Friday, July 29, 2011

Question of the Week

Does homosexuality run—maybe even gallop—in your family?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heroic Response to Horror

Norwegian lesbians Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen were eating dinner at their campsite across from Utöyan Island when they heard gunshots and screaming coming from the island.

I don't know what I would've done.  Maybe head for Sweden.

Dalen and Hansen, reported The Advocate, jumped into their boat, sped across the water and picked up young people trying to get away from assassin Anders Behring Breivik.

The couple made four trips, bullets hitting the side of their boat.  They rescued about 40 people.

I imagine when they went camping they expected no greater challenge than lumpy sleeping bags.  The women faced considerably more—and rose to the horrifying occasion.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dollywood's Dress Code

Dolly Parton might be in favor of gay marriage, but her theme park isn't.

On July 9, Olivier Odom wore a T-shirt reading "marriage is so gay" on a visit to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.  An employee asked Odom to turn the shirt inside out so others wouldn't be offended.

An employee that eagle-eyed should be watching for pickpockets instead.

A Dollywood spokesman said this week that the establishment's dress code policy is to ask visitors with potentially offensive clothing or tattoos to change or cover up.

The problem with that, of course, is that offensive is in the eye of the beholder.  An atheist could be irked by a tattoo of a cross.  A Vanderbilt graduate might find a University of Tennessee shirt offensive.  Anybody on the planet could be put off by an "I heart Barry Manilow" shirt.

Only the Dollywood employees know how evenly they enforce the dress code.  But I'd like to know if they ever point to a guy wearing a "Be happy, not gay" shirt and say, "You there!  I'll hold your cotton candy while you turn that potentially offensive shirt inside out."

Back to Olivier Odom—remember her?  She said when she and her partner Jennifer Tipton visited Dollywood Splash Country with friends and their friends' children, it was a person in the ticket booth who asked her to turn her shirt inside out, citing the fact that this was a family park.

Odom obliged, not wanting to make a fuss in front of the kids, but she was about as happy as an acrophobic on a Ferris wheel.

She and Tipton have sent an email to Dollywood asking the park "to implement policies that are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; conduct staff sensitivity training; and issue a public statement indicating that the park is inclusive of all families."

When it's inclusive of all families, then it really will be a family park.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Week's Quote

Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.

Alice Walker


Monday, July 25, 2011

Here Come the Brides and Grooms

Looking at pictures of the couples who've married in New York over the last two days is like looking at pictures of kittens--you can't help but say "Awwwww."

Go ahead and indulge in these photos from Sunday, the first day same-sex couples could get hitched.  If that's not enough for you, here are even more photos from Sunday.

And here we have shots from today of a group wedding in Niagara Falls.  Now I'm wondering:  If you live in Niagara Falls, where do you go for your honeymoon?

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Thought Minnesota Had Vikings

Watch a horde of barbarians descend on Marcus Bachmann's clinic.

Question of the Week

If you were getting married in the state of New York—and maybe you are—which lovely or unusual spot would you choose for the event?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Swoopes Complications

"Now this is going to piss off a lot of lesbians."

That's what I first thought when I heard that basketball star Sheryl Swoopes is engaged to a man.  Swoopes came out in 2005 in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, and immediately became an Olivia-endorsing lesbian of fame.

When she played for the WNBA's Seattle Storm in 2008, her then-partner Alisa Scott would often be there, sitting courtside.  I know—I looked for her every game from my seat.

Obviously the relationship didn't last, as Swoopes is now set to marry a man named Chris, someone she's known for a while, reported Mechelle Voepel on

Voepel wrote, "There are sure to be gay people who are annoyed at and disappointed with Swoopes. Who feel she has co-opted and trivialized what for many is a sacred, soul-searching, life-altering experience of coming out."

Yup.  And I was one of them, till I thought about the matter more.  I've long said that sexuality is complicated; now I have to accept the truth of that, and get past any feelings of betrayal.  Nuts.

Voepel said she wasn't surprised by the news.  "There were things Swoopes said in her initial interview [in 2005] that had made me think her relationship then was about what kind of person Scott was and how their lives meshed together, regardless of whether Scott was male or female."

The word for that is bisexual, and I think our community would still come out ahead if Swoopes publically called herself that.  Perhaps she could have "bisexual" printed on the back of her Tulsa Shock jersey.  Just an idea.

Swoopes told Voepel, "There is nothing I've been through in my life that I regret, or that I would go back and change. I feel like everything that happened--personally and professionally--I went through for a reason, and I learned from those things."

From her latest incarnation, we might learn a thing or two about the complexity of orientation.  I'm willing.  No really.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Irony of the Day

On Sunday afternoon at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum, a security guard told a lesbian couple they couldn't hold hands in the museum.

What were the young women there to see?  An exhibit on Gertrude Stein.

Be still my irony-loving heart.

The guard protecting the exhibit on one of history's best-known lesbians tried to get the two living lesbians out the door, but they refused.

A witness told the San Francisco Chronicle, "The idea that in 2011, in San Francisco, at the Jewish Museum, this guard could be that out of touch was shocking."

Indeed.  I'd even call it an accomplishment of sorts.

The two women met with the museum's security head, who apologized to them.  The museum wants the guard, employed by a private security company, to be reprimanded.

I'd like to know where the guard is going next.  Irony-wise, he could prove to be a valuable commodity.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This Week's Quote

See, the human mind is kind of like . . . a piñata.  When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside.  Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience.

Jane Wagner

Source:  The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gay History Lands in the Lesson Plan

News item: California is the first state to require public schools to include the contributions of LGBT people in social studies curricula.

We take you to the classroom of Mr. Mitchell a couple of years from now, as he adds the new material to his AP American history class.

Mr. Mitchell: I assume you all read the chapter on civil rights movements last night.

Jeff: Mr. Mitchell?

Mr. Mitchell: Yes?

Jeff: I have a note from my dad. He didn't want me to read the chapter because of the gay parts.

Mr. Mitchell: Do you still want to go to Yale?

Jeff: Yes.

Mr. Mitchell: Read the chapter. Did anyone else have trouble?

Sarah: Well, not trouble exactly, but the picture of gays picketing confused me. The women wore dresses. My aunt's a lesbian, and she hasn't worn a dress since her First Communion.

Mr. Mitchell: Why do you think homosexuals who protested during the period before Stonewall dressed conservatively?

Ben: Because they didn't have a sense of style yet.

Mr. Mitchell: Try again.

Skye: Because they didn't want to offend anybody. People were already wary of them.

Mr. Mitchell: You got it.

Ben: If they were so concerned with what people thought, why did they go to bars run by organized crime? Like Stonewall?

Mr. Mitchell: Why do you think?

Skye: The Mob had better music.

Sarah: The bars were the only places they could be themselves.

Jeff: Why are we learning about bars? We're underage.

Miguel: We covered speakeasies. They were important during Prohibition.

Jeff: I think, if we're going to talk about bars, we should learn something useful. How to make a Manhattan. That's useful.

Mr. Mitchell: I can see we need more structure to this discussion. You all read about the March on Washington in 1963, when Martin Luther King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. But what you didn't read—because the new textbook isn't ready yet, and don't get me started—was that the organizer of the march was a black gay man, Bayard Rustin.

Jeff: Now you're just making things up. If that were true, we'd all know it. It would be a famous fact.

Mr. Mitchell: Ah, Jeff, you've brought us to a critical point. It is true. But why haven't we known it?

Ben: Martians wiped our brains.

Skye: Homosexuality was something you just didn't talk about.

Mr. Mitchell: It was a taboo subject. Gays and lesbians hid that part of themselves, or history hid it for them.

Jeff: I hope we're going to talk about all the bad stuff gays did too. They destroyed Rome and started World War II. That's in my dad's note also.

Mr. Mitchell: No wonder it's three pages. Okay everybody, in my high school history class we studied white men only. What would be the problem with that?

Jeff: Nothing.

Sarah: It makes it sound like everyone else just stood around and didn't do anything.

Miguel: It leaves out the history of everyone else.

Jeff: Can I go see the nurse?

Mr. Mitchell: Why?

Skye: His head hurts from being pried open.

Mr. Mitchell: Let's address the homework question before you depart. For Monday pick one of the names on the board—Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk and Gloria Steinem—and write two pages about their roles in their respective movements. Don't be so depressed, Jeff. In a couple of weeks you get to write about Ronald Reagan.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Question of the Week

What's the dumbest thing you ever did on a date?

Stewart Says It Out Loud

Last night on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart proved he just can't help himself when it comes to Marcus Bachmann. Click here for the first part, and for the second part, when Jerry Seinfeld offers his services as a comedy-repression therapist, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This Week's Quote

Girls got balls.  They're just a little higher up, that's all.

Joan Jett

Source:  Women's Wicked Wit

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taking the Bachmann Cure in Minnesota

The anti-gay statements of that fun duo, Michele and Marcus Bachmann, have been plain (see below).  What's been murkier is whether the Christian counseling clinic they own engages in reparative therapy.

The answer, as they say in the Bachmanns' home state of Minnesota, is "You betcha!"

That's according to Truth Wins Out, an activist group that exposes the wily "ex-gay" world.  The group's communications director, John Becker, became a stealth gay.  Pretending to be "struggling with homosexuality," and carrying hidden cameras, he had five sessions with a therapist at Bachmann & Associates, which, by the way, receives state and federal funding.

While Becker's therapist wasn't the most maniacal I've ever read about—he didn't sneeze fire and brimstone—he clearly indulged in some of the main themes of reparative therapy.  “We’re all heterosexuals, but we have different challenges,” the man told Becker.  He also claimed people have become free of same-sex attraction.

You can click here to read Becker's account of his experience, or you can turn on the TV and wait for someone from Truth Wins Out to show up.  According to the group's Web site, its staffers have been on news shows in the last day or two more often than William and Kate.

Michele Bachmann's campaign said in a statement to ABC News, "The Bachmanns are in no position ethically, legally, or morally to discuss specific courses of treatment concerning the clinic's patients."

So it would be unethical to comment on whether they're conducting unethical treatment.  How convenient.

Praying away the gay doesn't work.  At this point, I'm willing to give praying away the Bachmanns a shot.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"So That Means You Love Each Other"

Check out this little guy's reaction to his first encounter with a husband and a husband.  Thanks to George Bakan for passing this along.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Peering at Bachmann

This week a Washington Post story laid out a few reasons you might want to worry about Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Republican presidential contender from Minnesota "has called gay marriage 'probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, 30 years.' In 2005, she ran screaming from a bathroom at a constituent forum, claiming that a lesbian had attempted to keep her there against her will. (The woman said she was merely questioning Bachmann about her position on gay marriage.) As a state senator, she was seen crouching behind hedges to observe a gay rights rally. (She has explained that she was checking the turnout.)"

She may be peering at us, but she sure isn't seeing us.  Her husband Marcus has the same vision problem.  In an interview on Christian radio last year he compared gays to "barbarians" who "need to be educated, need to be disciplined."

It makes you want to keep both of them in that bathroom until the election is over.

The brand of Lutheranism they follow is a mighty conservative one.  In 2004, Michele Bachmann said someone in her family is gay, calling it "a very sad life.  It's part of Satan."

Which part?  The horns?

In 2006, speaking to a Christian audience, she said she got a degree in tax law only because her husband told her to.  “The Lord says:  Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands,” she said.

Okay dokey.  We have someone wanting to lead the free world who isn't free herself.

Since hitting the campaign trail, Bachman has tamped down the anti-gay stuff.  Until this week.  A Christian social conservative group in Iowa called The Family Leader demanded all presidential candidates sign its pledge to defend so-called traditional marriage, and Bachmann signed it faster than you can say "Get me out of this bathroom."

Called “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family,” the pledge features half-truths and lies about gays, according to The Advocate, like gay men are a public health risk and homosexuality is a choice.

Stay tuned.  I have every confidence Bachmann will continue to show her true colors, and they ain't rainbow-striped.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Question of the Week

Will you be able to get away at all this summer?

Post-Vacation Limerick

We stayed at a motel where the gay flag flew;
The owner spoke of a guest without a clue.
          He soon became irate
       Seeing people not straight.
So she told him at this place he was through.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Question of the Week

If Harvey Milk were alive today, what would you say to him?