Wednesday, March 02, 2011

First Amendment Rights

Today, in a not so stunning move, the United States Supreme Court ruled (8-1) that the Westboro Baptist Church (Topeka, KS) is within it's First Amendment rights to protest military funerals and carry signs saying Death to Faggots, and whatnot.

First - I agree it's within their First Amendment rights. I don't agree with their protest, but, the First Amendment is there for a reason.

Second - My personal theory: I think it's within the First Amendment rights of GLBT to gather outside the Westboro Church every time they have a service and protest the church. Make some noise, do a little dance, and denounce their bigoted beliefs.

Yes, a bit extreme, but . . . shouldn't GLBT have the same rights to protest bigoted opinions? Of course, we should.

I understand that religious beliefs often conflict with justice and equality. I understand that many churches like to take the Bible out of context to justify their - allegedly - narrow minded, bigoted beliefs that would deny equality to all humans, and reinforce their own superiority (alleged, btw) complexes.

There's an old saying what's good for the goose, is good for the gander. So, I think us ganders (GLBT) need to take a page from the Westboro Baptist Church . . . and start protesting outside their church at every single service. I think the signs for the protest should be simple like . . .

Equality for All

Down with Hate, Up with Love - okay, obviously creating signs isn't my strong suit. That one made me laugh.

In the end, the way forward is often an uphill struggle, with more steps back then forwards. Yes, a bigoted Church has the right to protest military funerals and proclaim deaths to gays. But, more open-minded individuals have the same right to protest such intolerance.

Just saying . . .

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Republican Agenda

Why are Republicans hellbent on the following: keeping the country in a recession, keeping unemployment rising, and causing more individuals to lose their homes?

Today, in a show of defiance - more like petulance - Senator Mitch McConnell proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Republicans care nothing for the well being of this country.

Some of his comments . . .

"If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction," McConnell said.

This isn't about moving in your direction, Senator McConnell, it's about moving the country out of a recession, out of a growing unemployment rate, and out of people losing their homes because of legislation passed years ago that allowed the banks to go all willy-nilly with their loans . . . and knowing people couldn't afford to pay back those loans.

"But we can't expect the president to sign it," he said. "So we'll also have to work, in the House, on denying funds for implementation, and, in the Senate, on votes against its most egregious provisions."

Oh, yes, let's put another Republican't in office so they can increase the deficit, give the wealthy tax breaks they don't need, while increasing taxes for everybody else. Yeah, that worked out well the first time, didn't it, Senator McConnell.

"By sticking together in principled opposition to policies we viewed as harmful, we made it perfectly clear to the American people where we stood," he said. "And we gave voters a real choice on Election Day."

You don't have a clue. The voters didn't make rationale choices on Election Day. You, others like you, corporations serving the alleged special interest of the Republican party, and so on put out false, misleading, taken out of context, and fear mongering political ads that played on the fears and desperation of the American people. You knew what you were doing. You knew people, motivated by fear, wouldn't vote with their conscience. You knew they would vote out of fear - which they did, in droves. This wasn't a fair election, Senator McConnell, and you know it and your brethren in the Party know it as well.

"The only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won't veto any of these things," McConnell said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Your focus shouldn't be on ousting the current President. Your concern, that of every Senator and Congressman, should be the well-being of this country - here/now. The rising unemployment should be your concern. The multitude of foreclosures should be your concern. The continued recession should be your concern. The sad fact is: you and the rest of the GOP doesn't care enough about this country, about its citizens, to make it your concern.

Sen. Mitch McConnell on Thursday called for Senate votes to repeal or erode Obama's signature health care law, to cut spending and to shrink government.

Why would you want to cut spending and decrease the deficit? Why would you want to shrink government and make it more efficient? Oh, that's right, you obviously don't.

This blatant disregard for the citizens of the United States is not what this country needs right now. We're in the mess we are in because of Republicans and Democrats alike. People are losing their homes, their jobs, their sense of well being, all because the political parties cannot work together.

Yet Senator McConnell, and other like minded Republicans, don't give a damn about this country. They're still pouting over the 2008 election. Get over it people. So John McCain and Sarah Palin didn't get elected. You are - allegedly - adults. Act like an adult. Quit acting like a spoiled brat who didn't get their way.

The current attitude of the Republican Party, the current petulance, the current I'm going to do everything I can to ensure this country doesn't recover from the recession is, well, first grade playground stuff.

If you're not adult enough to act responsibly, Senator McConnell, and every other politician currently in office, then resign and let someone more adult, more mature, more responsible, and more tuned in to the actual needs of the country do the job.

I'm just saying . . .

All quotes came from here:

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Worse Rather Than Better

Our country has a history of political cycles/upheavals just like this one. My prediction: things won't change, the voters who voted out of anger and fear will realize their mistake, and the political climate will change again in 2 years. We are a country divided that seems unable to work together. Until we do start working together, things will get worse rather than better.

I made the above comment on Facebook this morning.

This past election - yeah, not even a day old yet, and it's past - was one of the more vitrolic I've seen over the course of the last few years. The negative campaigns were rampant . . . and yet still we elect these politicians who choose to outright lie in their ads and/or take things so out of context that the truth no longer exists.

Here's what I predict: the recession won't end, unemployment will remain steady or rise, it will not decrease, and the voters who voted out of anger and fear (brought about in a fear mongering campaign by corporations and politicians alike) will wake up about a year from now, realize things are worse rather than better, and - hopefully - realize that they are responsible for the continued deterioration of this country.

Yes, we as voters, are responsible for the state of this country because . . . we continually elect people into office who have no intent of following up on their campaign lies. No, they're not promises, they're lies, because every single politician out there knows that they have little, if any, intent of keeping the alleged promises (i.e., lies) they make to get elected. These politicians, especially the repeat offenders, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our government isn't set up to honor the promises (i.e., lies) they tell to get elected.

So, we, as voters, are responsible - not as responsible as those in power - for the state of our nation.

The voters who elected George W. Bush into office, twice I might add, are paritally responsible for the current recession, rise in unemployment, and the foreclosure situation. Yes. You. Are!

I am just as responsible, even though I didn't vote for him, because the politicians I did vote into office didn't fight hard enough to change things so that the recession we are currently in, the unemployment and foreclosure crisis, didn't happen.

Now, please note, George W. and the Senate/House during his reign weren't the main culprits of the recession, that began before their time, but they pushed - in my opinion - us over the edge.

There was no way in hell President Obama could fix the mess he inherited. No. Way. In. Hell. It wasn't possible, it isn't possible, and everybody out there knows that fact . . . they just aren't willing to admit that fact to themselves. Go figure.

Look at it this way: an individual, in the folly of youth, incurs a great amount of credit card debt. Said individual decides to stop using credit cards and begin paying them off. In 98% of cases, this takes years and years.

To fix the recession, the crisis at hand, is going to take years and years, and probably more than one Presidential administration.

And yet . . . the members of the Republican't party, the members of the Tea Party, want to place all the blame on President Obama.

The blame is wrongly placed. These people don't want to admit their own part in the current crisis.

Sarah Palin - she with Presidential aspirations - has one agenda in mind: the White House. Her hit lists, her endorsement of Tea Party members, everything she says and does, isn't out of the goodness - at least in my opinion, and allegedly (ha) - heart. Her hit lists, her endorsement of Tea Party members - who, btw, didn't do so well - everything she says and does is out of her desire to become President of the United States of America.

So, dear voters who don't bother to do a bit of research, check the facts, and realize that politicians and corporations will - allegedly - do and say anything to get into office. Next time you see a political ad, next time Sarah or any politician speaks, make sure to understand that you give them the power, you can put them into office, and you, if brave and intelligent enough, can weed through the political bullshit and affect change . . . by not electing those who prey on your fear and insecurities into office.

And, dear voters who don't bother to do a bit of research and vote out of anger rather than reason, as things get worse rather than better, understand that you, in large part, are responsible for the deepening crisis this country is about to experience.

Just saying . . .

Friday, October 01, 2010

Condoning Bullying

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that Tyler Clementi committed suicide after his college roommate thought – I use that term loosely – it’d be a good idea to stream Tyler having sex with another man all over the Internet.

In response to that incident, Pam Spaulding, founder of the political blog, posted the above linked opinion piece on

She brought up two important questions:

• Who creates the bully?
• Who is accountable?

These behaviors start young, and whether they're manifested in homophobia, as they seem to be in this case, or in teasing others because of their faith, clothing, race or weight, we need to ask: Where do the parents and other influential adults in these bullies' lives fit in?

So, childhood memories have been floating to the forefront of my brain these last few days as more and more stories of teen-agers/young adults committing suicide, because of bullying, have hit the airwaves.

One memory in particular, but some backstory first . . .

I grew up in a very large neighborhood. There were tons of kids in every age group from babies to college students. Huge neighborhood. Kids of a certain age hung out in groups.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Winter Wonderland.

I remember one winter, not sure how old I was, snow forts in all the back yards, and a major snowball fight going on. One child – a friend, a schoolmate – was being picked on. Yes, even at a young age, a pecking order is established . . . and not in a good way. The kid finally had enough and went running home, crying. Everyone else followed, still tossing snowballs. Hey, it’s what kids do. I remember the kid’s mother saying “Don’t come running home for protection, never do that again, stand up for yourself.”

Yes, we all need to stand up for ourselves. But . . . this is where bullying gets pushed to the side, where parents tell their kids to grow up, to get tough, and yet do nothing about the fact that a group of kids was tormenting – yes, with snowballs – a single kid, and, that a good portion of those kids were 2 – 3 years older than the kid being pelted with a multitude of snowballs.

Yeah, in case you’re wondering, I was throwing snowballs too. It’s what we did.

What we – meaning kids do – isn’t so important in this situation. It is what the parents failed to do: recognize the bullying attitude.

You see, the snowballs from childhood turn into names: fatty, fatty, two-by-four, can’t fit through the kitchen door.

The snowballs from childhood turn into hateful names: faggot, queer!

The snowballs from childhood, if not stopped can – as the media this week has shown – turn into people feeling they have no where to run, nobody to turn to.

The snowballs from childhood can lead to . . . suicide.

We are a society geared toward not caring.

We are a society that is responsible – every single one of us – for the death of Tyler Clementi and so many other kids.

We as a society can no longer sit back and think oh, hey, it’s not my problem.

Yes, it is my problem.

It's cold, this learned anti-social attitude towards being different and it has a striking impact on university campuses.

This “learned anti-social attitude towards being different” must be stopped.

People like the Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota shouldn’t – free speech or not – be able to have a blog that puts a swastika over a gay man’s head . . . and think the behavior is okay.

People like religious leaders and politicians, while having every right to their opinions, shouldn’t be allowed – with their words and actions – to condone bullying on any level.

The people in power, the people with money and media limelight continue to spew their hate forth – NOM anybody – and condone bullying.

Those people, as well as the parents who do nothing, as well as every single individual who looks the other way . . . shouldn’t be allowed to condone bullying.

How many people must die before people realize bullying is wrong?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Loss of Hope

I ask this... If there should be an assassination, I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out - - If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door... And that's all. I ask for the movement to continue. Because it's not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power... it's about the "us's" out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us's. Without hope, the us's give up - I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So you, and you, and you... You gotta give em' hope... you gotta give em' hope. - from the film Milk as spoken by Sean Penn portraying Harvey Milk.

Frank and I watched Milk last night. It was a powerful and awe-inspiring movie that made me laugh, but more often, it made me cry. The ironic thing about the movie: the parallels between then (1978) and now (2010).

I mean, seriously, what has changed? The gay community is still fighting, and losing, the same battles they fought 32 years ago! 32 years and society has barely moved forward at all!


Why hasn't the gay movement moved forward? Why aren't gays (lesbians, bisexual, transgendered) allowed the same rights as heterosexuals? Why is the battle for equality still going on?

Did the life and death of Harvey Milk mean nothing to our community? Were his words just meaningless utterings?

I don't have the answers to these questions. I only know that today (2010) the same battles are taking place.

Yes, we've (the gay community) gained some ground, but not much, people, not much at all. Proposition 8 passed! Yeah, court battle, and all that jazz, but it passed! Where was the cohesive rallying that saw the defeat of Proposition 6 in 1978? Where was the united effort to win one battle when the gay community was losing so many battles across the United States?

Yes, people came forth in defiance of Proposition 8, but . . . it wasn't enough. Why? What's changed within the framework of society that a community and its allies failed to defeat a measure that is born out of hatred and ignorance? Why did we fail to defeat the allegedly narrow-minded bigots who think their way of life is the only way to live?

Again, I don't have the answers to these questions. I only know that the gay community and their allies need to galvanize their efforts to defeat any and all measures that strip us of the equal rights guaranteed us under the Constitution of the United States of America. We can no longer sit in our closets hoping somebody else will do the job for us.

I am here tonight to say that we will no longer sit quietly in the closet. We must fight. And not only in the Castro, not only in San Francisco, but everywhere the Anitas go. Anita Bryant did not win tonight, Anita Bryant brought us together! She is going to create a national gay force! And the young people in Jackson Mississippi, in Minnesota, in the Richmond, in Woodmere New York, who are hearing her on television, hearing Anita Bryant telling them on television that they are sick, they are wrong, there is no place in this great country for them, no place in this world, they are looking to us for something tonight, and I say, we have got to give them hope!

Did the hope of the gay community die with Harvey? Did we become too complacent in expecting someone else to take up the fight? Are we to blame for the defeats we have suffered in our fight for equality?

I say - YES! We, as a community, every single one of us, not just the select few fighting the fight, are to blame!

We live in an age of instant communication - Facebook, Twitter, Blogs. All a person has to do on Facebook is hit share and all their friends can see a message, and then those friends can share and so on and so on and so on! In a matter of minutes a message can travel from one part of the country to the next and . . .

. . . yet, it's not happening. Who's to blame? Hmmm . . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


In a totally, I mean totally surprising (as in not at all) turn of events, another antigay individual is, well, GAY! Or, at least that's what is being alleged about a Lutheran pastor.

Here's the brief snippet from The Advocate website:

Lavender Magazine, a Minneapolis-based gay publication, has outed a Lutheran pastor critical of gay clergy after reporter John Townsend found the pastor, Rev. Tom Brock, at a confidential Catholic meeting for gay men struggling with chastity.

Brock is known for his denunciation of homosexuality, Townsend reported. His church, Hope Lutheran in Minneapolis, left the Evangelical Church in America last year as it liberalized its policy over gay clergy, and Brock has railed against ECLA’s decision to welcome partnered (and presumably sexually active) gay ministers.

The magazine’s president acknowledged that Townsend joined the support group, where he encountered the Rev. Brock, without revealing he was a journalist.

Brock is now on leave from Hope Lutheran, where another pastor called the magazine’s story “unconscionable.”

Here's the full article with a link to the full story in the magazine.

None of the above is really that important. Okay, it's important that the truth (alleged or otherwise) about the pastor was revealed. But for me, the important part of the article is the fact that "another pastor called the magazine's story "unconscionable".

Well, excuse the "F" out of me? It's wrong to out someone but not wrong for someone who is allegedly gay to denounce gays? Uh, what delusional world is that pastor living in? Certainly not the real world.

Wrong is wrong. If you're gay and promoting antigay, it's wrong. Yes, perhaps the reporter should have outed (oops) so to speak, himself, but then again, isn't the whole point of undercover investigation not outing (oops) yourself? I'm just saying . . .

The point is, the dear antigay pastor is allegedly a hypocrite, as are many other lawmakers out there passing antigay legislation while having men on the side.

The point is: it is not unconscionable that this pastor was outed. Okay, it is to a certain extent, especially if married w/children. A friend of mine and I get in some quite lively discussions over that subject. I'm not one for outing someone, even if they are passing antigay legislation, if they're married w/children. That's a whole other story, and a whole other set of complications and ramifications that are beyond my understanding.

Still . . . no matter my beliefs on the whole outing thingy, I think to call the outing unconscionable is, well, wrong! Yes, it's only my opinion, and probably doesn't count for much.

We live in a divided world where equality only exists for some people, and not all people. On a daily basis, gays and lesbians are denied equal rights. They are denied the right to marry, to care for their loved ones, to provide healthcare for their loved ones, and to enjoy equal status with heterosexuals because some people (unfortunately the ones with the most $$) feel that gays/lesbians are deviant, not natural, and that our sexuality is a choice and not genetics.

Well, enough said!

Okay, maybe not enough said. Let me tell you, and let my mother, for that matter tell you: I was born gay. My mother - 85, people, 85 - has made the statement: Scott, my favorite child (okay, she didn't say that, but I am her favorite) was born the way he was born, just as my other children were. I didn't make a choice, no more than any heterosexual out there made a choice to be heterosexual. They. Were. Born. That. Way!!!!! Geesh.

Yes, I know, there are people who will always, always, always, believe that gays choose their lifestyle (oh, you don't want me started on that subject, trust me on that). My being gay is no more a lifestyle choice than Elizabeth Taylor being straight. I was born that way. She was born that way! Enough! Said!

The unconscionable act here, was not the reporter (well, perhaps he bears some of the blame), but rather the allegedly gay pastor fighting against who he truly is as an individual and channeling that fight in a hateful, arrogant, and ignorant manner that does more harm than good. I'm just saying . . .

Friday, June 04, 2010

Perpetuating the Gay Stereotype

So, Logo (that's the gay channel for anyone wondering) is prepping for a new reality series called The Gay Housewives of New York! Yes, you read that right. No kidding on my part.

No, the series does not - at least to the best of my knowledge - star a bunch of lesbians.

The series, for all intents and purposes . . . oh, wait, why should I explain, when The Advocate did so well . . .

Gawker has done some digging and come up with a few of the men slated to take part in the first season of Logo’s upcoming Gay Housewives of New York series.

Amazing Race winner turned model-actor-author Reichen Lehmkuhl and his boyfriend, Brazilian model Rodiney Santiago, will appear on the show. Lehmkuhl relocated to New York earlier this year to star in the off-Broadway production of My Big Gay Italian Wedding.

Celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz, who is known for his work with stars including Tyra Banks and Dolly Parton, will also appear on the show. Ruiz is Los Angeles-based but travels to New York often for work.

Full article here.

I'm sorry, but these are not women, i.e., wives, but men. Yes, as a gay man I know that many within the gay community refer to each other as girl. I don't happen to like that fact, but I can't change that fact . . . other than not to use the term myself. These are men - anatomical correct men at that! They are not women, thus they aren't - at least not in the definitive sense of the word - wives. They might be husbands, but not wives.

Hollywood - motion picture, television, and whatnot - has an allegedly ignorant tendency to perpetuate the gay stereotypes. Okay, wait, perhaps not always mainstream Hollywood, but more network TV Hollywood. Will & Grace - you have two extremes: Nellie as can be Jack and straight-laced (no pun intended) Will, a good-looking man that just can't find a date. Trust me, that doesn't happen in the real gay world. 9 times out of 10, a gay male on Network TV is going to perpetuate the Nellie, effeminate, not a butch man stereotype, rather than the reality that only a small percentage of gay men are actually effeminate.

If, as many in the community want to end these stereotypes, then why do we continually allow - gay housewives anyone - the stereotypes to continue? Why is it all right for Logo to title a show The Gay Housewives of New York?

I don't know. I just know, as a gay man, that I'm more than a bit offended by this perpetuation of gay stereotypes. I've been partnered for almost sixteen years. I don't consider myself Frank's wife, but rather his husband, and vice versa. Frank's not my wife, but my husband . . . well, for all intents and purposes except legally since we live in a back-asswards country (for the most part)! I want to see gay men (and women, for that matter) realistically represented, and not just on Showtime. I want network television to quit portraying a minute percentage of the gay community, and portray the entire spectrum from effeminate to butch (in both gays and lesbians).

I'm just saying . . .