Friday, January 7, 2011

11 Practical exercises on being gay.

I read today that Steve Buckley - Sports writer for the Boston Herald - Came out of the closet:
Read here:

To which an ignorant (IMHO) reader commented:
"If it makes you feel better - more honest - great. But really, SO? There is no Boston "gay community". Each person is different - themselves. So just go about your life and do your job and keep it to yourself like your hetero friends do. You're out. Now let it go."

What really irks me about this comment is this part "So just go about your life and do your job and keep it to yourself like your hetero friends do."..... Oh really?

Really?!?!? You know what? Im really getting tired of hearing that. So for all you straight people who seem to think like this, lets take a practical look at it. Story time!

Lets assume your name is John and you are married to Jane. You have a wonderful little girl called Sally. For the sake of this example lets use these functional characters. So lets say John and Jane are not in a "socially acceptable" relationship.

Lets start at the beginning shall we? And allow me to blatantly point out the obvious, things that most of my straight friends take for granted.

John meets Jane at a coffee shop. John wants to ask her out but it has to be done in a private way as not to draw too much attention to himself, because if he were seen or overheard asking Jane out on a date then someone might be offended.

Jane agrees. John is out later that day hanging out with some of his friends and they are talking about loved ones family and so on. John wants to tell his friends about this wonderful person he met but he cant. Remember its not "socially acceptable" So he sits idol while listening to his friends brag about their relationships.  Johns buddy Matt asks him to a hockey game on Friday night. Same night as his date with Jane. John can not mention Jane so he makes up a lie. Visiting my mom he says... His friends rib him for not wanting to go out with them. John shrugs it off. Thats lie Number 1.

John meets Jane for a movie on Friday night. They walk in together, get into the theater and the movie begins. John wants to grab Jane's hand but he can not. Someone might be offended so they sit in a bit of awkwardness while the usually moments pass and go uneventfully because someone might be upset or god forbid they might be seen and bashed later that evening...

The continue their love life and after a few months things begin to get serious. John wants to take Jane home but he is unsure of what his parents might think or the neighbors. So at Christmas time they spend time at their respective family's while denouncing the other when confronted by loved ones about relationship information. the lies then continue.

John and Jane continue to see each other. Intimate in private. Cold in public.
Holding hands - Nope
Hugging - Nope
and god forbid, kissing? That very act could cause you to loose your life is you happen to be seen by a homophobe. So all of that is out.

Now its getting serious. Jane and John are ready to take the next step. John wants to propose to Jane but in his state their marriage would be deemed as invalid which requires the planning and wedding to take place in a different location.  John proposes to Jane - In private and Jane accepts, knowing that the wedding would require lengthy travel plans and a rather simple and quiet wedding ceremony because Jane and John can only invite those who "know" about the relationship.

So lets say the wedding goes off without a hitch. John can not wear his wedding ring in public because any confrontation about it would involve either John lying or fear of retribution.

Its time to settle down. Johns marriage is not recognized by the state he lives in and the only way to get Jane on his health insurance would be to move to an opposite corner of the country and leave friends and family behind. So they have to spend a little extra to have health insurance.

John wants to buy a home, but because the marriage is not legal he would have to be the sole one on the mortgage and unfortunately he does not make enough to apply for a mortgage that he could pay for on his sole income.

So they will have to rent and hope things change.
Lets assume Jane is unable to conceive.  No problem John says lets adopt.
Ooooops cant do that. They are not allowed to adopt in the state they live in. How about a serogate... Nope cant do that. Because the blood line of the parent would be the sole custodian. You see because their marriage is not legal Jane could not be listed as a parent.

Fun isn't it.... Lets continue.
So John decides to purchase a child. But same problem. They are not listed as married therefore only one can be listed as a parent.

Enter Sally.
Not being married John and Jane have to decide which health plan is the better one so Sally can be put on that one. But the family plans are more expensive which means Johns insurance has just jumped up. And remember Jane is on her own plan.

Now Sally is in school but has to be careful as well. Sally does not want to let anyone know about her awkward parents. So in all social capabilities Sally has to lie about her parents or say she has only one. After all, we wouldn't wants kids exposed to the "lifestyle"

So naturally no Sally has to lie.
John and Jane are invited by Johns boss to the company Christmas party. John has to introduce Jane to his coworkers as an associate, friend, room mate.. If you think this is healthy imagine introducing your wife or girlfriend as a "room mate". Hope you enjoy that couch.

Now the opposite happens when Jane's Christmas party comes along.

Anniversaries, birthdays and holidays are all shrouded in a mystery of "who knows and who doesn't" So they have to be very careful about who or what they say and do in public.

Now John and Jane are getting up in age. Sally is off with her own life now. And retirement is  coming. Jane is not irrigable for any of Johns retirement benefits because they are not technically "married". Because the federal government does not allow for any of the benefits allowed. Remember that lovely thing called DOMA.

John then falls ill later in life. Jane is just recently been allowed to visit her husband, but they have to take care in picking facilities. As it is not socially acceptable they must pick a hospital or medical center that is under the umbrella of the government.

John then passes away.
Jane has to sit and watch everything they collected in their life dispersed among Johns family as they were never technically married.

Now here is the lesson Straight folks. (assuming male)
Lets run you threw a few exercises on what it means to be gay ok? And hey, this are practical examples you can use in your everyday life. Try these for one week.  I will even give you a business week. 5 Days. Here is what you can not do:

1: Every single time you are in public with your girlfriend and you want to kiss her or hug her or hold her hand. Remember to be looking over your shoulder to check who is around. Remember, you never know.

2: When you do get married remember how simple the process is when compared to John and Jane. Especially the comfort of having your wedding locally and can invite all your friends and family.

3: Remember when you are out with your drunk friends, that you cant let it slip. And you have to make excuses for why you are missing events with friends. I recommend keeping a few on the mental sticky note for occasions when you need to come up with something quick.

4: You must marry in private and travel to a state that allows it. And you can only invite the ones you A: Trust. B: can afford the trip.

5: Remember to remove your wedding ring if you are in a possibly awkward environment. But remember to put it back on before you get home.

6: You cant introduce her as your wife to anyone who you might feel will be uncomfortable with it. You cant get annoyed or even a little upset if she does the same to you.

7: If you have a child, remember to make them lie about your relationship. When asked why simply say you are in the witness protection program. Why not, its easier then trying to tell a 5 year old that there are people who would like to take her away if they knew.

8: Save some money for the extra insurance and remember only one of you is "actually the parent". Also remember to pick the better health insurance.

9: If you want to buy a home, reserve a whole lot of money for a private attorney for extra paperwork and remember that its null and void as far as the government is concerned.

10: If you retire. Take solace in knowing the benefits you have worked for your entire life will be shared with her.

11: Take comfort in knowing all your worldly goods would go to her in the tragic case that you shake loose your mortal coil.

So in short. To all you douche bags who think "Keep it to yourself, I give you a resounding, FUCK YOU."
It's ever so obvious that you have no idea what you are talking about.

And to anyone else who thinks "Gay rights are not civil rights and are wrongly compared" I point out that the above series is IDENTICAL in 1950 if John were black and Jane were white.

I am lucky enough to have an amazing family and wonderful friends. So thanks to their love for me I am able to circumvent some of this. To all of you, I love you!

But it does not negate it all. Sadly...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

DADT and the "ick" factor.

Mark Olmsted put into words the very realism of the repeal of don't ask and don't tell.

A few excerpts that really go above and beyond in explaining the issue in real terms:

"The Senators think gays are "icky." When they think of us, they have a momentary flash of having sex with a man, and it grosses them out. They also seem to believe that if a gay man had a chance to impose himself sexually on them, he would. This perception makes them mad at gay men, for imagined crimes of presumed intent."

"I submit that the only thing they find more unpleasant than imagining another man wanting to have sex with them is imagining that he would not. Their egos, perpetually primed by botoxed trophy wives, wouldn't permit such a deflated thought."

"John, get over yourself. This is the reality. When gays want to have sex with each other we have bars, bathhouses, the internet. Sometimes friends even introduce us, or we meet at the laundromat -- just like "normal" people! Bottom line, we have plenty of options, more than most straight men. "

"You see Senator, gays are very well-trained by this society in taking the temperature of their workplace. We generally don't come out if and until it feels comfortable, even if we legally can. Pastors, teachers, corporate execs, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, students, postal workers, prison guards; all kinds of gay Americans make the choice of omitting or side-stepping questions of sexual orientation for the simple reason that we want to get our jobs done without a hassle. We deeply value laws that protect us from getting fired, but that doesn't mean we still don't have to deal with ignorant co-workers and assholes. You don't have to legislate the "Don't Tell" part. We do that pretty much anyway."
"Gay recruits go through two basic trainings; the one they receive in the military, and the one they just survived in high school. It is ludicrous to imagine that anyone whose foremost priority is living out loud and proud is going to choose the military as his preferred career option. He doesn't want to be hazed, ribbed or viewed through a prism of assumption. He wants to bond with his team. But as a result of that process, he also wants to be comfortable not lying to the very people he grows close to. It's really what happens in most of the cases now. But the repeal of DADT would, practically speaking, finally make that honesty a safe choice."
"Honesty, Senator McCain. It's comes from the same root as "honor" -- about which you might still have a vague recollection. So do the honorable thing. Repeal DADT."

I particularly found the last statement to be the most moving.
The Entire Article is a must read. Very well put Mr Olmsted.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I wonder why you were labeled a hate group?

From our friends over at Truth Wins Out
Watch the Hate Group Family Research Council Lie With Polls!

This group "Family Research Council" was just labeled as a hate group via the Southern Poverty Law Center. And yet what do they do? The continue lying. I think its time the  "sheeple" as Evan so elegantly put it, wake up and realize they are being lied too. Because bigotry loves company.

Truly disgusting.

Ever have a really good comeback days after the argument?

On November 29th, Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews. He was up against Tony Perkins of the Anti Gay hate group, Focus on the Family.

But before we get into this lets get a little background.

Tony Perkins is the head figure for a group called Focus on the Family. An Anti-gay group who consistently argues against gay marriage. This group is known for making statistics up out of thin air and quoting junk science reports. Recently the Focus on the Family group was identified as a hate group. Lumped right up there with the KKK. Who did this?; 

Enter Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education and other forms of advocacy, we work toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality. "
The SPLC defines a hate group by many criteria but mostly because of a groups need to spread lies and hate.

Why was the Family Research Council Listed?
You can find out right here:

So on to the debate itself. During the show in true Focus on the Family style Tony Perkins quoted the infamous American College of Pediatricians:

“If you look at the American College of Pediatricians, they say the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children,” Perkins said. 

Sounds pretty legitimate doesn't it? This was left to dead ear without any sort of rebuttle. 
And then 

"Perkins also referenced a 1988 article that came from a real scholarly journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, that said 86% of child molesters in a particular study group identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual"

Again it sounds legitimate. And again, no rebuttle. The show abruptly ends and thats it.... Wait what?!?!?!?!
Yup that was it. 

Mark Potok the following day writes his response in the form of a blog. See it here:

In which he aptly points out the flaws. 

"In fact, the American College of Pediatricians is a tiny group of doctors who broke away from the American College of Pediatrics in 2002 because the latter group supported LGBT parental rights. The American College of Pediatricians, believed to now have about 200 members, explicitly demands, as a condition of membership, that would-be joiners “hold true to the group’s core beliefs … [including] that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.”

The group Perkins cited as authoritative has come under repeated attack by real scientific authorities. After it publishedFacts About Youth last spring, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association described the booklet as non-factual. Several individual researchers — including Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health — said the handbook misrepresented their findings. “It is disturbing to me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against homosexuality,” Collins wrote. “The information they present is misleading and incorrect.”
In other words, the American College of Pediatricians, despite its erudite name, is akin to the fake environmental front groups some energy corporations have set up to make dubious claims about the non-existence of global warming."

And continues:

Perkins also referenced a 1988 article that came from a real scholarly journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, that said 86% of child molesters in a particular study group identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual. But the statement was entirely parenthetical to the article and, as other sex researchers have pointed out, does not provide any supporting data whatsoever. The claim is at stark odds with most other research into the nature of pedophiles. The American Psychological Association, for example, says in a policy statement that “homosexual men are not more likely to abuse children than heterosexual men are.”
This morning, Warren Throckmorton — a psychology professor at a Christian college who has counseled clients conflicted about their sexual identity for years — offered his insights into the SPLC’s criticisms: “Reviewing the charges leveled against the Christian groups, I think their responses are mostly unfortunate and unhelpful. The SPLC has identified some issues which are legitimate and have damaged the credibility of the groups on the [hate] list. Going forward, I hope Christians don’t rally around these groups but rather call them to accountability.”

Applause for Mark Potok? Absolutely not. Why? Because its too late. We need to be better prepared to respond to these types of things. Mr. Potok missed a glaring opppurtunity to point out why the Focus on the Family Group is listed as a hate group. For lying! and spreading mis information. 

Lets face it people are sheep. They are going to go on their marry way and repeat like parrots what they heard on this show. All the time repeating and mocking false information. Not a single one is going to do their own research into the issues just mimic what they watched on the magic black box.

Its frustrating as hell to see these things pass. We have to do better then this people. Watch some of Dan Savages interactions with Tony Perkins, You can find them on youtube. He comes prepared to discuss and knows what he is talking about. We need to stop giving the spotlight to people who are not prepared to speak about these issues. 

Where I appreciate Mark Potok and the great work of the SPLC, I am disturbed by the lack of information available to discuss and in reality may have caused more harm then done any good.

We are better then this. 

National Organization for My Marriage, not yours.

For those of you who are familiar with same sex marriage you have heard of the National Organization for Marriage or NOM as it is referred. For years this organization has been the spearhead for the movement against gay marriage. Under the laughable guise of "protecting traditional marriage" foes have continually argued that Marriage is one man and one woman.

Recently added as a "group of interest" by the world renowned organization identifying hate groups in the U.S. Southern Poverty Law Centers. Nom is on the radar and it seems full steam ahead for identifying themselves as a hate group. At direct odds with the Human Rights Campaign the HRC has recently launched a new website called nomexposed.

Now, if you are going to stand against gay marriage then fine. Its a free country. However what really gets my horns twisted in a knot is that they are standing against civil unions as well. They recently tried to stop a civil unions bill in Illinois. Much to their dismay the bill passed however.

Read more here:

The argument is this. Civil unions will lead into gay marriage. Well then perhaps NOM, you should change your name to National Organization for Stopping Gays.
Whats next? We are going to criminalize gay people all together? Because Gay love leads to Civil Unions which lead to gay marriage.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The beginning of the end for Gay Marriage Opponents?

When Proposition 8 was overturned by Judge Walker I went and read the transcripts behind his decision and was clearly impressed. The decision was not taken lightly and was very well documented including several posts as to why Walker overturned it. I found it clearly concise, logically balanced and over all, well thought out. Which of course left me to ponder the future of prop 8.

When I found out that it was going to be appealed I immediately responded to the overwhelming cheer of proponents that it was a grave mistake. The case to be made for proponents of proposition 8 was extremely weak. This lethargic case has the least hope of surviving an appeal. The arguments for prop 8 are beyond weak. At one point a defendant of proposition 8 actually changed his view and agreed that their was no case to be made against gay marriage. Laughable at best.

So why is this such a grave mistake? Perhaps the proponents should have thought a little further then what they apparently did. Giving up the war for a win on the battlefield. You see, If the case against proposition 8 is upheld by both this court and the inevitable supreme court then the proponents of proposition 8 will have literally ushered in same sex marriage for the country. Why? Because Judge Walker argued that the passing of proposition 8 would violate the 14th ammendmant of the constitution and further continued that personal rights are not subject to majority vote.

Because, as of this moment 31 states have legislation in the state constitution banning same sex marriage. That is they define marriage as between a man and a woman. Here is the kicker. Each one of them was put into place by majority vote. So... by that logic if the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the overturning of proposition 8 then no state in the union would be able to deny same sex marriage because they were all put into place by majority vote.

Thats right folks. Its a massive gamble. Most legal analysts agree that they are betting the farm on this poorly constructed case. Most would go as far as to agree that they should have simply let California go and move on. But alas so deprived of a victory with 5 states already allowing gay marriage in the last 5 years they are standing firm on this. So lets look at the bullet points, shall we?

- Proposition 8 was overturned on a 128 page logical ruling
Making it possibly the weakest case to ever be made against same sex marriage. I have read them and I can tell you I honestly am not sure how even the most staunch conservative could find error. But I have been wron g in the past.

- Proponents of Prop 8 first have to argue that there would in fact be some sort of "harm" done to them if California was to allow gay marriage. No small task mind you as both the Attorney General and  ex-Governor  refused to argue that it would.

- The Judges have been announced. 2 Democrat and one Republican. I like those odds.

- The case will be televised.

- And lastly lets just stop and think about something. 3 Judges in Iowa failed to obtain a retention vote because of an ugly smear campaign simply because the voted for gay marriage rights. So one has to wonder one simple thing. If I were a judge and I were angry about the ousting of 3 judges then I might be more apt to make a point here. To prove that majority rule does not mean good government.

Something to think about. :)

Further Reading:

Prop 8 Trial on Monday!

Well its back in court again folks. Arguments are to be heard on Monday at 10:00am PST, 1:00pm EST.
The first hour will be devoted to whether or not it can be appealed.

"Legal standing issue: Not just anybody can initiate a lawsuit and appeal the decision, but courts err on the side of allowing a party to appeal. Nevertheless, a party or parties seeking to appeal must still show they are at least vulnerable to an “actual” injury because of the decision below. That injury can include an economic one but it has to be an injury more “concrete” than the fact that appellants disagree with the lower court decision. Proponents will argue that because they were allowed standing in the U.S. District Court, they should naturally have standing on appeal.

The merits: Two provisions of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment are at issue, both encompassed in this language: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Concerning due process, a state cannot deny citizens a fundamental right, including the right to marry, unless it can show a compelling reason to do so. U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker said Proponents failed to establish “any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry.”
With equal protection, the government may not treat one group of citizens with less favor than others unless it has a reason to do so. It may not treat oppressed minorities with less favor unless it has a compelling reason to do so. Judge Walker ruled that gays and lesbians are an oppressed minority and that Proponents failed to establish evidence of even a simple, rational reason to treat them differently, much less a compelling one"
Then the second hour will be dedicated to arguments for and against.
The three judges have already been identified. And the odds are in our favor. Ironically the one Republican Judge is a alumni to Brigham Young Law School. A well affiliated institution with the Mormon Church. Chief proponents of proposition 8.

Here is more info: