Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sandwich-Generation Lesbian

Ever heard of the Lingerie Football League? It's a women's football league where the women wear helmets, shoulder pads, bras, panties and garters. Billed as "true fantasy football," the teams have names like the Los Angeles Temptation and the Dallas Desire.

If this league catered any more to men there would be cigars at halftime.

But I didn't learn about the Lingerie Football League from a guy; I learned about it while visiting a lesbian Web site. The local site, theseattlelesbian.com, provided Lingerie League information and videos on its sports page. That in turn provided me with a reminder of my age, a keen sense of where I am on the spectrum of lesbian thinking, and a headache.

I don't react well when lesbians view women in the bootylicious way many men do. Maybe it's because I'm 47 and remember how women fought to be viewed as more than tits and ass. Now to see lesbians encourage the ogling of women, to watch them match men drool-for-drool, well, that feels like a step backwards.

However, as I'm 47 and not dead, I'm mindful of the sentiments of a younger lesbian generation, which might be expressed like this: "Hate to tell you, grandma, but you older folks fought so that we could be whoever we want to be. We can revel in pure sexiness like guys do. We can be as shallow as guys. So thanks!"

Um, you're welcome?

When I looked further down The Seattle Lesbian's sports page, I found stories about the WNBA's Seattle Storm. As a huge Storm fan, I was pleased to see them. As a reader teed off over the highlighting of the Undressed Football League, I assumed the site and I could now be friends again.

Not. The stories concerned three players, and the site editor chose one action shot, and two glamour shots. The two glamorized players had on more make-up than RuPaul. So far on this lesbian site I'd seen sex and glamour—and that was just the sports section.

The experience made me feel old and on the curmudgeonly end of the lesbian spectrum. But another experience with media had me feeling youthful and wildly open-minded.

I received in the snail mail the latest issue of a magazine called Lesbian Connection. I began getting the bimonthly publication last year, and it's now clear to me what an asset it is for dykes everywhere. LC serves as a lesbian forum, enabling readers, who provide most of the content, to tell their stories; it offers a worldwide list of lesbians willing to share information about their regions; subscriptions are on a sliding scale.

It's also now clear to me that the average LC reader remembers Truman's inauguration.

Okay, I exaggerate, but the magazine, founded in 1974, is something of a relic. Birthed in the era of lesbian separatism, LC reflects its origins. Readers have names like "Artemis Passionfire" and "Flash Silvermoon" and while I wish I made those up, I didn't.

I've read a lot about "womyn's land" and combed through oodles of irate letters when the cover art on LC wasn't PC. The magazine says it defines lesbians as "women-born-women," meaning transgender women don't count.

I wouldn't say LC is stuck in time, but it’s moving arthritically through it.

I'll continue reading and enjoying it, and I'll go back to theseattlelesbian.com. Both will keep me honest.

Now I know middle age is more than just a number. It's when you feel connected to the generation behind you and the generation ahead of
you—and when both generations annoy the crap out of you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ted Haggard Today

If you're interested in where Ted Haggard is now and what he's up to, check out The Advocate's cover story on the fallen evangelical bigwig.

The magazine asks "Is This a Face You Can Trust?" My answer is "About as Far as I Could Throw It." But Haggard, with his new church, might do the world some good.

Randy Welsh, who attended Haggard's mega-church back in the day and now attends his mini-church, said Haggard has shifted. “He was a little too full of himself, a little arrogant, a little overconfident in his own abilities back then,” Welsh said. “He was more apt to use people for his own purposes rather than to help people. But the walls are down now. Now he’s more of a real person, more humble, there’s no question about it. Best I can tell — and I probably know him as well as anyone — there’s nothing else in his closet.”

Better hope not.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Question of the Week

What's your reaction to the Obama administration's decision not to defend DOMA?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Flash!

Breaking news!

I've always wanted to say that.

The Department of Justice announced today that it will no longer defend DOMA, because President Obama has decided the law is unconstitutional.

For the story, go here. For more overwrought leads, stay here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This Week's Quote

Why would I wear pink trousers? It's hard enough being gay.

Rupert Everett

Source: The Mammoth Book of Great British Humor

Friday, February 18, 2011

Facebook Catches Up

Facebook has added two new ways for users to describe their relationship status. Along with single, engaged, married, widowed, "it's complicated" and other options, Facebook now offers "in a domestic partnership" and "in a civil union."

I noticed on my Facebook page that a couple of my friends had already switched to the new options. Since I'm always the last to make any change that involves technology, I decided to surprise everyone and do it now.

Then I forgot whether I was in a domestic partnership or a civil union. Really. I spend so much time writing about all the marriage variations these days, I couldn't remember which one I signed up for.

Oh, right, I live in Washington. That means domestic partnership. I'm a card-carrying—if absent-minded—domestic partner. The card in my wallet lists my partner's name, which fortunately I had not forgotten.

On my Facebook profile I chose "in a domestic partnership." Facebook promptly told me my partner would have to verify that. I was indignant.

Then another thought struck me. What if she denies it?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Question of the Week

Do you miss "Will & Grace?"

Mahalo Hawaii

The Hawaii Senate had a gay ol' time yesterday.

That body unanimously approved the appointment of Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court. She'll be the high court's first openly gay member.

The Senate also approved a civil unions bill. It now goes to the governor, who has pledged to sign it.

One of Hawaii's nicknames is the Rainbow State, and that's no lie today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Evolution on a Christian Campus?

At Westmont College, a Christian school near Santa Barbara, Calif., incoming students sign a campus code forbidding "occult practices, sexual relations outside of marriage, homosexual practice, drunkenness, theft, profanity and dishonesty."

Now a campus discussion is underway about one of those activities, and it ain't theft.

The Los Angeles Times
reports that earlier this month an open letter appeared in the college newspaper from 31 gay and lesbian Westmont alumni describing the "doubt, loneliness and fear" they felt while students.

I'm impressed that the 31 found each other. Their gaydar must be as finely tuned as a Bose radio.

Last week, 50 of Westmont's 92 faculty members wrote their own letter, asking "forgiveness for ways we might have added to your pain." In fact, the Times reports Westmont is having a Kumbaya moment, as "parties on all sides are issuing declarations of love and respect, with calls for a campus-wide dialogue."

Yet everyone assumes the ban will remain.

"Administrators say the ban is not on being gay but on the 'practice' — just as there's a ban on sex between unmarried straight students."

Okay, let's say a lesbian 18-year-old agrees to the rule of no sex for all students and enrolls. Can she say she's a lesbian and not suffer any consequences? Can she date (sex-free), just like a straight student? Can she want to have sex really, really badly, just like a straight student?

These are the questions Westmont and some other Christian colleges will apparently sort out over the months and years to come. The fact that they appear willing to face them is progress.

The process will be painful for everyone. I hope their guidance is divine. In both the religious and gay sense.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This Week's Quote

You don't realize that you're intelligent until it gets you into trouble.

James Baldwin

Source: Quotationary

Monday, February 14, 2011

Scampering Through the News

You might want to do a few stretches before reading this. We're about to race through the GLBT news, and I don't want to be blamed if you strain something. I don't have insurance.

Ready, set, etc.

Terry Jones, Florida pastor and would-be Koran burner, will be the primary speaker on the Stand Up America tour, which will condemn the "deathstyles" of homosexuality, Islam and abortion.

On this tour, the groupies will be War, Famine, Pestilence and Death.

Another sad fellow, Congressman Chris Lee of New York, resigned after the world saw a shirtless photo of himself he sent to a woman he met on Craigslist. The married, socially conservative Republican wasn't our friend in Congress.

Pity. Gay men could teach the Craigslist Congressman how to pose alluringly instead of alarmingly.

Now to Colorado and another man behaving badly. Lt. Jeff Egnor of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department posted hundreds of anti-gay and racist comments on local news Web sites using his work computer while on duty.

Under the screen name "Abu Mybutt," Egnor reacted to DADT's elimination by suggesting new military slogans like "Butt Rangers lead the way!" and "Join the Navy, see naked men!"

He resigned from the force. Maybe he'll join the military.

Keep up now, people. Quick quick like a bunny.

Turning to gays behaving badly, we're off to the Caribbean and a charter billed as the "world's largest gay cruise." Agents searched Steven Barry Krumholz's cabin and allegedly found lots of meth, Ecstasy and cash. While they waited for Krumholz, two passengers came by to buy.

I'm shocked, shocked to hear of drug dealing among gay men in a party setting. Next you'll tell me gay men and lesbians smoke a lot.

In happier news, Mitchell Reich was elected the first openly gay president of the Harvard Law Review. Personally, as publications go, I'd rather read the American Journal of Gastroenterology, but this is still primo news.

And then there's the story of Malcolm, quite a kid. His mother gave him $140 to donate to the charity of his choice. He divided the money between the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the Human Rights Campaign.

In his seven-year-old handwriting, he told the Center, "I'm sending you this money because I don’t think it's fair that gay people are not treated equally."

Stop crying. We don't have time for it.

In international news, the flight attendants for a new charter airline in Thailand include four transsexuals. The airline is called P.C. Air, which I'm certain doesn't stand for Politically Correct.

The word is out about a proposed gay-centric but open-to-everyone community near Palm Springs, Calif. The designs for "Boom" include 300 residences, eight neighborhoods, an entertainment center and a "rooftop mist disco."

Those might be the gayest three words I've ever heard.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and other righty individuals and groups boycotted the Conservative Political Action Conference, huffy over the involvement of the gay conservative group, GOProud.

I don't agree with GOProud on much, but if it can cause this kind of schism among rabid conservatives, I say go you boys.

Hang on. Last lap. Almost there.

The Hawaii House of Representatives voted yes on civil unions, and in Maryland and Rhode Island legislative committees held hearings on same-sex marriage. A Maryland state senator announced he'll vote for gay marriage because he was appalled at the way opponents demonized gays. Welcome to our world.

There. You're done. Sorry for rushing you. It was the only way to get through it all. Now you can take a nap.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finding Love in an Unlikely Place

For your pre-Valentine's Day pleasure, I offer this story from the Dallas Voice about Larry and KC Jansson, two young men who met and fell in love at an ex-gay camp.

Their story has everything: drama, romance, conflict, a happy ending. And comedy. There's plenty of funny business, ranging from irony (two gay guys fall in love while trying to give up gayness), to physical comedy (four ex-gay campers at the mall see an Abercrombie & Fitch poster, stop dead and fall on top of each other).

Then there's the tragi-comedy, the laughable rules and methods of these reparative therapy programs. They would be a scream—if they weren't so harmful.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Question of the Week

What is the best part about being gay or bi or trans?

A Georgia Gargoyle

Bobby Franklin is a tad conservative the way Bill Gates is a tad well off.

The Republican state representative from Georgia has authored bills that define abortion as murder, require state transactions be conducted in gold or silver, and abolish driver's licenses.

Franklin believes that Christianity is the only correct religion, and that America has adopted all 10 planks of "The Communist Manifesto."

The word "wingnut" was invented for him.

On the subject of allowing gays in the military, Franklin told The Marietta Daily Journal that the Bible says homosexuality is "a capital offense."

"You want someone with unrepentant criminal behavior? And it's not just that, neither should adulterers, neither should thieves, neither should a lot of things. The church is full of sinners, but we're told in 1st Corinthians it rattled off the homosexual, the adulterer, the thief, the liar, and such were some of you, but you've been washed, you've been justified and so forth. It's not what you were. You're not punishing a thought. But do you want an unrepentant drug dealer in the military? Same thing."

The only thing that's clear in that muddle is Franklin equated gays with drug dealers. I confess, I have been known to hand out aspirin.

The issue here is not gays or dealers in the service. The pressing question is why Cobb County voters have sent Franklin to represent them since 1996. If he truly reflects their values, I need aspirin.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gay Suds

If you like your beer queer, head to Mexico.

Seattle Gay News reports the Minerva brewery in Jalisco cooked up a brew aimed at the Mexican LGBT community.

The beer is brewed with organic honey and malt, and the recipe, said Minerva's president, "infuses the beer with a citrus flavor that appeals to the taste of the LGBT community."

Even our beer tastes like a cocktail.

The brew is called "Purple Hand," after a 1969 brouhaha in San Francisco. On Halloween night, activists protested outside the San Francisco Examiner over a series of homophobic articles. Newspaper employees dumped purple ink on the protesters, who then stamped purple handprints all over downtown.

I trust Purple Hand doesn't turn your hands purple. Although a nice lavender shade might be acceptable.

The new microbrew has proved popular—the first 500 cases sold out.

Brewery president Dario Rodriguez Wyler said, "We've received a lot of criticism about whether we were excluding heterosexuals, and yes, it is a product directed exclusively to the LGBT community."

But if any well-intentioned straight person wants to join us in a citrusy brew, I'm pretty sure we'd share.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Week's Quote

For a long time I thought I wanted to be a nun. Then I realized that what I really wanted to be was a lesbian.

Mabel Maney

Source: quotegarden.com

Monday, February 7, 2011

Doing Right By Our Pioneers

John Corvino has, as usual, written a column worth pilfering from. But I don't think he'll mind my thieving, since it's in a good cause.

In his piece called "Help a Hero," Corvino writes about Frank Kameny, one of the most important figures in the gay movement. If you haven't heard of him, that's no surprise. We often think our history began in 1969 when drag queens got testy with cops outside a Greenwich Village bar.

But Kameny was an activist before Stonewall. And after it. And still. He's the Energizer Bunny of gay activists.

Corvino writes, "A Harvard-trained Ph.D. and World War II veteran, Frank was fired in 1957 from his job as an Army Map Service astronomer for being a homosexual. Unsure of his future employability and outraged by the injustice, he fought back, petitioning his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1961. (They declined to hear it.)"

Over the years Kameny did loads more for the cause, as Corvino describes. My favorite Kameny actions? In 1965 he picketed in front of the White House for gay rights—President Lyndon Johnson probably thought this civil rights thing has gotten out of hand­­­—and in 1968 he coined the slogan "Gay is Good."

Kameny also fought for the notion that Gay isn't Nuts, and he saw that battle won in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association stopped classifying homosexuality as a mental illness.

"In 2009, when President Obama signed a memorandum extending certain benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, he handed his pen to Kameny," Corvino notes. "That same year, the Federal Office of Personnel Management issued an apology to Kameny on behalf of the U.S. government. Without missing a beat, Kameny promptly sent a letter stating that he was expecting five decades of back pay. (He received no reply.)"

He could've used it. The 85-year-old is strapped. "His modest Social Security check—his only income—is inadequate to cover his needs. An organization called Helping Our Brothers and Sisters (HOBS) has intervened on his behalf."

You can read how HOBS is financially aiding the man it calls "our greatest living gay rights activist" at www.helpingourbrothersandsisters.com.

Corvino writes, "All donations to HOBS this month go to Frank. Meanwhile, a Facebook page has launched in conjunction with this effort, entitled 'Buy Frank a Drink.' The idea is not literally to buy him drinks, but to spare $10 (or whatever you can afford) for him."

Oh hell, go ahead and buy him a drink if you want to. Kameny deserves it—and lots more.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Publishers Said No, No, No

The rejection letter Gertrude Stein received (see below) got me wondering about other LGBT literary lions. Who else was poked in the eye by publishers?

Not surprisingly, Radclyffe Hall. When she shopped around her groundbreaking novel about lesbianism, "The Well of Loneliness," in 1928, one publisher wrote her, " . . . we do feel (and this is the fundamental reason for our decision not to publish) that the book will be regarded as propaganda, and that inevitably the publishers of it will have to meet not only severe criticism but a chorus of fanatical abuse which, although unjustifiable, may nevertheless do them considerable damage. That consequence we are not prepared to face, and so we must decline the book . . . "

In other words, we are wusses.

The book I found that response in, "Rotten Rejections," also includes a notable reaction to Oscar Wilde's play, "Lady Windermere's Fan": "My dear sir, I have read your manuscript. Oh, my dear sir."

Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" earned an annoying response, namely, "We deem it injudicious to commit ourselves." That decision turned out to be injudicious.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Question of the Week

Which actor should play Elton John in an upcoming movie bio?

The Bloom is Off the Rose is a Rose

You'll appreciate this if you've ever 1) grappled with Gertrude Stein's writing, or 2) received a rejection letter.

An editor at a London publishing house dispatched the following note to Stein in Paris in 1912. Clearly he'd had a bellyful of the iconic lesbian's rambling style.

Dear Madam,

I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.

Many thanks. I am returning the M.S. by registered post. Only one M.S. by one post.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Republican Family Values

First Meghan McCain. Then Cindy McCain. Then Laura Bush. Now Barbara Bush.

Is it something in the Perrier?

These wives and daughters of the most high-powered Republicans have publically supported same-sex marriage, and thus publically disagreed with their menfolk.

I like that Sen. John McCain and former President George W. Bush have opposition at home. And while, as others have pointed out, these women don't wield real political power, they do have some influence on popular opinion.

From whom shall we hear next? Todd Palin?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This Week's Quote

The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.

Joseph Wood Krutch

Source: famousquotesandauthors.com