Thursday, April 30, 2009

ABC Poll: 49% Support of Gay Marriage


Yesterday, I asked about a CBS poll that said 42% of the country supports equal marriage, and we chalked it up to the Vermont/Iowa effect.

Today, an ABC poll comes saying 49% support equal marriage. Interesting. I think we can safely say that we are on the way to actual support for equal marriage, and we are likely well into the "support for some recognition" territory.

Yet, I have a problem with the question that was asked in the ABC poll:

On another subject, do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian/homosexual couples to get married? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
In short: they were given two options, no in between. I wonder how the numbers would break down if civil unions/domestic partnerships were included? I'm still optimistic though, especially since 53% believed that marriages from another state should be recognized in their own.

Things are looking up :-).
Thanks be to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com for a great analysis. He indicates that the preference seems to be civil unions>marriage>no recognition, and, in the absence of the third option, marriage will become overrepresented... thus skewing the ABC poll. Silver seems to chalk these up as indicative of movement, but likely outliers, especially considering a Quinnipiac poll also released today showing marriage support around 38% and opposition at 55%, though support for civil unions is safely at 57%.

Maine Senate Approves, Baldacci Considers


Making this quick...

The Maine Senate approved the equal marriage bill forwarded to it by the Jucidiary Committee in a 20-15 vote, even overcoming an attempt to add a referendum amendment to the bill. Then, later, Governor Baldacci who has been obsequious about his support, called one of the Pam's House Blend authors at home and indicated that he is considering signing the bill.

From PHB:
I [Baldacci] was extremely impressed by the arguments for both sides, but especially by the proponents.
They were very respectful- I liked that they turned their backs when they disagreed.

I was truly impressed by the people who spoke for the bill.

I was opposed to this for a long time, but people evolve, people change as time goes by...

At that point, he told me that civil rights sometimes take time to obtain.

I told him that I understood that all Mainers have an opinion regarding LD 1020 and while WE can all openly discuss them and many have already, HIS was the one opinion that had to be kept private and he HAS to keep quiet right now, as to let the legislative process play out without interference.

His response was that I was absolutely right.
I think, what we're seeing, is two things: one, people are starting to see that marriage for same-sex couples is not the end of the world, as some anticipated; and, two, that voting against it would put them on the wrong side of history.

Gathering Storm, indeed. Let's go, Maine!

Obama's First 100 on LGBT Issues: D-


From Emma Ruby-Sachs at the Huffington Post:
But 70% of LGBT voters came out in support of Barack Obama because they expected that the support for equal rights expressed on the campaign trail would result in action for LGBT people once Obama was in office.

And when it comes to actual change in the lives of LGBT people, nothing has been done. Obama has failed to hand in any of his assignments.

The gay rights agenda is clear: pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act that adds LGBT Americans to the list of protected groups in existing hate crime legislation; pass the United American Families Act that permits committed LGBT couples to sponsor their foreign partners into the country; repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples even if they are married; pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would protect employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; and repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, a policy that forces many service members to forego relationships or live part of their lives in secret in order to avoid discharge from the military.

This is just the fight for legal equality. It says nothing of funding and support for programs that target at-risk youth (1 in 3 gay youths have attempted suicide), public awareness campaigns that promote tolerance and social services - specifically health services - that cater to the LGBT community.

Obama has permitted Secretary Gates to indicate that repealing DADT may never happen. He has merely pledged to sign ENDA and the hate crimes bill, but has done nothing to actively campaign for them. And repealing DOMA isn't even on the radar.

Nancy Pelosi tells us that Congress, and the President, have their hands full with, "health care, energy and the issues related to the economy." And it's true that LGBT people are also citizens who care about the same things most Americans care about: health care coverage, good jobs, a healthy planet.

But we expect the government to be able to multi-task.

We reject the notion that Obama's political power and political capital are all used up by getting this country in basic working order...

Class Participation (30%): B+
Class Assignments (70%): F
Overall Grade: D -
Something to think about for your morning. 

On the flip side, if Obama does sign the Matthew Shepard Act, he will be the first President -- I believe -- to sign a pro-LGBT bill that has nothing to do with HIV/AIDS. Am I right?

WEARING WHAT WEDNESDAY: Chris Pine

I'm really excited about the re-imagination of the Star Trek series coming out, but mostly because the actor who plays James T. Kirk is, well, gorgeous.

Meet Chris Pine:









And, for the win, what movie is this from...?

Rep. Virginia Foxx in a Homophobic YouTube Moment


Meet Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) who spoke today during the debate over the Matthew Shepard Act -- the federal hate crimes bill that passed the US House of Representatives 249-175-11 (yea-nay-no vote or abstained).

Ms. Foxx had her very own special YouTube moment during the debate when she said the following:
“I also would like to point out that there was a bill -- the hate crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay."

She added: "This -- the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."
This was said, btw, whilst Judy Shepard was in the room. Real nice.

To their credit, this is what the Democratic response was:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who supports the hate crimes bill, stared in disbelief before answering a question about the statement.

"It's just sad the Republican caucus has been reduced such a fringe," she said. "It's sad they would go out of their way to prevent people from getting justice."
And, so, I started to wonder, where the hell would she get an idea like this? Thank god for all of us, Ms. Foxx twitters, a fact which, btw, has not escaped the LGBT activists on the web, and a fact that she may come to regret in the morning... regardless, her tweet sends us to the speech of one Don Feder, from the Jewish World Review, who enlightens us on the wonderment that is the anti-hate crime point of view:
Take the 1998 homicide of Matthew Shepard. Was Shepard murdered because he was a homosexual? Possibly. But it's equally plausible that he died because his murderers wanted drug money, and Shepard (weighing in at 105 pounds) was an easy mark. According to a 2004 report by ABC's "20/20," that's what many close to the case believe.
Well, I'm glad that's off our chest. Although, it sends a chilling tone about future robberies... apparently, it's common practice for robbers to pick up gay men in bars, drive them around, beat them, and then tie them to a fence post a la the crucifixion. Remember, kids: carry a gun or this, too, could happen to you in a simply mugging (I have a sneaking suspicion Ms. Foxx is also a fan of the NRA, unconfirmed, so she would like the sentiment).

Of course, that side would have to ignore the queer panic defense...

So, Ms. Foxx, today I give you a special present:


For being just so-gosh-darn-special. But, you know, at least this little YouTube clip will put you up there with the likes of, oh, I don't know, Marilyn Musgrove, Sally Kern, and Jean Schmidt. And we all know how wonderful those women are.

As for the remainder of Don Feder's article, I'll say this: the majority of it is a mass of slippery slope, "end of the First Amendment" argument that we've become used to. I'm sure I've said this before, but, if not, it bears repeating: freedom of speech does not include freedom to rape, assault, or kill. And, yes, we do consider intent in murders... self defense, what?

Thanks to Glenn Thrush at Politico for the quotes.

New Hope in the Fight Against HIV


I once tweeted "God does not make junk," in an attempt to give myself a little self-confidence boost. Someone tweeted back that "Yes, he does... just look at junk DNA."

Apparently, "junk DNA" may help create a vaccine against HIV:

About 95% of the human genome has once been designated as "junk" DNA. While much of this sequence may be an evolutionary artifact that serves no present-day purpose, some junk DNA may function in ways that are not currently understood. The conservation of some junk DNA over many millions of years of evolution may imply an essential function that has been "turned off." Now scientists say there's a junk gene that fights HIV. And they've discovered how to turn it back on.

What these scientists have done could give us the first bulletproof HIV vaccine. They have re-awakened the human genome's latent potential to make us all into HIV-resistant creatures, and hey've published their ground-breaking research in PLoS Biology.

A group of scientists led by Nitya Venkataraman and Alexander Colewhether wanted to try a new approach to fighting HIV - one that worked with the body's own immune system. They knew Old World monkeys had a built-in immunity to HIV: a protein called retrocyclin, which can prevent HIV from entering cell walls and starting an infection. So they began poring over the human genome, looking to see if humans had a latent gene that could manufacture retrocyclin too. It turned out that we did, but a "nonsense mutation" in the gene had turned it off at some point in our evolutionary history.
A lot of science appears in the article, but the quick rundown is this: scientists have found the protein that protects monkeys from HIV was once produced by humans, but a mutation turned that gene off. A compound -- known as an aminoglycoside (such as streptamycin) -- can help turn it back on (though there may be some as-yet undetermined consequences). Aminoglycosides, in some studies, have shown to improve cystic fibrosis in some patients through a similar genetic process.

In short: apparently, even junk DNA is useful. But it is too early to tell, so we'll see.

1844, "Fatal Consequences of Masturbation"


Click to embiggen.

NH Gender Protection Bill Fails


Amidst everything else going on in the world with marriage, the battle for simple equal protections is getting shoved under the rug a little these days. So, as we are all excited about the unexpected passage of equal marriage in the NH Senate today, a major step back occurred at the same time: the same body rejected a bill giving equal protections to people based on their gender. (If you read the article, you'll cringe too when you read the words "people with sexual identity issues," but the rest of the piece is interesting.)

The bill had been dubbed "the bathroom bill" after opponents sought to undermine it by insinuating that it would put children in danger of being sexually molested in public bathrooms. Our friends in the NH Senate stood up against the rhetoric, saying that this detracted from the actual purpose, but that, apparently, didn't stop every single one of them from voting against it. That's right... the NH Senate, on the same day it voted for equal marriage and for medical marijuana, unanimously -- 24-0-0 -- voted against protections for gender.
How do they justify the move?
Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, a sponsor of the bill, said that those who campaigned against the bill “shamefuly sought to distract us from the real issue, literally bringing the debate to the toilets."

Passing the bill now would only worsen the situation for transsexuals because of the way the bill was portrayed, she said.
Um, k. I'm not sure I get your thinking. If we pass protections now, we'll make the situation worse... hrm. In an idle thought, I wonder if this was voted down to make the marriage bill go forward... a lot of stories have indicated furious lobbying and vote-changing in the last 24 hours, in which case, I ask: was it worth it? But that's just an idle thought and I really hope it was not the case.

Nikki McIntosh, Kentucky Equality Federation Transgender Outreach Director, with the concurrence of KEF's Managing Director (Laura Reed) and President (Jordan Palmer), released this strongly worded statement in response:
Had this happened in Kentucky, Kentucky Equality Federation would have condemned the legislation; you either protect all of us or none of us.....UNITED WE STAND!

Well said, KEF, well said.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 2


Casting has begun for Season 2! Are you a local queen? Are you just a local fabulous? Make sure you submit yourself to the judgment of thousands homosexual (and friendly) Americans for the best queen in America.

Who am I rooting for as of right now? DeeRanged of local fabulous rapport. If you have any question as to why, check out this performance from Miss EOY 2006 in Louisville:

Hell-to-the-yea. DeeRanged is currently number one in the voting.

If you or anyone else you know is a local queen that is going out for the show, give me a heads up and I'll pimp you, too!!!

OUTRAGE Movie Trailer

Outrage, the movie that promises to piss off a lot of politicos, and cause a huge ethical dilemma with most of us who are unsure about the process of outing, has released their trailer on YouTube.

I feel like this is something I'm going to have to see, regardless of how I feel about it. I'm still kinda working out how I feel about the whole thing in my head.

Apparently, the movie even pissed off Jim McGreevey, former NJ Governor and now-out gay man, so much that he stormed out of it at the Tribeca Film Festival, but it was more about the use of his ex-wife, it seems, than anything else.

SHUT UP! HUGE VICTORIES TODAY!!!!


Unbelievable!!!!

This is what happens when I sleep... shit gets done!!!
  • New Hampshire Senate APPROVES equal marriage bill!!!!!!!!!!!
  • US House of Representatives APPROVES Matthew Shepard Act!!!!!!!
  • Oh, and little late: the Maine Judiciary Committee recommended the equal marriage bill be taken to a floor vote in shocking 11-2-1 vote.
WOW!!!!

In a bit of a rush at the moment, I'll talk details later! But yea!!!! Oh -- and, you know, the last time we had Guerrilla Queer Bar, Iowa had just passed.... I think it's auspicious that we have it again this week.

The Lesbians Have Arrived!

Hello QueerCincinnati.com readers!

My name is Juliet and I'll be your lesbian today. I'm a thirty-something, late in life lesbian with commitment issues and a girlfriend of almost one year! Good for me right?

I'd like to thank Barry for the opportunity to be a contributor to this fantastic blog! I too have a blog, for...well...lesbians called www.julietandjuliette.com. Maybe some of you have heard of it? It's been around for almost three years now...but in keep up with my reputation as a commitaphobe, I haven't done much with it lately. So, thank you Barry for your faith in me and helping to overcome the committment issues!

So, you're probably thinking...a lesbian with committment issues? This is not the Twilight Zone and hell hasn't frozen over. This is really not THAT uncommon...is it? Either way, I'm here to give my lesbian two-cents and share with all of you out there who might be or who have experienced the same things as I have. And connect with those who have different opinions tahn I do. I love a little debate every now and then, so bring in on!

I'm pretty much an open book, so no question is off limits for me. Here's a quick breakdown of me and my experiences:

1. Came out of the closet three months before I almost married a man. This was a surprise to most everyone in my life. Lost some friends, but gained even better ones. You know how that goes.

2. My first two girlfriends were transgender. So, I have a soft spot for the transgender movement that is raging on today. If you didn't know...yes, there is a trans-movement too. Pay attention...

3. My biological father was gay. Didn't meet until I was 24 and he died from AIDS two years later. I'm still searching for information about him as I really don't know much about him. This has been a grueling task for me over the years.

4. The most meaningful thing I've done in my life to date, would have to be helping my fellow Impact Cincinnati founders fight for our rights on our first protest that was held on Nov. 15th 2008 against Prop. 8 and where Margaret Cho attended! Margaret and I had matching coats on.

5. I'm what some like to label as "ultra femme". Yes, I like girly things...but I get excited when my straight friends call me to do something that requires tools. Never know what I'm doing, but I have fun trying.

6. I'm in a committed relationship that is also long-distance. Probably better because its kept us from renting the U-Haul. But after a year, the distance is starting to weigh on us. But it must nto be that much because neither of us are willing to move right now. So, the saga continues...



So, that's the quick lowdown of who I am. I hope to hear from all of you who are out there looking for the lesbian point of view. And even if you're just curious about us lesbian folk and have questions, please feel free to ask me anything you want. Like I said, nothing is off limits.

Until we meet again,

Juliet

Same-Sex Marriage -- **42%** support nationally?!


Via Joe.My.God...

Via CBS News:
Forty-two percent of Americans now say same sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds. That's up nine points from last month, when 33 percent supported legalizing same sex marriage.

Support for same sex marriage is now at its highest point since CBS News starting asking about it in 2004.

Twenty-eight percent say same sex couples should have no legal recognition – down from 35 percent in March – while 25 percent support civil unions, but not marriage, for gay couples.

As has historically been the case on this issue, liberals are more likely to support same sex marriage. Sixty-nine percent support the idea, while conservatives generally favor either civil unions (28 percent) or no legal recognition (44 percent).
Suspicion is of a Vermont/Iowa effect. I suspect the numbers may be a little off, but I still like the overall indication.

...eagerly awaiting a non-news source poll with similar results. Gallup? Where are you?

Oh, and big news arriving regarding this blog this afternoon, but I'll let her tell you all about it.

Oprah and CNN take on female-only relationships

Hrm. Considering the interest garnered by the previous two posts on bisexuality, and the noted lack of talk about women in the referenced articles, I found this on the "Most Emailed" List on CNN this morning.

I eagerly await your thoughts, because, if I know my readers, you have many interesting things to say about it:
Lately, a new kind of sisterly love seems to be in the air. In the past few years, Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon left a boyfriend after a decade and a half and started dating a woman (and talked openly about it)...

Certainly nothing is new about women having sex with women, but we've arrived at a moment in the popular culture when it all suddenly seems almost fashionable -- or at least, acceptable...

But experts like Binnie Klein, a Connecticut-based psychotherapist and lecturer in Yale's department of psychiatry, agree that alternative relationships are on the rise.

"It's clear that a change in sexual orientation is imaginable to more people than ever before, and there's more opportunity -- and acceptance -- to cross over the line," says Klein, noting that a half-dozen of her married female patients in the past few years have fallen in love with women. "Most are afraid that if they don't go for it, they'll end up with regrets."

Feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, Ph.D, a professor of English and gender and women's studies at the University of Kentucky and author of "Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body," also agrees that in the current environment, more women may be stepping out of the conventional gender box.

"When a taboo is lifted or diminished, it's going to leave people freer to pursue things," she says.

"So it makes sense that we would see women, for all sorts of reasons, walking through that door now that the culture has cracked it open. Of course, we shouldn't imagine that we're living in a world where all sexual choices are possible. Just look at the cast of 'The L Word' and it's clear that only a certain kind of lesbian -- slim and elegant or butch in just the right androgynous way -- is acceptable to mainstream culture."...

"People always ask me if this research means everyone is bisexual. No, it doesn't," says Lisa Diamond, Ph.D, associate professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah and author of the 2008 book "Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire."

"Fluidity represents a capacity to respond erotically in unexpected ways due to particular situations or relationships. It doesn't appear to be something a woman can control."

Furthermore, studies indicate that it's more prevalent in women than in men, according to Bonnie Zylbergold, assistant editor of American Sexuality, an online magazine.
I submit to you without comment ... for now, at least.

NKY Pride 2010


And so it's (a little more) official...

NKY Pride 2010 has announced their first fundraiser happening this Saturday, May 2 beginning at 8pm at Yadda Club. They even have a theme...

Unbridled

Anyone care to comment?

My one comment, at this point is this -- what's with all the animal references? :-) Oh, and we're hearing a lot out of Yadda Club, these days. I wonder how they're doing? Must be worth a good check out here soon, yea?

NH Senate Votes on Marriage Bill Today

... and it doesn't look good.

From BlueHampshire:



The reds are no's (12), the pink is a maybe-no (1), the whites are unknowns (3), the light green is a maybe-yes (1), and the dark greens are yes's (7). The bill needs 13 votes to pass.

Technically, btw, the vote tomorrow is whether to override the Senate Judiciary Committee's 3-2 vote to not bring the vote to committee. So, on Wednesday, we'll need 13 individuals to say, "Yea, we should vote on this," and, then, on Thursday, we'll need 13 individuals to say, "Yea, this should be a law." As close as it is, it looks like a double decker of NO. I think we've probably lost the NH run this time around.

Even if it fails, I'll give New Hampshire this: at least they tried. Even if you fail, NH, we are still cheering you on!

Matthew Shepard Act Vote in House TODAY

Have you called yet? Now is the time, if you haven't. E-mail, if you have to, in support of federal hate crimes protections.

The House of Representatives votes today on the Matthew Shepard Act (HR 1913). Hold you breath, kids... 10 years later, it may finally be done.

This is all over the web this morning, thanks to Bilerico for the complete statement from Pres. Obama yesterday:
This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance - legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. I also urge the Senate to work with my Administration to finalize this bill and to take swift action."
A question: will this be the first time a President something pro-gay into law outside of HIV/AIDS?

Pay Equity Day


Missed National Pay Equity Day yesterday, but it bears reminding ourselves.

From the National Committee on Pay Equity:
Census statistics released on Women's Equality Day--August 26, 2008--show that the gap between men's and women's earnings changed by less than one percent from 2006 to 2007, narrowing only slightly from 76.9 to 77.8 percent. Based on the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers, women's earnings were $35,102, and men's earnings were $45,113. Median earnings for women of color are generally even lower, and all showed percentage drops in the last year. In 2007, the earnings for African American women were $31,009, 68.7 percent of men's earnings, a drop of more than 3 percent; Asian American women's earnings were $40,374, 89.5 percent of men's earnings, a drop of 3.5 percent; and Latinas earnings were $26,612, 59 percent of men's, a drop of .6 percent.

In short, women earn about 78 cents to every dollar a man makes, and that number decreases when issues like race and ethnicity are brought into play. On January 9th, President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which eases restrictions on employees seeking to sue employers for inequalities in pay.

The Council provides a handy-dandy schedule of pay averages since 1960 to see just how little the pay difference has changed.

To run the flip side, check out Blue Ohio Blog's response to Pay Equity Day, where the assertion is based on women's choices to go into liberal arts, or take more part time work (due to things like, oh, motherhood) ... and that, once adjusted, the differents is actually 99.45 cents to every dollar a man makes. There are problems with the argument -- can we talk about women in math and sciences? -- but I'll let y'all hash it out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LoveGame, Lady Gaga

I just got into Lady GaGa -- actually didn't know who the hell she was until very recently -- but I have to say that her new single LoveGame is sick and fierce. Check it out.

Thanks to RandyXBoy (NSFW)

Arlen Specter Switches Party


Arlen Specter becomes a Democrat in the 2010 election. And few people are surprised.

From his statement (via TPM):
When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

...

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.
The whole filibuster-proof thing just became significantly easier.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Penny's Video Blog #8

Physiology of the Phallus


Thanks to @kate_the_great for the Tweet on this one...

Why is the phallus (ie, the "penis") shaped like it is? I know, I've never asked the question, either. I've just assumed it was there for my own pleasure. The question seems to have bothered Gordon Gallup of SUNY-Albany so much that he decided to research the reason for the shape, and came up with some interesting results:
So how did natural selection equip men to solve the adaptive problem of other men impregnating their sexual partners? The answer, according to Gallup, is their penises were sculpted in such a way that the organ would effectively displace the semen of competitors from their partner’s vagina, a well-synchronized effect facilitated by the “upsuck” of thrusting during intercourse. Specifically, the coronal ridge offers a special removal service by expunging foreign sperm. According to this analysis, the effect of thrusting would be to draw other men’s sperm away from the cervix and back around the glans, thus “scooping out” the semen deposited by a sexual rival.
Seriously folks. They even researched it using toys -- both vaginal and penile -- in order to demonstrate just how much semen a larger glans (the head) could "scoop out" of another partner ... finding that, the larger the glans (and, btw, the deeper the penetration), a partner could displace as much as 91% of a woman's former partner's semen.

Ironically, he also comes to the conclusion that, if this is the case, it is also possible that a man (uncircumcised) would be able to impregnate a woman without ever having sex with her ... but, instead, by having his semen deposited into the foreskin of another male (via vaginal sex with a shared partner). Thus, the most likely fathers would be those men who could thrust deeper and who had a bigger head to create the proper suctioning/scooping in order to disrupt the seminal placement of another man, leaving the author to conclude:

So if you want advice that’ll give you a leg up in the evolutionary arms race, don’t go West, young man—go deep.

For gay men, this is interesting because a bottom could seroconvert even if the top is not HIV+ ... simply based on the seminal fluid left in the foreskin. Hrm.

First marriages in Iowa today


Over 260 (yes, dad, 261) couples have registered for marriage licenses today in Iowa -- including 20 from out of state.

Congratulations to all!!!

Gavin Drop

In honor of Gavin Newsom running for Governor of California, a gay bar in Sacramento called the Depot has created a drink in his honor -- dubbed the "Gavin Drop." How does one make a Gavin Drop?

Blue Curacao
Simple Syrup
Sweet and Sour
Smirnoff Melon (because "he's a honey")

To my bartenders in Cincy -- expect me to order one. Soon. Seriously. No really. I need a drink, STAT. (Although what, exactly is "simple syrup" in a liquor drink?)

Picture from Rainin117.

Swine Flu, from Gawker

HA! Best response yet to the swine flu "epidemic," from Gawker:
Possible Swine Flu Outbreak, Gay Marriage Probably Somehow to Blame
...Don't sugar-coat this, Doc. We get it. We'll all be wiped out very soon by this virus that (I can only assume) turns people into pigs and, yes, the only hope for the future of the human race is for the Long Noses (that's their name for us) to start breeding, constantly, and repopulate the planet. Anyone in Brooklyn can drop me a private message if they want to join the Resistance.
Do we really need another massive public health panic? Seriously.

(More) On Bisexuality


A lot of articles are flaring up across the interweb these days about bisexuality, and whether or not its real. (Both of the following articles are thanks to new blogger friend, Cowtown Bisexual).

The first one that's flying around quickly -- which I think tells us how gay men get their news, in truth -- is from Gay.com:
So what do we make of these guys who define themselves as "bi"? Are they really fooling themselves as they screw their way down the path to gayhood, or do they really enjoy having sex with women? I realize that some people are just sexually charged and will take it wherever they can get it. But I say that if you're a guy having sex with another guy, chances are there's a part of you that's in denial, and only time will tell when you finally come around to the realization that, yup, you're gay.

A lot of guys are all about animal instinct. We get it when we can. We need to drop our seed and move on to the next guy. OK, OK -- I just heard a collective scream from all of you who believe in the sanctity of a monogamous relationship. Of course emotions play a role in gay male relationships, and there's no question that men can commit to each other. But think about how many gay couples you know who play around, either together or separately. Why? Because gay men like to screw...

My opinion is that they're not bi. They're not straight. They're gay and they're fooling themselves. Or they're fooling us. But do we care? As long as they bring the six pack, we're usually pretty OK with it.
I've been oft to say that, "If he's having sex with a man, he's not straight," which should be more apprpriately termed as, "If he's having sex with a man, he's not heterosexual." It's a subtle, but important difference.

But let's move on to article two, this time from Michael Musto in the Village Voice:
Everyone always says they're bisexual, blabbing on and on about how "sexuality is fluid, and I don't really like labels"--but usually I find these are just gay men who are afraid to come out. I know there are real bisexuals out there--mainly because I've heard that there are--and I do think it's a lovely idea to actually crave sex with people regardless of gender. I'm just wondering how real a phenomenon this is, as opposed to a smoke-and-mirrors coverup designed to keep antsy gays in the closet.
Now, the Bi Avenger @ Cowtown-Bisexual makes a great point: who the fuck cares what Michael Musto thinks? But that's not my point.

Working in HIV, you get an interesting perspective on the behvavior vs. identity bit that seems to play out in the public discourse on bisexuality -- a lot of people assume that the two are the same, that, somehow, just because you are doing something means that you actively identify as doing it. I think we need look no further than the racist/homophobic/sexist/hateful discourse on the "down low" to understand that it doesn't matter whether or not someone identifies as anything. It matters, more, what their behavior is. If a man is having sex with men and women, he is acting bisexual, regardless of whether he identifies as such. If a woman has a drunken college party threesome with a man and another woman, she is having a bisexual experience, but does not need to necessarily identify as bisexual.

When we ask people about their behaviors, we do not use the terms "gay," "bi," or "straight" to talk about someone's risk factors. We do ask about their self-identifier, but we also go on to ask about their behavior and with whom they have had sex. Why? Because you can identify as gay but still have had sex with a woman in your life. A lot of gay men understand that...

...but we don't seem to understand that you can identify as straight and have had sex with men in your life.

It is not the business of this writer, nor the other writers of the world, to enforce a dogma of sexual or gender identity. It's not our job. If someone identifies as bisexual, but has only had sex with men for 15 years, guess what? They are bisexual. Just because they live an exclusively homosexual life or have exclusively homosexual relations does not diminish their identity as bisexual. If a woman chooses to identify as bisexual, or (as I've heard sometime) heteroflexible, but only has had sex with men in their life... except for that one drunken party when I was 18... then they are bisexual (or heteroflexible).

We should not be in the business, as a community, of placing identities on other people, and we certainly shouldn't be in the business of actively undermining other people's identities just because we do not understand it. We come out and tell people that society cannot define our sexuality... well, guess what, the authors of the above articles now fall into the category of "society" and they are defining someone's sexual orientation for them.

In the race to be equal, we have begun to become ignorant.

PrideLove Sexy Singles Auction Recap!


Word on the street was that the PrideLove sexy singles auction (click to see all the lovely young men that were auctioned off) was a success -- raising about $430 for stop) aids. Fabulously done folks! I'm dying for some pictures, if anyone has them!!!

(Oh, and congratulations to dear blogger friend at Cincinnati NAMjA for being auctioned off as a sexy single ... who went for a great $45!)

Did you miss it? So sad, but it's ok!

First of all, there's the stop) aids guest bartending at Below Zero this Sunday from 6p-10p, and PrideLove is back -- for the ladies this time -- at 3pm for Speeddating at Yadda Club! Make sure you check out their Facebook profile for more information. (Their website, at least, right now, seems to be blank?)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On the Ronald McDonald House

I don't get the opportunity to talk about the other job much, except to say that I'm there on Twitter. But, seeing as how it appeared on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer today, I thought I could take a moment to say some words about this amazing place I call "my part time job."


Fw:'Old' Ronald McDonald House on Twitpic
Ronald McDonald House's 'front' entrance -- that window on the door is filled with prisms, so that when the light is shining just right, the entire lobby is filled with rainbows.

I applied to work at the Ronald McDonald House (RMDH) in June for a full time, overnight manager position. It was the perfect fit -- night work with some responsibility and plenty of time to study. I didn't get the job, but I was impressed that they wrote me back when I emailed a follow up.

In September, we did a drag show in Oxford to benefit RMDH and they called me in for an interview for a part-time position... which I got but did not actually start until January.

When you enter the Ronald McDonald House, you are simply amazed. It is a beautiful building with an amazing layout and just a feeling of love that you can't stand but to think, "Yea, I can see people calling this place home." There are couches and tables around, along with big TVs, a library, and porches, and a huge kitchen with playroom adjacent (so parents can watch the kids while they cook). Simply put: a lot of thought and care was put into the design so that it could be a comfortable place for families.


Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
The entrance on Erckenbrecher and Burnet -- the scupture you see on the top is known as the Angel, which was donated and placed there and should always be lit. Why? Children's is right across at that point... and it was placed there so that, at night, the kids can look across and see where their parents are staying.

I never expected to like it as much as I do. I'm not much of a person for children, but I told people that I needed to believe in humanity before I became a nurse... so I went ot RMDH to find the humanity you sometimes feel is lacking when you spend too much time in the Emergency Department.

And I did.

I tell people that I want to spend every waking moment there, find a room and curl up when I'm tired, to wake up and work again. In my five months there, I have been overwhelmed by the splendor. The staff -- who, unexpectedly, gave me a welcome basket upon my starting -- has been kind, supportive, and loving; the volunteers -- all 300+ of them -- are some of the hardest working and dedicated individuals I have ever met -- even the troupe of high school boys that volunteer work harder than most adults I know; and the families! Oh, the families!

With almost no exceptions, the families are beautiful people.

We are located next door to Children's Hospital, less than a five minute walk from the front entrance of Children's to the gate at RMDH. Every day, these families go to the hospital to sit with their kids... kids ranging from newborns to teenagers, with issues ranging from bone marrow transplantation to colorectal surgery. Some of these kids don't just spend a few days in the hospital, some of them are there for months or years, and the families stay with us for those months and years.

Imagine yourself with your child, who is near death for a hundred different reasons, and you can do nothing but sit there and hope and wait and watch. It's enough to drive a parent mad.

That's where we step in, at RMDH. We fill in the gaps of care. The families support each other, talk to each other, share tips and tricks to stay sane, and become friends... become each other's families. Volunteers bring meals -- lots of meals, and lots of baked goods -- so that the families never have to think about cooking or what crap they will buy out of the vending machine that day. A lot of siblings are running around the building -- some sick, some healthy -- and people come as entertainment (I've seen everything from the Blues Brothers to clowns from Cirque de Soleil), or they bring activities, or they bring dogs... so that the non-hospitalized kid does not feel left out or any less special. My coworkers and I, well, we don't do enough.

I suppose there is an argument to be made that we coordinate the days and make sure the trains run on time, but there's never enough time in the day, and there's never enough hands, to make sure that everything that should be done, has been.

I have made it a habit to only smoke on the designated smoking porch when there are families out there. That way, they know who I am, and I get a few moments to hear what's going on.

I wish I could tell you how beautiful it is there. I wish I was a better writer so that you could see in your mind what it's like, and how it is, and how much it means.

New addition to the Ron McD House on Twitpic
The bridge to the new addition is there on the left, the West Wing is the building on the right (with Cincinnati Children's in the background). The new wing boasts a new kitchen addition, a meditation/wellness room, a family room, a small stage, plenty of new seating, and a play area for the kids.

This week, we will be opening a brand-spanking new wing, with money generously donated by Children's Hospital. Our little house will grow from 48 rooms to 78, with a whole host of what we call "long-term suites," which are special rooms for the families that have to stay with us for months or years at a time. They are bigger, and they have more amenities.

We have a waiting list, on any given day, of between 15-35 families waiting to become our guests. The first people to move will be the long term families who have been cramped in our one-bed options, or in the slightly larger two-bed rooms. They will finally get the opportunity to spread out and find some comfort there. Then, we start making calls... tons and tons and tons of them. We are going to start inviting people into our workplace, our sometimes home, and we will get to take care of them.

We will get the opportunity to feed them, we will get the opportunity to listen to their stories, and we will get the opportunity to relieve some of the burden.

When I first applied, I, like I'm sure so many people out there, believed RMDH was a home for the kids. It is, for some. But it's a home for the families, which include the children. Perhaps the greatest lesson I will take away from this whole experience is that complete care does not always just involve the patient ... it involves this extended, intertwining, convoluted meshwork of people that the patient calls their own. And, so that your patient gets better, the family needs to be better, too.

And I'm glad I've had the opportunity to take care of them. It's taught me more than I thought I would ever learn, and it's brought me more joy than I thought I could have.

If you have a moment, or some extra cash, it's one of the most amazing places in the city. Stop by with a check, or books, or give them a call and ask them, What can I do? See, here, at RMDH, providing care for someone help really does bring peace to you.

I guess, in this, I am truly lucky.

One more bucket list item illegal.


It's not really on my bucket list, but now that it's illegal, I really, really want to do it.

Nude hiking through the Swiss Alps, that is.

The canton of Appenzell Inner Rhodes by democratic majority (apparently they do old-school "raise your hand and vote" governance there) voted to illegalize nude hiking through their land. My first question, of course, was: this is a problem? My second question became: where else can this be done so that I, too, one day may partake.

From the Dickinson Press (via the AP):
Only a scattering of people on Sunday opposed the ban on the back-to-nature activity that took off last autumn when naked hikers — primarily Germans — started showing up in eastern Switzerland.

The cantonal government recommended the ban after citizens objected to encountering walkers wearing nothing but hiking boots and socks.

"The reactions of the population have shown that such appearances over a large area are perceived as thoroughly disturbing and irritating," the government said in a statement.

A similar legal move is expected in neighboring Appenzell Outer Rhodes with legislation being prepared against "this shameless behavior."

German Web sites promoting the activity describe it as "a special experience of nature, free and healthy" and said nude walking in the Alps has roots in antiquity.

Oh, those Germans and their nudism!!! Seriously, though, very sad that I can't ever do this. On the flip side, the fine is a measly 200 francs ($176), so maybe it's worth it!

I'm trying really hard to make a Sound of Music joke here -- if for no other reason than to make fun of Queen City Survey's Dan and his love of the movie -- but I, shamefully, have nothing to say. It's very sad, I know. There's something about being on the hill with a lonely goatherd [insert yodeling]. But it's just not coming to me. I'm sure my witty readers will have plenty of jokes, though.

Saint Johanna


Johanna Sigurdardottir is poised, after yesterday's election, to become Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly LGBT individual in the world to take on the executive position of any state.

Iceland went bankrupt earlier this year, causing the PM to resign and the government to dissolve. Sigurdardottir was appointed temporarily as PM until a new government could be elected, and her Social Democrat party won yesterday with 35 seats in the Parliament, 4 more than necessary to claim a majority.

Sigurdardottir has been nicknamed "Saint Johanna" for her spearheading of multiple social causes; she has been repeatedly polled as the most popular Cabinet member, despite her reputation as a hard-nosed politician with little patient for delays.

Sounds familiar. I love her. But I do wonder if it is politically feasible for a lesbian governmental executive to push marriage rights... or whether it would chip away at her capital. Regardless...

Congratulations, Iceland!

Iowa Judge Refuses all Marriages


District Magistrate Francis Honrath, a judge in Iowa, has stated that he will not be marrying anyone in light of that state's recent decision to allow same-sex couples to wed.

From KSFY (ignore the poorly written story):

"It should have gone to a public vote and it never would have passed. I'll guarantee you it never would have passed," said Dick Snyders who opposes same-sex marriage.
Dick Snyders lives in Larchwood the same town as Third District Magistrate Francis Honrath who said in the Des moines Register "the supreme court ruling had something to do with it, but the truth is it's not just same-sex marriage i had problems with."

Honrath, has served as a magistrate in Lyon County since 1997 and has 7 children of his own. In Iowa, a judge can't agree to conduct marriages for opposite-sex couples but refuse gay couples without facing disciplinary action. So as long as Honrath doesn't marry anyone at all, he won't face any disciplinary action.
This may be the best thing to happen to the marriage fight in Iowa ever. After all, once you start removing people's privilege, they start to remember that the world isn't laid out on a red carpet for everyone else.

Meanwhile, Dick Snyders (resisting snarky comment on the name) is completely uninformed. It wasn't until 1994 that Gallup found universal approval of interracial marriage... so I seriously doubt "public opinion" is the best way to gauge the appropriateness of any action.

Besides, isn't that one of the rolls of the courts -- to guard against the tyranny of the majority?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bea Arthur Dies at 86

Good night, Dorothy. Good night, Bea.
Roast of Pamela Anderson
Bea Arthur Uncensored
comedycentral.com
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Bea Arthur died today at 86 of cancer. (Video thanks to RandyXBoy -- NSFW -- neither is the video.)

MappingOurRights.org


Wolfie over at Back2Stonewall sent this to me via email...

A new website has popped up: MappingOurRights.org. Their stated purpose:
The seeds for this map were planted during discussions about the meaning of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade to women of color at a spring 2005 meeting of the SisterSong Collective. Members discussed how a constitutional “right to choose” does not ensure discrimination-free access to health-care services. The privacy or “choice” arguments in Roe v. Wade carry little meaning for those whose options are restricted by race, gender, sexuality or income. Roe v. Wade simply does not guarantee a full range of sexual and reproductive rights for everyone.
Let me clarify: I am fiercely pro-choice. First, as a gay man, I will probably never be put into a place where I have to make this decision for people. Second, your health decisions... including whether or not to have a baby and/or anything related to reproduction... are extraordinarily personal and no one else's business. Third, it blows my mind that so many men can be so anti-choice and run "pro-life" organizations. (In my snarkier states, I would say... wouldn't you think they would be more willing to allow a woman's right to choose. Kinda gets some of them off the hook.)

More importantly, the site tracks other markers that directly affect me as a homosexual... for example, the status of equal marriage, hate crime statutes, and employment anti-discrimination laws. 

Where does the tristate fall?
  • Ohio - 47 
  • Indiana - 44
  • Kentucky -- 51
Yes, kids. Kentucky comes in at a whopping 51, whereas Alabama clocks in at a measly 27, Texas at 33, and South Carolina at 29. Mississippi is down there with us, btw, at 45. 

Remarkably, Massachusetts and California are not numbers one and two. Top five states in regards to their laws around sexual and reproductive rights are:
  1. New Mexico
  2. Washington State
  3. New Hampshire
  4. (Tie for #5) Vermont, Hawai'i, and Oregon
I'll admit, I have a little problem understanding some of their rubric (in terms of the "penalty" points), but it's an interesting look over-all. 

We're Here! We're Queer! And we know how to email!

Lots and lots of opportunities these days for you to make your voice heard on a whole host of issues around the country, even if they don't apply to you directly!*

*In the end, everything applies to everyone.

The National Health Interview Survey is a division of the National Center for Health Statistics, based out of the CDC. It is the public health census, essentially, that monitors health related behaviors and conditions. The National Coalition for LGBT Health is pressing (via email, their website is not updated to reflect this) to add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the NHIS, and has met with some success ... garnering the support of 46 additional representatives and the personal interest of Rep. Whitehouse (D-RI), who is pressing for a $2million allotment in the budget to make this happen. Their recommendation is that you call the Senate switchboard (202-224-3121), ask for your Senator, and then request (once you get their office) the staff person in charge of Health and Human Services appropriations. Tell them that you are a constituent who supports appropriating an additional $2 million for the National Health Interview Survey and that you would like them to sign on. In order to sign on, they need to contact Jordanna Davis in Senator White house’s office by close of business on Tuesday, April 28th. (Means you guys have to contact your Senators on Monday).

*****

JoinTheImpact.com and the HRC is asking you to contact your Represenatives to support the passing of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HR 1913 -- the Matthew Shepard Act). The vote could come as early as this week after the Judiciary Committee gave it to the full house with a passage there of 15-12. JTI put out an email asking for national call-in days on April 27th, 28th, and 29th (before 5pm EST). From the email:
Most likely, one of the Members interns will answer and ask where you're calling from and why. You're calling to urge the Representative to vote for the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1913). Most calls end right there. But if you like, you can add:
· Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are on the rise. One out of every six hate crimes is because of the victim's sexual orientation.
· Hate crimes have more than one victim. They are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize entire communities.
· The Matthew Shepard Act targets only violent acts – not speech. It does not tell any clergy member what he or she can or can't preach.
· Mention that Rep. 's vote on this bill will affect your future support.
Make sure you contact JoinTheImpact to let them know that you've done it -- if you click on the HRC link above, they will track via their website.

*****

The HRC is asking NH folks to contact the New Hampshire legislature -- not for marriage anymore -- but for something probably a little more important: gender protections. That's right, kids, the state was nearly the next one to legalize equal marriage, but they do not yet protect people based on their gender identity and expression... but neither does Massachusetts, shockingly. The bill is HB 415 and would add gender in anti-discrimination and hate crimes statutes already in place. (The link above mentions also HB 436, the now defunct bill that would have extended marriage protections for same-sex couples.)

*****
Maine's equal marriage bill will shortly be voted on by the joint Judiciary Committee, and Equality Maine is asking residents to email their representatives to get this bill to a vote (and then vote it through the entire legislature). Gov. Baldacci, at this point, may event vote it up, as well. I think for non-Mainers, it may be valid to email as well, especially if you bring up that marriage, in other states, has led to an increase in tourism.

*****

Tennessee, also, will be taking up a hate crimes bill that adds gender to the protected groups -- HB0335, one of the two bills pushed by the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition in this legislative session. The bill is being sponsored by Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis), and I can't seem to find any indication as to whether it will pass or not. Regardless, it's an opportunity for people from Tennessee to make their voices heard. On a related note, does Ohio have a TransPAC?

*****

And, finally, Texas has an anti-bullying law, entitled "Corinne's Law" that will be hitting the floor of their legislature this week. Texans are urged to contact their representatives and let them know their support. The law will expand current statutes by including electronic harassment, as well as harassment that does not occur on school property.

You know, this took an awful long time.

Equality Cincinnati Press Release on Hate Crime

Came through the Cincinnati gay news wire (ie, Mother Chanak) this morning:
Cincinnati, Ohio- April 2, 2009: Equality Cincinnati's mission is to work for full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in Greater Cincinnati and to prevent discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That's why we feel it is imperative to release a statement that on a hate crime that occurred on March 22, 2009. Late that night, a gay male was attacked outside of Bronze [sic], a popular Cincinnati gay bar. The details of the attack are that less than a minute of stepping outside of the gay bar, the victim was approached by three men. The men attempted to rob him but found no money. One of the attackers then said the victim, "You're a pretty fag" and took out a knife and sliced the victim's cheek approximately 2 inches in length and nearly through the entire cheek. The victim began profusely bleeding and ran into the bar and 911 was called. The victim was then taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and his injuries were treated. Police reports were filed with District 5 police; however, the incident has not been identified as a hate crime. Equality Cincinnati met with the victim and listened to his experience. Equality Cincinnati will be working with the police to discuss what further avenues need to be taken so that this violent incident is classified as a hate crime--an action which is important to the victim and our community in appropriately naming and reporting the violence. Also in response to this incident, Equality Cincinnati is lining up volunteers who will be launching bar and club outreach throughout the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community to ensure that LGBTQ patrons are reminded of safety precautions and numbers to call for help and support. In the meantime, we ask that you be aware of your surroundings and use the "buddy-system" when entering and leaving our gay community's bars, clubs, and restaurants. If you experience a hate crime or any harassment, please report it to the police and Equality Cincinnati www.equalitycincinnati.org.

It is also important to remember that hate crime laws in Cincinnati only cover misdemeanor crimes, and many areas across the country have no hate crime laws against the LGBT community. On Thursday, April 23, 2009 HR 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, (known as the Matthew Shepard Act) cleared its first hurdle in Washington , D. C, winning approval from the House Judiciary Committee by a 15-12 vote. It will be going to the House Floor for a vote that could happen as soon as next week. Please contact your local Congressperson and ask them to support this bill. Contact information for your Congressperson can be found at https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Two bits from Equality Cincinnati in a week -- pretty good work.

I'm all for the creation of the Pink Pistols in town -- queers with guns. Hell to the yea. (Or, perhaps, a better suggestion: Queer Self Defense Classes -- even awesomer, and probably more legal.) Also: I'm all for hate crimes legislation. As I've said before (somewhere, I'm not quite sure), one of the purposes of illegalization is to indicate that something is so morally reprehensible as to be against the law. However, it's important to remember that you are not protected because the law is in place. Be careful out there.


Sad, though, that we have to seek protection in our own enclaves.

Fundraising Good, Fundraising Bad

Nate Silver (of FiveThirtyEight.com) published a ranking of the best and worst fundraisers for the 2010 Senatorial Elections in the first quarter of 2009. Ohio and Kentucky make some interesting names for themselves:

Best Fundraising -- Incumbent
  1. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
  2. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY)
  3. Harry Reid (D-NV)
  4. John McCain (R-AZ)
  5. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)

Worst Fundraising -- Incumbent

  1. Roland Burris (D-IL)
  2. Jim Bunning (R-KY) -- apparently the Mitch McConnell "get out of the race" shouting match is working
  3. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  4. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
  5. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Best Fundraising -- Challenger

  1. Bill White (D-TX)
  2. Kendrick Meek (D-FL)
  3. Rob Portman (R-OH)
  4. Alexi Gioannoulias (D-IL)
  5. John Sharp (D-TX)

Worst Fundraising -- Challenger

  1. Roy Blunt (R-MO) (TIED WITH) Paul Hodes (D-NH)
  2. Jennifer Brunner (D-OH)
  3. Peter King (R-NY)
  4. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

In short: Bunning and Brunner are not doing well yet, whereas Portman is doing very well. Side notes in the store mark that KY AG Mongiardo (running against Bunning) is performing amazingly well, with OH Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (running against Brunner) performing adequately well -- about 4 times better than Brunner, but only raising about 60% as much as Portman.

It's no secret that I'm a Brunner girl, but I'll be interested to see the reported numbers from 2Q.

Nate Phelps Speaks!

Nate Phelps, Fred's estranged son, spoke on April 11th to the American Atheist Convention in Georgia. He speaks about his life growing up as a Phelps, as well as his own personal struggle with god and spirituality due to the harshness of Fred's theology. It is an amazing testimony and worth the time it takes to peruse through it:
We learned that every thought and deed was laced with moral implications, that every decision was a decision for or against god’s will. If a judge ruled against one of my father’s clients, his raging eventually and inevitably became a righteous rant about the judge defying god, and attacking his people. Our father explained to us over and over about how our hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked. Our education about the world was profoundly colored by this fundamental assumption. One of my earliest doubts about our faith rose from the question that if, in fact, the Adamic race is so thoroughly cursed with this moral corruption, how is it that we so willingly turn to the writings of corrupt men to find our salvation?

Many Sunday sermons were spent poring over the nuances of Old Testament stories where Yahweh had brought his people to the point of despair then delivered their enemies into their hands with some violent, miraculous intervention. While it was clear that god was unyielding toward his enemies, it was equally clear that he seemed quite willing and even eager to violently strike down his appointed ones at the slightest provocation...

[After coming home to find his mother crying and her hair crudely cut...]
In my father’s world, obscure standards and requirements that he dug out of the Bible were far more important than improving one’s character, or demonstrating kindness towards others. When he took those blades to my mother’s head, he was making a powerful assertion that he had absolute control over her very salvation. So ingrained were these beliefs that I remember fearing that, by cutting her hair, my father had condemned her to eternal damnation.
Thanks to JereKeys for the heads up on this one.

And for people that are following, make sure you keep up to date on Belly of the Beast -- Gossip-Boy.com's expose of the growing movement surrounding, of all people, Anita-freakin-Bryant. The newest section is late is due out any day now.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Marriage Round-Up!

From across the US:
  • California: The Governor's race is heating up between the two potential Democratic candidates over same-sex relationships. On the one side, we have Gavin Newsom who, as mayor of SF, allowed same-sex couples to start marrying in the city in 2004. Now, he wants to take on the census and demand that married couples be counted (SSM is not recognized on a federal level). Meanwhile, an emergency bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, his expected challenger in a primary, passed in Washington to stop the deportation of a Phillipino lesbian living in the US. Both her partner and her two children are US citizens.
  • Connecticut: This is anti-climactic, but the bill legalizing equal marriage in Connecticut sailed through the House and Senate and was signed by Gov. Jodi Rell. It also turns existing civil unions into marriages... effectively ending civil unions? Why does that make me feel weird?
  • DC: The city council has approved acknowledging out of state relationships for same-sex couples, and word on the street is that there may be an equal marriage bill in the nation's capital next year. The local pastors are angry -- "History will ask, where were the pastors?" -- no, I think history will ask, why did the pastors bother at all?
  • Maine: Lots of people attended the Judiciary Committee's hearing on the same-sex marriage bill, something like 4000 of them. But we kinda knew that was going to happen. Other bloggers have already posted some of the testimonies appearing on YouTube, so I'll just move on.
  • New Hampshire: The Senate Judiciary Committee has recommended (3-2) that the marriage bill passed by the Assembly not be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote, effectively killing it. I think, for now, the chance in NH is dead.
  • New Jersey: A new poll from Quinnipiac shows NJ voters pro-marriage at a rate of 49-43 (I guess we're assuming an 8% undecided rate). Still, that's pretty good.
  • Utah: From one of the more unexpected supporters of LGBT rights in the mountain west, Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman is openly asking whether that state's constitutional DOMA covers civil unions... and saying that maybe the courts will have to decide that.

I have been very, very busy the last few days so I just wanted to throw these bits out there for you to NOM on. Kisses!

Oh, and can I just say that I am over, over, over the Miss USA contestants? Don't care, don't care, don't care. This is my impression of homosexuals over the situation (including myself): "ZOMG! She's from California! She's been asked a question by a gay man! ZOMG! How dare she say what she think!" Meanwhile, all of us suddenly realize that there are lots of people that we assume are our friends really aren't.... like ignorant beauty queens.

And, by ignorant, I'm not talking the type that "she just needs exposure," because god knows she's exposed. I'm talking the type that she's just plain close-minded.

Regardless, over her.

A Little Buddhism Today

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself over to it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Bisexuality

I have no doubt my readers have some commentary on this very interesting column out of SFGate, abbreviated here for you:
The question is, when is bisexuality an agenda, and when is it a valid sexual orientation?

Personally, I blame the gays. No. I take that back. I blame the straight community, wherever they are -- oh, right, they're all around us like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Except now I think I hear Kinsey yelling at me from the cryogenics lab in my basement unintentionally defrosting in the current heat wave. The thing is, most people don't think that bisexuals actually exist. But Kinsey made this neat scale, because he was a nerd, and yeah you might be a straight-as-a-stick "1" (whether or not you like sports or receiving anal sex) or a flaming, Perez-Hilton Kinsey "6" (also whether or not you like sports or receiving anal sex) but most of us bitches (and I mean you) reside somewhere in the middle.

So in all seriousness, I blame Kinsey for making us all a bunch of almost-homos. Because when you look at the stereotypes that came up in this sex ed branding session, you see that when it comes down to it (and Jesus Christ I hope someone's coming from it) bi men and women are treated with equal disdain by pretty much everyone. But what Kinsey proved through scientific method and data is that bisexuality isn't just valid, it's normal...

No one believes in bisexuality but everyone loves to fake it. Knock it off, all right?
I remember once learning the term "transitional bisexual," those people who identify as bisexual on the path of accepting their "true" sexual orientation. Seemed demeaning because, even in my head, I thought "Oh, right." Then, of course, I work in HIV... where everyone is having sex with everyone regardless of how they identify and we get fabulous terminology like MSM (Men who have sex with men), or MSMNGI (MSM Non-Gay Identified), or MSMPC (MSM in Particular Circumstances), or, my favorite), BMSR (Black Men at Sexual Risk). See, in HIV, it matters more who you do rather than what you say.

And then there's the question of people of color and the terminology of "gay," and whether we blame them for being homophobic when really they are rejecting the predominate middle class, white version of homosexuality.

But that's a whole other column -- for the moment, I'm content to wonder about how much time we really give to our community "B's," not to mention the "Q's," "L's," or "T's."

Anyways, I'm not sayin' much, I'm just sayin'.

Equal Housing and Employment Act is coming back!


The Equal Housing and Employment Act (EHEA) is back here in Ohio. It's time to get this one through, guys and gals. Really. Aren't we tired of being in a state that doesn't even protect LGBTQ folks in very basic areas like, say, employment and housing? It's time to make the change.

From an Equality Ohio e-mail alert:
In the next few days, Representative Dan Stewart (D-Columbus) and Representative Ross McGregor (R-Springfield) will introduce in the Ohio House of Representatives the Equal Housing and Employment Act (EHEA) a bill which will make it illegal to discriminate in Ohio in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit based on sexual orientation and gender identity . Now is the time to ask other representatives to do what’s right and lend their name to the bill as well.

Recently your representative received a request from Reps. Stewart and McGregor to join them on the bill as a cosponsor. Will you call Representative Peter Stautberg and personally ask them to do what’s right and cosponsor this important piece of legislation?

Here's what you can do right now:

Call your legislator’s office and after identifying yourself as a constituent and sharing where you live in the district, ask:

Did the legislator receive the sponsorship request for Equal Housing and Employment Act?

Has the legislator decided to join Representatives McGregor and Stewart as a cosponsor of the bill?
- If yes – thank them for their support.
- If no – share your personal story about why it is so important for the legislator to support the bill and then ask again.
They are also asking you to contact Equality Ohio by phone (614-224-0400) or by email (kim@equalityohio.org) when you do get ahold of your representative and tell them what they said. That way, they can hold each person to their word.

Now, EO has a goal this year -- last year they had 18 co-sponsors, and, this year, they want 25 co-sponsors (25% of the House). You know what? With all due respect to Equality Ohio, I have a goal, too...

How about we pass the damn thing?*

And so, here's how you find out who your representatives are, along with their contact information, and make sure you follow new developments here at QueerCincinnati.com (or at the official website -- dowhatsrightohio.com -- but wouldn't you rather just come visit me? :-)), and make sure you contact your representatives!

*I wanted to point out that, yes, I understand we have a greater chance of passing it with the greater number of co-sponsors because then we can count on their votes -- yadda yadda yadda. :-) I'm just being a hellraiser.

Andrade Found Guilty


Allen Andrade has been found guilty of murdering Angie Zapata, with the hate crimes indictment tacked on for killing her due to her gender identity/expression.

Cleveland DP Registry Opens in Two Weeks!

...and the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland wants to register 300 couples the moment it does.


I don't know how many Cleveland readers I have -- guess is not a lot? -- but if you are and you want to register, this is your moment! Imagine 600 people on the steps of Cleveland's City Hall -- all being recognized by their city! It would be a beautiful thing. Incidentally, I think you can register even if you don't live in Cleveland...

And how about Cincinnati getting a DP Registry, you ask? Cincinnati Beacon has the answer. Well, sort of.

A Lot Coming Out of UC These Days

I have to say that I'm so glad StuffQueerPeopleNeedtoKnow is around -- she's keeping me on my toes!!!

Anyways, I said yesterday that I likely left something off the Community Pride's events. A whole lot somethings -- you know, like UC Pride/Visibility Week events. Silly homo. :-)


All the events have been added, but check out the SQPNTK posting on them for descriptions.

Gov. Patterson Withdraws Marriage Bill


Seriously, Gov. Patterson? After all the hooplah about personally taking it on, lobbying for it yourself, and the "what's wrong with proposing it and losing" approach?

From The New Civil Rights Movement:
In a disappointing switch, New York Governor David Paterson now says he will “go along with a plan by State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith not to put a same-sex marriage bill to a vote without knowing it would pass.” His introduction just one week ago of a gay marriage bill, which he asked be debated in the Senate regardless of whether or not it had enough votes to pass has met with much controversy. The governor’s response last Thursday was, “Silence should not be a response to injustice, and that if we take no action we will surely lose, maybe we’ve already lost.” Well, today it seems we’re closer to losing than winning.

A bill needs 32 votes to pass. State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has said, “I’m very concerned about putting a bill on the floor that’s going to be symbolism and not pass… . I’m going to count until I know that I have 32, if not 34, votes.” Last week, to overwhelming applause, Paterson described lack of marriage equality as “not a crisis of issues but a crisis of leadership.” There is no set date now on when or if the bill will be introduced and voted upon.
That "crisis of leadership," Gov. Patterson, now includes you.

I wonder what was said in those back rooms. I wonder what was threatened or promised. I wonder what deal was made to end this. I'm disappointed, Gov. Patterson. You have a lot of explaining and apologies to make ...

... and I think you just lost the LGBT vote.

On the flip side, here's an acceptable scenario, which would be perfectly fine if it were true: Gov. Patterson shelves the bill with the promise of widespread support from the Democratic party and an OK on his nomination for Governor -- that is, no primary challengers. In turn, the bill gets reintroduced in the legislative session after the election with universal support by the Democratic state Senators. That would be OK, but it's not something you can build a campaign on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One Iowa's Ad Campaign


Every state in the union could learn from this 1-minute ad from OneIowa in support of defending the state's same-sex marriages (beginning in May). It's brilliant. It speaks to the state's values, it identifies the issue, it delineates the religious argument, and it's simple.

Well done, One Iowa.