REVIEW: “Albert Nobbs” and the mystery of identity

Unlike The Crying Game, where the sex of a character is a major twist about halfway through, the genders of the characters in Albert Nobbs is not much in doubt: Glenn Close is a big star with above-the-title billing — her butched-up face is the ad campaign. And yet there is just as much mystery here, albeit of a different kind. This is a story of identity that’s almost impenetrable.

Albert (Close) is a gentlemanly servant at a high-end boutique hotel in Ireland. Everyone admires Albert: The women appreciate his respectful demeanor, his male co-workers his work ethic, the boss, Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), his reliability. But no one really knows Albert, who lives in a small room in the attic and squirrels away his money and dreams of something else.

But really, Albert doesn’t even know himself. He has been living as a man for decades — who knows how long? — and cannot even remember a time when he (or she) was not Albert. He has become so repressed, he almost doesn’t have a personality anymore.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chronicle blogger blames ‘It Gets Better” project for LGBT teen suicides

Kathleen McKinley

Kathleen McKinley

Kathy McKinley is a self-described “conservative activist” who blogs for the Houston Chronicle under the monicker “TexasSparkle.” In a recent post McKinley took the “It Gets Better” project to task for what she believes is their culpability in the suicides of LGBT teens:

“These kids were sold a bill of goods by people who thought they were being kind. The “It will get better” campaign just didn’t think it through. They didn’t think about the fact that kids are different from adults. They handle things differently. They react differently. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS. You can grumble all day long how unfair it is that straight teens can be straight in high school, and gay kids can’t, but life is unfair. Isn’t the price they are paying too high?? Is it so much to ask them to stand at the door of adulthood before they “come out” publically? Because it may save their life.”

McKinnley’s primary confusion about the “It Gets Better” campaign (other than its name) is the assumption that the goal is to encourage teens to come out of the closet, or encourage them to become sexually active:

“Why in the world would you give teenagers a REASON to tease you? Oh, yes, because the adults tell you to embrace who you are, the only problem? Kids that age are just discovering who they are. They really have no idea yet. The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later.”

I would like to encourage Ms. McKinley to watch the “It Gets Better” project’s founder Dan Savages’ video. Please, Ms. McKinley, listen, and tell me if you hear Savage or his partner Terry say anything about teens coming out or having sex. I think what you’ll hear them say is that all of the things that most kids, gay and straight, dream of (falling in love, starting a family, having the support of their parents, co-workers and friends) are possible for LGBT teens. I think you’ll hear them talk about how difficult their teen years were, and about the fears they had that their parents would reject them, that they’d never find success and that they’d always be alone.

Choosing to have sex is one of the most personal decision a person will ever make. For LGBT people, choosing to come out is another. I have not watched all of the thousands of videos from people who have participated in the “It Gets Better” project. It’s possible that there are a few that tell kids to come out right away, or to become sexually active, but I doubt it.

Every video in the project that I have seen has had the same simple message: that the person making it understands how tortuously awful the experience of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in Junior and High School can be, but there is a wonderful world of loving, vibrant, successful, engaged LGBT adults out there and if queer teens can just hang on, just for a few years, they can join it. I doubt that any of the contributors to the project think that hanging on for a few years will be easy. I suspect that most of them remember, with excruciating clarity, contemplating ending those temporary years of terror with a permanent solution and that is why they choose to reach out.

I grew up without role models, where people like Barbara Gittings, Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk didn’t exist . I grew up in a small town where the two men with the pink house were talked about in hushed tones that immediately fell silent when I walked into the room, because it wasn’t appropriate for children’s ears. I grew up in a world where my mother wouldn’t tell me what “gay” meant, where the evening news was turned off if it reported on the AIDS crisis, where I wasn’t given words to describe who I was, and so the only word I could find was “alone.”

I was lucky. My suicide attempt failed.

I was lucky, I survived, and went to college, and found a church that embraced and loved LGBT people. That’s where I met doctors and lawyers and business owners and teachers who were like me. That’s where I met two wonderful women who had built a life together for over 50 years. That’s where I discovered I wasn’t alone and that being gay didn’t mean that i couldn’t have all of those things I’d dreamed of.

That is what McKinley missed in her blog post. In her haste to lay blame on anything other than the overwhelming prejudice perpetuated by schools, churches and governments against LGBT people McKinley missed the fact that kids need role models. In her rush to shove queer teens back into the closet she forgot that human beings need the hope of a better world, lest they give up in despair.

McKinley got one thing right in her post. She titled it “Are Adults Also To Blame For Gay Teen Suicides? Yes.” Adults are to blame for LGBT teen suicides. When adults hide the stunning diversity of God’s creation from their children they create a vision of reality that some of those children can’t see themselves in. When adults tell LGBT teens that they should be invisible then it is all too clear who is to blame when those teens believe them, and take steps to make themselves invisible permanently.

To all the LGBT kids out there: it does get better. There are adults who care about you and want all the wonderful things you dream of to come true, but you have to hang on. If you need to keep who are secret to remain safe then do so. If you need someone to talk to please call the Trevor Project at 866-4-U-Trevor (866-488-7386).

—  admin

Bill Maher gays it up (even more than usual) on HBO’s ‘Real Time’ this Friday

It’s no secret I think Bill Maher is a dangerous (in a good way) comedian, and love that he says what a lot of people feel uncomfortable giving words to (like on particular word he called Sarah Palin at the Winspear earlier this year). He’s proven over and over what a great gay ally he is, and he does so again this week with a roundtable lineup that includes openly gay newsfolk Rachel Maddow and Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan, of course, is famously conservative, but he’s also intellectual honest and very pro-gay. Should be a good discussion.

The new episode airs live on Friday at 9 p.m. on HBO, with replays all week (including one at 10 p.m.).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

UPDATE: Obama’s Secret Plan: Getting Republican Votes

Crossposted on ZackFord Blogs

Earlier today I wrote about yesterday's anything-but-secret secret meeting at the White House about Don't Ask Don't Tell. With no details forthcoming, I speculated on what really happened there, suspicious that Obama did try to score some political points but without clear answers as to what he might be getting them for.

barack_obamaThis evening, we have our first details of the meeting, and they come from President Obama himself. For the first time ever, a member of the LGBT media/blogosphere got to ask the President some direct questions, and Joe Sudbay has shared his results with us.

Overall, the President did not have much new to say. He still refuses to address whether DADT is unconstitutional. He is eager to toot his own horn for how much his administration has done for the LGBT community, including being “systematic and methodical” (note: not proactive and assertive) on the agenda to repeal DADT. In fact, he doesn't think  the community's “disillusionment is justified,” because his administration has been a “stalwart ally.” In terms of marriage equality, all he had to say was a reiteration of his support for civil unions but traditional marriage. After all, did anyone expect him to reverse his opinion at 3:30 in the afternoon in the Roosevelt Room? We wouldn't want him to suddenly switch back to the support of full marriage equality he had in 1996, would we?

I'm being snide, I admit, but it's only because the President's responses are so condescending. It's like any suggestion that he's not as great the ally as he thinks he is just bounces off. Again, I ask, where does he get the idea that he's this wonderful ally who's done right by us? He's a constitutional scholar who won't answer a constitutional question and he expects credit for regurgitating talking points the religious right uses against us. If the theme of his campaign was “umbrage,” the theme of his Presidency is turning out to be “hubris.”

Then, Obama shared a little bit of the strategy from yesterday's meeting. It involves him, the lame-duck session, and getting the Log Cabin Republicans to flip a few votes.

You’re financing a very successful, very effective legal strategy, and yet the only really thing you need to do is make sure that we get two to five Republican votes in the Senate.

And I said directly to the Log Cabin Republican who was here yesterday, I said, that can’t be that hard. Get me those votes.

Because what I do anticipate is that John McCain and maybe some others will filibuster this issue, and we’re going to have to have a cloture vote. If we can get through that cloture vote, this is done.

Yeah, why are we wasting all that time and money in the courts? It's not like the courts are the one place we've had almost every big precedent-setting victory in the past 10 years. We just have to flip a few votes in the Senate!

It would have been nice if the effort had been made the first time the vote came up.

Mr. Obama was reluctant to “tip his hand,” but I surely hope there is more to this strategy than just actually trying to get the votes this time around.

We don't have much choice but to wait and find out. Come on, then, stalwart ally, show us what you got.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

The AFA and The Peter go off the rails over Mehlman and GOP ‘secret homosexuals’

Join the pity party with Joe Farah at WorldNetDaily boys! One News Now’s Chad Groening composes what has to be one of the most hilarious keyboard protection first grafs ever.

A pro-family activist who is working to expose the truth about homosexuality finds it absolutely appalling that former Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Ken Mehlman was able to “beat back” Republican efforts against homosexual “marriage” while hiding his own homosexual lifestyle.

He’s talking about Peter LaBarbera of course. And The Peter doesn’t disappoint:

“The most troubling thing about Mehlman is that he reveals in his interview with The Atlantic magazine that he was subverting the fight to preserve marriage as the head of the RNC,” notes Peter LaBarbera, founder and president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH). “He admits that he was working in private conversations with senior GOP leaders against the federal marriage amendment.”

LaBarbera adds that he cannot understand why current RNC chairman Michael Steele has been so accepting of Mehlman’s lifestyle. “There are so many great stories of people who left lesbianism, who left homosexuality,” he points out. “We should not accept that this homosexuality is part of Ken Mehlman’s identity. And shame on Michael Steele for [almost] celebrating Ken Mehlman’s homosexuality.”

And in a moment of revelation and admiration for the work of Mike Rogers, LaBarbera calls for outing “secret homosexuals” in order to cleanse the GOP of “homosexual activism.”

And the hat tip goes to former AFA staff attorney Joe Murray. :)
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

How These 2 Gay Active Duty Marines Keep Their Engagement a Secret

We met online, we met up at Starbucks and really just hit it off from the beginning. We started hanging out on the weekends, then after work off base. The more time we spent together, the more we realized that we couldn’t be apart. It is really risky to be in a homosexual relationship and be in the military. But once you have found that special someone you realize what really matters in life. There is a great risk, and we both realize that, but the love that we have for each other outweighs that risk. We are stationed at the same place. While I am deployed we try and keep in contact as much as possible. While talking on the phone, we have to speak in code to make sure that no one finds out. We never know who is listening. We mainly connect through personal e-mail.

—Kevin, an active duty Marine and member of OutServe, explaining how he keeps his engagement to another active duty solder under wraps [via]


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—  John Wright