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67 posts from September 2012

September 27, 2012

Oct. 4 - Rainbow History Project Pioneers Reception

Check this out from our friends at RHP:

The Rainbow History Project will honor 14 Community Pioneers at a reception on Thursday, October 4 at 6:30 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009. These tenacious and creative individuals are being recognized for their instrumental roles creating and sustaining important institutions in the DC LGBT community. The event provides an opportunity for the community to say thank you.

A Facebook page for the event allows you to join the event and to invite others.

Here's the list of this year's honorees:

  • Robert Alfandre, philanthropist
  • Colevia Carter, African American Lesbian rights activist
  • Keith Clark, founder, One in Ten
  • Paulette Goodman, founder, Metro DC PFLAG
  • Jose Gutierrez, founder, Latino LGBT History Project
  • Susan Hester, Mautner Project
  • Len Hirsch, founder, Federal GLOBE
  • James Mercer, organizer, BWMT Discrimination Response System
  • Robert Miailovich, Dignity-Washington
  • Bob Summersgill, marriage equality activist
  • Larry Uhrig, pastor, DC MCC, 1977-1993
  • Stefan Wade, SMYAL
  • Cade Ware, DC Human Rights Commissioner
  • Jessica Xavier, Transgender rights activist

Congrats to all the honorees, who include former GLAA Presidents Bob Summersgill and the late Cade Ware. Bob, who is now an ANC commissioner, was the lead legislative strategist behind our historic enactment of marriage equality. Cade, who was a leader of what was then called GAA in the 1970s and died in 1986, is mentioned in the first item of our Timeline on D.C. Marriage Equality. Honoree Jessica Xavier received GLAA's Distinguished Service Award in 2000. Honoree Len Hirsch received a DSA in 2001 in his capacity as longtime leader of Federal GLOBE. Honoree Susan Hester received a DSA in 1991 in her capacity as leader of the Mautner Project. D.C. has always been rich in dedicated community leaders.

We hope you'll join us at RHP's Community Pioneers Reception on October 4.

September 25, 2012

Marriage News Watch - September 25, 2012 #afer

No word from the Supreme Court on whether to hear the appeal of the decision in the California Proposition 8 case.

September 24, 2012

Catholic initiation ritual #2731

The Daily Mail reports on a truly bizarre initiation ritual at a Catholic school in Poland in which children lick whipped cream off a priest's knees. No, I did not make that up. And there are pixilated photos. Question: If marijuana is a gateway drug leading to the really hard stuff, what will this gateway ritual lead to? I am sure the answer is the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation.

It is a never-ending source of amazement what stuff the moral arbiters of Holy Mother the Church, Inc. manage to think up. "Now pay attention, Johnny," said Father Confessor. "I want you to promise never, ever to do any of these wicked things." Whereupon Father proceeded to demonstrate each of them with scrupulous attention to detail.

Libyans storm Islamist militia bases; government backs them up

Libyan citizens in Benghazi angry over the attack on the American consulate and the lawlessness of Islamist militias rose up against the militias. The Libyan government took advantage of the opportunity to crack down on the militias. What an amazing spectacle, people determined to take their country back from the thugs. No one knows how this will end, but the spirit of these ordinary citizens should teach us to stop the caricatures and redouble our efforts to support their democratic aspirations — as our late ambassador did.

Jackson: Gay Marriage Will Open the Door to 'All Kinds of Crazy Stuff'

[Update: I know this is the wrong video, but it's due to RWW screwing up their embed codes. here's a direct link to the Bishop Jackson video that I just tested. OTOH, the crazy video of Rep. Gohmert is fun too. Update 2: Now the video has changed yet again. Complain to RWW.]

This just in from Right Wing Watch: My old sparring partner, Bishop Harry "Daddy Bear" Jackson, explains why Bible-based gay haters should not stay home on election day and let Barack Obama get re-elected.

Also from RWW: Bryan Fischer, Romney's Most Vocal Critic, Tells Everyone to Stop Criticizing Romney.

Maine firefighters for marriage equality

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

Florida GOP vows to unseat judges who blocked voter suppression

Joe Jervis reports. Fortunately, there are also people defending the judges.

September 22, 2012

Jimmy Fallon: "Romney & Bain" (James Taylor parody)

(Hat tip: Dana Beyer)

African-American Clergy Urge Marylanders to Vote for Marriage Equality

Mdclergy1The Human Rights Campaign reports. Thanks to Rev. Dr. Delman Coates and his colleagues for standing up for equality. (Photo courtesy HRC)

September 21, 2012

John Corvino is a very reasonable man but...

... elections are not always decided by reason.  On the Myers-Briggs personality scale half of the population is designated thinkers and half are feelers.  Only half make decisions on reasoned arguments like this.  This Fall four states are voting on the rights of gay people and marriage equality is clearly ahead in 3 of them.  But the negative campaigns have not started yet.  Opponents of gay rights have become more extreme recently so you can expect a lot of extreme comments about gay people in the coming month in these battle-ground state..  Courts however make decisions on a rational basis and LGBT people have scored major gains because our arguments are far more reasoned.  This may be the year we win at the ballot box.

You can read more about John Corvino (who co-wrote "Debating Same-Sex Marriage" with Maggie Gallagher) at his website and view the entire series of videos on YouTube.

September 20, 2012

What's wrong with this 'Diversity Moment'?

AP Diversity Moment

This photo was taken at the Associated Press Media Editors annual conference, currently underway, in Nashville. The man at the podium is Jack Marsh, president and CEO of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, with offices in Washington, D.C., Nashville, and Vermillion, S.D. Marsh is well-known in journalism circles as a passionate and forceful diversity advocate. It is ironic that with the words "diversity moment" projected on the back wall, there is such an obvious lack of ethnic diversity among the Associated Press managers and executives sitting on the dais with Marsh. The group includes AP's CEO Gary Pruitt, Senior Vice President for News Kathleen Carroll, Washington Political Editor Liz Sidoti, and news vice presidents Kristin Gazlay, Santiago Lyon, and Michael Oreskes.

APME is an association of editors whose companies are members of The Associated Press. APME posted the photo on its Facebook page and then removed it a short time later, apparently realizing how bad it looks for a company that has been widely criticized for the lack of diversity among its journalists, dismantling its diversity programs, and the recent layoffs of some of its highest profile African American news managers and executives. It's also impossible not to notice what appear to be looks of boredom and lack of interest on the faces of the AP managers.

September 19, 2012

Obama on the 47%

Meanwhile, the Onion reports on Mitt Romney's damage control efforts:

“First and foremost, I would like to offer a heartfelt apology to all the whores, junkies, bums, and grime-covered derelicts out there who make up nearly half our nation,” a visibly contrite and solemn Romney said outside a campaign stop at a local high school. “Let me assure you that I in no way meant to offend any of the putrid-smelling, barefoot masses out there. My campaign is not about dividing this nation, but about bringing all sides together—the rich, elegant members of the upper class, as well as the 47 percent who are covered in flies and eat directly from back-alley dumpsters.”

“I am fully committed to building a better future for every American,” Romney continued, “and that means ensuring all 150 million grease-and-urine-soaked members of our society get a fair shake.”

Accoring to the Onion, Paul Ryan will also be assisting in this crisis.


September 18, 2012

A slur by any other name


Joe Jervis reports that Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar will serve a three-day suspension for putting the Spanish anti-gay slur "tu ere(s) maricón on his eye-black. He will also work with GLAAD.

"Maricón" is a notorious slur. Years ago, one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, La Fonda, had a couple of seafood dishes on its menu: Mariscada Estilo Cancún and Pescado Celestún. One evening I ordered one of them. As I was finishing, the owner's son, Danny, stopped by my table to say hello and ask what I had eaten. I told him, "I had the Pescado Maricón." He said, "What?!" Then I realized I had mashed the names of the two dishes together into the anti-gay epithet, and laughed. I suppose that from a certain point of view, whatever fish I had eaten would have been Pescado Maricón. I could laugh at my inadvertent use of the term, but of course it is not so funny to gay people in the Hispanic community who are the objects of it. Let's hope Mr. Escobar improves his attitude and doesn't merely go through the motions.

Salman Rushdie: the first blackbird

RushdiexThis morning, author Salman Rushdie tweeted that today was publication day for Joseph Anton: A Memoir, in which he tells the story of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against him, which forced him to live for several years in hiding under the pseudonym Joseph Anton. I quickly downloaded the Kindle Edition to my iPad and began reading. It is beautifully written and riveting. I chose the title for this post, along with the video clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, because Rushdie invokes this chilling scene at the beginning of his prologue. In his analogy, Rushdie was the first blackbird on the playground equipment; what danger is there in one blackbird? But radical Islam’s bloodlust was not so easily sated, as the intervening years have shown.

As an example of why I admire Rushdie, here is an unsent letter included in the book:

Dear Bernie Grant, MP,

“Burning books,” you said in the House of Commons exactly one day after the fatwa, “is not a big issue for blacks.” The objections to such practices, you claimed, were proof that “the whites wanted to impose their values on the world.” I recall that many black leaders—Dr. Martin Luther King, for example—were murdered for their ideas. To call for the murder of a man for his ideas would therefore appear to the bewildered outsider to be a thing which a black member of Parliament might find horrifying. Yet you do not object. You represent, sir, the unacceptable face of multiculturalism, its deformation into an ideology of cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is the death of ethical thought, supporting the right of tyrannical priests to tyrannize, of despotic parents to mutilate their daughters, of bigoted individuals to hate homosexuals and Jews, because it is a part of their “culture” to do so. Bigotry, prejudice and violence or the threat of violence are not human “values.” They are proof of the absence of such values. They are not the manifestations of a person’s “culture.” They are indications of a person’s lack of culture. In such crucial matters, sir, to quote the great monochrome philosopher Michael Jackson, it don’t matter if you’re black or white.

[Loc 3081 of 10539]

As an example of Rushdie's comfort with the subject of homosexuality, here — written, like the rest of the book, in the third person — is a reference to his alma mater:

... King's College, Cambridge, where he would meet E. M. Forster and discover sex, though not at the same time.

[Loc 443 of 10539]

I commend the book to your attention, available for purchase at Amazon.com.

(Photo by Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg News)

September 17, 2012

Secret Romney video shows his contempt for 47 percent of Americans

Mother Jones reports on the above video, which it released late Monday afternoon:

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax."

Romney went on: "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Tens of millions of Americans who pay higher tax rates than this man who wants to govern them may be surprised to learn that he thinks they pay no taxes.

Uganda releases British play producer

DavidcecilIdentity Kenya reports:

Uganda released a British theatre producer on bail Monday after he was arrested last week for staging a play about a gay man without proper authorisation, his lawyer said.

Producer David Cecil – who faces up to two years in jail if found guilty – was charged on Thursday with two counts including one of “disobeying lawful orders” and sent to prison pending Monday’s bail hearing.

“He has now been granted bail and is being released,” John Francis Onyango, Cecil’s lawyer, told AFP, adding that bail had cost around $200.

Onyango said that Cecil was in good condition following his brief time in prison, and had been ordered to appear back in court in around a month’s time.

Cecil, 34, must seek special authorisation from the court if he wants to leave the country.

The groundbreaking play – titled “The River and The Mountain” – was performed at several venues around Kampala last month despite an injunction by Uganda’s government-run media council, which had placed a temporary ban on the play pending review of the script.

The play examines the plight of a man coming out as a homosexual and the motivations of Uganda’s vociferous anti-gay lobby.

Written by British playwright Beau Hopkins, it was directed and performed by Ugandans.

(Photo by Agence France-Presse)

Cameroonian jailed for texting, "I'm very much in love w/u"

Roger_MbedeTowleroad reports:

"I'm very much in love w/u." So read the text message that Cameroonian Roger Jean-Claude Mbede sent to another man last year, and which landed him in Kondengui Central Prison, where he remains still. In Cameroon, homosexual acts are punishable with up to five years in prison. For his text message, Mbede has been sentenced to three. ...

Mbede has an appeals hearing [Sept. 17], and could be released. Or he could be returned to prison for another two years.

A petition to the president and justice minister is here. Will post updates as we get them.

English marriage ad

This ad strikes me as too treacly and hesitant. Several photos have appeared in the past year showing American soldiers and sailers immediately jumping into their same-sex partners' arms and kissing upon returning from tours of duty. And that's what I think any ad campaign should do &$151; just go for it. At this point, overcaution gets in the way of the message. If we show discomfort, those we are trying to reach will respond accordingly. As for dwelling on sentimentality, I think it preaches to the choir. Let's show the sailor leaping into his lover's arms and the two of them kissing passionately without hesitation or build-up. Boom. Come together. Not "let us be citizens" but "we are citizens."

September 16, 2012

Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled

Politico has a fascinating inside look at the Romney campaign by Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei. The unflattering portrayal of lead campaign strategist Stuart Stevens will give comfort to Democrats.

(Hat tip: Joel Lawson)

"You're a wonderful human being and a great American"

I think I know how to get to heaven: just be as wonderful as this. Richard Pryor rescues a busload of children and kisses a Klansman in this inspired scene from the 1981 film Bustin' Loose, with Cicely Tyson.


This Romney parody by FullFrontalFreedom is based on One Direction's song, "What Makes You Beautiful." MoveOn warns, "If you are offended by young men in bathing suits, dancing near a pool, this video might not be for you."

Maddow slams Rep. Ryan for speaking at Values Voters Summit

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel here takes on Paul Ryan for consorting with extremists. Not that there's anything unusual about that.

(Hat tip: RWW)

As simple as eating breakfast


(Hat tip: Bil Browning)

Arm in arm, 1948 and 2012


Doubtless you recognize the man in the poster on the right embracing President Obama as Florida pizza shop owner Scott Van Duzer. As to the historic photo on the left side of the poster, if you're not up on your baseball history, the baseball cap and team patch provide a clue. The men embracing in the October 1948 photo are Cleveland Indians pitcher Steve Gromek and Larry Doby, the first black man to play in the American League (and the second in the Major Leagues after Jackie Robinson). Doby had hit a home run to secure the win for pitcher Gromek and put the Indians ahead 3-1 in the World Series. For more on that story, see The Glory of Baseball. Doby was eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Perhaps the more famous breakthrough moment is memorialized in the sculpture pictured at lower left, which stands outside the baseball park on New York's Coney Island. It captures a moment in 1947 during a game in Cincinnati when fans rained racist catcalls on Robinson, who had promised Brooklyn Dodgers Manager Branch Rickey not to respond to racist taunts for the first couple of years. Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers team captain, walked over and put his arm around Robinson, shaming and silencing the hecklers. NYT tells the story.

(Obama poster courtesy TheProgressiveFamily. Photo of Reese and Robinson sculpture by 1987porsche944; sculpture by William Behrends .)

September 15, 2012

Barrett Brick honored by Immigration Equality

(Barrett Brick. Photo by Patsy Lynch)

Former GLAA President Barrett Brick was honored on September 13 by Immigration Equality with its Global Vision Award at the group's annual Washington fundraiser at Mitchell Gold. The presenter was Executive Director Rachel Tiven. Here are Barrett's remarks:

I met my partner — now husband — Antonio in 1999 at that year's World Science Fiction Convention, in Melbourne, Australia. Antonio and I are both big fans of SciFi. Many people think of Science Fiction as a straight male universe, but, like all things that seem on the surface to be ultra masculine, it is pretty gay. There are lesbian planets. Men date and marry each other. Some of them date robots. I think even I may have done so once or twice.

But Science Fiction, at its best, is not about aliens or space battles. Good science fiction peers into our very lives and souls and examines who we are as a society and who we want to be. As the author Samuel Delaney once said, "Science fiction isn't just thinking about the world out there. It's also thinking about how that world might be — a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed."

Seven years ago, I sat on a panel at that year's Worldcon in Glasgow, called "Rainbow Over the Future." Today, the rainbow is not over the future. It's here. It's above us now. It's in the arc connecting me to my husband in South Africa, connecting so many people who have been separated for so long, from the people they love and from their homes. The future that we have imagined and fought for is finally appearing. And we are beginning to taste its fruit.

When I first started volunteering for Immigration Equality, it was called the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force, and the very idea of immigration equality for LGBT people seemed like an impossible dream. That didn't deter us. For so many years, we held DC Valentine's Day Parties at the home of Stephen Bennett and Craig Ferrier. Raise your hand if you were there. We also held open nights every few months at which people in need of information and help could speak with local immigration attorneys who volunteered their services. Those open nights helped many, many people in distress get plenty of advice and assistance, changing their lives for the better.

We've imagined an America where our lives and our families are recognized, but imagination alone didn't get us to this point. Stephen and Craig helped us get here. Liz McGrail and Louise Zanar — may her memory be for a blessing — helped us. Ruth Eisenberg, Rick Rosendall, Sinclair Dunlop, Christopher Edwards all helped us.

As Judaism teaches, one who saves a single life saves a whole world. Over the years, I have seen how Immigration Equality has saved many, many worlds. I'm honored to accept this award on behalf of all of my DC friends who were bold enough to imagine a better world and courageous enough to make that world a reality. Thank you very much.

Congratulations to Barrett and thanks for his long service to the cause of our equality.

September 14, 2012

D.C. launches transgender rights campaign


DCist reports:

Mayor Vince Gray and the D.C. Office of Human Rights yesterday launched an ad campaign promoting respect for the city's transgender and gender-non-conforming residents. The five ads, which will appear this fall, use images of members of the transgender and gender-non-conforming and convey the message that they are no different than any other D.C. resident.

At the launch of the ad campaign yesterday, Gray admitted that while the ads themselves would not be enough to stop discrimination and acts of violence, they would serve to raise awareness and highlight legal rights and protections that members of the community enjoy under the expansive D.C. Human Rights Act.

Thanks to Mayor Vince Gray and Office of Human Rights Director Gustavo Velasquez for this important effort.

DNC Rapid Response to Values Voters Summit

From DemRapidResponse, in anticipation of Paul Ryan's appearance this morning at the right-wing Values Voters Summit. I just watched Ryan's speech, and it made me wanna hurl. Yes, it included "defending marriage" (along with much else). The smirk never left Ryan's face. We can wipe it off on November 6.

Perkins: Marriage will tip election to Romney

Let's see to it that Tony Perkins is disappointed on November 6.

Crazy Eyes: Obama Has "Enforced Islamic Speech Codes Here In The United States"

Rep. Michele Bachmann is up to her usual nuttiness, in this case saying that President Obama is brainwashing America to be pro-Muslim.

Hack at Thee, Partisan!

My column this week focuses on some less edifying moments at the Democratic National Convention. Here's an excerpt:

Let's look past the highlight reel to savor some not-ready-for-prime-time moments.

Rep. Barney Frank called the Log Cabin Republicans Uncle Toms. They responded by calling him a partisan hack (as if they have a problem with that). Frank and Log Cabin have been sniping at each other like a divorced couple for decades. Log Cabin accused Frank of "trying to silence us." Several LGBT leaders disavowed Frank's insult, but Stonewall Democrats suggested that Log Cabin shut down. I got no answer when I asked Log Cabin why they equated criticism with censorship. As to Stonewall giving unsolicited advice, well, I advise against it.

Read the whole thing at Metro Weekly. While you're there, check out the Fall Arts Preview.

Grisanti wins easily for NY state senate; two other GOP allies too close to call

NYT reports:

Two Republican state senators who provided pivotal votes to legalize same-sex marriage last year fought opponents to a standstill on Thursday in primary races so close that they will be decided only after absentee ballots are counted.

Senator Roy J. McDonald, of the capital region, trailed his opponent by a little more than 100 votes at the end of the night, and Senator Stephen M. Saland, of Poughkeepsie, led his opponent by just 42 votes. In both races, there were enough uncounted absentee ballots to change the outcome.

Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo who had also supported same-sex marriage, comfortably fended off a challenge from Kevin T. Stocker, a Republican lawyer....

Grisanti's primary win comes after he was targeted with a nasty anti-gay flyer. It must be kept in mind that without those Republican votes, marriage equality could not have passed the New York state senate last year.

Hank's Oyster Bar Wins Its Case, Gets Patio Back

City Paper reports the good news. I look forward to celebrating with a meal on the patio at Hank's soon.

September 13, 2012

We will never know...

...who Shakespeare slept with though it is unlikely people will stop speculating on the subject.  If you had asked Shakespeare if he was a homosexual he wouldn't have known what you were talking about.  The word wasn't invented for hundreds of years until after his death.

September 12, 2012

Romney on Libya: Reviews are in

Romney on Libya reviews are in
(Picture credit: democraticunderground.com)

Four years ago, it was John McCain with his hair on fire (in response to the financial industry crisis) and looking distinctly un-presidential. Now it's Mitt Romney.

Libyans protest anti-American violence

Benghazi anti violence protest
(Photo by Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters)

In the aftermath of the murder of four American foreign service officers. including American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, many Libyans demonstrated to condemn the violence and express their sorrow at the deaths.

Below is a statement made by President Obama on Wednesday morning.

Or would you prefer Godzilla vs. Mothra?

Metro Weekly reports on the continuing bitch fight between Barney Frank and gay Republicans.

Marriage News Watch

Matt Baume of AFER reports on the status of marriage equality cases reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.

September 11, 2012


Freedom Tower 9 Sep 2012 by Augie Ray
(Freedom Tower on 9 Sep 2012. Photo by Augie Ray)

On this anniversary, I will not post pictures from that awful day eleven years ago. We remember, and rebuild, and recommit ourselves to the never-ending task of rebuilding our country. That last task calls each of us in different ways, according to our gifts and passions. Here's to our unfinished country.

WTC North Tower memorial pool
(WTC North Tower Memorial Pool. Photo by Susan Walsh/AP)

September 09, 2012

POTUS gets a lift

Scott Van Duzer, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Restaurant in Fort Pierce, Florida, is very happy to see President Obama. Imagine this happening to Romney. BuzzFeed reports.


September 08, 2012

Bauer: God wouldn't want to be in the Democratic platform

Update: The embed code for the above video, which originally linked to a video showing Gary Bauer, is now showing related remarks by Kirk Cameron. here is a direct link to Bauer's remarks. (I use embed code from RWW all the time; I don't know what's gone wrong this time.)

Gary Bauer makes the usual hay out of alleged Democratic godlessness, because we all know that the preservation of faith in America requires politicians to invoke God constantly and agree with people like Gary Bauer. As Max Von Sydow says in Hannah and Her Sisters, "If Jesus knew what was being done in his name, he would never stop throwing up." When I watch Bauer, which I find difficult to do, I always expect an alien to burst out of his face.