emmagrant01: (gay marriage)
I don't know how many of you have already done this, but the website Change.org has been holding a "Ideas for Change in America" competition since election day, and the final round of voting just started today. The top ten vote-getting ideas will be presented to the Obama administration a few days before the inauguration, and the top idea at the moment is to pass a Marriage Equality Rights Act to ensure that all people have the right to marry, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, etc.

You have to register with the site to vote, but please go do so! There are lots of other interesting ideas there, and you can vote for ten in all. I'm pretty sure you don't have to be an American to participate. We can help make this idea something that will be put on the President's desk!
emmagrant01: (HRC)
It was awesome! There were 3000 people there at City Hall, and it was such an amazing feeling to be in that crowd. And it wasn't just gay folk, either -- lots of straight families were there, many of whom said they wanted their children to see the fight for civil rights in action. Cars were driving by and honking like crazy, with people hanging out the windows and shouting their support. There wasn't a single protester that I saw.

I left feeling very positive about the future. I really, truly believe it's only a matter of time before we have marriage equality. It may not come as soon as we want, but it's coming. We just have to keep fighting.

Pictures beneath the cut )

Something really cool happened to me on the way home. BG fell asleep in the car and I decided to go through a Chick-Fila drivethrough to get a sandwich. When I was in line, I saw the woman in the huge SUV in front of me looking at me in her rear view mirror. I still had my HRC hat on, and she had an HRC sticker on the back of her car, so I thought maybe she was just looking at my hat. When I got up to the window to pay, the cashier told me that woman had paid for my food! I was stunned! The only thing I could think of was that it was the HRC hat. Isn't that amazing? :-D
emmagrant01: (Cho knows Harry's gay)

It's a powerful image, right? Especially for Americans of a certain generation. But is it a fair one? Are these two movements, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s which fundamentally changed US society, and the current gay marriage/rights movement really analogous? I've heard compelling arguments both ways, and I'm not sure what to think.

[Poll #1294352]

Yes, I'm making you pick a side, but remember that you can change your vote if your position is swayed later on. Please comment with your reasons!

Anon comments are screened, but I will unscreen them if they contribute positively to the discussion.
emmagrant01: (gay marriage)
This is happening everywhere, Saturday November 15, at 10:30am PST, a massive nationwide simultaneous protest of anti-marriage amendments! To find the meeting point near you, go HERE. Pass it on!

I will be there in Austin with my son, in his rainbow-colored babylegs. Who wants to march with me?
emmagrant01: (asshat)
This is too ridiculous to be true, but it happened in Oklahoma -- so all bets are off.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart is taking heat for an anti-gay comic book.

It's so stupid that it's sort of funny. And not only does he misspell "pedophile", he doesn't care that he can't spell it. Which explains a lot.
emmagrant01: (HRC)
'Top Chef' Beaten By Anti-Gay Attackers

SEA CLIFF, N.Y. -- A Miami woman who was a former contestant on the reality show "Top Chef" was beaten by attackers yelling anti-gay slurs, her lawyer said Tuesday. (AP)

Link to story
emmagrant01: (HRC)
If you're on HRC's mailing list, you already got this.

Take action by going here and sending a letter of support to your Senator, telling him or her that you want the Matthew Shepard Act passed. The other side is sending plenty of letters fighting against its passage.

Edit: In case you missed it, you should read this post by [livejournal.com profile] bookshop about the very disturbing case of the beating death of Aaron Hall. That is why GLBT folks should be protected under current hate crimes laws (which date back to the 1960s).

LINKS: Text of the legislation is here.
You might also be interested in reading the Wiki, which has links to many other pages of interest on the subject.

Book rec

Jun. 7th, 2007 06:47 pm
emmagrant01: (Default)
MDH reads biographies almost exclusively, and every now and then he recs one to me. A few weeks ago he handed me one called The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies, and My Life With Styx, and said "You will LOVE this book." And I did. And I want to rec it to all of you.

It's the auto-biography of Chuck Panazzo, the drummer of Styx, who is gay and HIV positive. The book is basically about what it was like to grow up in the 1950s as a working class Catholic gay boy, and then goes on to be about what it was like to be a closeted gay rock star in the 70s. It's fascinating and heartbreaking, and ultimately very insightful.

One of the things that really stood out to me was how much difficulty Chuck had having relationships, even when he finally came out. He explained that gay kids, especially those of his generation, didn't have any of the dating rituals that straight kids have. They didn't have that training ground for relationships throughout school, and they certainly didn't have any role models. It made me think a lot about how much things have and haven't changed. Chuck notes that even Lance Bass didn't come out for a long time, and that was what, a couple of years ago?

Anyway, I highly recommend it. If you live near me you can borrow my copy. :-)
emmagrant01: (Default)
So Don Imus (a radio host here in the US) made some racist remarks on his show last week. If you have no idea what I'm talking about and are curious, there's a video here.

I'm not a fan of Imus, and I've never really listened to his show. He only pops up on my radar when he does something stupid. And this incident was undoubtedly very very stupid. In response to the backlash, he's said nothing but mea culpa for a week, and he's put himself into many situations where people could publicly berate him for his words. He's been suspended from his show as well. This incident has clearly damaged his career, and people are calling for him to be fired for it.

A week before that, General Peter Pace made controversial comments about gays in the military, calling homosexual "acts" immoral. They was a media uproar, but there were also many people who stepped up and said he was entitled to his opinion and everyone should back off, even though he made those remarks in the context of an official interview. Pace flat-out refused to apologize, and calls for his dismissal were pretty much brushed off as an overreaction. There was a groundswell of people blogging and talking on the radio, saying that they agreed with the general and were glad someone so high up felt that way. There seems to be no damage to his military career.

I'm not suggesting that either or both should be fired or defended for what they said, but I can't help but be a little disturbed by the vast difference in the public response to what in both cases seems to be insensitive remarks made about minorities. I may be wrong, but I don't think I've seen anyone defending Imus or telling people to back off, that he just fucked up, or whatever. But people flocked to do that for Pace. (Interestingly enough, the media responded to both incidents similarly.)

If government officials are allowed to make homophobic comments and get away with it while radio hosts who make racist jokes are skewered, what does that say about the relative status of these two minority groups?
emmagrant01: (Default)
I had lunch with a friend the other day, and the conversation turned to her kids. And she mentioned very casually that she thinks her 3-year-old son is gay. That struck me as really interesting on a lot of levels, not the least of which is that I have a family member (who has yet to come out to anyone) whom we've all assumed was gay since he was a toddler. (And the signs really still point that direction.)

My friend's son has an older brother and older sister, and he prefers his sister's toys to his brother's. He likes to dress up like a princess, and every time his sister paints her own fingernails and toenails, he wants his painted just like hers. And so on. My friend and her husband are great parents, and want their kids to have the freedom to be whoever they are, and so they haven't discouraged any of his emerging femininity. They've started to collect books that celebrate all kinds of families, and have had talks with their older children about respecting their little brother and letting him make his own choices about what to play with, what to wear, and how to act. They've started talking about how sometimes boys like other boys and it's just the same as liking girls. They are really trying to create a home and family atmosphere in which their son, whether he's gay or not, will feel like he can be himself.

[Edit: Just to clarify, I want to point out that my friend isn't really assuming her child is gay or transgendered or whatever, but that the idea that he might be has led her and her husband to alter their parenting style to accommodate that possibility and be sure all of their children feel like they can be themselves. It's hard to convey in a few sentences how her ideas are based on having spent three years with him and knowing him very, very well, but I can assure you that she isn't basing this idea on a few things that happened recently.]

I was just enthralled by that, because that's exactly how I would like to approach raising children in general, I think. It seems like the best home environment for any child would be one where they feel safe, unconditionally loved, and accepted for who they are. I would also like to be very proactive with my own children (if I ever have any) and teach them to accept all sorts of diversity. I'm not sure how you do that other than being a good example, though.

I've always felt for my above-mentioned relative, who grew up as an only child in a very conservative family and has been getting increasing pressure from his parents because he's never had a girlfriend (he's in his 20s). His dad keeps dropping hints about how much he's looking forward to being a grandfather, and it breaks my heart to see the look on his face when those comments are made. All of us family members close to his age have gone out of our way to make it clear we have gay friends and are accepting and supportive, but he's never said anything. Even my mom has gone out of her way to tell him not to feel like he has to meet his parents' expectations, and to be true to himself. We're all hoping he'll feel comfortable coming out to us at some point.

Anyone out there have any experience to share?
emmagrant01: (pissed off)
Texas state representative Warren Chisum is at it again. From Equality Texas's web site:

As the new chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, State Representative Warren Chisum (R – Pampa) laid the groundwork for creating a "preference system" for foster care placement. Chisum stated he "favors tweaking state law to give heterosexuals preferred status as foster parents over gay parents." [...] He believes that a foster child’s welfare is better served by placement with a married husband and wife over any other parental structure.

Despite the fact that there is no evidence that this is true. And this isn't just about gay parents -- it would also affect single parents and unmarried straight couples who foster children. The idea that one's sexual orientation and marital status would be the first thing the state would consider when placing a foster child with a family is beyond ridiculous. In Texas, there are many kinds of families that welcome foster children into their homes. To claim that one kind of family is better than another on the sole basis of one's religious beliefs, ignoring all research to the contrary, is not only stupid -- it puts children at real risk.

Shame on you, Representative Chisum. You'll be getting a letter from me.


Jan. 29th, 2007 02:51 pm
emmagrant01: (laugh)
I KNEW IT. Bwahahaha! You go, Joey!

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] eloiselovelace for the heads-up!

Post about Donnie Davies from last week.
emmagrant01: (gay marriage)
For the Bible Tells Me So

"If you’ve ever felt irked – or worse – by those few biblical passages about “abomination,” or if they’ve ever put an awkward distance – or worse – between you and a friend or colleague or loved one or a favorite aunt or uncle, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO is a film that you absolutely must see. Director Daniel Karslake’s inclusive approach ingeniously reconciles homosexuality, biology and scripture through the prism of the family; indeed, most of the film is devoted to five very normal, very Christian, very American families – families with names like Gephardt and Robinson – and how they handled learning that they had a gay child. FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO is neither a pedantic screed nor an academic treatise, yet its theology is informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard’s Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech. The movie even has a cartoon."

It's playing at Sundance now. I hope it comes to a theater near me.

Read about the background of the film here -- it's incredibly inspiring.

On a semi-related note, I saw an item in Entertainment Weekly that Alan Cumming married Grant Schaffer a few weeks ago in London. (Here is a story on it I just googled.) And I almost passed it by without much thought, but then I thought, wow -- good for EW for inserting a gay marriage item into their "Marriages" column just like a straight marriage! It's that kind of thing that will make gay marriage a reality someday. When it becomes something that you see everywhere, with no great distinction, the bigots won't have a leg left to stand on. :-)
emmagrant01: (Default)
As posted by [livejournal.com profile] clara_swift:

It is not what you would expect to see when you take your children on a Sunday outing to the natural history museum: a giant photograph of one male giraffe humping another, or two whales sparring with giant penises. This, however, is Norway, where — for better or worse — the normal rules do not apply.

I love these sorts of stories because they just reinforce what I already believe about the nature of sexuality. After reading the many negative comments on the article, though, I can't help but wonder what impact such an exhibit would have on people who believe homosexuality is a choice/sin/abomination. I mean, we already know such folks won't be persuaded by science or logic -- their beliefs are held very centrally, and beliefs are incredibly difficult to change. Maybe stories like this only reinforce their beliefs, as indicated in some of those comments.

What do you think? Would this sway any of the bigots you know?
emmagrant01: (Default)
This whole thing with Ted Haggard has been interesting. In case you've missed the buzz for whatever reason, he was until recently the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, a very influential conservative Christian organization in the US. And then, in the last few days, he finally confessed (after a week of denials) to a three-year long affair with a man, and he was fired and disgraced and so on.

Now, part of me wants to rejoice in the revelation of yet more hypocrisy from right wing asshats. I mean, after Foley, I didn't expect another gift so close to the election. I'm still seething over all the hypocrisy of the Republicans going after Bill Clinton for having an affair with Monica Lewinsky as if they somehow had a monopoly on "morality" and "values", while they're really no different. But then it hit me that it would be hypocritical of me to want to slay Foley and Haggard for their indiscretions. Like Clinton, they were both married, and they both cheated, and in the end, it's up to them and their spouses to figure out how to handle that. It's none of my business who anyone else wants to sleep with, and I'm not going to condemn them for it.

And that brings me to the next thing: Foley and Haggard are both gay -- highly closeted, conservative, and Republican, but still gay in a very hostile environment for GLBT folks. Neither of them probably ever had a chance to explore their sexuality with any freedom or lack of fear. They both have probably spent most of their lives fighting feelings they perceived as immoral and sinful, when in reality, they were just wired to be attracted to men. (Younger men, in Foley's case, but I don't regard him as a pedophile by any stretch -- those boys were over the age of consent.) And the fact that both of them were filled with so much self-loathing that they felt compelled to spend a good chunk of their professional lives railing against it, even as they were unable to deny who they really were in private, makes me sad, honestly.

So, Mr. Foley and Mr. Haggard, your own party may cast you aside and trample all over you for what they perceive as weakness and sin, but there is another way to look at it. There are people who will accept you for who you are, and who will forgive you your past transgressions against the GLBT community, and who will fight for your right to live your life like everyone else. Some of them are even Christians (the true Christians, I would argue), but it isn't about faith or religion, or about any particular political party. It's about basic humanity.

Look to your left, and we'll be here. We'll always be here.
emmagrant01: (laugh)
Gacked from [livejournal.com profile] loony_moony (who got it from [livejournal.com profile] anniesj): Video clip showing a Fox News anchor losing all pretense of being objective when interviewing a crazy homophobe. I've never been a fan of Fox, but it's nice to know that some people out there are so insane that we can all agree.
emmagrant01: (Default)
My city election was yesterday, and as I noted a few weeks back there was a proposition on the ballot that would remove the restriction against allowing city employees to include domestic partners and their children on their health care (at their own cost, mind).  The proposition PASSED, with 67% of voters voting for it!

I'm thrilled, because I was really worried by the way that the churches were going after it as "promoting alternative immoral lifestyles".  Luckily, the proposition itself was worded in a very nonconfrontational way, so many voters probably looked at it and said, "That sounds reasonable.  People ought to be able to buy extra health care if they want."  The only people who were screaming about it being a gay rights issue were the conservatives. 

Mwahahaha.  They lose!  It just goes to show you that if you take the word "gay" out (with all of its connotations) and just focus on what's happening to people, the majority of folks support equal rights for everyone.
emmagrant01: (WTF?)
There's a proposition on the ballot in my city that would remove the current ban on domestic partner health care benefits for city employees. They did a bit on the news about it and the supporters they interviewed were very well-spoken. Then it cut back to the newsanchor, who said, "Critics of the proposition say it inappropriately promotes alternative lifestyles."

Wait, let me see if I follow the "logic" here: Withholding health care from someone who is gay will be an incentive for them to become straight? 0_o

The election is May 13, a weird enough date that only the people who feel strongly either way will go out to vote. That could be good or bad.

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