Friday, December 23, 2011

Going Gaga for the Holidays

The Portland Gay Men's Chorus combines holiday sentiment with Lady Gaga. Looks like it was to all a good night.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Question of the Week

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

A Change . . . for All of Us

Wow.  I saw this picture all over the LGBT blogosphere last night.  Then this morning I picked up my Seattle Times and there it was on the front page.  The naval buss went mainstream media.

But of course.  This is a national story, the way the military is adapting to the end of DADT.  I'm just so used to our stories being segregated that my first reaction was surprise.

Give me a moment while I adjust my thinking.  I believe the switch is behind my left ear.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An SCTV Xmas Offering

What's not to like?  Ethel Merman, Orson Welles, and dueling divas Liberace and Elton John.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah

In honor of the start of Hanukkah, here's a joke that made me laugh today:

A woman goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Hanukkah cards.
She says to the clerk, “May I have 50 Hanukkah stamps?”
The clerk says, “What denomination?”
The woman says, “Oh my God. Has it come to this? Give me 6 Orthodox, 12 Conservative, and 32 Reform.”

This Week's Quote

If I had to live my life again, I'd make all the same mistakes—only sooner.

Tallulah Bankhead

Source:  Glibquips

Monday, December 19, 2011

Helping out on the Resolution Front

I've taken the liberty of composing New Year's resolutions for individuals who are just too busy to do it themselves.

Newt Gingrich:  1.  Lose weight.  2.  Win the Republican nomination.  3.  Win the presidential election.  4.  Gloat.

Mitt Romney:  1.  Win the Republican nomination.  2.  Win the presidential election.  3.  Sentence Newt Gingrich to Devil's Island.

Herman Cain:  1.  Land a gig on Fox.  2.  See a marriage counselor with Gloria.  3.  Find a new piece of chicken on the side.

Rick Santorum:  1.  Lose the Republican nomination.  2.  Sulk.

Michele Bachmann:  1.  Win the Republican nomination.  2.  If that fails, angle for the vice-presidential nomination.  3.  Confront Marcus once and for all.  4.  Introduce legislation removing all gay people to Key West—at least Marcus will be warm.

Marcus Bachmann:  1.  Reconcile my faith, my orientation and my choices.  2.  Not.

Rick Perry:  1.  Burn the jacket I wore in the antigay video.  2.  Remain firmly ignorant about everything.

Ron Paul:  1.  Lose the Republican nomination.  2.  Declare Houston a new libertarian nation.  3.  Deny foreign aid to Dallas.

Jon Huntsman:  1.  Come from behind, way behind, and win the Republican nomination.  2.  Failing that, accept a cabinet post—in the Obama administration.

Fred Karger:  1.  Be denied entry to the Republican National Convention.  2.  Lose the Republican nomination.  3.  Start planning for 2016.

Sarah Palin:  1.  Get Todd his own reality show on snowmobile racing.  2.  Win the Arizona Senate seat.  3.  See Russia from Scottsdale.

Donald Trump:  1.  Convince the world I'm the most important person in it.

Barack Obama:  1.  Recapture the White House.  2.  Work on my place in history.  3.  Resume smoking, no matter what Michelle says.

Michelle Obama:  1.  Campaign like crazy.  2.  Urge America to support Iraq veterans.  3.  Rotate my crops.

Bo Obama:  1.  Locate an irreplaceable White House antique and eat it.

John Boehner:  1.  Do my part to get a Republican in the White House.  2.  Perfect my tan so Sports Illustrated has to ask me to model in the swimsuit issue.

Barney Frank:  1.  Serve effectively in Congress until my final term in finished.  2.  Try not to laugh when people suggest I lead the HRC.

Tammy Baldwin:  1.  Win Wisconsin's tough Senate race.  2.  Publicly downplay that I'm the first openly gay U.S. Senator.  3.  Privately tingle all over.

Angela Merkel:  1.  Save the European Union.  2.  Vacation anywhere but Greece.

Pope Benedict XVI:  1.  Continue leading the Church backwards.  2.  Convince God I'm too valuable to be called home.

Grethe Cammermeyer:  1.  Make sure certain persons know I'm available to serve on the Joint Chiefs.

Steve Jobs:  1.  Reveal to the world that my consciousness now resides in Apple's latest product, the iMback.

Kim Kardashian:  1.  Become a spokesperson for gay marriage rights, even if they don’t want me.

Chaz Bono:  1.  Appear on several reality shows.  2.  Question reality.

Tinky Winky:  1.  Haunt Rick Perry by being Photoshopped in with him as often as possible.

Jerry Sandusky:  1.  Go down fighting.  2.  Go down lying.

Ian McKellen:  1.  As "The Hobbit" is edited, check to make sure I'm not being upstaged by Bofur, Bifur and Bombur.

Jane Lynch:  1.  Write another book.  2.  Host more awards shows.  3.  Star in "Glee" and appear in other shows.  4.  Continue doing ads.  5.  Throw in a movie.  6.  Avoid a nervous breakdown.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Question of the Week

At this point in mid-December, does the sound of Christmas carols make you feel happy or homicidal?

12 Gays A-Prancing

I'd forgotten how good these guys are.  Thanks, Lisa W., for reminding me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Week's Quote

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.

Dave Barry


Monday, December 12, 2011

One Definition

Thanks to George Murphy for passing along.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Perry Ad Fallout

For comparison's sake, here's Rick Perry's recent sop to Iowa conservative Christians:

YouTube is filling up with spoofs.  My favorite so far, courtesy of Andy Cobb from The Second City Network:

Not a few people have noticed that Perry's jacket in his ad is awfully similar to the one Heath Ledger wore in "Brokeback Mountain."  That along with the anti-gay nature of the ad have led to this image becoming deservedly popular:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Question of the Week

What's your pick for the gayest possible Christmas/Hanukkah gift?

Money in Marriage

Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009.  It's turned out to be a smart business move, according to a study released yesterday by the California-based Williams Institute.

Gays and their wedding guests added between $12 and $13 million to Iowa's economy in 2009 and 2010.

With the country in dire financial shape, can states afford to turn up their noses at this ready source of income?  Instead, shouldn't governors pledge to officiate at same-sex weddings?  Shouldn't legislatures pass tax breaks for gifts of stemware?

In the noble cause of the economic well-being of this nation, it's time for states like, say, Wyoming to launch a "Git Your Gay Selves Hitched Here" campaign.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Speech

I was going to pull out my favorite lines from Hillary Clinton's historic speech on LGBT rights, but there were too many.  A problem I can live with.

Here's the full text of the secretary of state's address, delivered yesterday in Geneva in advance of Human Rights Day.

Warning:  Reading the speech might make you giddy.

Good evening, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here. I want to thank Director General Tokayev and Ms. Wyden along with other ministers, ambassadors, excellencies, and UN partners. This weekend, we will celebrate Human Rights Day, the anniversary of one of the great accomplishments of the last century.

Beginning in 1947, delegates from six continents devoted themselves to drafting a declaration that would enshrine the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere. In the aftermath of World War II, many nations pressed for a statement of this kind to help ensure that we would prevent future atrocities and protect the inherent humanity and dignity of all people. And so the delegates went to work. They discussed, they wrote, they revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of hours. And they incorporated suggestions and revisions from governments, organizations, and individuals around the world.

At three o'clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN General Assembly called for a vote on the final text. Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.

In the 63 years since the declaration was adopted, many nations have made great progress in making human rights a human reality. Step by step, barriers that once prevented people from enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full experience of dignity, and the full benefits of humanity have fallen away. In many places, racist laws have been repealed, legal and social practices that relegated women to second-class status have been abolished, the ability of religious minorities to practice their faith freely has been secured.

In most cases, this progress was not easily won. People fought and organized and campaigned in public squares and private spaces to change not only laws, but hearts and minds. And thanks to that work of generations, for millions of individuals whose lives were once narrowed by injustice, they are now able to live more freely and to participate more fully in the political, economic, and social lives of their communities.

Now, there is still, as you all know, much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality, and progress for all people. Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country's record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.

Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs. So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.

The first issue goes to the heart of the matter. Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

The second issue is a question of whether homosexuality arises from a particular part of the world. Some seem to believe it is a Western phenomenon, and therefore people outside the West have grounds to reject it. Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.

Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality. And protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do. South Africa’s constitution, written in the aftermath of Apartheid, protects the equality of all citizens, including gay people. In Colombia and Argentina, the rights of gays are also legally protected. In Nepal, the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens. The Government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle anti-gay discrimination.

Now, some worry that protecting the human rights of the LGBT community is a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford. But in fact, in all countries, there are costs to not protecting these rights, in both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence, and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities, in ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are incurred whenever any group is treated as lesser or the other, whether they are women, racial, or religious minorities, or the LGBT. Former President Mogae of Botswana pointed out recently that for as long as LGBT people are kept in the shadows, there cannot be an effective public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS. Well, that holds true for other challenges as well.

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn't cultural; it's criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings. It was not only those who’ve justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.

The fourth issue is what history teaches us about how we make progress towards rights for all. Progress starts with honest discussion. Now, there are some who say and believe that all gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality is a disease that can be caught or cured, or that gays recruit others to become gay. Well, these notions are simply not true. They are also unlikely to disappear if those who promote or accept them are dismissed out of hand rather than invited to share their fears and concerns. No one has ever abandoned a belief because he was forced to do so.

Universal human rights include freedom of expression and freedom of belief, even if our words or beliefs denigrate the humanity of others. Yet, while we are each free to believe whatever we choose, we cannot do whatever we choose, not in a world where we protect the human rights of all.

Reaching understanding of these issues takes more than speech. It does take a conversation. In fact, it takes a constellation of conversations in places big and small. And it takes a willingness to see stark differences in belief as a reason to begin the conversation, not to avoid it.

But progress comes from changes in laws. In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate.

Many in my country thought that President Truman was making a grave error when he ordered the racial desegregation of our military. They argued that it would undermine unit cohesion. And it wasn't until he went ahead and did it that we saw how it strengthened our social fabric in ways even the supporters of the policy could not foresee. Likewise, some worried in my country that the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” would have a negative effect on our armed forces. Now, the Marine Corps Commandant, who was one of the strongest voices against the repeal, says that his concerns were unfounded and that the Marines have embraced the change.

Finally, progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. We need to ask ourselves, "How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love? How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?" This challenge applies to all of us as we reflect upon deeply held beliefs, as we work to embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity of all persons, and as we engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of creating greater understanding.

A fifth and final question is how we do our part to bring the world to embrace human rights for all people including LGBT people. Yes, LGBT people must help lead this effort, as so many of you are. Their knowledge and experiences are invaluable and their courage inspirational. We know the names of brave LGBT activists who have literally given their lives for this cause, and there are many more whose names we will never know. But often those who are denied rights are least empowered to bring about the changes they seek. Acting alone, minorities can never achieve the majorities necessary for political change.

So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress has fallen, it has taken a cooperative effort from those on both sides of the barrier. In the fight for women’s rights, the support of men remains crucial. The fight for racial equality has relied on contributions from people of all races. Combating Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism is a task for people of all faiths. And the same is true with this struggle for equality.

Conversely, when we see denials and abuses of human rights and fail to act, that sends the message to those deniers and abusers that they won’t suffer any consequences for their actions, and so they carry on. But when we do act, we send a powerful moral message. Right here in Geneva, the international community acted this year to strengthen a global consensus around the human rights of LGBT people. At the Human Rights Council in March, 85 countries from all regions supported a statement calling for an end to criminalization and violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the following session of the Council in June, South Africa took the lead on a resolution about violence against LGBT people. The delegation from South Africa spoke eloquently about their own experience and struggle for human equality and its indivisibility. When the measure passed, it became the first-ever UN resolution recognizing the human rights of gay people worldwide. In the Organization of American States this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights created a unit on the rights of LGBT people, a step toward what we hope will be the creation of a special rapporteur.

Now, we must go further and work here and in every region of the world to galvanize more support for the human rights of the LGBT community. To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes. They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.

And to people of all nations, I say supporting human rights is your responsibility too. The lives of gay people are shaped not only by laws, but by the treatment they receive every day from their families, from their neighbors. Eleanor Roosevelt, who did so much to advance human rights worldwide, said that these rights begin in the small places close to home – the streets where people live, the schools they attend, the factories, farms, and offices where they work. These places are your domain. The actions you take, the ideals that you advocate, can determine whether human rights flourish where you are.

And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people.

The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy. In our embassies, our diplomats are raising concerns about specific cases and laws, and working with a range of partners to strengthen human rights protections for all. In Washington, we have created a task force at the State Department to support and coordinate this work. And in the coming months, we will provide every embassy with a toolkit to help improve their efforts. And we have created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people.

This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad. Building on efforts already underway at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.

I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it.

The women and men who advocate for human rights for the LGBT community in hostile places, some of whom are here today with us, are brave and dedicated, and deserve all the help we can give them. We know the road ahead will not be easy. A great deal of work lies before us. But many of us have seen firsthand how quickly change can come. In our lifetimes, attitudes toward gay people in many places have been transformed. Many people, including myself, have experienced a deepening of our own convictions on this topic over the years, as we have devoted more thought to it, engaged in dialogues and debates, and established personal and professional relationships with people who are gay.

This evolution is evident in many places. To highlight one example, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in India two years ago, writing, and I quote, “If there is one tenet that can be said to be an underlying theme of the Indian constitution, it is inclusiveness.” There is little doubt in my mind that support for LGBT human rights will continue to climb. Because for many young people, this is simple: All people deserve to be treated with dignity and have their human rights respected, no matter who they are or whom they love.

There is a phrase that people in the United States invoke when urging others to support human rights: “Be on the right side of history.” The story of the United States is the story of a nation that has repeatedly grappled with intolerance and inequality. We fought a brutal civil war over slavery. People from coast to coast joined in campaigns to recognize the rights of women, indigenous peoples, racial minorities, children, people with disabilities, immigrants, workers, and on and on. And the march toward equality and justice has continued. Those who advocate for expanding the circle of human rights were and are on the right side of history, and history honors them. Those who tried to constrict human rights were wrong, and history reflects that as well.

I know that the thoughts I’ve shared today involve questions on which opinions are still evolving. As it has happened so many times before, opinion will converge once again with the truth, the immutable truth, that all persons are created free and equal in dignity and rights. We are called once more to make real the words of the Universal Declaration. Let us answer that call. Let us be on the right side of history, for our people, our nations, and future generations, whose lives will be shaped by the work we do today. I come before you with great hope and confidence that no matter how long the road ahead, we will travel it successfully together. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chic Sheath

Got a status-craver on your Christmas list?  Get him something he'll use . . . once.  For just $68, buy the man in your life a Louis Vuitton condom.  And let him experience the thrill of a designer dick.

This Week's Quote

In the early eighties, I was pretty innocent and confused.  I was like Marie Osmond, only with bigger eyelashes.

Boy George

Source:  The Mammoth Book of Great British Humor

Monday, December 5, 2011

Iowa Teen Argues the Good Argument

I give Jane Schmidt a world of credit.  The Iowa high school student held her own in an exchange with Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.  At Schmidt's age, shaking a candidate's hand was enough to make me forget my name.

I grew up in New Hampshire, where, due to the state's first-in-the-nation primary, presidential candidates are as abundant as black flies.  I assume the Iowa caucuses mean the Hawkeye State is likewise swarming with presidential wannabes.

These Famous and Important People are intimidating when you're young, and I couldn't have managed more than reading a question aloud before losing the use of my vocal cords.

Not so Jane Schmidt, on a recent day in the Pizza Ranch restaurant in Waverly, Iowa.  The Des Moines Register, which carried an account of the back-and-forth with Bachmann, didn't give Schmidt's age or her year in school, but did say she's the president of Waverly High School's Gay-Straight Alliance, so I'll think of her as a senior.

I'll also take a moment to drop my jaw that Waverly High even has a Gay-Straight Alliance.

Standing amidst a supportive crowd of about 65 people, mostly middle-aged and elderly, Michele Bachmann might've thought she was home free.  Then, as a CNN video showed, she and her microphone headed toward the student in the red plaid trooper hat.

Schmidt told Bachmann she was concerned about the lack of government support for the LGBT community.  Bachmann replied that the government's job is to protect civil rights.  "We all have the same civil rights," she concluded.

That would've been the moment where I'd have thought to myself, "There's something wrong with that statement and MY GOD everyone is staring at me."

Not Schmidt.  She responded, "Then, why can't same-sex couples get married?"

The candidate answered, "They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else.  They can marry a man if they're a woman.  Or they can marry a woman if they're a man."

Now that the country has gotten a peek at Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus, a sizable number of people believe that the woman is speaking from experience here.

Schmidt asked why two men can't marry, and Bachmann answered that's the law.  "So heterosexual couples have a privilege," responded Schmidt.

She was still being logical, while I'd have long since been carried away on a stretcher.

Straight couples have the same legal opportunity, said Bachmann.  "There is no right to same-sex marriage."

Except for where she was standing.  It escaped Bachmann's notice that same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa.

"So you won't support the LGBT community?" asked the student.

"No, I said that there are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices," said the congresswoman, who must've been annoyed at God for forcing her to talk about sex with a high school student in front of scads of Iowa senior citizens.

Ella Newell, a junior at the high school, tried to advance the point about privilege before the debate ended with Bachmann repeating that every American can marry, just someone of the opposite sex.

Most of Bachmann's statements received applause, probably as much an attempt to silence the girls as to indicate support.  But Schmidt carried on, doggedly and civilly, despite the disapproval of her neighbors, and despite the presence of reporters and cameras.

I hope someone bought her a pizza afterwards.  Unless she felt like throwing up.

After the exchange between the high school students and the congresswoman, a young man told Schmidt and Newell that they should "emulate" Bachmann.

Yes, if Schmidt conforms and turns into an always-feminine Christian soldier she could land a guy like him.

Now I'm sure she felt like throwing up.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cuteness for a Friday

Equal Rights Washington received this in the mail.

White House Photo

From the White House's Facebook page, an official photo of a red ribbon hanging from the North Portico to mark World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011.

Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tea Party Reaction to Frank

The Bilerico Project reported that when Barney Frank announced his retirement from Congress earlier this week (see below), the Tennessee Tea Party offered this tweet:

For some people, tweeting is identical to writing on the bathroom wall.  Without the body contortions.

In response to this Tea Party group calling a Congressman a "perverted sodomite piece of shit," Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips declared, "This statement does nothing to advance the goals of the Tea Party movement and goes a long way towards offending people we need to be involved. Barney Frank is the worst congressman in the last century, but dumb comments like that tweet do not help our cause."

These Tea Party folks react to Frank with obscenity and hyperbole.  He makes them plain crazy.  Yet another reason to miss him.

Question of the Week

Your thoughts on this World AIDS Day?

Dec. 1

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Week's Quote

The left and the right live in parallel universes. The right listens to talk radio, the left's on the Internet and they just reinforce one another. They have no sense of reality. I have now one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet.

Barney Frank


Monday, November 28, 2011

Bye Bye Barney

Rep. Barney Frank is calling it quits.  After 16 terms in office, the openly gay Massachusetts Democrat announced today that he's retiring in 2012.

"I was planning to run again and then the congressional redistricting came,” Frank, 71, said.  “I know my own capacity and energy levels and it would have been a mistake . . . I could not have put the requisite effort in.”


Congress loses a thinker and a wit.  We lose our fiercest representative.

The Washington Post reported Frank got in a barb at ex-House speaker Newt Gingrich, currently thriving in the GOP presidential race.

"I did not think I lived a good enough life to see Newt Gingrich as the Republican nominee," Frank said. "He would be the best thing to happen to Democrats since Barry Goldwater."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Marriage Monument-um

If same-sex marriage isn't stopped, marrying national monuments will be all the rage.

Dibs on Mt. Rushmore.

In this brief video, Tamara Scott, Iowa director for Concerned Women for America and the co-chair of Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign, says marriage equality will lead to polyamory and "objective sexualism," where people marry inanimate objects, and cites the case of a woman who considers herself married to the Eiffel Tower.

Imagine the size of the conjugal bed.

It's too easy to make fun of the way Scott pronounces "polyamory."  Instead I'd like to point out that the other figure in the video, Iowa antigay activist Bob Vander Plaats, is himself doing a good impression of an inanimate object.  Anybody feel a yearning to marry him?

This Week's Quote

Thanksgiving is an emotional time. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.

Johnny Carson


Monday, November 21, 2011

Kiss and Sell

Diplomacy suddenly got a whole lot friendlier.  Leaders of nations and leaders of faiths, instead of shaking hands, are kissing each other on the lips.

Global warming, indeed.

All this intimacy is courtesy of Benetton, the Italian clothing company, whose new ad campaign features unlikely duos smooching.

In one image, President Obama kisses Chinese leader Hu Jintao.  In another, Obama busses Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Needless to say, the pictures are fakes.  So it's no use wondering whether Obama considered the Chinese or the Venezuelan a better kisser.

The photos were expertly doctored.  The men have their eyes closed, their lips meet meaningfully and noses stay out of the way.

Above their heads is the word—if it is a word—"Unhate."  Clearly by pairing the leaders of countries that have tense relations, the ad sends a message about world peace.

Clearly by pairing heterosexual men, the ad sends a message that at Benetton they know, when it comes to shock value, it's hard to beat a gay twist.  This is their variation on "Gay is Good."

During past ad campaigns, Benetton earned a reputation for shocking.  Previous images included parents grieving over a man dying of AIDS, a priest and a nun kissing and a black woman breastfeeding a white baby.

In recent years, various Obama-haters have depicted him as a Muslim, a chimpanzee, a zombie and the devil.  That was to sell a philosophy, not Christmas bras.

It's unknown whether this queer depiction irritates Obama any more than the others did; the White House expressed displeasure on a different score.  Deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said in a statement, "The White House has a long-standing policy disapproving of the use of the president's name and likeness for commercial purposes."

Presidents who died long ago, however, are available to sell cars in February.

Obama, Hu and Chavez aren't the only ones to get the Benetton treatment.  In a momentary display of heterosexuality, French President Nicolas Sarkozy kisses German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu plants one on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

In the image that has created the biggest uproar so far, Pope Benedict XVI locks lips with Egyptian imam Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb.  The two haven't been on the best of terms all year, but to see this "Unhate" ad is to assume one of them said, "Let's kiss and make up."

The Guardian reported that after posters of this image went up around Italy, the Vatican responded unusually quickly, condemning such provocative advertising, and promising legal action to stop the use of a photo "in which the Holy Father appears in a way considered to be harmful, not only to the dignity of the pope and the Catholic church, but also to the sensibility of believers."

Who don't want to see their pit bull of homophobia kissing another fella.

Benetton immediately withdrew the image from everywhere.  "We reiterate that the meaning of this campaign is exclusively to combat the culture of hatred in all its forms," said the company.  "We are therefore sorry that the use of the image of the pope and the imam has so offended the sentiments of the faithful."

Naturally they're sorry.  So, so sorry.  So, so, so, terribly down-to-their-socks sorry.  It never occurred to them that giant posters of the pope smooching a man might offend their fellow Italian Catholics.  They're surprised that the Vatican raised a stink.  It never dawned on them that the uproar would generate free worldwide publicity.

And Julius Caesar founded Versace, and Sophia Loren is in line to be the next pope.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day for Remembering

Sunday is the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.  On that day people from Melbourne to Helsinki to Detroit will gather to memorialize those killed due to anti-transgender prejudice.

You don't have to attend a gathering to honor the lives lost.  Light a candle, say a prayer, drink a toast.  Do all three, if you're feeling spiritual and thirsty.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Post: Revival of the Horse's Patoot Salute!

By Pat Griffin

I haven’t awarded a Horse’s Patoot Salute in a while, but I have a new winner for you. The Horse’s Patoot Salute is my personal award for coaches, athletic administrators, physical education teachers and athletes who demonstrate stunning levels of intentional or unintentional homophobia, sexism and transphobia such that it can only by explained by arrogance, stupidity or some combination of the two.

Drum roll, please….The Horse’s Patoot Salute goes to Pat Lynch, (former) football coach at Buffalo High School in Wyoming.

Ex-coach Lynch earned his way into the Horse’s Patoot Salute Hall of Fame for creating and distributing a “Hurt Feelings Report” to his team before a playoff game recently.

Apparently ex-coach Lynch believes that his athletes should not have hurt feelings because it is not manly. The sarcastically worded “survey” lists several reasons for his athletes to check off as reasons for filing the report of hurt feelings. Among the reasons he included on the survey are:

I am a pussy.
I have woman-like hormones
I am a queer
I am a little bitch
I am a crybaby
I want my mommy

The survey then asks for the “little sissy” filing the report to sign his name and asks for the name of the “real man” who “hurt your sensitive little feelings.”

After Lynch’s survey became public and the school received complaints, Lynch resigned his coaching position, one he had for 13 years, and apologized to the school board. Unfortunately, the superintendent excused the coach’s actions by saying that he “just made a mistake and meant no harm.”

The final irony though is that ex-coach Lynch will remain in his position as a guidance counselor. Really? He’s a guidance counselor? You can’t make this stuff up.

Congratulations, Mr. Lynch, on your Horse’s Patoot Salute.

Pat Griffin is the author of "Strong Women, Deep Closets:  Lesbians and Homophobia in Sport."  She comments on LGBT issues in sports at, where this post first appeared.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Week's Quote

I'd asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions.  Finally one lady friend asked the right question.  "Well, what do you love the most?"  That's how I started painting money.

Andy Warhol

Source:  The Quotable Intellectual

The Evergreen State Goes For It

Here in the state of Washington, we do not have gay marriage.  We have domestic partnerships, which provide all the rights of marriage.  But you and I know that's not good enough, and now comes word that the push is on.

Drama, thy name will be Washington.

Yesterday, Washingtonians were introduced to Washington United for Marriage, a coalition of civil-rights, labor and religious groups, formed to press for the whole marriage enchilada.  In the legislature, Democrats will introduce marriage legislation.  They say they have the votes in the state House, but in the state Senate?  Not so much.

Coalition leaders told The Seattle Times "their strategy will include a simple appeal for all gay and lesbian couples and their supporters to share their personal stories about what marriage equality would mean to them."

Ooh, ooh—I'm raising my hand—I can do that!

To get those stories out, the coalition will hold town halls all over the state.  "That is going to create the conversation we need ... so we can win in the Legislature," said one of the organizers.

This push for real marriage is what anti-gay forces feared and predicted with each step toward domestic partnership.  If they view gay marriage as the final battle, things are going to get mighty testy in the Evergreen State.

Will Washington become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage?  Place your bets.  Better yet, tell your stories.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Penguin Passion

I mentioned the tragic story of Buddy and Pedro last week (see below).  The Toronto Zoo plans to rip the gay penguin couple apart so the tuxedoed gentlemen can mate with female penguins.  African penguins are endangered, so apparently it's all penguins on deck, even the homos.

Now comes the news that the boys will be reunited in the spring.  I don't know if zoo officials always intended that or they bowed to international pressure.  But come spring, Buddy and Pedro will return to their life together.  Man, will they have a lot to talk about.

Heartfelt Sentiment

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Question of the Week

If a flock of crows is a murder and a flock of geese is a gaggle, what is a flock of gays?

Flying Through the News

Prepare yourself for a whirlwind tour through recent news.  Buckle up, Dorothy.

"Tuesday was a very good day for openly LGBT candidates around the country, with three out of four of the more than 60 candidates winning," wrote journalist Lisa Keen.  Ah, the sweet smell of lavender success.

Of particular interest, Annise Parker was returned as mayor of Houston, LaWana Mayfield became the first openly LGBT member of the Charlotte City Council and Daniel Hernandez, the guy credited with saving Rep. Gabby Giffords' life, took a Tucson school board seat.

Click here to read Keen's story and indulge in further reveling.

In marriage news, the election of Liz Mathis to the Iowa State Senate means Democrats retain their majority, which means marriage rights are safe.  In Maine, folks wanting to legalize gay marriage gathered enough signatures to qualify for the 2012 ballot.  From Oregon, however, we hear that activists won't put the state's ban on gay marriage up for a vote.

Got all that?  Lucky for you, there's no test.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Ellen DeGeneres a special envoy for global AIDS awareness.  Perhaps Ellen will start her show dressed as a giant dancing condom.

The Toronto Zoo intends to separate gay penguins Buddy and Pedro.  Both belong to an endangered species, so zookeepers will try to get them to mate with female penguins in order to increase the population.  Gay people are up in arms; gay penguins are up in flippers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Parker on Perry

Openly lesbian Annise Parker, who yesterday won reelection as Houston's mayor, believes Texas governor Rick Perry has veered rightward since becoming a presidential candidate.

Parker deadpanned, “I would certainly hope that the rest of the country will send our governor back home so we can continue to enjoy him.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Week's Quote

Some people are born lesbians, some achieve lesbianism, and some have lesbianism thrust upon them.

Helen Eisenbach

Source:  Lesbianism Made Easy

Monday, November 7, 2011

Enquiring About Chaz

The National Enquirer claims in a Nov. 14 cover story that Chaz Bono will die within four years due to his gender transition.  The corpse-to-be is perturbed.  His lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to the tabloid, accusing it of defamation and demanding a printed retraction and apology.

According to the lawyer, the story asserts that "obesity, testosterone supplements, and high suicide rates among transgender people all increase Chaz's risk of an early death."

As everybody this side of Carol Burnett knows, the National Enquirer doesn't let truth get in the way of a fabulicious story.  So, despite Bono's threat to sue if the tabloid doesn't apologize, I wouldn't be surprised if the Enquirer instead continued to hound him by producing another cover story similar to the following.

            Chaz Bono:  TRYING TO CONTACT SONNY!  Weekly Séances

Chaz Bono misses his daddy—and how!

The ENQUIRER has learned that Chaz, the transgender activist and recent "Dancing With the Stars" contestant, hosts séances in his home every Sunday night in a sad, touching attempt to contact his father Sonny Bono, the singer and politician who died tragically in 1998 when he slammed into a tree while skiing.

"The séances are weird, man.  I go for the food," said one insider who has attended three of these macabre gatherings where some 15 people assemble around a spooky table.

"We all hold hands while Madame Mertzola chants and groans and moans and stuff.  I think she's getting sort of frustrated.  The last time she kept screaming 'The beat goes on!'"

So far, said the insider, Sonny has not materialized, "although a couple of people thought they saw that tree he hit."

Headstrong Chaz refuses to stop these whacky attempts to reach Sonny.  The sad, distressing reason is he desperately wants to speak to his father about masculinity!  "Y'know, now that Chaz is a dude and all, he wants guidance and stuff," said the insider.

Dr. Scott Pitts, distinguished owner of a framed diploma from the Acme School of Transgender Mental Health, let The ENQUIRER in on a shocking fact:  Transgender individuals are often drawn to the occult!

"I know one who owns a magic store.  That's good enough for me," said the esteemed expert.

Cher, the mother of Chaz and ex-wife of Sonny, is baffled that Chaz wants advice on masculinity from his father.  "Why Sonny?  Most of the time I wore the bell bottoms in that relationship," Cher told an insider, who told The ENQUIRER, which is telling you.

Oh, and remember how Cher sadly, desperately, had two ribs surgically removed to make her waist smaller?  The ENQUIRER has learned that she plans to put them back in again!  Inspired by Chaz's efforts to be who he really is, Cher has bravely decided to return her rib cage to normal.

Meanwhile, all indications are the Sunday-night séances will carry on.  The insider who attended three of the sad, heartbreaking events said Chaz has booked Madame Mertzola the medium through the end of the year.

"I'm not sure I'm going again," the insider said.  Chaz wants to change up the energy in the room, in case, y'know, any of us are keeping Sonny away.  That's cool with me.  Last time when the lights went off I got groped."

The insider hopes Sonny appears, either in body or spirit.  "Chaz is cool.  He wants this bad.  He deserves it.  Can I have my check now?"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Farewell Frank

It appears Frank Kameny received an appropriate send-off.  One of the giants of the gay rights movement, Kameny died on Oct. 11 at 86, and yesterday he was honored with a farewell viewing held at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C.

Protest signs flanked his flag-draped casket.  Fitting for a man who picketed the White House for gay rights when Stonewall was just a twinkle in a drag queen's eye.

Two days ago the National Parks Service added Kameny's home in D.C. to its Register of Historic Places.  To think the federal government fired him in 1957 for being gay.  Not a soul could've predicted how far Kameny and the country would come since then.  Peggy Lee as secretary of defense might've seemed more likely.

To see pictures from yesterday's farewell, click here.

I Will Survive?

Haven't seen this strutting alien in years.  Still love him.  Or her.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Question of the Week

Does the Occupy movement make you glad or fretful?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Could It Be . . . SATAN?"

Don't let this sentence scare you off:  Daniel Avila is the policy advisor for marriage and family to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

Still with me?

Avila, you see, is the go-to guy on marriage for the Catholic Bishops.  In his zeal to protect marriage from homosexuals, Avila offered a riveting biological theory on why people are gay:  It's the devil's doing.

Writing in The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, Avila pointed to a scientist's suggestion that fluctuating maternal hormones cause gayness.  What prompts the fluctuations?  Fun-loving Beelzebub.

"Therefore, whenever natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God."

Satan visits wombs and mucks about with fetuses.  This means every gay person is entitled to say, "The devil made me do it."

Avila wrote, "In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. Any time natural disasters occur, we as people of faith look back to Scripture's account of those angels who rebelled and fell from grace. In their anger against God, these malcontents prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They continue to do all they can to mar, distort and destroy God's handiwork."

Sooooo, gays are "natural disasters," the destroyed handiwork of God and the ire incarnate of huffy fallen angels.

I read all this on Right Wing Watch, which provided a link to Avila's column.  Naturally I wanted to read the whole piece, but in its place now is an editor's note, saying that The Pilot apologizes "for having failed to recognize the theological error in the column before publication."

In a "Retraction/Apology," Avila wrote, "The teaching of Sacred Scripture and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church make it clear that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and have inviolable dignity. . . The Church opposes, as I do too, all unjust discrimination and the violence against persons that unjust discrimination inspires. I deeply apologize for the hurt and confusion that this column has caused."

He learned the hard way that when it comes to establishing the cause of gayness, the devil is in the details.