Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Memories

This is one of the few pics I have of my parents together. They've been divorced for about 35 years. They were at a Halloween party in the mid 60's. I remember watching them get ready.
For some reason, I've been thinking about this picture a lot lately, so I thought I'd share it. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!
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Cool Site of the Week: Comedy Central's RallyToRestoreSanity.com

Well folks, it's been weeks in the making and tomorrow the rally to end all rallies (seriously, do we really need so many rallies?) takes place tomorrow at 12:00 noon on the grounds of the Washington Monument in DC. Visit (RallyToRestoreSanity.com for details.) 

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has organized the Rally to Restore Sanity for the sole purpose of calling attention to and making fun of right-wing cry baby self-promoting Glenn Beck, who organized his own rally on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Not to be outdone, Stephen Colbert, of The Colbert Report, has organized a competing event, called "Keep Fear Alive". CNN reported Friday morning that there could be a turnout of about 300,000. Stewart and Colbert will no doubt poke fun at the face-stomping, racist, lunatic fringe, right wing, extremist Teabaggers, which makes it all worthwhile for me.

Forbes Magazine reports that Stewart is encouraging attendees to donate the Trust For The National Mall, which provides funding for the upkeep and maintenance of the grounds. Having been to several rallies and marches in DC, I can tell you that the lawn on The mall takes a beating and clean up takes a lot of people power.

There is good news for those of you that can't make the trip to DC, local meet-ups have been planned in cities and towns nationwide, 1,190 of them according to the event's web site. You can click the link to find one in your area. There will be a meet up in Roanoke, called "Rally in the Alley", at Vice Mayor Dave Trinkle's restaurant and bar, Fork in the Alley, which is quickly becoming the place to be for the valley's political junkies. Click here for details.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Preliminary Results of DADT Repeal Study: Troops don't give a Flying $#@! (video)

The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)Image via WikipediaMy favorite lesbian, Rachel Maddow did a piece Thursday night on the early results of the dreaded year long Pentagon Working Group study on the impact of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The results were allegedly "leaked" just two days after the president met with DADT repeal activists at the White House.

After wasting millions of dollars and nearly a year, after all the stalling and the blatantly homophobic tirades coming from all corners of DC and all the threats from John "Grumpy Old Man" McCain, it turns out the troops just don't give a fuck about serving with the gays.

So what now, Mr. President? How about you, Senators? What's your next stalling tactic going to be? Do you think you can stick your neck out for something that 80% of Americans and a majority of service members are in favor of? I can't wait for the other shoe to drop. There's always another shoe out there somewhere just waiting to stomp all over the good news.
 
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Obama Meets with Bloggers, Hints at Lame Duck Plans for DADT, says He's Evolving on Marriage Equality

Blogger Joe Sudbay, of AmericaBlog
AmericaBlog's Joe Sudbay was one of five progressive bloggers invited to meet with President Obama on Wednesday for a question and answer round table discussion. The big news out of the meeting isn't all that big, according to the Big O himself.

Sudbay started by asking the president if he thought DADT is unconstitutional and touched on the disappointment and disillusionment felt by many in the LGBT community. I found Obama's response be a little dismissive and insulting:
Q I was glad to hear that you and your staff appreciate constructive feedback.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that’s something we enjoy. (Laughter.)

Q We’ve been more than willing to offer that. We’ve certainly been more than willing to offer than from AMERICAblog, particularly on issues related to the LGBT community, which, you know, there is a certain amount of disillusionment and disappointment in our community right now.

And one of the things I’d like to ask you -- and I think it’s a simple yes or no question too -- is do you think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unconstitutional?
THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.

I think that -- but here’s what I can say. I think “don’t ask, don’t tell” is wrong. I think it doesn’t serve our national security, which is why I want it overturned. I think that the best way to overturn it is for Congress to act. In theory, we should be able to get 60 votes out of the Senate. The House has already passed it. And I’ve gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that they think this policy needs to be overturned -- something that’s unprecedented.

And so my hope and expectation is, is that we get this law passed. It is not just harmful to the brave men and women who are serving, and in some cases have been discharged unjustly, but it doesn’t serve our interests -- and I speak as Commander-in-Chief on that issue.

Let me go to the larger issue, though, Joe, about disillusionment and disappointment. I guess my attitude is that we have been as vocal, as supportive of the LGBT community as any President in history. I’ve appointed more openly gay people to more positions in this government than any President in history. We have moved forward on a whole range of issues that were directly under my control, including, for example, hospital visitation.

On “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I have been as systematic and methodical in trying to move that agenda forward as I could be given my legal constraints, given that Congress had explicitly passed a law designed to tie my hands on the issue.

And so, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified.
(emphasis mine)

Now, I say that as somebody who appreciates that the LGBT community very legitimately feels these issues in very personal terms. So it’s not my place to counsel patience. One of my favorite pieces of literature is “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and Dr. King had to battle people counseling patience and time. And he rightly said that time is neutral. And things don’t automatically get better unless people push to try to get things better.

So I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing, but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong.
Sudbay followed up by asking the president about reports resulting from a White House meeting on Tuesday with representatives of Servicemembers United, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Log Cabin Republicans, that there is a plan to push the senate to vote on the Defense Authorization Bill after the elections. The DAB includes language to repeal DADT:
Q Is there a strategy for the lame-duck session to --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q -- and you’re going to be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q Will Secretary Gates be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to tip my hand now. But there is a strategy.
Sudbay managed to get another question in about same-sex marriage, pointing out our victories to the President, how attitudes have changed and how much progress there has been in the country:
Q So I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?
THE PRESIDENT: Joe, I do not intend to make big news sitting here with the five of you, as wonderful as you guys are. (Laughter.) But I’ll say this --
Q I just want to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question.
THE PRESIDENT: Of course.
Q People in our community are really desperate to know.
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a fair question to ask. I think that -- I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.
But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.
And I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. (Laughter.)
So, while nothing earth-shattering came out of yesterday's meeting, what was significant was that the meeting took place at all. In fairness, Obama has moved our cause forward more than any other president has done, although there is still a long way to go. I find his dismissive attitude about our community's loss of confidence in him to be especially insulting, considering just how much he and his party need us next Tuesday.

A big thanks to Joe Sudbay for having the stones to ask the tough questions. You can read his full account of the meeting at AmericaBlog
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Viking Zombie Boyfriend, By Jeremy Rizza (10-27-10)

Alexandru continues his nocturnal vampiric lurking. Actually he's more of a Peeping Tom who likes to spy on his friends, but that's more pervy than saying you're a vampire. This time he stop by Dill and Rorik's place.

Jeremy Rizza writes: 
"Just now realized that I drew Rorik without his helmet.  I guess when he gets naked, he gets naked ALL THE WAY."
"As for Alexandru, our wannabe sybarite has once again proved himself a complete and utter failure, which weirdly helps him to be sympathetic. I’m glad I finally landed on a way to write the li’l fucker.  He’s the Charlie Brown of vampires! (And he provides his own narration, like Snoopy’s World War I flying ace.)"
Click the image to enlarge. Visit VikingZombieBoyfriend.com for past strips, character back stories and cool merchandise. 
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Obama "Drops By" White House Meeting with LGBT Leaders

The Advocate reported Tuesday about a secret meeting at the White House with LGBT leaders and Obama's top adviser and sometime spokes-tool on LGBT issues, Valerie Jarrett. Word of the meeting was "leaked" to the press and there were few details afterward. Participants in the meeting are still keeping mum about the specifics. They were apparently instructed not to discuss the pending legal challenge to DADT launched by the Log Cabin Republicans, having been told that raising the subject would end the meeting. .

The Washington Post is reporting today that the meeting was a discussion about Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal and what could be done during the post-election lame duck congressional session. The post reports that the president stopped by the meeting.
The groups were at the White House to discuss a legislative repeal of the law with senior Obama administration officials. The president stopped by the meeting "to directly convey to the participants his personal commitment on this issue," a senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

President Obama is opposed to the ban on openly gay men and lesbians serving in the military, and he wants Congress to repeal the law through legislation.

Those invited to the White House were representatives of the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers United, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the University of California Santa Barbara's Palm Center, Third Way, Stonewall Democrats and the Log Cabin Republicans, according to meeting participants.

They met with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and other officials. Participants would not discuss details of the exchange.

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New Wave Wednesday: "Call Me", by Blondie (music video)

Cover of "American Gigolo"Cover of American GigoloIn 1980 the new wave/punk band Blondie, featuring lead singer Debbie Harry, was riding high on the charts with "Call Me", from the movie American Gigolo, starring Richard Gere as a high priced escort who gets caught up in murder mystery when the husband of his client, played by Lauren Hutten, turns up dead. The film captured the late 70's/early 80's mood of sex, drugs and designer everything.

The younger, buffer, Gere has lots of full-frontal nude scenes in the film, which aside from the music, is the only reason to watch it.

I used to tell my friends that when I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered over Richard Gere's naked body. Now that I'm older I realize how silly that was. Gerard Butler is so much hotter.
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Gay Priest Ice Cream Ad Might Offend the Catholics, Whaaa!

This one comes to us from across the pond via my favorite source of queer news in the UK, Pink News. The image here was part of an ad for Antonio Federici Ice Cream in Great Britain showing two priests about to engage in a round of tonsil hockey with a tag line that reads, "We Believe in Salivation".

Unfortunately, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) doesn't see the humor and ordered the ad pulled. According to the story, a previous ad depicting pregnant nuns was also pulled from circulation. Pink News reports:
According to the ASA, six people complained at the gay priests ad, which had the tagline “We believe in salivation”.
The ASA said that it “considered the portrayal of the two priests in a sexualised manner was likely to be interpreted as mocking the beliefs of Roman Catholics and was therefore likely to cause serious offence to some readers”.
Antonio Federici, which is a Catholic company, argued that the ad did not mock Catholicism but reflected “grave troubles” in the church such as the issue of gay priests.
The company said it believed many people found these issues more offensive than an ad which “celebrated” homosexuality and added that it would continue to challenge the “troubled” Catholic Church.
Personally, as a recovering ex-Catholic, I love it any time the Catholic Church is the target of some much-deserved satire, especially when it hits so close to home. Besides, the two guys in the ad are obviously too old for each other. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Vote or Not To Vote? Do we punish the Dems at our own peril?

Well, folks, here we are again with one week left to decide who we're going to support in the mid-term elections and a lot of us queers find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma: How do we express our anger and frustration at the Democrats, but keep the Republicans from regaining control of both houses of congress?

Over the last year and a half I've been telling readers not to support politicians that don't support LGBT equality and that if you don't vote, it's all your fault. I still feel that way. I believe that voting is a civic duty. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to take the time every Election Day to go to our local polling place and cast our vote for the man or woman that best represents our views, then hope for the best.

Like most of us in the LGBT community, I am thoroughly disgusted with the Democrats, but the thought of returning to the failed policies, abuse of power, blatant disregard for the constitution and general ass-hattery of the Bush years is unacceptable.

The Associated Press reported on Sunday that an angry gay electorate could cost the Dems dearly this time around. AP's Tammy Webber writes, "If Democratic candidates are counting on long-standing support from gay voters to help stave off big losses on Nov. 2, they could be in for a surprise."

Webber continues, "Across the country, activists say gay voters are angry - at the lack of progress on issues from eliminating employment discrimination to uncertainty over serving in the military to the economy - and some are choosing to sit out this election or look for other candidates."

Okay, we've finally gotten their attention, after two years of yelling and screaming and marching and letter writing and lobbying and boycotting and chaining ourselves to fences and sit-ins. Now that they need us again to keep their jobs, the Democrats are hard pressed to come up with a single reason why we should support them this time. They know they've let us down and they know we're not going to let them get away with it. At issue here is whether we let ourselves be guided by our anger or step back and look at the big picture.

Bilerico's Joe Mirabella sums it up this way, "While I understand the anger, and am extraordinarily disappointed by the lack of movement on our issues during the last two years, are we really prepared for two or more years of Republican control at the federal level and, perhaps worse, the loss of Democratic majorities at the state level?"

A recent Newsweek poll of likely voters shows that the Democrats' approval rating is up slightly at 48%, with the Republicans at 42%. Given the margin of error of 3-4%, that makes this a tight election year. Our votes could make the difference between having a House and Senate that might still help us get closer to reaching our goals or a return to being ruled by right wing obstructionists.

In a half-assed attempt to pacify an angry LGBT community and perhaps pick up some support next week, President Obama released his own "It Gets Better" video last week and followed up this week by releasing a set of recommendations to schools about how bullying should be handled. The UK's Pink News Reports:
"The new advice for schools and colleges comes shortly after President Obama recorded a video for the It Gets Better project, which aims to encouraged bullied gay teenagers.
Officials said that the new advice does not break legal ground. Instead, it is a comprehensive guide to how civil rights law applies to schools, colleges and university campuses.
It also tells teachers and university officials how federal law regards situations of harassment and discrimination, and how institutions should deal with cases."
My first response to this overture is that every step forward counts, but the cynical part of me says that this is just one more case of the president appearing to do something for us, while actually doing nothing. Obama knows he has let us down. He knows we're pissed off. That's why he sent his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to the annual HRC Dinner a few weeks back and sends her out to face the music for him in the press.

I'm not going to tell you how to vote. Frankly, I haven't quite made up my mind about how I'm going to vote this year, but I will go to the polls, as I always do, and cast my vote. I don't want to be a single-issue voter, but if I was, my choice would be clear. Instead, I'll weigh all of the issues, and consider the possible outcomes. The economy is a big issue for all of us this year and will play a big part in my decision-making process. I hate to reward the democrats for throwing the LGBT community under the bus in order to save their own sorry asses. I have given serious thought to changing my party affiliation from Democrat to Independent, which I'll most likely do after the election.

One thing is certain, I will vote this year and I ask you to do the same.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

HRC Sends Open Letter to President Obama on DADT Repeal

HRC President Joe Solmonese sent President Obama an open letter today calling on him to act quickly to repeal DADT during the post-election lame duck session, to drop the administration's legal challenge to the 9th District Court's ruling that DADT is unconstitutional and issue a stop-loss on discharges.  
Dear Mr. President:

Years from now, students of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) will no doubt see this fall as a pivotal period in the history of our struggle for fundamental fairness.  In January, we were all inspired by your State of the Union pledge to end our nation’s discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians.  Equally inspiring was the testimony in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  We have come so far, but the only true measure of success is whether the thousands of brave gay and lesbian Americans who are serving their country, and the many more who want to serve their country, can do so openly and honestly.  We have not yet met that goal, and without your leadership and unparalleled efforts, this historic opportunity to remove a stain of discrimination from our nation will pass all of us by.

Last week, lawyers for your administration asked for an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seeking to end a worldwide injunction of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law while they work to overturn a federal judge’s conclusion that this law – one that you have called discriminatory and contrary to our national security on many occasions – offends the protections of our Constitution.  I continue to struggle with how your administration can defend a law you oppose, and how it could be even remotely constitutional for a statute to single out one group of brave Americans, because of who they are and who they love, and order them serve in silence and deception.  How can our government have a duty to defend a statute that is clearly so contrary to our Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all?

The Ninth Circuit’s decision to stay Judge Phillips’s decision further frustrates repeal advocates and puts a bright spotlight on you to reconcile this endless legal wrangling with your public promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  While we continue to call on your Administration not to appeal, if the Justice Department does insist on defending this discriminatory law, I strongly urge you to instruct government lawyers to inform the appellate court that the Executive Branch believes that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional. I agree with the esteemed lawyer and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Walter Dellinger, that such a move would send the Ninth Circuit a critically important message.

Furthermore, the litigation strategy challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is made all the more critical by the challenges a legislative repeal has faced in Congress.  While the House approved repeal by a wide margin, the Senate’s first and second attempts to move forward on the critical Defense Authorization bill were stymied by Republican obstructionists looking to score political points before the midterm elections.  There is still an opportunity for the Senate to send the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to your desk in the lame duck session, but it will not happen if you do not put the full weight of the Office of the President of the United States behind it.  Republican opponents would rather see the Defense Authorization and everything in it – military pay raises, critical armor and equipment for our troops, health coverage for their families on the home front – fail than let gays and lesbians serve their country openly.  This is an outrageous insult to our troops, to their Commander-in-Chief, and to the Defense Department charged with their operations and their care.  You and Secretary Gates must be full partners in making clear to Senators that it is doubly unacceptable to hold hostage the needs of every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in a desperate attempt to preserve a law that flies in the face of the American ideals they sacrifice to protect every day.

It is because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is contrary to our core values as a nation that it must end.  And we must have a durable solution – legislative repeal or a solid judicial decision.  But if those fail, you must not allow another day to go by in which a brave gay or lesbian service member is discharged based simply on sexual orientation.  HRC has urged your administration, privately and publicly, for more than a year to use every tool at your disposal as Chief Executive to at least significantly reduce discharges, if not end them entirely.  More can be done in this regard.

You can and should issue a stop-loss order suspending enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  This discriminatory law has already deprived our military thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism.  You have acknowledged that it harms our national security.  If we fail to achieve legislative repeal this year, and if you will not abandon the defense of this discriminatory law in court, then it is imperative that you use your clear authority as President to end the discharges.  Anything less is unacceptable.

We have fought long and hard to get this close to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  We pledge to continue that fight, every step of the way, until this unjust law is gone for good.  Future generations will look back at this moment – we must not let it become a setback in the long march toward full equality, but instead make it the turning point it is poised to become.

Sincerely,

Joe Solmonese
President
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GOProud tries to sway queer voters to the dark side with "Real Democrats of DC"

Some people may get the idea that I'm ready to join the Republican Party with all my talk about the recent GOP overtures to the gays. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is I've had it with both parties and consider myself an independent. What I really love about red staters going pink is that it throws a monkey wrench into the works. Influential Republicans like Meghan McCain and Ken Mehlman and groups like GOProud are changing the conversation and blurring the lines between Liberal and Conservative values. I find it it exciting in a political geek sort of way.

The gay republican group GOProud continues to stir the pot by taking advantage of our community's frustration with the Dems and pointing out just how badly we've been burned by them. The group's latest effort is a campaign ad spoofing the Bravo channel's "The Real Housewives of DC" where they take aim at "Catty" Barney Frank, "Arrogant" Barbara Boxer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, well, just because she's Nancy Pelosi.

The GOP is far from on our side yet, but there is hope that GOProud's efforts may one day help to level the playing field and make LGBT equality a bi-partisan issue.


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SNL nails it: "Brett Favre for Open Fly Jeans" (comedy video)


After 35 years on the air, Saturday Night Live has had as many highs as they have had lows, but when they get it right, they really nail it. This week the late night comedy staple took on the recent Brett Favre sexting scandal with hilarious results.
 
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LGBT Leaders Unite in Support of Pennsylvania's Patrick Murphy (video)

It's no secret that the Democrats in general - and President Obama in particular - have been a huge disappointment to the LGBT community since regaining control of the White House and both houses of Congress in the '08 elections. But there is one democrat who understands that he was sent to DC to represent all Americans, including us queers. Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA), an Iraq War veteran, has had the guts to lead the fight for DADT repeal and several prominent members of our community have taken the time to say "thanks" by participating in this campaign ad.

It's not often that you see a who's who of the LGBTQ agreeing on anything, but these queer leaders, who are often vehemently opposed on how to best achieve full equality, have all agreed to throw their support to Murphy. If you've ever wondered who the opinion makers are, this is a good place to start. Be sure to take notes kids. There will be a quiz. Find out more at ActBlue.




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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Obama's Hypocritical "It gets better" Video

When Dan Savage launched his "It Gets Better" campaign a few weeks ago, he asked all of us to create a video message and share our stories so that LGBT teens would feel less alone, less desperate and more hopeful about their futures. The rash of reports of LGBT youth taking their own lives as a result of bullying has motivated thousands of ordinary people to celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and politicians like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to create and post their messages in hopes of inspiring kids to hang on long enough to get through what is the toughest part of their young lives.

On the heals of the Justice Department's filing of a brief indicating their intent to appeal last week's ruling that overturned Don't Ask, Don't Tell, President Obama has released his own "It Gets Better" message. The President tells kids that they've done nothing to deserve what's happening to them and assures them that they are loved.

First, I want to say that if this video helps even one kid find a reason to go on, then it's well worth the effort. However, if this president truly believes in full equality for LGBT Americans, as he says he does, then he needs to walk the walk and stop sending mixed messages.

What I find most hypocritical about this message is that President Obama has the power to really make things better for the LGBT community and yet, time after time, he throws up road blocks that keep us less than equal, strengthen our enemies and send the message to all of us, old and young, gay and straight that we are somehow less deserving of equal protection under the law.

In his message, the president urges bullied queer kids to talk to an adult, like their parents or teachers. But what if, as it was in my case, the adults in your life are not only aiding and abetting the bullies by ignoring or condoning their behavior, but are taking part in the bullying themselves? What if you're a kid being raised by religious zealots who follow their church's teachings and blame the victims, saying they wouldn't be bullied if only they'd change?

I attempted suicide myself in 1980 when, after dropping out of college in my 3rd year while in the throws of the darkest depression I have ever experienced, I pulled my 1968 VW Beetle out into a busy intersection and was hit broadside by an oncoming car. Obviously, I wasn't successful in ending it all. The other driver survived and in the shock of the aftermath, the incident was treated as just another car accident at a dangerous intersection. Rather than speak up about what I was going through, I never told anyone, even my shrink, what really happened. Although I've written before about the abuse I grew up with, this is the first time I've said or written anything about my suicide attempt. I hope it helps even one kid feel a little less alone.

My point is that it's never as simple as people make it out to be. When the people in your life tell you they love you while they abuse you, you learn not to trust anyone. Bullying is child abuse and should be treated that way, even when it comes from another child, but most especially when it comes from the adults in a young person's life.

Unfortunately, young people don't have the freedom to choose who is going to be in their lives on a day to day basis, but once you get out into the world and start making your own rules, you'll see that there are people out their that will love and accept you, warts and all. You will find more people like yourself. You will discover your queer cultural heritage and a legacy of survival that will inspire you to become the awesome person you really are.

It does, in fact, get better once you're able to rid your life of the assholes who just want to bring you down to their miserable level. That day does come if you can find the strength to hold on. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."

As for you, Mr. Obama, as comedian Sarah Silverman points out in her own video message, kids learn how to hate from adults. It's up to all of us, especially the leader of the free world, to lead by example. Where do kids learn to be bullies? As Silverman says, Mr. President, "They learned it from watching you".

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Alex Baldwin Takes Aim at Anti-gay Legislators with Fight Back New York Campaign

Alec Baldwin at the Screen Actors Guild Awards...Image via Wikipedia
With less than two weeks left until the mid-term elections and LGBT rights being the political hot potato that no politician has the balls to stand up for, one New York State political action committee has a message for anti-gay legislators: There are consequences for standing in the way of equality.

Fight Back New York launched a celebrity-filled ad campaign this fall, using comedy to send a clear message to state senators who voted to defeat a measure that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the Empire State. "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the openly gay actor who plays one half of a gay couple on the hit ABC sit-com, appeared in a video where he says he's going to marry the man he loves next year. The only problem with that statement, aside from the legal obstacle, is that the object of his affection is Alec Baldwin.

Baldwin follows up with his own video response while lending his support to the effort to throw the homophobic bums of this year. This is just one of the reasons I love Alec "Daddy Bear" Baldwin.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Breaking: DoJ Files Emergency Request to Stay DADT Injunction

UPDATE: A three-judge panel has granted a temporary stay in Judge Virginia Phillips' ruling in the case of Log Cabin Republicans vs. The United States, giving the U.S. Military temporary powers to enforce DADT until the panel has a chance to consider the merits of the Justice Department's request.

The Metro Weekly blog Poliglot reports:
In a brief order, Judges O'Scannlain, Trott and W. Fletcher wrote:
"This court has received appellant’s emergency motion to stay the district court’s October 12, 2010 order pending appeal.  The order is stayed temporarily in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented.
Appellee may file an opposition to the motion for a stay pending appeal by October 25, 2010.  To expedite consideration of the motion, no reply shall be filed."
This means that a temporary stay of the trial court injunction of DADT has been granted until the Ninth Circuit can decide whether to issue a stay pending the appeal of the case to the Ninth Circuit.

This does not immediately change the military's policy of not enforcing DADT, as the Oct. 15 guidance from Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley stated that, while seeking a stay, "the Department of Defense will abide by the terms of the injunction" and stated that "additional guidance" would come if a stay is granted.
This is not, however, a stay of the order that will last through the appeal. This is only a temporary stay granted through the time when the Ninth Circuit can decide -- sometime after the Oct. 25 deadline given to the LCR attorneys to respond to the stay request -- whether to issue a stay pending the outcome of the appeal.
If a stay is granted pending the appeal, though, DADT would likely go back into effect in the interim, as the appeal is not even scheduled to complete the briefing process until the second week of March 2011.
This just in from The San Diego Gay and Lesbian News:
SAN FRANCISCO – Attorneys for the Department of Justice this morning asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay of Judge Virginia Phillips’ permanent injunction that prohibits enforcement of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

"We respectfully request that the Court enter an administrative stay by today October 20, 2010, pending this Court's resolution of the government's motion for a stay pending appeal, which would maintain the status quo that prevailed before the district
court's decision while the Court considers the government's stay motion," the DOJ attorneys wrote in their filing with the court.

The legal action was expected.

On Tuesday, Judge Phillips had denied the DOJ’s request for an emergency stay and DOJ attorneys said they would appeal that decision.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is allowing gays and lesbians to enlist. Dan Choi, who was drummed out of the military because of DADT, tweeted this morning that he passed the Army's written test today. But the legal mess could complicate the future service of any enlistees who declare they are gay or lesbian, should DADT policy go back into place.
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"Viking Zombie Boyfriend", by Jeremy Rizza (10-20-10)


We continue Vampire Month with Alexandru, who's really not much of a Vampire. He's more of a poser. You know the type. You've probably dated them once or twice. This week's strip has some grown up stuff and since we're all grown ups, that's all I'm gonna say about it.

If you like Jeremy's work as much as I do, stop by VikingZombieBoyfriend.com for past strips, character back stories and cool merchandise. Th
i
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New Wave Wednesday: "Legal Tender", by The B-52s (music video)

The B-52s make their second appearance on New Wave Wednesday with the Legal Tender from the band's 3rd album "Whammy", released in 1983. By then the band had made a name for itself as one of the premier new Wave acts.

While not as well received as their first two albums, the track Legal Tender, about printing counterfeit money in the basement, is one of my personal favorites from the New Wave Era.

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Wear Purple Today to Show Support for LGBT Youth

We're all familiar with the rainbow banner that has become the international symbol for the LGBT community, but few of us remember that each color has a specific meaning: Red for Life, Orange for Healing, Yellow for Sunlight, Green for Nature, Blue for Serenity and Violet/Purple for Spirit.

GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has taken up the cause started by a teenager to call attention to and honor those teens who felt so hopeless after suffering unrelenting bullying that they took their own lives. GLAAD explains it this way on their site:

WHAT IS SPIRIT DAY?
The idea behind Spirit Day, first created by teenager Brittany McMillan earlier this month, is a simple one, not dissimilar to the idea of "Spirit Week" held in many high schools, and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together.
Spirit Day honors the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks. But just as importantly, it's also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them.
Purple symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.
As one of the event's Facebook pages says: "This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple."
Wearing purple on October 20 is a simple way to show the world that you stand by these courageous young people and a simple way to stand UP to the bullies. Remember those lives we've tragically lost, and show your solidarity with those who are still fighting. 'Go Purple' today!
WEAR PURPLE ON OCTOBER 20 FOR SPIRIT DAY [GLAAD]
GLAAD has a devised an application you can use to change you Twitter and FaceBook profile picture to purple as a show of support. You can visit the site here.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dan Choi Re-Enlists! (Video)

Judge Virginia Phillips ruled this morning that she would not suspend her ruling to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Obama's Justice Department is expected to appeal Phillips' ruling, but for now and until the appeal is ruled on, DADT is dead.

In the wake of today's historic ruling, former Marine, Dan Choi, who was discharged earlier this year after fighting his discharge for over a year, re-enlisted. At 29, Choi is one year too old to return to the marines, but has begun the process of entering the Army.

Choi was swarmed by the press as he approached the Times Square recruiting center. The clip is a little long at 8 minutes, 44 seconds, but it's worth it to watch this historic event.

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