I'm taking a week off. Normal blogging--whatever that is--will resume April 2. I promise.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Have you been paying attention to LGBT news lately? Let's find out! Choose the right answer to each question.
1. In New Hampshire, what did the House of Representatives do with a bill to repeal same-sex marriage?
a. Delayed it.
b. Passed it.
c. Rejected it.
d. Cut itty-bitty Republican elephants out of it.
2. Docked at an island during a gay cruise, two California men had sex in sight of people on land. They were arrested, and pleaded guilty to indecent exposure. Which island was this that prohibits sex between men?
d. Island of Misfit Toys
3. In Croatia, over 400 people joined a Facebook group that threatened Pride marchers in Split with violence. Croatia is staunchly:
4. The National Organization for Marriage is boycotting Starbucks because the coffee titan:
a. charges too much for a latte
b. closed some of its stores
c. supported same-sex marriage in Washington state
d. will not stop using that suggestive mermaid logo
5. The Miss Universe Canada pageant disqualified contestant Jenna Talackova for:
b. not having a talent
c. being transgender
d. slicing another competitor's swimsuit to ribbons
6. Alpharetta (Ga.) High School officials say Reuben Lack was dismissed as student body president because he hadn't met expectations. Lack says it was because he tried to make the prom inclusive for gay students. What step has Lack just taken to be reinstated?
a. He picketed the school board.
b. He held a sit-down strike in the principal's office.
c. He filed a federal lawsuit.
d. He chained himself to a math teacher.
7. Which performer announced her intention to speak out against St. Petersburg's nasty new anti-gay law at her August concert in the Russian city?
a. Cyndi Lauper
b. Lady Gaga
d. Miss Piggy
For each question, the answer is c. But you knew that, didn't you? Just nod. I'll believe you.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
The Associated Press reported that two men were arrested yesterday on a cruise ship docked at the Caribbean island of Dominica after someone on the dock saw them having sex.
My idea of an outdoor carnal experience on a cruise ship is sitting in a deckchair with chocolate mousse in one hand, éclairs in the other and Baked Alaska on my lap. But that's me.
This was a gay cruise, organized by gay travel company Atlantis Events. Sex between two men is illegal on Dominica. The duo in question, Californians John Robert Hart and Dennis Jay Mayer, were arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure and "buggery."
They spent the night in jail, which I'm sure was not on their itinerary. I'm also sure there was no Baked Alaska.
The men were scheduled to appear before a magistrate this morning; they could be fined about $400 each and face up to six months in jail. And they won't be seeing the island of St. Barts, as their ship, the Celebrity Summit, left without them. Does travel insurance cover this kind of thing?
The president of Atlantis Events, Rich Campbell, who was aboard the cruise, said the charges are misdemeanors and he expected the men to be released today.
If the magistrate read that, Hart and Mayer may be sentenced to life.
Campbell noted, "The guests' actions were unfortunate but minor in this case and have no bearing on our overall guest experience." So keep throwing your money our way, you boys who want to sail with other boys.
The question to me is whether a straight couple would've been arrested under Dominica's indecent exposure law. Do local authorities charge up the gangplank when someone on the dock spots a pair of heteros frolicking on the Promenade Deck under the Caribbean sun?
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Jack: I have lost both my parents.
Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
Source: The Importance of Being Earnest
Monday, March 19, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I know you've heard about the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda, and chances are you've heard how three American evangelicals helped inspire that legislative horror by leading a conference in Kampala on the "threat" homosexuality poses to the African family and biblical values.
Here's something you haven't heard: Gay Ugandans are fighting back in an American court. Can I get an amen?
The gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda is suing minister Scott Lively for spreading violence against gays in the east African country. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit on behalf of the group yesterday in Springfield, Mass., site of Lively's business, the Holy Grounds Coffee House.
Can I get a caffeinated amen?
"We hope that he will be held accountable for what he did in Uganda," said Frank Mugisha, head of Sexual Minorities Uganda. "We want to send out a clear message to him and to others."
The Guardian reported that the lawsuit claims Lively urged Ugandans to battle against a "genocidal" and "pedophilic" gay movement that he "likened to the Nazis and Rwandan murderers."
The minister turned those fear dials up to maximum.
Lively called the legal action absurd, and the court might agree, but gay Ugandans have served notice: You hurt us in our country, we'll aim for comeuppance in yours.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
The Olympic Games are a huge undertaking for any country that hosts them. So many things can go wrong, from terrorist attacks to ticket snafus. Organizers of this summer's London games are determined not to fail in one particular area: sensitivity.
The water polo players might drown each other and the boxers will pound one another into clotted cream, but visitors to the games will be treated with civility and respect. Every last bloody one of them.
Over 70,000 Olympic volunteers are slated to take sensitivity training ahead of the London games, which begin on July 27. The Telegraph reported that during training sessions at Wembley Arena, volunteers answered six multiple-choice questions using electronic keypads.
This "diversity and inclusion" quiz tested how volunteers would handle "sensitive" situations, and I'm not talking about a situation like an Israeli weightlifter dropping his barbell on an Iranian competitor's foot.
Consider the first question, the "sexual orientation" question: A spectator complains to you that there are two men holding hands sitting next to them—they feel very uncomfortable and would like you to tell the couple to stop. What do you do?
You tell them to go watch badminton instead.
That isn't one of the possible answers. "You tell the person to stop being a homophobic idiot" is. So is "politely ask the couple to stop holding hands."
The correct answer is, "You explain that there is a huge diversity of people at the London 2012 Games, which includes gay, lesbian and bisexual couples."
Wordy, but accurate. And sensitive. The homos can continue being themselves, and the complainers get their chance to be heard. I'd like to know what the volunteer is supposed to do if the complainer becomes testy. Call in a supervisor, I suppose, or security. Or that Israeli weightlifter.
The quiz also includes a "gender/gender identity" question: A spectator approaches you asking politely where the nearest toilets are. You are not sure if the spectator is male or female. What do you do?
If the spectator is American, you watch with amusement as he or she turns red at having used the word "toilet" instead of "bathroom."
Nope, that isn't among the choices. The options are ask the person "politely if they are male or female," or "panic," or "tell them where the male, female and accessible toilets are."
The latter is, of course, the correct answer, although I'd give points for honesty to anyone who went with panic.
The other questions on the quiz concern "Ethnicity/Race," "Disability," "Age" and "Belief." All the volunteers receive a handbook to take home, in case anyone wants to do some sensitivity cramming.
"I thought it was unnecessary and they could have spent the money in other ways," said one volunteer from Manchester. "I know they are trying to cater for everybody but this was a bit patronizing."
This person felt London 2012 organizers should have faith in the volunteers' common sense, and pointed out that by the end of the quiz, "people were choosing silly answers on purpose."
That must've sent organizers into a panic. They're probably still having nightmares of a volunteer snatching a Muslim's hijab from her head and tossing it into a passing kayak.
The diversity quiz may be over the top, but it's well intentioned and it certainly now has people—Olympic volunteers and others—thinking about how everybody should be treated, when they're not poking fun at the quiz.
I volunteer to see how well the sensitivity training works. If the London organizers fly my partner and me over, put us up and get us tickets, we'll hold hands during a basketball game. Grueling work, but we're willing to make the sacrifice.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
It's been hard to find time to write lately, but I can't bear the thought of letting recent LGBT news go untackled. So here's a quick look at some of that news:
Ken Mehlman. He chaired President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign that feasted on anti-gay marriage initiatives. Mehlman came out in 2010, and has been working for marriage equality. Now he's finally offered an apology for his part in causing so much pain.
The question is: Do we stay furious or forgive him? Perhaps something in between—we celebrate his work for marriage equality but stick him in the D.C. Pride ducking booth.
Dorothy Bond. The Haywood County (Tenn.) High School principal resigned after making headlines for her alleged statements at an assembly. According to a student, "At first she was talking about [public displays of affection] and she turned around and she directly pointed to the gay people and said if you're gay, you're going to hell and if you're pregnant, your life is over."
That means if you're gay AND pregnant, you can wave goodbye to both your life and afterlife. Not much to look forward to, really.
Kirk Cameron. The former "Growing Pains" star appeared on "Piers Morgan Tonight," and caught flak for his criticism of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The evangelical Christian's TV dad, Alan Thicke, tweeted, "I’ll address kirk’s comments as soon as I recover from rush limbaugh’s."
Marsha Ternus, Michael Streit, David Baker. In 2009 these three were members of the Iowa Supreme Court that decided for marriage equality. A year later they lost their jobs, courtesy of irate Iowa voters. At a ceremony this spring, they will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
I hope that takes some of the sting out of being booted from the bench. I know such an honor would make my backside feel better.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
Friday, March 2, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
You might not like all of it, but there's something for everyone in "Movie: The Movie," Jimmy Kimmel's parody trailer that ran after the Oscars. Watch Josh Brolin kiss Edward Norton. Watch Helen Mirren get tough. Watch Matt Damon wag his grapes. Watch Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, George Clooney . . . well, watch damn near everyone in Hollywood.