Wednesday, August 31, 2011

San Juan Scandal


Third time is not the charm.

Former Congressmen Chris Lee and Anthony Weiner resigned after the world saw too much of them, and now a Puerto Rican lawmaker has followed a similar path.

Politicians should not be allowed to own or operate cameras, cell phones or anything else with which they can take pictures of themselves.  Or parts of themselves.

Roberto Arango, who represented San Juan in Puerto Rico's Senate, resigned this weekend after local media published sexually suggestive photos, allegedly of Arango, from the gay hook-up app Grindr.

What makes this more than a story of yet another politician who can't keep his peccadillo zipped is that Arango has an anti-gay history.  Married with one child, the Republican stalwart has fought against gay marriage and gay adoption rights.

Gay sex, however, he appears to be all for.

"They Recruit Through Rape"

In the first half of this video, Pastor Steve Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona offers up one of the most vile anti-gay rants you'll ever hear.  In the second half, he starts to explain why both he and God hate Barack Obama, but he never gets there.

Why put this on my humor-driven site?  You could argue Anderson is so awful he's funny.  But I probably wouldn't argue that--the man is dangerous, and full of demons, and on a mission to make a name for himself.  I'm posting the video out of raw fascination at how fanatical a homophobe can be, and at how the Bible can be twisted six ways from Sunday.

Thanks to Matt Comer for passing this along.  Dreadful as it is.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This Week's Quote


Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.

Dame Edna Everage

Source:  Goodreads.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Touch of the Divine in Florida

Whether or not you've heard of Jerry Buell, in a few minutes you're going to find it hard to forget him.

Buell is a high school teacher in Mount Dora, Fla., who posted on Facebook that he "almost threw up" when he heard about New York's legalization of gay marriage.  He said same-sex unions were part of a "cesspool," and called them a "sin."

In other words, he holds mild opinions on the subject.

A U.S. history instructor, Buell was suspended from the classroom and reassigned, the Orlando Sentinel reported, while the school district investigated whether he violated an ethics policy that calls for educators to value the "worth and dignity of every person."

Even those persons who make you want to toss your cookies.

Buell said his gay students "know that I don't hate them.  I love them."  He said his Facebook post didn't spring from hatred.  "It was about the way I interpret things."

Indeed.  He interpreted gay marriage rights as cause for Dramamine.

The ACLU stated Buell had the right to say what he pleased.  The mega-conservative Liberty Counsel also argued for Buell's right to off-gas on Facebook.

After a weeklong investigation, the Lake County Schools superintendent reinstated him.  A "written directive" was put in his file, but so far it's unknown whether the directive is a reprimand, a warning or a recipe for sponge cake.

A nanosecond after Buell was reinstated, a new controversy arose.  The school district turned its attention to whether he monkeyed around with the constitutional separation of church and state.

On his syllabus, Buell included this heads up to students:  "I teach God's truth, I make very few compromises. If you believe you may have a problem with that, get your schedule changed, 'cause I ain't changing!"  And on a different document Buell labeled the classroom his "mission field."

Call me crazy, but I think a wee bit of his faith has crept into the fella's teaching.

By way of another tiny hint, Buell wrote on his school webpage that he tries to "teach and lead my students as if Lake Co. Schools had hired Jesus Christ himself."

What does that mean?  Does Buell hand out loaves and fishes in the cafeteria?  Is he given to healing the sick in the school nurse's office?  Perhaps he trots down to the biology class to raise dissected frogs from the dead.  Or, when the swim team isn't hogging it, he walks on the pool.

I would think God would command a higher salary than the school system could afford.  On the other hand, wouldn't Jesus teach for free?  And have no need of a 401(k)?

At any rate, I can report that last year Buell was named Mount Dora High School's Teacher of the Year.  He wasn’t named Deity of the Year.

A lawyer from the Liberty Counsel is representing Buell, and the organization staged a rally at which, fighting tears, Buell said, "I'm a social studies teacher, and I knew what the heck I was doing."

I should hope so.  If he wants to reek of divinity, being all-knowing is a basic requirement.

"There's a thing in this country called the First Amendment," he told the crowd. "I firmly believe in the right to express my opinions passionately."

Expressing his religious opinions so passionately in a public school might strike you as a clear violation of the separation of church and state, and you might think those opinions are a threat to LGBT students, as well as other types of students.

But the rules are different for God's stand-in.  Buell's position is stressful—he must teach history, figure out who's skipping class and model holiness all at the same time.  Uneasy lies the head that wears a halo.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Question of the Week

Is God unleashing Hurricane Irene on the East Coast because he's furious over recent advances in gay rights, or could there be some other reason for the hurricane?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gays, God and Earthquakes

For a while there I was starting to worry that we wouldn't be blamed for the earthquake on the East Coast.  Silly me.  Someone always comes through.

According to On Top Magazine, Rabbi Yehuda Levin of New York City declared his state's legalization of gay marriage brought on Tuesday's bumpiness.

“One of the reasons that God brings earthquakes to the world is because of the transgression of homosexuality,” he said in a YouTube video. “The Talmud states, 'You have shaken your male member in a place where it doesn't belong. I too, will shake the Earth.'”

Is anybody else getting very strange penis visuals?

On Top reported that last month Levin blamed same-sex marriage for the murder of an 8-year-old boy.  It appears all calamities in the Empire State will be our fault for the indefinite future.

Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily.com, also maintained that God sent the earthquake in a fit of pique over gay rights.

Washington, D.C., needs and deserves more than the shaking it received, and Farah has no doubt that's coming, "unless there is a real change of heart in the leadership of this country.”

“After all, if America doesn't face judgment soon, God will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. And God doesn't offer apologies.”

Neither do hateful cranks like Farah and Levin, alas.

A Couple of Softies


Yesterday, while strolling along the beach with a straight friend, I used the term "soft butch."  Although Margaret has a number of lesbian friends, she wasn't familiar with the term, so I tried to explain it.  Either I did a bad job or she wasn't listening—the first time she used the phrase it came out "soft bitch."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This Week's Quote

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night.

Margaret Mead

Source:  Minutes From the Great Women's Coffee Club

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hardaway Evolves

Tim Hardaway was a star point guard in the NBA, known for his crossover dribble.  But it was what dribbled from his mouth that I remember best.

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known," Hardaway said on a sports radio show in 2007.  "I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

Or in the solar system, I presume.

All and sundry criticized him, and the NBA put the already-retired player on its get-out-of-our-sight list.

Flash forward to last week.  A college star at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Hardaway was in town to play golf.   He also spoke at a press conference opposing the effort to recall the El Paso mayor and two city representatives.  The three earned the ire of religious conservatives for voting to restore health benefits for the same-sex partners of city employees after voters had canned the benefits.

Hardaway called on El Pasoans not to commit the same flagrant foul he had.

"I would say grow up and catch up with the times," he said. "It's all around the world."

Maybe even in the solar system.

Hardaway, who said he went to counseling after the brouhaha, noted his discriminatory words were especially sad coming from a black man.  He spoke of his former coach, Don Haskins, who in 1966 famously led a UTEP team with five black starters over a lily-white University of Kentucky team to win the national title.

"A lot of people said, 'What is Don Haskins doing?' " said Hardaway. "But El Paso understood."

Whether El Paso will understand this time remains to be seen, but the hoopster seems to have gotten it.  I can't say he now plays for our team—because that has a different connotation—but Hardaway is now willing to be our assist man.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vintage Tomlin

Now this goes back a ways.  Lily Tomlin as Ernestine on "The Merv Griffin Show," in glorious black and white.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Question of the Week


Is there any other LGBT person out there who has never watched "Glee," or am I the only one?

Here Comes the Bigot


Ronnie Polaneczky is tired of those homophobic "heterosexuals who give the rest of us straight people a bad name."

We gay people are tired of them, too, but I digress.

Polaneczky, a Philadelphia Daily News columnist, today told the story of Alix Genter, who visited Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point, N.J., last Saturday in search of a wedding dress.  Genter found a dress she liked, and asked the salon manager, Donna, if she could get it in a lighter-weight fabric.  Donna pledged to find out.

On Tuesday, Donna called the bride-to-be.  She made a report, all right, but not the one Genter was expecting.  Donna had examined Genter's paperwork, and discovered she'd crossed out the word "groom," replaced it with the word "partner," and written her partner's name.

Donna proceeded to turn into the kind of straight person for whom Polaneczky feels she should apologize.

"She said she wouldn't work with me because I'm gay," Genter told the columnist. "She also said that I came from a nice Jewish family, and that it was a shame I was gay. She said, 'There's right, and there's wrong. And this is wrong.'"

Donna also said Genter's plan to wed was "illegal" and "we do not participate in any illegal actions."

Except for discrimination, which is illegal in New Jersey.  Personally, I'd toss in a charge of felony self-righteousness.

Polaneczky talked to Donna, who accused Genter of "stirring up drama." Writing the word "partner" was a provocative action, in Donna's opinion, revealing a need "to show that she's different."

"They get that way," Donna told the columnist.  And who are "they"? Women who are tired of dealing with bossy men, and take up with women instead.

I'd apologize for her, too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Charting the Candidates

Marriage Equality USA has released a chart listing the positions of the presidential contenders on LGBT issues.  Not surprisingly, openly gay Republican candidate Fred Karger is the most pro-gay, followed by President Obama.

Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry feel we merit all the rights of a lima bean.

This Week's Quote


If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.

Jay Leno

Source:  The Quotable Intellectual

Monday, August 15, 2011

Same Gender Means Some Problems


You might enter into a same-sex relationship thinking you know all the troubles that lie ahead.  Discrimination, rejection by family and friends, spending eternity in hell—none of that is news.

But I'll bet you never considered the bundle of difficulties caused by being in a relationship with someone who's a lot like you.  Someone with whom you share everything from chromosomes to conditioner.

Here's an example of what I mean:  My partner and I have the same name.  Her first name is Anne, which is also my middle name.  It took me a while to get comfortable saying her name.  I felt like I was calling myself, and having attacks of egomania.

Opposite-sex couples can experience this trouble too, of course.  A woman named Jordan can marry a man named Jordan, or a Jean can connect with a Gene.  But the chances of twin names are much increased with gay couplings.

We all know a Mike and a Mike, or a Sarah and a Sarah.  The other day I heard a lesbian couple referred to as "the Rachels."  Anyone who's adamant about maintaining individuality might have to rethink this gay thing.

I suppose preventive action is a possibility.  A lesbian could legally change her name before starting a relationship, pick a name that no other woman is likely to share.  Like Augustina.  Or Pittsburgh.  Or Cementmixer.

Then there's the issue of clothing.  Back when I was in a straight relationship, my boyfriend was too tall and too male to borrow my clothes.

Now all bets are off.

Anne has borrowed everything from bras to hats.  She so covets a shirt of mine she whimpers a little when I wear it.  I'll soon know what it means to give someone the shirt off my back.

She and I aren't the same size, nor do we have identical taste.  For these reasons, I know my entire wardrobe won't go missing.

But I can imagine what it must be like for, say, a femme couple with similar proportions where one woman is constantly pilfering and the other can never find what she planned to wear.  On a morning when the latter can locate nothing to wear to work but pumps and a nightgown, the fur will fly.

I'd be remiss if I didn't note that sometimes it's a boon, clothing-wise, to be in a same-sex couple.  You can double your wardrobe.  But only if you have like builds and taste.  I suppose there are women out there who assess a potential partner for kindness, respect and to-die-for pencil skirts.

Turning to accessories, our friend Susan recently told Anne and me that she has begun carrying a purse again.  The problem is her partner Joyce uses a purse that looks the same.  Now each woman can find herself leaving the house with the wrong life.

Straight couples don't have this trouble.

On another subject, while anti-gay activists argue that male and female genitalia were meant to go together, they're ignoring a more compelling biological argument.  Two women going through menopause should never live together.

Between us, Anne and I have every menopause symptom going.  When she's having a hot flash, I'm too busy obsessing over my weight gain to notice, let alone sympathize.  In straight households where the woman is experiencing menopause, it's the man's job to be sympathetic—when he isn't driving his girlfriend around in his new Ferrari.

Anne and I don't get sympathy, but we aren't being cheated on, so I guess it's a wash.  Overall, though, I feel it's only right for young people to be alerted to the complications inherent in same-sex relationships.  If the prospect of hell doesn't scare twinks, the prospect of sharing hair gel might.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Question of the Week


Is your gaydar in working order?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seattle Team Spirit


My very own Seattle Storm--okay, I don't own them, just pull for them like a lesbian possessed--have made an "It Gets Better" video with members of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders and Seattle Seahawks.  I can't be the only Seattleite whose heart has been warmed today by these basketball, baseball, soccer and football players joining together to bolster LGBT young people.  The video gave me such a glow I forgot for a good five minutes that the Storm haven't been doing so well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This Week's Quote


I don't care what anybody says about me as long as it isn't true.

Truman Capote

Source:  BrainyQuote.com

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Post: Why are Gay People So Funny?

By Jacob Woods

 “All the gay guys I meet are so funny!” I can’t be the only person in the gay world who has heard this phrase said or various forms of it like, “Why are gay people so funny?” I usually take it as a compliment and think in the back of my head, I have met and heard about some pretty unfunny gay people. Like Ted Haggard for example. Ok, bad example. But the question remains, why are gay people so funny? I don’t know actually. But, I have a couple of excellent guesses.

Media portrayal and lgbt icons

Believe it or not, writing counts as media. When I hear media, I think YouTube! David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs are a place to start. They are both satirists who write creative non-fiction. Their books run the edges of memoir but are puffed up to be hilariously amazing. Many in the lgbt community and allies of are avid readers of both Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris. And, because they are gay and write satire, perhaps the whole lgbt alphabet gets labeled a comedian show.

What about the primary colors of activism? There are only two that I can think of at the top of my head. Dan Savage and Ellen DeGeneres. Though they take their activism seriously, they often do it in a humorous way. So therefore, because Ellen and Dan are comedians, so are the rest of the activists out there. Plus, there are plenty of online lgbt faces like Arielle is Hamming, hilarious, Davey Wavey, Mathew Lush, and Tyler Oakley to name a few that I tune into now and then. And the biggest face to internet media, the hilarious Michael Buckley, who created the What The Buck Show! Over 1 million subscribers and the first full time scripted YouTube series! He’s gay, and funny!

Maybe we’re funny because that’s how we cope

There is the socialization of all the online and offline media that sends this message of humor to budding activists. Humor is the best tool for a solid argument. And it is the lgbt’s form of non-violent protest. Gays won’t hate you, punch you, or stalk you. But surely, all of us lgbt’s are looking for the next punch line. Michelle Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty are great comedians, they just don’t know it! If I couldn’t laugh at how much they disliked and didn’t come to understand the lgbt community, I would be morbidly depressed. So humor is my natural friend for coping.

We’re not all funny

Ok, just because a gay guy tells a joke doesn’t mean they are automatically hilarious. I have friends who crack jokes all the time. They just aren’t funny. I give empathetic laughs for support. I don’t know why. But, there are many people who are lgbt and don’t use humor to make their case. They perhaps use the glaring logic available, or more of an emotional appeal like Jamie Nabozony who inspired the documentary Bullied. There is a lot more to gayness than sexual puns. And I hope I can help people understand just that.

Jacob Woods is an aspiring author, (currently working on his book MascuFemity), an avid activist, an opinionated psychology student, and at most, a really awesome blogger. (At the moment. He actually doesn’t know where he is going to college, long story, but he will be going!) To read more by him, check out his blog at Good as Gay and follow him on Twitter.

The Evolved Suquamish Tribe


Without a doubt, my favorite LGBT story of last week came from right here in Washington state.  The Suquamish Tribe legalized gay marriage.

Washington has domestic partnerships.  Now a little part of Washington has skipped all that, all those halfway steps, and granted honest-to-God marriage.  A tribe of about 1,000 people effectively told the rest of the state, "Eat our dust."

With lesbian tribal member Heather Purser, 28, prodding them into action, the tribal council voted unanimously in favor of same-sex marriage.  Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur, who visited the Suquamish reservation after the news broke, reported on Purser's unique methods:  She once left a derelict car in front of the tribal offices and told tribal chairman Leonard Forsman she would move it only when lesbians and gays could marry.

Has Purser hit upon a new strategy?  Would it work to surround state capitols with broken-down Chevys and Toyotas?

"We wanted to continue our values of being accepting and tolerant and generous to the rights of our people," said Forsman.  "We want to allow our people to be happy and free. Our tradition is to be open."

Brodeur found the Suquamish have experienced so much racism and prejudice that they "never want anyone else to hurt that way, to be singled out, or turned away or forced to suffer for being who they are," she wrote.

That's refreshing, since often those who have suffered respond by making others suffer.  The view of the Suquamish is that *@^# stops here.

And then there's elder Bruce Belmont, who brought his own spice to the subject of same-sex marriage.  "I've been married damned near 50 years, and if I ever get out of it, I'm never going to do it again," said the wag. "Let them do what they want."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Question of the Week


Which duo was the most likely to have been a couple:  Lenny and Squiggy, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, or Fred and Barney? 

Last Gay Concentration Camp Survivor Dies


Rudolf Brazda has died, and part of our history went with him.

Brazda, a German native, was believed to be the last surviving person sent to a Nazi concentration camp because of homosexuality.  He landed at Buchenwald in August of 1942, where he managed to survive until the camp's liberation by American forces in 1945.

I hate seeing witnesses to history pass on.  Gay or straight, they have so much to tell us.  But Brazda was 98 years old, so—grudgingly, grouchily and grumpily—I concede it was his time.

According to The Associated Press, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were dispatched to concentration camps, and not many survived.  That makes the stories of those who did even more important, but I'll refrain from any further whining.

In 2008, Berlin unveiled a memorial to the Nazis' gay victims.  German gay rights activists thought all the former prisoners had died, but Brazda stepped forward to say the German equivalent of "I'm still here, buckoes."

Brazda visited the memorial in Berlin, a city whose mayor is openly gay.  Earlier this year, Brazda's adopted country of France named him a knight in its Legion of Honor.

Would the men who died during the Holocaust for being gay have believed any of this?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Clear-Minded Professor

Take a listen to philosophy professor John Corvino in this very abbreviated version of his lecture, "What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?"  Not only does he make good points, he's funny.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This Week's Quote

You start living that life that you think that you're supposed to do. I worked it so hard I got married! It just hit me, like, wait a minute. Why aren't my relationships going further? Why can't I really open up? And I realized oh, that's right. I forgot; I'm a lesbian! That's what it is. You don't have breasts!

Wanda Sykes, participating recently in the NAACP's first forum on LGBT issues

Source: Advocate.com

Parton Apologizes

Her Royal Dolly-ness has spoken.

Last month at Dollywood, Dolly Parton's theme park in Tennessee, a lesbian wearing a "Marriage is so gay" T-shirt was asked to turn the shirt inside out (see below). Olivier Odom complied, but she later wrote Dollywood asking for gay-friendly policies.

Now the bewigged one herself has issued a statement: "I am truly sorry for the hurt or embarrassment regarding the gay and lesbian T-shirt incident at Dollywood's Splash Country recently. Everyone knows of my personal support of the gay and lesbian community. Dollywood is a family park and all families are welcome."

If Parton hadn't spoken about the incident, she risked being knocked off the pedestal where gay folks keep her. We might've even halted drag queens from impersonating her. Harsh, I know.

Parton referred to Dollywood's policy of forbidding controversial T-shirts, adding, "I am looking further into the incident and hope and believe it was more policy than insensitivity. I am very sorry it happened at all."

All hail the Dolly.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Donkey's Work Is Never Done

Jerusalem just held its Pride parade, and over 4,000 people marched. There were protesters, and one person was arrested for throwing stink bombs, but on the whole Jerusalem's 10th annual March for Pride and Tolerance went well.

Because the asses never got there.

I shall explain. On the day of the parade, police stopped four donkeys and what The Jerusalem Post described as "a few dozen extreme right-wing demonstrators" from entering the city.

The humans intended to take their donkeys to the Pride parade. Not because the donkeys were gay or enjoyed a good parade. The animals were supposed to represent the "bestial" nature of homosexuality.

Being stopped at the entrance to the city put the kibosh on that protest plan. The asses didn't get to the parade route. The donkeys didn't either.

It wasn't the first time people tried to put donkeys to this particular symbolic use in Jerusalem. Last year Deputy Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus wanted to stage a "donkey parade" alongside the Pride march.

He planned to march 50 donkeys through the streets. I wonder if he also had a plan for cleaning up after them.

"This expresses what we think -- that this is a beastly act," the ultra-Orthodox Pindrus told the Ynet news website.

He said plainly that he's not just anti-gay, but pro-donkey. "Doesn't a donkey have a right to be a donkey?" Pindrus asked innocently. "This is a democratic state, so we will not accept the claim that donkeys have no right to march. There are donkeys who are proud of their donkeyness and want to have a parade."

I think they'd find holding a flag a bit of a challenge.

The deputy mayor's spokesman wouldn't link this proposed parade of the donkeys with Pride. "Donkeys also have rights to be recognized as couples," he told AFP. "We are in favor of donkey rights."

Isn't it touching, how these guys are so sympathetic to asses? It's as though they feel a kinship.

Ultimately the Holy City did not host Donkey Pride. Jerusalem police rejected Pindrus' request. But they also offered a compromise: Pindrus and his friends could hold cardboard cutouts of donkeys.

They did. Whether they also supplied the braying I can't say.

Police reported that two male members of Pindrus' band attacked a female carrying a pro-gay sign. Real donkeys would've behaved better.

According to Ynet, right-wingers and an assortment of religious figures had used donkeys as a means of protest prior to Pindrus, so this isn't new, this game of pin the symbol on the donkey.

What the donkeys think about it is unknown. But over thousands of years they've been put to so many uses in the Middle East—from pulling plows to carrying riders to dragging bomb-laden carts meant to be the death of them—that at this point I can't imagine they're surprised by anything humans choose to do with them.

Perhaps the next symbolic use will be running a donkey for the Knesset. The campaign slogan will be "Our ass beats your ass."

If Israelis are feeling at all about their politicians like we're feeling about ours right now, the donkey will win.

Next year, when Jerusalem's Pride rolls around again, I hope the donkeys display some of their famed stubbornness and refuse to represent bestiality, or anything else for that matter. Beasts of burden, yes. Beasts of symbolic burden, no.

Besides, the animals will essentially be saying, we don't hate gay people. Hate is a human thing. The way you humans keep nursing hate makes it clear you're more stubborn than we are.