Perfect match

Bob Nunn and Tom Harrover have been a couple for 4 decades. But it wasn’t until a near tragedy that they realized they were truly meant for each other

LIFE GOES ON | Nunn, right, and Harrover stand before a project commissioned for the convention center hotel. Four years ago, Nunn was near death because of kidney disease. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Bob Nunn agrees with the adage that the longer a couple lives together, the more they begin to look alike. Nunn and his partner Tom Harrover might not look that similar on the outside, but they match in a way that few couples do.

Let’s start with some history.

The two have that classic meet-cute that began on the wrong note. As Nunn tells it, Harrover was the dullest person he’d ever met —the two just didn’t like each other. Then, following a spontaneous invitation to a midnight movie, they ended up hitting it off. That movie led to conversation and then dating.

Forty-two years later, they still watch movies — as Nunn puts it, “I couldn’t get rid of him.”

A job in Houston took Nunn away from Harrover for three months, but old-fashioned letter writing kept the newbie relationship afloat.

“Tom had been writing me letters. He’s a very good writer,” Bob boasts. “He basically proposed to me by letter.”

They committed to each other, moving in and pursuing their careers: Harrover in architecture and Nunn teaching art. For 37 years, they lived in “a fabulous house” in Hollywood Heights. Life was good.

Then their life took a sharp turn.

“When we got together, Tom knew I had a kidney disease,” Nunn says. “Nothing was really a problem until about 30 years after we met — my kidneys began to fail and I had to start dialysis.”

Nunn registered with Baylor for the national organ donor list, but the experience was frustrating:  They received little response or encouragement from the hospital.

“Bob was on a downhill slide and the frustration with Baylor seemed like they were stonewalling us,” Harrover says. “We talked about going to Asia even. It felt like they didn’t want to deal with a senior-age gay couple.”

A LITTLE DAB’LL DO YOU | Bob Nunn is officially retired from teaching art, but continues to paint.

Then Harrover suggested something novel: He could donate his kidney to the organ list, with the idea that Nunn could get a healthy one.  Sort of a kidney exchange.

In desperation, they went back to their physician, who enrolled them in St. Paul Hospital’s then-new program for kidney transplant. The experience was a complete turnaround. Nunn was tested and processed immediately while Harrover prepped for his organ donation to an anonymous recipient.

Kidney transplants require a seven-point match system; a minimum of three matches is necessary for the recipient to be able to accept the organ into the body.

The tests revealed that Harrover’s kidney matched Nunn’s on all seven points.

“We assumed I would donate mine for use elsewhere,” Harrover says. “It never occurred to me that we’d be a match. The odds for that are off the charts.”

“See what happens when you live together for so long?” he chuckles.

Just six months after entering St. Paul’s program in 2007, they were on the operating table. They were the first direct living donor pair in the program. “It was all fairly miraculous,” Nunn understates.

Four years later, both men are doing well. Although officially retired, they both continue to work: Harrover does the occasional contract job while Nunn is currently on commission for an art project at the new convention center hotel. Outside of any official work, each interjects their quips about home, life be it cooking together or working on the lawn.

The obvious question for them might be “What’s the secret?” But they don’t see it just that way. Their relationship boils down to the obvious virtues of trust, respect and compromise.

“Selfishness doesn’t rear its ugly head in this relationship,” Harrover says. “You just have to be willing to accommodate, support and encourage what the other is interested in.”

Nunn agrees. “I would not be doing what I’m doing without his support.”

Nunn says if there is a secret, it’s akin to the dynamic on a playground: Like each other and share. If you don’t share your whole life, there isn’t a relationship, he says. At this point, Harrover says it would be impossible to separate. On paper, they are so intertwined with their house and financials, he jokes they are “Siamese twins.”

They’ve witnessed a lot in their decades together, including something they never expected to come to pass in their lifetimes: Same-sex marriage. Coming from a time when just being gay conflicted with moral codes set by their jobs, they wonder over the progress made in recent years. (They were officially married in Boston in October 2009.)

“I’m confident that it will happen for everyone,” Harrover says. “I’m sorry that it’s moving at a glacial pace, but it has that same inevitability as a glacier. We’ll get there.”

But nothing compares to the bond Harrover and Nunn already have, a shared intimacy few couples could imagine. Same-sex marriage was merely unlikely; what they have experienced is miraculous.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

More religious right attacks on SPLC fail to yield results

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

The attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center by religious right groups continue and like the others, the new attacks are not only pitiful, but give ammunition to the idea that the SPLC was correct in branding these organizations as anti-gay hate groups..

This time, the attacks are coming from Peter LaBarbera, head of the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (surnamed Porno Pete by members of the lgbt community for his “penchant” of going to subcultural leather events, taking pictures, and describing in intimate details all of the “interesting” encounters he saw there between gay men while ignoring the heterosexuals attending said events) and Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute.

Conveniently, both groups have been profiled as anti-gay hate organizations by SPLC for their attempts to smear the lgbt community through junk science or outright lies.

LaBarbera said the following:

The leftist SPLC is now slandering conservative, Christian and Tea Party groups by mislabeling them as “hate groups” on a par with genuine, fringe hate groups like the KKK. American taxpayers should insist that the federal government have no role in legitimizing the SPLC, which has politicized “hate” and turned it into a fund-raising business to demonize conservatives – including mainstream pro-family groups that oppose homosexual activism.

 

Photobucket LaBarbera's whining about being unfairly smeared for supposedly simply standing against homosexuality is rather ironic. Days before, he published the following picture on his site.

The man in this doctored photo, for those who don't know, is openly gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA). LaBarbera put this awful thing on his page to illustrate a ridiculous phony panic he made earlier about gay TSA agents getting their “thrills” by feeling up men.

Seems to me that there is no difference between this picture and a photo of a black man with a toothy grin biting into a huge slab of watermelon.

For all of LaBarbera's posturing about being “persecuted due to his supposed Christian beliefs, it's things like this picture which more than makes the case for SPLC.

Higgins (Illinois Family Institute) took it upon herself to attempt to debunk SPLC's list of anti-gay myths in a piece below LaBarbera's whining. However, she doesn't seem to be familiar the rules of debunking claims, especially the first rule that if you debunking a claim, you simply must address the claim.

You read that right. She doesn't even try to debunk SPLC's anti-gay myths more than she offers a weak explanation as to why there is nothing wrong believing these myths.

For example:

SPLCMYTH # 1
Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.


Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

HigginsThe SPLC thinks that the belief that same sex parents harm children constitutes hatred. The first problem is that Schlatter and Steinback fail to define harm. If one believes that homosexuality is morally flawed, then a household centered on a morally flawed relationship cannot be beneficial.


It is entirely possible that a brother and sister in an incestuous relationship or that polyamorist parents could raise children, providing for their physical needs, comforting them, and teaching them their ABCs. But most of society believes that such relationships would harm children because they would teach children that incest or polyamory are morally permissible. Would Schlatter and Steinback include organizations on their “hate groups” list that propagate the belief that incestuous parents or poly-parents harm children?

As I pointed out in an earlier post, in its profiles and list of anti-gay myths, SPLC cited many sources including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, The Child Molestation and Research Institute, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Organization of Male Sexual Victimization, Nicholas Eberstadt, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, The Palm Center, and Richard J. Wolitski, an expert on minority status and public health issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For her supposed debunking, Higgins cited only one source (and it was the distortion of the 1997 Oxford study which supposedly said that gay men have a short life span. In an absolute bizarre move on her part, Higgins refutes her own point that gay men have a short life span by also citing the 2001 complaint of these researchers that religious right groups were distorting their work).

Higgins's entire argument seems to be “yes we say all of those awful things about lgbts .  . . but . . . but . . . “

At the end of the piece, LaBarbera and Higgins tries to shift the argument by providing links to article that supposedly demonize SPLC.

But I didn't bother to read those links. After seeing the depths of duplicity LaBarbera and Higgins sunk to in order to defend their own organizations, I have a problem with believing anything they say.

You see that's the problem of being caught in a lie. People have a problem with believing anything that you say.

And it's a much deserved denouement for LaBarbera, Higgins and the rest involved in anti-gay groups.

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—  admin

NOM’s Iowa ‘toss the judges’ bus tour is another big FAIL

Equality supporters 98, NOM 42. That was the tally at the first stop for the NOM tour bus in Iowa.

NOM simply doesn’t give up, and sadly there has been a lot of money poured into Iowa to get rid of the judges responsible for marriage equality in that state. But the kickoff stop has proven that hate doesn’t draw crowds for Brian Brown or Maggie Gallagher. It’s embarrassing from a PR perspective. Prop 8 Trial Tracker has coverage:

This morning on the steps of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, 98 equality supporters and several media outlets assembled to kickoff the Homegrown Justice Tour, a counter-tour organizing events in cities across Iowa to greet the Judge Bus.

…Here is Congressman Steve King speaking in front of the “podium”


P8TT’s Arisha Michelle Hatch:

We had the opportunity to talk to one of those supporters who repeatedly referred to same-sex marriage as “sodomy-marriage” and expressed concerns that legalization would lead to the “desecration” of the institution, as well as, the proliferation of AIDS.

Next, the Judge Bus made a quick stop in Atlantic – so quick, in fact, that we arrived on the scene several minutes after the Judge Bus had already left (we left about 20 minutes after the bus because we stayed behind to interview Brian Brown, who has opted travel in a rental car behind the Judge Bus.)

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—  admin

NOM’s Latest Fail: ‘They Knows’

Natl_org_for_marr_1-1

The National Organization for Marriage ramped up their electoral efforts in Maine by sending out fliers denouncing candidates who support same-sex nuptials. It's fairly reliable campaign tactic, yes, and it's not surprising NOM would initiate such an effort.

Unfortunately for the homophobic group, at least some their fliers, sent out across the state's various districts, contains a fairly glaring typo.

Via Equality Maine:

[Anti-Equality Candidate X] and [Anti-Equality Candidate Y] support traditional marriage. They knows that while circumstances may not always allow it, children do best when raised by their married mother and father. These children become the next generation which continue and preserve our special way of life in Maine. That's why [Anti-Equality Candidate X] and [Anti-Equality Candidate Y] stand for marriage as between one man and one woman.

Now, I know that typos happen – they're part of life – but if NOM's going to spend thousands of dollars distributing anti-gay fliers, they should at least try to get the message correct, rather than just right wing.

Natl_org_for_marr_2-1-1


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Obama heckled at DSCC/DCCC fundraiser; insulated WH a FAIL; watch scathing GetEqual video

The President and his team still don’t understand why their base is so angry that actions like this are occurring. They blame bloggers, the “professional left,” the “internet left fringe” and other vague classifications of people for their political woes. Sorry, guys, you were the geniuses who thought you could keep the base pacified with Cinderella Crumbs and keep the cash and love flowing.

How’s all of it working out for you? Not very well (AP):

President Barack Obama got heckled at a fundraiser Wednesday night by protesters pushing for more funding for AIDS programs and quicker action to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

Activists yelled slogans and held signs aloft reading “Obama broken promises KILL.” Supporters of the president tried to drown them out with shouts of “O-bam-a! O-bam-a!”

The hecklers were so raucous Obama went off-script several times to address them, insisting he’s increased AIDS funding and is working to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He told them to go shout at Republicans, noting that a vote on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” failed this week in the Senate, with Republicans united in opposition.

And his inner circle is breaking up; all I can say is the President needs some reality-based people in his administration. The traditional, fossilized Beltway thinking means the WH is inhabited by pod people.

The inner circle – Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, senior advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, press secretary Robert Gibbs and Vice President Biden – is breaking up, or at least breaking open. Emanuel is widely expected to run for mayor of Chicago, and Axelrod is likely to leave this spring to prepare for Obama’s 2012 reelection effort.

Some former aides and allies of the president expressed hope that Obama will take advantage of the departures – which are common at the two-year point in any presidency – to bring in outsiders who will challenge the president’s current team.

They miscalculated where people were out in the country on jobs, on spending, on the deficit, on debt,” said a longtime Democratic strategist who works with the White House on a variety of issues. “They have not been able to get ahead of any of it. And it’s all about the insularity. Otherwise how do you explain how a group who came in with more goodwill in decades squandered it?” The strategist asked not to be identified in order to speak freely about the president and his staff.

I guess political sophistication takes on a whole new meaning when executed by these WH brainiacs who slagged any critics as naive about how things work. Joe Sudbay said exactly what I was thinking this AM when I read about this story.

The failure to pass DADT repeal rests with the President. And, before the apologists start screeching that it was Congress and the Republicans, ask what Obama did to help pass the Defense Authorization bill. There’s a simple answer: Nothing. Not a word.

Yes, there’s a reason people are heckling. It’s the only chance to be heard. Our advocacy organizations aren’t doing their jobs. Most of those groups dropped their organizational missions in exchange for for access and invitations long ago. The only reason the DADT legislative compromise made it this far is because SLDN and SU kept pushing and GetEQUAL upped the pressure.

And GetEqual has a brilliant, scathing new video out about all those broken promises by Team Obama and LGBT “leadership.” And all of these people are caught on video with dates for legislative progress that are dust in the wind…

We intend, whatever the issue, to continue our mission of “empower[ing] the LGBTQ community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.” As a community, it’s time to STOP trying to be liked and accepted and DEMAND that we be treated with EQUALITY and DIGNITY!

GetEqual shares some of the heartbreaking promises over the past three years from elected officials President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Representative Barney Frank. Also includes clips from Rae Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Joe Solmonese from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

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—  John Wright

Anti-LGBT Leaders Fail in Court Challenge of Hate Crimes Law

Yesterday, Judge Thomas Ludington of the U.S. Federal Court for the District of Eastern Michigan dismissed the case of three plaintiffs seeking to strike the criminal provisions of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The court challenge by three anti-LGBT clergy from Michigan made the ridiculous claim that the hate crimes statute creates “a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior.”   They claimed that this law – so important in protecting the rights of LGBT persons across the country – violated their First Amendment rights, their guarantee of Equal Protection, the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause.  Their arguments mirrored the ones made urging Congress to defeat the legislation last year.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sought the dismissal, claiming that the law does not violate the Constitution and further, that the plaintiffs do not have the right to bring such a suit regarding a theoretical harm, since none have yet been prosecuted under the act, nor is there any evidence they ever will be.  The Judge agreed, dismissing the case on all counts.

Thanks to HRC Law Fellow Adam Thomas for his contributions to this post.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Watch: Rachel Maddow on AZ Gov Jan Brewer’s Epic Fail

Maddow

Rachel Maddow wraps up the Jan Brewer debate and aftermath we covered here yesterday.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP… 


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Anglicans Fail to Scare Away Arts Festival Attendees With Tales of Peter Tatchell Abusing Their Kids

The 36-year-old annual arts festival Greenbelt, held in each year in England, regularly attracts popular Christian and mainstream music acts. Oh, and The Gays. This year it's activist Peter Tatchell, who will give a talk. Last year it was American Bishop V. Gene Robinson. All of which means the Anglican Mainstream, the Church of England's conservative cheerleading section, wasted breath demanding good Christians boycott the festival, because ew, gays! But for this weekend's event, the Anglicans are being ignored, and Greenbelt activists aren't caving to their demands; Tatchell remains on the docket. All this, despite the Anglican Mainstream's Dr. Lisa Nolland warning religious types that by inviting Tatchell, Greenbelt put child attendees at risk of sexual abuse. The scandal has paid off: Ticket sales this year have increased.


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—  John Wright

GenEQ Votes: Epic WIN or Epic FAIL?

At the Campus Progress National Conference last month, HRC’s Youth & Campus Outreach Program asked students to vote Epic WIN or Epic FAIL on queer topics.

We had so much fun and so loved the responses that we’ve decided to open up voting to the Twitterverse (and Facebook and YouTube).

On August 25, we’ll choose 15 random winners who will receive fabulous HRC swag. Three will get an HRC t-shirt and twelve will get a Peace/Love/Equality wristband. Multiple entries on the same platform won’t increase your odds, so make each WIN or FAIL on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube count!

Simply tweet with the #hrcGenEQ hashtag, post a Facebook comment, comment on the video or post a video response to nominate your own Epic WINS and Epic FAILS for equality.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

I Vote FAIL For The Christian Right

So, you have a problem. You set up a poll and then it got freeped.

Now, it seems rather than supporting your position, it’s thorough repudiation of your position. So what do you do? Maybe rethink your position, consider there are other perspectives? That you might be wrong?

Not if you’re the whacko religious right. If you’re one of them, you just rewrite the questions afterward to support the conclusion you hoped you’d get. (And doubtless declare “the people have spoken!”)

That’s the scam The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property tried to run yesterday. They posted a internet poll on the Prop 8 decision, and it attracted LGBT attention. Like this diary from homogenius at the Daily Kos, (H/T) who urged people to freep the poll.

Looks like it worked. Because at Monday at 6 pm, the poll looked like this:

Before change

What do you think about Judge Walker’s decision to overturn Prop. 8 banning same-sex “marriage” in California?

I support the decision.

84.5%

It is an irrational decision denying the nature and purpose of marriage.

9.2%

It was a slap in the face of California voters.

4.3%

It did not surprise me.

1.4%

Democracy does not apply in these cases.

0.5%

Undecided.

0%

Big fail for them to solicit data to support their talking points, 84.5% of voters supported Judge Walker’s finding that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional.

But wait, by Monday at 7 pm, the poll looked like this:

After change

What do you think about Judge Walker’s decision to overturn Prop. 8 banning same-sex “marriage” in California?

It is an irrational decision denying the nature and purpose of marriage.

84.5%

Undecided.

8.8%

It was a slap in the face of California voters.

4.2%

It did not surprise me.

1.6%

Democracy does not apply in these cases.

0.9%

Suddenly, 84.5% of voters consider his decision “irrational!”

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property describes itself as thus:

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is an organization of lay Catholic Americans concerned about the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization. Its origins date back to January 1971, when the first TFP members started to group around the publication Crusade for a Christian Civilization. Today, with over 120,000 active members, volunteers and donors, the TFP is on the front lines of the Culture War, peacefully defending the values of tradition, family and private ownership.

If you want to looking into “moral crisis,” in America, you might look into yourselves, TFP.

I’m always curious how these Godly organizations justify, in their own minds, the ends runs they’re always making around the Ninth Commandment.

My momma may have raised a homo, but she raised me right. I don’t cheat and lie.

Now, it appears they’ve had a change of heart, and the poll has reverted to a more gay-friendly version. I wouldn’t expect to see them touting these stats anytime soon.

Thanks to Daily Kos’ Homogenius for the alert, and Frugal Granny for the screep caps.
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—  John Wright