Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Entitlement knows no bounds

I live in Indiana, about an hour away from downtown Indianapolis, in the far corner of a small town. A suburban kid who came to visit recently told me that I live, gosh, out there.

So it wasn't unusual when I was returning from a visit with two new gentleman friends that I stopped at a grocery store at 2 AM. It's a big-box grocery store, at the heart of suburbia, surrounded by a sea of cookie-cutter houses. It's one of those reminders to me about how weird American culture is. We have vast expanses of houses, all designed pretty much the same, with stores and restaurants that are large and bland, repetition after repetition, like Warhol's soup cans without the color change. In the middle of all this, we put a school system and some sort of "small town downtown area" that no one really wants to have to visit, and then replicate the entire system around every major city in the country. It's a vast organization of repetition that one could spend his or her entire life in not knowing that there's an outside, except, of course, for those urban areas where the last person from here who ventured down there was shot by a gang member, didn't you hear?

But, grocery store's a grocery store, and I was in need of produce that I can't get out there. Walking past the entrance, though, there were several men who were outside, laughing and smoking in the cold, their uniform shirts untucked and hanging out from underneath their coats. I don't see this when I shop shop shop for bell peppers during the day. The workers have to go around the back of the store to have a smoking break. Smoke is smoke; it pollutes the same either way. But in order to make the whole operation less offensive, someone took it upon him or herself to force these people to not just get out of the way (they were already at least ten feet away from the door) but completely out of sight. At that point I realized that that someone had to think, and probably with good reason, that people would choose not to shop there simply because they don't want to see the workers taking a break and smoking. It was only in this slippage during the who-gives-a-fuck hours that I was reminded, not at all unpleasantly, that these workers exist outside of the workplace. (Contrast that with an experience from when I lived in France: I was mis-billed for my cellphone, so I went to the store to work it out, and the guy working there told me three unique lies to get me to leave so he would not have to do the five minutes of work to fix the problem. I was to know that he was a human being, and he plain didn't feel like working at that moment. But I digress.)

So it's only in that context of willful blandness, an absolute attachment to not-feeling any momentary discomfort to which a large part of the American population has convinced itself (with the enabling of a few large corporations) that it has a right, that we can have a story like this. I otherwise cannot wrap my mind around how a man could get so riled up over a video being shown to kids that depicts families of queer people. Nor can I comprehend without a primer in dominant group entitlement how a woman could say: "When does Evesham Township or any school have a right to show to my grandchildren something I believe to be morally wrong?" Somehow in the middle of the most diverse country in the world people believe not that they just shouldn't be forced to do something that they feel is wrong, but that they and their extended family should not even have to acknowledge the existence of anyone they disagree with.

And out here, we call that pretty fucking spoiled.

Mary Cheney speaks

The NY Times has an article up about some questions Mary Cheney took about her pregnancy at Bernard College. Cheney said:
"This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child.[...] Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents; what matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment." She said Mr. Dobson was entitled to his opinion, "but he’s not someone whose endorsement I have ever drastically sought."

Why, if she actually believes this, was she the chief of staff of her father's reelection campaign? Didn't she know that he was flatly against this sort of situation? Or maybe she knew that his opinion was that he and his family can do pretty much whatever they want, and us peasants out here have to play by the rules that His Lordship sets up? She doesn't seek out Mr. Dobson's approval, but didn't she work (albeit indirectly, but knowingly) to pass a constitutional amendment so that the rest of us would have to get his endorsement?

Ugh, but I'm more interested in what she said about her baby not being a political prop. Absolutely. It's really easy to forget when discussing these issues that these are real people and real people's lives that we are discussing. Wait, maybe a better way to put that is that when you're against marriage equality, etc., you have to force yourself to forget that these are real people and real people's lives that you're dealing with.

It grates me the wrong way when she says "on either side of a political issue" because she must know that on one side of the issue people know that the baby isn't a prop, that's why they're on that side of the issue. On the other side, they say silly things like she's having the baby for the "express purpose of denying it a father", making the baby into a political prop in a way that pointing out the contradiction between her public persona and her private life never could. It's just painting a fuller picture to show what kind of people we're dealing with.

But she's probably just making that old conservative argument that they've made about race and class and gender and sexuality for ages, the kill-the-messenger idea that the person who fights an inequality is just as responsible for it as the people committing it because, well, if either of them stopped then I wouldn't have to hear about it.

YouTube Rorschach

Via Queerty:

Steve Malzberg, judging from his smug interruption of Keith Boykin towards the end, thinks that he's making headway for people who want the right to use the word "faggot".

I see a group of three people trying to discuss an important issue despite the presence of a conservative shock jock.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Last call

Question from GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week curriculum, appropriate for K-5, late night bloggers, and internet surfers bored at work:

What names do you like to be called? What names do you not like to be called?

I like to be called "Alex", but I'm also ok with "dude", "sir", or "man". I don't like to be called "Al".

What about you?

Great new columnist up at Bilerico

Michele O'Mara, a therapist for the LGBT community in Indianapolis, has started a letter-advice column over at Bilerico. Her first column just went up today. I really look forward to reading what she has to say.

One thing, though:
I've been thinking a lot about this whole, "heterosexuals don't advertise their sexuality, why should I" mentality. And in thinking about this I've decided that it's true. Heterosexuals don't really actively promote what they are. It seems to me, that the way it works is not so much about advertising what we are, it's all about announcing or shall we say, advertising, what we are not. In most cases, a heterosexual is unlikely to announce their sexual orientation unless they are being perceived as gay.

I'm thinking that she and I interpret the concept of "advertising" differently. All I see, all the time, is straight people advertising their sexuality. I see them having huge weddings, announcing it in the paper, chatting with Oprah about an hetero-sex lover, holding hands in the movie theater, making 99% of movies, TV shows, and songs about heterosexual love (and 99.999999% of those media directed at kids radically heterosexual), having their heterosexual partner give speeches while campaigning for public office, or even having sex on a sidewalk (I've seen that one). Those aren't necessarily bad things, but heterosexuals are constantly advertising their sexuality, throwing it in my face, if you will.

And much of it is intentional. Like that one episode of Seinfeld in which the pro-shop owner Milos, upon becoming insecure in his ability to provide financially for his family, yells: "Jerry's not a real man! He's not even married like I am!" There are a lot of heterosexuals who are so insecure about their sexual orientation, sexual prowess, attractiveness, or masculinity or femininity that they need to yell and scream about their heterosexuality.

So correcting someone who accidentally refers to your partner as a roommate isn't all that much of a dramatic situation. Really, it's a drop in the bucket compared to what heterosexuals do.

What I'm feeling like right now

Those "drugs" that Jessie's taking are caffeine pills.

It's 10 o'clock. Where are our children right now?

Here's a great article on the recent findings of studies done by the NGLTF on homeless gay youth.

While there are a lot of people who believe that most gay people are rich, this is a reminder that that is simply false. This goes part of the way to explaining the income gap between gays and straights. If "roughly one-fourth of gay and lesbian teens are kicked out of their homes after their parents learn of their sexual orientation", then what does that mean for their self-esteem, their ability to get and maintain a good job, and their ability to become equal members of society? How does this provide for equality of opportunity?

And what does it mean for the other 75% who weren't thrown out of their homes? And the ones who didn't come out at all?

Being queer in this culture means being traumatized in the formative teen years. How different would our community be if we weren't?

Jorge Soto Vega: A case study in narrative inevitability. Or: What if the cast of Blossom were appointed to immigration judgeships?

Jorge Soto Vega, a gay Mexican, was granted asylum today to escape harassment and death threats about his sexuality.
In 2003, a Southern California immigration judge ruled that there was credible evidence that Soto Vega was persecuted in Mexico because of his sexual orientation, but rejected his application for asylum in the United States because Soto Vega didn't "appear gay" to him and, in the judge's opinion, he could pass as straight if he so chose.

After the Board of Immigration Appeals summarily affirmed that opinion, Lambda Legal in 2004 petitioned the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco for review.

On June 2, 2006, the Ninth Circuit held that both the immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals decided incorrectly by not recognizing that, because Soto Vega had been persecuted in the past, he was entitled to a presumption that he had a well-founded fear of future persecution were he forced to return to Mexico.

The Ninth Circuit further held that it was the government's burden to show that Soto Vega's life would not be in jeopardy if he were forced to return home to the country where his life had been threatened in the past.

The decision by the immigration judge after today's hearing concluded that the government had not been able to refute that presumption and that Soto Vega therefore is entitled to asylum in the United States.
Notice that both judges made the assumption that Soto Vega's sexuality was immutable. There are many narratives (I use that word instead of "idea" or "theory" because they generally have less proof than a theory and less logic than an idea but more invested on them than either of those two terms imply) about the origin of sexuality, but they can be broken down into two groups: those that say that one's sexual orientation is changeable by choice and those that say that it's unchangeable by choice. And both judges' decisions were based on the latter, which means that the first judge's inevitably led to the second.

I don't mean to imply that people who think that sexuality cannot be changed are automatically pro-gay. What I am saying is that people who are heterosexist enough to believe that gay people should be legally discriminated against in the letter of the law have no choice but to say that it is changeable considering another, even more important, narrative: that of equality of opportunity. The folks like the AFA and Focus on the Family who aren't necessarily stupid enough to think that people choose to be gay have to say that they believe it because it's a whole lot easier to convince people of that than to convince Americans that equality of opportunity in the letter of the law should be violated.

What does this all have to do with Soto Vega? Well, the more judges that think that sexuality is not a choice, the better off we are. It's a deeper indicator of progress than what the decisions actually say.

I also wanted to link to this because a straight judge used his gaydar in a decision. We're in good hands!

Rehab is the new black; it goes with everything.

Haggard and his wife, Gayle, completed a counseling program in Arizona and are back in Colorado Springs, Brendle said.
So he's out of part of his rehab. Pam Spaulding thinks that it's not the end of the ex-gaying of Pastor Ted.

But it reminded me that he was in rehab for being too gay. And it reminded me of this story I read earlier today on The Advocate:
The cast of Grey's Anatomy accepted a Screen Actors Guild award for drama series ensemble on Sunday night in Los Angeles—minus cast member Isaiah Washington. The actor is in therapy for his use of an antigay slur.
He's in rehab for being too anti-gay.

This all made me wonder about how incredibly divisive gay issues are. Each side on the are-gay-people-complete-and-equal-human-beings debate (depressing that we even have to debate it) thinks that anyone who disagrees with them must be crazy.

Maybe that's telling us something. Maybe it's telling us that this debate isn't really a debate - there isn't any statistic or logic that can change people's minds - rather it's, at best, a battle over framing and symbolism or, at worst, a complete impasse.

I'm an optimist, so I think that equality can be achieved with work - deep, dirty, political work to change the dominant narrative about queer people. But the next time someone says that we just need to present our arguments, remember that the far right thinks that we're actually insane.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Someone I'd absolutely love to meet in 20 years...

Or at least watch the inevitable documentary on.

Hypocrisy isn't such a good thing

The Advocate has an interview with Alexandra Pelosi about her HBO documentary Friends of God. She touches on something that I've been thinking about:
We talked about gay marriage. He said, “I think the gays should be lobbying for civil unions, because that’s more doable.” He wasn’t a hater. And I know everyone likes to talk about how he was a hypocrite, but I think Stephen Colbert said it best [originally about Mark Foley]: Ted Haggard is not a hypocrite—he didn’t try and gay-marry anyone. He knows homosexuality; he preached from the pulpit that homosexuality is a sin. That’s what he believes because that’s in the Bible. Now, he did it…that doesn’t mean he didn’t know it was a sin.
OK, this touches on why I think that the hypocrisy narrative related to outings like those of Mark Foley and Ted Haggard is both inaccurate and ineffective in trying to get queer equality.

Alexandra Pelosi basically says why it's inaccurate: these Christians think that homosexuality is sin. They believe that every single human being sins. When they commits this specific sin, it's not hypocrisy; it fits quite neatly in the way they see the world. In fact, it bolsters their view that homosexuality is a fleeting desire; part of the fall from the grace of God that can be solved through salvation and prayer (ignoring his repeated attempts at praying away the gay, which they do). Ted Haggard as a closet case is much closer to their ideal than Ted Haggard as a out and proud gay man would be.

Second, it's not an entirely effective way to interpret the phenomenon of gay gay-bashers. Let's think about Lisa, the hypothetical person. Lisa is big on getting people to donate money to breast cancer research. She tells everyone she meets about how important it is to get money for this sort of research, tries to get sponsors for her to Race for a Cure, and vocally laments the lack of such funding from the government. But she herself, even though she lives quite comfortably, doesn't donate any money at all to breast cancer research. She's just plain selfish.

Does this make Lisa a hypocrite? Absolutely. It would be much better if she donated money as well. But she would also cease to be a hypocrite if she just stopped being such an advocate for breast cancer research as well. Supposing there were no way to pry this money from her hands, would it be better if she just shut up about the whole thing? What if she were effective at getting people to donate?

This is the way heterosexists view the Ted Haggards and Mark Foleys. You can even read about it in their press releases, how the views that a certain politician holds and his or her legislative actions are far more important than his or her personal actions. They have a built-in answer to the hypocrisy charge that is quite persuasive, if one buys into heterosexual supremacy.

A better way to frame these instances is to label it for what it really is: proof of a direct refutation of their argument that being queer is a choice. Here are people who would absolutely choose not to be queer if they could. No doubt about that. Haggard tried to pray away the gay, as he said in his public statement just after Mike Jones outed him. But he couldn't. If he couldn't, how are we to believe that anyone else can?

By speaking the language of fact, truth versus untruth, instead of the language of morality, I think that we stand a better chance of interpreting this situation in a way that conservative Christians can understand. They already think that we're morally bankrupt, and they have a more than logical answer to that interpretation, so it's not going to change any minds.

While I've said before that heterosexism is more than just a lack of information, it's also something that can be changed. It's a worldview that people invest a lot of energy into, but if we seize on opportunities like to show the obvious (to us) contradictions is heterosexist thought, we can change a few minds.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Qomics for Queers

Every week, like a good little gay boy, I turn my expectations of fair representation in the comics into innuendo for the weekly feature Qomics for Queers. I'll do my best to read between the lines, reinterpret artwork, and completely make shit up about the past week's comics.

We start the week with the Family Circus, h/t to the Comics Curmudgeon, because I don't usually read the Family Circus. These are from Sunday and Monday:

Well, well, well, Jeffy. I don't know many 4-year-old straight boys who want to hurt their mothers as much as Jeffy apparently does. That's probably because they're sexually attracted to them and act out against their fathers out of fear of castration in retaliation. Of course, Freud thought that all people were constitutionally bisexual and that resolution of the Oedipal conflict led to heterosexual sexual expression; a failure to properly resolve the oedipal complex because of a distant father or an overbearing mother inhibits a boy from identifying with his father and makes him identify with his mother as a role model, making him express homosexuality.

Uhhhh, yeah, advanced for the 1800's, I guess. Dr. Richard Isay returns to the psychoanalytic subject of male homosexuality in the mid-90's in Becoming Gay, starting from the idea that some men are constitutionally homosexual. He says:

I had found that, like the population of heterosexual men who recalled opposite-sex attraction from an early age, many homosexual men could remember experiencing same-sex attraction when they were as young as four, five, or six years. For gay men, this earliest attraction is to the father or father surrogate.
Isay goes on to say that the boy's non-traditionally-masculine behavior causes rejection from the father and for the gay boy to seek protection from his mother.

But what if a father were totally OK with a non-masc boy? (I think that, since the Family Circus is all things wholesome, Jeffy's father is probably unconditionally loving.) It would follow that the boy would expect his mother to retaliate against him through castration, so he would act out against her. In Jeffy's case, he's using snowballs to protect his own balls. (Yuk yuk yuk)

This Wednesday's Beetle Bailey:

The incredible gayness of Beetle and Sarge continues. Beetle is all too willing to get his beard hitched because he knows that this farce cannot continue forever. Dumping a woman who is totally out of his league isn't an option for him, but he's right there ready to pass her on to the next guy who shows any interest in her at all. All I can say is that Beetle should either come out or give up on sexuality altogether, because acting as Miss Buxley's boyfriend/pimp is not becoming.

Here are my improvements to this Wednesday's Archie:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

This Week in Pink: An Ode to my Sugar Daddy

This week's queer musical interlude: Final Fantasy's cover of Joanna Newsom's "Peach, Plum, Pear".

And what we have to remember this week by in queer blog posts:
  • The kids down at Good As You obsess over Donny Davies, internet star extraordinaire.
  • Bil Browning's out to take down some gay-ish Indiana lawmakers. The question remains: will he catch my heroin-addicted, orgy-lovin' sugar daddy on the IN House judicial commit... oops! I said too much!
  • Pam Spaulding raises some interesting questions about the legitimacy of Hillary's stand on GLBT rights. She'll answer your questions, Pam, once she's finished her national polling on them, analyzed the results according to respondent's current likelihood of voting for her in the primary, and then triangulated her position with likely Republican cross-overs and found the right framing for swing voters. Gosh! Give her a minute!
  • Jasmyne Cannick defends Isaiah Washington and tells gay community to look in the mirror when it comes to discrimination.
  • Jim at Box Turtle Bulletin points out that Americans are exporting homophobia to Europe. And I still can't find a bottle of Ranch dressing in Paris!

My first (and last, I hope) words on the Isaiah Washington/T.R. Knight altercation

I'm probably the only gay blogger not to have said anything about this, and probably because I really find it strange that this story gained so much traction. Here are some thoughts:

Isaiah Washington's usage of the word "faggot" is demeaning to all queer people, especially to gay men who grew up with that term being thrown around to make them hate their sexuality and buy into heterosexual supremacy.

Isaiah Washington apologized (way too tired to get a link, but it's everywhere). He acknowledged what he said and that it was hurtful.

All of us need to move on. He apologized, and if we can't accept apologies, then we can't accept progress.

I have no idea why this got to be such a big deal, with so many tangible and violent heterosexist acts out there that barely get any media coverage.

I am very glad that T.R. Knight has come out. I wish him the best.

I'm not going to watch Grey's Anatomy, mostly because I don't like its mopiness, unrealistic sex and relationships, and over-the-top dialogue.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Knock it off, Chuck Knipp

I found this video on YouTube after a Jasmyne Cannick post prompted me to search there. (I was going to embed but the freeze-frame happens on an ugly scene, I really don't want that up here, so you're going to have to follow the link).

If you haven't seen this Shirley Q. Liquor act, it's done by Chuck Knipp, a white gay man who dresses up as a straight Black woman (in blackface). This character is an "ignunt" "happy-go-lucky mother of 19 children" who, according to Knipp, "is not afraid to embrace every cultural stereotype and subvert them for her own purpose". Knipp portrays her as an irresponsible, incoherent alcoholic, and if you look through the rest of the YouTube library of Shirley Q. Liquor, there's a whole lot of grossness involved. Read a good article about the performance by Keith Boykin.

I seriously hope Knipp isn't ignunt enough himself to think that he's doing any sort of favor to the Black or the gay communities. As a gay man he should understand thing or two about context. When such a performance is done (in fact, when any performance is done), every joke, every line, every word is itself a symbol designed to bring certain images to the audience's mind. This applies to simple words like "banana" making people think of the fruit (or a penis, I guess) to the symbol of blackface making people think of those old Vaudeville acts that used it to demean Black people. It applies to Eddie Murphy's homophobic "comedy" in order to justify every negative stereotype of gay people out there to Knipp telling jokes that sound like pages out of the Republican's old Southern Strategy.

Moral of the story is that Knipp is bringing more baggage into his act than he chooses to acknowledge. While it's theoretically possible that it could be funny to speak poorly, wear bad make-up, or make tired jokes about waking up late, when done by a white man performing in blackface, its subtext is white supremacy. Keith Boykin says:
If the results are to be believed, just 4 percent think the site needs "less offensive" humor. That may tell you a lot about Knipp's audience.

And this isn't helping out the pervasive stereotype that gay people are rich, white, elitist racists, either, which is probably why the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is against the performance as well. It's not to hard to see the effect of something like this on the ability of voters, judges, and Congress members to buy into silly arguments about how gays are too rich to need equality, too snooty to condescend to give back.

Take a minute to sign the petition against Knipp's performance.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Logic isn't an even playing field when arguing with heterosexual supremacists

I've been a little late in showing love for Bil Browning's post that made it all over the world, far too late considering he's a fellow gay Hoosier. Basically he asked for any and all gossip about heterosexist Indiana politicians, but especially a few who he suspects are closet cases giving head in cars and visiting bathhouses. He wants to make it harder for them to oppose the Hate Crimes and Civil Rights legislation and to support the proposed anti-marriage amendment.

So I'll show him some love now by responding to what he says is the only negative feedback he's gotten: the Indianapolis Star's blog. There's a lot of "Let's repeat all the things we agree on", followed by some "Here're some broad, sweeping statements that aren't backed up and actually kinda contradict each other", and then a "Here's what I really wanted to write about". After that, there's this paragraph:
Given the comparisons gay activists make between their movement and that of the civil rights movement for Blacks in the 1960s, they should actually do more of the things that made the latter successful: Dramatize -- and humanize - their struggle; argue the legal merits of demanding recognition of their rights and privileges to marriage; fight the long-term political battle to stem efforts against gay marriage through grass-roots efforts.
There're a few problems with this.

First, while he's right that a lot of people compare the gay rights movement to the civil rights movement in the 60's, the two groups have some significant differences. One important one is that there were no secretly Black racist politicians to out. This strategy simply doesn't exist for Black people. Second is that since gay people often come from families where no one else is openly gay, they find it much easier to turn their backs on the community. I haven't heard of any prominent Black politicians in the 1960's who were in favor of segregation. But there are gay people in the government who do support heterosexist legislation.

Second, this is a grass-roots effort in a political battle. I don't see any established gay rights groups officially helping Bil Browning out. And this is part of arguing the legal merits of the case: it shows that the privacy and equality that we want exists in practice for a small privileged group of people.

But third I take issue with the idea that we haven't somehow articulated our position well enough yet. Time and time again we show why we are deserving of full equality, making logical argument after logical argument, all to be put on a CNN talking heads show with someone from Focus on the Family who shows up with no logic and no research, just lies and fear-mongering, and to be told, well, the conservatives are probably right that you're asking for too much. The logical argument playing field is not even; if it were, we would have won a long, long time ago. Heterosexual supremacy is not a momentary ignorance, it's a complex system of demeaning and understanding GLBT people as inferior. Facts can't enter that system, because if they did, it would collapse, and heterosexists have far too much riding on that system. Facts aren't going to change people's realities. A dramatic display of the hypocricy of that worldview will.

Consider on the national level - Mark Foley was outed, that aided the Democrats polling numbers dramatically and probably allowd for them to take back the Senate. Is a Democratic Senate better for GLBT people? Yes - far from perfect, but better. The Indianapolis Star wants us to keep playing by a set of polite rules that haven't worked because they just can't work, they're set up so that we fail, and we shouldn't keep repeating the same failed experiments over and over hoping for a different outcome.

At the very least, if Bil gets any dirt, it will be very entertaining. And when you live in Indiana, you take your entertainment any way you can get it.

Lesbians allowed to golf as a couple

A settlement was reached in the Koebke and French case. 365gay has details:
The lawsuit California's Supreme Court ruled in August 2005 that that Bernardo Heights Country Club discriminated against B. Birgit Koebke and Kendall French. Bernardo Heights' membership policy allows a spouse to be included in membership. Koebke had joined the club in 2001 and sought to have French added as a spouse. Although Koebke and French have been together since 1993 and registered partners since 1998, Bernardo Heights Country Club refused to recognize the couple's relationship, limited how frequently they could use the course together, and forced them to pay additional greens fees whenever French seeks to play golf as Koebke's "guest." Lambda Legal argued that the club's rules violated California's civil rights laws. Lawyers for the club argued that the rules do not amount to discrimination because they apply to all unmarried people. The high court, in its ruling, said that allowing the families of married members to golf gratis while charging the partners of gay members who are legally not permitted to marry constituted "impermissible marital status discrimination."
It's interesting that the Court rejected that this isn't discrimination because all unmarried couples are discriminated against equally. I wonder if courts are going to start rejecting that whole it's-not-anti-gay-discrimination-because-the-gays-can-just-marry-heterosexually meme when it comes to marriage equality, because it's pretty much the same thing.

While I'll never get why some people have to join country clubs, I do enjoy the symbolism of the country club itself not just having to allow lesbians to join, but having to acknowledge the fact that a lesbian relationship exists. And not just acknowledge it, but respect it. It's so easy to let GLBT people do pretty much anything and pretend that you're not heterosexist when you condition rights on pretending to be heterosexual or asexual.

Welcome to Awkwardville, Population: 2

You've seen the transcript, now watch the video. It's like the transcript but without all the reading.

Ba-zing! Watch as Dick Cheney can't defend his daughter! The awesome part about heterosexism is that the creates alienating hierarchy within families! Someone like Cheney can play both sides against himself causing him to lose any agency! Well, he does have one option left: make Wolf Blitzer feel like a jerk for giving the Vice President a chance to defend his daughter!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Happy No Name-Calling Week!

Listen to this wonderful idea from GLSEN:
No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.
This week is GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week, and it seems like a really great set of lesson plans that tackle the issue of bullying in schools in a way that kids can understand (to read suggested K-5 lesson plans, click here). Bullying is a big-time LGBT issue because it's a powerful weapon that our heterosexist society wields daily against queer people. Gender policing through bullying is a constant, direct attack on GLBT youth's self-esteem, ensures that they feel meaningless and abnormal, and takes away their entitlement to basic rights by forcing them to internalize heterosexual supremacy. The resulting tangible impacts of bullying are a direct result of LGBT youth losing the right to achieve and translate into an economic disparity later in life.

So of course something like this is going to attract negative attention from anti-gay forces. The AFA has "Sodomy 101: Gay activists are transforming public schools into propaganda factories" as their top story today, and a group of anti-gay parents got riled up over this. These people are only concerned when the current hierarchy being upset, so this shows that GLSEN is going in the right direction. I don't recall ever reading anti-gay propaganda about how the HRC's Buying for Equality Guide is destroying families. (To clarify, I'm really glad that they have that guide for moral reasons, but as a strategy to fight heterosexism, let's be honest....)

The great thing about these lesson plans is how simple and age-appropriate they are, and how being opposed to the content of them really shows anti-gay folk for how callous they really are. For example, in the first lesson at the elementary school level, kids are asked to think of names that they like to be called and names that they don't like to be called, sharing those names with the class, and then making a list of "Names I want to be called" and "Names I don't want to be called". This gets kids thinking about the importance of constructing one's own identity, listening to others' feelings and respecting their wishes, and thinking about the consequences of their words. Truly radical, because the ability to construct one's own identity is at the crux of queer self-esteem.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pastor Ted talks about his sex life

Pelosi's daughter has a documentary that will show on HBO, and Pastor Ted's in it. Here's a bit from ABC News:
In the film, he proclaims that evangelicals have the best sex lives in the world. "You know all the surveys say that evangelicals have the best sex life of any other group," he says. In the documentary, Haggard asks an evangelical next to him how often he has sex with his wife. The man replies, "Every day." Haggard then explains that evangelicals have a lot of love and says to Pelosi, "You don't think these babies come out of nowhere?"
Ew, ew, ew, ew.

And that's the mature response.

At least he's showing he paid attention in Conservative Statistics 101: "You know all the surveys say...." Yes, a vague reference to all the surveys. Touche, Mr. Haggard, touche. Although someone told me that you needed crystal meth to have sex with your wife.

UPDATE: Speaking of Evangelicals and statistics, Christianity Today has a great article up about just that. And no one can say the author's anti-Christian: He's a youth minister named Christian who writes for Christianity Today.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Closets are for political failures!

An interesting article on Raw Story says that Democrats in New York looking for a replacement for the state Comptroller are worried that one of the possibilities is a closet case.
The column from the Post, a daily newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, continues, "'Though they would appoint an openly gay candidate, they worry about someone in the closet,' one Dem told Page Six. "After the Hevesi fiasco, they want honesty, and worry about the pressures involved for a statewide official to remain in the closet."
This is a turn-around from the normal position of wanting gay politicians to be open closet cases. The way one expresses his or her sexuality being used as a job (dis)qualification can't be good, but at least it's based on the idea that sexuality is not willfully mutable. Of course, the logical extension of that is full equality, so maybe these Democrats will be something to watch this year.

How are you spending the next two years?

Not hearing about silly anti-marriage amendments being rejected in the US Congress!

Well into the new year and still going....

Screenshot from 5 minutes ago. One word: C'MON!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Paying attention in class

The kids at Good As You have been working on a new way to get rid of those pesky anti-gay equality amendments. Check it out.

Dr. Laura: You thought I hated homosexuals? I meant I hate happy people!

That's about as intelligent of a response to the multiple campaigns against her as we get in this Radar interview. Seriously. While the kids at Gay Patriot caught it before me (I guess that's a hat tip) and just ate it up, beautiful people are a little more skeptical. GLAAD has a good list of her heterosexual supremacist comments up.

Quick summary of the Radar interview: she stands by her quotations about gays being inherently disordered, a biological error, but doesn't understand the huss-fuss; she's against same-sex couples adopting because they can't possibly be better than orphanages (Dr. Laura laughs in the face of facts); she insists on using the word "homosexual" instead of gay; and she is completely down with ex-gaying people. Yeah, so I can't see why people said anything.

But a couple of things jumped out at me. First, the editor notes that the interviewer "is not, in fact, gay. He is, however, gay friendly." I don't understand the first half because he keeps on referring to his male partner, but the second half just makes me mad. Some editor just sat down and decided that this guy was gay-friendly, objectively, and if anyone has a problem with him, well, they're being unreasonable, because if you remember from earlier in this sentence, the interviewer is gay-friendly! Especially when he goes into this strange hypothetical about adopting a child and says that someone will play the "mommy role" and if things don't work out with the surrogate mother they'll just abort, although it was hard to make heads or tails of it.

Anyway, the second thing was Dr. Laura trotting out the "I don't hate gays - some of my best friends are gay!" defense. In which case I think that the word "homophobia" has become obsolete in describing anti-gay hatred. It's an old idea that people who didn't like gay people were just woefully uninformed because they hadn't actually met a gay or lesbian, so they feared the unknown. That's not the case anymore. People like Rick Santorum, James Dobson, and Dr. Laura aren't uninformed.

This is why the term "heterosexual supremacy" should replace the term "homophobia". It describes how these people do know the gays and are willfully misinformed about us, all to support their gut feeling that heterosexuals are superior to non-heterosexuals. From Dr. Laura in 1998:
I contend [homosexuality]'s been twisted into a major interference with heterosexuality[....] if you're gay or a lesbian, it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually, intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex. It is a biological error.
In Dr. Laura's worldview, being gay is an error. She believes that God created every person and took his time to make everyone good, except of course the gays who were the ones He messed up on and was about to throw away but decided that Earth could use a little trash, those errors. That's not a fear of gay people; that's a complex structure of heterosexual supremacy.

So when she talks about gay friends and reads letters from gay people who are oh so glad that Dr. Laura directed them to NARTH, she's factually correct. She does like the gay people that she can control and feel superior to. Another old quotation, from 2000
Rupert Everett, that was it. He played -- he was so wonderful in "The Marriage," "The Perfect Marriage," I think it was. He was hilarious. That was a fabulous movie. "The Ideal Husband," whatever the heck it was.
After gushing over Everett when he played straight (so aggressively straight that the movie was titled after his character's heterosexuality), she goes on to say how much she hated his role in The Next Best Thing, where he played gay. She's OK with queers as long as they hide their sexuality and do a little song and dance for her, but for a gay man to play a gay character in a movie? They might get all uppity and think that they are equal!

That's heterosexual supremacism, and that's why the "I have gay friends" argument is irrelevent.

She did say this: "Hate generally eclipses good, because it has no boundaries." But she doesn't get any sympathy for pretending not to understand why gays and lesbians had a problem with her.

Qomics for Queers

While in the 70's, 80's, and 90's television has been catching up with the reality that GLBT people actually exist, film about queers has been around for a century, and theater and literature with prominant gay characters has been around since who knows when, the comics have pretty much ignored the fact that gays exist at all. The only ones we know have that have mentioned gays are Mallard Fillmore saying how homophobia is A-O-K, Doonesbury's liberal/conservative talk-radio couple, and that one old boss of Elizabeth on For Better or For Worse. For a medium of this size, one would expect more.

So, like a good little gay boy, I turn those expectations into innuendo in the weekly feature Qomics for Queers. I'll do my best to read between the lines, reinterpret artwork, and completely make shit up about the past week's comics in order to feel like we're represented in this medium.

This week is all about Beetle Bailey. The first one is from Wednesday:

I've been following the gayness of Camp Swampy for the past month. (Click on "BEETLE BAILEY" on the topics list below to catch up.) What we see here is that the only person in Camp Swampy in whom Beetle can confide his feelings for Sarge is the only civilian who works there. She, being a modern, young career woman, is completely supportive, but also confused. Like, he's 20 years older than Beetle, is a whole lot heavier, is losing his hair, and isn't particularly nice to Beetle. Like a devoted and delusional lover, Beetle defends his affection pretty poorly.

Then again, he's probably not completely out and doesn't think that there's anyone else out there for him. The only way to make a joke out of that kind of sadness is some good old punctuation-mark-and-squiggly-line swearing.

From Thursday:

Well, he's singing a song in which he calls himself "divine". Notice that Beetle pulled right up next to him in the circle around the campfire. I don't think that the army goes camping like this anymore, but it's better to think of the army like that than to think about all those dead Iraqis. And to show that this is a little more than one man's conjecture and is more like two men's conjecture, The Comics Curmudgeon also picked up on it.

And then Friday:

I mean, why not just have a bareback orgy right in the middle of the showers for the whole world to watch? Let's see here, we know from Killer's comment that Sarge spends a long time in the shower. Like a really long time in the shower. I can't think of any other explanation than that Sarge is waiting in the showers to check out other guys. Sure, Beetle's a good little sport and covers for him, but he knows that the only reason Sarge would hang out in a nudey zone for what would have had to have been over half an hour would be to get his jollies.

Beetle, not to be outdone, is sporting the towel around the neck. Fun for the local bathhouse, but he's letting it all hang out in the army. I watched Philadelphia, Beetle! I know what they do to your type in the military!

OK, I haven't posted in a while...

Probably because I was annoying myself with the whole "we" thing, I haven't posted in a while. So I'm going to pretend like it was all part of an upgrade to Q-Bomb 2.0 for the New Year. New features include:
  • No more "we" to refer to just me
  • Not everything will be ironic, there will be a few sincere posts here and there
  • Weekly features "The Homosexual Agenda", "Wednesday with a Humorless Liberal", "Qomics for Queers", and "This Week in Pink"
  • Back-dating on posts to make it seem like I've actually been updating content on a regular basis
  • A renewed promise to learn Photoshop so I can do something about the way this webpage looks

Friday, January 12, 2007


Well, not quite. A pretty uninteresting exchange between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and California Senator Barbara Boxer got blown out of proportion. Really no big deal considering they were discussing something important and the GOP wants to distract people from what's really going on. Feministing has the play-by-play.

John Aravosis has some even better analysis: Condi is a lesbian. Here's the heart of the argument:
I think they freaked out because for years there have been rumors - unsubstantiated from what I know - about Condi's true sexual orientation. She doesn't appear to date men. She's around 52 years old and has never been married. Her life's dream is to become the commissioner of the National Football League. And she had a very strange exchange on FOX News a few years back in which one of the FOX hosts seemed to be trying to set Condi up on a date with a female anchor at FOX (true story).
The best part of politics is speculating on the sexual orientation of public officials.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Would he please just come out already?

Sarge just keeps on getting closer and closer to the day he announces to the whole world that he's a big mary.

Yes, Killer, Sarge's love life depends on "meat" and "potatoes". Since that would be too subtle even for me, I'll rephrase: he needs "penis" and "testicles". It's a little immature to refer to male genetalia in that way, but Beetle Bailey is not known for maturity.

While you may be thinking that that's a bit of a stretch to interpret the comic that way, at least we find out that Sarge requires food as a bribe to spend any time at all with his "girlfriend".

Of course, this wasn't enough to justify a post until I saw today's Beetle Bailey.

'Nuf said.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Oh, John, how did something so right turn so wrong?

From the Huffington Post:
It's very easy for me to say, 'Civil unions? Yes. Partnership benefits? Yes. Obviously all the other anti-discrimination stuff? Yes.' It's a jump for me to get to gay marriage, and I haven't yet gotten across that bridge. But it is something I struggle with, and that's just the truth.
If Edwards becomes president in '08, then America will have truly elected the opposite of GWB, an Indecider-in-Chief. Yes, because a relatively simple social issue that has been in the spotlight for over ten years is so very hard to come to any sort of conclusion about.

Seriously, if the Democratic nominee in 2008 doesn't support equality in marriage, we're voting Republican to send a message.

That message will of course be "Fuck you, cruel world!"