Thursday, September 30, 2004

Master DeBaters Pt 1

Same old same old. I do think that Kerry came off a little better than he has of late, sound resolute for once. Bush seemed much more defensive and unsure than usual. Kerry's line about being "certain, but still wrong" was certainly strong and I'm glad he hammered away at Bush on handling the war the wrong way and ignoring North Korea. He fumbled somewhat with Osama, mistakenly placing him in Afghanistan when current wisdom is that Osama is in Pakistan.

Kerry needs to shed the flip-flop image more and place that blame squarely on Dubya's shoulders, who has waffled more than IHOP, but has not yet been stuck with that label because he repeats the same dumb four sentences.

Kerry also needs to hammer him on the constant lying and misleading Bush and Co did about why we need to go to war, including George's implicaiton tonight that Sadaam attacked us: "We didn't start this; they attacked us...we went to war." Kerry caught him on this, but more needs to be made on this.

The big stumper to me was Bush citing the Patriot Act as necessary to protect us, yet minutes later stating how adamantly he opposes Putin restricting civil liberties to fight terrorism. The American people need to wake up and realize that the Patriot Act has done the exact same thing! Bush is now not just a liar or an incompetent; he's a hypocrite.

And the Bushism of the night - "the enemy is fighting us so vociferously." What, are they yelling at us? Playing Motley Crue at loud volumes? Making loud bombs? You've heard of dirty bombs, now fear the noisy bomb.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

God Must Be Fond of Donkeys, 'Cause He Has Plenty of Asses in His Congregations

Tuesday, NBC's The Today Show ran a clip, one in a series on political issues facing the candidates and country, on the issue of gay marriage. The video highlighted two gay men living in Arizona raising a son. The son, in his early teens, was the product of one of the men's previous marriage. He had been raised most of his life by the gay couple and expressed his love for his same-sex parents and their family life. The video also highlighted an Arizona Baptist minister who, surprise, surprise, opposes gay marriage. One of his main points was that if you allow gays to marry, you're gonna have to let people marry donkeys.

True, the donkey marriage lobby is a strong one, but I think it will be a few years before it rises to national prominence. When the party line of the religious right gets drawn out - the "what's next? cats and dogs living together? mass hysteria?" - why does nobody challenge this ridiculous piece of logic. The slippery slope is one of the most famous logical fallacies, made popular with the Vietnam war - if we didn't regain Vietnam, all of Asia would fall to Communism. Yet, nobody points out that we can allow anything we want to and cut it off at any point. Not to mention that I'm reasonably sure there is not much demand for donkey marriages. Obviously some asses get hitched from time to time, but that's a completely different story.

In related news, famed fallen fornicating evangelist (and cousin to the well-known Jerry Lee Lewis, the R Kelly of his time), Jimmy Swaggart managed to stop blubbering for a few minutes to proclaim that "...I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." Swaggart's congregation of about twelve approved his message with laughter and applause. (Swaggart, who used to run a mega-ministry prior to his prostitute scandal, now has to use curtains to hide the rows upon rows of empty pews in his church during television broadcasts.)

He has, to his credit, has apologized since: "It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous...If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."

Wow, what a great joke. Maybe he can make a similar joke about the President and then get thrown in jail where we wouldn't have to hear his simpering any longer(those of you unfamiliar with Jimmy need to know he usually spends a good portion of each message pouring on the water works. Hailing from Louisiana, he makes good use of alligator tears).

God caused Balaam's donkey to speak, saving them both from the waiting angel of death. God made an ass speak. Nowadays, seems like no divine intervention is needed.

A Keyes Moment

Far be it from me to miss hopping on a bandwagon. Much speculation is circulating the internet currently that Alan Keye's daughter is a very out lesbian. Chillinois , a blog, has presented some very strong evidence that this is true information, although the final word is still out.

Many of you may recall Mr. Keyes's recent comments that "The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principal excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism." Asked whether that meant Mary Cheney "'is a selfish hedonist," Keyes said: "That goes by definition. Of course she is."

Keyes stands to go on my list of politicians who have gay children, yet are virulently anti-gay in their voting, policy-making, or stances. This, to me, is even less understanderstandable than closeted gay politicians who are anti-gay in their civil service. The internalized homophobia manifesting itself as anti-gay legislation is not completely surprising; working against the civil and social interests of your child(ren) is. More on that particular train of thought in a future blog.

I'll let you know what the final count brings. Hopefully there will be no hanging chads (and with lesbians you wouldn't expect a hung chad now would you?).

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

You Realize, Of Course, This Means War

Hold on to your seats, people, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Following the push by the HRC to contact my representative regarding the impending vote in the House on the FMA, I emailed (and wrote) a letter to my representative, who happens to be co-sponsoring the bill. I asked Representative Robin Hayes to not vote for the FMA. Below is his reply. In a future blog, I'll post my reply, but I'll give any of my faithful readers (both of you) the chance to make suggestions for content in that letter. Any takers?

Dear Michael,

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the Federal Marriage Amendment. I appreciate hearing your comments on such an important issue.There is no institution in this land more sacred than marriage and family. Marriage, between a man and a woman, has been the foundation of civilization for thousands of years all around the world. Protections for this vital institution are built into our culture and the laws of our country because of the centrality of the family unit. In 1888, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Murphy v. Ramsey, described marriage as "creating the most important relation in life, as having more to do with morals and civilization of a people than any other institution." I am proud to be a co-sponsor of H.J. Res 56, which was introduced by Representative Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04). This legislation declares that marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. I am sorry we do not agree on this issue; however, I hope that our differing views will not prevent us from working together in the future on this and many other issues.It is an honor to serve as your United States Representative, and I look forward to tackling the issues 8th District voters sent me here to address. (Editor's note: Yes, why should denying my civil rights be an impediment to working together cooperatively?) Please know that I have assembled what I believe is the most responsive and courteous staff in Congress. Your suggestions are always welcome, and if ever we may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to call.

Sincerely,Robin Hayes
Member of Congress

Part Two coming soon...

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Suburban Queer

Seems like the McGreevey rant made me have to catch my breath. Also, work life and the "married" life have proven very rewarding, yet time-consuming. I'm also trying to reestablish my exercise routine and Peter and I still strive finish the small nit-picky things around the house.

Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, is home to a small, but largely undercover queer population. Asheville, NC, home to the fantastic and historic Oak Grove lodge, and about two hours away, is reportedly one the nation's most gay-friendly cities and I've heard good things about the environment at UNC Greensboro, about an hour away. Charlotte, is by and large, a pretty quiet city and is comprised, like Atlanta, of many close suburbs and towns with very definite personalities. And although a queer presence is obvious to the trained or even semi-trained eye, it seems many of the city's denizens are still thrown for a loop or strongly curious to see two out men together and being/acting like a couple.

Peter and I generally refrain from many overt romantic or affectionate gestures in public, although certainly they do happen. But we act like a couple - at the grocery store we discuss what we want for dinner over the course of the week or argue over which flavor of ice cream to buy (usually ending up with both) - at a restaurant we might share some food or kid about who is going to pay -at home, I think we appear more than just roommates, often sharing a ride, or taking out the garbage together, and such. I hope that in all of these and other situations, it is obvious that we are together. But this togetherness does bring some stares.

People carefully trying to look like they're not looking fail pitifully as the follow us around or crane their neck as we go the other way down an aisle. These are looks I used to get going to places with black female friends. That "are they what I think they are" kind of look (no to the black woman, yes to the man on my arm). Granted we live in a smaller, quieter suburb, but we're not the only queers around here either. And other gay couples can be sighted time to time. Now, while this angered Pat the angry Lowe's Hardware lesbian, I'm rather quite happy with it.
I hope people can see us and say "oh look those fags aren't trying to molest children, entice upright Christian men, or sell us skin care products, maybe we were wrong about denying them civil rights."

Pat, as I'm sure you're wondering, is a woman we met on a home-improvement outing. I kid about lesbian rage, but she was full of it. The woman was incensed about being lied to about the availability of pineapple for her Hawaiian pizza. They told her they had the pineapple in stock, but, no, she saw that they actually had to run out and get the pineapple from a store. They were out and they lied about it. Also, she asserted, they singled her out by putting their bruschetta on a paper plate, while breeder received fine plasticware. I mean, serving an appetizer on a paper plate is a major faux pas, but it's hardly anything to carry a grudge about. You just don't invite those people over for your fabulous dinner parties. Also, Pat(named change to protect the incensed) was mad she couldn't get any privacy. People dared to recognize her and her "friend's" car that she would drive occasionally.

The saying goes that "familiarity breeds contempt." I hope that, in this case, familiarity will breed tolerance, maybe even acceptance. There's much political fodder in trying to show straight people that we are just like they are - that's not always a good thing. But straight people do need to realize that we aren't corrupters of innocent children and the American Way either. Plus, we throw fabulous dinner parties.

Cheney of Fools

RESPECT - find out what it means to me. I need to be shown some respect. Respect from both the Cheneys and news outlets.

Although it has been some time past now, I'm still vexted about the news media failure to encapsulate the facts of a situation and resorting to misleading and sensationalized headlines. The particular situation that I'm referring to is Dick Cheney stating that he believed that states should have the right to decide who gets married, but, hey, the President, who is a really nice guy and all, has a slightly different idea. And, after all, he is The Boss, so we gotta do what he says.

Every headline I saw about this event, which occurred just slightly before the National Republican Convention, blared that Cheney opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment. Didn't matter where the article was written, regardless of the author's sexual orientation or publishing house affiliation, "Cheney opposes FMA" was the headline de jour.

Well, actually, no.

Cheney never said he opposed the FMA. Not once. At best his statement suggests that he might, just might, oppose it. He said he believed that states should have the right to decide about marriage. But he never said he was going to fight for that right. He never said he thought the FMA was a bad idea. In the end, all he said was he was going to support the president. The president who is waging a war against gays and lesbians, including Cheney's own daughter, Mary, and her partner (neither of whom made it to the platform with the rest of the Cheney family during the RNC).

And so goes the whole chain-chain-Cheney of Fools. There is plenty to be said about how Cheney's ties to Haliburton is routinely ignored by America at large and news watchhounds. However, old Tricky Dick (where have we heard that before?) has made people believe that he opposes the FMA. That, hey, maybe that Presidential ticket isn't so right-sided after all. Sure, the President might be a nutjob after queers, but his running mate compassionately believes differently. He's not doing anything about it, but he's sincere. Not only Dick fool the media into publishing the headline he wanted, he conveniently had the opportunity to do it right before the convention. He's never voiced this particular opinion prior, but somebody just happened to ask him this question so he could speak from his heart right before national television coverage of him and the nu..I mean President. How fortunate for Mr. Cheney.

Down the chain we go with Mary. I've stood up for old Mare before. I have felt like she was unmercifully hounded by websites such as Dear Mary, and I greatly respect her right to not have to speak out. Still, it's impossible to discern the cause of her absence with the rest of the Cheney family on the RNC on the platform (as she was with the family while in the audience the night prior). Was this a silent protest? Was she asked not to appear for fear of offending the delicate sensibilities of the religious right? Was she just in the bathroom, unable to stomach all the crap her dad and the rest of the Republican leaders throw out? I've finally come to the point that I feel Mary needs to make a stand. Since her dad is now on the record as opposing the FMA, then she doesn't have to worry about saying anything he disagrees with or sounding non-supportive of him. Give the gay community a little respect, Mary.

I have been suckered briefly in the chain myself. I was wowed by Lynne Cheney speaking against the FMA openly back in July. Even though her words were not dissimilar from the Veep's current reiteration of his stance, she did talk more in-depth about not needing federal intervention. Also, she seemed more like a maverick at the time, with Dick silent on the issue since 2000. However, Lynne has a controversial past as perhaps the most right-wing ideologue of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) during the Reagan-Bush presidencies (a positon she now re-occupies). She vigorously opposed feminist thought and teaching or any teaching that presented a view of the world she disagreed with. According to, "During her chairmanship of the agency from 1986 through 1992, Cheney was known for killing research projects deemed offensive to conservative orthodoxy, scribbling "not for me!" on proposals dealing with race, gender discrimination or the legacy of slavery. She considered the endowment so irredeemably left-wing that she campaigned to abolish it." No "Spanish Harlem" for Lynne, apparently. So much for my unequivocal praise.

And the chain of fools grows: the fools who think that Bush actually stands for family values, that he cares about anybody not in the top 2% of the American income stratus, the fools who think that the Cheneys show the moderate and compassionate voice of the Dubya ticket. The Cheneys try to come off as a Do-Right Woman and a Do-Right Man. Rather, I wonder who's zoomin who.

Think, America, think.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Getting Real on Getting Down

Being on the DL, or the "Down Low," has gained much notoriety lately, largely due to the writings of several authors, the most recent of which is J.L. King. Mr. King's book On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men who Sleep with Men has drawn much attention and Mr. King was featured on Oprah. E. Lynn Harris has written about this situation for some time, in mostly ficitional accounts, but has not drawn the attention that Mr. King's book has lately.

For those needing a primer, here's a link to a brief news clip about men On the Down Low .

I think a lot of unnecessary panic has risen over this topic. On the Oprah show, audience members were scared of Mr. King looking at their husbands in a seductive manner once he described how he could tell a man was interested. Still, I find the whole phenomenon of DL to be both complex and tragic.

Straight black women are one of the highest at-risk group for AIDS in America because of men pretending to be straight but having unprotected, high-risk sex with other men. As much as infedility outrages me, endangering another person's life, especially your spouse who trusts you implicitedly, for your own selfish reasons is unexcusable. This is a betrayal of the person who had commited the crime of loving you and the reward is death.

Certainly not all HIV positive people develop AIDS, and AIDS is much more controlled now, but still AIDS is physically and financially debilitating and certainly significantly reduces a person's life expectancy. Yet, the blame for this society is rooted firmly in societal expectations of not just black men, but concepts of masculinity.

I have played this harp before, but society expects black men to be tough. Popular media depictions almost always portrays the black man as womanizer and physically strong. More often than not, it is the image of the thug. Images of successful black men still carry an implication of hyper-masculinity portrayed through the accumulation of wealth and women. And both black and white culture buy into these images and perpetuate them.

The black man who is not macho is seen as victim. And any trace of feminity makes him pariah. And such, failing to acknowledge the feminine aspects of receiving in sex leads to unprotected sex. Not wanting to stop about the intimacy and sensualness of male to male sexual contact leads to risk for oneself and others.

In this I cannot fail to mention the strong influence that religion has in the black community. Conservative religious views dominate, at least in Southern black communities, leading to a supression of anything not in line with highly orthodox views. The church is such a locus of social interaction and status that to be removed from the church circles would mean almost total alienation and isolation for an individual. So, once again conservative religion, trying to save the world by policing behavior has helped lead to the destruction of its own children.

I believe the only way to help solve this problem is to change the images and expectations of black men. Conservative religious leaders, not just in the black community, but around the world, need to reevaluate how they implement their religion. And we need to help people understand homosexuality better and, also gender role stereotyping. We need, as a culture, to finally stop equating femininity with negativity. These may be pipe dreams, unattainable goals. Still, the only way to stop men from getting on the down low is to get real with ourselves and the world around us.

A Do Ron Ron

From The Advocate, August 31, 2004 (full article here):
I’ve been married for 23 years. Pretty good for a gay guy,” laughs Ron Reagan over iced tea recently in Los Angeles.
Gay buzz has surrounded the reed-thin son of former president Ronald Reagan since he dropped out of Yale University in his freshman year in 1976 to dance with New York City’s Joffrey Ballet. It follows him still, even though he and his longtime wife, clinical psychologist Doria Reagan, appear to be happily married, ensconced in Seattle with their three cats.
Being typed as gay “has never bothered me,” says Reagan, 46, a political commentator for MSNBC and dog show host for Animal Planet. He was in town doing interviews for the Television Critics Association meeting. “I’ve always thought of it like someone thinking I’m Chinese or something. It’s not pejorative, as far as I can see. It’s simply incorrect.”
Over the years, Reagan says he’s been attacked by the gay press “for not coming out. I guess it’s because I’m a man and ballet dancer. If I had been a truck driver, nobody would have brought that up.” Also, being portrayed as a closeted gay man “can be used as a weapon against my father, even posthumously.”

You can't help but like this guy for his views. That and that he hates the current administration.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

My Favorite Quote on the RNC

"When I wanted to see a second rate Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, I wait for it to come on basic cable." --my friend, Sharon Manson