An Excellent, Local, Gay Writer
Posted on June 9th, 2009 at 11:32 am by Steve

Mike Mennonno is, in my opinion, a terrific writer And he’s based in Boston. And he’s gay! And he gardens!!

I’m really enjoying his post about Gay Pride, but I’m even more enamored of this passage from his discussion of how strangers can interact:

As noxious as smoking was, people forget why they started: because when everyone was doing it, it was the perfect opening line. “Got a light?” was the all-purpose come-on. Everything about cigarettes was perfect for bridging that now unbridgeable gap between strangers — even the fact that they were addictive. It gave both parties an out. If she rebuffed you, usually with a “no, sorry, this is my last one,” you still had your pride. You could be all like: yeah,well, I’m only asking because I’m about to have a nick fit, not because I want to get in your pants, sugartits.

If she — or he — said yes, there was always time as she fished in her pocketbook, or he unrolled the sleeve of his tee, looking all rebelly without a cause, to show off your charm. The cigarette was an in, an opening. And despite the fact that it would eventually kill you, it was also supremely civilizing. Nothing has taken its place. Gum-chewing lacks sophistication, asking the time doesn’t invite intimacy, and you can’t just go up to someone you don’t know and start talking about the weather, even in New England, where it is a rich, voluble topic.

I used to think of cell phones as the new smoking, but only because they, too, pollute the environment. But cell phones are actually worse. They’ve allowed the virtual, in the guise of the private, to colonize and completely overrun the already decimated public sphere, the shared space of strangers that once held the promise of a strange intimacy, without which our common life withers. Smoking, as damaging as it was to health, at least had a social function among strangers to partly make up for it.

A worthy addition to your blog-world, I daresay!

Obama Endorses “States’ Rights”
Posted on May 7th, 2009 at 11:05 am by Steve

Governor George Wallace (above, left), on the subject of racial segregation:

Integration is a matter to be decided by each state. The states must determine if they feel it is of benefit to both races.

President Obama (above, right), via spokesman Robert Gibbs, on the subject of marriage equality:

The President believes this is an issue that’s best addressed by the states.

Not that I’m surprised, mind you.

Jonny McGovern’s Three Dollar Bill
Posted on April 10th, 2009 at 2:31 pm by Steve

Certain friends of mine have gotten me interested in Jonny McGovern, the Gay Pimp (of “Soccer Practice” video fame) and the work of drag superstar Kevin Aviance. The video, “Work,” is, strangely, Not Safe For Work. (But check out Kevin Aviance’s fabulous MetroCard gown!)

I {Heart} the “Heartland”
Posted on April 3rd, 2009 at 10:13 am by Steve

The Iowa Supreme Court:

In this case, we must decide if our state statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the Iowa Constitution, as the district court ruled. On our review, we hold the Iowa marriage statute violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. Therefore, we affirm the decision of the district court.

It’s not just the “librul-elite” on the decadent coasts anymore. Now it’s the “real” Americans in the “heartland,” too, who believe that adults should be able to marry the person they love.

The list of organizations and individuals that filed briefs of amicus curiae is interesting, as it’s basically a list of allies and opponents. The list of allies is much longer, and includes the usual suspects (Freedom to Marry coalition, MassEquality, P-FLAG, and so on), but it also includes The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, The National Black Justice Coalition, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Immigrants’ Rights Program of the American Friends Service Committee, the National Association of Social Workers, the Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic, and the American Psychological Association.

You can read the whole opinion or just the court summary (PDFs) if you like.

My Current View of Obama
Posted on December 18th, 2008 at 1:04 pm by Steve

Looks a lot like this:

Yes, that’s the underside of a bus. Meaning, I’m pretty sure I just got thrown under it:

President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony will feature big names like minister Rick Warren… Warren, the prominent evangelical and founder of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, will deliver the ceremony’s invocation.

Rick Warren isn’t just anti-gay, he’s one of the key organizers supporting the ban on gay marriage in California. He’s a bully with a pulpit, who consistently spews lies and bigotry towards gay people, cloaked in the language of his religion. Here’s Pastor Warren on gay marriage:

“The issue to me, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.”

Obama defended his choice of Pastor Warren by saying, “it is important for America to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues.”

I’m assuming that means he’ll be inviting David Duke to speak at next year’s Martin Luther King Day celebration? After all, Duke is opposed to interracial marriages, and it’s important to “come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues.”

I can’t tell you how good it feels to have the President-elect tell me that my civil and human rights are nothing more than “certain social issues” on which people of good conscience can “disagree.”

Fun Friday Freakshow
Posted on December 12th, 2008 at 5:08 pm by Steve

The hookers of Starrbooty

If you haven’t seen RuPaul’s film Starrbooty, you are truly missing one of the most hilariously gross films of the decade. Starrbooty makes Pink Flamingos look like Mary Poppins!

Debunking Dan
Posted on November 12th, 2008 at 3:02 am by josh-wah

Nate Silver over at 538 has a post that argues against the assertion that the “Obama voters” (read non-white) were responsible for prop 8’s passage.

At the end of the day, Prop 8’s passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two … The good news for supporters of marriage equity is that — and there’s no polite way to put this — the older voters aren’t going to be around for all that much longer, and they’ll gradually be cycled out and replaced by younger voters who grew up in a more tolerant era. 

Read it and be reassured.

Credit Where Credit Is Due
Posted on November 8th, 2008 at 9:12 pm by Steve

I may be depressing some of you with my recent posts which have offered criticism of the Obama transition team’s hiring decisions. I’m not anti-Obama (far from it!), I just want us all to be realistic about what’s happening, and to apply what pressure we can to keep things moving in the right direction.

I also want to give credit where credit is due. This is from the transition team’s official website,

The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law. (Emphasis added)

Right on.

Posted on November 6th, 2008 at 1:10 pm by Steve

Dan Savage highlights some disturbing exit poll data:

African American voters in California voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8, writing anti-gay discrimination into California’s constitution and banning same-sex marriage in that state. Seventy percent of African American voters approved Prop 8, according to exit polls, compared to 53% of Latino voters, 49% of white voters, 49% of Asian voters.

The Mormon Church ran a deceitful campaign that, among other lies, claimed that Barack Obama supported Proposition 8. While Obama clearly stated his opposition to Prop 8, he did so rather quietly. He also confused the matter by also stating unequivocally that he opposes gay marriage.

African-American turnout was considerably higher due to Obama’s candidacy and effective ground game. Obama’s failure to vigorously and clearly oppose Proposition 8 is all the more disheartening in the light of these numbers.

[Update: 11/07/2008 5:45 pm]
I have been properly schooled by Shanikka over at My Left Wing. I think her most powerful points are that, (a) the CNN exit poll data was small, non-random, and unlikely to be anywhere near accurate (she has ample reasons in her post, which I find convincing); and, (b) given the number of African-Americans in California, a shift in their voting pattern on Question 8 is unlikely to have changed the final outcome. She also properly notes that we’re not going to triumph by being divisive and pointing fingers, and I agree. We need to confront racism in the LGBTQ world, and we need to confront homophobia wherever we find it; and people of conscience need to come together to fight for justice.

My Favorite “No on 8” Ad of the Season
Posted on November 3rd, 2008 at 6:23 pm by Steve

Courtesy of our friends at the Public Service Administration:

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