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95 posts from October 2011

October 31, 2011

Fie upon't! (or, An English rose for Emily)

Ron Charles has a witty piece in WaPo skewering the current Roland Emmerich movie Anonymous, which trots out the well-worn theory, based on class snobbery, that Shakespeare's plays were actually written by the 17th Earl of Oxford (despite the fact that the man died before The Tempest and other of the Bard's late plays were written):

Once you allow that some glovemaker’s son from Stratford with a grade-school education wrote those plays, you’re likely to start imagining that a cloistered old maid in Amherst, Mass., composed the greatest poetry of the 19th century. (But don’t listen to me. I’m nobody. Who are you?)

Bravo, sir.

The Devil made you do it

A DC area Catholic priest Daviel Avila has cleared up the issue about how God could have created people gay.  It's actually the devil that does it.  Writing for PilotCatholicNews.com he explains:

In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. Any time natural disasters occur, we as people of faith look back to Scripture's account of those angels who rebelled and fell from grace. In their anger against God, these malcontents prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They continue to do all they can to mar, distort and destroy God's handiwork.

Therefore, whenever natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God. Applying this aspect of Catholic belief to interpret the scientific data makes more sense because it does not place God in the awkward position of blessing two mutually incompatible realities -- sexual difference and same-sex attraction.

I cannot actually follow his reasoning.  Scott Wooledge, writing for the Daily Kos, seems to have some difficulty as well.  Do demons infest animals too?  Since same sex behavior is found in over 450 species, does that mean the devil is tempting them too?

Marriage News Watch - October 31st 2011




October 30, 2011

Best in travel for 2012 -- Uganda?

Next stop, Kampala? I don't think so, Lonely Planet. What vacation sweepstakes from hell is this? Granted, my own partner was recently there on family business, but he isn't recommending it as a destination.

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

Gerson on Bachmann: "a mix of extreme nationalism and utilitarian lifeboat ethics"

Conservative columnist Michael Gerson deplores Michele Bachmann's callous campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Meanwhile, George F. Will, the dean of conservative columnists, does a job on Flip Romney.

Also, Herman Cain's campaign is denying sexual harassment allegations. Maybe that's what they mean by "Let Herman be Herman."

Best of all, Newt is doing a stint as the Comeback Creep.

The GOP voters facing this rogues' gallery make me think of the hapless Charlie Brown looking in his trick-or-treat bag: "I got a rock." Then there's Marlboro Man, below, evidently feeling no pain.

October 29, 2011

DNC faith director flip-flops on marriage equality pledge

John Aravosis shares the sorry news that Dr. Derrick Harkins of D.C.'s Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, the Democrats' new faith outreach director, has backtracked from his previous statement of support for marriage equality. Arguably worse is the charge by a DNC operative that those who raise questions about it are demonizing Rev. Harkins and mischaracterizing his views. I can see it's going to be a lovely year.

(Hat tip: Barrett Brick)

If you are a Halloweenie you might like this


October 28, 2011

A tax the 1% can get behind

The video was a bit flakey and kept cutting out for me.

(via Slog)

Latest News via DCGayEtc - Oct 28

DCGayEtc gathers links relevant to the DC LGBT activist community by scanning the internet and from user submissions. Feel free to use our RSS feed or you can follow us on Twitter


Sprigg calls DOMA repeal effort "disturbing"

Peter Sprigg of the anti-gay Family Research Council discusses the upcoming Senate hearing (set for Nov. 3) on Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Of course, the fact that he is disturbed is not exactly breaking news.

Gov. Cuomo urges all states to adopt marriage equality

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking at the Empire State Pride Agenda gala Thursday, urged all states to follow New York's lead and adopt marriage equality, NYT reports.

Street beautification in progress

Street beautification
(Luis Gomez Photos)

Not quite there yet.

Mt. Rainier at sunrise

(Photo by Nick Lippert)

KOMO News shares this photo of Mt. Rainier casting a shadow at the first rays of sunrise.

October 27, 2011

Linda Harvey tweets of suing Wayne Besen

Linda-portrait-199x300Wayne Besen's column this week concerns right-wing radio host Linda Harvey, whom he dubs "The Most Homophobic Woman in America".

Harvey in 2010 endorsed Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, and said this:

The fact they are re-criminalizing homosexuality is (a) their business, (b) it is patronizing for white Westerners to be telling these folks — they are seeing George Soros funded gay groups going into Uganda. They are all through the schools, lots of promotion to kids. Poor kids, poor kids are being offered money and favors and gifts to have sex. That’s exploitation. That’s sex trafficking. And it’s being done mostly homosexually. By Western homosexuals coming in and trying to get involved in Uganda.

Besen responds:

It is absolutely abominable and shameless that Harvey peddled such unsubstantiated propaganda about LGBT westerners coming to Uganda to exploit children. In reality, the Westerners who are actually going to this nation are fundamentalist Christians who are exporting homophobia in an effort to take over Uganda though business contracts and the funneling of US taxpayer money into this repressive, rogue state.

More disturbing, it seems that Harvey thinks it’s okay to terrorize, imprison, and even murder LGBT people in any country that would allow it. One wonders if she would deem it a local matter if the legislation in Uganda were called the “Kill the Christians Bill.” And one also questions if her support for such brutal punishment would apply to American states had they the ability to pass such punitive anti-gay laws.

Harvey, in turn, has threatened a lawsuit.

I am inclined to think that Harvey unwittingly helps our cause by demonstrating the fanaticism and viciousness that we are fighting against. But I could do without this particular brand of help. In the meantime, Wayne could use your support. Follow the link to the Truth Wins Out website near the top of this entry and click on the "donate" button.

Update: Wayne replies to Harvey: "Bring it on!"

Kameny in Combat

(Photo by Kay Tobin Lahusen, NYPL Digital Library)

My latest column describes my first experience of Frank Kameny's combative style when I brought him to Villanova University to debate gay rights in 1978:

In response to the charge that gay people flaunted their sexuality, Frank pointed out that when you see a visibly pregnant woman in public, "you know exactly what she's been doing in bed." This was my introduction to Frank's penchant for provocation and for turning the tables on our opponents. He assailed their biased assumptions and disarmed them with reason and wit.

"I fought in front-line combat for my country," Frank thundered. As a citizen and patriot he demanded equality under the law — "no more, but not one whit less." He easily won the vote on our resolution opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

For his appearance at Villanova, Frank requested only travel and lodging costs, which were covered by our modest honorarium. The Political Union's officers took him to dinner beforehand at the Conestoga Mill. Frank wore a "Gay Is Good" button, and as we left the restaurant the manager wished Frank good luck. It dawned on me that Frank carried into battle the dreams of untold quieter gay people like that restaurant manager.

Over the next 33 years, I often observed Frank's fearless and iconoclastic way of challenging dogma. He said that anything that has lasted long enough to become a tradition deserves to be questioned. He declared, "The world needs more and better blasphemy." He called celibacy unnatural. He told homophobes who cited Scripture, "Your God may disapprove of homosexuality, but my God considers it a blessing."

After Congress vetoed D.C.'s first attempt to repeal its sodomy law as part of the Sexual Assault Reform Act of 1981, Frank shouted at a community meeting that repeal should be attached to every bill the District passed until we rid ourselves of "this damnable law!"

Read the whole thing here.

Note: Kay Lahusen, who took the photo of Frank used above, is the widow of famed lesbian activist Barbara Gittings. I have enjoyed many conversations with her in recent years, including in the aftermath of Frank's passing.

October 26, 2011

LGBT Asylum News roundup

LGBT Asylum News logo

Here are the latest international news items from Paul Canning at LGBT Asylum News:

Family Equality: Protect All Children. End Unfair Laws.

Family Equality Council writes:

Two million kids in America live with loving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parents. They're happy and healthy, but face huge challenges from unfair laws designed to hurt LGBT people. Help us tackle these challenges and end the unfair laws.

Also check out this analysis from the Center for American Progress on "How Current Laws Fail to Address the Changing Reality of American Families."

Latest News via DCGayEtc - Oct 26

DCGayEtc gathers links relevant to the DC LGBT activist community by scanning the internet and from user submissions. Feel free to use our RSS feed or you can follow us on Twitter.

Entering Bizarro World

This is (apparently) an actual commercial put out by the Herman Cain campaign.  Multiple questions ran throught my mind when I saw this, such as, "Who is that guy?"  I read a commentator this week that said we should assume that our presidential candidates have at least had a puff of marijuana.  But what kind of drugs did Cain take?

(via JoeMyGod)

D.C.'s 25th annual High Heel Race

The annual High Heel Race, which occurs on the 1600 block of 17th Street NW the week before Halloween, happened last night on what is now Frank Kameny Way. As usual, it conflicted with a GLAA meeting, and due to the crowds we also moved our after-meeting nosh from Dupont Italian Kitchen to Elephant & Castle, which is a couple of blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Wilson Building. Ah, the sacrifices we make in our ongoing fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Thankfully, we can watch the high heel highlights on video.

Protests are fine, but the path to power is via the ballot box

Oakland police use flash grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets against Wall Street protesters. I'm all for criticizing police excesses, including their thinly-veiled excuses for rioting against citizens and getting the citizens to pay them for it. But let's step back and look at the bigger picture here: this is turning into a story about police brutality, not Wall Street abuses. How does this help the cause of reform? As the editors of TNR write:

One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives. But these are not the principles we are hearing from the protesters. Instead, we are hearing calls for the upending of capitalism entirely. American capitalism may be flawed, but it is not, as Slavoj Zizek implied in a speech to the protesters, the equivalent of Chinese suppression.

The more this starts to resemble Chicago 1968 (that is, for the youngsters out there, the scene outside the Democratic National Convention in which Mayor Richard Daley's police brutalized protesters), the more it will distract people from Wall Street abuses and help the Republicans who want to repeal banking regulations, not strengthen them. And the trouble is, it's not clear that many of the Occupiers care. We need to connect the protests to the political process. In that regard, we need to ask the protesters: do they want to help with the long and difficult work needed to change things, or do they just want to vent?

The President, keeping cool on Leno

President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show Tuesday night, his smoothness and likeability intact. Above are a couple of clips. The whole espisode is here.

October 25, 2011

Latest News via DCGayEtc - Oct 25

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Public Hearing on Human Rights for Ex-Offenders Amendment Act of 2011

B19-17, "Human Rights for Ex-Offenders Amendment Act of 2011" October 24th 11:00 am

    To prohibit employment, housing, and educational discrimination based upon arrest record, or conviction record, with certain exceptions based on the relationship of the arrest or conviction to the position sought, lack of knowledge of the conviction, reliance upon an authorized certification, a record of violent crimes, or positions specifically exempt.

The video can be slow to start. This link might work better.

While openly gay people face greater job discrimination, it is the transgender community that faces even greater threat of arrest.

NOM steals Obama rally photos to lie about their own failed events

Joe Jervis reports on the latest desperate deception by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage.

Homeland Security abuses: arresting people who are obeying the law

Countdown with Keith Olbermann reports:

Naomi Wolf, political activist and author of “Give Me Liberty,” calls attention to the enormous power that the federal government can wield to prevent constitutionally guaranteed rights. “History shows they start with the Other and it gets closer and closer and closer and someday they come for you.”

If Republicans succeed in portraying peaceful protesters as threats to the public safety, get ready for a giant step backward in American civil liberties. Exercise your civil rights before they disappear.

Update: If you see a message that the video is unavailable, please note that I got the embed code from the Current website, not a third party.

Best Feature at RA20: Pariah

Here's the trailer for the new movie Pariah, which was voted Best Feature at Reel Affirmations 20 (and was my own favorite from the filmfest). It is directed by Dee Rees and stars Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, and Aasha Davis. This is a compelling film with first-rate screenwriting, acting, direction, and cinematography. The studio only allowed Reel Affirmations to sell 250 tickets to the special screening on October 22nd at Lisner Auditorium. It opens in select theaters on December 28. Add this to your must-see list. For more information, see the official website.

Gay in Ghana

The Talk Party Series: Gay in Ghana from REDD Kat Pictures on Vimeo.

Rod 2.0 writes:

Many of the men seen in the video are from the Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana, which was created last summer to respond to the attacks from government and media.

Under Ghanaian law, male same-sex sexual activity is officially illegal. Police have been accused of randomly arresting, detaining and beating suspected gay men.

In this context, the video of the "out and proud" gay men defending their humanity and sexuality is all the more amazing. Bless them for their courage and dedication.

FOTF-ally QB Tim Tebow kisses Demaryius Thomas after touchdown

HuffPo reports:

Although Tim Tebow filmed a Superbowl commercial in 2010 for the anti-gay, anti-abortion organization Focus On The Family (FOTF), he seems to have no problem sharing a male-on-male lip-lock in front of thousands (millions?) of onlookers.

On Sunday, the Denver Broncos quarterback kissed Demaryius Thomas after Thomas caught a touchdown pass. The Broncos went on to beat the Dolphins 18-15.

Towleroad noted that this wasn't the first time Tebow, who has been referred to as the "Bieber of Football," shared a same-sex kiss on the field: Tebow was pecked by University of Florida teammate Tony Joiner a few years ago.

If you blinked you'd have missed it, but that's the great thing about videotape. I am waiting for Tebow to tell us that on-field same-sex kissing is not a gay thing at all. Actually, I'm waiting for follow-up footage from the locker room.

I also love the shot of the pause to kneel on the field for a quick prayer of thanks for the TD. Because of course God put everything else aside for the Broncos-Dolfins game. In fact, I'm sure that it was God who inspired that fleeting moment of ebony-on-ivory action, in the spirit of universal brotherhood. Keep it coming, guys, I'm for that.

October 24, 2011

Right-wing poll of the day

This just in from AFA's One News Now:

OneNewsNow.com Poll

What's the main reason that public schools seem to be more open about endorsing homosexuality these days? (related article)
o Pressure from powerful pro-homosexual groups and ultra-liberal teachers unions
o Successful propaganda campaigns that undermine traditional morality
o Parents abdicating their roles as teachers of right and wrong

Here are some other possible answers that AFA left out:
o Homosexuality is so irresistible that the teachers can't help themselves
o It's God's plan to push the Culture of Death and increase rich homos' medical costs
o The schools are all run by lesbo Jewish commies
o Enclosed is a prayer offering; please send me pictures of lesbo Jewish commies

Marriage News Watch

... with Matt Baume

Church of Scientology launched covert investigation of South Park creators


Here's more proof that life imitates art.

Village Voice reports:

Another interesting revelation at Marty Rathbun's blog this morning: Rathbun released what he said was an internal Scientology document which suggests that the church targeted Trey Parker and Matt Stone for a classic OSA investigation in retaliation for the infamous South Park episode that exposed the religion's bizarre upper-level teachings.

Rathbun tells me this initial document is just the beginning of a trove that describes how Scientology investigated Parker and Stone over a significant period after the duo deeply embarrassed the church with its 2005 episode, "Trapped in the Closet."

Marty Rathbun himself was once a powerful executive in Scientology who defected in 2004, and since 2009 has been criticizing church leader David Miscavige at his blog.

No doubt the church's Office of Special Affairs began its investigation by copying down all the names in the closing credits of the "Trapped in the Closet" episode.

In related news, Cartman Gets an Anal Probe.

October 23, 2011

Latest News via DCGayEtc - Oct 23

DCGayEtc gathers links relevant to the DC LGBT activist community by scanning the internet and from user submissions. Feel free to use our RSS feed or you can follow us on Twitter.

The Washington Blade remembers Frank Kameny

The current issue of the Blade includes interesting pieces on the life and times of Frank Kameny by Lou Chibbaro and Joey DiGuglielmo, in addition to the lovely piece by Kameny Papers founder Charles Francis to which we linked earlier, and an appreciation of Frank by John Berry, whose swearing in as OPM's first openly gay director in 2009 was a great vindication for Frank, who had been fired by its predecessor organization in 1957.

Helping LGBT seniors (& Metro Weekly stories on Frank Kameny)

The current issue of Metro Weekly includes an excellent piece by Will O'Bryan that uses the problems Frank Kameny encountered in his final years — and the help various people and organizations provided him — as an illustration of the challenges faced by all our seniors, and the efforts local groups are making to serve them. Thanks to Will for writing about such an important subject.

Also in this week's Metro Weekly, Randy Shulman has a remembrance of Frank, including his stint as the "World's Oldest Living White House Intern" from a very funny April Fool's issue some years back. Also, John Riley reports on Frank's local legacy. And Chris Geidner looks at Frank's Good Trouble.

Thru Jan. 16, 2012 - Kameny artifacts at American History Museum

The National Museum of American History, from now through January 16, 2012, has on display three of Frank Kameny's picket signs from the first gay rights protest outside the White House in 1965. From the museum's website:

Frank Kameny, who died on Oct. 11, was one of those Americans of whom few may have heard but who devoted his life to furthering civil rights, most especially for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people. He instigated or participated in many of the important gay rights actions of the 20th century.

This display shows a selection of the protest posters that Kameny and the Kameny Papers Project donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2006. Three of the most resonant picket signs are now on display in Flag Hall, just off the entrance from the National Mall and near the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem, and the civil rights-era Woolworth Lunch counter. Another poster is currently on view in The American Presidency exhibition among a number of protest signs. The Kameny collection is part of the Museum’s long-standing commitment to preserve the history of American democracy and the struggles for individual and civil rights in the United States.

October 21, 2011

Frank Kameny, Best of DC


The Blade will publish its Best of DC issue on October 28. GLAA will run this ad as a tribute to Frank Kameny, who is being mourned across the LGBT rights movement for more than half a century of pioneering activism.

American Astronomical Society honors Kameny

The American Astronomical Society decided unanimously on October 15 to present an occasional award for exceptional service by an astronomer and to name it after Frank Kameny, who will poshumously be its first recipient. [This turns out not to be quite true; see comments.] Frank was a Harvard-training astronomer working for the U.S. Army Map Service when his career was ended because he was gay. Thanks and congrats to the AAS members who successfully pushed for this honor.

October 20, 2011

Latest News via DCGayEtc - Oct 20

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