Sunday, February 28, 2010

HRC Gathering: Political Action

Last night, Sat., Feb. 27, 2010, we attended the Lewis Black show at UNC.

Meanwhile, across in Raleigh, NC, there was the Human Rights Campaign Soiree at the Raleigh Convention Center. It is the second largest gathering in the HRC statewide campaigns, combining NC and SC.

Pam from Pam's House Blend was there, and I thought she had a great point about the gathering which she attended (along with Mandy Carter):
while money is the base of support any organization needs, in the case of LGBT rights in NC, we have a serious disconnect -- these wingnuts in our legislature don't think they really have a significant amount of LGBT constituents because they don't see/hear them. They don't know how much financial clout is out there. They only seem to have a vague notion, like pathetic Sen. James Forrester, who had an epic bigot eruption the other day, that something is amiss.
"The (state) Senate is as liberal as I've ever seen it," Forrester said at the monthly meeting of the Iredell County Young Republicans on Tuesday night in Mooresville. "Slick city lawyers and homosexual lobbies and African American lobbies are running Raleigh," Forrester added.
As long as we are nameless and faceless "lobbies," it's easy to ignore or oppose state anti-discrimination legislation, since they are far more likely to hear from fundies than LGBT North Carolinians. We have to change that somehow.

Good point!



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sports on the Brain

There is a lot of sports and athletics around me. Last night I went and saw Jeff Sheng's "Fearless" photo exhibit, in which Jeff took incredibly good photos and captured the stories of high school and college athletes from around the nation. Go to for more on this fantastic exhibit. It is amazing to hear these coming out stories.

What was most amazing was this little fact: few women of color who are LGBTQ wanted to be photographed because they have a harder time in the field of athletics with more harassment than say white young out gay men.

Then there is this story from SI on Brendan Burke's father, Brian Burke, continues to tell the story of his gay son who died in a car accident. Brendan's dad is a hockey coach with the Olympic team:

The thrumming rain is a dreary counterpoint to the rainbow banners on the lampposts at the corner of Davie and Bute in the West End, heart of Vancouver's gay village. Steps away, at the entrance to Pride House, on the eve of the Winter Olympics' opening ceremonies, there is an inescapable truth: The heavens do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. When it rains, everyone gets wet.

Pride House is not like Molson Canadian Hockey House or Irish House or Casa Italia or any of the party houses that sprout during the Olympic fortnight to promote a brand or a nation. Pride House is an LGBT welcome center, and the building looks as if it would fit comfortably on the campus of a modestly funded state college. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was just held an hour earlier. Up a flight of stairs is a medical clinic, a TV room and an alcove with a long table on which there are glasses of white wine and plates of tired cold cuts.

"I love the man's attitude," Trevor MacNeil is saying. MacNeil is a hockey guy, a forward on the Cutting Edges, a team of gay players in a Vancouver adult league. "For Brian Burke to say, Yes, I drive a truck and I hunt, but Brendan's my son and I love him no matter what—well, for me that was shocking and great. It gives you a warm feeling knowing someone like him can be so affirmative. He's trying to make being gay in sports a nonissue. When I heard about his son's death and found links to some articles, that's when I learned Brendan had come out. I didn't realize Brendan was born in Vancouver."

So because Burke is general manager of Team USA, MacNeil might cheer for the Americans? "Hell, no," he says. "It's still Canada all the way. Brendan was Canadian."

What a world we live in.



Monday, February 22, 2010

VA: Not Safe to be Gay

Today, the Republican Governor of VA, by executive order, stated that "sexual orientation" is not allowed to be part of the "non-discrimination" policy of the state government.

Having been denied tenure at a major institution of higher education because I am gay, I know how this one feels.

Now a person who is gay can be fired for being gay and have no recourse. A person can be investigated for being gay and be fired.

No person who is gay and hired by the state of VA is safe.


"Virginia is for lovers?"

I think not.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

We're All Mad

There are days--and days upon days--that we who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans parents are simply living in a world that seems daffier, weirder, stranger, sillier, and madder than those who are straight.

I read this from "Alice in Wonderland," a story line between the Cheshire Cat and Alice:

'In that direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, 'lives a Hatter: and in that direction,' waving the other paw, 'lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.'
'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you ca'n't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,' said the Cat, 'or you wouldn't have come here'.

Ah, it is good to know that we have company some times!



Friday, February 19, 2010

"Ya'll Come Out!": Divorce Folks, What Say Ye?

Amid all the amendments that will be coming to the fore in light of the upcoming General Assembly of the Presby. Church (USA), there probably will not be an amendment concerning divorced ordained officers. Even though Jesus is quite clear about the "no no" of divorce in the Gospel of Matthew, we allow divorced people to ordained positions but not out LGBTQ people,even though Jesus said nothing toward those of us who are LGBTQ.


Along this line, there is this bit from Andrew Sullivan's blog re: the Catholic Church dropping foster care services for the D.C. area, because of the D.C. Council approving equal rights in the area of marriage:

I despair.

A simple parallel: does the Washington diocese's charities employ any people who have been civilly divorced and are now re-married under DC law? If so, how are these individuals less offensive to the teachings of the Church on the institution of marriage than a member of a gay couple provided civil marriage licenses?

Catholic doctrine is very clear: a remarried person is not remarried in the eyes of the Church, and for the Church to employ such a person would be to recognize a civil marriage that violates one of its core principles. There are infinitely more of these individuals than there are gay Catholics or gay non-Catholics who might want to help the homeless or serve the poor or provide foster care for an abandoned child. Catholic Charities might - Heaven forfend - have to provide spousal benefits to a member of a heterosexual couple violating Church doctrine about matrimony in exactly the same way. And almost certainly, they already do all the time.

Have Catholic Charities ever considered shutting down their entire city contracts for the needy because of the chance that this might happen or might have already happened? Of course not. So why this glaring inconsistency on the question of homosexuals - unless it is driven by animus against them?

I believe Andrew is right on this score.




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NH Votes

NH House rejects a gay marriage ban. Click here for more.

Uganda still has not rejected the idea of making it nigh to impossible for gay men to live and be in relationship.

DADT is going to go through mud bath before being over turned.

And the Catholic Church has ceased its foster children program in DC because of their stand on equal rights in the realm of marriage.

That's an update!



Friday, February 12, 2010

Enough is Enough: LGBTQ People Coming Out, Marrying, Dating...and Facing the Consequences

I heard Morgan Freeman, the actor, last night on PBS, on a show taped in the White House, celebrating the history of African American people. Freeman made told the story of the one day when African American people simply one day said, "Enough is enough...and no army, no military, no police officers, no sheriff, no governor, no President, could stop the liberation and civil rights movement."

This is what is happening on the continent of Africa, be it Malawi, Uganda, or in today's news, Kenya. From the Daily Nation:

A same-sex marriage that was planned to take place in the coastal town failed to take off as two men who announced the wedding went into hiding.

Police were forced to intervene to save the three men who residents had accused of being "notorious gays" who were behind the spread of the practice in the town.

Two men suspected of being a couple by residents were flushed out of their apartment within the town and police found wedding rings on their fingers.

Click here for more.

Enough is enough.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Rose is a Rose, But is a Gay a Homosexual?

You have to love it, for all the irony that it presents us:

More people accept open gay people serving in the military than support open homosexuals serving in the military.

From the

As the Obama administration proposes repealing the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that a majority of the public support allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.

There’s less support, however, for allowing homosexuals to serve openly.


The results highlight the importance of wording on the issue. In a test, half of the poll’s respondents were asked their opinion on permitting “gay men and lesbians” to serve, and the other half were asked about permitting “homosexuals” to serve.

A rose is a rose is a rose.

But a gay is not a homosexual.

Words DO matter.

So: a similar poll should be taken in churches: do people support open and out gays as ordained clergy than open and out homosexuals?

I am not a fan of the term "homosexual" myself.

Click here for more.



Pushing Boundaries: Divorce and Marriage

In order to show or demonstrate to people the insanity in which we live part of our lives, there have been truly awkward public promotions that jostle us, as a society, out of our slumber. For example, after Prop. 8 won victory in CA, there was a move to amend the CA Constitution to prohibit divorce among heterosexuals. Why? Because the argument that many supporters of Prop 8 used was the sanctity=pro-creation of marriage=better lives for the kids having two parents. Of course, those who were for Prop 8 also want the right to divorce.

Now, Brian Feldman, a performing artist in FL, is putting on a one-person play--well, maybe more than that--which involves him going to Orlando, FL city hall and getting a wedding license and getting married to whichever woman over the age of 18 shows up.

From his Facebook website:
As a pre-Valentine’s Day commentary, acclaimed conceptual artist Brian Feldman (and one of the 20 Coolest People in Orlando according to aXis Magazine) will marry any woman (must be a U.S. citizen with no legal liabilities) who shows up to the Orange County Courthouse Marriage License Office in Downtown Orlando on Monday, February 8, 2010 at 3pm. This may result in the marrying of a woman he doesn’t know, has never met and for all intents and purposes does not love.

YES - you read that correctly - Brian Feldman will join in matrimony with a total stranger, and that stranger could be YOU!

Is this entire project a mockery of marriage? Not at all! It’s completely within the legal rights of Brian and any other heterosexual couple with $123.50 (plus $6 for a standard marriage certificate). Sound absurd? Not nearly absurd as denying the equal right to marry for same-sex couples who truly care about each other; who’ve been in committed, productive and, most importantly, loving relationships for upwards of 20+ years. That, to Brian, and millions of Americans who believe in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, is truly absurd - to say nothing of a civil injustice.

Click here for more.



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Poll on DADT

Sometimes polls are a helpful "snapshot" of what people are thinking.

A poll on DADT, from

A new Quinnipiac University national poll shows majorities of American voters think gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military and that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy constitutes discrimination.

According to the poll, voters surveyed said that gays should be allowed to serve openly by a margin of 57% to 36%. Respondents also said that DADT is discrimination by a margin of 66% to 31%.

Click here for more.

What is amazing is that this trend is likely to continue.

And once LGBTQ people are capable of serving out and proud, then there will be other parts of society that LGBTQ people will be capable of serving out and proud. This is because people will point to the military service as a laboratory where LGBTQ openly serve, and serve well.

It could evenly convince many in the church to reconsider their point of view.

The Spirit is moving.



Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gay Men and Inheritance

How do we pass on the gay gene if we are not in a heterosexual relationship, if LGBTQ is a natural phenomenon?

From Canada, there is this study:

It's a question which has troubled science since Darwin: if homosexuality is, at least in part, inherited, how are those genes being passed down to new generations?

Canadian researchers say they have found the first evidence to back up the theory that gay men have the evolutionary advantage of being "super uncles", a way of enhancing the survival prospects of close relatives and — indirectly, at least — making it more likely their genes are passed on.

Paul Vasey, associate professor in the University of Lethbridge's department of psychology, said his research found evidence that gay men may be more willing to support their nieces and nephews financially and emotionally.

The idea is that homosexuals are helping their close relatives reproduce more successfully and at a higher rate by being helpful: babysitting more, tutoring their nieces and nephews in art and music, and helping out financially with things like medical care and education.

The question of whether homosexuality clashes with evolution has puzzled scientists for decades. The trait appears to be inheritable — but because homosexual men are much less likely to produce offspring than heterosexual men, researchers have struggled to explain why the genes for the trait weren't extinguished long ago.

"Maybe it's in this way that they're indirectly passing on at least some of the genes that they're sharing with their kin," he said.

Click here for more.



Thursday, February 4, 2010

President Obama: Pro-Equal Rights in Marriage?

Read and listen to these words by Pres. Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, especially the words in blue ink:

We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth. We can take different approaches to ending inequality, but surely we can agree on the need to lift our children out of ignorance; to lift our neighbors from poverty. We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.

Surely we can agree to find common ground when possible, parting ways when necessary. But in doing so, let us be guided by our faith, and by prayer. For while prayer can buck us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer can stiffen our spines to surmount an obstacle -- and I assure you I'm praying a lot these days -- (laughter) -- prayer can also do something else. It can touch our hearts with humility. It can fill us with a spirit of brotherhood. It can remind us that each of us are children of a awesome and loving God.

I was mighty impressed when I heard these words.

So isn't Obama pro-equal rights in the case of marriage?



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love on ABC

In making my way to "Heroes" on NBC, we usually click onto "The Bachelor" on ABC.

The premise of this show is easy: guy (bachelor) has a harem of single girls to choose among to be his wife.

And he gets to try them all out before making a decision.

Literally: he gets to try them all out.

And the women, who keep on referring to themselves in a juvenile fashion, a.k.a., "girls," fall all over themsevles and all over the bachelor.

So much for feminist liberation.

Amid the fears and concerns of traditional evangelicals, I've not heard much from this corner of the world about this show.

So why is everyone horrified if a gay or lesbian couple hold hand or kiss in public, but say not one word aout this bachelor party?




DADT: Ding Dong the DADT Is (Nearing) Death

Well, well, well: it is a beginning.

Sec. Bob Gates and Adm. Mullen went before Congress and started the ball rolling on ending the 16 year injustice of DADT: Don't Ask Don't Tell. Supported by Colin Powell at the time he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the military service and Clinton was President, this awful bill and policy made people lie about who they were and are, and kept people in the lie and lying about who they are. Lying was actively promoted by the U.S. government...though this is nothing new.

From the

“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said it was his personal and professional belief that “allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.”

But both Admiral Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told the committee they needed more time to review how to carry out the change in policy, which requires an act of Congress, and predicted some disruption to the armed forces.

Click here for more.

The time line is 2012. They have to figue out how to make a smooth transition, though, as posted earlier, this seems a delay tactic more than anything else. LGBTQ are already serving in the military service. They are already supporting partners and children. They are already living on bases. Just take the policies for heteros, and include homos.

Now for the Church to follow suit and end DADT among clergy and other religious leaders.

It's a step forward.