Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween: Pride Parade for Straight People

Andrew Sullivan had the best line for the night about Halloween:

"In Halloween coverage, we judged the best costumes, saw the holiday as a pride parade for straight people."



HIV Travel Ban Lifted! Now We're Talking About Change We Can Believe In

Pres. Obama lifted the travel ban of HIV+ people, some of whom are LGBTQ.

This is great news.

We were one of a handful of countries that had this draconian measure still in place.

President Obama:

A couple of years ago Michelle and I were in Africa and we tried to combat the stigma when we were in Kenya by taking a public HIV/AIDS test. And I'm proud to announce today we're about to take another step towards ending that stigma.

Twenty-two years ago, in a decision rooted in fear rather than fact, the United States instituted a travel ban on entry into the country for people living with HIV/AIDS. Now, we talk about reducing the stigma of this disease -- yet we've treated a visitor living with it as a threat. We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the AIDS pandemic -- yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people from HIV from entering our own country.If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it

Click here for more.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Federal Hate Crime Bill: Signed and Delivered!

It is now the law of the land: hate crimes against those of us who are considered "different" than others--because of how we look, who we love, and how we live or pray--is now against the law of the land. It is a federal crime.

One person on NPR said there will be an "up-tick" in the number of hate crimes reported because it is now against the law--federal law. What is happening is that more of these cases will now be reported. Before the law, they were kept hidden because there is no protection.

The same with economics and jobs. Having been discriminated myself for a job because I am gay, there is no federal or state law to protect me. None. Most people simply don't report such violations. Thus they remain unknown. That is why ENDA--Employment Non Discrimination Act--is needed ASAP.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Army Secretary: Lift the Ban on DADT

So now we are getting a sense of how the Obama Admin. works: with pressure from the outside as it does the methodical and consensus building from the inside.

Pressure is now coming from within, with the Army Secretary now coming on board with modernity and suggesting there be a lifting of the ban on LGBTQ personnel serving the country in military service.

Secretary McHugh:

McHugh finds himself at the center of debate over Obama’s pledge to repeal the law banning open service by homosexuals.

In the interview, McHugh carefully avoided offering his personal views on the issue, saying his job now is to provide input to Obama on how to make the change and to talk with members of Congress about the issue.

Selling the idea to Congress, which has the final say, could depend on exactly what the administration tries to do in terms of the timing of repeal and how it is applied, McHugh said.

It’s possible, for example, that homosexuals could be allowed into some occupations or units but barred from others, McHugh said, stressing that he was not aware of any such plans but only discussing how the issue might play out.

“I don’t want to prejudge the situation,” he said. “I am saying if he did that, it would be my job to explain it when the appropriate time comes.”

When asked specifically if lifting the gay ban would seriously disrupt the military, as predicted by those who oppose repeal, McHugh said there is no reason to think major turmoil would ensue.

“Anytime you have a broad-based policy change, there are challenges to that,” he said. “The Army has a big history of taking on similar issues, [with] predictions of doom and gloom that did not play out,” he said.

Yes, yes, yes: what is crazy is having LGBQT serving in certain units but not others.


Read more by clicking here.



Friday, October 23, 2009

Being Counted: In the 2020 Census, We'll Be Counted

Isn't this interesting: in 2020 Census, plans are afoot of counting us.

Of course, in 2000, LGBTQ couples and families were not counted as a household, only as roommates and children, but not as a family. Same thing with federal and state taxes: we are not counted as families, only as individuals or unmarried partners. But with the change of marriage status in so many states, there is a change afoot.

Why we have to wait so long to be counted in 2020 is because of bureaucracy, but so be it.

Click here for more.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Memory of Matthew Shepherd: A Hate Crime Bill That Covers Us All!

We are closer to being covered by federal law in cases of hate crimes. From the WaPo:

Hate crimes bill set to become law

By Ben Pershing
The Senate cleared a historic hate crimes bill for President Obama's signature Thursday, approving new federal penalties for attacks on gays and lesbians.

The legislation, which was attached to the conference report for the bill outlining the Pentagon's budget, marks the culmination of a years-long fight by civil-rights groups to codify the expanded protections. The law broadens the current definition of federal hate crimes -- which covers attacks motivated by race, color, religion or national origin -- to include those based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It would also create a new federal crime to cover attacks against U.S. military personnel because of their service.

The measure was approved, 68 to 29, with a majority of Republicans voting against it. The House passed the same bill Oct. 8, also with most Republicans opposed.

Click here for more.



Church of Sweden: Practicing Equality of Marriage

This found on

The Synod of the Lutheran Church of Sweden has come down in favour of church weddings for homosexuals in a vote held on Thursday morning.

The decision, which is based on a proposal from the church’s governing board, means that the Church of Sweden will conduct wedding ceremonies for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

The proposal was approved by 176 of 249 voting members.

The decision comes just three days after the 30th anniversary of the date when homosexuality stopped being classified as a disease in Sweden.

“The Synod’s decision takes a stance in favour of an inclusive view of people. Regardless of whether one is religious or not, this affects the entire social climate and the view of people’s equal value,” Åsa Regnér, head of the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) - the country's largest gay rights group, said in a statement.

Click here for more.

Of course, there are those who will say, "But look at the Church of Sweden!? It is a state church!?"

So it is.

Not advocating state-church here.

But I am advocating equality of marriage.



Telling Our Story: Philip Spooner in ME

Saw this clip on,, so here it is: Philip Spooner, a war veteran (WWII), a Downeaster, and a father of four sons, including one son who is gay.

He is before a legislative commission in Maine, telling his story and why there needs to be equal rights in marriage.

He believes that the fight in WWII was about preserving the rights of all, with equal rights and equal protection for all.

Enjoy the clip.

Pace, B

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rosie and Kelli

Amid Maine voting about marriage equality, justice of the peace turning down inter-racial couples from marrying in Alabama, and WA state voting to preserve domestic partnership, there is the sad news of Rosie and Kelli having hit a hard patch in their relationship. There are seasons in a married life, and they are in a winter season of their relationship.

Click here for more.

Here's hoping that they can work through their difficulties without too much rancor. Truly hoping for the best for them and their family.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Pilgrimage and Gay Parenting

Along with this blog site I also manage the blog site for the School of the Pilgrim.

I found this video on-line that I liked a lot, in which the videographers asked the question: "Where Would You Wish to Wake Up?"

The results are amazing.

I think in being LGBTQI people, we are people on a journey as pioneers.



Fifty People, One Question: Brooklyn from Fifty People, One Question on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

True Love!

From last weekend's Wedding Announcements, and other celebrations:

Adam Levine, Janson Wu

Published: October 10, 2009

Adam Carl Levine and Janson Wu are to be married Sunday at the Museum of Science in Boston. Lindsay C. Harrison, a friend who introduced the couple, received permission from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to officiate with assistance from Adam S. Lavitt, a rabbinical student.

Dr. Levine, 29, is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He graduated with two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Southern California, one in creative writing and another in biomedical engineering. He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and has a master’s degree in public health from University of California, Berkeley. He is the son of Beatrice R. Levine and Arthur C. Levine of Newport Beach, Calif.

Mr. Wu, 31, is a staff lawyer at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston. He graduated from Harvard, where he also received his law degree. He is the son of Hsin-Hsing Wu and Jeng-Fu Wu of Stanfordville, N.Y.


John Reagan, Marc Tobias

Published: October 10, 2009

Dr. John Peter Reagan and Marc Ian Tobias are to affirm their partnership Sunday at the Boathouse in Central Park. Edie Reagan, Mr. Reagan’s sister, who is a chaplain, and Rabbi Marcia Rappaport are to lead the commitment ceremony.

Dr. Reagan (left), 48, is a chiropractor and a partner in Martino & Reagan Chiropractic in Manhattan. He graduated from Northeastern and received a doctor of chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College. He is a son of Jack Reagan of Ithaca, N.Y., and the late Amy L. Reagan.

Mr. Tobias, 38, is the vice president for operations at Americans for the Arts, an advocacy organization in Washington; he works in New York. He graduated from the University of Maryland. He is a son of Eileen Tobias of Mamaroneck, N.Y., and David H. Tobias of New York, and is a stepson of Ann Boyarsky.

Mazel Tov!


Thursday, October 15, 2009


Amid wedding and civil unions in the States, calls for throwing out Don't Ask Don't Tell, along with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ending job discrimination in the workplace for LGBTQ people, there is this news, that made me catch my breath:

The hanging of a young gay man in Iran because he is gay.

From the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees:

On October 6, 2009, Rahim Mohammadi was executed in Tabriz, a city in northwest Iran, after being convicted of sexual abuse and rape during sexual relations between males (a homosexual act called Lavat).
According to Rahim’s lawyer (here), Mr. Mohammad Mostafayi, there was not enough evidence presented to the court to prove such accusations; the court nevertheless decided that once a person is convicted of Lavat, he must be executed. Mostafayi, who had not been informed of the court’s decision once it was handed down - and was only contacted after his client Rahim had been executed - wrote a letter of further explanation to the authorities.

I caught this first on towleroad, and then through And we know that LGBT people are intimidated in Iraq as well.

As a matter of justice, we need to tell the world these stories, for they won't be telecast via CNN, MSNBC, let alone ABC, NBC, or CBS news. We must raise an uproar of this gross injustice.

Click here for more.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Queer Spawn" and other buttons

I came back from the COLAGE gathering with some buttons that Parker isn't hopping to wear, but Adrianne, his sister, might:
"Queer Spawn"
"I love my gay dad"
"Family Equality"

What was fun this past weekend was going to Disney World's Magic Kingdom with some of the other board members who wore t-shirts that said "Queer Spawn" and "You know what's really gay? My family!"

What a weekend!



Anti-Religious Backlash? Really?

A note of incredulity:

Elder Dallin H. Oaks referred to gay marriage as an “alleged civil right” in an address at Brigham Young University-Idaho that church officials described as a significant commentary on current threats to religious freedom.

Oaks suggested that atheists and others are seeking to intimidate people of faith and silence their voices in the public square, according to his prepared remarks.

“The extent and nature of religious devotion in this nation is changing,” said Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a church governing body. “The tide of public opinion in favor of religion is receding, and this probably portends public pressures for laws that will impinge on religious freedom.”


Religion and religious people seem to be doing quite well in today's society. While those who are Mormon, and their leadership, may feel they are under attack because of the CA Prop. 8 debacle, that is a whole other issue: Mormon's, from out of state, paid the "big bucks" to promote denying Californians of the right to marry.

Click here for more.

The leadership of the Mormons then equated themselves with African American people during the most challenging days of the civil rights marches of the 50s and 60s.

Incredulity: really? It is one thing to be born who you are (African American) and choose who you are (Mormons). And those who are African American in this country faced slavery, lynchings, abuse, anger, hatred...




Tuesday, October 13, 2009

To Lavi and Sebastian: Congrats

From the

Sebastian Dungan and Lavi Soloway

Published: October 10, 2009

Sebastian Alexis Dungan and Lavi Sholem Soloway were married Tuesday in Toronto. Justice Harvey P. Brownstone of the Ontario Court of Justice officiated in his chambers. On Saturday, Mr. Soloway’s law partner, Noemi Masliah, led a ceremony in Water Mill, N.Y., at the home of Barry Skovgaard and Marc Wolinsky, friends of the couple.

Skip to next paragraph
Albane Navizet

Albane Navizet

Left, Sebastian Dungan with Lavi Soloway and his daughter, Lily.

Mr. Dungan (left), 37, is an independent film producer in Los Angeles. He produced “Transamerica,” which was released in 2005. He graduated from Yale.

He is the son of Sylviane Dungan and Andrew C. Dungan, both of Los Angeles. His father is a school psychologist at Hazeltine Elementary School and the Montague Charter Academy, both in Los Angeles. His mother is a real estate agent for Nelson Shelton & Associates in Beverly Hills, Calif. He is the stepson of Vivian S. Dungan.

Mr. Soloway, 43, is a partner in the law firm Masliah & Soloway in New York. He works there and in Los Angeles. He is also a founder of Immigration Equality, a nonprofit advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and H.I.V.-positive immigrants. He graduated from the University of Toronto and received a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

He is a son of the late Pearl Soloway and the late Irving B. Soloway, who lived in Toronto. His mother owned the Medical Test Center, a laboratory in Montreal. His father was a pharmacist at the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto.

The couple met online in August 2007. Mr. Soloway had posted a photograph of himself holding Lily, his 3-month-old daughter, he said, thinking that “It would weed out people who are not interested in parenting.”

Mr. Dungan saw the picture and was intrigued. “I was impressed that he’d had the courage to be a single dad, which was something I was contemplating,” he said. “Plus, he was really cute.”

Mr. Dungan sent an e-mail message, congratulating Mr. Soloway on becoming a father.

They lived on opposite coasts — Mr. Dungan in Los Angeles and Mr. Soloway in New York. “I was probably more effusive than I’d normally be since I thought I’ll never meet this person so I might as well be honest,” Mr. Dungan said.

Mr. Soloway described his first reaction: “A Hollywood producer who lives in L.A., I thought there wasn’t even much point in reading it.” But Mr. Dungan’s words grabbed him. “I thought this is an unusual, creative mind, the way he presented his likes and dislikes and explained his interest in my profile.”

A lively e-mail correspondence became long nightly telephone calls. Then a few weeks later, Mr. Dungan came to New York on business and the two met for coffee.

Mr. Soloway brought Lily, who was in a stroller.

“It was never a negative,” Mr. Dungan said. “The fact that Lily was there just made it more serious from the get-go.” He was also pleasantly surprised that Mr. Soloway lived up to his picture. “That was a good sign to begin with.”

They spent a couple of hours walking around NoHo, where Mr. Dungan stopped to buy a blazer, which Mr. Soloway thought was strange on a first date — although, he admitted, perhaps not as strange as bringing a baby to a first date.

On the plane back to Los Angeles, Mr. Dungan said, “I realized that I missed him already.”

Maine: For Eqality of Marriage Video/Youtube

All the blogs are showing this moving ad for marriage equality in Maine. There is an ad with a dad defending his daughter's right to marry her partner. This is the Mom's view:

So: what would happen if ALL our mothers of LGBTQ children did such an ad? I'm just saying...

Pace, B

Monday, October 12, 2009

Harvey Milk Day in CA

He actually did it in the dark of night: signed a bill making one day a week Harvey Milk Day in CA.

And he signed another bill, in which CA will honor marriages of LGBTQ couples performed in other states. Of course, they use to marry LGBTQ couples in CA until last year.

Click here for more.

Pace, B

Saturday, October 10, 2009

COLAGE Weekend

I am sitting in the Orlando, FL airport, awaiting my shuttle to the Best Western Plaza Hotel, meeting the other Board and staff of COLAGE.

This is very good indeed.

I am looking forward to learning much from COLAGE, especially in their incredible organizational abilities in pulling together all the energies of sons and daughters of LGBTQ parents or guardians, and becoming a real presence and movement in this world.

I hope to share some of my experience and passion in the coming months and years.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Washington, DC: Next in Line for Marriage Equality

Even though the title of the article on is "Gay Marriage D.C." (because it is a marriage between two consensual adults, and it won't matter if they are gay or straight), let us celebrate that D.C. is about to go the way of MA, Iowa, NH, ME, CT., and soon NJ, NY...

We're on a roll...maybe even NC!

Click here for more.



Mary Cheney is Pregnant

I believe that being LGBTQ is a non-political/omni-political phenomenon.

So, that being said: Mary Cheney, Dick and Lynne Cheney's daughter, is preggers for a second time.

What was sad with the first pregnancy is that there was never an official White House photo of the child with parents, but child with grandparents.

Really? Dick and Lynne didn't have the baby.

What is awkward is when Mary Cheney votes against her rights, and the rights of her partner, and the rights of her child.

"Despite her sexuality, Cheney has remained a conservative voice and supporter of her father’s campaigns, though she has all but disappeared from the public view since 2004 — even staying silent on the Bush Administration’s Federal Marriage Amendment to the chagrin of gay rights groups."

Click here for more.




Intersecting Identities: African American, Congregational (UCC) Minister, and Gay

I've not addressed this issue of intersecting identities, but this article about Benjamin Reynolds--Rev. Benjamin Reynolds--caught my intention. He is a UCC minister who is working as a transitional/interim pastor in a UCC church, and he is African American, and he is gay.

What Reynolds speaks of eloquently is what it "feels like" to being an African American who is Christian and gay, because historically black churches are, or tend to be, more homophobic than white churches:

In a report published in 2005 by the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, Elijah Ward wrote: "Both directly and indirectly, black churches have been identified as fostering homophobia ... Indeed, theologically driven homophobia, aided by black nationalist ideology, supports a strong and exaggerated sense of masculinity within black communities that, along with homophobia, takes a significant but generally unexamined psychic and social toll on people's lives."

Reynolds can testify to the accuracy of Ward's statement. In 2006, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, a congregation that grew from 125 members in 1992 to as many as 1,500 while under his leadership, voted to dismiss him as senior pastor after he came out at a congregational meeting.

Indeed, the term transitional is apt for Reynolds. He is not only serving as the interim minister for Pilgrim but he is also on his own journey, searching for a place where he can be true to both his calling as a preacher and identity as a gay black man.

Reynolds was also married, with children, and tried to pour himself into his marriage, into being a heterosexual. But, alas, God had other plans: that Reynolds would live in truth:

"My marriage wasn't doing well," he said. "We were a good face for the people, but we weren't having a good marriage. What I was doing to my daughter and the damage I was doing to her mother led me to the point where I felt I needed to divorce."

During his divorce, Reynolds enrolled at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver where for the first time he found language that gave him faith he could be both gay and a Christian minister. At the same time, he had become the primary care giver to his gay younger brother, who died two years later from complications with HIV.

"Through that journey," he said, "one of the freeing things my brother gave me was that I should live my life as who I am. His freedom in life and death enabled me to come to some rationale about that."

While at Iliff, Reynolds discovered how resistant his church was to having a gay man be a minister of the gospel. On the night he came out, one of the deacons approached him and said, "Everyone in this church knows that you are gay, but I'm mad as hell that you told us."

What is interesting is that the Church where he interim pastor--Pilgrim Church (UCC)--is also experiencing new growth, as is Reynolds.

You can click here for more.

Intersecting identities is very important: one is more than being "gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or queer expressing." We are male or female, rich, poor, young, old, black, white, etc. And all these cultural contexts shape and change us. And we change these contexts as we tell and live our story.

Live the story. Tell the story.

Pace! B

Monday, October 5, 2009

Don't Ask Don't Tell: Failed Policy

This from the yesterday, Oct. 4, 2009, this op-ed was published, advocating tossing out Don't Ask Don't Tell policy because it does not help unit cohesion:

The author of the essay, Col. Om Prakash, effectively demolishes the primary, wrongheaded rationale for the law: that unit cohesion would be harmed if homosexuals served openly. Several other countries, including Australia, Canada, Israel and Britain, have lifted bans on homosexuals serving openly with no adverse effects on military performance or readiness.

Colonel Prakash argues that the law has undermined unit cohesion, in part by compromising the integrity of homosexuals who have to dissemble and by posing a moral quandary for commanders — look the other way or risk discharging a valuable service member. He judged the policy a “costly failure” because of the lost manpower and the administrative costs of recruiting and separating homosexuals. He urged the Obama administration to examine how to repeal the ban.

We agree strongly with Colonel Prakash, and urge the Pentagon to press ahead with changes in its regulations to make implementing the “don’t ask” law more humane. Ultimately, Congress must repeal the 1993 statute. We are not confident that the Senate has enough enlightened members to overcome a filibuster. But if the military can show an open mind, surely lawmakers can summon the courage to end this sad chapter in history.

Click here for more.

BTW: Don't Ask Don't Tell doesn't work among clergypersons, lay leaders, religious leaders, etc., because it simply reinforces people lying and failing to live life as God intended: in the freedom of being who we were created to be as men and women.