Thursday, April 5, 2007

Where I'm blogging now

OK, Q-Bomb is pretty much defunct at this point. I'm keeping it around because I sometimes refer to old things I posted here and I need something to link to, but that's about it.

But my Site Meter tells me I still have quite a few people visiting this site. If you're looking for fresh content, I've pretty much moved my blogging to three other sites.

First, I'm mostly posting at Bilerico on queer politics and culture. So if you were interested in what I have to say about that, you can check it out over there.

Second, I've moved the Qomics for Queers archives and started to post more often about comics-outing here. I'm going to keep on posting a weekly post on that at Bilerico, but there's some other stuff that won't make it to the Sunday QFQ post.

Third, I've started a completely different blogging venture at Street Economics. I'm kind of fed up with the way laissez-faire economic theory is accepted uncritically considering how ridiculous some of its tenets are, so I'm posting news stories there that show that Econ 101 doesn't quite describe the way that the world works. I'm trying to get some other people involved with that project to make it more comprehensive, and I'm sure that'll be fun.

So I don't know what's going to become of Q-Bomb. It'll sit here as archives until the bug to start some new blogging project that could involve this content springs up.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Qomics for Queers, providing 24-hour coverage of Dennis the Homosexual Menace

OK, folks, sorry about not having a Qomics for Queers last week. I didn't have anything from that week that really jumped out at me, and then I was going to do a few re-writes, and I never got around to it, and it became one of those things, and before I knew it it's today.


First is Monday's Dennis the Menace:

The question on everyone's mind is: Where are Dennis' parents right now? They apparently got him all ready for bed. I don't think that if he asked "Can I go bother our elderly neighbor now that I'm supposed to be asleep and it's all dark?" that they would say yes.

One of them should be supervising him....

One possible explanation is that both Alice and Henry are simultaneously having affairs (I just watched Desperate Housewives). Think about it, neither would leave Dennis at home if they thought the other wasn't, so there would have to be a situation where each of them is away for something secret. Since this is supposed to be outing the comics, let's make them gay affairs. Hot, sexy woman- or man-loving affairs. And neither made an excuse, Alice and Henry each snuck out of the house so well that the other thought that it was safe to sneak out as well. That leaves Dennis, all alone. I suppose he woke up and asked for a glass of water, only to find no one there. Where a normal 5-year-old would start crying, Dennis is a true professional menace, so he takes this opportunity to do his thing.

And really, I can't see anything else that's gay in this comic.


Sunday's Dennis the Menace throwaway panels:

Oh, kindergarten. Where candy is sweeter, life is simpler, and kids sit around talking like the characters in Queer as Folk.


The throwaway panels from last Sunday's Beetle Bailey:

You know, from what I know about the army, it's not really common for a Sergeant 1st Class to be hanging out with a private when they have some time off. But not only is Sarge going out with Beetle here, Otto implies that this happens quite often. Their smiles indicate that they're happy, really happy, going-to-get-some-head level happy.

Now, I may not be the first person to say that Beetle and Sarge are gay, but I am probably the person who says it the most often. I think its particularly apropos right now in light of Pace's comments this week (I know, I know, this one was drawn weeks before his comments, but hear me out). Wouldn't it be great if they're setting Beetle Bailey up for a huge publicity stunt involving Beetle and Sarge coming out to everyone when DADT is repealed? It'd be great, and all the characters could be there in one big coming out party (do people do those ever or was that just Ellen?) that would be one big panel on a color, large-format Sunday feature, with doves holding up pink banner that could say, "We're here, we're queer, and you did get used to it!"

Uhhhhhhhhh..... That revealed a little too much of my personal Beetle Bailey fantasies. Maybe I should stop now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Qomics for Queers - For the record, I blame King Media Features

Well, my fears from last week were misplaced; there's absolutely no shortage of gayness in this week's comics. It did, however, take me all of two days to actually put this together. It definitely couldn't have been caused by a lack of motivation. This Wednesday's Slylock Fox (after the jump) was, for a comics-outer, like looking into the face of God and having Him whisper back, "I love you". I was reminded why I got into this business: immature penis jokes. Because, even with all its bells and perks and whistles, isn't that what being a comics-outer is really all about?


Let's start with Saturday's 9 Chickweed Lane:

Wow! An actual gay reference in a real comic! Inclusive! Well-drawn! Wonderful! Well... except for that tiny, tiny detail: it makes no sense. Here are some possible explanations:
1. Cartoonist McEldowney thinks that "Oh, sweetie, if only" is some kind of universally known gay pick-up line, like "Lookin??"
2. The first two panels have nothing to do with the joke; Seth just really doesn't like Mark's goatee.
3. For the length of time that is panel 2, Seth thought that Mark was a carnivorous lion, making him envy the quick instincts of real gazelles.
4. I joined the boat way too late on 9 Chickweed Lane, and the strip has developed its own alphabet and language that only looks like English, and the above conversation is really a mother-in-law joke.


Friday's Family Circus:

This pretty much explains itself, I guess. One little gay boy drew a Village People moustache on his infantile brother. Seriously, people, nothing to look at here.


This Friday's Dennis the Menace:

Considering the outfit you're wearing, cowboy, I don't think it was your room she wanted you to straighten.


Wednesday's Rex Morgan, M.D.:

It's funny because it's true! It happens like this every time when I have to pull away from my vapid, self-absorbed life and boyfriend to show some sort of affection towards my wife after she talks me into mentoring a teenage near-orphan with flattery, and I'm closing in and closing my eyes like someone would plug their nose to take bad medicine, and it's always like, BANG!, saved by the gunshot!


This Wednesday's Slyock Fox:

Any more? Let's see.... Banana? No, that has seven letters. Penis? No, five. Johnson... no, no no, that has seven letters. Hmmm, these puzzles are really hard!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

More responses to Ann Coulter, comedian extraordinaire

The NY Times blog has a post up about the Coulter affair from yesterday afternoon. John McCain's spokesman said:
The comments were wildly inappropriate.
Romney's said:
It was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect.
Edwards's campaign manager said:
John was singled out for a personal attack because the Republican establishment knows he poses the greatest threat to their power. Since they have nothing real to use against him, Coulter's resorting to the classic right-wing strategy of riling up hate to smear a progressive champion.
And the CPAC frontpage as of five minutes ago:



Speaks for itself.

That's it so far. I'm not going to update anymore on this until Monday, unless something huge happens.

But a few things about this whole incident. First, I'm not surprised and honestly don't care what Ann Coulter said. Really. I've stopped caring about anything that this woman says because she focuses on being shocking instead of being informative, as evidenced here or when she called Gore a fag or suggested that both Hiillary and Bill Clinton were gay or called Helen Thomas a security risk for being "an old Arab" or.... The list goes on and on. That's not the point. The important part is the reaction of the people attending. This wasn't a far-right fringe crowd - this is the mainstream conservative movement. Cheney and almost all the potential GOP presidential candidates were in attendance and a whole lot of people in the audience laughed. Who can say whether or not any of presidential candidates were laughing at this "joke"?

Moreover, Coulter basically did the same thing last year when she referred to people of Middle Eastern descent as "ragheads". At the same conference. She can't be surprising anyone on the Right by going over the edge; inviting her to speak at anything is a known risk. Yet the conservative movement continues to ask her to speak at their events. One can only assume that they not only agree with her comments, they value them as insight.

Second, while McCain responded (even though he wasn't there) and Romney "responded" (What does he think about the fact that she endorsed him in the same speech? Will he put himself at risk for losing her "constituency" or will he do what's right?), we still haven't heard anything from the coordinators of the CPAC, the leadership of the American Conservative Union that put the whole thing together, the other potential candidates there, the leadership of the GOP, or vice president Cheney. If they answer on Monday, just know that they were calculating their response. This should be a no-brainer, but when a good part of your party thinks that what she said was not only funny but the spot on (Edwards should be labeled as gay because he is progressive, being gay is bad, using the word faggot to attack someone is A-O-K), you've got to navigate your way around this carefully.

I don't mean to say that the entire Republican Party agrees with her, just that a very large part of them does. So when these specific Republicans who were there and yet have not responded ask for your votes, remember that they are worried about losing votes for thinking about you as anything more than a faggot.

Third: Come on, Mr. Cheney, say something. Coulter was attacking your daughter....

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Coulter calls John Edwards a "Faggot", shines as conservative star

Y'all know how Republicans whine so much about how reliably Democratic GLBT folk are? Well, maybe it has something to do with the Conservative Movement's sweetheart. Ms. Coulter said:
I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot', so....
Don't worry, she was at some small, fringe crowd, introduced by a no-name, and was booed as a result.

Oh, wait, what's that? She was at the CPAC conference? And she was introduced by Mitt Romney? And everyone laughed and cheered?

Kagro X at DailyKos said:
Click here for video of Romney walking out in protest.

Oh, wait. There is no such video.


Video at and h/t to Crooks and Liars.


UPDATE: The HRC responds:
"To interject this word into American political discourse is a vile and disgusting way to sink the debate to a new, all-time low," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Make no doubt about it, these remarks go directly against what our Founding Fathers intended and have no place on the schoolyard, much less our country's political arena."

[....]

The Conservative Political Action Conference was attended by 2008 Republican Presidential candidates: Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and former Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA). Vice President Dick Cheney also attended the event.
'nuf said.

UPDATE II: Media Matters has more. Coulter endorsed Romney in that speech too. I'm sure that makes him happy. But also this was interesting to show how out-of-touch with reality Coulter is:
Well, you know, screw you, I'm not anti-gay. We're against gay marriage. I don't want gays to be discriminated against. I mean, I think we have, in addition to blacks, I don't know why all gays aren't Republicans. I think we have the pro-gay position, which is anti-crime and for tax cuts. Gays make a lot of money, and they're victims of crime. I mean, the way -- no, they are. They should be with us. But the media portrays us.
Besides the fact that she's flat wrong on her claims about queer incomes, she plays the big, bad media card in the same speech where she calls John Edwards a faggot.

I'm updating this story a lot tonight because this is starkly honest compared to the majority of conservative rhetoric on gay and lesbian people. Here we have, at the largest conservative conference of the year, one of the most if not the most prominent conservative commentators of our time calling another prominent figure a faggot in front of almost all the potential presidential nominees of the GOP and the Republican vice president, and not one of them has repudiated what she said. Media Matters already did. The HRC already did. Governor Dean already did. Even Michelle Malkin did... well, kinda sorta mentioned it and implied that she thought it wasn't cool. It's not that hard to put out a press statement on the matter. I've put out this whole long post this evening and I went to the gym and ate dinner and listened to Nas and watched Las Vegas all since Coulter's comment (great Friday night!).

So if they come out with a statement tomorrow or next Monday, remember that they needed time to calculate their position. That's the only thing that could be causing this delay. And if they never denounce her, then they should at least have the decency to stop playing the media bias card when people call Republicans anti-gay. But I won't hold my breath.

Kafka couldn't write a more kafkaesque story

From 365gay:
A gay man held for two years in a dank Cameroon prison without ever having a trial has been released after he was discovered by an attorney working with the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
There are plenty of gay men being held in prison throughout the world for no reason other than their sexual orientation. Are they trying to turn these people straight? Because, you know, that's so possible.

But this story just seemed to be beyond the pale, because the person wasn't charged with anything. I don't know how the judicial system in Cameroon was able to let something like this slide by, but I can only imagine the hopelessness that this man had being held without charges, without an attorney, without any means of serving his time and being freed, even if we accept that sexual identity is a legitimate crime.

So when silly people say that queer people haven't really suffered enough to deserve equality, they apparently forget that many queer people live their lives in states worse than Kafka stories. They want Suze Orman and Elton John to be representative of all GLBT folk, and that reason should be enough for us not to forget our queer brothers and sisters stuck in prison or in the closet throughout the world.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Back to blogging

I took a day off yesterday because I had so much to do that I found myself at 12:30 at night finally in front of the computer and ready to go... and ready for bed. I'm trying to catch up with things that I wanted to blog about today, some of yesterday's news, some things from the past week, and of course things that are happening today.

As I'm writing this I'm also wondering about why I'm maintaining this separate space since most of what I do is crossposted to Bilerico. All I can say to answer that is that I like maintaining a space where I can post with the knowledge that anything I say will not reflect on anyone else but me. Well, that and revenge. Sweet, vague revenge. I also like writing things here because Blogger has all the quick keys for HTML tags that don't require my browser to open up separate windows and makes it a little easier to get things out.

So for the time being I'm going to keep this going so I can post things about the Argentine gay marriage bill and hook-ups and things without having to pretend to be smarter than I am. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Viva la Republica!

From 365gay:
Legislation will be presented in Argentina's Parliament this fall that would give same-sex couples all of the rights of marriage.

Currently the law limits marriage to opposite-sex couples. However the country does afford gay and lesbian couples some rights including inheritance, adoption and survivor pensions.

Two regions of the country permit civil unions - the province of Río Negro and the federal district of Buenos Aires.

In 2003 Rio Negro became the first area in South America to permit civil unions.

A poll released this week shows that three-quarters of those surveyed in the capital believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry. Only 25 percent disagreed.
I'm of Argentine descent (first generation), so this is awesome news to me.

College student in Colorado attacked

Speaking of hate crimes, there was another attack this past week against a lesbian student at Naropa University. 365gay has more:
Police say the young woman had met two men in a mall who said they were from California and did not have enough money for a hotel. The woman invited them to sleep on a couch at her home.

When they made a sexual advance to her she told them she is a lesbian and at least one of the men began beating her. She was punched and kicked in the face.
The student said that she is doing better every day.

Now I'm noticing a trend with these two cases, the student's and Anthos'. The assailants always pick victims who, regardless of sexuality, were far less able to defend themselves against their attackers than their attackers would have been able to defend themselves against the victims. In this case, it was two men against one woman. The article said that only one of the men attacked her, but it didn't say that the other helped her out. In Anthos' case, the attacker came up on him from behind, had a weapon, and was far younger. It goes on and on like that in other cases.

There is something more than hating gay people going on here. These people need to feel big, so they choose victims who they know won't be able to fight back. They probably also think that no one will care about GLBT victims, making it easier to get away.

That's why hate crimes legislation is so necessary - these people have to be shown that the law is not on their side and that they aren't more powerful than the collective moral will of the American or the Hoosier people.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Andrew Anthos passed away last Friday

Andrew Anthos, the 72-year-old man who was attacked after getting of the bus on February 13th, passed away Friday. The assailant apaprently asked him if he was gay while on the bus and then followed him when he got off and hit him in the back of the head with a pipe. Anthos was helping a friend in a wheelchair, and that friend was able to give the police a description.

The police still haven't found the assailant almost two weeks after the attack, and the only witness who came forward was the friend. I'm sure that other people saw this person while on the bus, I mean, it was 6 pm on a Tuesday in Detroit. More people probably saw this guy berate Andrew than saw Janet's boob pop out of her outfit two years ago. I don't know why more people haven't come forward with a cold-blooded murderer on the loose in Detroit, but that just may be a question for the ages.

But I do know some people who are partly responsible for this who won't be doing any hard time. Shakes has a post that describes how I feel about this. Here you have an elderly gentleman who was taking the bus home from the library. That's it. But following him were the specters of years and years of heterosexual supremacist rhetoric and millions if not billions of dollars pumped into that machine that labeled him in a way that was neither accurate nor kind.

You have people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who put the blame for 9/11 on Andrew. You have people like Paul Cameron who said that Andrew was out to molest your children. You have Gary DeMar who says the Bible calls for killing Andrew. You have Fred Phelps who will probably organize a demonstration to show how happy he is with Andrew being killed. And you have presidents like GWB who normalized and legitimized all those accusations against Andrew by trying to get an amendment into the Constitution to solidify his status as a second-class citizen. Yeah, they pretend like they're talking about some non-specific group of people, but it's only reasonable to interpret what they're saying as an attack leveled against each and every GLBT person individually.

So I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

Because when you set up a by any calculus powerless minority to be the demon for all of societies evils, some people out there are going to take matters into their own hands. Have we heard any condemnation of this from any of those people mentioned? The most we can expect is a statement that says the killer gives them a bad name. Probably in the same way that a sloppy hitman can get the person who hired him into trouble.

They can hide behind their "religion" to justify what they say, but let's remember here, this is not what Jesus would do. Straight up, 100% certain on that one. Look at how Jesus treated the Pharisees. He disagreed with them, and he told them so. Did he protest their funerals? No. Did he blame them for Rome taking over the Holy Land? No. Did he say that they were going to molest everyone's children? No. Did he say that fighting them was the greatest war of his time? Hell no. So if they want to use their junk theology to defend their positions, they should at least have the decency to not take the Lord's name in vain while doing so.

So now, after all that, a man was killed because someone thought his singing on the bus was too gay. Is it any surprise that the murderer, like the far right, picked someone who was more defenseless than he? A 72-year-old, who had his hands full pushing a wheelchair, and he came up from behind to hit him. I want to see the Dobson, et al., crowd to find the honor in that.

Oh wait, they haven't put out their statement about how they're the ones who were really hurt by this.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

I'm not a psychoanalyst, I just play one on the internet

Some guy sent a question into Savage Love asking if it was ok to continue to masturbate to Anna Nicole's Playboy work. Here's Dan's answer:
But not because it's disrespectful--there's nothing you can do to Anna Nicole Smith in death that could possibly outdo the shit Anna Nicole Smith subjected herself to in life. No, the reason you feel creepy about beating off to Anna Nicole's photos now, MAN, and the reason you must stop, is this: Whacking off to the dead violates the hope that masturbation represents. When Anna Nicole was alive and young and beautiful, MAN, a tiny part of your brain somehow managed to convince your dick that your fantasies existed within the realm of possibility. If the right set of circumstances, however improbable, were to occur, you might actually find yourself in bed with Anna Nicole Smith. So long as she lived, MAN, you lived--and whacked off--in hope.

But masturbating to the dead inspires only feelings of hopelessness and despair. Which is why no one beats off to James Dean or River Phoenix or Marilyn Monroe or Mary Todd Lincoln without feeling a little creepy, a little hopeless, and a little closer to the grave himself. Knock it off.
Makes ya think.

Really, about what what pornography is. There's something more to it than just pictures of naked people - otherwise Anna Nicole pics and anatomy books and National Geographic magazines would all be good material for the 16+ crowd. If one were to create a more precise definition, it would, of course, include fantasy fulfillment, as Dan suggests.

Now I wouldn't be the first to say that people can project their own fantasies of controlling others onto pornography. Any gay boy who's accidentally clicked on a straight porn site knows that it isn't just gay male porn with a woman involved - there's an element of degredation and mass consumption towards women that doesn't appear in gay male porn towards men. And real lesbian porn versus heterosexual male girl-on-girl action vids are worlds apart in their treatment of women as full and equal human beings with control over their sexual choices. I don't think it's a coincidence that society's sexism gets projected into pornography.

But maybe the fantasy fulfillment aspect of pornography is a little bit more independent of the nakedness part than people would like to think. Could anti-gay literature be such a text? I mean, those homophobic pamphlets make up facts about our lives, take one tiny aspect of the gay community and blow it out of proportion, and do it all with an intention of controlling our sexualities. The creation of a complete narrative so detached from the lives of real gay people and the collective unwillingness to challenge such a narrative bear striking resemblence to a guy who jacks off to fantasies of sex with Justin Timberlake. If Dan's right, then the latter is taking the small chance of that fantasy being possible, blowing that chance out of proportion, and using it construct a reality in his mind. The difference may only be that the latter knows, intellectually, that it isn't really true.

So when I read from people like the folks at Pure Life Ministries or NARTH or the anti-sex, anti-gay site du jour about how pornography is bad and gays are always unhappy child molesters, I wonder about where the energy to read that tripe came from. Does their anti-pornography lifestyle cause them to seek out other sources to create narratives of domination and control over people's sexualities? Consider this from Kathy Gallagher at Pure Life Ministries:
[I] personally would not trust a guy who has been involved in pornography--especially one who has shown such a flippant attitude about it. His reaction tells me two very important things.

First, this young man could not possibly have a relationship with God and believe that something as evil as pornography is acceptable.
It's nothing new - disliking pornography for no real reason and then saying that all Christians have to think the same way about it. She sometimes goes on pornographic tirades about how porn will turn women into lesbians, cause husbands to cheat, and destroy heterosexual marriages, all the while not presenting any statistics or facts and just writing stories about how what she says could come to be reality. It reads like a Nifty story. The realities she and others like her construct in their writing seeks not to challenge the readers' beliefs like is kind of the point of Jesus' life; rather they attempt to create a narrative that affirms one belief that the reader may already have and give it prominence over his/her knowledge of the real world, in the same way as the guy who masturbated to Anna Nicole pics was using the pictures to affirm one fantasy over his knowledge of the way the world works.

So what's the point of all this? I think that by having a better understanding of the heterosexual supremacist mind can help us find ways to fight it. Like I've said before, heterosexual supremacy isn't just a few mistaken beliefs that can be cleared up by presenting the facts; it's a complicated structure that seeks to privilege heterosexuals over everyone else.

This is also why I don't in general refute homophobes. I mean seriously, with what we're up against, logic is not the correct weapon to use.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We gays could learn a lot from Asian-Americans

From CNN:
Asian-American leaders are calling on a weekly newspaper to apologize and cut ties with a writer who penned a column titled "Why I Hate Blacks."

In the piece, which appeared in the February 23 edition of San Francisco-based AsianWeek, contributor Kenneth Eng lists reasons why he supports discrimination against blacks, writing, among other things, "I would argue that blacks are weak-willed. They are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years."

An official at the nationally circulated paper apologized and called the column's publication a mistake.

Leaders at the Asian American Justice Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Coalition for Asian Pacific Americans and other groups are circulating a petition denouncing the piece as "irresponsible journalism, blatantly racist, replete with stereotypes, and deeply hurtful to African Americans."

The petition calls on AsianWeek to cut ties with Eng, issue an apology, print an editorial refuting the column, and fire or demote the editors who published it.
Notice how the response from Asian community leaders to an Asian person in an Asian publication insluting Blacks was swift, unified, and unrelenting.

Compare that with the reaction from gay community leaders to a gay man performing a character in gay night clubs that's pretty hard-core racist against Black people. The NGLTF released a statement about Shirley Q. Liquor a couple of years ago. GLAAD jumps in several years too late. Yup. And after that a mainstream queer publication questions whether our advocacy groups should have gotten involved at all. (Jasmyne Cannick answers the line-by-line).

It's frustrating to me that GLAAD could not have seen on its own that Chuck Knipp's act helps fuel stereotypes that Black gays and lesbians have to experience every day and that it doesn't reflect very well on the rest of the GLBT community. More importantly, they should have realized their unique position to help bring about an end to this act.

Imagine being in Kenneth Eng's position. Since he works for an Asian-American cultural magazine, I'm going to guess that he has a love for his community. When he was told by a united front of Asian-American advocacy groups that what he did was wrong, I'm sure that he was more affected than he would have been by any other community group.

I would think that a person like Knipp would be more likely to change his ways if the GLBT community took such a stand on his act. It's one thing to have a group of people for whom he has little respect say that he should change; it would be quite another for a coalition of LGBT organizations to tell him to stop the act. Since he identifies with the latter, I could only imagine the pain of being ostracized from one's own people in that way.

Imagine receiving letters from the HRC, GLAAD, the NGLTF, the NCLR, the NBJC, and GLAD all in the same week telling you personally that something you were doing was deeply offensive and hurtful. I know I'd have to have a lot of chutzpah and a pretty good reason in order to stay the course, and whether I did or not, I would still feel the pain of ostracism from the community that I love deeply.

And it's that power and that sense of duty that the Asian community demonstrated in reacting to Eng's column. What makes that so difficult that we can't understand it?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's baaa-aaack

Remember that bill I blogged about earlier on bilerico going through the Utah House to block GSA's from forming in schools, and reader Lynn pointed out in comments that it was gone? Well, it's back. From the Salt Lake Tribune (sometimes I just love how local papers cover issues):
Lawmakers gutted it and then restored it.
Passed it and then pulled it back.
No bill has been tweaked more than the one targeting gay support clubs in high schools but also affecting many other student groups.
The tinkering ended Monday with a final compromise among Republicans.
Over the objections of Democrats, the House sent the bill, sponsored by Springville Republican Rep. Aaron Tilton, to the desk of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
So like yeah, it's there. The governor said he opposed the version of the bill last year that was so complex that it prompted one state rep to say: "it was easier to start a corporation than it would be to create a high school club".

Of course, the right wing there (not all Republicans in Utah support it, but you can fill in the blank: "The bill is supported by the far _____.") said before that it wasn't targeted at GSA's, which is laughable, but the Tribune printed this lovely paragraph:
Buttars, on the other hand, hopes to give administrators the ability to block clubs such as the Gay Straight Alliance without fearing a massive legal bill. He expects the attorney general's office to handle any lawsuits that would stem from a school district blocking a club.
Because when you're passing legislation you know goes against federal law, the main point has to be that challenging it requires the Attorney General to be on your side.

This story has irked me on so many levels. Besides the total acknowledgement that it goes against the Federal Equal Access Act and it being an attempt to circumvent federal law by just making it harder to challenge homophobic school administrators, the whole point of the bill is to hurt our community's children. GSA's often do a wonderful job of helping build awareness of GLBT issues at an age where such awareness is, to quote Salt 'n' Pepa, very necessary. The only point in getting rid of them would be to further marginalize those kids at an age when being accepted by one's peers is a key component in developing a positive self image.

Then again, that's heterosexual supremacy. It's not about opposing homosexual acts or preserving the family or whatever else they say. It's about materially and psychologically hurting GLBT people both as a community and as individuals because of that identity. They say they are against GSA's to keep us from recruiting, but there's no excuse for not knowing that that's impossible in 2007. None.

Respected trans woman fired for being trans, being respected still OK

From 365gay:
Largo city commissioners voted Tuesday night to fire its longtime city administrator less than a week after she disclosed she is embarking on sex reassignment.

For 14 years Steven Stanton was an admired overseer of the Tama Bay community's local government. Last week after a local newspaper acting on a tip began asking questions Stanton sat down with the St. Petersburg Times and divulged her status.
Wow. That's what a reputation built on fourteen years of service is worth to those folks in Largo. Is it just me, or didn't keeping a job use to be about doing it well and taking pride in your work, not what's in your skirt or fabulously tailored Armani pants? I guess I'm just old-fashioned that way.

Note to Canada's government - Our Canadian brothers and sisters aren't ATMs

Really.

A ruling is expected in the largest gay and lesbian class action suit in the history of... man this is huge. The Canadian government gave widowed partners in same-sex couples the pensions of their partners when it opted for full and equal marriage - for all those whose partners died after January 1998. Now those surviving partners of people who died before that date are suing for the pensions and accrued interest going all the way back to 1985. The total is over $100 million Canadian, which is about $78 American (man that joke never gets old).

I'd say there's a good chance that Team Q will win. From the Globe and Mail:
In two lower court rulings, Ottawa lost its argument that survivor benefits should only be extended to gays widowed after 1997. The judges agreed with the roughly 400 gays and lesbians in the class-action suit that the cutoff date should coincide with the Charter coming into effect.

In the latest decision in November, a panel of justices at the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the view of the Ontario Superior Court that the government's 1998 cutoff wasn't "rational."
That's three courts so far....

Canada is, of course, way ahead on the gays-are-real-human-beings game than the US is. Can you imagine a suit like this happening here? I mean, we have an international reputation for being letigious, but we not so recently had to win the right to exist. So this amount of money, while it's huge, could have been paid out evenly throughout the last 22 years so that it wouldn't be so much all at once. Instead, the Canadian government treated its own citizens like ATMs all these years, took their tax money and pension contributions, and kept the real and material benefits of paying those taxes away from a segment of their population. They made their bed, and now they have to sleep in it.

Also, one thing I love about Canadian newspapers is that they refer to their supreme court as "the Supreme Court of Canada", as if there's a need to clarify.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jimmy Kimmel, seriously

Kimmel from last Thursday (h/t to Autumn at the Blend):



What do we expect from the former co-host of The Man Show?

Seriously, this guy needs to wake up and get himself an education. Not only does he make fun of trans women gratuitously, he also implies that they should be killed because they're not really women. Wow. As After Elton's Mike Jensen said: "Perhaps Gwen Araujuo's mom should pay Kimmel a visit."

But not only did Kimmel mess up here, ABC did. I mean, he didn't just photoshop, print, and mount those pics, stuff them in a briefcase and secretly carry them on-stage only to whip them out on camera to Mickey's horror. No. A producer hired by ABC had the idea of getting those pics, a techie who works for ABC photoshopped them and printed them, a lackey on ABC's payroll mounted them, another stage-hand that works for ABC put them on his desk, that first producer worked with Kimmel to get his comments prepared while a writer, hired by ABC, read at least parts of Romijn's book and thought of the ax comment. And each of these people thought that it was fine to belittle and threaten transwomen. Makes ya think.

So while GLAAD is looking for Kimmel and his staff to apologize, all of us need to just remember that ABC hired them all because it liked their brand of humor. But I wouldn't hold my breath for corporate ABC to say anything about this.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Qomics for Queers - Belated Presidents' Day Edition

I begin every week with a sense of dread about the upcoming QfQ post, rooted in a fear that there might not be any queer comics the entire week. What if every one of the comics' artists are completely aware of what they're doing? What if my usual suspects stay away from anything remotely related to sexuality? What if I'm stuck doing a re-write of The Family Circus and photoshopping the word "cock" into an Archie and calling it a day?

What happens when your work is completely dependent on the silliness of others is you live in constant fear of other people wising up.

Fortunately, this week there are oh-so-many comics to look at. I wanted to save some of them for next week in a special place (my underwear drawer?) just in case there are slim pickin's. Alas, I cannot; they'll grow stale and become useless. This week we have everything from gay dead presidents to gay high school athletics hijinks.


Let's start with this Friday's La Cucaracha:


There is plenty of evidence to suggest that President Lincoln was gay. So when he showed up at The Barrio Bugle earlier this week looking to place a personal, my ears were all a-twitter. After appearing a little uneasy about doing what it takes to impress straight women on Thursday, though, we see his actual personal ad.

What's that? 100% gender neutral "running mate" instead of Single Professional Woman? "No fatties"? "Splitting logs"? Do I need to spell it out?

Now, the question on everyone's mind is undoubtedly "What has become of Lincoln's lover Joshua Speed?" Well, the answer is quite simple. It's 2007. The dude's long dead. That may make one question why Lincoln's still alive, but it's La Cucaracha, and it doesn't have to explain nothing to no one.


Here's Thursday's Gil Thorp:


I'm sorry to take everyone's attention away from the Tyler-got-attacked-and-Brynna-is-framing-RJ drama unfolding at Gil Thorp, but is RJ grabbing his teammate's cock in panel one? Is this part of some desperate and elaborate scheme to prove his innocence?

Also, Coach Thorp's advice in panel two seems to be walking the fine line between Yoda-like wisdom and Nifty-like dialogue.


Wednesday's Family Circus:


If Jeffy's going to be the comics' token gay kid, then does he have to be dumb as a brick? Where's GLAAD on this one? And just what is Jeff Keane trying to say here? I demand answers!


Friday's Beetle Bailey:


The comics censor foul language in a way unlike any other medium. TV bleeps out the middle part of a word, letting one know exactly what was said, print media use dashes or asterisks corresponding to the exact number of letters of the word in question and leaving enough of it there to let anyone over the age of 8 know what word it was, and movies have a ratings system so they can just say the word to anyone able to sneak in. The comics, though, use old-school wingdings to get the point across.

Of course, no one can actually know what's really being said. In this example, @-squiggly-star can mean anything.

So I'm going to read @-squiggly-star to mean "cocksucking".

So, yowza, Beetle! Not only is he insulting his superior officer, he's making fun of his lover for being gay. That hurts! I'd know!

Now, this might make it seem like a pretty unhealthy relationship, but Beetle and Sarge have always had a relationship that was like a violent version of The Lockhorns' love/hate-but-mostly-hate relationship. Wait, no, their rhetorical deathgrip on one another is just about as unhealthy as a relationship can get. Oh Beetle, just end it gracefully.


This Friday's Bizarro:


Yep, just giving a foot rub to get the job. Totally a foot rub.


Last, but not least, Monday's Slylock Fox:


Alex: Did you see that one Slylock Fox with that massive and muscular bull who was almost naked and pretending to take a bath?
Friend: Yeah....
Alex: Were you turned on by that?
Friend: No, that's stupid.
Alex: Uhhh, yeah! It's totally dumb. Just, uhh, making sure you thought so too.

Ex-gayism is one big yo' mama joke

If you spend enough time going through the literature of people who sell ex-gayism as a cure, you begin to hear a near-constant blame-the-parents message. Sure, if their cure doesn't work, they blame you, but when they talk about why someone is gay, it's always the parents fault. They say that the parent of the same sex was distant or absent, that the kid was sexually abused, that, for boys, the mother was smothering and overprotective, and that, famously, the father didn't show off his penis to his son often enough.

I know, I know, their evidence is completely and intentionally skewed, they don't know what they're talking about, they just don't like the gays. I know. But I can't help but actually take some of this as a direct insult to my parents, who were great. Honestly, I can't think of any major mistake that they made, they were supportive and loving, but also gave me enough space to grow up fine. They were good parents, and I don't like how they're the target of the religious right. I know that the reason they developed this narrative is to take away rights from me, but I can't help but wonder if all the digs at my parents aren't a bonus for these people.

One elaborate yo' mama joke against all queer people. Like, really pro-family.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Those parents in Massachusetts got their suit tossed

That Massachusetts couple suing the school district because the book King and King was read in school, brainwashing their kids into the homosexual agenda, just had their suit dismissed.

They thought the school was out of order. The judge told them that they were out of order, that this whole heterosexist society was out of order, and that their son was fully capable of handling the truth.

The judge also went with #9.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Who'd want to be oppressed?

Well, those people with full legal rights and privileges who'd like also a little bit of the sympathy that sometimes comes with being associated with that word.

There's a story up at the Bay Area Reporter about this family that's suing the Santa Rosa school district because they think that the school administrators oppressed her for being a heterosexual supremacist. She said "That's so gay" and got sent to the principal's office, a lesbian student "threatened" her, and her backpack was searched (the school said that it was an accident - someone else with the same name was the one who should have been in trouble). By any rational calculus, queer people are not politically powerful. We don't control a majority of the wealth (not even a proportionate amount of it), we don't have full equality under the law, we're small in numbers, and our allies, if they choose to, can completely ignore us with impunity. But somehow in this family's mind, we're so politically powerful that we're forcing our agenda on them and threatening them with violence without anyone caring. That's pretty warped and paranoid, but how did they get there?

I think it's telling that they're accusing another lesbian student of threatening to beat up their daughter at a rally:
But, after interviewing the rally speaker, an honor student with no history of causing trouble in school, [principal] Klick said he concluded that there was no real threat of physical danger to Rebekah Rice. Because the Rices were so concerned, however, he said he elected to "shadow" Rebekah, a process by which school administrators and security officers kept continual watch over the girl to protect her.

"Nicky [the lesbian student] said she didn't remember her exact words, or making a threat to any student on campus," Klick testified.
For social conservatives it's obvious that their daughter is the one who's right. The other girl's a lesbian, right? That means she's violent and a liar. Duh. The narrative's already been established, and they selectively see the facts that fall into it.

The Eagle Forum themselves, though, should know better. But, of course, for money and power, they've created and perpetuated such a narrative. Who would otherwise donate to the politically powerful class along an axis of identity so that they could further oppress the less powerful class?

(Crossposted to bilerico)

There's so much wrong with this story

A new development in the case of the Rev. Lonnie W. Latham. He was a pretty outspoken Baptist fundamentalist who didn't really like the gays. According to the AP:
Latham had spoken against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist resolution that called upon gays and lesbians to reject their lifestyle.
Well, on January 3, 2006, he invited an undercover cop up to his hotel room for a blow job. He was charged with misdemeanor lewdness for which he could face a $2500 fine and one year in jail. (I'm guessing that he will probably have to register as a sex offender as well, but I'm not a lawyer, I just play one on the internet.)

His attorney has filed a motion to have the charge thrown out, because basically a blow job isn't illegal post-Lawrence, and this is just gay-baiting. I think he's 100% right. These lewdness laws are usually written so vaguely that police can use them to play Capture the Fag. The ACLU is also jumping in and saying that the good Reverend's First Amendment rights were violated. The judge is expected to rule on this in about two weeks.

But what's so wrong with this is, first, that he's being charged and faces a rather large punishment for something that, really, wasn't illegal. The act of giving a blowjob isn't illegal, so asking someone else to do it can't be either. He's just being picked on because he's gay. Furthermore, it's an even worse punishment if he has to go to jail, and if the other guys there find out what he's in for.... Straight up, it's terrible what's happening to him, it's unjust, and I'm glad that Lambda Legal was able to get the Lawrence precedent to help him and that the ACLU is stepping in.

The obvious other half of this is that Latham was pretty anti-gay. He seems pretty mean-spirited to me, to be supporting such a resolution and being against marriage equality. Considering the dismissiveness of Justice Scalia in describing Lawrence as being based on a "right to sodomy", and that Latham probably agreed with him before his arrest, to see him turn around and use that case and to argue, according to the AP, that he "has a constitutional right to solicit sex from an undercover policeman", just makes me cringe. There's part of me that wants someone who fought against those rights, such basic privacy rights, to have no access to them at all. Some poetic justice for him. Burn, burn, burn for being a bad person.

But then I remember that he, like me, has a drive for sex and physical intimacy that no amount of Pauline erotophobia can erase, and that drive is at least partly directed at men, and no amount of ex-gaying can erase that. Getting/giving a blowjob in a hotel room might not seem that intimate or all that good, but for such a troubled man as he had to have been, that was probably the best he could do and the least he had to do. It's good that such a man got exposed, but it would be pretty heinous crime to send him to prison for it.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Illinois's moving on up

Or at least proposing legislation to do so. From 365gay:
Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris filed legislation Thursday that would permit same-sex couples in the state to marry.

Harris (D-Chicago), who is gay and represents a district with a large LGBT community admits he faces an uphill battle. Still he believes it is a matter of basic civil rights and that the people of Illinois are behind him.

"From my community, we believe we should have the full, equal rights as our heterosexual siblings to marry who we choose, and we should call it marriage. We should not call it civil union," Harris said.

The legislation would do three things. First, it would repeal the state law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Second it would give same-sex couples the right to marry. And thirdly it would allow clergy opposed to gay marriage the right to refuse to conduct a same-sex wedding.
That third part's a nice touch, really. That silly argument that recognizing gay marriages will force churches to perform same-sex weddings is beyond moronic - many churches currently refuse to perform certain marriages, like LDS churches don't marry non-Mormons - but this legislation at least addresses it in a way to make that talking point work a little more easily. The facts are already on our side; it's all a discursive battle. Control the narrative, gain equality....

(Crossposted from bilerico)

72-year-old man attacked in Detroit, and some other stuff

From Detroit's WDIV:
The victim, Andrew Anthos, was riding a city bus back to his residence at Detroit's Windsor Tower apartments on Feb. 13 when another male passenger asked him if he was gay, Anthos's niece, Athena Fedenis said.

Anthos was followed by the man from the bus and beaten with a pipe in front of his apartment, Fedenis said.

"It just doesn't make any sense," Magealine Hloros, the victim's aunt said. "Why do people have to hurt each other?"

Anthos is barely able to speak above a whisper and is paralyzed from the neck down. He is currently at Detroit Receiving Hospital, his family said.
The police haven't arrested anyone yet, but they're searching the area and seeking people who have information.

Of course, the report didn't disclose the victim's sexuality. That would be highly unprofessional for a news service to post that sort of information without first getting the guy's consent, and at least waiting until a more appropriate time to ask for it.

But that doesn't stop me from wondering, and, more importantly, wondering why I'm wondering. Would his sexuality have some sort of effect on my ability to empathize with him? Is the distinction between actual and perceived sexual orientation, written into anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, one that actually gets translated into a differing ability to see someone as "like me", a perversion of the philosophy of making the political personal?

Hmmm... good questions! Maybe the answer lies in the drawing of such distinctions. I mean, isn't all sexual orientation perceived on some level? Like, how do I know I'm gay unless I'm basing that notion on the predominent content of sexual fantasies and differing emotions I feel with regard to the Same Sex and the Opposite Sex. I'm still perceiving those feelings, and when I tell someone else that I'm gay, they're perceiving (hearing) what I say, making that my perceived sexuality to them. For example, someone like Ted Haggard's (I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF HIM, I KNOW) sexuality causes slippage in such a distinction: if my actual sexuality is gay because I tell people that I'm gay, then shouldn't his actual sexuality be straight because he tells people that he's straight?

I don't mean to be queering the planet, as queer theorists would put it, calling into question the idea of monolithic sexuality. I'm going in a different direction and wondering how we know what our sexualities are, how we know the sexuality of others, what it means to be GLBT, and by extension, how we subconsciously include and exclude people who don't wear their sexuality in the same way.

Without a doubt, what happened to this man was wrong. Michigan does not have hate crimes legislation that covers sexuality, but if it did, it would probably include a phrase about "actual and perceived sexual orientation". And it is definitely a GLBT issue if it went down like it was described in the press because of the assailant's invocation of the word "gay". But the revelation of parts and aspects of one's identity can humanize, and someone whose identity includes some modicum of GLBT would be easier for me to identify with. When someone's identity includes "perceived as gay", I wonder about how easy it would be to consider someone like that "like me" considering that everyone could potentially be "perceived as gay". Maybe that leads to the best conclusion - a comradery with all people because of such potential perception.

Or I could just be like a friend of mine and think that everyone's either gay or lying.

I'm not a lawyer - I just play one on the internet

Utah's state legislature just passed a bill to restrict GSA's in that state. More from 365gay.com:
The bill would allow schools to ban clubs they believe would threaten the "moral well-being" of students or faculty.

It would require parents to sign a consent form before their children can join clubs and it would force clubs to provide school principals with information that would be presented to the club a week in advance so parents can review it.

The legislation also requires the state to cover the costs of lawsuits involving the restrictions of school clubs. That provision is seen as a move to use the power of the state to prevent lawsuits if Gay-Straight Alliances were banned at schools.
Gosh, they just don't stop trying, do they? Didn't Lawrence say that states couldn't use morality alone as a reason for justifying a law? Didn't the Federal Equal Access Act say that schools had to allow all clubs regardless of content the same access to school facilities? And doesn't restricting lawsuits to overturn the law imply that they already know that there's good reason to overturn it?

Silly me for thinking that the law should apply to some situations where it explicitly applies.

But maybe if we look at it this way:
Both [UT Senator] Buttars and [UT Representative] Tilton say the bill will survive a legal challenge because it imposes the same restrictions on all clubs equally.
Yeah, all clubs, from the Chess Club to the Astronomy Club, will have to be equally non-gay. Why didn't I think of it that way? (More importantly, why did Chess Club and Astronomy Club come to me first as examples of high school clubs?)

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NJ schools have to fight systemic harassment (Oh, hell yes)

From the Daily Record:
Public schools can be held liable for repeated, prolonged student-on-student sexual harassment, the state Supreme Court ruled today in a case brought by a New Jersey boy who contended he was victimized by years of homophobic taunts and attacks until he finally withdrew from school.
A bill to a similar effect is being debated in Iowa.

It's about time for this to be happening. One has to wonder if school officials who know about that sort of harassment and do nothing to stop it aren't tacitly endorsing it. Like they're outsourcing gender policing to kids. Especially since in this case the bullying went on for years and was so bad that the kid had to go to a private school instead (an option that the vast majority of GLBT youth don't have).

I think that many queer people can identify with this kid and the need for GLBT-specific anti-bullying programs. While Iowa "Republicans wanted all references to specific groups removed from the bill so that it would simply ban bullying of any kind," not mentioning sexual minorities is basically saying that harassment of GLBT students is A-O-K. Bullies of queer students think that it's different enough from other sorts of bullying, and many school officials look the other way because they think that it's different from other sorts of bullying, that it's boy-will-be-boys or girls-will-be-girls gender policing.

I know, because, like many of you, I lived with it.

When I was fourteen, in ninth grade, I ran Cross Country for my high school. I wasn't all that great, but I liked it enough and I had some friends on the team. A couple weeks into the season an eighteen-year-old Senior decided that it would be fun to start making jokes, calling me names, and taunting me because of my perceived sexuality. (I say "perceived" because I wasn't out at that age. Even though that silly Guy Quiz said I'm a "Level 2", let's just say that I'm not fooling anyone.) It eventually escalated to include other eighteen-year-olds, more physical harassment (like holding me down and grabbing at my genitals), and harassment during school hours.

One thing that seriously bothered me about it was that it was done in full view of many other students (making it humiliating) and in front of several teachers and coaches. And the adults did nothing about it. I can only guess that they thought it was funny too, especially since one of the coaches called me a pussy in an unrelated situation.

When they graduated, it ended, but I was left with a feeling of embarrassment in front of my peers and a jumpiness at physical intimacy that followed me through part of my adult sex life. It also added to my distrust of culturally masculine institutions and authority figures.

Like I've said before, GLBT people are uniquely traumatized during adolescence in our culture, and I can only wonder what we'd be like as a people if we weren't. This ruling in New Jersey recognizes the school's responsibility, first, to react to such harassment, and, second, to fight against this discrimination as a systemic problem instead of individualized instances of bullying.

Oh, yeah, and no exceptions for religious schools. This is not what Jesus would do.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Anger Gap

Jeffrey Feldman has a great post up over at the Huffington Post about answering the anti-Christian charge that conservatives often level at liberals, especially during the recent Edwards campaign hullabaloo. One thing that I found really interesting was in a table (above, from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, here). Notice how in one year and a half the number of people who thought that religious folk were discriminated against rose by 12%, and the number who didn't dropped by a similar number. There may have been people who interpreted this question differently and thought it was referring to people with strong non-Christian religious beliefs, but that doesn't account for the change.

What this is telling us is that many people who think that Christians are discriminated against aren't basing their opinions on reality. Really, could anyone argue that there's been a significant enough change during 2005, a year where both houses of Congress and the White House were controlled by the GOP, to account for such a change? (Well, they wouldn't have very good arguments if they did.) So, if the change wasn't based on a change in actual policy, the next most likely culprit is a rhetorical shift, which would imply that those who think that such discrimination exists do so because of the rhetoric of Bill Donohue and his sort.

Which is why the solution to this problem (of a potentially very progressive institution being hijacked by the Right) is going to have to be a rhetorical one as well. Like everything in American politics, the religious debate is going to be more about form than substance.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

What your tax dollars aren't doing

There's no such thing as a non-queer-related issue, and to disabuse anyone of that idea, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq’s Human Rights Report (links to pdf) has a section on queer people being hunted down in Iraq:
Attacks on homosexuals and intolerance of homosexual practices have long existed yet they have escalated in the past year. The current environment of impunity and lawlessness invites a heightened level of insecurity for homosexuals in Iraq. Armed Islamic groups and militias have been known to be particularly hostile towards homosexuals, frequently and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them. There have been a number of assassinations of homosexuals in Iraq.
The report goes on to give examples of queer people hunted down and killed in Iraq, like five men who were kidnapped by a militia this past December and two children who had been forced into prostitution (apparently they didn't prostitute to the correct gender).

The report doesn't have any specific numbers, but it does say this:
According to the Iraqi LGBT society, twenty-six of their members have been killed since 2003.
I'm going to guess that the Iraqi LGBT group mentioned isn't as easy to join as volunteering at the local GLCC would be here in the US. So the number that the LGBT group knows about is probably a very tiny fraction of those queer people who have been killed. Especially considering:
Allegedly, three Fatwas would have been issued by Islamic clerics authorising “good Muslims” to hunt and kill homosexuals.

Indeed, their ultimate goal is the elimination of every queer person in Iraq:
One of the self-appointed judges in Sadr City, believes that homosexuality is on the wane in Iraq. "Most [gays] have been killed and others have fled," he said. Indeed, the number who've sought asylum in the UK has risen noticeably over the last few months. (…) He insists the religious courts have a lot to be proud of, "We now represent a society that asked us to protect it not only from thieves and terrorists but also from these [bad] deeds."

The Iraqi's government response, from the AP via The Seattle P-I:
Iraq's government on Thursday strongly criticized a U.N. report on human rights that put its civilian death toll in 2006 at 34,452, saying it is "superficial" and discussed subjects that are taboo in Iraqi society such as homosexuality.
That's right. They don't disagree with the contention that LGBT folk are being rounded up - they just criticize the messenger. They have learned a thing or two from our government!

This is all related to the speech Outrage!'s Ali Hili gave today in London. From UK Gay News:
He told the conference that some ministers in the US and UK-backed Iraqi government were colluding with death squads responsible for the “sexual cleansing” of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Iraqis.

“Iraqi LGBTs are at daily risk of execution by the Shia death squads of the Badr and Sadr militias,” Mr. Hili told delegates at the conference.

“Members of these militias have infiltrated the Iraqi police and are abusing their police authority to pursue a plan to eliminate all homosexuals in Iraq.

“This is happening with the collusion of key ministers in the Iraqi government,” he pointed out.
The US government created this "government" in Iraq, and it has a responsibility to protect those least able to defend themselves under it. Hili points out that the US and UK's current policies are to turn down LGBT folk applying for asylum based on their sexuality. One wonders how much our current Decider-in-Chief agrees with this policy. (Remember how Nixon cracked jokes and ranted about a Jewish conspiracy in private?)

(Crossposted to bilerico)

Cultural ex-gayism

Anyone who knows me knows that when I hear queer people describe themselves or their desired mate/fuck buddy as "straight-acting", it's like nails on a chalkboard. I cringe, because there's too much internalized homophobia and self-contempt packed into that one phrase. And it's hard not to take it as a personal insult towards me, because what's wrong with acting gay? I'm not saying that gay men and lesbians should act like walking stereotypes, but that we should all be free to be ourselves, and, in that way, we can create our own identities and collude to construct archetypes of queerness that are diverse, inclusive, and constantly falling apart.

In other words, we should be who we are and love ourselves for it.

So when I found out about this, I just wanted to throw up. It's a site for gay men who describe themselves as straight-acting. Not much of it is up right now, although they do have a cool site intro, which makes me wonder how much work people have put into this. But you can take their Guy Quiz, think hard about the inane details that normal people don't obsess over, and, like I did, get told:
Hardly anyone would be able to pick you as a homo boy. All your actions are carefully crafted in a way that they never appear to be considered too fem. Only a fellow level 2 -- buddy might suspect you with the proper gaydar and it's just the way you like it.
After that, stroll into the message boards and read tens of thousands of posts about how everyone's just "relaxed" and "just being me". Funny how for gay men the act of not caring about your gender performance is itself a gender performance that one has to carefully maintain (c'mon, we all know what "chill" means in a gay.com personal). I wonder if that's developed the same way in lesbian culture?

Anyway, I'd have to say that this site actually affected me more when I first found it than Fred Phelps' page. Not because it made me angry, and it didn't make me sad either, it just made me rethink a lot about gay male culture. I knew that we definitely have an issue with trying to be like straight people. I just didn't think that people would make a snazzy webpage out of that sort of internalized homophobia. All that effort, and do these people really think that homophobes are going to accept them because of it?

Oh, and their T-shirt model doesn't wear pants. WEIRD!

Episcopalians rebuked over the Issue that Dare not Speak Its Name

In a move that was called unprecedented, the Anglican hierarchy has rebuked American Episcopalians for being OK with the gay. The NY Times article is good, but the Washington Post article says it more concisely:
Anglican leaders concluded their five-day meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, yesterday by issuing a demand that the U.S. Episcopal Church unequivocally stop blessing same-sex unions and consecrating any more gay bishops.

In a statement issued in the final hour of the tense meeting, the Anglican Communion gave the U.S. church until Sept. 30 to comply. Otherwise, the leaders said, its relations with other Anglicans will remain "damaged at best."
While they can pretend that the conflict is about Church teaching and the Bible, it's really the same only do-you-choose-to-be-gay "debate":
Anglican traditionalists believe that gay relationships violate Scripture, and they have demanded that the U.S. church adhere to that teaching or face discipline.

[snip]

Supporters of ordaining gays believe biblical teachings on justice and inclusion should take precedence.
The only way that gay relationships could violate the Scripture is if gays choose their sexuality, because a Biblical interpretation that doesn't apply to everyone isn't a proper interpretation. And the only way it's a social justice issue is if sexual orientation's immutable.

So what are the chances that they'll actually discuss that issue? Zero to none. It's very easy for each side to get distracted from the fact that that's the heart of the issue, and the other side wants to avoid it like the plague because they're on the wrong side.

So this whole thing is just getting decided by an appeal to an authority, specifically the international leaders of the church. I'm going to guess that's because they're experts.

(Crossposted onto bilerico.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

More and more Haggard stuff

From the CO Springs Gazette:
Concerning Ted and his family, we have done extensive fact-finding into his lifelong battle with a “dark side” which he said in his confession letter has been a struggle for years. We have verified the reality of that struggle through numerous individuals who reported to us firsthand knowledge of everything from sordid conversation to overt suggestions to improper activities to improper relationships. These findings established a pattern of behavior that culminated in the final relationship in which Ted was, as a matter of grace, caught. We learned most of those circumstances through confidential pastoral communications that, because of their pastoral character, cannot be disclosed.
Oh, yeah, that's right: This church investigation found "numerous individuals" who had "firsthand knowledge" of "improper activities" and "improper relationships".

Translation: Ted's been a busy boy!

Too bad they aren't giving out details. If anyone out there reading this is one of those numerous individuals, please, please let me in on the secret. I'll be your best friend!

Either way, though, if not finding others that he was involved with makes him completely heterosexual, then I guess that he's not. Not that there was anyone on the planet who believed he was in the first place.

Thanks to Kevin of Holy Moly for pointing me to this article.

(Crossposted onto bilerico.)

OK! It's Q-Bomb 2.1!

I'm starting this thing up again. For the third time. Pretty much everything's going to be the same as before except that I changed the "s" to a "z". I found out no one knew how to pronounce it the way I do, and I already hear my last name mispronounced enough in real life. There's no reason that my nom de clavier should be mispronounced over cyberspace.

Other than that, version 2.1 only has to offer the same things that version 2.0 did, with the same promise to learn a thing or two about web-design.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Qomics for Queers - The Office Closet Case

While it's easy for the rest of us (or maybe just me) to judge the comics as not quite queer enough, when you think about them as being stuck in a time-warp, you realise you have to look a little closer at the closet cases involved in order to pick them out. Television might have its L-Word's and Will and Grace's and lesbian sisters of Jamie on Mad About You, and the silver screen can have its fancy pants Jack and Ennis and Kissing Jessica Stein, but the comics are just fine without all the bells and whistles. No, they don't need your pity; all they want is your respect and your time as you kids look more deeply into them for their queer folk. Yeah, it might not be as easy as calling someone on your cell phone or whatever it is the kids are doing these days, but if you read between the lines, reinterpret the artwork, and just make things up, you can find the representation you're looking for.


First, check out this Friday's They'll Do It Every Time:


Don't let the fashion fool you; this is supposed to be now. This single panel is about a guy who calls the women in his office "sweetheart" and "m'love". And he's somehow singing at the same time. Now there's really only one sort of guy who can get smiles for that sort of behavior - the office "glad" (maybe Scaduto means that he's just happy?).

I just reread Richard Isay's Becoming Gay, and I must say that even though it was written in 1991, there is a cultural difference between the gays of his time and mine, so much so that I can't wrap my mind around a statement like this: "[I] was concerned about the effect coming out would have on my marriage" (37). The clothes tell me that Buttbrain here might be a part of that generation.

So TDIET, like an anachronistic Seinfeld, is supposed to poke fun at different types. This type, with whom those two guys in the Bronx are so familiar, is a great guy deep down inside. Buttbrain is that type of person who has just come out to himself, later in life, and has come out to some of his women friends far from home and has become a sort of desexualized confidant and office mascot because of it. But being partly in the closet, especially to one's close family, is only going to help build his self-esteem about this one part of his identity and create resentment towards compulsory heterosexuality, which ultimately will be transfered on the most visible representative of The Opposite Sex in his life - Helgar. I've seen this misdirected anger a lot among partly out queer people; in fact it seems that's the fuel of the Catholic hierarchy.

So what's Buttbrain to do? Well, he has to take that final step. No, it won't help his relationship with Helgar, but maybe he can become a better role model for his son who can't stop wearing the same blue-vest-striped-shirt outfit.


This Friday's Blondie:


Aversion therapy for heterosexuals.


And your Judith Butler rewrite of The Family Circus:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Qomics for Queers: Beating around the Bush

Did you ever notice that Comic strips fall far behind every other medium out there when it comes to any representation of queer people? Sure, the political cartoons seem to realise we exist, but the joke-a-days and soaps printed in mainstream papers do everything to can to pretend like there are no queer people.

Which is why I started Qomics for Queers over at Q-Bomb, where I read between the lines, reinterpret artwork, and completely make junk up to get some representation.


Here's this Friday's Apartment 3-G:


For those of you who don't follow the travails of Tommie Thomson, LuAnn Powers, and Margo Magee at Apartment 3-G, then you've missed most of the Friday that Never Ends. LuAnn and Margo are both away from the apartment that evening working, and Tommie is left to her own devices. Of course, without the women she lives with, her life is meaningless until her neighbor Gina whisks her away to her play and the ensuing cast party. At that party, Tommie makes out with the director, only to be pawned of on our friend Gary, seen above.

Now you're all caught up on the greatest telenovela to ever grace the funny pages!

While people have been following the closeted lesbianism of Tommie Thomson for years, I don't think we've ever seen her definitively express herself one way or the other. Sure she's kissed a few men drunk, made a few sly looks at women, and generally tried to be the non-sexual one of the bunch.

Now, dressed as a character from a Lynne Cheney novel, Tommie is face-to-face with a man who's hitting on her, who by all accounts is sweet, but something's missing, a spark, a certain je ne sais vagina. When this party is all said and done (maybe four weeks from now?), Tommie's going to be thinking about why she subconsciously thwarts chances at heterosexual love every time they come her way. And then, and only then, can we celebrate Tommie and Gina's new romance.


This Wednesday's Hagar the Horrible:


Not particularly gay, except that have you noticed that most of the Hagar-at-the-restaurant-making-fun-of-food-and/or-pop-culture strips involve Lucky Eddie instead of Helga? One can only wonder why Lucky Eddie prefers to dine with his boss instead of his family or friends or why Hagar doesn't go out with Helga.

I know, I know, he travels a lot for work, but I don't think that in between raiding the English and pillaging the French that he would have time to stop at a restaurant without anyone else from his army. Nor would a blood-thirsty viking be welcome in those just pillaged countries' restaurants. No, this has to be near home. And that's the same waiter who serves Helga and him.

I can only imagine what life would be like as a closeted viking, constantly escaping home life as resentment towards heteronormativity builds, all the while finding my only relief in a member of my own army. Of course, in my imagination, we wouldn't sit around at restaurants and make jokes that fit easily into a two panel setup, one panel punchline format.

Alas, I'm not a student of viking history.


Here's this Tuesday's Family Circus:


Jeffy doesn't stop! He continues to attempt to defend himself from castration! Good work, Mom, because you know that snowball is destined for the back of your head.

Qomics for Queers moved

Over to my new pad at Bilerico.

Friday, February 9, 2007

I'm moving....

Hey everyone. I'm moving on over to Bil Browning's Bilerico. I don't plan on putting any content up here that isn't cross-posted over there, unless a Q-Bomb version 3.0 gets launched. I hope you join me at Bilerico!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Last Call

Until Saturday. I have the LSAT Saturday morning and I will be too busy to post tomorrow. I'll be back with the weekend features and posts about whatever catastrophically gay things happen tomorrow.

So here's Jeffrey Lewis' "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror":



Question: What do you think about the usage of male-on-male sex as a symbol for violent hierarchy?

I'm like GLAAD: Late in responding

To GLAAD, that is. They finally released a statement condemning Chuck Knipp's character Shirley Q. Liquor:
"This performance perpetuates ugly racial stereotypes that are offensive, hurtful and simply unacceptable."
Well, good. They realise that we can't separate the fight against stereotypes of one group from another's. We're all in this together.

It's also just wrong. They say that they get that. But here's something that rubbed me the wrong way:
While our work at GLAAD is about promoting fair, accurate and inclusive media representations of the LGBT community[....]
No, of course it didn't. Because it absolutely didn't play into the stereotype that gays are elitist, out-of-touch, racist, and shallow. Such a stereotype exists, and here's one example:



Knipp is a visible representative of the queer community, and while I'm usually the last person to say that a LGBT person should avoid playing into a stereotype, one has to wonder if he's exploiting this stereotype of gay men for laughs as well. Would the same people who like his show right now find it funny if he were a straight man who played an "ignunt" Black man with 19 kids...? Are people laughing at stereotypes of Black people and gay men simultaneously?

Knipp is playing into that same stereotype that we see of gay men used on everything from SNL to The Family Guy to mensnewsdaily.com for humor: shallow, hyper-sexual, and alcohol-addicted. This is not to take away from the obvious fact that his minstrel show is racist. But just because Knipp is gay himself, doesn't mean that he can't exploit a heterosexist mindset for a few dollars.

Colombia's moving on up

Like the Jeffersons, to the metaphorical East Side of equal rights for same-sex couples.... No, no, no, silly analogy, good TV show.

Anyway, the Colombian Supreme Court ruled yesterday that same-sex couples should have the same property rights as heterosexual couples. This should not be confused with civil unions or marriage, but it's a step in the right direction. Here's a bit more:
The Constitutional Court ruled late Wednesday that if a gay couple of two years separates, the assets accumulated during the relationship will be divided between the two, and in the case of death, the survivor will receive all the assets.
The article goes on to describe the next steps that LGBT groups are taking there to advance the rights of same-sex couples, a step-by-step approach to eventually achieve full equality.

365gay has more:
Under the law same-sex couples who wanted to share their property had had to create a business, put the property in the company name, and list the domestic partners as joint shareholders in the company. But, even that did not always guarantee that in the case of death of one of the partners the shared possessions would go to the surviving one.
What a novel idea. It's interesting to me that the bond that people develop gets recognized as a contract here in the US, an agreement between two people that does not exist on its own. Rather that bond is a way for people to negotiate their actions as individuals. Gays in Colombia have taken this in another direction, moved well beyond setting their bond as a valid contract between two individuals and made it an entity of its own by incorporating it, with its own identity and rights.

While I'm sure that the primary reason for coming up with that idea was the same reason behind the fight for same-sex marriage in the US (protecting one's family), I can't help but wonder how something like this could play out with the highly-libertarian ethos of the US. If you look at people as individuals, and marriages as contracts, where does that leave love and desire? Up in the air, not legally recognized or recognizable, that's where. It would be an absolute denial of reality to say that such bonds don't exist or aren't important, but isn't that the logical end of the "Marriage is a contract for people to start making babies" argument?

This ruling is based on such an understanding of relationships. The ruling did not give the rights of heterosexuals to queer people. It gave some of the rights of opposite-sex couples to same-sex couples. Indeed, that is the ultimate goal of the US movement for same-sex marriage, but the reliance on the Fourteenth Amendment and it's equal protection of individual people under the law might preclude the possibility of such a goal. Gay and lesbian people are hurt by their relationships not being recognized even though we are recognized as existing, so maybe adopting an ontology that can accept relationships and bonds as entities separate of the individuals who form them can help to articulate the hurt caused by the dismissal of such rights.