Gayest Super Bowl moment: ‘Cram it in the Boot’

I don’t expect many overtly gay moments from the Super Bowl, but one kept coming back to me. No, it wasn’t Christina Aguilera’s anthem fail, which drag queens most likely will bypass in future performances; and it wasn’t the emergence of probable new bearish icons Brett Goode and Mike Tomlin. Actually, it was nothing that happened on the field.

The commercials were up and down in cleverness, but I have to admit, my jaw dropped in pure silence after watching this commercial. Gay? OK, maybe not overly, but I kinda doubt the straights will be running with the catchphrase, “Cram it in the boot.”

—  Rich Lopez

Cardinal says gays persecute and silence; we might shush our Catholic Aunt Bethany at the Thanksgiving table, but that’s about it (*and that’s b/c she’s annoying, not b/c she’s Christian)

Cardinal-BiffiCardinal Giacomo Biffi has updated and republished his memoirs, with new portions focused exclusively on homosexuality. This snippet from the openly anti-gay LifeSite News:

In these “shattered” times, the cardinal said, the new ideologies have resulted in an “intellectual blindness” and in the silencing of Christians who are intimidated by persecution by homosexuals and their ideological accomplices.

But in the end, the cardinal wrote, the Church will not be defeated: “We are with the Lord of History.”



The ideology of homosexuality, he said, as often happens to ideologies when they become aggressive and are politically successful, “becomes a threat to our legitimate autonomy of thought: those who do not share it risk condemnation to a kind of cultural and social marginalization.”

“The attacks on freedom of thought start with language,” he wrote. “Those who do not resign themselves to accept ‘homophilia’ … are charged with ‘homophobia’.”

“Is it still permitted … to be faithful and consistent disciples of the teaching of Christ … or must we prepare ourselves for a new form of persecution, promoted by homosexual activists, by their ideological accomplices, and even by those whose task it should be to defend the intellectual freedom of all, including Christians?”

Aggressive homosexual ideology silencing Christians: senior Cardinal [LifeSite News]

Pretty harsh and dangerous claims, no? Here we have an influential leader of the Roman Catholic Church putting forth messaging that pretty much tells believers that gays who are ‘radical” enough to see themselves as equal citizens of the world (how dare we?) are out to get people of faith, and therefore the church must fight back against the supposed persecution. In this day and age of bullying and other highlighted torments, this is the meme the Cardinal is choosing to drum up. As we said: Dangerous.

And then there’s the element of pure nonsense. The Cardinal paints a portrait of militant gays intimidating and silencing and persecuting and attacking. Then he talks about how the church will ultimately win. All the while, we’re sitting here on the sidelines, wondering why people keep trying to drag us into a fight we never asked for, fostered, or raise a fist within. It’s like junior high all over again, where we just wanna get through the day so we can go home and play Super Mario World, but our friend Mason keeps insisting on running his mouth, getting into arguments, and dragging us into it. Next thing we know, Mason’s coming to blows behind the football field, and we’re forced to sit there feigning interest and wasting crucial Yoshi time, having been drug into the silly melee by unsubstantiated claims, demanded sympathies, and the unfortunate fact that our seventh grade locker proximity led Mason to determine that our geographical closeness should translate to friendship. Yea, it’s kind of like that. Except, you know: With the Cardinal’s reach extending well beyond Mason’s influence at the most popular lunch room table, and the stakes being marked in actual human lives rather than Mario’s digital 1ups.

But who here in America has signed on to this unfortunate, nonsensical, perilous rhetoric as a fan? None other than the Catholic-focused National Organization For Marriage, natch:

Screen Shot 2010-11-24 At 6.59.53 AmCardinal Biffi’s new essay in a book “The Inconvenient Memoirs” points out the ways in which an “aggressive ideology” is shattering the once-Christian west and increasingly silencing the voice of Christians. But to those who argue for the inevitability of the victory of this new ideology, he says, fear not, “We are with the Lord of History.”

“We are With the Lord of History” [NOM Blog]

Makes sense (in nonsensical “culture war” terms) that NOM would get behind this kind of thing. We’ve always said that while “marriage protection” is NOM’s stated goal, their underlying, perhaps more pervasive strategy is script-flipping. They want to change the stakes of this conversation, position this current civil rights conversation as being their own struggle over supposed gay persecution, so that for the first time in history, it will be the rights-strippers who history shines favorably upon. In that sense, Cardinal Biffi’s “with the Lord of History” rhetoric fits like a gay love.

But despite it being non-shocking, we should not neglect the concerns attached to this mindset. It is an outlook that, by design, will more fully enrage like-minded people of faith every time an LGBT person gains a fortuitous new labor-fruit. As that can is more fully cracked open, none of NOM’s carefully parsed language or measured sympathies will be able to control the way the masses receive and act on what pretty much sounds like a Christian call to arms.




Good As You

—  admin

Shattering the silence surrounding anti-LGBTQ violence

On November 16, 2010, just days after the 72nd anniversary of the Nazi’s opening salvo against the Jews, Kristallnacht, the United Nations voted to remove sexual orientation from the UN resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

“This is a shameful day in United Nations history. It gives a de facto green light to the on-going murder of LGBT people by homophobic regimes, death squads and vigilantes. They will take comfort from the fact that the UN does not endorse the protection of LGBT people against hate-motivated murder,” said U.K. gay rights and human rights leader Peter Tatchell.

Very timely then that Queer Rising and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), New York City’s synagogue for LGBTQ Jews, had just released this video.  The video draws parallels between Kristallnacht and the increasing, largely unchallenged violence faced by LGBTQ people around the world, and announces the upcoming action In God’s Name: Hate is the Abomination.  

On December 16th, the eve of the 10th of Tevet, the National Remembrance Day of those who have died in violence whose names might not otherwise be remembered, the group will march to Prospect Park in Brooklyn and recite together the Mourner’s Kaddish so that Jews and non-Jews may remember of all those whose lives have been destroyed due to anti-LGBTQ violence.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi of CBST:

Seventy-two years ago, a lifetime away, state-sponsored terrorism chose to attack our people, the Jewish people in the lands then governed by Germany, but soon to be spread to counties all over eastern, western and southern Europe.

The significance of Kristallnacht is not only that 91 people were killed that night, or that close to 2,000 synagogues were destroyed forever – buildings, houses of worship which had been sacred in our community for hundreds of years.  Nor that 30,000 men were arrested and taken to concentrations camps, a thousand of whom died there.  Most were returned.

But the significance of Kristallnacht was not the just individual experience of Jews in those cities that night.  It wasn’t just that the Nazis levied a tax on the Jewish people to actually clean up from the damage done that night by the hate-filled pogroms.  But it was that moment, that night on November 9 and November 10th that the words of hatred which had been fueling the fire since the rise of National Socialism in 1933 turned from language to violence.

From 1933 to 1938 there was a series of laws enacted which slowly and inexorably separated out the Jews from the rest of the German population.  The Nuremberg Laws made it impossible to Jews to own businesses, to hire non-Jews, to be hired, to go to certain theaters, to be in public spheres of life.

But what really changed on this night 72 years ago was that all that language that started to isolate Jews made it possible for neighbors who had been neighbors for hundreds of years to take up the machete, to take up the gun and to shatter these houses of worship and kill Jews.

After that there was no going back and in some ways we know that Hitler was using these moments in history to see precisely how the world would react.  Would there be silence, or would there be condemnation?  Would there be an uprising, an outrage from Jews and non-Jews from countries all over the world saying this kind of treatment of citizens would not be tolerated?  There was silence, and we all know the outcome of that story.

Hitler only gained more and more power in  attacking the Jews, and it was not far from this night of  November 9th and 10th, 1938 to the unrolling of the Final Solution itself in the 1940s.  

What we are doing here today is to first of all say words matter.  How words are used and how words target and isolate individuals and groups matter.  And as Jews we reject the idea that any language is OK in order to describe someone differently or in ways that are painful.  We reject that.

And most importantly, we will put our bodies on the line to protect those whose physical beings are at risk, not only their spiritual and their emotional beings.

So I’m proud to join together with Jake Goodman and with Queer Rising to make sure that 72 years from today, we can say we were among those who heard the glass shattering in our own cities, in our own states, understood it was our own kind of Kristallnacht happening, but we did whatever we could do to make sure the silence was shattered not just the glass.  To make sure that this would not go any further and that there would be those of us who would stand up with full voice and with full body to prevent anything from going inexorably on.

Join us in December and join us on this path.  Join us through the Queer Rising website or the CBST website.  Join in community as we fight these forces that depend on us to be silent.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Blue Man Group takes over the Winspear Opera House

This kind of blues is ideal

Blue Man GroupThe Blue Man Group comes to town with its innovative performance of music, comedy and whatever else they throw in the mix. At one point, they even make it look like the best gay club in the world. With alien looks and complete silence, these blue men will blow you away.

DEETS:
Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Sept. 19–26. $40–$150. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Letter From Partner of Navy Officer Who Served in Silence

Last week, the Pentagon sent out 150,000 surveys to the heterosexual spouses of service members for their opinion on a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. With this family survey now in the field, our friends at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, will release a letter each day this week from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT. As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones.

Today’s letter comes from Lynne Kennedy, the partner of an Navy officer who was forced into silence by DADT:

General Carter F. Ham
Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

Hon. Jeh C. Johnson
General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

CC:       U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. John S. McCain
Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman
Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

Dear General Ham and Mr. Johnson:

In 1990 – while working as a reference librarian at the Library of Congress — I met Joan Darrah, an active duty Naval Officer.  I already knew about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but I soon woke up to the harsh reality that loved ones of gay and lesbian family members are forced to serve in silence, too.

Over the years, Joan had adjusted to living two lives — in the closet at work and out after hours. For me, it was a bit of an adjustment as I had been fortunate to work for an employer who valued my skills and expertise and realized that my being a lesbian in no way detracted from my ability to do a great job.

I knew that Joan could be deployed at any moment.  She may be away from home for two or three years.  I realized that being with an active duty military officer was even more constricting than I could have possibly imagined and I worried constantly about Joan’s well being.  Yet, through it all, I knew our relationship was worth the compromises.  I knew we had to make it work for Joan to continue to serve our Country.

There were so many things that we had to be careful about. For example, Joan had asked that I not call her at work unless it was truly an emergency. When we were out in public if Joan saw someone from work, I learned to “disappear,” until Joan’s co-worker moved on.  We didn’t dare go to nice restaurants on Valentine’s Day or even Saturday nights. We could not show any familiarity while out in public.  I went to parties at colleagues’ homes alone lest a guest I didn’t know learn that Joan was in the Navy.

The events of September 11, 2001, caused us both appreciate more fully the true impact of DADT on our lives and the reality of our mutual sacrifices. At 8:30 a.m. that morning, Joan went to a meeting in the Pentagon.  At 9:30 a.m., she left that meeting.  At 9:37 a.m., the plane flew into the Pentagon and destroyed the exact space that Joan had left less than eight minutes earlier, killing seven of her colleagues.

In the days and weeks that followed, Joan went to several funerals and memorial services for her co-workers who had been killed. Most people attended these services with their spouses whose support was critical at this difficult time, yet Joan was forced to go alone, even though I really wanted to be with her to provide support.

As the numbness began to wear off, it hit me how incredibly alone I would have been had Joan been killed. The military is known for how it pulls together and helps people; we talk of the “military family,” which is a way of saying we always look after each other, especially in times of need.  But, none of that support would have been available for me, because under DADT, I didn’t exist.

In fact, I would have been one of the last people to know had Joan been killed, because nowhere in her paperwork or emergency contact information had Joan dared to list my name.

Whenever I hear Joan recount the events of that day, I relive it and realize all over again how devastated I would have been had she been killed.   I also think of the partners of service members injured or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They are unable to get any support from the military and they must be careful about the amount of support they offer to their closeted service member loved ones.

The events of September 11th caused us to stop and reassess exactly what was most important in our lives. During that process, we realized that this discriminatory law was causing us to make a much bigger sacrifice than either of us had ever admitted.

Eight months later, in June 2002, Joan retired from the U.S. Navy, and I retired from the Library of Congress.  If it wasn’t for DADT, we might both still be serving in our respective positions.

-Lynne Kennedy

HRC joins with our allies in the efforts to ensure passage of repeal in the Senate, as we work to muster the critical votes needed to end this discriminatory law. We are proud to join SLDN in the call to acknowledge the sacrifice of those partners of service members serving in silence under this failed law.

To join in HRC and SLDN’s joint campaign to garner support for repeal, visit countdown2010.hrc.org.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

JetBlue Breaks its Silence

JetBlue has released a statement on Steven Slater, the flight attendant who was
arrested after arguing with a
passenger and exiting the plane down the emergency slide.
Daily News

—  John Wright

Gay Marine from N. Texas talks about life, having a relationship while on active duty

DADT makes life stressful and risky for closeted servicemember

John Wright  |  Online Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

Kevin is from a small town northeast of Dallas. He says he loves Big D and plans to move here eventually.

Right now, though, Kevin is on active duty with the Marines, stationed overseas and deployed to a classified location.

He joined the Marines a few years ago, before he had accepted the fact that he was gay.

Kevin is a member of OutServe, formerly Citizens for Repeal, which was launched last month and bills itself as the first-ever organization for actively serving lesbian, gay and bisexual troops.

The group began in October 2009 as a Facebook page and has grown to 450 members.

“We are active duty and veteran gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and members of the Coast Guard who are currently serving and who have served — some in silence, some with the open support of our comrades — in defense of our nation,” the group said in a statement announcing its launch. “We include service men and women who graduated at the top of our classes at the service academies and enlisted at recruitment centers around the country. Some of our members have lost their lives in service to their country.”

Kevin, whose real name is being withheld to protect him from being outed under “don’t ask don’t tell,” talked with Dallas Voice via personal e-mail.

………………………..

DV: Are you single or do you have a partner at home?

KEVIN: I am in a committed relationship with my fiancé who is also active duty.

DV: How did you manage to develop a relationship while both on active duty under DADT?

KEVIN: 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.

DV: How long have you been out as gay in your private life? Did you know you were gay when you enlisted?

KEVIN: I came out of the closet to myself, my family and friends about two or three years ago. I knew that I was different at the time that I joined the military, but I wasn’t ready to accept that yet. I didn’t want to be different. I wanted so much to live a normal life, to not have people judge me, to not take the chances of my family disowning me — which by the way didn’t happen, my family is completely supportive and are my biggest fans.

DV: What is it like to have to hide who you are on a daily basis? Do you frequently worry about being outed?

KEVIN: It is extremely stressful knowing that if the wrong person finds out about me, my career is over. I love being in the military. I love serving my country. I take great pride in knowing that by me doing what I am doing, I am helping to ensure that my family is able to continue to live their lives the way that they want to.

There was one time that one of my friends and I were out and her supervisor showed up at the same place. He was a little intoxicated and started to make inappropriate sexual remarks to her.  She felt extremely uncomfortable and let someone know. What she did was the right thing, but because this individual knew that I was gay, I wasn’t allowed to help my friend by telling the proper chain of command what I knew, for fear that he would tell on me — which he eventually did end up doing. But there was nothing that could be done because he didn’t have proof. To make sure that the wrong people don’t find out about my private life it has to stay just that.

Me and my fiancé aren’t allowed to go to lunch together during the duty day for fear of being caught. We don’t e-mail each other on our work computers, because we never know who is reading them. We can’t call each other’s office; we don’t go to special functions of each other’s that normal families would go, such as promotion ceremonies.

DV: How did you get involved with OutServe and what is your role with the organization? What do you hope to accomplish with the group?

KEVIN: I met [OutServe co-director] J.D. Smith through mutual friends, and got involved in Outserve through him. I guess my role wouldn’t be any more important than anyone else’s. We all have the same goal, to end DADT.

We want the public to know that we demand equal rights. Some people seem to think that if DADT is repealed then there will be some mass coming out party, where we run around in skirts and have sex at the office. But what these people don’t understand is that the Uniform Code Of Military Justice will still be in effect. We will be held to the same standards of professionalism as anyone else.

We are in the military in the first place for one reason: to do our job, accomplish the mission. That’s what will still be done once DADT is repealed. We at Outserve are working to make sure that the thoughts and views of actual military members currently serving under DADT have a voice in the decision making process.

DV: Have you taken or seen the survey that was sent to the troops as part of the Pentagon study? What are your thoughts on it?

KEVIN: I have seen it. I wasn’t one of the ones chosen to take the survey, but I did find it online. I was completely outraged. First of all, I don’t understand why we need the survey to make sure that every man and woman in the United States is treated equally. Second, I feel that the survey was completely biased.

DV: What are your thoughts on what’s happening with the DADT repeal process overall?

KEVIN: I think that the process is taking way too long; the policy is unconstitutional and should be stopped now.
All we are trying to do is serve our country and live our lives without fear of losing everything that we have worked for. The only crime that is being committed is falling in love and not being ashamed of admitting it.

I feel President Obama made a lot of promises that sounded great while he was running for president. I completely applaud him for taking on issues that others were scared to take on. I do, however, wish that he would make good on those campaign promises and do the right thing. Put a stop to DADT.

I am unsure if the policy is going to be repealed at this point. All I can do is hope for the best, and promise not to give up the fight until every man and woman in the United States has equal rights.

DV: So you think Obama should issue an executive order?

KEVIN: I definitely think that President Obama should issue an executive order ending DADT, at least at a very minimum to stop discharges and investigations until the policy is repealed.

DV: If it is not repealed, will you re-enlist?

KEVIN: I will not continue to live a lie. I can’t take that. I don’t believe in lying and hate the fact that I have to. So if DADT is not repealed, then I will not be re-enlisting. It’s not worth the stress that it puts on my relationship and my conscience.

DV: What would you say to senators who are undecided about whether to vote for DADT repeal?

KEVIN: I have made contact with my senators and congressman. I got the same reply from all. I was told they all are planning on voting against repeal due to the concerns of military leaders. This answer really frustrates me.

I was under the impression that once a congressman/senator is elected, they are supposed to represent the views of the people who voted them into that office, not the military leaders. I have just about completely lost faith in my congressman and senators.

If I could talk to them I would ask them, “How would you feel if you were completely in love with one person and had to hide it from the world for fear of losing your job? How would you feel if the day you were elected into office, you couldn’t share that moment with your spouse because your relationship was illegal? How would you feel if you had to lie to everyone you came into contact with on the daily basis?

“This policy is affecting people’s lives. Please do the right thing and vote to repeal.”

And I would want them to know that at night when they lay down to go to sleep next to the person that they love, that I am not able to do that because I am currently deployed fighting for that right which, legally, I am not afforded. That my partner is in his bed worried sick about me every night, hoping that something doesn’t happen to me. If something did happen he would not be notified.

DV: What can the LGBT community in your hometown/state and across the country do to support you? What is your message to them?

KEVIN: I would encourage everyone to get involved, to stand up for what is right. Flood your congressman and senators with calls and letters urging them to vote for repeal. Get educated on the topics. Anything that you can do to help is greatly appreciated by those of us who can’t openly do it.

For more info about OutServe, go to OutServe.org or www.Facebook.com/OutServe.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens