The Dallas Way: Outrageous Oral January 2015

Posted on 23 Jan 2015 at 9:37am

Former City Councilwoman Veletta Lill, Barbara Rosenberg, Leza Mesiah and Buddy Mullino spoke at the January Outrageous Oral presentation in the Rose Room.

Lill spoke about path to becoming an honorary lesbian who represented District 14, which includes part of Oak Lawn.

Rosenberg talked about how her successful campaign against the notorious Judge Jack Hampton made national news. Hampton was known for sentencing a murderer to a lesser sentence because he equated gays with prostitutes, something he repeated to several news outlets at the time.

“I was there,” is what Leza Mesiah titled her presentation. One of the originators of the NPR show All Things Considered, Mesiah mentioned the many historic events in the LGBT community that she witnessed first hand.

Outgoing The Dallas Way president Buddy Mullino talked about Howie Daire and the beginning of the AIDS crisis. Mullino was a longtime board member of Oak Lawn Community Services.

Robert Emery, a founding board member of The Dallas Way, hosted. He quipped about the amount of information available in the room. He said coming to Outrageous Oral is just like going to the library where you sit quietly get lots of information and then go to the back of the room for a drink.

POST A COMMENT »

Trending toward discrimination

Posted on 23 Jan 2015 at 8:05am

Marriage equality moves ever closer to being the law of the land, but the bigots keep looking for loopholes

Haberman-Hardy-
As more and more state laws against same-sex marriage fall in the courts, I see an alarming trend elsewhere: People are claiming it is their “religious right” to discriminate against LGBT people.

While this is absolutely their right as individuals, it is not their right as owners of public enterprises, as law enforcement officials, as civil servants and as other folks involved with serving the public either for profit or civic duty.

Yet this is the argument being made.

Apparently, the idea that gays and lesbians could get some kind of equal treatment so raises the hackles of some Americans that they have to find loopholes in the law to continue not just their personal hatred, but to institutionalize discrimination. As an activist it makes me both sad and mad.

Let’s start with the “sad” part.

I have to believe that the people who are so vehement in wanting to deny us equal rights are not doing so based on logic.

Logically, there is no reason for it. Therefore, I must assume it comes from something broken in them that leads them to search for scapegoats. They believe that their own misery must be caused by someone else, especially if finding that “cause” can divert them from examining their own condition and their own problems.

For example, “My marriage is in trouble because my spouse and I don’t spend enough time working on the relationship, therefore it must be somehow hindered by those gay guys down the street. After all if I didn’t spend all my time worrying about what they do in the privacy of their bedroom, and imagining how their sex must be more strange and lascivious and sinful, then I’d have more time to spend with my spouse.”

It should come as no surprise that studies show the most vocal homophobic voices belong to people who are trying to suppress their own homosexual desires. This has been proven out in the public eye by politicians, clergy and public figures whose voices are the loudest against LGBT rights, and who are exposed through an indiscretion or scandal as deeply closeted gay or lesbians.

Though I experience more than my share of “schadenfreude” at their public exposés, in my heart I ache for their pain, knowing if they had only been able to accept their own orientation honestly, things would be better for everyone. The train wrecks of “ex-gays” betraying their wives, or vehement anti-gay politicians being caught in restroom sex stings make for entertaining television. But they have long-term consequences for the people involved that are less entertaining.

That brings me to the “mad” part of my reaction.

I am angry that people can’t leave me alone and let live my life, loving who I do in whatever way I choose without making it a political statement.

I am angry that I have had to march on our nation’s capital, spend my hard-earned money supporting organizations that fight for my rights, writing letter after letter to a non-responsive politician until I have writer’s cramp.

I am angry that bigots with their badly spelled signs camp out at our parades and churches to spew their bile.

I am angry that we live in a country that finds it acceptable to put our rights to a vote! I am angry that my tax dollars support a system that categorically denies me the same rights as other citizens. I am angry that I have to write this damned column about a subject that should have been settled years ago.

So what the hell can I do about it?

Well, for one thing, I can try forgiving those broken folks who cause me such pain. And though that is small comfort, it is better than lashing out with the same vitriol I receive.

The second thing I can do is take action — not a protest or march, but direct action. I can get involved in the system that institutionalizes the homophobia and change it. That can be as simple as a vote, or as involved as running for office, something that I am more and more inclined to do.

The third possibility is one I am not really happy with, and that is pick up my toys and leave.

I have friends who have encouraged me to move to Canada, and others who are lobbying for South Africa. Both those countries have better protections for LGBT people and offer full citizenship regardless of sexual orientation. South Africa even has those protections written into its constitution, and that is certainly appealing.

The reason I am not going to leave is a stubborn streak ingrained in me by and inherited from my family. My maternal grandfather was an illiterate blacksmith, but he understood right and wrong and instilled in me that since of justice. He was a Roosevelt Democrat and he once told me if his hand ever pulled the lever for a Republican it would burn his fingers.

He refused to be bullied, and so do I.

So, if folks on the far right can claim it is their religious liberty to refuse to serve me, to protect me or allow me entrance to their place of business, I will claim my religious right to refuse to give them my money.

I will not just vote in elections, but vote with my feet and wallet. I consider that a sacrament, and to share my time or money with people who hate me is sacrilege.

I love the sinners, but not their sin.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 23, 2015.

POST A COMMENT »

Progress beyond imagination

Posted on 23 Jan 2015 at 8:00am

Marchers in NYC’s ’77 gay Pride parade wanted protection from discrimination and sodomy laws; same-sex marriage wasn’t even a dream

David Webb
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Jan. 16 announcement that it would decide if the Constitution guarantees the rights of same-sex couples to marry wherever they reside, and whether states can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned by other states left me marveling at the advancements of the gay rights movement in my adult life.

In 1977 I lived and worked for a time in New York City where I marched in my first gay rights parade at the age of 27. Up until that point I had not participated in any sort of activism, even though I had made no secret of my sexual orientation in Dallas prior to joining a couple of friends in Manhattan in search of excitement. During those days I aspired only to go out every night and to enjoy every bit of entertainment I could squeeze out of the big city that never slept.

The three of us shared a three-room boxcar-style apartment, and I worked for a temporary agency that sent me on office assignments across the city when I wanted to work. I felt like I had struck gold when the agency sent me to a public relations agency that represented all of the Broadway theaters, and they gave me free tickets to shows. God I loved that dead end job — answering the phone, typing and assisting the employees of the theaters and the celebrities the agency represented. I kept that assignment as long as possible.

I lacked purpose in my life in those days, and my friends shared my lack of enthusiasm for pursuing a career. We all worked just enough to pay the rent and utilities and to eat and drink in the endless array of restaurants and bars in the city. Weekends we spent at the beach when the weather turned warm enough. Sometimes people we met in the bars invited us to their weekend homes on the New Jersey Shore and Fire Island.

I couldn’t imagine life beyond 30, and I wanted to extend my search for adventure indefinitely.

When June rolled around that year we started noticing fliers posted in the bars about the upcoming gay rights parade, and we decided to join in the fun.

I had watched a small parade in downtown Dallas in 1972 with one of my New York roommates, but he and I had stayed on the sidewalk, unmoved by the experience. That would change in New York.

On the Sunday morning of the parade, my roommates and I made signs to carry in the parade. Mine said, “Gay freedom is my right.” I doubt that I even knew what I meant when I wrote those words.

I’m positive same-sex marriage didn’t inspire me, and I doubt anyone else thought about it in 1977. We did fume about singer Anita Bryant’s campaign in Florida to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance in Dade County, Fla., that succeeded June 7, 1977.

That became the rallying cry in gay rights parades across the country that summer. Everyone wanted protection from discrimination in jobs and housing, and we wanted the abolishment of sodomy laws. Few people in my presence ever mentioned the Stonewall Riots, which are widely viewed today as the start of the modern-day gay rights movement.

When my roommates and I arrived after a short subway ride for the start of the parade on Fifth Avenue, the sight stunned me. Many thousands of people were lined up for the parade in New York, compared to less than a hundred people I had seen in Dallas getting ready to march. It overwhelmed me, and I sensed something earthshaking would be happening.

The parade got underway late as people continued to arrive for the lineup. The numbers astonished me, and I said that I had no idea so many gay people lived in the whole world, let alone the New York City area.

When the parade finally got underway it eventually stretched the entire length of Fifth Avenue, and I remember seeing people all along the route hanging out of windows and cheering. As we passed the Arthur Murray Dance Studio, gay instructors with their straight female clients yelled and waved.

For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged, and it motivated me to take a stand.

Before the summer ended, I decided to return to Texas so I could finally finish college. Almost 40 years later, those days in New York seem like a dream.

My two roommates — who remained in New York and never knew LGBT activists would focus on marriage equality — no longer are living.

Had I remained in New York City, I probably would be dead today, too.

Instead, I returned to Dallas and I enrolled in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin as soon as I could. One of my first stories for the Daily Texan explored a deadly new disease striking gay men in San Francisco and New York City. From then on I came across stories about the LGBT community that needed to be told at every newspaper for which I worked.

Sometimes I told the stories over the objections of others in the newsroom who failed to grasp the significance of the gay rights movement. At the same time I frequently attended the funerals of my friends, and I wrote their obituaries.

Over the years, I came to realize that every person who came out to a straight relative, friend or coworker contributed to the gay rights movement, whether they ever marched in a parade or otherwise demonstrated for the cause. As activist and former Dallasite William Waybourn pointed out to me in a discussion in the early 1990s when he led a national organization in Washington D.C., “If every gay and lesbian person in the country came out today, the discrimination would end tomorrow.”

Eventually, I made my way to the Dallas Voice where I covered LGBT issues solely. But despite my specialization in LGBT issues and my association with local, state and national LGBT leaders, the marriage equality story caught me off guard. I never dreamed same-sex marriage would receive so much support in state governments, the courts and the American public in general. It took so long to get the sodomy law overturned that I thought marriage equality would be many decades off, if it even happened in my lifetime.

I’m glad that, at the age of 65, I’ve lived to see the gay rights movement succeeding in ways that seemed impossible a little more than a decade ago. But it is a bittersweet moment. So many people who helped lay the foundation for the success of the gay rights movement will never get to enjoy it.
Still, I’d like to think that they somehow know what they helped achieve. And if so, they are no doubt as amazed as I am.

David Webb is a veteran journalist with more than three decades of experience, including a stint as a staff reporter for Dallas Voice. He now lives on Cedar Creek Lake and writes for publications nationwide.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 23, 2015.

POST A COMMENT »

Konni Burton and other legislators attend energy briefing with quacks

Posted on 22 Jan 2015 at 5:36pm

10922581_215067605334889_3678561947259798580_oThere’s no need to bring your pitchforks and white hoods when you become a freshman in the Texas Lege. There are other people you meet down there who will bring all that — and a tin foil hat too.

Take, for instance, the photo to the right. It was posted on Senator Konni Burton’s Facebook page, from which I haven’t been blocked yet.

Yesterday morning (Wednesday, Jan. 21) she and other legislators attended an Energy Infrastructure Security Breakfast Briefing sponsored by fellow North Texas Republican legislators Rep. Tan Parker and Sen. Kelly Hancock. The guests of honor were, as you see, Frank Gaffney and Dr. Peter Vincent Fry.

Gaffney and Fry make Ted Cruz look like a kind and gentle grandmother.

Gaffney’s one helluva sweetheart. He’s a border-closing, right-wing warmongering Islamophobe who clings to his Bullion as much as his convictions. A champion of our 2003 march into Iraq (get the energy connection now?), he later threw around accusations that everybody and anybody was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Most notably he alleged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin was a conspirator in the Brotherhood, a claim also supported by former Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Gaffney set up a legitimate-sounding front shop for his whackodom called the Center for Security Policy. You can read more about him here.

Fry is concerned about the nuclear arsenal as executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, according to his Family Security Matters profile. He predicts the world is going to end a lot. He’s so concerned about our families’ security matters he formed The Noah Project, which is “dedicated to the civil defense and survival of American families and their communities in the event of a nuclear or solar EMP or any other catastrophic event that would affect societal change in America.”

They’ve formed two compounds — one already sold out — where you can live off their products and proven method. Funny enough, the website didn’t even mention the word “militia.”

Later that day, Sen. Burton voted with 19 other senators (including one Democrat) to gut the Senate’s two-thirds rule, which required 21 senators to even debate legislation. Lt. Gov Dan Patrick actively campaigned against the rule on the campaign trail.

He got what he asked for. The chamber voted to replace it with a three-fifths rule, requiring only 19 senators instead. Many observers say the two-thirds rule worked in the Democrats’ favor, and propelled Burton’s predecessor Wendy Davis to international fame by allowing her to filibuster legislation. (Incidentally, the rule propelled Burton into her current career as well.)

Folks, these are the people who represent you, whether you voted for them or not. They are taking advice from folks like Gaffney and Fry. They listen to the Eagle Forum’s virulently anti-LGBT Cathie Adams and take big checks from archconservative Republican millionaires. They are recruited and polished by fringe groups like Gaffney’s. And they run Texas.

After the briefing, legislators could ask questions. I wonder what they asked.

POST A COMMENT »

Kathy Griffin on Cher emojis, gay ‘letters’ and already trying to get fired from ‘Fashion Police’

Posted on 22 Jan 2015 at 8:44am

KathyG3Kathy Griffin isn’t kidding when she says, “If I can get serious for one second…” Putting aside her usual biting assault against all things celebrity, the comedian gets candid about her dear friend and idol Joan Rivers in our latest interview: Griffin’s frequent death-related conversations with the late comedy legend, “literally” getting Joan’s permission to succeed her on Fashion Police, and how Joan taught Kathy “not to give a fuck.” — Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: Hi Kathy, how are ya?  Kathy Griffin: Umm, this isn’t gonna go out to any, uh, gay people, right, Chris? Because, you know, you give those people an inch, they’ll take a mile.

Are you talking about penis size?  I’m talking about, when are we gonna end it with the letters and the numbers, Chris! LGBTQIA-2-3-4-5! Dammit! I’ve got a GLAAD Vanguard Award and an HRC Award and I still can’t keep up.

I’m gay myself and I can’t keep up. Which letter or number are you?

Just the G for now.  Look, Chris, you’ve gotta up your game. You’ve gotta stick in at least — can’t you be a Q? How hard is it to be a “questioning”?

For you, Kathy, I could be a Q. And I could be a number.  OK, good. I just wanted to get a little something out of you, because, you know, I gotta be up on the times with the LGBTQIA2s, and from what I understand you people are adding letters on a daily basis.

It’s really confusing you straight people, I know. Keep it simple for the breeders! We are simple people, dammit!

So, Kathy, congratulations on Fashion PoliceThank you! I am so-o-o-o excited! I mean, obviously I have the biggest shoes in the world to fill. But the fact that Joan and I were such good pals — and, in fact, discussed the show many, many times — it’s just, for me, if I can get serious for one second, actually meaningful. And I know it’s a silly show — we’re gonna make fun of silly celebrities and pictures — but Joan was such a good pal to me, but also an unrecognized pioneer in many ways.

I have to say, I really am getting a lot of gratification out of the fact that I believe posthumously she’s finally getting the respect that she so earned and so deserved, and that’s kind of a mission that I’ve assigned to myself. No one has assigned it to me, but it’s just important to me that her legacy is protected and honored, because it’s a legit legacy.

I mean, she was wild and outrageous, and I get it — with the sequin jackets and the feather boas and the saying crazy things to TMZ — but just as a female comedian, I mean, talk about a feminist, talk about a groundbreaker. I would never have this career without her, and I don’t mean just this job (on Fashion Police) — like, duh — but I mean everything from the beginning: what she did for women in comedy in such a male-dominated field, and for the LGBT community, and being down with the gays long before Stonewall, before it was cool. Anyway, it’s such an honor for me to sit in that chair.

POST A COMMENT »

Somebody tell Mike Huckabee how the court system works, please

Posted on 21 Jan 2015 at 5:00pm
Screen shot 2015-01-21 at 4.58.47 PM

Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a once and likely future presidential candidate, went on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Tuesday, Jan. 20, to explain how just because federal courts — and eventually probably even the U.S. Supreme Court — issue rulings saying that laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, that doesn’t mean that the president or Congress or state governors and legislatures don’t have to abide by those rulings.

As reported by TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com, Huckabee said:

“If the federal Supreme Court rules that same sex marriage is protected under the 14th Amendment, you still have to have Congress and the president act to agree with it, because one branch of government does not overrule the other two. This idea that a judge makes a ruling on Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning same-sex marriage licenses are being given out, that’s utter nonsense, because there’s not been any agreement with the other two branches of government.

“One thing I am angry about, though, Hugh, is this notion of judicial supremacy, where if the courts make a decision, I hear governors and even some aspirants to the presidency say well, that’s settled, and it’s the law of the land. No, it isn’t the law of the land. Constitutionally, the courts cannot make a law. They can interpret one. And then the legislature has to create enabling legislation, and the executive has to sign it, and has to enforce it.

Ummmm, I’m no constitutional legal scholar by any stretch. But I am pretty sure that good ol’ Mike hasn’t got the first clue about how our judicial system works and how the courts actually interact with the other two branches of the federal government (and with state governments).

From what I recall from those long-ago days when I was in school, Congress and state legislatures can make laws, and it is precisely the duty of the courts — all the way up to and including the Supreme Court — to make sure that those laws do not violate the rules of the Constitution. And when the courts decide that a law is unconstitutional — as is happening over and over again with marriage equality bans — those laws don’t get to stay in effect.

Even when Hewitt, a conservative himself who happens to be a professor of law (at the same school where the head of the right-wing National Organization for Marriage teaches), reminds Huckabee about the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes that the federal constitution, and federal law generally, take precedence over state laws, and even state constitution), Huckabee refused to be swayed. He promised that even if he were the only one, he would insist on standing firm against all the courts in all the land because “because I believe it is the right position, it’s the Biblical position, it’s the historical position.”

You can listen to Huckabee here.

 

POST A COMMENT »

Bruce Jaster named interim executive director of Turtle Creek Chorale

Posted on 21 Jan 2015 at 3:19pm
Bruce Jaster

Bruce Jaster

Bruce Jaster has been named by the board of directors of the Turtle Creek Chorale as its interim executive director, replacing Kim Sosolik, who resigned this week to pursue other business interests.

Jaster was on the board of the Chorale for 10 years and sang with the group for 15 years. He also established an endowment for the Chorale.

He leaves a position with Price Waterhouse to take this job with the Chorale.

In the LGBT community, Jaster was known in the 1990s as an owner of The Reservation Desk, a travel agency based in Oak Lawn that specialized in gay travel. He serves now on the board of The Dallas Way.

Jaster begins his new position on Jan. 27, just two weeks before the Chorale’s 35th anniversary concert that long-time Chorale artistic director Tim Seelig will conduct. Tickets for that concert are available here.

POST A COMMENT »

‘A landmark moment’ for trans Americans, but there’s so far left to go

Posted on 21 Jan 2015 at 1:04pm
Screen shot 2015-01-21 at 1.00.32 PM

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama made history Tuesday night (Jan. 20), when he actually said the words “lesbian,” “bisexual” and “transgender” during the his State of the Union speech. It was the first time those words had ever been uttered in a SOTU address.

President Obama said: “As Americans, we respect human dignity. … That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We do these things not only because they are the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer.”

It was, I think, an especially sweet moment for the thousands and thousands of transgender Americans. We are making progress toward full equality every day, but still, our trans brothers and sisters are the ones still being left behind. So hearing the president of the United States truly acknowledge them had to be a great moment.

The press releases and written statements I found flooding my email inbox this morning reinforced what I already believed:

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said: “What President Obama said about trans people last night … he actually said it. …. His mention of us [last night] let’s us know that whenever he’s spoken of children, he has meant transgender children too. Or when he’s spoken out about immigrants, he’s meant transgender immigrants too. And when he’s talked about service members and veterans, he meant transgender service members too.”

A statement from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund called the mention “a landmark moment,” adding: “This is a moment of promise for transgender people, who before now, had never been mentioned in a State of the Union address. We are grateful to President Obama for including our entire community in his speech, and for highlighting and condemning the persecution of LGBT people. Through his stirring and heartfelt words, the president has again demonstrated his commitment to creating a world where people are treated equally regardless of who we are or who we love.”

As uplifting and empowering as that moment was, though, my email inbox also provided ample proof that we still have a very long way to go, especially in protecting transgender Americans — their rights, their freedoms and their very lives.

A press release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights notes that NCLR and the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday filed a joint friend of the court brief in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, supporting a former Saks Fifth Avenue employee, Leyth Jamal, who says the company discriminated against her because she is trans.

Saks attorneys have asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect transgender workers.

I also had an email from a group called Care2, “a community of 27 million standing together for good,” taking to task InTouch Weekly for its horrendous cover story speculating on the gender identity of Olympic champion Bruce Jenner.

I saw that cover while standing in the check-out line at the grocery store; it made me sick, and it made me angry. It depicts a heavily altered photo of Jenner to show what he would look like as a woman. I didn’t read the article — although Care2’s statement says it was full of speculation and nothing else. Us Magazine reports Jenner himself is “upset” with the cover and story.

According to the press release, there is a new Care2 petition by Julie Mastrine demanding that “David Perel, editorial director of InTouch Weekly, be more sensitive to the struggles that actual transgender people face and refrain from gossipy speculation about someone’s gender identity.”

Mastrine said: “Publicly speculating as to whether or not someone will be coming out as transgender illustrates a flippant lack of empathy toward people who actually struggle with making a gender transition. It robs Jenner of his right to identify as he wishes.”

BuzzFeed says the magazine likely imposed Jenner’s face over British actress Stephanie Beacham’s body, and even comedian/actor Russell Brand condemned InTouch, calling it “bullying.”

 

POST A COMMENT »

Gwen Stefani: The gay interview

Posted on 21 Jan 2015 at 10:18am

GwenStefani3Editor’s note: More than 15 years ago, I drove over to Fort Worth to see No Doubt in concert. I was glad I went — not because of No Doubt, which gave a kind of programmatic concert that felt robotic and uninspired — but because that was my first introduction to the opening act: Cake. I’ve been a huge Cake fan ever since. No Doubt? Not so much. Gwen Stefani has never stood out to me as any kind of icon worthy of gay devotion … and I have to say, I feel even more strongly about that after reading Chris Azzopardi’s interview with her, below. What are your opinions about Stefani? And are they changed after reading this?

From bed in her Los Angeles home, Gwen Stefani insists she doesn’t mind doing her first gay press interview in a decade on her day off. “I love talking about myself,” the No Doubt frontwoman says, giggling.

Set to release her third solo album this spring, Stefani rang to open up about her “late in life” introduction to the gay community, the lesson she’s teaching her boys when she paints their nails and how hubby Gavin Rossdale has broadened her worldview.

Dallas Voice: You were raised Roman Catholic in infamously conservative Orange County. Considering this upbringing, what was your introduction to the gay community?  Gwen Stefani: That’s a really good question. I’m going back in my brain. When did I get introduced? I think my first friend that I had was Mathu Andersen — that was pretty late in life. He’s a makeup artist that I met doing the “Ex-Girlfriend” video [in 2000], and he was with this guy Zaldy, a designer who’d eventually work on L.A.M.B. with me. Then Mathu introduced me to Danilo, who ended up being my hairdresser, who introduced me to Gregory Arlt, my [current] makeup artist.

These guys have become some of my closest friends over the years, and also the team that have helped me creatively on so many levels. It’s interesting how it feels. All the people that I’ve met in the gay community in my particular life have just been very creative people and people that have just been friends to me in a way that I haven’t had in my life before that. It’s hard to put into words. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s interesting because we can talk about so many things that we are all interested in and yet it’s different from having a guy friend or a girlfriend. It’s like having a creative partner.

When No Doubt first hit the scene, you were known for your tomboy image. Because of your style, were there times you were mistaken as a lesbian?  I don’t remember there ever being too many rumors about that. I think everybody knew my story, because when Tragic Kingdom came out I had broken up with Tony [Kanal], so everybody knew that “Don’t Speak” and all those songs were about that, so I think that’s probably why [there weren’t rumors]. I was so young when all that started. I mean, I started the band when I was 17.

The way you’ve personally subverted gender norms seems to have influenced your three boys. You’ve gone with your oldest, Kingston, to get manis; also, he wore a tutu on his birthday. As a parent, what importance do you place on showing your kids about self-express?  It’s one of those things where, it’s not like I don’t think about it, but they’re used to being around me, and I’m always doing my hair, makeup, nails. Their whole life is, like, sitting on my lap while I’m doing that surrounded by three gay men who are on me the entire time. [Laughs] It’s just normal for them. What I like to say is that being unique and original is what makes me happy, and I think that rubs off on them. My sons did nails just the other day, and the only reason was because their nails were so disgusting! Like, they were in the mud and I was like, “We have got to do your nails!

I literally have 400 bottles of nail polish, so they took them all out and put them all over the bathroom. We … did tiger stripe nails. I said to Kingston, “Are you sure you wanna do pink, because you’re gonna go to school tomorrow? Are you sure you’re not gonna be embarrassed?” He said, “No, I don’t care; it’s a cool color.”

I just love that. It’s really important more than anything else to not be talked into something, to stand your ground and to be able to be strong about what you feel. That’s what I like and that’s what I want them to learn — that being individual and being unique is important. Don’t be scared of that. I don’t want them to try to be like everyone else, and at that age, everybody just wants to have the same shoes everybody else has, and I don’t really like that. If they do want to, I’ll support that as well. You just want them to be happy. It’s a short life and it goes by so quick.

POST A COMMENT »

Obama uses ‘lesbian,’ ‘bisexual,’ ‘transgender’ in SOTU for the first time ever

Posted on 20 Jan 2015 at 9:33pm
Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 9.31.04 PM

President Barack Obama

Tonight wasn’t the first time that President Barack Obama has mentioned LGBT rights in his State of the Union Address; last year he took a brief moment to reiterate his commitment to LGBT rights around the world. He was the first to use the word “gay” in a State of the Union Address in 2010 when he talked about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

But the 2015 State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, Jan. 20 did mark an historic event for the LGBT community: For the first time ever in a State of the Union Address, a U.S. president used the words “bisexual” and “transgender.” UPDATE: I just discovered this is apparently the first time the word “lesbian” has been used in a State of the Union speech, too.

The historic moment came near the end of the president’s speech, when he said that Americans “condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”

The president on Tuesday also called the ongoing battle for marriage equality “a story of freedom across our country” and “a civil right.” And he said that Americans now “value the dignity and worth” of gay people.

POST A COMMENT »