Five queer alternatives to the Super Bowl

Yes, Yes… I know… plenty of gay men enjoy football, are fans even, and there are lots of LBT fans as well, but if you’re like me you greet all the hoopla over the Super Bowl with a resounding “meh.”

So if you’re looking for a way to avoid a (morning) afternoon (and evening (seriously, how long are football games supposed to be?)) of indecipherable sports jargon, over-hyped commercials and disproportionate passion for the accomplishment of moving dead pig parts 300 feet here are some alternatives with a decidedly queer bent you might enjoy (don’t worry, you can Tivo Madonna’s half time show):

1. ¡Women Art Revolution at The Museum of Fine Arts

Starting from its roots in 1960s in antiwar and civil rights protests, the film ¡Women Art Revolution details major developments in women’s art through the 1970s. The Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston presents this documentary at 5 pm on Sunday at the The Museum of Fine Arts’ Brown Auditorium Theater (1001 Bissonnet). Artist Lynn Randolph and U of H art history professor Jenni Sorkin will be on hand to provide insight into the film

!W.A.R. features Miranda July, The Guerilla Girls, Yvonne Rainer, Judy Chicago, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, and countless other groundbreaking figures. Tickets are $7 and are available at mfah.org.

2. The Rape of Lucrecia at Houston Grand Opera

Written by gay composer Benjamin Britten and scored by Ronald Duncan, The Rape of Lucrecia is set during the decline of the Roman Empire. When a group of soldiers unexpectedly returns home to Rome they find that their wives have all been unfaithful, with the excpection of Collatinus’ wife Lucretia. Later that night the king’s son, Prince Tarquinius, accepts a drunken dare to seduce Lucretia. After she rebuffs his advances Tarquinius forces himself on her spurring Collatinus to rebellion against the king.

The dialogue of the Opera (which is in English by the way) is punctuated by two choruses, one male and one female, who engage the audience in the emotional responses of the male and female characters respectively.

The Rape of Lucretia plays at the Houston Grand Opera (510 Preston) at 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets start at $38 and may be purchased at HoustonGrandOpera.org.

4. The Drunken City at the Rice University, Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts

“The city’s like a monster, like a sleeping dragon or some dark creature in the night that cracks open an eye, and whispers dark dangerous dark ideas into your ear.”

The Drunken City is populated by thoroughly unpleasant people, the kind of loud sequin-wearing party girls who can immediately turn a hip bar passe and the men who hunt them. Marnie, the alpha-female and soon-to-be bride, has taken her co-worker bridesmaids out on the town for a ladies night. Seriously inebriated, they soon run into Frank and Eddie. Frank quickly takes a shine to Marnie, despite her girlfriends objections. Eddie, on the other hand, isn’t interested in any of the girls but seems to know their shared boss quite well (if you catch my drift). The play is sprinkled through with warnings about human desire and the dangers of consumption.

The Drunken City is presented by the Rice University College of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Hamman Hall on the Rice Campus (6100 Main) at 3 pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or by calling 713-348-PLAY .

Steve Bullitt as Hay and Mitchell Greco as Gernreich

4. The Temperamentals at Barnvelder Movement/Arts Complex

The off-Broadway hit The Temperamentals, by Jon Marans, explores the events surrounding the founding of the Mattachine Society, one of the first “gay rights” groups in America (although the Society for Human Rights has it beat by a quarter of a century). The story centers on Harry Hay (Steve Bullitt), a communist and Progressive Party activist and his lover Rudi Gerneich (Mitchell Greco), a Viennese refuge and costume designer. Set in the early 1950′s in Los Angeles, the play is an intimate portrayal of two men who created history and the epic struggle they overcame.

Sunday’s curtain for the Celebration Theater produced play is at 3 pm at the Barnvelder Movement/Arts Complex. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at buy.ticketstothecity.com.

5. Closing Night of Bring It On: The Musical at Theater Under the Stars

Bring It On: The Musical finishes up its run at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby Suite 300) on Sunday. Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) presents this musical re-imagining of the 2000 film with a matinee at 2 pm and an evening showing at 7 pm.

Two rival cheer-leading squads are out for the national championship, and neither is going to give up without a fight. The ensemble for the show features some of the nation’s most skilled competitive cheerleaders led by Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren as the leaders of the rival squads.

Tickets start at $24 and are available on-line at TUTS.com, by phone at (713) 558-TUTS (8887), or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office (800 Bagby).

—  admin

Fire Island reality series seeks gays to audition

If you think reality TV has made gay Dallas look a little crazy lately, well, here’s you chance to bring a little Texas-crazy to New York.

You have until Friday to apply to become a cast member of the Fire Island Summer Project (a working title, we’re assuming), a new series from the producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And here’s the best part: You don’t need to be from the NYC area — they want folks from all over to apply!  Filming begins this summer, probably in a beach house the Pines (despite a fire recently that scorched parts of the island).

The application has some pretty straightforward questions, plus a few that indicate the casting agents’ interest in seeking diverse and charged action on the show, such as “What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?,” “What role do you play in your social circle?,” “Do you have any quirks or strange habits? and “What is your craziest Spring Break story?” And you never have to have vacationed on Fire Island before to be eligible.

If you think you might be interested, click here. And if you end up getting cast and turn out to be the asshole villain on the series, do us all a favor — say you’re from San Antonio!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

VIRGINIA: Judicial Activist Rules Parts Of Health Care Reform Unconstitutional

A Virginia federal district court judge appointed by Dubya has ruled that parts of President Obama’s health care reform plan are unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions. The judge wrote that his survey of case law “yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, not withstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme.”

Two other district court judges have previously upheld the law and some expect the issue to reach the Supreme Court before the end of Obama’s term. Dozens of similar lawsuits are still working their way through the system.

RELATED: As in the case with the judicial overturn of DADT, the Obama administration has the option of appealing this ruling.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Hetero-only military is a ‘moral sensibility’. Except, ya know — for the moral or sensible parts

Focus on the Family sends early Thanksgiving wishes to fair-minded Americans everywhere:

It’s a shame that our nation’s armed services are being used as a social experiment that will likely have unintended, harmful consequences and 6A00D8341C503453Ef012877597C29970Cendanger the religious freedoms of chaplains and military personnel,” Hausknecht said. “In the administration’s rush to appease gay activists, it is endangering unit cohesion, recruitment and re-enlistments, not to mention offending the moral sensibilities of most Americans.”

-Bruce Hausknecht, Focus on the Family’s judicial analyst

Tomorrow, be sure to gauge your fellow Thanksgiving diners’ “moral sensibilities” as you all sit around and proudly celebrate gluttony (while recognizing a historical event that ultimately devolved into crude “us vs. them” divisions).




Good As You

—  admin

8′s Parts: Courts should look to sum, not some

Although Judge Vaughn Walker’s federal court decision on Proposition 8 has brought the same-sex marriage conversation into a more prominent light than it’s seen in years, there is an ancillary component that’s being overlooked. A particularly interesting side argument that, while easy to write off as a distraction, actually tells us quite a bit about the anti-LGBT movement and the tactical way its midwives engage in the so-called “culture wars.”

ADFOn one side we have the Alliance Defense Fund, the Christian conservative legal outfit that headed up the Prop 8 proponents’ defense in Judge Walker’s court. In the days since Walker’s August 4 decision in favor of equality, the ADF and its defenders have spent considerable time criticizing “activist judges” and the cherry-picked quotes from the 136-page ruling that they find most conveniently spinnable. For Team ADF, there’s been little public self reflection, and even fewer questions asking why their case was so shockingly lacking that even Judge Walker expressed concern over the lack of presented evidence.

But where ADF has failed to ask these tough questions, the even more conservative attorneys at the Liberty Counsel have more than picked up the slack. In press releases both on the day of the ruling and in the weeks since, the Liberty lawyers, who had requested to provide additional defense in the federal trial, have pointedly criticized the ADF for shutting them out of the process. And it’s not only the personal shut out that’s earned the LC’s ire. Speaking to Lifesite News on Aug. 17, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver also criticized the ADF’s refusal to “focus or even address the consequences of homosexualityL-Cand homosexual marriage,” and said that a case under his leadership “would have called a number of witnesses who have high credentials in the area of homosexuality and homosexual behavior, marriage, and reparative therapy.

It’s patently obvious why the ADF lawyers and the Prop 8 strategists shied away from pushing overheated rhetoric and “ex-gay” therapy into the court of law. To quote pro-equality litigator David Boies from his 8/8/10 appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation”: “It’s easy to sit around and debate and throw around opinions, appeal to people’s fear and prejudice, cite studies that either don’t exist or don’t say what they say you do. In a court of law you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to support those opinions, you’ve got to stand up under oath and cross-examination.” Obviously the incendiary charges that the Liberty Counsel planned to use would’ve been destroyed by Boise and fellow Prop 8 opponent Ted Olson in front of Judge Walker. Or perhaps even more cringe-inducing for the side of anti-LGBT bias: The true nature of the anti-gay movement’s teachings and rhetoric would have been put on display for the public at large.

But for me as someone who observes the so-called “culture wars,” I have to say that I personally side with the overheated Liberty Counsel on this matter. This on-going marriage conversation deals with one group that’s fighting for what they see as a constitutional right, pressing against the entire range of presented reasons for why that civil equality remains out of reach. It’s not just hesitation that keeps same-sex marriage at bay: Within the anti- movement, there’s also undeniable detestation (even if its voicers claim to direct it more towards the “sin” than towards the “sinner”). And while this fire branding is more enraging on a purely emotional level, one has to respect its carriers for having the gumption to stand on their convictions. Because let’s get real: It’s not like the organized players who use “nicer” anti-gay tones are typically any less convinced about homosexuality’s eternal ticket.

This war between letting it all hang out and playing “nice” is the same thing we pro-equality activists see in every election where LGBT rights are put before a public vote. All of a sudden the usual “pro-family” voices from whatever state is being contended are either swept under the rug or carefully schooled in what to say and do. Up from nowhere, a new team of more politically savvy, more “mainstream”-sounding figures take the lead. The ads become softer. The rhetoric less aggressive. The tone completely changed. For a case study of this, see Michael Heath, who was Maine’s most prominent and proud ant-LGBT voice for a decade or more before marriage was put before voters, but who was entirely shut out of the state’s 2009 Question One campaign. In February of ’09, Heath was feted at a Focus on the Family-affiliated banquet; by November, those same people who appeared at the banquet would sooner buy a gay wedding card than associate with Mike in public. (*After I noticed and highlighted this forced burial of Heath and his uncompromisingly sharp tongue, a few from the socially conservative movement confirmed to me that my insight on this matter was spot-on.)

“Culture war” observers witness similarly double-faceted engagement from anti-LGBT leaders who perform on the punditry circuit. In more than one church in the past year, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, a regular fixture on the “from the right” TV panelist circuit, has boldly stated that his pro-LGBT adversaries are “being held captive by the enemy.” But one would never hear Tony voice an enemy possession stance when appearing on Anderson Cooper or similar mainstream cable news show. Because there’s one message being delivered to the anti-LGBT base on whom these groups rely for funding, rally attendance, etc., and a whole other set of talking points geared towards the general public 9and especially that much sought-after “moveable middle).

Which brings us back to the case of Liberty v. Alliance. The latter group, along with its affiliated attorneys, had embarrassingly little to show in court, in large part because they shut out a massive portion of Alliance-Prop-8the anti-gay rights movement. Is that fair to the social conservatives? Doesn’t the court and the public deserve to hear about the forces that literally want to “change” gays into scientifically discredited “ex-gays”? And since there is such a decided strategy from the Prop 8 proponents to silence their most determined potential troops, isn’t that battle plan itself a crucial component of the associated referendum? Don’t both the shunned gays and the shunned anti-gays deserve to know why Schubert Flint Public Affairs gets to be the gatekeeper of which rights-depriving arguments hit the public ears?

The answer to all of those questions is a resounding YES. I, for one, hope the Liberty Counsel refuses to shut up!




Good As You

—  John Wright

Nate Silver on DADT survey: ‘entire parts of it are completely useless’

What Nate says:

The survey might or might not be biased — the bigger problem is that entire parts of it are completely useless.

In particular, given that the army that isn’t supposed to have any (openly) gay soldiers, the survey asks the troops to engage in an awful lot of speculation about the gay soldiers in their midst.

Of course, Nate says a lot more. He does a thorough job of explaining why. Definitely worth a read.

And, this just adds to the growing controversy about this survey. What the hell was DOD thinking?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright