Monday, January 31, 2011

Where No Gays Have Gone Before

Brannon Braga, who produced many of the episodes and feature films in the "Star Trek" universe, told AfterElton.com that the franchise's lack of gay characters was "a shame." His new show, "Terra Nova," so far also has no gay characters.

It doesn’t strike me as all that hard to include LGBT characters in televised science fiction. I'll take a shot at a scene right now:

INT. CROSSROADS BAR, PLANET OF NEW POUGHKEEPSIE– EVENING

CAPTAIN ISABEL RODRIGUEZ and FIRST ENGINEER SUE TREMAINE, wearing work jumpsuits, drink Saturn Slings.

TREMAINE
I'll never get over her.

RODRIGUEZ
That's what you said last time.

TREMAINE
I'm repetitive. Sue me.

RODRIGUEZ
What you are is addicted to the chase.

TREMAINE
If I wanted psychoanalysis I'd be drinking with the
counselor from Pluto with three feet.

RODRIGUEZ
Maybe you should take a break from women.

TREMAINE
Not in this lifetime. And if what the Oracle told
me is true, not in the next one either.

GOOSIE the barkeeper stops at their table.

GOOSIE
Another round, ladies?

RODRIGUEZ
No thanks, Goosie. We have to work tomorrow.

TREMAINE
Hey Goose, I can't tell if you're a guy or a girl today.

GOOSIE
Not too sure myself. Wait, it's Tuesday. Guy.

He moves to the next table.


TREMAINE
Hell of an interesting planet he comes from.

RODRIGUEZ
It's bedtime for me.

TREMAINE
The night is young! Look, the Orion Express
just unloaded. Visitors who'd love to be shown
around by our fair captain.

RODRIGUEZ
Stuff it.

TREMAINE
Izzy, you haven't been with a man or a woman
since the Leberwurstians invaded.

RODRIGUEZ
The tingling in my artificial nose says they'll
be back. I have to lead. Not love.

See? Adding LGBT characters opens a host of dramatic doors. Sci-fi creators need to beam us on board.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kato's Bizarre Funeral

David Kato was buried today. Barely.

A Ugandan gay activist beaten to death with a hammer on Wednesday (see below), Kato knew a thing or two about homophobia. Last October a newspaper printed his picture on the front page and called for gays to be hanged.

And today homophobia crashed his funeral, as unwelcome as a drunken cousin.

Reuters provided an appalling account of events. During the funeral, attended by about 300 people, about 100 of whom were gay, the pastor conducting the service chose to get some things off his chest.

"The world has gone crazy," he told those assembled. "People are turning away from the scriptures. They should turn back, they should abandon what they are doing. You cannot start admiring a fellow man."

Perhaps the sight of Kato's gay friends wearing t-shirts featuring his face and rainbow-colored sleeves made the pastor's appropriateness chip short out.

The activists rushed the pulpit and grabbed the microphone. The pastor shouted, "It is ungodly," the last words he got in, thank goodness.

"Who are you to judge others?" shouted a woman. "We have not come to fight. You are not the judge of us. As long as he's gone to God his creator, who are we to judge Kato?"

Villagers, perhaps fearful one of the gays would jam a rainbow shirt on the pastor, scuffled with Kato's supporters.

Then the locals refused to bury Kato, so his friends carried the coffin and performed the burial.

They gave new meaning to "friends till the end."

Her voice breaking, Julian Pepe told Reuters, "After we had read statements from everybody, including Obama, after all the nice things friends said about David, that this man could stand up and throw dirt at someone who should be resting in peace. It's just disgusting."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Question of the Week

Which nation gets your vote as the world's most homophobic country?

Rest Now, David Kato

He called himself the first out gay Ugandan. Now he's a dead gay Ugandan.

David Kato was beaten to death at his home in Kampala yesterday. Formerly a schoolteacher, Kato was the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

He was also an unwilling cover boy when last fall a Ugandan newspaper by the name of Rolling Stone—no connection with the American magazine—declared him a known homo. Just earlier this month, Kato and other plaintiffs won their case against Rolling Stone, when a judge ruled media companies can't out gay people, citing the constitutional right to privacy.

I assume there's also a constitutional right to live, but that must've escaped the notice of his murderer.

“David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals,” said SMUG in a news release.

What an anti-gay atmosphere in Uganda, whose parliament, in case you've spent the last couple of years in outer space, is still considering a bill that would put some gay people to death. (And then there's the question of how much certain American evangelicals inspired that evil bill.)

The bravery of those who are out in Uganda under such conditions. I'd go so deep into the closet I'd be in Tanzania.

Frank Mugisha, executive director of SMUG, said, “No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won. David is gone and many of us will follow, but the struggle will be won."

It will. But here's hoping, and praying, that many of you DON'T follow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Some of Them are Gay"

Near the end of his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama said this:

"Our troops come from every corner of this country--they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation."

It's also time to savor this victory over DADT once again. This was a biggie.

Okay, done savoring. On to the next biggie. Or smallie.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This Week's Quote

It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain.

Francis Maude

Source: quotegarden.com

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tuesday's "Oprah"

If you're an "Oprah" fan and LGBT, prepare for TV nirvana.

On tomorrow's show, Oprah looks back at the gay issues she's covered over 25 years. Her guests will include Greg Louganis, looking impossibly cute and cuddly, and Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, who first appeared on the show in 2007 after he came out and his family disowned him.

So if you're a fan, check your local listings. If you're not, chuck your local listings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Maryland's Marriage Outlook

The Advocate is reporting that Maryland could have same-sex marriage by April.

This means war. I'm not talking about legislators. I'm talking about all the hetero brides-to-be in the state who haven't reserved a wedding or reception venue for the summer and are now realizing they'll be competing against a crop of hot-to-marry gays.

There will be blood.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Question of the Week

Are you interested in visiting the new GLBT History Museum in San Francisco?

Museum Kvetching

SaveCalifornia.com calls itself "your frontline pro-family organization standing strong for moral virtues for the common good."

Loosely translated, this means "We hate fags."

The group's president has weighed in on the new GLBT History Museum in San Francisco (see below). "This is not so much a museum; this is a propaganda porch," said Randy Thomasson.

He said the museum lies about gay history, ignoring the “AIDS epidemic, sexual crimes, and molestation, as well as the trampling of fundamental and religious rights in the name of ‘equality.’"

Talk about propaganda and lying. This guy must have a nose on him like Pinocchio, Cyrano and Dumbo combined.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Week's Quote

I think the postage stamp project is wonderful. I would get such a thrill licking Harvey again!

Dan Nicoletta, friend of Harvey Milk, on the campaign for a Milk stamp.

Source: Bay Area Reporter

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gay Stamp of Approval

I've kept a secret for years. Now it's time for me to come out—as a stamp collector.

I'm throwing off my shame. I'm a nerd and I'm proud!

My orientation, philatelically speaking, is toward general collecting. I amass all kinds of postage stamps. Other collectors prefer to go the topical route, acquiring stamps on specific subjects, like birds, soccer or Norwegian breakdancing.

Just yesterday I had an epiphany. I should develop a topical collection: gay stamps! I've never heard of anyone specializing in that before. It's time, and I'm just the geek to do it.

I suspect my late grandfather, who started me on stamp collecting when I was small, would suggest a different theme. Emphatically. In German.

But I've made up my mind. I'm going gay—again.

For one thing, I already own some of the American stamps that count as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Like the 1991 Cole Porter stamp, which I'm pleased to report I have three of. In 1993 the U.S. Postal Service released an AIDS awareness stamp with a red ribbon, and since people still wrote letters back then, I have six of them.

I possess one Margaret Mead and one Tennessee Williams. Both look a touch annoyed. I also have a single Willa Cather from 1973, when I didn't know she was gay, or I was gay or anybody was gay.

I hope historians come to agreement about Abraham Lincoln's gayness, because I've got a ton of him.

It's now clear that I have major holes to fill. I can't claim to own a decent queer collection without the stamps of George Washington Carver, James Baldwin, Andy Warhol, Josephine Baker, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben or Walt Whitman. Appalling gaps. Time to start swapping my straights for gays.

In fact, I thought I had the 1940 Whitman stamp. Someone's been pilfering my poofters.

While I do own the American Raymond Burr stamp—it's actually an homage to the TV show in which he starred, "Perry Mason"—I don't possess his Canadian stamp. I need Della to get on that.

A person doesn't have to be gay to belong in my thematic collection. It would be a poor queer collection indeed without Judy Garland and Dinah Shore. Thankfully, I already possess both the all-time gay icon and the accidental originator of a yearly lesbian bacchanal. Needless to say, the 2009 Dinah Shore stamp doesn't celebrate the lesbian debauch. The post office might've solved its money woes if it had.

All these folks honored with stamps stood out in science, the arts, politics and so forth. They weren't honored for being bisexual, lesbian or gay—more likely in spite of it.

But the word is that's going to change, and once again Harvey Milk leads the way. According to a recent Bay Area Reporter filing, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC), which evaluates possible subjects for U.S. stamps, contacted Milk's family and the Harvey Milk National Stamp Campaign. It appears a Harvey Milk stamp will be issued in the next few years.

Milk meets one requirement: He's dead. Mr. Twinkies-For-Brains saw to that.

Last year then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the CSAC to back Milk, writing, "The United States Postal Service has yet to honor an LGBT American hero with a stamp."

And what a boon it would be to a certain lesbian's topical stamp collection, she could've added.

If the CSAC is at last thinking more broadly, I also have a suggestion for the panel: Put me on it. Who better than a lesbian philatelist to help choose future LGBT commemorative stamps?

Even my grandfather would agree with that. Emphatically. In German.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Question of the Week

Is it nature or nurture?

Born That Way

Here's a fun site: borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com. Check it out for photos of budding swishdom and buthchdom, and points in between.

The site explains itself as "A photo/essay project for gay viewers (male and female) to submit pictures from their childhood (roughly ages 4 to 14), with snapshots that capture them, innocently, showing the beginnings of their innate gay selves. It's nature, not nurture!"

So if you're ready to go public with that shot of you in your mother's frock or your father's suit, submit away.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Place of Our Own

The nation's first gay museum opens today in San Francisco.

Well of course San Francisco. You were expecting Duluth?

The GLBT History Museum is just the second on the planet devoted to gay materials and archives. The other is in Germany.

As a history buff, I can't wait to visit the 1,600-square-foot space in the Castro. I wonder if there's a gift shop? Stocked with Harvey Milk coffee mugs and Stonewall action figures?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daniel Hernandez of Arizona

If you haven't heard about Daniel Hernandez yet, I'm here to help. Click here to read The Arizona Republic's account of what the 20-year-old did during and after the rampage outside Tucson on Saturday.

If you're pressed for time, here's my abbreviated version: Hernandez, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' intern for five days, ran toward the gunshots. He applied pressure to Giffords' entry wound and held her upright so she wouldn't choke on her own blood. He may have saved her life.

Time be damned—you really should read the whole story. If you're late for something, blame me.

Hernandez, a junior at the University of Arizona, is openly gay. He's also Latino and a naturalized citizen. Some have argued over the last couple of days that his orientation and ethnicity are irrelevant.

It would be nice if they were, but both seem to be darned important to many Arizonans. In 2008 voters passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and in 2010 the state government approved SB 1070, the controversial anti-illegal immigration law that could well lead to racial profiling of Hispanics.

Arizonans tossed gays and Hispanics onto the cacti. Now Arizonans are experiencing a gay, Hispanic hero. It couldn't happen to a more annoying state.

This Week's Quote

As far as I'm concerned, being any gender is a drag.

Patti Smith

Source: Glibquips

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Next Wrestling Match

Now it's Rhode Island's turn to head to the mat over marriage.

Last week, after Governor Lincoln Chafee called for legalizing same-sex marriage in his inaugural address (see below), bills to do just that were introduced in the General Assembly.

The Catholic Church then said same-sex marriage would be great for Rhode Island. And if you believe that, I've got a bridge to Block Island with your name on it.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin released a statement saying the push for marriage equality in Little Rhody was “morally wrong and detrimental to the well-being of our state.”

The match is underway. Takedowns and half nelsons ahead.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You Go, Little Rhody

The smallest state in the union is getting off to a big start in 2011.

During his inaugural speech yesterday, Republican-turned-Independent Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island's new governor, said, “When marriage equality is the law in Rhode Island, we honor our forefathers who risked their lives and fortune in the pursuit of human equality.”

It's hard to know whether Roger Williams, the state's founder, would agree, but he didn’t role over in his grave, so I'm taking that as an affirmative.

Today former Providence mayor David Cicilline was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, joining fellow Democrats Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado as openly gay Congressmen.

Cicilline has already cast his first vote—for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. Here's hoping all his votes won't be lost causes.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This Week's Quote

If Michelangelo had been straight, the Sistine Chapel would have been wallpapered.

Robin Tyler

Source: allgreatquotes.com

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gay Elf Says End "Discriminatory" Policy

(Note: In case you don't read The North Pole Gazette, here's a reprint of an important story that just ran in that fine newspaper.)

By Sven Laplander

It's always quiet at Santa's Workshop in the first half of January. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus are in Hawaii, and the elves are sleeping.

But not one elf. Smizzle, the lead choo-choo train builder, kept his eyes open long enough to call for an end to Shut Up, Make Toys (SUMT), Santa's long-standing policy on gay and lesbian employees.

Under the policy, Santa can't ask if an elf is gay, elves can't say they're gay, and jolliness shall reign. SUMT has been in place since 1854, when Santa and a committee of homosexual elves hammered out the compromise over cocoa and sugar cookies.

"I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now," Smizzle said, as he sat in the elf cafeteria. "I refuse to hide who I am anymore. It's unnatural. And it makes me so cranky I hardly ever whistle while I work."

Smizzle emphasized that, in his view, this is an issue of fundamental fairness. "I do the same high-quality work as everyone else. I work dawn to dusk like everyone else. I wear the same curly felt shoes as everyone else.

"I just happen to be gay. And that's not something I should have to hide," said the elf between yawns.

He added, "Bottom line, I've had it up to my jingle bells with this discriminatory SUMT."

Smizzle admitted his call to end SUMT was inspired by the decision of the United States of America to end Don't Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), its well-known policy concerning gays and lesbians in the military.

"Look, if they can finally stop discriminating, then surely we can," said Smizzle. "I mean, that's a country where a quarter of the people think their president was born in another country. We're behind them? It's mortifying."

A survey has never been conducted, so it's hard to know how other elves feel about Shut Up, Make Toys. But a veteran doll-maker, Duzzle, struggled out of his deep sleep to express the view that SUMT should stay.

Duzzle said, "If I know the person handing me doll clothes is gay, it might cause me to lose my focus. I might put a dirndl on a GI Joe, and then where would we be?"

Smizzle said he's talked with some of the reindeer, and they're supportive. "Really, all they care about is reindeer games," he said.

Reached by phone at his vacation condo on Maui, Santa said he would deal with SUMT when he got home, "and not a moment before. You've already made me miss my stand-up paddling lesson."

Mrs. Claus sent a subsequent e-mail, explaining that SUMT was established in a different era, that the world has changed, and she personally believes the policy should be abandoned. But protocol must be observed, she insisted, and any talks between concerned parties must take place over coffee and fruitcake.

If SUMT remains in place, Smizzle said he'll leave Santa's Workshop. "It's the last thing I want to do. This has been the only world I've ever known. I love my work, and being part of something big. But I gotta be me."

Then Smizzle fell asleep on the table, the elf's pointy ears almost touching his tea and gingerbread.