Takei, Aiken adding gay fabulosity to new “Celebrity Apprentice”

George Takei

I have sincerely admired George Takei ever since 2005 when he publicly came out as a gay man. And I have been a real fan for the last several months, ever since I “liked” his Facebook page and got the chance to see and appreciate his unique sense of humor.

But I am not a big enough fan to watch George in his new gig, because his new gig is being a cast member of the new season of Donald Trump‘s Celebrity Apprentice. And I hate Donald Trump and I hate Celebrity Apprentice way to much to ever watch the show, even for George T. I made myself a promise after listening to Trump’s “presidential campaign” tripe that I would never watch this show, because I never want to do anything that might even remotely put money in his bigoted pockets.

So, love ya George, but I just can’t watch that show.

There will be at least one other gay in the cast to keep George company: Clay Aiken of American Idol and Spamalot fame. And other “gay interest’ cast members are ’80s pop star Debbie Gibson and equal-opportunity-insult comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

I’m not gonna list the whole cast here. You can go over to FoxNews.com to get that (where, by the way, the describe Takei as “Star Wars actor George Takei”). Let it suffice to say that the cast does include Mafia princess Victoria Gotti and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider.

—  admin

HGG 2011 Gift-A-Day: Last minute gifts and stocking stuffer roundup

COUNTING IT DOWN

Whether you need to give to the coworkers, neighbors or just add to the gift stock pile by stuffing the stocking, these might help out on your decision making.

SPIRITS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Moon Mountain vodka makes this holiday season more “green” that is certified organic by the USDA. Made in America, the artisanally crafted vodka is made from Midwestern corn, but in small batches creating the right taste to make it the perfect spirit to toast the season. The vodka is priced at $19.99.

Available at major spirits retailers.

FORGET SANTA

These Biscoff cookies are a surprisingly addictive treat, that it may be hard to give away. The crispy biscuits with the caramel flavor are ideal with coffee or even on their own. And a welcome alternative to usual holiday sweets with their light touch. Made from Belgium, these treats are vegan and contain 0 grams trans fat and 0 cholesterol per serving. So your recipients will be quite happy about these. Coming in a variety of counts and packages, these Biscoff Cafe Totes house eight packages of two. So you can get one for yourself and then try to give the other one away. You could leave them out for Santa but try not to eat them before he does. Ten percent of the purchases of this item go toward Teach for America. A set of three is priced at $16.95.

Available through Biscoff.com.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

For the Star Wars gamer geek — er, loved ones — comes this quirky stylus set. Made for Nintendo DS products, Star Wars fans can have their very own Clone Wars with these character-designed stylus lightsabers.  The stylus can be used for DS Lite, XL and 3DS and is for ages six and up. Priced at $9.99.

Available at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and other major video game retailers.

 

GAY FILM FEST

Breaking Glass Pictures has made gift giving for your LGBT movie fan rather enticing. The company that distributed the locally-made Ticked Off Trannies with Knives is offering a 30 percent off purchases made during the holiday season. Stack up on indie gay movie faves like Violet Tendencies, The Big Gay Musical and the 30th anniversary edition of the gay classic Taxi Zum Klo. Head to the site withthe promotion code “holiday” and snag a bargain on the films. Hey, you might even get one for yourself.

Available at BreakingGlassPictures.com.

 

 

 

BRUSH AWAY

Expect an eye roll if you give kids a toothbrush, but once they start handling his Arm & Ammer Spinbrush Proclean, they might get more on board. The battery-operated brush is a simple, but effective way to keep those pearly whites, um, white, with the appeal of being a whirring gadget. Don’t talk about how better it is than a manual toothbrush and dental health. Yawn for days. Hype up the dual action technology, the durable body style and what a grown-up “toy” it is. Because, of course, adults can use it to. Retails between $8–9.

Available at retailers nationwide.

 

—  Rich Lopez

‘Perform or provide’

DADT repeal gives progressive chaplains a chance to counter evangelical clergy in the military

IMG_5132

CATCH-ALL CHAPLAIN | Chaplain Chris Antal (Lt.) attended the meeting of the Forum on Military Chaplaincy at Cathedral of Hope in October. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com
When a soldier recently came to Chaplain Chris Antal, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard in New York and a Unitarian Universalist minister, and asked if he’d pray with her even though she was a pagan, he said he replied, “Of course I will, but you’ll have to show me how.”

Several weeks later, when he saw her again, she told him that the day she had come to visit him, she had hit rock bottom. He had, she told him, saved her life that day.

But Antal said he was only doing his job — helping any soldier who comes to him.

“I’ve earned the nickname, the Catch-all Chaplain,” he said, explaining that it means he takes everyone the other chaplains don’t want to deal with.

Carpenter.Dodd

Capt. Tom Carpenter (ret.) and Col. Paul Dodd (ret.)

Being there to help a soldier in need is what it’s all about for a military chaplain, said Col. Paul Dodd, a retired chaplain who now lives in Austin.

“The duty of a military chaplain is to perform or provide,” said Dodd, adding that he once sponsored an Islamic conference.

Dodd said that no chaplain can perform every service needed by every member of the military. But if a chaplain can’t perform the service requested, he or she must provide that soldier with a referral to someone else who can.

Antal said that chaplains who enlisted knew what they were getting into — to some extent. But none of them really expected the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And for many, that repeal was a game changer.

In October, a group of active and retired chaplains and military personnel and other people of faith, such as the Rev. Steve Sprinkle from Brite Divinity

School in Fort Worth, met at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope to begin looking at ways of addressing the issues that arose for military chaplains around DADT repeal.

Dave Guy Gainer said The Forum on Military Chaplaincy is not exactly new. It formed in 2005 as a project of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and worked under the radar until DADT was repealed.

Sprinkle said people in the Pentagon, up through Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, knew about their work and considered their statements throughout the DADT repeal process.

And now, with repeal complete, the group met to “come out.” At their meeting in Dallas, forum members considered ways to become an independent organization helping to ensure newly out service members receive the pastoral care they need while serving in the military.

Susan Gore, principle of The Mentor Group and editor of the book Coming Out In Faith, moderated the Dallas conference. She said the group started with several retired military officers “who wanted to push back against the far-right skew.”

Sprinkle has been part of the forum for four years and said he was recruited to participate because of his work on hate crimes.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sprinkle said, more and more members of the Chaplain Corps have come from just one school — Liberty

University, founded by far-right evangelical Jerry Falwell. Today, Sprinkle estimated, one-third of military chaplains come from Liberty University.

“They instituted a program that barely meets minimum requirements,” he said of the evangelical school. “It’s an online course.”

And, Sprinkle said, Liberty University’s goal is to take control of the Chaplain Corps and use the military as a pool for religious recruits.

“This is fertile ground to bring people to Jesus at taxpayer expense,” said Tom Carpenter, a retired Marine captain and one of the forum’s founders.

“I’ve heard stories of them holding the hand of someone who’s dying and trying to bring them to Jesus.”

And although such actions contradict military policy, no one in the corps has been disciplined or dismissed for it.

“They give chaplains a lot of leeway,” Carpenter said.

Gainer said the military is looking for well-rounded ministers who bring experience with them to the military.

According to the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School in Fort Jackson, S.C., candidates must be endorsed by their denomination or faith group and be “sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.”

But Sprinkle said that Liberty University is transparent about its goals, and those goals do not line up.

“They’re not committed to pluralism or serving all the troops,” he said.

Gainer said that the greatest opposition to repealing DADT came from the Chaplain Corps because military chaplains answer to two groups — the military and their denomination. Those chaplains that didn’t adhere to a strict stance of maintaining the ban on gays and lesbians were threatened with losing their accreditation from their endorsing religious body — and with it their livelihood and their pensions.

But that contradicts the stated goals of the Chaplain Corps.

“Someone has to say, ‘Either you comply and serve all the troops all the time or get out,’” Sprinkle said.

Gore said that one of the goals of the newly public forum is to “rebalance the Chaplain Corps by bringing in more mainstream faiths.” She said that for many who come from more liberal traditions, questions of what’s a just war make it hard to serve in the military. Antal, for example, is one of just four Unitarian Universalists in the Chaplain Corps.

During its push for repeal of DADT, members
said, the forum had several successes working behind the scenes.

Despite the assumption of confidentiality between parishioner and clergy, that wasn’t always the case between gay soldier and chaplain. Dodd said that a number of discharges under DADT occurred after a soldier talked to a chaplain and the chaplain turned them in.

In fact, he wrote a white paper on the practice. After he submitted it, the military tightened up on chaplain confidentiality, Dodd said.

Carpenter, an attorney, wrote an amicus brief for the Log Cabin Republicans’ lawsuit against DADT. The court found in favor of declaring DADT unconstitutional, but Congress repealed the law before the decision could be enforced.

Carpenter said that the repeal allows gays and lesbians to serve with no protection. The legal decision, had it not been vacated upon repeal, would have allowed gays and lesbians to serve equally.

Now that DADT is gone, the forum is examining how to ensure LGB personnel receive the same services as other troops from chaplains.

Dodd said that right-wing chaplains charge that allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military will force them to act in ways that go against their beliefs. Some have said they would be required to perform same-sex weddings.

Dodd called that ridiculous. Chaplains are never asked to perform duties that go against their religious beliefs, he said.

“I turned down weddings,” he said. “An officer came to me who wasn’t divorced.”

He said the officer tried to pull strings and force the issue, but Dodd wasn’t going to discuss marrying someone who was still married to someone else.

“But we’re insisting chaplains have the authority, if it’s in keeping with their faith, to marry same-sex couples,” he said.

Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, the repeal provides no family benefits. For some issues, Dodd and Carpenter suggested work-arounds.

Issuing ID cards would be extremely helpful, especially to same-sex couples with children, Carpenter said, noting that “That way either parent could get on base to get a child to the hospital.”

In another example, joint assignments can be offered at the discretion of a commanding officer, and married couples are often assigned together when they both qualify for positions that are available at the same base. Same-sex couples could be given the same priority.

As the forum looks ahead, rebalancing the Chaplain Corps with members from a more diverse background to reflect the membership of the military is a priority.

“And we need to take care of our trans brothers and sisters,” Carpenter said.

The repeal of DADT did not address any transgender issues and does not allow transgender men or women to serve in the military.

Gainer believes representatives of the forum need to sit down with far-right members of the Chaplain Corps and agree to disagree. He said that before the repeal of DADT, they talked to people at Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. While both groups testified against the repeal, they met with some success.

“The president of the VFW in Pflugerville said it was the right thing to do,” Gainer said.

That dialogue, he believed, would help chaplains perform or at least provide a useful referral, rather than doing more damage to a soldier seeking help.

Gore thought that the focus of discussion should be with the majority of chaplains “who want to do a good job and are part of the moveable middle.”

“We have to convince administrators and educators in divinity schools to encourage some of their best and brightest to serve,” Sprinkle said. “So many schools dropped what they were doing during the Vietnam era.”

Antal thinks that gays and lesbians will gain more acceptance as they tell their stories in non-confrontational settings and others see “their identity as professional service members is primary.”

While the work of the forum will concentrate on helping LGB military personnel, creating a more diverse Chaplain Corps may help a majority of service members. Recent polls show that a majority of troops find the chaplaincy irrelevant.

Sprinkle called the work of the forum a gift from the LGBT community to the nation.

“You wouldn’t think we’d be the ones opening the doors so that all troops will be served with dignity, integrity and respect,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Watch: The Star Wars Christmas Special Everyone Really Wanted

Starwars

This is awesome! Enjoy.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


The good folks at gamervision cut this together:

"It's Christmas time, and while today that means people grinching about whether or not you should say 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas,' there was a time when the biggest issue people had was which televised Christmas special they were going to watch. We've all seen the one with Rudolph and that one with the Heat Miser, and I'm sure the amount of hours spent watching the adventures of Frosty the Snowman would be shameful. Though those were all enjoyable when we were kids, we haven't had a real grown-up Christmas special in a long time. That's where this video comes in."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Carrie Goldman Wouldn’t Let A Bunch Of Boys Bully Daughter Katie Into Abandoning Her Love of Star Wars

Crossing normative gender lines isn't merely the territory of little boys: little girls enjoy screwing with society too! Seven-year-old Katie Goldman, a first-grader in Evanston, Illinois, wears her love for Star Wars on her sleeve. And the water bottle and backpack she took to school every day, selected at Target during back-to-school shopping. All of which meant the boys in her class would tease and torment her for liking a film franchise that, apparently, is the exclusive property of male twerps. So when it all became too much for Katie, she told her mom Carrie she wanted to bring a pink water bottle to school from now on. Oh hell no: Carrie wasn't having it.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  admin

GOP filibusters Defense bill, while we’re in 2 wars, then accuses Dems of playing politcs with national defense

They’re good. John McCain has been politicizing the Defense bill for months in an effort to convince Arizona voters that he really is a conservative Republican. And now that we’re a little more than a month away from the election, the entire GOP is trying to bring down the defense bill in order to score political points by hurting Latinos and gays. Incredibly, the Republicans are now claiming, after all that, that it’s Democrats who are politicizing the Defense bill a month before the election.

In fact, the military’s gay ban was included in the defense bill the first time around, back in 1993. That’s where “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” actually resides. Any effort to remove the ban has to be in the defense bill. John McCain knows that. So does Mitch McConnell. But both are willing to lie to the American people in order to score political points on the backs of our soldiers.

The only remaining question is whether Susan Collins and Scott Brown, who both voted for the Defense Bill in committee, will now flip-flop, in the face of pressure from Mitch McConnell, and support this outrageous filibuster.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

From OMG! to O-your-G!: As millennials divorce church and state, elders seek Marriage Wars 2.0

So Lifeway Research, a Christian polling and data outfit, released a new report that says 61% percent of those Americans born between 1980-1991 are either Screen Shot 2010-09-03 At 9.15.16 Amsomewhat or strongly accepting of same-sex marriage. Which even sounds low to us, knowing what we know about this generation. But again: Lifeway is a conservative evangelical firm, so — yea.

Okay, so in this data, Lifeway also reported this finding:

Two-thirds of those with no religious preference agree strongly there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage, while only 1 in 7 of those who say they trust Christ as Savior agree strongly. Further, 46 percent of those who say they trust Christ as Savior strongly disagree and in fact find fault with marriage between members of the same gender.” [SOURCE]

Not a big surprise. While there are welcome exceptions, we pro-LGBT peeps know that the evangelical church is still our most reliably consistent well of opposition. Kids who are brought up in the church are typically injected with fear about LGBT people from the moment they start putting two Barbies together in one dream house. Anti-gay indoctrination is the all-too-reliable order of the evangelical day.

But the good thing about that: We LGBT activists and lawyers and varied equality voices are talking about CIVIL marriage equality. CIVIL. As in disconnected from the church by law. As in a custom where the religious ceremonial component is fully optional, but the CIVIL marriage license is a requirement (at least if the couple wants the state/fed. rights and benefits). Civil marriage, as in the institution that all heterosexual Americans experience now, with churches free to make whatever decisions they want in regards to the couples they will and will not marry or solemnize or recognize or chicken dance-erize. So in a perfect world, the above passage about evangelicals’ personal faith-based feelings should not even come into play into the civil marriage conversation. Those feelings are for their own family, in terms of what weddings they will or won’t attend and what gift registries they will and won’t acknowledge, and their own church membership bodies, in terms of what weddings they will accommodate. We *FULLY* respect their right to make these decisions.

Unfortunately, the evangelical opposition is not willing to afford us the same respect. Here is Lifeway president Thom Ranier talking to Focus on the Family:

It will be a critical issue for churches – soon to be led by Millennials – to establish their biblical positions on the issue of same-sex relationships,” he said. “If it is to find relevance with Millennials, the church must be willing to deal directly with the issue of same-sex attraction and relationships. The church must voice a clear, biblical ethic of sexuality.” [SOURCE]

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! Here we have research that shows milliennials are more supportive of gay people’s civil rights than any generation to come before (and again, we think the Lifeway data is still low). We also see, unsurprisingly, that evangelical Christians are one of the biggest sticking points (the survey also cites Men, African-Americans, and Southerners as greater resisters). But the man whose firm conducted this survey responds by saying that more church-infused opinion is the answer? That more condemnation of same-sex relationships is the way we handle gay people’s placement within civil society? That more church injection into American politics is the answer, even while similar studies show that millennials are increasingly turned off by the church, with anti-gay attitudes cited as a reason why?

Just NO! What modern-day “culture warriors” like Mr. Ranier and Focus on the Family need/must do is realize/admit that their overwrought attempt to control civil law with personal faith is something that has wounded modern American politics/government! The Falwell era? Well, it may have Fared-well for a spell, but it ultimately FAILed-well too. It divided us deeply. The hand was overplayed, with the overreaching both exposing the inadequacies of the evangelicals’ argument against LGBT people’s rights, as well as raising questions among increasingly inquisitive younger generations about why, exactly, the church feels like it has any kind of right to set public policy in such a way. It is past time for the religious right to admit these mistakes, learn from these missteps, and move on to a more tenable position. A position that absolutely utilizes their own religious freedom to shout their anti-LGBT biblical interpretations with a ferocity, a right that we would theoretically join them in court in defending. But it’s also a position that must stop acting as if all Americans, by virtue of birth, chose one of two options: (1) To willfully join their national church, or (2) sit quietly and doodle on the church bulletin while the national sermon shapes the constitution. Just like choir director Barbara Jean’s reliably inedible covered dishes, this sort of forced national church fellowship is primed to spoil even before a young chuch-goer can complete the question, “aren’t their homeless and hungry people who could use our time, energy, and funding?




Good As You

—  John Wright