Son of a beach

A family vacation proves unexpectedly gay as Myrtle Beach, S.C., gets Pride

RAINBOW TOUR | Nearly 200 beachcombers — including the author (dark green, just right of center) — stepped away from the surf and gathered in a field to form a human rainbow flag.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

The trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., had more to do with a family reunion than finding a good destination for gay travelers. After all, Myrtle Beach is a pretty lazy, conservative town in the perennial Red State, one where teenaged spring breakers and families gather to enjoy the warm surf and the resort-town appeal of seafood and beachcombing and overpriced cocktails. Queer travelers can hit one of the three gay bars, all within blocks of each other — Club Traxx, Time Out! and the Rainbow House (a lesbian club).

But the weekend I arrived , just by coincidence, it turned out to be Gay Pride.

Keep in mind, the gay community in Myrtle Beach is small, so “Gay Days,” plural, felt more like Gay Day, singular: One major event and then life as usual in Coastal Carolina.

The major event, though, was an ambitious one: Gathering members of the LGBT community and their allies to form a “human rainbow flag:” People signed up to wear a pastel-colored T-shirt and arrange themselves in the traditional configuration. A few others wore black, forming the flagpole.

The entire event was threatened by showers late Friday and early Saturday, but despite a slightly muddy field, nearly 200 people turned out, huddled closely on a muggy afternoon, while a photographer flew above in a helicopter.

Numbers weren’t uniform; there were too many reds and too few purples; but the effect was one of a flag waving in the breeze.

In order to do the shoot, members faced each other before bending forward to allow the broad field of their shirts to form the colors. Directly across from me stood Elke Kennedy, a resident of Greenville in the Upstate. Elke and her husband established SeansLastWish.org, raising awareness of anti-gay violence, after their gay son was beaten to death and his killer spent less than a year in jail.

Elke spoke at a rally following the photoshoot, and dozens in attendance listened to her recount her  son’s harrowing attack and death before two drag queens performed and a DJ spun dance hits. People started to file out after a while, off to the beach, or the clubs, or even the boardwalk, where the Texas Star-like Skywheel gives great views of the beach … and sits next door to the campily named souvenir shop the Gay Dolphin.

The latter was always may favorite place when I was growing up; you’d think my parents would have caught on sooner.

Click here for additional photos.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Barney takes on ‘showers’

And he does a good job. As an aside, I love how the far-right news service starts the video with what I guess is their tag line:

“Most Americans believe the media has some bias. And the Media Research Center proves it.”

LOL I’m sure the “throw me down the stairs my shoes” aspect of the lede eludes them.

(H/t LGBT/POV)




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Bigot of the Day: Texas Rep. Mike Conaway

Rep. Mike Conaway

Despite a Pentagon study that recommends just the opposite, Texas Republican Congressman Mike Conaway continues to spew right-wing propaganda by suggesting that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” will force the military to build separate living facilities for gay and lesbian troops. Conaway also says he thinks DADT is currently working “unless you intend to make sexuality your No. 1 issue when you wake up in the morning.” Which, of course, is precisely what Conaway is doing. From the San Angelo Standard Times:

“You’re going to accommodate folks’ preferences as to whether or not they want to be in the same sleeping arrangements or bathroom facilities, all those kinds of things,” Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican from Midland, said Monday. …

“Apparently their housing arrangements are not set up in that direction,” Conaway said. “And if you have to segment them further from what they are just between men and women, then you’re going to have to provide additional facilities that weren’t provided before. …

“I think my final conclusion was it’s a policy that’s currently working unless you intend to make sexuality your No. 1 issue when you wake up in the morning,” he said.

We’re not sure why the Standard Times is even bothering to publish this crap at this point, but at least the story goes on to note that Conaway is dead wrong:

The Pentagon study released Nov. 30 on the effect of a repeal recommended that “the Department of Defense expressly prohibit berthing or billeting assignments or the designation of bathroom facilities based on sexual orientation.”

Commanders would retain authority to alter those assignments or accommodate concerns about privacy on a case-by-case basis, the study said.

“Most concerns we heard about showers and bathrooms were based on stereotype,” the study said.

The study also indicated 70 percent of military members surveyed believed doing away with the policy would have mixed, positive or no effect.

—  John Wright

DADT: possible WH signing Wed, Palm study on Pentagon training, and Faux News on gays in showers

Some timely news — Obama to sign ‘don’t ask’ repeal this week — may hold news conference.

Any bets as to who will be invited to the signing ceremony — Joe Solmonese? Dan Choi? Victor Fehrenbach? Who do you think should be there?

Though the schedule is being finalized, Gibbs said he expects a formal White House signing ceremony Wednesday morning to sign the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal.

“I think there are a lot of people who are interested in attending,” Gibbs said.

***

And in terms of how the military might roll out a repeal, the Palm Center released this information…

New Study: Pentagon Can Train Entire Force Rapidly

Politico.com’s Morning Defense column is reporting today about a new Palm Center study that concludes that the Pentagon could easily train the entire force in preparation for the elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” http://www.politico.com/morningdefense/  According to the study, “any claim that DADT cannot be repealed until after the completion of exhaustive training is inconsistent with actual military needs.”  The Palm Center provided a preliminary copy of the study to Politico.com and will publish a final version this week.

The new study reviews tools that the Pentagon uses to rapidly train the entire force, including troops deployed in combat zones, and offers case studies in which the Defense Department provided force-wide training within a matter of days or weeks.  The study shows as well that in most cases, the Pentagon implements new policy concurrent with training, rather than waiting for the completion of training before implementing new rules.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to demand a delay lasting through most of 2011 to train the forces in preparation for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Palm Center scholars argue that training for the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is an uncomplicated task.  Aaron Belkin, Palm’s Director, said that “the troops already know how to interact with gays because they do so every day.”  The RAND Corporation concluded in 1993 that the “new policy should be kept as simple as possible,” and lessons from foreign militaries confirm the same point.  Belkin added that, “When you read the Pentagon’s 87-page implementation plan, you see that the transition requirements can be boiled down to just two things: strong leadership and simple rules.  This really isn’t rocket science.”

***

However, Fox gets right to the heart of what DADT repeal really means (via StopBeck)…

DOD report: straights must shower with gays
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin