feelings, thoughts, inclinations, and dispositions.

Click here for more.

Pace, B

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Gathering of Supportive Women

I am in Foster's in Chapel Hill. It is a great restaurant to kick back and not act pretentious. I like to come to Foster's to some times catch up on emails at the end of the day, with a cup of tea or Diet Coke, before going to the Y. Call it "transition place." Of course, free wine tasting doesn't hurt either.

On the table in front of me was a feather boa of several rainbow colors, and books with the title like "Being Lesbian." Soon, fifteen women came and gathered round the table. They are beautiful women of all ages: college age, a few in the middle years of life, and some who are as old as my mother (in her 80s). There are women wearing jeans and shorts, and women wearing beautiful skirts. There are women with short hair, long hair, styled hair, and bald. Women drinking beer, wine, bottled water, and smoothies. There are women wearing stylish high heels (stilettos), and women wearing clogs or sneakers. There are women eating salad, some eating pizza, while others eat wrap sandwiches. Some have back packs, while others carry purses

They are passing around a tablet to get names and emails.

The conversation is convivial and engaging. It is obvious this is a new gathering as they introduce themselves by their first names.

And it is beautiful.



Countering Hate Ads in Maine Against Marriage Equality

Just saw this ad on, in which we are learning the lessons from CA and Prop. 8 debacle:

Learning lessons from our past: good education!



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

U.S. Rep. King from Iowa: Marriage of Gays Leads to Socialism


That is what those who oppose marriage of LGBTQ keep working from: a basis of fear.

The fear of change.

The fear of equality.


King: Same-sex marriage just a step toward socialism

Normally Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, opposes same-sex marriage simply because of his social conservative stance on things. That alone is enough for the congressman to take a particularly strong stance on the issue -- after his state's Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, he worried that Iowa would become "the gay marriage Mecca."

But King's got a creative new reason for his position. Via The Hill's Blog Briefing Room, some comments King made on conservative radio Wednesday:

If there's a push for a socialist society where the foundations of individual rights and liberties are undermined and everybody is thrown together living collectively off one pot of resources earned by everyone, this is one of the goals they have to go to, same sex marriage, because it has to plow through marriage in order to get to their goal. They want public affirmation, they want access to public funds and resources.

Is there no end to such irrational logic?



Ads in Maine Against LGBTQ People Marrying

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan and Americablog for this little ad being played in Maine that was also played in the Prop. 8 fight in CA:

Now, watch the ad from CA:

I watched this with amusement and sadness.

It is the same ad.

It is an ad based in fear and loathing.

There is nothing in this ad about respect of others, let alone tolerance.

Sad, huh?

Pace, B

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Good Fight: Equality in Marriage

On most of the blogs I read today (towleroad, advocate, queerty, 365, there was news of movements against marriage that allows LGBTQ folks to marry in Maine, and civil/domestic unions in Wisconsin.

Same thing went on in Massachusetts, and is going on in Wash. state.

Here is something I've learned as an advocate with people with disabilities, and is true for civil rights issues for people who are part of under-represented minorities of any kind, African American, women, etc.: there are many battles that must and will be fought as change comes about in this world. Why? Because we, as human beings, are resistant to change.

And change is one thing during peaceful times, but for a country in a great recession and fighting two wars, debating health bills, is not at peace.

But, as the hymn goes, "fight the good fight with all thy might...lay hold on life and it shall be Thy joy and crown eternally."



Monday, September 21, 2009

Iowans Like Us...They Really Like Us (with Sally Field's voice)! has this statistic: 92% of Iowans believe that gay marriage (not wild about that term at all, and can't wait until we just call it marriage) hasn't brought change to their life.

On Rachel Maddow's show some weeks ago, she cited numbers from MA that show that divorce is occurring less in that state since "gay" marriage was official.

In other words, the "Chicken Little's" of this world are wrong: the sky isn't falling; divorces have subsided a bit, and most people see know problem or change in their lives when marriage includes straight and LGBTQI people.

Sounds like "live and let live" works.

Click here for more.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weddings and Celebrations

In the, every Sat. night and Sun. morning there is a new listing of the wedding and celebrations for all the married couples or people in civil union. I like to look at couples and see their faces, what they say, how they met, how they are introduced, who they brought along to the wedding, parents of, brothers and sisters to.

So here are some of the latest married couples and those in civil unions...who happen to be self-identified as LGBTQI:

Nancy Ann Lee and Marie Collins Wilson were married Friday in Aquinnah, Mass. The Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest, officiated at the Outermost Inn.

Ms. Lee (left) 56, is the editor and vice president for licensing of The New York Times Syndicate. She graduated magna cum laude from Kent State University.

She is the daughter of Joyce I. Lee of Fort Myers, Fla., and the late James E. Lee.

Ms. Wilson, 69, is the founder and president of the White House Project, a nonprofit organization in New York that promotes women’s leadership in business and government. She graduated from the University of Delaware and received a Master of Science in higher education from Drake University.

Until 2004, she was the president of the Ms. Foundation for Women in New York. She is a creator of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Her first marriage ended in divorce.

She is the daughter of Myrtle M. Collins of Atlanta and the late Henry A. Collins.


Dr. Brian Seth Koll and Dr. David Altarac are to be married Sunday in Provincetown, Mass. The Rev. JoAnn Heiser, an interfaith minister, is to officiate at the Berta Walker Gallery.

Dr. Koll (left), 49, is the chief of infection control at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. He graduated from Brown and received a medical degree from George Washington University. He is also a trustee of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

He is the son of Elinor and Arthur Koll of Monroe Township, N.J. Dr. Koll’s mother retired as a mathematics and science teacher at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Edison, N.J. His father retired as a manager of Meat City, a butcher shop in Linden, N.J.

Dr. Altarac, also 49, is a vice president for worldwide regulatory affairs in the research laboratories division, in Rahway, N.J., of Merck & Company. He graduated with honors from the State University at Binghamton, received a medical degree from New York Medical College and a master’s in public administration from New York University. He is the son of Sandra and Ely Altarac of Long Beach, N.Y.

Dr. Altarac’s father retired as the owner of Laurel Floor Covering, a carpet and tile business in Long Beach.

Glenn Prell Williamson and Dr. Kurtis Charles Birusingh were married Saturday at Mr. Birusingh’s family farm in Crescent, Iowa. Michael C. Engler, who became a Universal Life minister for the event, officiated.

Mr. Williamson (left), 46, is an independent film producer in Los Angeles. His films include “Sunshine Cleaning” and “Push,” which were released earlier this year, and “Hollywoodland,” which was released in 2006. He was an executive producer of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” released in 2004. He graduated from the University of Virginia.

He is a son of Kathryn E. Williamson and Dr. Harold L. Williamson of Tampa, Fla. His father, an orthopedic surgeon, retired from a private practice in Tampa.

Dr. Birusingh, 43, is the assistant chief of head and neck surgery and the chairman of surgical services at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. He is a board member of the Los Angeles Research Study Club, which provides continuing medical education for physicians. He graduated magna cum laude from Santa Clara University and received a medical degree from Stanford.

He is a son of Patricia E. Birusingh and Dr. Krishna A. Birusingh of Crescent. His mother is an owner of the farm. His father retired as a general surgeon at Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa.


Sean Michael Quinn and Cory Bishop Davis were married in Waterbury, Vt., on Tuesday. Stephanie Koonz, a justice of the peace of the Town of Duxbury, Vt., officiated at the Grünberg Haus, a bed and breakfast inn.

Skip to next paragraph
Daniel Scearer

Mr. Quinn (left), 29, is the planning coordinator for the Pedestrian Projects Group of the New York City Department of Transportation. He graduated cum laude from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., and received a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Rutgers.

He is a son of Patricia M. Quinn and Dennis B. Quinn of Hamburg, N.J. His father works in Trenton as the assistant deputy director for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. His mother is a science teacher at the Rev. George A. Brown Memorial School, a Roman Catholic school in Sparta, N.J.

Mr. Davis, 30, owns a music copying and engraving business in New York that bears his name. He is also the music assistant and hand-bell choir director at Christ Church United Methodist in New York.

He is the son of Ellen Jane Davis and Charles Bishop Davis of Norman, Okla. His mother is a special education teacher at Mustang High School and Mustang Middle-High School in Mustang, Okla. His father is an oil and gas lawyer in Norman.

I say "Mazel Tov" and "Congratulations." You are all trend setters, and I, from the purple state of NC toast you all!



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Speaking to and of our families...

US Representative Nadal, along with a host of other US Representatives, have begun the serious work of overturning DOMA. While the House and Senate were under Republican control in those days, it was a Democratic President--Clinton--who signed the law into effect, with his advisor Dick Morris engineering the bill;

And Elton John is being denied a chance to adopt a child from the Ukrained because he is too old and too gay.

Meanwhile, in Maine, those against marriage equality have begun advertisements. The blog is filled with hope that we will help pay for ads promoting marriage for all.

What a busy Tuesday!

What is amazing is that all of these events influence every one of our families--gay and straight alike. For we are all connected in this world. Or if we treat one group of people as second class citizens, beware; others will also be treated this way, ala, Martin Niemoller.



Problems in the Classroom: Teaching Children to be Nice to LGBTQ Students and their Families

On Pam's House Blend, I found this fascinating article in which the "golden rule," a.k.a, do unto others as you would want them to do to you," being challenged in re: to LGBTQ kids and families.

Here's the article:

A lawsuit in California that was filed last month by angry parents who object to a gay-friendly curriculum they say is being foisted on kindergartners could well become a test case for schools around the country.

Parents in the Alameda Unified School District were refused the right to excuse their kids from classes that would teach all kids in the district's elementary schools about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender alternative families.

The parents say they are concerned about "indoctrination" in the schools, but administrators say the course is needed to protect against sexual discrimination — and that the lessons are protected by laws in California and 10 other states.

Those states, which stretch from Washington to Maine, will now be eyeing the court results in California in a case that warring sides say pits parents' rights against a schools' responsibilities.

Imagine! A gay friendly curriculum! Oh the horrors!

In a world in which we need to learn to get along for the good of the earth, the communities in which we live, and for our families, I found this a sad commentary on the state of where we are in welcoming all into our lives.

Click here for more.



Monday, September 14, 2009

Iraqi Gays Continue to be Killed

There was this news from Iraq via, about the killing of gays by Islamic militants, who target gay men by going on to chat rooms, and luring them to their death:

Sitting on the floor, wearing traditional Islamic clothes and holding an old notebook, Abu Hamizi, 22, spends at least six hours a day searching internet chatrooms linked to gay websites. He is not looking for new friends, but for victims.

"It is the easiest way to find those people who are destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation we took centuries to build up," he said. When he finds them, Hamizi arranges for them to be attacked and sometimes killed.

Hamizi, a computer science graduate, is at the cutting edge of a new wave of violence against gay men in Iraq. Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone.

The deputy leader of the group, which is based in Baghdad, explained its campaign using a stream of homophobic invective. "Animals deserve more pity than the dirty people who practise such sexual depraved acts," he told the Observer. "We make sure they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God's forgiveness before they are killed."

The violence against Iraqi gays is a key test of the government's ability to protect vulnerable minority groups after the Americans have gone.

Dr Toby Dodge, of London University's Queen Mary College, believes that the violence may be a consequence of the success of the government of Nouri al-Maliki. "Militia groups whose raison d'être was security in their communities are seeing that function now fulfilled by the police. So their focus has shifted to the moral and cultural sphere, reverting to classic Islamist tactics of policing moral boundaries," Dodge said.

Homosexuality was not criminalised under Saddam Hussein – indeed Iraq in the 1960s and 1970s was known for its relatively liberated gay scene. Violence against gays started in the aftermath of the invasion in 2003. Since 2004, according to Ali Hali, chairman of the Iraqi LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) group, a London-based human-rights group, a total of 680 have died in Iraq, with at least 70 of those in the past five months. The group believes the figures may be higher, as most cases involving married men are not reported. Seven victims were women. According to Hali, Iraq has become "the worst place for homosexuals on Earth".

The killings are brutal, with victims ritually tortured. Azhar al-Saeed's son was one. "He didn't follow what Islamic doctrine tells but he was a good son," she said. "Three days after his kidnapping, I found a note on my door with blood spread over it and a message saying it was my son's purified blood and telling me where to find his body."

With an increase of hate crime against gays in the Southeastern parts of the USA, and the continued killing of gays in Iraq, there is much work for us to do to protest such injustice and crime against humanity.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Being Gay: Enough to Fire a Person in 29 States

This from the Opinion page:

It is remarkable how little progress gay people have made in securing the basic protection against discrimination on the job. In 29 states, it is still legal to fire workers for being gay. But momentum is building in Congress for the first federal law banning such discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Federal law has lagged behind the reality of American life. There are now openly gay members of Congress from between-the-coasts states like Colorado and Wisconsin. And according to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights advocacy group, 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies have policies protecting gay employees from discrimination.

From personal experience, even if an institution has a non-discrimination bill, it means nothing unless the state and/or federal government have the power to reinforce non-discrimination against LGBTQ people.  

And what is holding up such a bill in the federal government?

But gay rights advocates have for years faced opposition to a federal civil rights law from the religious right, and from parts of the business community, who argue that it would lead to a flood of litigation.

LGBTQ people need to be protected in the workplace.  Being fired for being gay is an injustice.

Click here for more.

It is time to change.

Pace, B

Friday, September 11, 2009

13 Love Stories

I am just having fun with marriage equality and fun finds on You Tube. What is wonderful is that in sharing stories calmly, logically, reasonably--with a twist here and there, groovy music by Jason Mraz--and honestly, claiming the basic truths of this country, offered in the Constitution, we will all discover the equality that is central to this democracy working for all people.

Today's clip: 13 Love Stories, music by Jason Mraz, and the stories of those from CA who were truly effected by Prop. 8.


And I still enjoy Sinead's true, how true, how true!



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sinead's Hand Ad

I found this on, an advertisement for gay marriage or marriage equality from Ireland.

Pretty prophetic...and silly.

What do you think?



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's the Geography, Stupid!

During Clinton's run for the White House, there was the "War Room" in which Carville (manager) had the sign up "It's the economy, stupid," in order to keep the focus (laser like) on what mattered for winning the race against George H. W. Bush.

For the ELCA, the fight over LGBTQ ordination was not only the study documents that they had (and we have too in the PCUSA), but also geography! In an article by John Dart in the Christian Century, Dart contends that geography had a large part to play in the change in the ELCA. The focus? Midwesterners versus the Bible-belt South. ELCA does not have to contend with the Bible belt, while we of the PCUSA and United Methodists do:

In an interview, Cadge noted that the PCUSA and UMC have met strong resistance from conservative churches in the Bible Belt—in contrast to the ELCA, which is concentrated in the upper Midwest—and that the ELCA came to the homosexuality debate late partly because the denomination was formed, by merger, only in 1988.

United Methodists are not likely to adopt inclusive policies soon, primarily because of geography. "The UMC has almost 40 percent of its membership outside the United States, and our U.S. membership is concentrated in the Bible Belt," said Troy Plummer, executive director of the gay-supportive Reconciling Ministries Network.

Timing has been another factor. Plum mer praised ELCA activists in the Good Soil coalition for being "exceptionally well organized" during this decade when public opinion has shifted leftward and a growing number of states have approved of same-sex civil unions and marriage.

Plummer said efforts of conservative advocacy groups in the ELCA seemed to fall short of the opposition conservative renewal groups mounted in the 1980s and 1990s against changes proposed by liberal United Methodists and Presbyterians. "The PCUSA and Methodists were fighting and losing more battles," he said, and this perhaps helped to solidify opposing stances.

Only 32 percent of clergy in the UMC in the U.S. said they support ordination of gays and lesbians, compared to 50 percent in the PCUSA and 54 percent in the ELCA, according to the 2008 Clergy Voices Survey taken by Public Religion Research. Asked if they support the inclusion of gays and lesbians in lay leadership, 51 percent of Methodist clergy said yes, whereas 64 percent of PCUSA ministers and 80 percent of ELCA pastors expressed approval.

The 2008 Presbyterian General Assembly voted to allow gay clergy, but the action did not get the required two-thirds approval from the 173 regional presbyteries. Advocates were cheered, however, when the no votes were fewer than in previous failed attempts.

Of all the recorded votes by elders and ministers in the presbyteries, 49 percent were yes votes, according to the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. "It is clear [that] change is coming to the church," said the group's board in a statement. "The conversation continues."

Click here for the entire article.

Many of us from the northern United Presby. Church USA wondered what would be the results of a merger with the PCUS, our Southern kin strung out along the Bible belt of the South. Question: would the UPCUSA have ordained openly LGBTQ people by now if it were still a denomination of more northern and western churches?




Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Is it just us, but why do we have to get 7 different trial colors of paint for the outside of the house, between a taupe and a green?

Just wondering...


Friday, September 4, 2009

Today, My Son is an Adult

Christians have confirmation classes, those who are Jewish have bat and bar mitzvahs, and American society has the driver's license to confirm that one is an adult.

Today, my son is an adult.

He got his driver's license.

I was proud, stunned, scared, amazed, and over-joyed as he drove away from me in his mom's car.

Absolutely breath-taking.

I sang (from "Fiddler"), "Where is the little boy I carried...Sunrise, sunset..."

From parent-central...


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Marriage Equality in Maine #2

Here's the simple second one...

Marriage Equality in Maine #1

I really like these advertisements coming from Maine in support of marriage equality. The simple normality of all these families is breath-taking and beautiful.




Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Strike Up the Wedding March in VT!

VT now officially is in the wedding business of LGBTQ couples! Watch out country stores in Weston! Make way, oh airport in Burlington! University of VT and Middlebury College, do you have housing for LGBTQ married couples?

Here's a link announcing this news by clicking here.

Meanwhile, WA state voters will have to wait to file a more full domestic partnership relationship with the state. A petition drive to stop licensing of couples was successful, and the voters will have their say Nov. 3rd. It will be a squeaker. I anticipate the western part of the state will say "yes," while the middle and eastern part of the state will lean "no." I lived in Spokane on the eastern side, so I know from experience.