Thursday, July 29, 2010

Question of the Week

Which LGBT figure from history—or the present—do you most admire?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Not Enough Men

Elisabeth Hasselbeck has got it sussed.

When Whoopi Goldberg, Hasselbeck's co-host on "The View," asked why there seems to be an increase in lesbians coming out later in life, Hasselbeck said that "the older men are going for younger women, leaving the women with no one."

Now you know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Question of the Week

Now that Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels have parted, who will be Melissa's next girlfriend?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Victory for Argentina

Argentina suffered a distinct blow when its promising soccer team was bounced from the World Cup. What did the country do to pick up its spirits?

It passed gay marriage.

Argentina is the first nation in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. Gays and lesbians in Argentina will have all the legal rights and responsibilities that marriage affords straight couples.

Goal!

The days leading up to the momentous decision were infused with pressure, both sides pushing and pushing. About the only thing missing were vuvuzelas.

And for all I know, some Argentine soccer fans brought those horns home from South Africa and blew them in the streets of Buenos Aires, aggravating people on both sides of the marriage battle.

The issue of same-sex marriage pitted the Catholic Church against Argentine President Cristina Fernandez. Time.com reported that Buenos Aires archbishop and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio said, "This is no mere legislative bill, it is a move by the father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God."

Fernandez responded that Bergoglio's statement was "really reminiscent of the times of the Inquisition."

The hyperbole was sky-high enough to tickle St. Peter's feet.

Polls indicated a solid majority of Argentines favored same-sex marriage, even though the country is overwhelmingly Catholic. With the president of the nation a strong supporter of the bill, and the lower chamber having approved it in May, all that remained was for Argentina's Senate to get in the game.

In a march organized by the Catholic Church and evangelical groups, 60,000 people descended on Congress the evening before the vote. Same-sex marriage supporters held smaller, loud rallies. As the final debate took place inside Congress, opponents stood outside reciting the rosary in freezing temperatures, and supporters chanted equality slogans.

These people must've wondered if the senators had escaped out the back door—the vote didn't take place until 4:05 a.m., after 15 hours of debate. The game lasted so long it went into penalty kicks.

"Marriage between a man and a woman has existed for centuries, and is essential for the perpetuation of the species," asserted Sen. Juan Perez Alsina, according to The Associated Press.

Sen. Norma Morandini compared the discrimination closeted gays experience to the oppression Argentina's past dictators imposed. "What defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance," Morandini said.

With that, every dictator rose from his grave and tried to give her a red card, but no one noticed.

At the end of the long, tense session, the Argentine Senate approved same-sex marriage 33-27, with three abstentions. Argentina became the 10th nation in the world to approve gay marriage.

On the same day the Catholic Church lost the game, the Vatican announced that the "attempted ordination" of women is now one of the most serious crimes under church law, on a par with clerical sexual abuse of children. Altogether, the Catholic Church is shooting on the wrong goal.

The first legal same-sex wedding is scheduled for Aug. 13. Ernesto Rodriguez Larrese, 60, will wed Alejandro Vanelli, 61. The men have lived together for 34 years, so presumably they require no pre-wedding counseling.

Mexico City, which legalized gay marriage last year, made an offer the guys might not be able to refuse. The city's tourism minister promised a free honeymoon to the first gay couple wed in Argentina. The minister seeks to recognize tolerance and to promote gay tourism, a healthy, eminently practical combo.

By the way, the two World Cup finalists, Spain and Holland, both legalized gay marriage. All the soccer-playing nations in the world, and it was those two that made it. I'm just sayin' . . .

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Question of the Week

How would you rate President Obama's handling of GLBT issues so far?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Y oh Y?

The YMCA announced on Monday that henceforth it's to be known as the Y, and a certain disco band is not pleased.

Village People's mega-hit "Y.M.C.A." is still played relentlessly at weddings and ballgames. The group, whose utterly gay sensibility slid into the mainstream, issued a statement on the change: "We are deeply dismayed by today's announcement from the YMCA that they feel a name change and a rebranding are in order after 166 years. Some things remain iconic and while we admire the organization for the work they do, we still can't help but wonder Y."

I'm wondering about that Y, too. Will we now form just a Y with our arms when the anthem is played and leave out the other letters? That will be a boon to those who never figured out the motions, anyway.

I guess the song will now go, "It's fun to stay at the Y! It's fun to stay at the Y!" Ooh, shrill.

If you're getting married this summer, stick with the Chicken Dance.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Question of the Week

Which of the seven "Gilligan's Island" characters (Gilligan, the Skipper, Thurston Howell III, Lovey Howell, Ginger, the Professor, Mary Ann) do you think was in the closet while marooned?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Change Tackles the Rugby World

Things do change.

Consider the case of Gareth Thomas, an international rugby star. The Welshman is 6'3" and a muscular 225 pounds. He's busted his nose five times, fractured both shoulders and a hip and an arm, lost eight teeth and been concussed an average of three times a year.

Rugby is such a wussy sport.

You wouldn't think Thomas would be afraid of anything. But he was, in a bone-deep way. He feared that people would find out he was gay.

In the May 3 issue of Sports Illustrated, writer Gary Smith delved into Thomas' psyche, his years of striving to be fitter, louder, drunker than his teammates, his brothers. The man named to the Welsh national rugby team more often than anyone else fought to keep his secret from his rugged teammates and his rugged country.

You can guess how well that worked out.

In 2006, at a physical and emotional low, Thomas began telling people closest to him the truth, starting with his wife--generally a good choice.

He resisted going public until December of 2009, when, wrote Smith, "a now-or-never feeling gripped his chest. He was 35, his international career finished, and he trusted his Cardiff Blues teammates and coaches." Thomas knew coming out as an active player rather than in retirement would have a far greater impact.

Hours after he came out in print, he found himself in a game sporting the jersey the team occasionally wears for away matches—the pink one.

At least the ball wasn't rainbow-striped.

The man Sports Illustrated called "the world's bravest athlete" for being the only out active player on a major men's team sport has become a changed fella, a visible gay force.

In the months since coming out, he's talked about homophobia on TV and at universities, and become a patron of LGBT History Month. Thomas wants to help kids. "I want to be the gay role model I never had. The note I got from a guy who gave up rugby years ago because he was gay and has returned to playing it since I came out—that outweighs lifting the biggest trophy as captain of Wales."

Such notes won't break any part of his anatomy, either. Except perhaps his heart.

It's not just one man who has changed. The reaction from teammates, fans, the media has been largely positive. Paul Burston, a gay editor who hails from Thomas' Welsh hometown, said, "Something really deep is changing. There's still a lot of homophobia, but it's not something you let out in genteel company now. It's been stigmatized."

How great is that? The stigma is now on the other rugby boot.

Thomas, who was planning to retire, felt so invigorated that he signed on with a team in northern Wales to play two years of an even faster and more physical brand of rugby. Either he's feeling suddenly, wonderfully free, or the man has had one too many concussions.

On March 26, in his second game for the Crusaders, his squad played the Castleford Tigers in Yorkshire, England. Tigers fans subjected Thomas to homophobic taunting. Some of those Yorkshire lads would rather hurl themselves into the scrum than go along with this change thing.

But they may have to. On June 29, the Rugby Football League (RFL) slapped the Castleford club with a fine of about $60,000. The RFL said, "Castleford were found guilty of unacceptable behaviour, of breaching the RFL's respect policy, of misconduct by their supporters and of conduct prejudicial to the interests of the sport."

Here's my very un-British reaction: Yeehaw! First Thomas came out, now the league has his back. Finally everybody's on the same team.