Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Absolut, the Swedish vodka, is celebrating 30 years of marketing to the LGBT consumer with a new commemorative campaign. In 1981 Absolut ads ran in The Advocate and After Dark, and it feels like Absolut has been Absolut-ly omnipresent in the community ever since.
On the one hand, Absolut dared to advertise where others feared to, becoming the “first big brand to commit to and pursue the market” by being “the first continuously present major brand in gay media,” Michael Wilke, the former executive director of the Commercial Closet Association, told The New York Times. Absolut has sponsored Prides and donated to our causes.
On the other hand, there's that pesky question about whether such ardent boozy love is good for our community, which struggles so with alcoholism.
At any rate, we're in for a yearlong anniversary campaign. It will include the phrase, "Celebrating 30 years of going out and coming out." We've been doing both in tandem with Absolut—that's the out-and-out truth.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Pat Buchanan, currently flogging his new book, guested on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show" yesterday. Go ahead and put yourself in a testy mood by reading part of the show's transcript:
REHM: And another question. You've written in your columns of homosexuality, that in a healthy society, it will be contained, segregated, controlled, and stigmatized. You've also called homosexuality a disorder that can be handled with therapy. Do you still stand by those statements?
BUCHANAN: Well, the statement that homosexuality is disordered is a statement from Pope Benedict in Rome, as well. It's the view of the Catholic Church.
REHM: And you accept that?
BUCHANAN: Well, I believe that homosexuality is -- that it is unnatural activity. Unnatural and immoral. I realize individuals are maybe born -- nature or nurture, I don't know what it is -- I assume nobody actually gets to be 13 or 14 and suddenly chooses this. But I do think -- and people may not be able to control their orientation -- but I do believe as a Catholic that people can control their conduct. And that is where I think, I would say, that kind of conduct should be discouraged in a good society, in a healthy society. And it used to be discouraged. And I do think that the idea that men can marry men and women marry women in the USA is a sign of a civilization in its final throes. I mean, we saw things like this at the end of the Weimar Republic. Things like this at the end of the Roman Empire. And they are attendant to a declining nation and a declining civilization.
Well, Pat, in the first breath you say homosexuality is unnatural, but in the second you say people are born gay. I'm confused. But so are you.
By the by, Pat, you benefitted directly from America becoming more tolerant. You ran for president as a devout Catholic. For much of this country's history, such a thing was impossible. Maybe the ghost of Al Smith will pay you a Halloween visit to remind you. Hang on to your candy corn.
I gather your book, "Suicide of a Superpower," maintains that America will be in deep trouble when whites lose their majority status. You even appeared on a "pro-White" radio show the other night. Spending Saturday night with a white supremacist—Pat, you know how to have a good time.
A changing racial makeup and gay rights spell the end of our civilization, huh? Well, there's always the Nazi approach to both—but I'm sure you're not advocating that . . . Are you, Pat?
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
My partner and I are both going through withdrawal. It ain't pretty.
We're not addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn, sex, love, cigarettes, texting or gambling. I'll bet you a case of gin we're not.
No, our addictions have a lesbian flare. Anne is mad for the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, while I'm obsessed with women's professional basketball.
I realize the WNBA players and fans are far from strictly lesbian, but I say we keep that a secret.
From May to October, I'm either glued to my seat in Key Arena to watch the Seattle Storm, or I'm glued to the television to gaze upon other teams. I prefer watching the Storm, of course, but my addiction is real, and if I don't watch some women's hoop every few days, my hands get clammy.
The Storm, league champions last year, lost in the first round of the playoffs this season. Naturally, I was distraught. But a true fan—addict—must continue, so I watched the rest of the playoffs and the finals, where some damn team that wasn't the Storm beat some other damn team that wasn't the Storm.
Now it's approximately 15 days, four hours and 38 minutes from the last game of the season, and wow, is it clear that I'm in the grip of basketball withdrawal. I blurt out "Go Storm!" at unpredictable intervals. I set up my Storm-player bobbleheads in a zone defense. I draw the WNBA trophy in my oatmeal.
I miss the athletic exploits, like when a guard weaves around four defenders to get to the basket, or when I weave around 10 kids to get to the bathroom. I miss the competition, the drama, the socializing. Good God, I even miss the security line. Somebody needs a 12-step program, quick.
Relief is not far off. Women's college basketball begins soon. While that will satisfy my hoop hunger, I have one problem with the college game: The players keep getting remarkably younger.
As I drift along in my dismal state, Anne is looking pretty pitiful, too. Normally she blocks out the 10 days of the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival on her calendar. She agrees to go to work and feed herself, but everything else comes second to the movies. If my appendix were to rupture, she'd rush me to the hospital—immediately after the conclusion of the documentary on Maori gay youth.
Obviously Anne loves movies, but the 10-day hit of just LGBT movies is an ultimate high for her. The organizers of the film festival are her dealers. Bet they never thought of themselves that way before.
This year various forces made grueling demands on Anne's time, and at this writing, eight days into the festival, she has seen just one movie. The result? Anne comes home, hands the dog her "ticket" and demands buttered popcorn for dinner.
She's planning her attack on the remaining films. At this moment Anne is cloistered with the festival guide; she's speaking to it as lovingly as she would to me. She aims to see as many films as she can over these last two days. It's time to mainline.
If she starts mixing her drugs—running back and forth between the lesbian shorts and a transgender musical—then I'll start to worry.
I plan to accompany her today and tomorrow. I'm the designated driver, in case she goes blind from staring at too many screens. But if one of the movies turns out to be about women's basketball, neither one of us will be in a fit state to drive.
Friday, October 21, 2011
God has made an "It Gets Better" video. It's part of a publicity push for his new book, co-authored with David Javerbaum, called "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God." Who knew God needed publicity?
Thursday, October 20, 2011
He said it to Joy Behar, and last night he repeated it to Piers Morgan. Herman Cain believes Rick Santorum is really a dance instructor from Duluth.
No, what the Republican presidential candidate said was he believes being gay is a personal choice.
Here's my personal choice: I'd rather vote for a fish stick than Cain.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
How do you look in purple?
Tomorrow, wear it anyway.
On Oct. 20 celebrities and common folk will don purple clothing to show support for LGBT youth. Purple represents spirit on the rainbow flag, and the day is being called Spirit Day.
Not Spirits Day, mind you—that would be either Halloween or a coast-to-coast whiskey festival.
Going purple for a day began last year as a response to the rash of bullying-induced suicides. So tomorrow consider slipping into something purple to show your feelings about bullying.
Even if you think purple makes you look like Barney.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
On Saturday evening, Anne and I found ourselves in Genesee, Idaho, population (dreaming of) 1,000.
We were spending the weekend with our friends Diana and Barry, a straight couple who live in nearby Lewiston. They took us to a restaurant in Genesee they like.
As we settled in at our table, I felt and saw the stares coming from the tables on either side of us. I leaned over to Anne and whispered, "We're getting stares. Don't know if it's because we're strangers or dykes."
Anne's money was on the latter. We'll never know. But being eyeballed from both sides at once suddenly made me feel like a rotisserie lesbian.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Last June I wrote about the uproar that resulted when Virginians noticed the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond was flying the rainbow flag. Some folks were so angry you'd have thought the bank was flying the Jolly Roger.
A Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates wrote to the bank president that "homosexual behavior . . . undermines the American economy, is a class six felony in Virginia, shortens lives, adds significantly to illness, increases health costs, promotes venereal diseases, and worsens the population imbalance relating to the number of workers supporting the beneficiaries of America's Social Security and Medicare Programs."
On my best day, I could manage only
one or two of those.
Despite the calls to take down the flag, the Richmond Fed kept it up through Pride month. But now we hear that won't happen again.
The Virginian-Pilot reported that bank honchos recently sent a memo to employees defending the decision to promote diversity by flying the rainbow flag in June, but announcing that in the future, acknowledgement of Pride month won't be so publicly visible.
I take comfort in knowing that hiding the flag won't reduce venereal disease in Virginia one bit.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Frank Kameny has died at the age of 86. As LGBT heroes go, they don't come any bigger. Or feistier.
When he was fired from his job at the Army Map Service in 1957 for being queer, he didn't go quietly, taking his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kameny was a Mattachine Society of Washington founder, and he picketed the White House years before Stonewall.
Kameny, credited with the slogan "Gay is Good," also played a major role in the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 decision to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental illness. He was the first openly gay candidate for Congress . . . well, the list goes on and on. We might just owe the government a debt for firing Kameny in 1957 and turning him into a gay-rights juggernaut.
In 2009 Kameny received an apology from the government for his firing. John Berry, director of the United States Office of Personnel Management, tendered the apology. Berry is openly gay.
Perfect, wouldn't you say?
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
My view of the Occupy Wall Street protest is that it's an unfocused jumble, but at least somebody's doing something. At last. What began with a few dozen demonstrators on Wall Street has grown into a national conniption over corporate greed and government collusion.
It's easy for those in power to dismiss the protesters as young people devoid of both sense and hygiene. But all sorts of people are protesting.
That includes us; LGBT folks are demonstrating from New York to Seattle. I'm pleased about that. I can think of a lot of reasons we should be involved in this fight:
1. Gay men bring a certain verve to any gathering.
2. We are in the middle of our movement, still battling for our civil rights, so some of us are ready to demonstrate at the drop of a tweet.
3. Our experienced protesters can advise others on being arrested with maximum exposure and minimum pain.
4. LGBT anthems might be inspiring. I'm thinking of "I Will Survive," not "It's Raining Men."
5. During the considerable down time—many of the protests involve camping out—we could introduce party games. Maybe plan a wedding for a laid-off steel worker and an underemployed librarian.
6. We have been the victims of Wall Street shenanigans, too, losing our homes, our jobs, our hope. Corporate greed is very equal opportunity, savaging straight and gay alike.
7. We have also been the victimizers. If you've abetted corporate criminality, it's time to grow a conscience, sell one of your houses and post bail for protesters. Or see to it that the demonstration in your city becomes a catered affair.
8. Spiritual guidance. If demonstrators want a blessing or just clerical panache, our community can provide it in the form of lesbian rabbis, MCC ministers, gay priests, radical Faeries and lesbian Buddhist nuns.
9. The protests are irritating Glenn Beck, and that's reason enough to participate.
10. Passion. Throngs of people. Close quarters. A sense of being real. Occupy Wall Street is Pride out of season.
11. As with Pride, the opportunities for meeting a soulmate or a bedmate are ripe.
12. LGBT persons soaking up the agitation over corporate power might be moved to examine how we produce our annual festivals. Should Pride be about gay freedom or grapefruit vodka?
13. For a few, these demonstrations would provide a professional challenge: the chance to give an anarchist a makeover.
14. LGBT leaders learned the importance of allies. We need to keep these ties strong. When gay people visibly participate in Occupy Wall Street, we stand with youth, liberals, unions, people of color, faith groups, veterans, professionals, anti-war activists and environmentalists. And confused tourists.
15. It would be best all around if these protests were nonviolent, and who better to diffuse tension between demonstrators and police than a quick-thinking drag queen? If well delivered, the line "Does this demonstration make me look fat?" should do the trick.
16. The struggle for gay rights is a lengthy undertaking, and the obstacles and backward steps are draining. Occupy Wall Street could rejuvenate our spirits. It might remind us what people can do when they're angry, fighting for their lives and sort-of-kind-of-somewhat have a goal.
Friday, October 7, 2011
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking before his Conservative Party in Manchester this week, said these words: "So I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a conservative."
All across America, social conservatives' heads exploded.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Another T-shirt, another to-do.
If you follow this site, you know I've written before about the fusses T-shirts have caused. The fight for and against gay rights takes place partly in cotton/poly blends.
But if what a high school student claims is true, this time a pro-gay shirt acted as a red flag to a bull. Or a bully.
Chris Sigler of Madisonville, Tenn., wants a gay-straight alliance at his Sequoyah High School. Advocate.com reported that last week Sigler wore a homemade T-shirt to school that read "Gay Straight Alliance: We've Got Your Back."
The boy might have a future as a T-shirt scribe.
Sigler was told to cover the shirt that day, but a few days later he wore it again.
He must've known that defying school authorities, even in a good cause, will earn you grief, but I don't imagine he expected the principal's nostrils to issue steam.
Principal Maurice Moser appeared in Sigler's economics class in the middle of a test. He ordered all the other students to leave the room, which must've delighted any who were in the process of botching the exam.
Sigler's sister Jessica refused the order, and brother and sister both said that Moser grabbed Chris by the arm, shoved him against the wall, chest-bumped him a number of times and asked, "Who's the big man now?"
Anger issues? Acute homophobia? Latent homosexuality? Arrested emotional development? Such a stew of possibilities.
Sigler's mother arrived and found the principal leaning over Chris and shouting in his face. Moser told the student to leave the school for the rest of the day. So much for the economics test.
Appropriately, the family filed a police report, and the ACLU is now involved.
True that. With a fellow like Moser in charge, the students of Sequoyah High School might need a self-defense club as well.