Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review

I'm now doing book reviews for Edge.  Here's one of the novel, Next, if you're interested.  Just click below.

Book Review of Next

Return of the Bickersons

An inspiring way to end the week

I found this video irresistible and very moving.  I hope you do. too!

Let's hear it for Jamaica! is reporting that Jamaica celebrated its first ever Gay Pride Day on Wednesday.  Officially called the Walk for Tolerance, the parade took place in Montego Bay.

Said William Urich, the chair of InterPride Committee on International GLBTI Human Rights, “Yesterday was an amazing day, here in Montego Bay.  My eyes well up at the very thought of the day's outstanding and astounding success.”

Encouragingly, the walk had police support, Mr. Urich added.

Around 100 took part in the walk, which was headed by Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, the openly lesbian presiding bishop of the International Movement of Metropolitan Community Churches.

One participant commented: “I never thought I would live to see the day that this could happen in Jamaica.”

And other ‘buzz phrases’ heard at the event included “I'm exercising my rights”, “I feel so liberated”, “I have validation”, and “exuberant”

Here's a wonderful video of the event:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Terrence McNally weds

 Terrence McNally, author of such plays as The Lisbon Traviata and the Pulitzer Prize winning Love! Valour! Compassion!, wed partner Tom Kirdahy in Washington, D.C., yesterday on the banks of the Potomac.  Washington DC enacted a same-sex marriage law last month. 

McNally compared the nuptials — and newfound equality — to his numerous honors, saying, “I’ve won four Tony Awards, but that’s like a one-night rush of adrenaline,” he said. “This is a recognition of really a lifetime.”

The couple had been civilly united in Vermont in December 2003, but according to an AP report,  McNally said another ceremony was in order.

President Calls Clerical Celibacy Wrong, Supports Same Sex Marriages is carrying this positive story.  Bravo, Oscar Arias. Let's hope that a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner who leads a country will follow in your footsteps.

Costa Rican president Oscar Arias today called the doctrine of celibacy of Latin Catholic priests wrong and against nature.

Arias said that he hopes that clerical celibacy will be changed, optimistic that the 2.000 year religion will correct the error.

During the mid day remarks, the prez also expressed of being in favour of same sex marriage.

"We are made as we are. A young boy (or girl) does not ask if he or she will grow up gay or straight", said Arias

Gay marriages in Costa Rica still need the approval of the legislative assembly.

Slavery? A mere road bump in American history.

Pam's House Blend has covered Virginia Governor McConnell's proclamation of April as "Confederate History Month." Virginia's last two governors, Democrats Tim Kaine and Mark Warner declined to issue a similar proclamation. Republican Jim Gilmore, who served from 1998-2002, was the last Virginia governor to set aside a month to celebrate Confederate History.

But McDonnell's proclamation was noticeably missing one feature that Gilmore's proclamations all had: a mention of slavery.

Asked why he omitted a mention of slavery from his proclamation, McDonnell said, "There were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia."
People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan issued the following statement:
"Governor McDonnell's choice to celebrate Confederate History while omitting any mention of slavery is an egregious rewriting of history. Declaring that slavery wasn't 'significant' enough to merit inclusion in his statement is an insult to the Virginians whose past was shaped by the most abhorrent policies of the Confederacy. Issuing a declaration honoring the confederacy is disturbing enough; failing to acknowledge slavery while doing it is inexcusable. 
"Governor McDonnell has repeatedly shown himself to be far more radical than his Republican predecessors, and much more extreme than the moderate image he projected of himself during his campaign. This new attempt to ignore the worst parts of Virginia's complicated past is irresponsible and dangerous. By appeasing his supporters in the radical Right, he has turned his back on his duty to serve all Virginians. We cannot allow our elected officials to practice this kind of dangerous revisionism."
 It's not a coincidence that Confederate History Month has returned with the arrival of an African-American president.  It may be a very obvious sign of racism, but it certainly isn't the only one.  Unfortunately, post-racial American is beginning to look more like racist America.

As of last night, however, it seems like the Governor changed his tune.  Here's a clip from CNN.  Listen to the guy who says that some people see the Confederacy as all one sided.   Hmmm.  What's the other side?

The Spanish "Lickquisition"

Here's an irresistible video, with thanks to Paul.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Colbert on DADT

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Poster Children for Heterosexual Marriage

Export the gays!

 The head of the anti-gay Family Research Council suggests that gay people should be "exported."

Can these folks get any lower?

Pam's House Blend is covering an Advocate story about the cancelled Mississippi prom and the lesbian teenager who wanted to attend.

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back - she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn't much to keep an eye on.

They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them," McMillen says. "The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn't invited to."

Last week McMillen asked one of the students organizing the prom for details about the event, and was directed to the country club. "It hurts my feelings," McMillen says.

Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event, McMillen recalls. "They had the time of their lives," McMillen says. "That's the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn't have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom].
 How sad.  And how terribly cruel.

We pay for this.....

Because churches do not pay taxes, every taxpayer in the country subsidizes offensive campaigns like this.  I thought churches weren't supposed to take sides in elections?  This story is from

If you are on a drive in Gainesville, Fla., cruising down Northwest 37th Street, you might be a little surprised at a handwritten sign on the front lawn of the Dove World Outreach Center. It reads: "No homo mayor."

Who would put up such an unpleasant message on the grass outside a Christian church? The culprit: Pastor Terry Jones. It seems that Pastor Jones is more than a little upset that an openly gay city commissioner is seeking the mayor's office in a runoff election this month.
 Ah, yes.  The un-Christian Christianity is becoming a religion unto itself.  Here are some other words of wisdom from Rev. Jones:

On Homosexuality:
“One man climbing up on another man and poking him is not God’s way.”
On Evolution:
“All of those pictures in textbooks where it shows the ape developing into a man, those are not true. Those are made up. There is no development that has been found. And if evolution was a fact, then we would somehow still be developing…When something is something, it stays that.”
On Evolution:

 “A dog will never have puppy horses.” 
On the Church:
“The church is actually what I would is in a retarded stage. The church has stayed about six years old. About six or eight years old. Now that’s all fine when you’re that old, but if you stay six when you’re sixty, then what do we call that? We call that retarded.”

On Muslims:
“In France in 39 years, France will become an Islam republic.”

The census and gay Americans

David Crary of the Associated Press is reporting that that Census Bureau, along with gay rights activists, are urging same-sex couples to indicate if they are married on the US census, even if they don't have a marriage license.  This is the first time the US census has counted same-sex couples.  Conservatives, of course, are up in arms, claiming that it's another step toward redefining marriage. 

Although only the District of Columbia and five have legalized gay marriages,the census bureau says same-sex couples in any state who consider themselves spouses should feel free to check the "husband" or "wife" boxes on the census form, rather than "unmarried partner."

Jaime Grant, Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called the move "humongous," especially given that federal law does not recognize gay marriages or civil unions.

Gary Randall, President of Faith and Freedom Network, stated that the census "is leaving it to responders to characterize their own relationships, regardless of legal status.  Will homosexual numbers be inflated by this 'you decide what you are' policy? Probably.  This policy shift is another attempt to confuse the discussion about marriage by creating a problem of sorts, then providing a solution that advances the homosexual agenda of redefining marriage."

The census forms do not inquire directly about sexual orientation, and some gay-rights activists have complained that this means single gays — as opposed to those with live-in spouses and partners — have no means of gaining collective representation through the census.

Olson said an act of Congress would be needed to add a sexual orientation question to the form, and some activists are already planning a campaign to achieve that. In a first step, a campaign called "Queering the Census," activists are distributing stickers for gays and lesbians to attach to this year's forms on which they can identify themselves as gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual.

Monday, April 5, 2010

An interesting essay

John Avarosis over at americablog wrote an interesting essay today.  It's in response to gay families being invited to the Easter Egg Hunt at the White House.  It's harsh not just on Democrats, but on some gay leaders, too.

It's nice that the Obama administration invited gay parents to the White House Easter Egg Roll, but these poignant yet relatively empty gestures are becoming tiresome. They feel good, and they're intended to. But they're not terribly substantive, and they're not nearly enough in the year 2010. We keep receiving an awful lot of small token benefits from the Obama administration, like inviting a gay band to march in the inaugural parade, speaking at the the HRC dinner (as if the President had a choice but to pay homage to a core Democratic constituency that means a lot of money to the Democratic party), and "granting" the partners of gay employees benefits that THEY ALREADY HAD.

And when the administration chooses to offer gay and lesbian Americans a major benefit, they reach for the easiest one, Hate Crimes (which already passed a previous congress and even broke a GOP filibuster) rather than one of the top three, DOMA, ENDA and DADT. They chose the option that didn't require any political capital spent by the President.

The reason I do not praise a gay couple being invited to the Easter Egg Roll is the same reason I'm not going to praise President Obama for inviting black parents or Hispanic parents to the White House. It's not 1953. Gay and lesbian Americans are decades beyond "pariah" status. Being seen in public with us, as Jesus embraced the prostitute, doesn't cut it any more. And it's even a tad offensive to suggest that it should - as though we are such outcasts that a simple nod from the popular kid in the high school hallway should make us all giddy and satisfied.

We are a major Democratic constituency that helped elect Barack Obama president in exchange for three major promises: repeal DADT and DOMA, pass ENDA. There is no movement on the last two, and the President is no longer interested in doing DADT this year, even though he promised in his State of the Union.

Shortly after the DOMA brief fiasco, in which the Obama administration invoked incest and pedophilia to defend the anti-gay "Defense of Marriage Act" in court, the administration and the DNC began compiling a long list of quite thin pro-gay accomplishments. The clear intent was to convince gay voters that much had been done, simply by the sheer length of the list, and hope that we didn't notice that many of the "accomplishments" were a bit of a joke.

For example, in an email titled "Progress," sent just last week, DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias asked for more gay contributions to the Democratic Party, bragging that the health care reform bill was somehow a sign of "progress" for gay people. Let me remind you that the Democrats dropped all of the pro-gay provisions that Tammy Baldwin attempted to put in the health care reform bill. Those provisions are now dead. The Democrats ignored our community's paltry requests (and mind you, under the health care reform's definition of "family," you can kiss your family goodbye). No help from the White House, no help from the DNC. Yet the DNC's Tobias brags to gay donors that they should donate to the DNC because health care reform is somehow an amazing pro-gay accomplishment.

No, an amazing pro-gay accomplishment, and real progress, would be for the White House to take Jim Messina, Brian Bond and Andy Tobias off the "gay" agenda and hand the portfolio to someone who is actually interested in, and capable of, keeping the President's promises to our community.

I actually agree with Bill O'Reilly

Here's a story from the Baltimore Sun.  As background info, Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church protest soldiers' funerals because they think that God is punishing the United States and its military because the US is lenient about homosexuality.

By Tricia Bishop

April 4, 2010

YORK, Pa. — - Albert Snyder is a soft, bear of a man - more teddy than grizzly - with thinning hair, a trim goatee and tired eyes. He has a folksy, polite manner and speaks with the gentle tone and tempo of a storyteller.

But if you mess with his family, he turns fierce. You can see the change whenever the Westboro Baptists of Topeka, Kan., are mentioned. They messed with his son in what he considers an unimaginable way.

"You don't go after one of my kids," Snyder said from his lawyer's office in York, Pa.

Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, 20, was killed in a Humvee accident in Iraq on March 3, 2006. A week later, church members stood outside his funeral at St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Westminster waving signs that said "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags" while mourners grieved inside. Later, they posted a diatribe on their Web site claiming that Matthew's divorced parents raised him "to commit adultery" and to support "satanic Catholicism."

The Westboro church members had never met Matthew, who wasn't gay, nor his family. Yet seven of them - adults and children - traveled 1,100 miles across a half-dozen states to celebrate the young Marine's death as part of their anti-gay gospel aimed at the military. They contended that the protest was directed not at Snyder but at the U.S. government and its tolerance of homosexuality and gays in the military.

Snyder sued Westboro Baptist Church and its leaders in Baltimore federal court a few months after Matthew died, contending that they invaded his privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress. He testified that the defendants placed a "bug" in his head so that he could no longer think of his son without thinking of them and their signs.

The trial, too, took its toll, wearing on him physically and emotionally as he relived his son's death each day.

Snyder won a multimillion-dollar jury verdict, with the judge calling Westboro's actions "outrageous" and "highly offensive," but an appeals court reversed it. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case during its fall term, vaulting Snyder's personal fight onto a national stage.

He appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" last week, and taped an episode with MSNBC's Chris Matthews the week before. On Tuesday, shortly after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that Snyder would have to pay some costs of Westboro's appeals, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News pledged to pay the $16,000 bill.

Snyder's lawyers have become part-time publicity agents and celebrities. And military families across the country consider Snyder - a man who never wanted his son to be a soldier - a champion for basic human decency.

Enough is enough...the time is now.

I think the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) is not getting clearer since President Obama announced during his State if the Union Address.  It's getting murkier.  And the murkier it gets, the more lives it ruins.

Take what happened last week, for example.  Last week, John McHugh, the secretary of the US Army, announced that there would be a moratorium on dismissing soldiers because they were LBGT.   He soon had to backtrack from this statement.  Writes a blogger at, "This public apology from McHugh adds to the confusion currently circulating around the military's ban on gay service members.  While most military leaders seem to support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", it still has be approved by Congress."

We need presidential leadership on this issue.  Barney Frank has become skeptical that the DADT policy will be repealed this year.  Many bloggers agree with him, and are requesting that folks don't donate to the Democratic Party (Don't Ask, Don't Give, they say).  I hope they are wrong.  President Obama showed extraordinary leadership during the health care debate.  Repealing DADT is nowhere near as controversial, and he might even get a few Republicans to sign on to boot.

Another retired general comes out for repeal of DADT

Thanks to think progress for bringing this to my attention.

Next thing you know, they'll be marrying penguins!

Here's a sweet story from The Sun in England about a pair of penguins who happen to be gay.

A PAIR of GAY penguins are so loved-up they have been given a WEDDING service.

The besotted male birds turned out to be such a great parenting pair their keepers thought they deserved a reward and let them marry.
They were once given the cold shoulder at the wildlife park in China for stealing heterosexual couples' eggs to nest as their own
But after being allowed to try out with eggs rejected by their mothers the couple have become the zoo's best penguin parents
Now keepers at Polarland Zoo in Harbin, north east China, have rewarded their devotion with a wedding day. 
One wore a tie and the other was dressed in a red blouse – a traditional Chinese bridal colour – as they stepped into their icy wedding room to the music of the Wedding March.
Keepers then served them their favourite dish for the occasion – spring fish.
"They have been a good couple and deserved their reward," said one keeper.

With thanks to Jennifer H-T.