Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Shiver Me Justin Timberlake

I about missed "Talk Like a Pirate Day". What's your pirate name, me harties?

My pirate name is:

Mad Dog Rackham

Part crazy, part mangy, all rabid, you're the pirate all the others fear might just snap soon. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Courtesy of Pirate Quiz.com - where else? Arrrr

Gay (News) Parade

Or lazy linkblogging...

Openly-gay Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit re-elected (and possible viable candidate for head of state)

Gay couple's affection banned on oversea American Airline flight

Thanks to Dorian for pointing out those two items.

More companies gay-friendly, according to annual HRC study. Exxon is again one of the companies that scored a complete zero on the index. Buy your gas ANYWHERE else, people.

Charles Barkley, interested in running for governor of Alabama, down with gay marriage

Advocate cover features yet another straight (B-list at best) celebrity
That's not really news, though, now is it?

And in the news item voted "Most Likely to Raise Michael's blood pressure the Most"...

McGreevey Opposed Same-Sex Marriage To Hide Own Sexuality
From the article...

"'I did not want to be identified as being gay, and it was the safe place to be,' McGreevey said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. 'I wanted to embrace the antagonist. I wanted to be against it. That's the absurdity.'"

"Though he angered the gay and lesbian community in 2002 with his opposition to a lawsuit giving legal protection to same-sex marriages, the state's top gay rights organization and the lead attorney for the gay couples who sued for the right to marry say they are not upset by McGreevey's admission.

"'He did use his office as governor as a bully pulpit to speak out against gay marriage. And we were mad as hell,' said Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality.

"'But he did a 180. When someone does that, how do you turn around and say you won't accept their apology,' Goldstein said."

You say, "apology NOT accepted." How about that? I can't stand the hero-ization of McGreevey, a man who does not in any way shape or form deserve it. And to simply dismiss his active participation in hindering civil rights for people as excusable because now he "did a 180." (In what way? By coming out? By coming out when he was about to be exposed, not because of some high inner moral edict or belief?) Let's not pretend that just becomes somebody is an out homosexual that he or she is beyond reproach. Let's try to find some real role models and spokespeople.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Failing to Advocate

The Advocate is striking out, and not in bold new directions. No, the magazine is striking out in the recreational sense. I'm tired of it; I quit subscribing to it a few years ago because I felt like it had lost touch with its mission and its audience. (Hopefully I'm right about the latter half, although I fear I'm wrong and that The Advocate actually is properly addressing its audience.)

In the previous issue, the editor came out strongly against criminal penalties for people who have HIV, know they have HIV and fail to disclose this to sexual partners. I find this wholly unresponsible and as an example of political correctness gone awry. I don't blame people who are HIV positive for their condition, and I recognize the difficulties that such a law could pose for people living with HIV, both knowingly and unknowingly. However, failure to disclose HIV status to a sexual partner is, without question, morally wrong. It's a sin of the greatest magnitude, just slightly under lying about your HIV status.

I agree that some people may advocate for such laws out of ignorance, irrational fear, or even hate. That doesn't make it an unreasonable law intrinsically, however. I don't advocate for doctors or other medical personnel having to disclose their HIV status; that's an entirely different matter. But somebody just trying to get laid who purposefully hides his/her status in order to have sex (or worse to knowingly try to transmit) should be punished. It's irresponsible and selfish. This doesn't absolve people from asking - dammit, there's a level of responsibility on both sides, but one party's failure to ask is not sufficient reason to subject that person to a debilitating, expensive, even deadly disease.

Now, once that status has been disclosed, it's no longer that person's responsibility to protect you. If you, at that point, chose to engage in high-risk behavior, then that's your choice. You had full information and chose to participate. This is one potential problem with such a law: people who claim they weren't informed but actually were. I think the optimal solution is to have that disclosure in writing. Being able to prove that on the date you encountered the person, they had awareness of your status is crucial to protect yourself. This, I think, is easy enough with an e-mail or even a signed statement. Yes, I know, it takes all of the romance or lust or perversion out of the encounter, whatever you're asking for, but some people into risky or adventurous sex advocate using contracts just so that everybody is clear on the expectations. Contracts aren't sexy, but they are probably worth it.

If you want to argue against this point, that's understandable and I'm willing to listen to counter arguments, but The Advocate seems to make its stance with no thoughtfullness at all. It comes off as what they believe is the popular opinion, or at least the "cool" opinion, so that's the one it goes with.

The most recent issue, you know, the one with the Gwen Stephanie cover, has an editorial that's nearly as frustrating. (No, Gwen's not gay, by the way.) Although it deals with a much less weighty topic, The Advocate's editor decided to go after Born Different, the campaign with the cute dog who "moos." The Advocate, the magazine with the numerous celebrities on its covers (many who aren't gay, but sure like us queers a lot) complains that too much money was spent on what it characterizes as an ineffectual campaign, exclaiming that the money could have been spent on telling the story of real individuals. The Advocate, the one with the sexy and provacative cover just three issues ago (their summer sex issue), berates the campaign for being too easily discredited by Focus on the Family and its ilk ("dogs aren't born mooing and people aren't born gay").

I have no idea how impactful, if at all, the Born Different campaign has been. I'm a huge fan of exposing people to gay and lesbian families that they can relate to (although I'm also a huge proponent of making sure that we don't lose the radicalness of queer identity). I also firmly believe that the good word (that us queers aren't out to steal your kids and husbands) needs to be delivered in a variety of ways. Different people respond to different messages. I can tell you one thing over and over and you may never understand it until somebody else tells you the exact same thing, except in a different way that you respond to. So, without any hard facts to prove that the BD campaign hasn't been useful, this magazine that once was the premiere publication of our community but now is obsessed with interviewing straight celebrities, has the audacity to attack an organization actually promoting not just civic acceptance, but societal acceptance. This campaign, trying to change peoples' hearts and attitudes, not just their vote, is belittled by a magazine that has lost its way and does almost nothing to truly advocate for our community any longer. The Advocate needs to change its name to The Hypocrite.

If I didn't already get the magazine for free, I'd cancel my subscription.

In Poor Taste (and Not Just Mine)

Brisbane, Australia (AP) -- Representatives of the international Stingray community today called the attack against famed entertainer Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin "barbaric." Leaders of Stingray communities across the world condemmed the attack as the action of a militant and fundamentalist sect of Stingrays. These leaders, along with other global leaders, urged that individuals not lash out at Stingrays in their communities.

Even President George W. Bush, noted for defaming gay and lesbians for political gain and power said, "We should not rush to stereotype these typically peaceful people. Stingrays are postivit contributors to society; they are a peaceful people and should not be retaliated against unless you are absolutely sure they are a terrorist." National guardsmen were deployed to several Stingray community centers to ward off possible violence.

Admittably, this is at best in borderline taste, but really it's aimed at the news media who has been treating this unfortunate man's death as if he were a political dignitary. Steve Irwin's death is tragic, but does not rise to the level of coverage given to it when far more pressing matters fail to gain the attention they deserve. The news media continually fails to correctly and successfully prioritize news coverage. That said, sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

It's half tempting to go into an extended parody of what the stingray ate during its arraignment, given the news media's fascination with the meals of the Jon Benet Ramsey Non-Killer.