An experience of lingering amazement, in this week's I, Anonymous:
Thank you for a moment of cognitive dissonance. I once heard a jazz musician explain in an interview why he liked to play abrupt dissonances in the middle of tender ballads: It was his way of setting a bright-orange billboard against a blue sky. It felt like that while you and I were messing around in that dark cubby in that sex club, with my hands all over your nice big furry chest, and my tongue finding your left nipple, when you whispered, "You're making my pussy wet." Not a shock, really, just "Huh?" And then you pulled my hand down behind your balls (nice balls, too!), where my fingers felt an unexpected little valley, a small, perfectly aligned slot. And then you said you were nervous and pulled up your pants, and I gave you a quick kiss on the lips, and we both smiled, and we separated.
For a full day, I've been trying to think of the right label. Are you an FTM with a very convincing dick? A hermaphrodite? I have never touched a pussy, so I don't know what a pussy is supposed to feel like. But I realize it doesn't matter. I've come across guys before in sex clubs (literally) with unexpected body forms—missing fingers, green hair. They don't need labels. They are awesome being exactly who they are. That's how it goes in an anonymous sex club. Each guy is unique, and so is each experience. Thanks for an interesting one.
Join the fun in the comments!
Idaho Republican Party leaders are calling on the state Legislature to invalidate local city ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - like the one Coeur d’Alene passed after an emotional community debate just two weeks ago.
Six Idaho cities have passed such non-discrimination ordinances in the past year and a half, and a seventh, Idaho Falls, is looking into one now; the Idaho GOP wants them halted.
I'm trying to picture the kind of a person who wakes up in the morning and says to himself, "Today's the day! I'm finally gonna take a stand against those anti-discrimination laws!" How do you think that thought and not realize how monstrous your behavior is?
Professional attention-seeker and onstage ranter Michelle Shocked has announced she will return to San Francisco to play a free concert on Sunday, June 30th — the closing night of S.F. Pride festivities. Adding to the already bizzarre and controversial setup, Shocked's concert will coincide with a press blitz/egotrip coordinated across the SF Examiner and SF Weekly.
While many, including ourselves, hoped Shocked's dubious relevance would fade once her tour was cancelled and the retweets died out, the alt-folk singer thrust herself back into limelight late last week. She took to Twitter on Friday to announce the free concert, the SF Weekly exclusive, a treasured spot in the 2013 Pride Guide spread and a forthcoming opinion piece in the Examiner.
I first saw this on Slog commenter Baconcat's Twitter feed, and it's glorious:
Semi-related: Am I crazy, or is John Oliver a really good Daily Show host?
...courtesy of last Friday's Rachel Maddow Show.
Short version: The quietly but pervasively anti-gay GOP will very soon face a reckoning with an increasingly equality-friendly nation, and it's going to be something to see.
On a related note, I'm finding myself increasingly obsessed with the need for some sort of safe space/learning zone for those folks still working their way toward gay acceptance. It's tough, because once the "gay are just people!" light goes off in your brain, it's hard to imagine how you ever thought otherwise, and the urge to flex your new muscles by pointing at the less evolved and shouting "bigot!" is strong. But I've spent the past 20 years watching that light go off in people's brains (including my own), and it's not something that happens according to a timetable, or in response to demands. While we work to banish LGBTQI discrimination from the law of the land, we should leave some sort of welcome mat for those would-be "bigots" who are coming around to the idea of gay acceptance more slowly. Because no matter who you are, when it comes to homosexuality, your understanding of the issue is different today than what it was 10 or 20 years ago.
It's not one of President Obama's grand, sweeping speeches, but it's still nice to see a president addressing these issues in the White House:
"In the Curia, there are truly some saints, but there is also a current of corruption," [Pope Francis] is quoted as having said during an audience last week with CLAR (the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women).
"There is talk of a 'gay lobby' and it's true, it exists. We have to see what can be done..."
What the hell goes on at the Vatican's gay lobby meetings?
There's a new Pew Research study out on attitudes about gay rights, and among all the usual trends—older Americans being less supportive of gay rights, everyone nevertheless conceding that gay marriage is inevitable—comes one unusual finding. As Michael Dimock, director of the Pew Research Center explained it to NPR:
Younger Americans are slightly more likely to say homosexuality is a choice.
But! What's even more striking about this trend is that it's not heralding some sort of return to the past. It's a result of the old, polarized language about homosexuality being a "choice" slowly becoming foreign to young Americans—so foreign that it now confuses them.
"They're not really engaged in the question of what it is," Dimock told NPR. "All they know is that it's OK with them." So, when a pollster asks them whether homosexuality is a choice, they don't hear a word laden with disapproval and political poison. They just say: "Yeah, it's a fine choice."
The entire internet is howling this morning about a "rude" and "boorish" lesbian protester who should run to her lesbian bedroom and bawl shameful lesbian tears after causing a ruckus while First Lady Michelle Obama was speaking at a fundraiser last night:
Ellen Sturtz, who paid to attend the Democratic fundraiser at a private home in western Washington state, interrupted the First Lady to demand that the President sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination. According to a press pool report, Michelle “left the lectern and moved over to the protester.” The pool report quoted Obama as saying: “Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”
The crowd cheered for their favorite! They preferred to listen to Michelle Obama—duh, it was Democratic Fundraiser, and she's Michelle Obama, so it's not a hard choice—instead of the impolite interloper. Security marched Sturtz out of the room while she hollered that she's “a lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.”
Praising the FLOTUS this morning, Mary Elizabeth Williams says that it was a "win" for the first lady and lamented that the "headline-grabbing outburst is a common ploy, one that, it depresses me to say, is far too often used by those of us here on the crunchy left."
I totally agree with her about the overused, crunchy tactic—and I think Michelle did win—but I think that gay-rights protester won too. And she has Michelle to thank for it.
If the first lady had just kept talking, hit the silent alarm (I like to imagine there's a red button under that lectern), or waited at the podium till security escorted Sturtz from the room, that kerfuffle would have been a media blip. But Michelle Obama was such an incredible bad-ass, a brassy diva about the whole thing that NOW WE CAN'T STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. America is talking about the president's authority to "issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Thanks to Michelle Obama's awesome smackdown, this wound up far more high-profile than a typical, crunchy heckle. So Sturtz shouldn't cry in her room—she should send Michele Obama a thank-you card.
PS — Dear President Obama: Please "issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Usually when I post something to Slog about a high school's treatment of its LGBT students it's a negative story. Like this one:
The graduation ceremony at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday was one student short, as a transgender teen refused to participate in the commencement exercises because the school told him he would have to wear a female student gown. Damian Garcia, a graduating senior at St. Pius X who identifies as male and had a legal name change last year, was told by the school officials that he must wear the white gown reserved for females, or not participate in the ceremony. And so, Garcia elected to stay home.
So this story represents a nice change of pace:
When 18-year-old Chelsea posted a photo of her classmates Brad Taylor And Dylan Meehan to her Tumblr blog this week, she did not anticipate the incredible response it would receive — within 24 hours, the entry had been shared almost 100,000 times. The image was taken from her high school yearbook, and she included this caption:
"Two of my best friends won Cutest Couple of our senior class. First time in my school history a same sex couple has even been able to run for this category, not to mention winning it. So proud of them, and my school."
Dylan and Brad gave this statement to the Huffington Post:
This whole thing has been a bit surreal for us because we have been raised to believe that love is love. We never realized that our happiness and openness would inspire so many individuals. The support we have received from our family, friends, and even strangers has led us to believe that our affection for each other is normal ... When we started dating a year [ago], the thought of a photo of us traveling throughout the world would be a bit frightening, but now we are proud to be part of the LGBT community.
Australian judges have ruled that people do not have to be registered as a man or a woman on the register of births, deaths and marriages.
The New South Wales Court of Appeal overturned an earlier decision that a person's sex could not be listed as "non-specific" under Australian law.
The appeal was brought by a 50-year-old activist from Sydney called Norrie, who identifies as being gender neutral.
An officially recognized "other" option from the male-female binary is a great first step toward recognizing that gender is a much more complicated issue than slapping a dress on a stick figure and calling the matter settled. Good on Australia for taking that step.
BREMERTON, Wash. — On the heels of a historic decision by the Boy Scouts of America, a local priest is making history of his own. He's among the first in the country to cut all ties to the scouts, now that the organization has agreed to allow openly gay members.
Father Derek Lappe is the priest at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Bremerton.
In a blog post on the church's website, Lappe explains his reasoning, using a junk Catholic "science" report issued in 2000 as the basis of his decision. Lappe writes, "The New Boy Scouts are basically offering a program of ratifying a label of 'gay', which the young man has placed on himself, and which so many elements of society also are happy to place on him." He continues:
Our parish cannot be involved with a group that has decided to ratify or approve the self-identification of a 10-18 year old boy as “gay” or “homosexual”. To me it is cruel, and abusive and absolutely contrary to the Gospel to in any way confirm a teenager in the confusion of same-sex attraction, which is what the New Boy Scout policy will do.
I suppose that Lappe, who belongs to an international organization that has ritually covered up the sexual abuse of children, thinks that gay people would be a-okay if they just stayed in the closet forever. I'm sure that seems like a sensible idea to a man whose job requires a vow of celibacy. Lappe thinks he knows best, that he should be the one who gets to determine how a teenager identifies his own sexuality. He's happier with a culture of bullying, of alienation, of suicide. Fuck this guy, and fuck his bigoted Bremerton church.
...it's from someone who claims to be a Christian.
Thanks for the change of pace, Indianapolis Bisexual Solidarity.
...while giving a reach-around to Republicans. Un-fucking-believable.
Sen. Patrick Leahy withdrew his proposed amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have recognized the marriages of same-sex couples for immigration purposes on Tuesday night, after several Democratic members of the committee stated that they would not be supporting it.... Leahy offered the amendment a half-hour earlier, saying, “I don’t want to be the senator who asks Americans to choose between the love of their life and the love of their country.” He added, “Discriminating against people based on who they love is a travesty,” noting that he wanted to hear from the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators about why they didn’t. Sen. Lindsey Graham went first, saying he opposed the inclusion of gay couples’ protections in the bill.
“If you redefine marriage for immigration purposes [by the amendment], the bill would fall apart because the coalition would fall apart,” he said. “It would be a bridge too far.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein cited Graham’s comments, then, saying, “I think this sounds like the fairest approach, but here’s the problem … we know this is going to blow the agreement apart. I don’t want to blow this bill apart.”
Dems were afraid—Dems are always afraid—that the Republicans would walk away from immigration reform if legally-married same-sex couples were included. Says John...
Really, Rs are going to walk away from immigration reform when they are DESPERATE to woo back Latinos.really?
— John Aravosis (@aravosis) May 21, 2013
Breaking: Spineless, gonadless, clueless Dems refuse to call GOP bluff. Film at... oh, never mind. Who needs to see that rerun again?
You might've seen a variation of this poster around Capitol Hill over the past few days:
The proper response to an arson is...
1) prohibit you and other law-abiding citizens from buying gasoline.
2) prohibit you and other law-abiding citizens from buying any flammable fluids, matches and lighters.
3) prosecute the perpetrator of the crime
The questionnaire is supposed to underscore how important it is for you to be armed to the teeth all times. The arguments aren't new or particularly convincing, I just find it striking that a traditionally conservative movement is branching out to recruit gays and lesbians.
It's hard to know who's responsible for putting the posters up all over Capitol Hill. "Nale Dixon," who's credited for drawing the cartoon of the gay couple, returns no search results online. The pro-gun website is run by a dude named Oleg Volk, "An American," but that doesn't necessarily mean he's responsible for papering the hill with them. Without someone to credit, it's impossible to glean the posterer's intentions.
Perhaps being courted by a traditionally right-wing, conservative movement is refreshing and progressive, but it could also just be really effective concern trolling. What better way to make people feel unsafe in gay-friendly Capitol Hill than by slyly referencing homophobia and hate crimes in pro-gun propaganda plastered on every street corner?
This Friday night, May 17, I'll be hosting the monthly gay party DICKSLAP at the Eagle. There will be go-go men, there will be Jell-O shots—or Jell-O injections (as seen above)—and there will be hundreds of Oxballs sex toys that I will be giving away. My huzzzzband, DJ TROUBLE, will be there playing records in his underpants. See there's that, too. See you there? (Oh, and there is a Facebook page.)
Pussy-heavy DICKSLAP poster after the jump...
Back for its eighth year, Translations is a four-day festival of transgender cinema and art, which this year ranges from the Buck Angel film Sexing the Transman to the live multimedia performance piece Gender Failure (as seen in Stranger Suggests) to way beyond, with 33 offerings total. Read reviews of three of them in this week's Festive; for the full schedule, go here.
Adam D. Chandler writing on yesterday's NYT opinion pages:
At 20 years old, strapped to a polygraph machine, I quietly confessed that “I might be, um ... homosexual.” Technically, I was lying. There was no “might be” about it. The machine’s operator, who stood between me and a summer sinecure at the National Security Agency, broke character with a compassionate squint.
“Could your sexual orientation be the basis of a bribery attempt against you?”
I assured her that no one would find out. I got the job.
That was eight years ago. It was the first time I had ever revealed my sexual orientation. And it was the only time I’d done so, until now. Not even my closest friends know.
They know now. Congrats on coming out, Adam, and I hope you're getting a lot of support from your friends and family.
Bad news first: Looks like visitors to San Francisco won't be flying into Harvey Milk Airport.
A San Francisco lawmaker said Tuesday that he has abandoned a proposal to rename San Francisco International Airport after slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk and instead plans to pursue getting an airport terminal named in Milk's honor.
The Good News: Minnesota could be voting to legalize gay marriage within the week, meaning gay marriage could be legal in nearly a quarter of the US by next Tuesday.
But apparently there's a gay position on it.
Well, he finally gave the Union-Bulletin an interview yesterday, and he says of the bill in question, SB 5927, that it's gone through some changes and he "probably did not read the bill as well as I should have."
He also explained why he'd ignored them before: "He was working in his yard and unable to hear his cell phone over the din of the lawn mower, and later in the day he'd left his phone in a jacket at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds." (No word on why he ignored all the other requests for comment.) The day this all happened, last Friday, he did take at least one call—from his staffer, with whom he says he "had a conversation about treating people appropriately when they call."
He won't identify the staffer in question, but says, "When you see him interact with the disability people, you would be totally impressed... He is a very, very nice person."
In an editorial elsewhere in the paper yesterday (they have a one-article limit if you're not a subscriber, sorry), they mention that in his conversation with their reporter, "Hewitt said his staffer was prodded by The Stranger until he lost his temper and made the inappropriate comment."
Nice try, Senator, but just to clarify: All I did was call your office to ask for comment on a report from Seattle resident Jay Castro, who called all the bill's sponsors that day and had the offensive conversation with your staffer himself. The only "prodding" I did was to ask your mystery staffer if it had happened.
Castro, for his part, has now sent a letter to Hewitt, the other bill sponsors, and his senator and representatives in Olympia asking that Hewitt have a little chat with him:
I would like to meet with Senator Hewitt, and the other bill sponsors, to discuss my concerns in person. I would also like to briefly share my story of being a teenage civil rights activist in the 90's in Spokane, so you can better understand why this bill is so harmful. I would like to hear from Senator Hewitt himself that his position is in fact not what Staffer Doe stated to me on the phone. An apology to a reporter is simply insufficient to rectify the situation.
He's posted a full copy of his letter online here. Castro tells me, "I want to see that bill withdrawn."
Huh. I thought Jason Collins was black.
In other words, I, Sherman, a heterosexual lifelong basketball player, have seen a lot more cock and man-ass than many gay men.
As I age, my cock is essentially the same one I owned in 1983. But my balls and ass are loosening and threatening to avalanche down my body. I think I'm an attractive man wearing clothes, but when I'm naked... well, let's just say that I'm grateful I have a pleasant face. And, grading on a curve, I'm actually a relatively fit middle-aged man. All around me in the health clubs, I encounter mountainous guts that make my chubby belly look like a foothill. I see butt cheeks that look like two Sasquatches playing tennis. I recoil from feet so gnarled, hirsute, and abused that a hobbit would suggest a pedicure.
So why do certain homely straight men worry that gay men are even remotely interested in sexually harassing their concave asses? If strange women don't amass in large numbers to jump your bones, then why would packs of gay men hunger for you?
And, hey, I don't mean to punish those folks who are not hot, hot, hot. The plain and the lovely deserve equal amounts of love. I am only talking about sexual objectification.
Instead of standing behind their state senator's decision to sponsor a bill that would allow religious business owners to refuse service to gay people, it sounds like residents of Walla Walla are pissed at Mike Hewitt, for sponsoring a crappy, offensive bill and letting his staffer defend it crappily and offensively to voters and reporters.
From the Walla Walla Union Bulletin (sic throughout):
In a letter to Hewitt also sent to the Union-Bulletin, Michael Mettler, creative director of Achieva Marketing, called Hewitt’s co-sponsorship of SB 5927 and “the public relations disaster spewing out of your office” an “embarrassment for all of us who live in Walla Walla.”
“...(Y)our support of the bill is short sighted in that the implications effect not only your close-minded sphere of cohorts, but also the tourism industry in Walla Walla upon which people like me (and thousands of your constituents in the Walla Walla Valley) reply upon to make a living,” Mettler wrote.
Calls, texts and emails sent to Hewitt this morning by the Union-Bulletin were not returned.
Mettler later states, "this is certainly the loudest story online and in print this week about Walla Walla, and perfectly timed for Spring Release and the Balloon Stampede!" (Holy crap, that really is a a stampede's worth of balloons!)
For the record: Walla Walla is lovely, Mike Hewitt is a dolt, and hopefully his furious constituents—many of whose paychecks rely on tourist dollars—can get a real apology from his office sometime soon. I'd like to say "it's not your fault, Walla Walla!" But y'all voted him in. Now just vote him out, and we can all have a big gay wine and onions party to celebrate.
I was so swept up in this idiot yesterday that I totally missed CBS reporter Tim Brando explaining why he doesn't think Jason Collins is a hero:
.@callmeg_unit Simple Being a a Christian White male over 50 that's raised a family means nothing in today's culture. The sad truth. Period.
— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) April 29, 2013
Yes! Finally, after over 200 years as a nation, won't somebody speak up for the poor, embattled straight Christian white men? Thank God this brave sports reporter has spoken up for the oppressed, voiceless white dude. What a hero he is.
NYT columnist Frank Bruni addresses clueless straights who wonder why gay people make such a big deal about coming out:
[Some] conversation in the days to come, perhaps not public discussion but certainly private grumbling, will include questions about why Collins has to rock the boat, why the news media is paying such lavish heed to him and why gays and lesbians in general make such a fuss of things. I know this from my in-box, where some readers routinely tell me that they’d be less bothered by homosexuals if we’d just please shut up about it.
Many of us want to, and will: when a gay, lesbian or transgendered kid isn’t at special risk of being brutalized or committing suicide. When the federal government outlaws discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, which it still hasn’t done. When immigration laws give same-sex couples the same consideration that they do heterosexual ones. When the Defense of Marriage Act crumbles and our committed relationships aren’t relegated to a lesser status, a diminished dignity....
When an athlete like Collins can be honest about himself without he and his co-author having to stress that he’s a guy’s guy, a godly man, someone who stayed mum about himself before now precisely so he wouldn’t disrupt his teams or upset his teammates, someone who’s inhabited locker rooms for 12 seasons already without incident. When a gay person’s central-casting earnestness and eloquence aren’t noted with excitement and relief, because his or her sexual orientation needn’t be accompanied by a litany of virtues and accomplishments in order for bigotry to be toppled and a negative reaction to be overcome.
A society that discriminates against LGBT people—and some in our society are working to expand discrimination against us—is, in a very real sense, refusing to "shut up" about homosexuality. Legislating against homosexuality = lawmakers refusing to shut up about it. Allowing anti-gay laws that already exist to remain on the books = refusing to shut up about it. Gay people will always have to come out to our families, friends, and coworkers. But legal discrimination and anti-gay bias forces us to speak out and fight back. Discrimination, hate, and bigotry puts us in a position of having to organize, argue, and get in your straight faces. Discriminate against us less, harass us less, hate us less and we will have a lot less to talk about.
We might even have the luxury to shut up about it.
This is ESPN reporter Chris Broussard, shooting off his damn fool mouth about Jason Collins. He's probably going to be embraced by far-right Christian groups for his "brave" decision to speak Biblical "truth" in public.
According to ThinkProgress, Broussard said this right in front of an openly gay ESPN reporter named LZ Granderson, who replied, “I really don’t need Chris or anyone else telling me if I’m a Christian because Jesus tells me I am.”
Like I tried to say in my earlier post about gay WNBA players, I am aware that the gender norms are different for men and women, and that Jason Collins coming out is an absolutely historic event. Here, Garance Franke-Ruta at the Atlantic says it much better than I did:
Female professional athletes are already gender non-conforming. Male ones are still worshiped as exemplars of traditional masculinity. Extremely sporty women have to fight stereotyping that they are lesbians and ignore all manner of unkind commentary about how they are mannish, while sporty men are seen as participating in a form of the masculine ideal.
This is the backdrop to why N.B.A. center Jason Collins' revelations in a Sports Illustrated piece today that he is gay are such a big deal—and why it is that similar recent revelations from the this year's W.N.B.A. Number 1 draft pick Brittney Griner were greeted in mid-April with a collective yawn...
The reality is that by becoming a top-ranking female basketball player, Griner had already done hard work violating gender norms and was already seen as a gender outlier.
Truth. (Read the whole thing.)
In a piece marking marriage equality's "sweep" of New England—Rhode Island, the last holdout, approved marriage equality last week—E.J. Graff reminds us that the marriage equality movement was a grassroots effort launched by rogue same-sex couples:
It is worth taking a moment to look back on how we got here. It was a rogue Hawaii lawsuit, opposed by all the major LGBT advocacy groups, that launched the marriage-equality movement: Baehr v. Lewin was brought by a few couples and a non-gay lawyer, all on their own. As expected, they lost at the trial court and then on appeal. But in 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court remanded the case back down for trial on a stricter standard, asking: If Jane could marry Mark but not Mary, why wasn’t that sex discrimination? The odd sound you heard was thousands of lesbians and gay men gasping in shock at the brand-new idea that marriage was possible in our lifetime. In the end, Hawaii wasn’t the breakthrough state. But it gave Mary Bonauto, civil-rights director at New England’s Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)—and the woman generally considered to be the Thurgood Marshall of the marriage-equality movement—the opening she needed....