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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Should NASA Name a Telescope After a Dead Guy Who Persecuted Gay People in the 1950s?

Posted by on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Maybe I'm suffering from outrage fatigue—which is a real thing but not a new thing and likely evidence of my privilege thing and definitely a thing that outrages some people—but I'm having a hard time getting worked up about this:

I would like to raise a slightly unusual issue which I have come across. The Hubble Space Telescope is to be replaced in 2020 with the James Webb Space Telescope. This is named for James Webb, an administrator of NASA from 1961 to 1968, responsible for the Mercury, Gemini and early Apollo programmes. That part is great. But before that he was with the U.S. Department of State and was responsible for ensuring that "communists, anarchists and homosexuals" weren't employed by the DoS. He had quite strong views in this regard. While I am all in favor of honoring people's legacies, I am not sure whether it would be appropriate to name a telescope after this man. I would love to hear Dan Savage's view on this.

Fired Gay People
  • Fired Gay People
James Webb was born on October 7, 1906, so Jimmy shares a birthday with me, Sherman Alexie, and East Germany. (We were all born on the same day, thank you, not in the same year.) And Webb, like almost everyone else who was an adult in the 1950s, didn't think too highly of homos. Here's what Wiki has to say about Webb's "public service" before John F. Kennedy appointed him to head NASA in 1961:

After World War II, Webb returned to Washington and served as executive assistant to O. Max Gardner, by then an undersecretary in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, before being named as the director of the Bureau of the Budget in the Office of the President of the United States, a position that he held until 1949. President Harry S. Truman next nominated Webb to serve as an undersecretary of state in the U.S. Department of State. Serving as Undersecretary of State during the Era of McCarthy, Webb was instrumental in implementing stringent personnel requirements intended to prevent suspected anarchists, communists and homosexuals from employment with the Department of State. Webb singled out homosexuals in a later report, noting "It is generally believed that those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack the emotional stability of normal persons."

Gay people are unstable perverts: That was definitely the prevailing belief at the time. That's what my parents and grandparents believed when Webb headed up NASA.

But before heading up NASA, Webb led a witch hunt at the Department of State that resulted in the "purging" of 91 homosexuals. Other federal agencies hunted down and fired "perverted" employees too. It was the height of the Cold War, and gays were seen as security risks—and we were security risks, thanks to those "stringent personnel requirements." (The fact that you could be fired for being gay made you a target for blackmail. It's a perfect example of circular logic: We need this anti-gay policy to protect us from gay people who are a security risk because of this anti-gay policy.) Daily Kos offers a good summary of this blot on our history here. One unintended consequence: the creation of a gay hero. Kos:

Continue reading »

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Two Heartbreaking Stories About Being Gay in Iran

Posted by on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 3:33 PM

The Iranian flag flies over Tehran.

It's not Christmas Eve everywhere. This Vocativ story by Sune Engel Rasmussen about what it's like to be gay in Iran is heartbreaking reading. The weirdest aspect of the story is how closely some of the scenes resemble gay life in America not so very long ago:

Around dusk, Maseratis, BMWs and the occasional Porsche circle the park; you don’t have to wait long to spot one of them slow to a halt and pick up a single man cruising the fringes. Most Iranian gay adults are in heterosexual marriages, and prostitution is the preferred way to have same-sex affairs. It also provides a tempting income, for gays and straights alike, in an economy beset by inflation and unemployment.

And though these types of in-person encounters are a way to elude virtual spies, they are still fraught with risk. The number of people with HIV has increased nine-fold over the past decade, the country’s health minister said last year—with an increasing number being infected through “high-risk sexual activities.” Plus, 70 percent of them are not even aware they are infected.

Go read the whole thing. And if you never read "Being Gay in Iran," the story we published written by a gay Iranian who was accidentally outed by a TV documentary, you really should.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This Is an Anti-Gay Organization's YouTube Christmas Card

Posted by on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 11:42 AM

The anti-gay National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) recently rebranded itself as the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. They're in the business of turning gay people into straight people. And the above is their Christmas message. I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean. Three little gay robots try to play a Christmas carol on a rainbow xylophone and a much bigger and presumably straight robot comes in and blows them all because science or something and now those gay robots are straight robots?

The SLPC has some background on NARTH. The organization moved to rebrand itself after a member of its board—George Rekers—took a male sex worker on a ten-day European vacation. Rekers, who practices ex-gay therapy (therapy that led to the suicide of at least one of his clients), famously said that he needed the boy to "lift his luggage" for him because he has a bad back and Europe has no bellboys. Rekers was also the co-founder of the Family Research Council.

Stephen Colbert declared Rekers "Alpha Dog of the Week" when the scandal broke in 2010:

Continue reading »

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tony Perkins: Same-Sex Marriage Destroys Currencies

Posted by on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Right Wing Watch:

On Monday’s edition of Washington Watch, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will lead to America’s economic collapse. Perkins’ argument is a little hard to follow, but the gist of it is that gay rights will somehow weaken America to the point that Russia and China feel emboldened to “move away from the US Dollar as the international standard” and once “there’s no confidence in the dollar, this house of cards that has been built comes tumbling down. So there goes the economy all because we ignored the morality of the issues of this administration.”

If Perkins' economic theories were sound and informed by facts—and not complete bullshit informed only by Perkins' homophobic delusions—nations that were homophobic would have strong currencies. But, hey, this is what's happening in rabidly anti-LGBT Russia right now:

The Russian currency crashed to unprecedented lows Tuesday trading at 80 rubles to the dollar and 100 to the euro, testing Vladimir Putin’s ability to ride out both the economic storm and his clash with the West. Moscow’s midnight move to raise interest rates to 17 percent failed to arrest the collapse of the currency. To make matters worse, the White House announced that US President Barack Obama plans to approve tightening sanctions against Moscow.

If hating queer people really, really, really hard—Tony's definition of "morality"—inspired confidence in a nation's currency, Russia's ruble would be able to withstand the shock of few economic sanctions. But currencies don't work the way Tony would like them to. Nothing does: The Tony Perkins Gang predicted that 500,000 troops would quit after the repeal of DADT. Only two did.

Another thing that doesn't work the way Tony Perkins would like: God's favor. Unhinged religious conservatives like Perkins are always screaming that God punishes countries that embrace equality for LGBT people and showers blessings on countries that persecute LGBT people. But a quick look at the list of the worst places to be LGBT—Iran, Nigeria, Uganda, Russia, Cameroon—makes it clear that "shitty and fucked" correlates strongly with "rabidly anti-queer."

When will people we stop listening to Perkins? How many ways does he have to be wrong? How many times does he have to show us that he's a hateful and lying sack of shit?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hey, Straight Men! Stop Having Gay Sex with Your Wives and Girlfriends!

Posted by on Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Jeremy Hooper draws our attention to this lunatic:

If a man has anal sex with a woman, he is committing a homosexual act on a woman, being that in homosexual acts the rectum is always the substitute for the vagina, so think about that next time you want to degrade your wife… even if she says she enjoys it… that doesn’t make the act less degrading or more right.

[snip]

Next, is the issue of pornography. Pornography, even man-woman porn is homosexual in nature, because it takes sex and degrades it to be about self pleasure for the viewer. Homosexuality is about an attraction towards “sameness.” And since pornography directs pleasure towards self-arousal, and does so initially even when watched with a partner, it has the same narcissistic element to it. This is difficult to explain and hard for the average person to understand at first, but as you continue your walk towards being more Christ-like, it will begin to make sense. Avoiding pornography is a key element in helping overcoming same sex attraction.

Jason Salamone isn't the first sex-obsessed Christian to suggest that masturbation is gay. Seattle's own Mark Driscoll beat him to the (apparently spiked) punch years ago. And Salamone isn't the first straight person to project the hetero obsession with penetrative sex onto gay people. A lot of straight people believe that sex is vaginal penetration, much to detriment of their own sex lives, which leaves them confused by lesbian sex generally ("How do lesbians have sex?") and convinced they know how gay men have sex particularly ("In the butt, Bob"). But 25% of gay men never have anal sex—it's not for everyone, gay or straight—and very few gay men feel compelled to bust out a big box of Vagina Substitute every time we jump in the sack. Anal intercourse does not define gay sex in the same way vaginal intercourse defines straight sex. (So, straight people, you can continue to enjoy anal intercourse without having to come out as undercover assgays.)

And if Salamone is hoping to bring more straights into the anti-gay movement by slamming straight anal intercourse (now "really popular among heterosexuals") and porn (also very popular) and masturbation (ditto), well, good luck with that, Jason.

"Knocking straight men for a very popular sex act and an even more popular player in their internet history folders?" says Hooper. "Why stop there, Barbwire folks? Throw in pizza and beer and football, too, so you can flip all remaining [anti-gay] holdouts our way!"

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Slog Readers Push Lucie's Place Fundraiser Past Its Goal

Posted by on Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 12:55 PM

I wrote a post yesterday about Scott Wooledge's efforts to raise money for an organization in Little Rock, Arkansas, that serves homeless LGBT kids. Wooledge was inspired to raise the money after the Duggar family, which lives and breeds in Arkansas, donated $10,000 to an effort to block an LGBT civil rights bill in the city of Fayetteville.

"A petition isn’t going to get their show canceled," said Wooledge. "So I looked around online trying to find something tangible that we could do with this anger."

Wooledge found Lucie's Place, a small charity founded two years ago in Little Rock, Arkansas, to assist homeless LGBT youth. Queer kids are at much greater risk of becoming homeless, particularly in Bible Belt states like Arkansas.... "Lucie's Place's entire operating budget last year was $7,500," said Wooledge. "They’re in Little Rock, which is the most urban setting in the state, so that's the city queer kids kicked out in Fayetteville most likely wind up fleeing to."

Wooledge challenged his followers on Twitter to raise $10,000 for Lucie's Place.

"If the Duggars are going to do 10K worth of damage to LGBT people in Arkansas, let's do 10K worth of repair," Wooledge said. "I'm only asking people to contribute $5 or $20 each. It isn’t much. That’s something you can do. Lucie's Place helps LGBT homeless kids with counseling, they help them with prepaid cell phones, they give them bus passes, job training. So you can sign an online petition or you can donate $10 and literally put a bus pass in the hands of a homeless gay kid."

Just under $4,500 had been raised when I wrote the post. And less than 24 hours later...


You know what I'm thankful for today? All the awesome Slog readers who donated to Lucie's Place, shared my post on Facebook and Twitter, and helped turn something ugly and destructive—the Duggars and their hate—into something beautiful and constructive. Thanks, gang!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

LGBT Activist Wants You to Spend $5 Flipping Off the Duggars (And Helping LGBT Youth in Arkansas)

Posted by on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar ramped up their anti-LGBT activism in the weeks since my piece about their daughters' virginities reality show on TLC (19 Kids & Counting) ran in The Stranger. Jim Bob and Michelle donated $10,000 to fight a proposed LGBT civil rights ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Michelle recorded a brutally hateful and appallingly transphobic robocall to fight that ordinance; and the couple's eldest son, Josh Duggar, who is employed by the Family Research Council (an SPLC-certified antigay hate group), attempted to revive the "no special rights" talking point popular with antigay haters before they began demanding special rights for themselves.

The Duggars' recent actions prompted the creation of a Change.org petition calling on TLC to cancel 19 Kids & Counting. (The petition now has 170,515 signatures.) The American Family Association (another SPLC-certified antigay hate group) created a pro-Duggar petition in response (200,000 signatures) and a pro-Duggar hashtag on Twitter: #DefendtheDuggars. The haters won the petition pissing match, but pro-LGBT forces won the Twitter pissing match: The #DefendtheDuggars hashtag was successfully hijacked by pro-LGBT forces who packed the feed with critiques of the Duggars.

Scott Wooledge is a gay activist and a social media consultant who lives in New York City. He tweets as Memeographs—"progressive, fun, sassy mememaker"—and he knows something about hijacking Twitter hashtags.

"I hadn’t really even heard about the Duggars until someone started that Change.org petition to get TLC to take them off the air," Wooledge told me by phone today. Wooledge led successful efforts to hijack #CheersToSochi and #Humanum, among others, and he participated in the #DefendtheDuggars hijacking. He signed the Change.org petition asking TLC to cancel 19 Kids & Counting but he didn't think it would change anything.

"A petition isn’t going to get their show canceled," said Wooledge. "So I looked around online trying to find something tangible that we could do with this anger."

Wooledge found Lucie's Place, a small charity founded two years ago in Little Rock, Arkansas, to assist homeless LGBT youth. Queer kids are at much greater risk of becoming homeless, particularly in Bible Belt states like Arkansas. (Rolling Stone: "Highly religious parents are significantly more likely than their less-religious counterparts to reject their children for being gay—a finding that social-service workers believe goes a long way toward explaining why LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population. The Center for American Progress has reported that there are between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless LGBT youths in the United States.")

"Lucie's Place's entire operating budget last year was $7,500," said Wooledge. "They’re in Little Rock, which is the most urban setting in the state, so that's the city queer kids kicked out in Fayetteville most likely wind up fleeing to."


Wooledge challenged his followers on Twitter to raise $10,000 for Lucie's Place.

"If the Duggars are going to do 10K worth of damage to LGBT people in Arkansas, let's do 10K worth of repair," Wooledge said. "I'm only asking people to contribute $5 or $20 each. It isn’t much. That’s something you can do. Lucie's Place helps LGBT homeless kids with counseling, they help them with prepaid cell phones, they give them bus passes, job training. So you can sign an online petition or you can donate $10 and literally put a bus pass in the hands of a homeless gay kid."

The drag performer Vivian Sapphire jumped in early, asking each of her followers to donate $5 each.

Penelope Poppers, founder of Lucies Place
  • Penelope Poppers, founder of Lucie's Place

“I didn't know Scott or even much about Twitter," said Penelope Popper, the founder of Lucie's Place, when I reached her today. "He sent me an e-mail saying, ‘Hey, I did this,’ and he sent me the first image he made, and I I didn’t think much about it besides, 'That's nice.' Then donations started coming in from places outside of Arkansas, which has never happened. I got an intense crash course on how Twitter works. Scott has done more for us than anyone. We’ve never gotten this much support from outside Arkansas ever."

The Twitter campaign has raised $4,500 so far, almost halfway to matching the 10K the Duggars donated to block the LGBT civil rights bill in Fayetteville. (The Duggars wasted their money: The bill passed.)

Poppers is a theatrical lighting designer by trade, but she's also been an LGBT activist for 12 years. She founded the organization two years ago, and today Lucie's Place is a registered 501(c)3 with a working board of directors. Most of the group's operating budget comes from state and local granting agencies.

"Everybody pays attention to Chicago, New York, California," Poppers said. "People never think about places in Arkansas or other places in the South. We get forgotten down here. But LGBT homelessness isn’t just a big-city problem. It’s a problem in every city across the country. It’s a big problem here in the South."

Poppers believes LGBT youth homelessness may be an even bigger problem in places like Little Rock than it is New York City or Chicago or Seattle.

"The data that says up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT was gathered in big cities," Poppers points out, "but I would say it’s higher here. Fifty percent wouldn’t surprise me. That’s why I started Lucie’s Place. I was working with general homeless population for several years, and more than half had come out to me as LGBT or as part of the MSM community, and I thought, 'We need to do something.'"

Right now, Lucie's Place provides counseling, support, toiletries, bus passes, and phone minutes to homeless LGBT youth. In the future they hope to provide transitional housing.

"Nearly every single person who got kicked out by parents or guardian, they’ve been told by their parents that they don’t want a sinner living under their roof," Poppers said. "They’ll use wording like that. And most of the homeless shelters here in Arkansas are run by private religious institutions, mostly Baptist, and there they're told the same thing: They’re sinners. They get kicked out of the shelters, too. A lot of times the conversations we have with homeless LGBT kids is this: 'If you're going to stay at this shelter, you have to lie about your gender identification or sexual orientation.' Many of them wind up on the streets—and for some, the streets are safer than the shelters."

I asked Poppers what she thought of the Duggars.

"I honestly hadn't spent much time thinking about them before this," she said. "I didn’t used to have an opinion of them, but I now have a negative opinion of them. The only thing I know about them is that they hate LGBT people."

And who is Lucie?

"Lucie was a good friend of mine who passed away several years ago," said Popper. "She was 20. She was trans, and for many [she was] the first trans person they had ever met. So she had to deal with a lot of garbage growing up as herself. She had an amazing spirit and never let anything get her down and was always incredibly open and giving. Homelessness was not something she had encountered—her mother is actually on the board of Lucie's Place—but the name is a memorial for her."

Terry and I are making a donation to Lucie's Place. If you would like to make a donation—small or large—click here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Co-Founder of the Human Rights Campaign—Terry Bean—Has Been Arrested for Allegedly Fucking a 15-Year-Old Boy

Posted by on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Welcome to the first—and hopefully the last—installment of HRC Co-Founder Watch. Willamette Week via Joe My God:

Law enforcement sources familiar with the case say Terry Bean will be charged with two counts of sodomy in the third degree, a felony, and sex abuse in the third degree, a misdemeanor. He will be arraigned later in Lane County, where the crimes allegedly occurred in 2013. The arrest comes after a six-month investigation that began with allegations Bean secretly made video recordings of men having sex in his bedroom. As WW reported in June, Bean accused a former lover, Kiah Lawson, of attempting to extort him over the discovery of a hidden camera. In the spring, Bean sought to keep the allegations secret and tried to reach a $40,000 settlement with Lawson.

After WW began asking questions, Bean went to the police asking them to investigate his allegations. Bean also handed over to police what he said was evidence of additional illegal activity by Lawson and others. Lawson told WW that early this year he had discovered a hidden camera in a smoke detector above Bean's bed. Lawson claimed he was in more than one video that was made without his knowledge, and that video recording also captured at least a half dozen men “in a state of nudity engaged in intimate acts with [Bean].” At the time, Bean’s attorney, Kristen Winemiller, denied the camera had been used for any illegal or improper purpose, and that it had been installed because Bean had been the victim of theft. Winemiller said Lawson was extorting Bean.

Bean's ex—Kiah Lawson, age 25—has since been arrested on the same charge:

The former boyfriend of Terrence P. Bean was arrested early Thursday on sex abuse charges stemming from the same alleged 2013 encounter with a 15-year-old boy at a hotel in Eugene. Kiah Loy Lawson, 25, was arrested at 1:15 a.m. at the Portland Police Bureau's Central Precinct and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center shortly after 2 a.m. He's accused of third-degree sodomy and third-degree sexual abuse.

I'm on an deadline today—gotta get two columns out today because of the Thanksgiving holiday—so I don't have time to write this up. I'll have more to say about it tomorrow. Suffice it to say: fucking minors is wrong. It's a crime and if Bean and Lawson are guilty of the crime they've been charged with... I hope they both go away for a long, long time.

Gay blogs and writers are not ignoring this story—Joe My God is all over it, Towleroad is all over it—and I'm not ignoring it either. It just hit on a day when I had to be offline.

More tomorrow.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Ordained Minister Who Works as Professional Wedding Planner in Phoenix, AZ, Turns Away Lesbian Couple

Posted by on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Susan Latimer hasn't been arrested, she isn't being sued, the couple she turned away isn't filing a lawsuit or attempting to press charges, and the City of Phoenix's anti-discrimination law specifically allows discrimination against LGBT people by "religious businesses." But Latimer—the wedding planner/minister who isn't being sued, charged, or forced to marry anyone—is nevertheless claiming that she's being persecuted:

"There is a war on those who believe on Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and the WORD of GOD. Why is my freedom being taken away? Where is the tolerance for our way of life? God ordained marriage between man and woman. I feel same sex marriage is wrong and have every right to believe in what GOD's WORD says."

American Christians: persecuted when they're forced to marry gay couples and persecuted when they're not forced to marry gay couples. (Confidential to Susan Latimer: A special exemption from anti-discrimination law that allows you to discriminate against gays and lesbians amounts to "tolerance for [your] way of life." It really does.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Antigay Haters Reserve the Right to Discriminate Against Homosexuals on the Down Low

Posted by on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 12:03 PM

There was a big antigay hate rally in Houston over the weekend. You can read about the rally here. (Surprise! The "no special rights" gang is demanding special rights!) The rally's Twitter hashtag—#IStandOnSunday—was hijacked by pro-gay-rights activists. (My predictably lowbrow/smutty contribution to the hijack effort is here.)

Brad Pritch got a photo of some t-shirts that were handed out at the big hate rally:

1415124679_tmp_reservetherightrefuse.jpg

"WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO HOMOSEXUALS"

I have two pieces of advice for these haters:

1. To homophobic parents who bring their kids to antigay hate rallies: You tempt the God of Irony when you put your prepubescent children in antigay T-shirts. Seriously. That could come back to haunt you one day. But, hey, that pic will make for a hilarious #TBT on your grown-up gay kid's Instagram account one day—provided, of course, that his hateful parents didn't drive him to suicide before he could come out. (Like Chris Rock said: "Whoever you hate will end up in your family. You don't like gays? You're gonna have a gay son. You don't like Puerto Ricans? Your daughter's gonna come home with Livin' La Vida Loca!")

2. So you reserve the right to discriminate against gay people? You don't want gay people patronizing your businesses? Great! Put that fact in your ads, put it on a sign in your window, mention it in all of your marketing materials. But you won't, of course, because when it comes right down to it... you're a bunch of fucking cowards. Like I told the antigay bakers of Arizona earlier this year...

Continue reading »

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out in Amazing Businessweek Essay

Posted by on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Bloomberg Businessweek:

For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.

Go read the whole thing. Cook is from Alabama, and earlier this week he criticized the governor of Alabama and other state officials at a ceremony where Cook was inducted into Alabama's Academy of Honor. Also worth reading.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Master List of Asexual and Aromantic Vocabulary

Posted by on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Androromantic, alloromantic, demiromantic, gyneromantic, lithromantic, zucchini—it will all be on the final, people. Bone up.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Does New York Times Opinion Columnist Ross Douthat Think His Colleagues Frank Bruni, Charles Blow, Josh Borro, and Jennifer Boylan Should Go To Prison?

Posted by on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Conservative NYT opinion columnist Ross Douthat appeared at an October 16 fundraiser for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a rabidly antigay hate group that wants to put LGBT people in prison. (You know, prison—where even straight people have gay sex.) As Media Matters reported yesterday:

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat spoke at a fundraising event for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing legal group that works to defend anti-LGBT discrimination and supported the criminalization of homosexuality... Douthat has used his platform at the Times to lament efforts to prohibit anti-gay religious business owners from discriminating against gay customers. But his attendance at an ADF event is still surprising.

ADF is notorious for its work defending anti-LGBT discrimination. The organization has partnered with anti-LGBT hate groups, crusaded against allowing gay people into the Boy Scouts, opposed basic anti-bullying efforts in schools, and defended California's Proposition 8. In the 2003 Supreme Court case decriminalizing gay sex, ADF filed a brief in support of state anti-sodomy laws. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the group "virulently anti-gay."

General admission tickets were $15, VIP seats were $100. And there was a call from the stage for donations during the event—donations that would be matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor. Clearly a fundraiser. But today Douthat is claiming that—golly!—he didn't know he was at a fundraiser for an org that wants to send Rosie O'Donnell and Neil Patrick Harris to prison:

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat apologized for appearing at a fundraising event for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extreme anti-gay legal group working to criminalize homosexuality.... On Wednesday, Douthat explained that he did not know ADF's event was a fundraiser and said he plans to decline the honorarium he received from the event. "I was not aware in advance that this event was a fundraiser and had I known, I would not have agreed to participate," he said in a statement issued to Media Matters through the Times Wednesday. "I was invited by an events organizing group, not by ADF directly. I understood this to be a public conversation about religious liberty. This is my fault for not doing my due diligence, and I will be declining the honorarium."

Let's take Douthat at his word and just accept that it didn't occur to him the event was a fundraiser even after the MC began soliciting donations from the stage during the event. Let's focus on this this instead: Douthat isn't apologizing for crawling into bed with the ADF, an organization that wants to send Douthat's colleagues Frank Bruni (gay), Josh Barro (gay), Charles Blow (bi), and Jennifer Boylan (a trans woman married to another woman) to prison. He's not apologizing for speaking before the ADF. He's only apologizing for appearing at a fundraiser for the ADF. (Accidentally!)

So... it's fine for writers at the NYT to speak before hate groups—rabidly antigay orgs like the ADF, anti-Semitic groups, the reconstituted KKK, White Citizen Councils—so long as the event isn't a fundraiser? So... it would've been fine for Douthat to have a "conversation" with the organization that wants to send Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison but a line was crossed when Douthat helped raise money for the organization that wants to send Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison.

Let's pop over to Wikipedia for a second:

A distinction without a difference is a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things even though there is, in fact, no actual difference.

And let's end with follow-up question for Ross Douthat: We know that your pals at the ADF want to send Josh and Frank to prison—along with all the other gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans folks who work at the New York Times—but do you? We know that you think that it should be legal to discriminate against LGBT people (including your LGBT colleagues). But do you believe that gay sex should be criminalized? And if you don't, Ross, what are you doing in bed with people who do?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Greg Louganis Comes to Seattle with the (Second) Movie of His Life

Posted by on Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Greg Louganis doing what he did better than anyone.
  • Greg Louganis doing what he did better than anyone.

This Thursday, October 9, the 19th Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival kicks off at the Egyptian with a gala screening of Back on Board, the new documentary about the pioneering LGBT athlete Greg Louganis, whose hard work and talent made him an Olympic diving legend before an HIV diagnosis sent him down a complicated new path. The resulting film is a sweet, complicated, fearlessly personal portrait of a one-of-a-kind American. In advance of Louganis's appearance at Thursday's screening, I chatted him up over the phone from LA.

The man in 2014—healthy, happily married, and mentoring future Olympians.
  • The man in 2014—healthy, happily married, and mentoring future Olympians.
How did Back on Board come about?
Will Sweeney [the film's producer] read an article in the New York Times about my coming back to the sport of diving, and he thought there was a story there, so he reached out to Cheryl [director Cheryl Furjanic], who'd just finished the documentary Synch or Swim about synchornized swimming, so she'd learned the landscape of dealing with the USOC, the IOC, the NGB, and all that. Cheryl also did a kind of informal survey and found that if you were under the age of 27, you didn't know who the heck Greg Louganis was. When she approached me, she said, "You've contributed so much to the LGBT community and the HIV community, and these kids need to know that. Wold you be interested in doing a documentary?" I said sure. And then we went on this journey. So much happened during the time we were filming.

One thing that really struck me in the film is when you explained how for the whole first part of your life, you'd been on the Olympic track, with a very clear goal and the support of an array of professionals, living this very intense and regimented life. On top of that, you had what I consider a second full-time, high-stress job, of remaining closeted and functional. What was that like?
I was out to friends and family, and to people in USA diving. It was a different time. We didn't have social media. Reporters were actually very respectful. There was plenty to read between the lines in a lot of the pieces written. But still, we were a small team, no one wanted to room with the fag, so a lot of times I'd end up rooming with the coach. There was usually one person on the team who was secure enough in their sexuality that it was a non-issue, but still… I had instances with that throughout my career.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Other Side of Lopsided Bisexuality

Posted by on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM

A reader response to my post yesterday about "lopsided" bi guys:

Blow’s dilemma reminded me very much of the mirror image: women who are bisexual in bed, but lesbian in romance.

I had a friend/fuckbuddy in grad school who described herself as “lesbian-identified, but a practicing bisexual.” She only fell in love with women, but she liked fucking men now and then (especially when she was between GFs, which I am very grateful that she often was). Not romantically attracted to men, but NSA fucking a man whom she trustsed? Sure thing.

The stakes are different, given the fact that the “fluid sexuality” idea about women is so much more powerful than the lopsided bi-male angle Blow writes about. But it’s symmetrical in one way: some bisexual women just like to fuck men now and then, but only fall in love with women, just as some bisexual men only fall in love with women, but like to fuck men now and then. The asymmetrical part is that when some bisexual men just like to fuck men, but only fall in love with women, they fit into the bi invisibility pattern more thoroughly (on the down-low). While lopsided bi women can look like bi women who are indecisive about what they want to find in the pants of people whom they want into the pants of.

Also, I’d add that “lopsided” has a pejorative context: can you picture anything lopsided that’s positive? I’d nominate “asymmetrical bisexuality” instead.

Will "Cisgender" Survive?

Posted by on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Paula Blank argues that the term—coined in the mid-90s to describe people who are not transgender ("'Cisgender' refers to people who feel there is a match between their assigned sex and the gender they feel themselves to be.")—is unlikely to win a permanent spot in the English language.

Of course, there's more at stake in the viability of "cisgender" than mere words. "Cisgender" suggests a commonality among transgender and non-transgender people, at a time when transgender people are struggling for recognition. It tells us that we all experience some kind of relationship between our bodies and our selves, whatever that relationship may be. And it reminds us that those who experience a "match" between their body and their selves have it a lot easier in our society than those who do not. To the extent that "cisgender" helps raise awareness of intolerance and injustice towards transgender people, it serves a crucial political purpose right now. Potentially, "cisgender" could help build consensus on transgender rights.

There's more at stake in the viability of "cisgender" than mere words.
However, the politics of "cisgender" have already proven divisive. Perhaps the most surprising protests are coming from the left—from people, that is, who might otherwise be counted on to support the transgender movement. There are feminists who balk at the idea that cisgender women are privileged in relation to transgender women, who were born as men. Among other potential benefits, such as "passing" as men in a patriarchal culture, transgender women don't have to worry about reproductive rights. The Huffington Post recently collected a grab-bag of very mixed reactions to "cisgender" from the gay community. It's clear that some gay men and lesbians see "cisgender" as a slur, a way of labeling them as elitists or conformists after all (i.e., as not "queer" enough). Some think "cisgender" validates the notion that there are two (and only two) genders, correlating with two (and only two) sexes, just as many are exploring non-binary gender identities, such as "genderqueer."

At first I thought cisgender was unlikely to come into wide usage—back in the 1990s, when I first heard the term—and it certainly seemed like the kind of queer jargon that straight people would never embrace. But in the mid-2000s it started popping up in letters sent to me by straight people at "Savage Love." Most of whom seemed to be straight kids who had taken queer studies courses at liberal universities. (My demo.) At that point I regarded "cisgender" as the new "monosexual," a term coined by bisexual activists in the mid-1990s to describe people who were not bi. "Monosexual" lumped Martina Navratilova and David Sedaris together with Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann into a giant oppressor class... and that struck this monosexual as kindasorta offensive. These days I'm pretty much the only one who uses the term "monosexual," which I only do ironically. (Hey, here's the Monosexual Privilege Checklist. Using "monosexual" ironically is probably on there somewhere but I'm not sure since I couldn't get through the whole thing.)

"Cisgender" is more popular and more widely used than "monosexual" ever was. Non-bisexuals never referred to themselves as monosexuals; but many non-trans people use "cisgender" to describe themselves—particularly straight people who want to demonstrate that they're down with the queers.

But will "cisgender" stand the test of time? Blank doesn't think so. Ten years ago I might've agreed with her. At this point, however, I think "cisgender" is here to stay.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"I'm Gay. Get Over It. I Love It. It's a Great Life."

Posted by on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Here's Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo fearlessly coming out of the closet at a press conference in support of a change in Pennsylvania's hate crime laws.

Awesome.

Raising Awareness of "Lopsided" Bisexuality During Bisexuality Visibility Week

Posted by on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Charles M. Blow, an opinion columnist with the New York Times, had a very moving and much discussed piece on the cover of the SundayReview section of the paper over the weekend. It opened with Blow revealing that he had been a victim of rape as a child and closes with his complicated journey to self-acceptance and self-awareness as a bisexual man:

After my wife and I split, I decided to give male intimacy another try. The male attraction was still there, running alongside the female one—not equal, but there. I assumed my first failure might have been the result of youth and nerves and a mixed match. But now, again, my body sometimes failed to respond. Other times I was able to engage more fully, but almost always with the aid of copious amounts of alcohol, which left me barely able to remember the encounters and often wanting to forget them. This felt fraudulent to me, and opportunistic, and dangerous.

Still, no matter how much I drank, no matter how altered my consciousness, I couldn’t completely rid myself of the unease of being intimately close to another man’s body, hard and hairy and muscular and broad at the shoulders, more stem than flower—too much like my own. In those moments I was acutely aware that I missed the tug of the female form, the primary sensation and the peripheral ones. The look of soft features and the feel of soft skin. The graceful slopes of supple curves. The sweet smells. The giggles. The thing in me that yearned for those sensory cues from a woman wouldn’t quietly accept a substitute.

I had to accept a counterintuitive fact: my female attraction was fully formed—I could make love and fall in love—but my male attraction had no such terminus. To the degree that I felt male attraction, it was frustrated. In that arena, I possessed no desire to submit and little to conquer. For years I worried that the barrier was some version of self-loathing, a denial. But eventually I concluded that the continual questioning and my attempts to circumvent the barrier were their own form of loathing and self-flagellation. I would hold myself open to evolution on this point, but I would stop trying to force it. I would settle, over time, into the acceptance that my attractions, though fluid, were simply lopsided. Only with that acceptance would I truly feel free.

Blow's "lopsided" brand of bisexuality—romantically and sexually attracted to opposite-sex partners, only sexually attracted to same-sex partners—is common (particularly among bi men) but it is rarely discussed or acknowledged. It's not very visible. And as Blow's piece makes clear, writing "lopsided bisexuality" out of the bi experience, the constant and often smug framing of bisexuality as the capacity to be sexually and romantically attracted to both men and women equally, excludes men like Blow and makes it harder for men like him to accept themselves as bisexual. Men like Blow walk around believing that they're either not really bi (like this guy who wrote me at "Savage Love"), or that they're bi but defective or broken.

But bisexual guys like Blow aren't broken. That may be the case for some; there are some bi men out there whose homophobia prevents them from falling in love with other men. But after getting letters from men like Blow for years and years (two decades!) I'm convinced that most of these guys aren't damaged or defective or self-loathing. They are "bi-sexual but hetero-amorous," as Charles Pulliam-Moore put it, and there's nothing wrong with that—so long as guys who know themselves to be bisexual but hetero-amorous don't turn around and misrepresent themselves to gay men who may be after something more than sex. (Don't misrepresent themselves by commission or omission.) As I wrote in response to Pulliam-Moore...

Continue reading »

Happy Bisexual Visibility Day!

Posted by on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Sorry for the less-than-dazzling image, but literally all other options brought up by the search term bisexuality involved either rainbow-striped objects or two female models relating to each other sensually.
  • nito/Shutterstock
  • Sorry for the less-than-dazzling image, but literally all other options brought up by the search term "bisexuality" involved either rainbow-striped objects or two female models relating to each other sensually.

That's right—today is Bi Visibility Day, also known as Bisexual Pride Day, also known as September 23. Launched in 1999 by bisexual-rights activists Wendy Curry, Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur, the day is a call for bisexuals and those who love them to celebrate bisexuality, bisexual culture, and all the bisexual people in our lives.

So let's get to it! Thank you and Happy Bi Visibility Day to righteous comic performers Sandra Bernhard and Margaret Cho, Oscar-winning actors Anna Paquin and Angelina Jolie, culture-defining music mogul Clive Davis, beloved TV actors Mary Lynn Rajskub and Cynthia Nixon, writer/director/genius Mike White, popular musicians Michael Stipe, Lady Gaga, Grace Jones, and Billie Joe Armstrong, and all the other bis who light up our lives. (Also, while I'm here, I must also give a shout-out to the most beguiling bi character on TV: The Good Wife's Kalinda Sharma.)

In addition to Bi Visibility Day, today is also Ani DiFranco's birthday, so let us go out with a classic song about bisexuality (lyrics here) from this proudly bi performer.

UPDATE/GOLD-STAR COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Really surprised this op-ed from a regular columnist in the NYT was ignored here," writes Slog commenter bareboards. [H]ere's another bisexual for you, in all its fluidity."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Catholic Priest Orders Gay Couple Together 30 Years to Divorce, Abandon Each Other, and Apologize for Getting Gay Married

Posted by on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 2:50 PM

I wrote this yesterday:

American Catholic bishops attack gay couples all the time. They don't attack them physically, of course; bishops aren't beating up gay couples in the streets. But Catholic bishops do real violence and real harm to gay couples whenever and wherever they can: economic violence, social violence, spiritual violence.

And these attacks on gay couples aren't just hurting gay people, as Brian Cahill wrote in the National Catholic Reporter last week, they're hurting the church itself. And today brings news of another self-inflicted wound for the Catholic Church:

Lewistown residents Paul Huff, 73, and Tom Wojtowick, 66, had yet to attend a Mass conducted by the newly assigned priest of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church when they were told they would no longer be allowed to receive Communion. Huff and Wojtowick are both lifelong Catholics and have been active participants at St. Leo's since moving to Lewistown in 2003. They are also a couple who have been together in a dedicated relationship for more than 30 years. On May 31, 2013, Huff and Wojtowick were married in a civil ceremony in Seattle.

According to Huff, four days after the Rev. Samuel Spiering was installed as the new administrator of St. Leo's, the priest left a phone message at their home asking that either Huff or Wojtowick return his call. "He said, 'I heard a rumor that you two got married,'" Huff recalled. When Huff confirmed that he and Wojtowick had indeed been joined in a civil ceremony 15 months earlier, Spiering asked for both men to meet him at his office the next day. It was at that point that Spiering informed both men that because of their marriage, they could no longer receive the sacraments in the church or be part of any ministry. Huff and Wojtowick were also told that to regain full privileges within St. Leo's, they must first obtain a divorce, cease living together and write a statement renouncing their prior marriage. The issue is now dividing the congregation.

Gay marriage is a sin, according to the church, but so is divorce. You know what else is sin? Cruelty.

The community—the community of Lewiston, Montana, population 6,000—is rallying around Huff and Wojtowick. That probably came as a shock to the priest who ordered the men to divorce, separate, and say sorry. But the days when assholes could do spiritual violence—or actual violence—to gay people with complete impunity are gone, at least in the West, as Father Spiering and his bishop are learning.

John Shore wonders where the hell Francis is:

Continue reading »

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mary Bonauto, Genius

Posted by on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I just want to second what Andrew said:

Let’s be clear: there would be no national surge in support of marriage equality without ten years of civil marriage equality in one state, and then several others. There would be none without Mary Bonauto.

Federalism was essential in helping us prove that, with this reform, the sky wouldn’t fall, that lives would actually be immensely improved, that families would be strengthened, and that all the scare tactics of the reactionary right were unfounded. Bonauto—along with Evan Wolfson—was absolutely integral to that strategy.

Both of them also understood that one state would not be enough, that if this issue rose up to the federal courts, it was vital that we would not merely be talking about one lone and allegedly rogue state. Bonauto made that happen. You can see her mild-mannered affect in the above video, but don’t be fooled. She was extraordinarily persistent and a ruthlessly methodical lawyer. She also helped dispel the myth that somehow marriage equality was a function of white male elitists (a charge so often leveled at me in the community at large). Of course it wasn’t. Lesbians had a huge amount at stake—especially in the safety and custody of their children and families—in ensuring that civil marriage could protect them. And lesbians—from Edie Windsor to Robbie Kaplan to Bonauto herself—were absolutely indispensable and central in this fight.

The Catholic Church Is Shocked—Shocked—to Learn That Catholics Are Attacking Gay Couples

Posted by on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Brian Cahill warns that the Catholic Church in America is "on track to become a shrinking, increasingly irrelevant cult." The reason? The persecution of gay and lesbian Catholics—gay and lesbian school teachers in particular—by American bishops and the impact this is having on Catholic high-school students. From Cahill's piece in the National Catholic Reporter:

Catholic high school students, who can spot dishonesty and hypocrisy a mile away, are reacting with disillusion and disgust at how the church is treating some teachers in Catholic schools.... Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr upheld the firing of an assistant principal who expressed support for civil gay marriage on his blog. The chancery spokesman stated that such actions "would undermine what students are being taught in the classroom." It would appear that Cincinnati Catholic high school students are not being taught Jesus' message of love and inclusiveness or Pope Francis' words, "Who am I to judge?"

The Cincinnati [Catholic school employee] contract prohibits teachers from "public support of the homosexual lifestyle." That contract language forced a Catholic teacher who is the mother of a gay son to choose between her son and her job. She chose her son.

Schnurr's spokesman described the resulting protests as "a tempest in a teapot." But the real tempest, the real storm may be over the horizon. The real question is how many thoughtful Catholic high school students will be turned off by a church that can treat people this harshly, and how many will walk away before they are 24.

Cahill worries about Catholic high-school students so "turned off" by the homophobia, cruelty, and mean-spiritedness of church leaders—and the examples he cites are truly cruel, from a bishop in Cleveland firing a school teacher after reading her mother's obituary and learning the teacher was married to a woman, to the church offering to let a married gay Catholic teacher keep his job on the condition that he divorce his husband. "Four out of five Catholics who have left the church and haven't joined another church did so before the age of 24," Cahill writes. "One can point to an increasingly secular, materialistic culture as a factor in this exodus. But a closer look suggests that young Catholics are increasingly turned off by the attitudes and actions of some American bishops."

While Cahill, the former director of Catholic Charities in San Francisco, worries about "thoughtful Catholic high-school students" so turned off by the actions of American bishops that they abandon their church, we should be just as concerned by thoughtless Catholic high-school students—the one in five—who aren't turned off by their church's bigotry.

What about Catholic high-school students who don't react to these acts of antigay bigotry with "disillusion and disgust" but with delight and approval? What do they do when they grow up?

We may have seen an example in Philadelphia earlier this week.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Philadelphia Police Release Video of Drunken Mob That Allegedly Attacked a Gay Couple

Posted by on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Do you recognize any one of these 15 fucking douchebags?

This "clean-cut" mob allegedly attacked a gay couple in Philadelphia on September 11. They could be locals, they could be tourists. NBC Philadelphia via JoeMyGod:

A violent attack on two gay men in Center City Thursday night left one of those men in the hospital with multiple fractures. Sources tell NBC10 the 27-year-old and 28-year-old victims were walking from a restaurant in the area of 16th and Chancellor around 10:45 p.m. Thursday. Suddenly they were approached by a visibly intoxicated group. Witnesses say someone in the group asked, "Is this your fucking boyfriend?" When one of the victims told them yes, the group allegedly attacked them, punching and kicking them in the face, head and chest. Police say one of the suspects then snatched a victim's bag containing a cellphone, wallet and credit cards. The group then fled in an unknown direction. "It was a bunch of screams at first," said witness Geoff Nagle. "...a lot of punching and kicking."

The couple suffered serious injuries. Queerty:

Speaking with the media last night, both victims say they have been released from the hospital with serious visible injuries. One victim, speaking through and contraption that will have his jaw wired shut for the next two months, says he suffered multiple facial fractures and several orbital fractures.... According to CBS Philadelphia, the victims have been able to identify their attackers through surveillance footage captured either before or after the attack. Though no arrests have been made, police seem confident that the assailants will be brought to justice.

Watch the video. Share the video. If you recognize anyone call the Philly police at 215-686-3047. You can email the Philly police at tips@phillypolice.com or you can text them at PPDTIP (773847).

Again with This Leviticus Shit

Posted by on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 10:43 AM

When we bring up God's holy ban on eating shellfish or His loving command to kill your daughter if she isn't a virgin on her wedding night—passages in the Bible that Christians ignore—we're told that those passages are in the Old Testament, silly, so they neither apply nor matter to Christians because Jesus. But they can't resist one particular Old Testament passage:

Portland, Tennessee, has billboards for dentists and doctors but one involving religious doctrine is getting a controversial reaction. The billboard has a passage from Leviticus 18:22 that says, "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman it is an abomination." That billboard at the corner of Highway 52 and Jackson road was purchased by a group calling itself concerned Christians.... Elna Harman sees the billboard as entirely a good thing because it publicizes the Bible. "It's a love for people," said Harman.

Leviticus 18:22 goes on to say that men who lie with men as with women should be put to death. (Can't you just feel the love for people, people?) But if someone else were to put up a billboard in Portland proclaiming that all women who aren't virgins on their wedding nights should be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)—or that adulterers like Mark Sanford and David Vitter must be put to death (Leviticus 10:10) or that women should be forced to marry their rapists (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)—good Christians like Ms. Harman would cluck their tongues and insist that those folks were being silly and unfair because all that stuff is in the Old Testament and Christians are all about following Jesus and His shiny New Testament.

Anyway, I've ranted about this before. Basically: It's fair game for them to use the Old Testament to beat up queers, but it's not fair for queers to use that same Old Testament to highlight their hypocrisy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Club Night Darqness Opens Up the Dance Floor to Queer and Trans People of Color

Posted by on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Reverend Dollars DJing at the first Darqness.
  • Viviann Nguyen
  • Reverend Dollars DJing at the first Darqness.

A lot of music promoters try to appeal to as many people as possible, and consequently they end up sounding generic and bland (and often reeking of Axe®). Jarreau Greene—aka Seattle DJ/producer Reverend Dollars—said “Fuqq that,” and started a new club night called Darqness, which bestows to “queer and trans people of color” a wide, vibrant variety of dance music in the welcoming environment of Maxim’s.

Catering to such a narrow niche may seem on the surface foolhardy, but it’s actually brilliant, as this demographic traditionally hasn’t had a place of its own to get down. The time is ripe for such a celebratory event. Greene says that the first Darqness in August drew about 60 people, “which exceeded my expectations. The word of mouth has been very strong, so I'm expecting even more for September 26.”

That second edition of Darqness features special guest DJ from Boston, Jamila Afrika. I had some questions for Greene about his night, which he answers below.

What inspired you to start Darqness?
I started Darqness after hearing many complaints from friends and experiencing incidents myself where Seattle's white-dominated queer party scene wasn't always welcoming and comfortable for queer and trans people of color. I'd also heard about problems with what few events there are aimed at QTPOC, and while I'm not trying to be in competition with them, I wanted to create more options. Basically, the demand for a party like Darqness already existed, and I realized it was a demand I could fulfill. I was very intentional in hosting this event in somewhere that was away from the Capitol Hill scene, I wanted it to be in a minority neighborhood, and when I found a venue that was owned and operated by queer women of color, it felt like a perfect match.

What sort of music do you and Jamila Afrika spin?
At Darqness, I'll be playing a mix of rap, R&B, house, dancehall, Latin, ballroom/vogue, club, bounce, and more. Jamila Afrika (a Boston queer scene veteran who will be making her Northwest debut) plays a similar mix, but takes a particular interest in house, especially Afro-house. She even has future plans to spend time in South Africa to experience the house scene there.

What if a straight or queer white person wanted to attend Darqness?
If straight and/or white people want to come to Darqness, they are welcome to come party, but are asked to remember that they are guests in a space for and centered upon queer and trans people of color. If they insist on centering their whiteness or straightness, they will no longer be welcome.

Find more info on Darqness here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nepalese Immigration Form Allows You to Check "Other" For Gender

Posted by on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 1:40 PM

1410380379_tmp_arrivalinfo_BLUR.jpg

Progress, says a male Slog tipper visiting Nepal.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

Posted by on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

The constant attacks from the right on gay parents and our children hardly even register for most straight people. But powerful organizations like the Liberty Council, the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and the National Organization for Marriage spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to sustain a constant drumbeat of "every child deserves a mother and a father" and "gay parenting is child abuse" in the media, in the courts, and on social media. Most decent straight people tune it out. Most decent straight people think gay people and parents and our children should do the same. But it's hard to tune that shit out when your kids are constantly exposed to it on the news in "balanced" reports about same-sex marriage. (I remember hearing an anti-gay bigot claim that gay male couples adopted boys because we want to rape them. This was on NPR—and my eight-year-old was sitting there, listening as he ate his breakfast.)

The haters on the right bang away at "every child deserves a mother and a father" and "gay parenting is child abuse" even as stories like this one appear in the news every day:

Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton said the father of five children whose bodies were found in Alabama today confessed to killing them while in custody in Smith County, then led authorities to their bodies. The South Carolina children, age 2 to 8, have been found in Wilcox County, Ala., about 10 miles east of Camden, officials said. The children's father, Timothy Ray Jones, was arrested in Mississippi on Saturday on unrelated charges.... The children, who were found buried in individual garbage bags, were reported missing to the Lexington County Sheriff's department on Wednesday. They were last seen with their father, who was their primary legal guardian. The three brothers and two sisters, who all shared the same parents, lived in a home near Lexington.

And stories like this one:

Continue reading »

Friday, September 5, 2014

Gay Family Asks for Help

Posted by on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 6:49 AM

They're not asking you to make a donation. They want you to help them get an online federal form fixed:

I'm a US citizen who has lived in Canada the past 8 years. This year, my husband and I (also a US citizen) decided to move back to the US and live in Minneapolis with our 2 amazing kids. Because our boys are Canadian citizens, we went through the process of applying for US visas, which have been approved. But they are unable to move to the US because an online form called the DS-260 is broken. This form is the last step in the visa process. My family and I are being kept apart solely due to a technical glitch. There is no timeline when the system will be working again. Please email your senator or congressperson to fix the online immigration form called the DS 260. It's broken, and until it's fixed, I can't see my husband or two boys. If you don't know your representative, you can go to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov.

This broken form is doubtless screwing up the visa process for straight families, too.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why Antigay Christian Bigots Always Lead with Leviticus

Posted by on Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 8:04 AM

From RawStory via JoeMyGod:

A pastor of a large Southern Baptist church near Chattanooga, Tennessee said this week that Christians would never repent for discriminating against gay people like they had for racism because African-Americans could not change the color of their skin. Brainerd Baptist Church Senior Pastor Robby Gallaty devoted his entire hour-long sermon on Sunday to justifying Christian opposition to the sexuality of LGBT people.

And how does Pastor Gallaty justify "Christian opposition" to LGBT people? With every hater's favorite verse:

After spending about 20 minutes recounting the perils of homosexuality throughout history, Gallaty asserted that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God because of gay sex*. “God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live,” he explained. “So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, God gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins… ‘If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.’”

Leviticus is some Old Testament shit.

Whenever someone who isn't a Christian points to all the shit in the Old Testament that American Christians choose to ignore—force your daughters to marry their rapists, God endorses genocide and killing babies, girls who aren't virgins on their weddings nights should be stoned to death, etc., etc., etc.—we're inevitably told that the Old Testament is irrelevant. Christianity is about the New Testament, God's new covenant, and all those silly Old Testament rules don't apply. Ralph Reed pulled that move on Bill Maher in this this interview. But these same Christian bigots never object when a fellow Christian bigot uses Old Testament shit to slam gay people. Ralph Reed won't personally call Robby Gallaty to tell him that Leviticus is irrelevant, and Reed certainly isn't going to call Gallaty out publicly.

As I wrote the last time I was told Leviticus is irrelevant...

Continue reading »

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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