Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Farley Granger Dies

Farley Granger, best known for starring in the Alfred Hitchcock thrillers "Rope" and "Strangers on a Train," has died. He was 85.

The impossibly good-looking Granger had relationships with both women and men, including Ava Gardner and Leonard Bernstein.

With Hollywood as your sandbox, who wouldn't be bisexual?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This Week's Quote

I'll never forget the first time my family came to see me do stand-up, ... It was an awful bombing. It was like a damn terrorist attack. I was onstage in Washington, D.C., and the audience was talking. Some of them even turned their backs to me. I was paralyzed. I couldn't even move. I just kept talking until I heard my mother yell out, "Wanda! Get off the stage!"

Wanda Sykes


Monday, March 28, 2011

The Fabric of Our Lives

We Americans like to express ourselves with our chests.

I'm not speaking of Jane Russell, or even Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I'm talking about our proclivity for wearing T-shirts with slogans on them. Americans have been human billboards for decades.

The slogans on T-shirts celebrate, advocate, advertise, unify, decry and polarize. Americans have lots to say—on shirts made in Honduras.

So it makes sense that one part of the gay story in this country is being played out in cotton/polyester blends. Over the past years high school students and younger, kids on both sides of the gay issue, have been wearing their hearts on their sleeves. And getting sent home for it.

The latest shirt-skirmish is still unfolding at a middle school in DeSoto Parish in Louisiana. Student Dawn Henderson wore a shirt reading "Some Kids are Gay. That's OK." Principal Keith Simmons ordered her to change her shirt or go home.

It occurs to me that any kid aiming to get out of a test at school doesn’t need to fake the flu—just don a controversial T-shirt and in minutes you'll be back home watching Judge Judy.

According to the ACLU of Louisiana, DeSoto school officials claimed the shirt was "distracting." The ACLU sent Simmons a letter arguing that Henderson has a First Amendment right to express her opinion across her chest, as long as the school allows clothing with slogans.

If the school decides to forbid clothing with slogans, it might be hearing from Nike.

In another T-shirt to-do, which actually began back in 2006, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a month ago that students at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ill., could wear T-shirts saying "Be Happy, Not Gay."

The court maintained a "school that permits advocacy of the rights of homosexual students cannot be allowed to stifle criticism of homosexuality."

May the judges' T-shirts ride up with wear.

On Nov. 2 last year, Election Day, senior Kate Cohn made a pro-gay statement at Falcon High School in Peyton, Colo., by wearing a shirt reading "Marriage is so gay." She said Principal Mark Carara told her the shirt was offensive and violated the dress code forbidding clothing potentially disruptive to the academic environment.

I'm guessing that means fishnets are out. At least for guys.

Cohn's mom said Carara later likened the T-shirt to apparel promoting alcohol or drug use.

That increasingly well-known arbiter of fashion, the ACLU, sent a letter to school administrators demanding Cohn and others be allowed to wear the shirt, and the two-week ban was lifted.

Perfect. Two weeks gave her enough time to wash her shirt and make it all pretty for its re-debut.

I can say with certainty that T-shirt tizzies haven't been limited to the younger set or the recent past. Back in the mid-'90s I covered a protest by adults in Hampton Beach, N.H., outside a T-shirt store that peddled a couple of anti-gay shirts. One read "Silly faggot, dicks are for chicks," and the other said "Aids Kills Fags" or something of that ilk.

What I remember best is a teenager pointedly buying one of those shirts during the protest, then sheepishly returning it afterwards because he needed the money to get home.

The other day I spotted a different T-shirt twist to the American LGBT story. Openly gay veteran political consultant Fred Karger, in Washington, D.C., to file for the Republican presidential nomination, met with the Republican National Committee chairman.

Karger—completely unknown to the public and, to repeat, openly gay—told Roll Call, "We had a great meeting. I gave him one of my T-shirts."

I'd like to know what slogan is on that shirt. Maybe "Karger 2012: No, Really."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Question of the Week

Which of Elizabeth Taylor's movies stands out for you?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Goodbye Glamorous Liz

Elizabeth Taylor died this morning in Los Angeles at the age of 79. Hats off to a legendary actress and tireless AIDS activist.

She'll also be remembered for marrying early and often. Just yesterday I came across a Taylor quote that reminded me of her multiple marriages: "I've only slept with men I've been married to. How many women can make that claim?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Week's Quote

We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.

W.H. Auden

Source: The Mammoth Book of Great British Humor

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ramos and the Texas Termites

Lately there's been no shortage of loud-mouthed Texans. Malcolm McGregor, an anti-gay El Paso City Council candidate, said the Japanese earthquake and tsunami might have been God's curse (see below).

Not to be outdone, Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Dan Ramos compared gays to termites.

Never mind the song. These days going deep in the heart of Texas seems not so appealing.

Ramos told the San Antonio Current that gays in the party had both undermined his authority and caused a bad county election outcome in 2010. “They are all connected to the gay Democratic Party, the so-called Stonewall Democrats. Just like termites they managed to get some of their people in key positions,” said Ramos.

If you're a gay man and want to make a joke about eating wood, it goes right here.

Ramos, who said he opposes homosexuality for religious reasons, thinks Stonewallers don't reflect the values of Bexar County voters. “I liken them to the Tea Party — the Tea Party and the fucking Nazi Party — because they’re 90 percent white, blue-eyed, and Anglo, and I don’t give a fuck who knows that. Just like the blacks … they’re American, but you can’t get your way just because you’re black.”

And with that dazzling display of prejudice, Ramos managed to antagonize not one but two core constituencies of his own party.

The head of the state Democrats called on Ramos to resign, and the Texas Stonewall Democrats called on him to resign or apologize, which seems a fairly generous response after being likened to Nazis. And termites.

In a follow-up piece, the San Antonio Current provided more tidbits from the interview. Ramos often blames anti-Hispanic racism for divisiveness at party meetings, so the paper asked whether race or sexual orientation concerned him more. His response will send your jaw to the floor.

“I go back to an old very well-used slogan: blacks wanted to get their way because they were black. What it is, is we have a very, very sinister movement in which you don’t know, at the end of the day, you didn’t even know that your next door buddy, your bosom fishing buddy was gay. That, I guess, goes to my belief in the religious thing. Look: this is not natural. This is like a kid who was born with a polio leg, you can’t kill him and you can’t sweep him under the rug. … I’m glad that Texas has not yet come to where gays can adopt children … because the poor kids have already come from a troubled family and then to be ‘hey, how come my momma is my daddy type of deal.’ It’s not natural.”

We can't kill kids with polio? Damn, what fun is that?

When defending himself over his comments, Ramos declared he's fought for civil rights for decades. “I feel equal opportunity is meant for everyone that is being violated, regardless of who they are,” Ramos said. “All I said was that equal opportunity should not be used as a umbrella to gain any kind of advantage over other people. It is pretty obvious that the advantage they [Stonewall Democrats] take is way beyond the pale. Certainly, all the people with handicaps, I represent them all the time.”

Everyone with "handicaps" would be happy if he stopped.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Question of the Week

Will you watch any of the men's or women's NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournaments?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

El Paso's Pinhead

Malcolm McGregor III is running for the El Paso City Council. He's also running his mouth off.

The conservative Christian offered an El Paso TV station his take on the Japan disaster: "Japan had built tsunami walls along their coasts, but this tsunami was bigger than that. No matter what you say, they either weren't blessed with protection or they were cursed with an earthquake," opined McGregor. "God did say, Christ did say that earthquakes would increase in the last days and that's what we're seeing."

If these are the last days, why is he bothering to run for city council? He should put his feet up and wait to be Raptured. I know I'm looking forward to the day he's taken.

Prior to McGregor's insightful analysis, he was best known for being part of El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values, the group behind a ballot measure, approved by voters, rescinding benefits for city workers' same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners.

McGregor wants to bring his conservative Christian views to municipal government. And presumably the election of this fine Christian would mean the city of El Paso would be "blessed with protection." He'd be the city's giant condom.

This Week's Quote

The homosexual community wants me to be gay. The heterosexual community wants me to be straight. Every writer thinks, I'm the journalist who's going to make him talk. I pray for them. I pray that they get a life and stop living mine!

Ricky Martin


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Word is Out

At Wayne State University in Detroit, the Word Warriors wave the banner on behalf of the English language's neglected words. Last year the Warriors released a list of words they hoped to rescue from disuse. As the obliging type, I wanted to assist the restoration effort. So I tested all 15 words to see if they fit snugly with my LGBT subject matter.

They fit. Huzzah.

The Word Warriors' 2011 list has just been released, and I'm feeling the pressure. This batch looks potentially harder for me to use. If I can't blend these words with LGBT content, they have no future with me. I'll be helping consign them to oblivion.

I'll be a word-killer. The National Writers Union will hang me by my thumbs.

Okay then, I'm ready to start. Gingerly. I'll provide the word, the definition, and—God willing—a sentence using the word.


Time out. This word was on last year's list. Why have the Word Warriors repeated it? Either the pressure's getting to them, too, or they're exceptionally fond of the word concupiscence, which means lust. Just what's going on in Detroit, anyway?

To return to the business at hand, Concupiscence. Strong sexual desire. When Bible-thumping, family-values preaching, anti-gay leaders succumb to sins of the flesh, the fallout from their concupiscence provides hours of entertainment.

Draconian. Excessively severe. Over the last couple of years, the murderous anti-gay legislation in Uganda has frequently been described as draconian, proving that word ain't dead yet.

Evanescent. Quickly fading or disappearing. At 15, Pete found his crushes on guys tended to be evanescent, hot and heavy in homeroom but over by lunch.

Hornswoggle. To deceive. After spending her last dime on ex-gay programs, Mary didn't know whether she'd been hornswoggled by her family, the group leaders, or God.

Ossify. To harden like bone. Frieda Frock knew she needed to look her best for the drag queen competition, but if she applied one more layer of foundation she believed she'd ossify on the spot.

Paroxysm. A sudden, uncontrollable outburst. Her grandmother's insistence that Liberace was straight sent Rebecca into paroxysms of laugher.

Penurious. Miserly; cheap to a fault. Looking back on her relationship history, Stacy could explain why she dated both men and women, but she couldn't explain why she always wound up with penurious dates who wouldn’t pay for dinner.

Schadenfreude. Pleasure derived from someone else's misfortune. When Bible-thumping, family-values preaching, anti-gay leaders are caught succumbing to sins of the flesh, the gay community can be excused for experiencing Schadenfreude and paroxysms of laughter.

Sibilance. Producing a hissing sound. Tyler, a straight guy, believed he spoke with too much sibilance, so to prevent people from thinking he was gay, he didn't use a word that started with "s" from 2005 to 2010.

Skullduggery. Underhanded or unscrupulous behavior. Ralph planned to go to Thailand for sex-change surgery, but thanks to skullduggery by his travel agent, who pocketed most of the money, Ralph's journey ended in Des Moines.

There. Whew. That's all of them. Each word has an LGBT application. I've consigned no words to extinction, and my thumbs are safe.

But this was a tough bunch, and I plan to chat with the Word Warriors about their choices for next year. I'll suggest some neglected, out-of-fashion words that will be an easier fit for me. Like homophile. And labrys. And Madonna.

If the Word Warriors don't go along with my suggestions, well, you know what that means: We're going to have words.

And if "concupiscence" turns up again on next year's list, I won't have a good word to say about them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Question of the Week

Do you have an opinion about today's White House Conference on Bullying Prevention?

Gay Today on Campus

Want to know what things are like on campus these days but don't want to cut a tuition check or gain the Freshman 15? Just saunter over to The Chronicle of Higher Education for an overview of today's college experience for GLBT students.

Here's the thrust of the story: "The needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, already well-served at some colleges, are attracting attention on campuses around the country. Several gay teenagers' suicides in the fall, including that of a student at Rutgers University, raised awareness of bullying, as have other incidents of bias: a gay-pride flag shredded last year at Elmhurst College, in Illinois, and one burned at Albion College, in Michigan. Concerns about safety and comfort, recently reflected in the first national survey of the GLBT campus population, are leading more administrators to consider how their students feel and what kinds of programs and services may help."

For more, you need to read the story. I'm no CliffsNotes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sick Leave

I'm putting the General Gayety blog on a brief hiatus while I get over the flu. Extravagant outpourings of sympathy are encouraged.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This Week's Quote

President Bush said he was "troubled" by gay people getting married in San Francisco. He said on important issues like this the people should make the decision, not judges. Unless of course we're choosing a president, then he prefers judges.

Jay Leno