Monday, August 6, 2007

GAY STUFF: Fight for son

Joe Hogue, a divorced gay father in California, is fighting for his son.


I thought it was a little suspect -- after all, check out the amount of money he's raising from celebrity EBay donations (cheapie donation, btw, Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, Rosie O'Donnell, et al... can't you just cut a check, seriously?), why would he need to raise that hard in California ... the judicial system there is friendly.

But then, his son lives in Florida.

Remember, Shrub's brother is governor reigns there. And it's still illegal for homo's to adopt. We lost that fight a few years ago. . . even with Rosie coming out.

So, this is more than about his son.. this is about the law.

It's about us.

At least spread the word.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

GAY STUFF: The Mainstreaming of Gay Culture

Listen Here

(Because I need to take ownership of my own feelings, I will preface this by saying: I hate that I am on the part of the NYU prof who says "queer is the new gay," implicating that there are people that are trying to keep gay as different just because it is and no longer represents a separation from American culture. I have my own fear that, to reference another interviewee, I may be, or want to be, Will in Will & Grace).

I think it's fascinating, the sociological implications of marriage. Tucker Carlson (conservative commentator on CNN Headline News) says he is pro-gay marriage because it's "civilizing." I think we are starting to see that happen here, but it's similar to what I have been saying for a while ... and Penny Tration pointed out the same thing in her blog (here -- go to her blog, there are two articles in a row) based off a Yahoo report about the death of gay ghetto's like WeHo, Boystown, Castro, and the Village (locally, Northside).

Gay is passe. (A sharp division from "gay is good" in previous generations) It's common now, and it's on the forefront of American politics but not in a cutthroat sort of way, more of a "tying up loose ends" sort of way.

Rather than fighting for visibility and recognition and the simple right to be, we are fighting just to make sure that our rights are guaranteed and for marriage -- marriage! The penultimate of heteronormativity. Don't get me wrong, I support the right to marry for anyone ... and, later, the right to divorce. But it's telling of where we are.

The commentator makes the point that gay pride parades are less about drag queens and "extremes" these days, but more about fathers with strollers.

How, unusual. We are no longer counter-culture in most sectors of the world ... we're, mainstream. (I knew the world was falling apart when a marketing firm found out that our "purchasing power" and our "market share" was just under that of the entire African-American population. I wish I could still find that link.)

A long time ago, I read Daniel Harris's The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture and was disgusted, at the time, of the idea that this idealized world that I had heard about -- fabulous clubs, flashy drag queens, counter-cultural movement, sexual liberation -- was falling apart. After all, that's what I wanted. The more I delved, however, the more I found it to be true.

All those wonderful things have given way to a mainstream society with an unspoken "underbelly" upon which all these other things happen. (I will never forget the day a friend of mine said to me in a gay community meeting "We don't talk about sex here, that's not what we're about" -- I don't think he knows I still carry those words with me.) Oh sure, the sexual liberation exists... that is, we can be sexually liberated behind closed doors... just don't talk about it or discuss it, or even mention that we have sex.

It's all very suburban, to my mind.

Are we like everyone else? No, and that's what makes us wonderful. I think I am beginning to understand what the black community went through in the 70s-90s. "Now we have the rights, but we still want to be ourselves." It makes sense to me.

Gay culture, like black culture, was borne out of oppression. It is from oppression springs acitivism (hence, why we don't see ACTUP or Queer Nation anymore).

We are becoming a true part of this American Life... assimilated, mainstream, consumerist, and armchair lobbyists.

I just don't hope we start losing our culture because of it.

Oh, and to the couple on the interview that says "here in suburbia, you can be radical every day." I would like to retort: it takes less courage to simply put a middle-class, suburban, white (not that there's anything wrong with that) face on homosexuality than it did to come out when your life was threatened. Sorry, you aren't no Harvey Milk or Harry Hay.

...and I bet you don't even know who they are.

POLITICS: We just might win???

A little bit of a shocker in the morning paper... We just might finally be winning in Iraq.

Usually, I am critical of any information coming from the Editorial page of the Cincinnati Enquirer, as it tilts conservative. However, the basis of the editorial column comes from a new source... the Brookings Institute. (Link here)

Brookings has been historically critical of the war. In fact, the two authors, Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon, have been outspoken critics of the war. They say, however, they found something completely different on their last trip:

Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

They continue to describe successes in training Iraqi forces, reconstruction efforts, and removal of corruption in the army; though they are quick to point out more work needs to be done, including providing jobs, centralizing the government, and reducing civilian casualties.

So now we have an interesting dilemma for the anti-war folks, which includes me: the surge worked (depsite our concerns) and things are getting better.

I'm not going to spin it; I'm glad for the improving situation. I don't think anyone wanted to leave Iraq a mess, but, at the time, it felt almost inevitable that they only way out at this point was to let it go into civil war (leading to outsider invasions due to the power vacuum, potentially culminating in a new war on a regional scale). The sense of doom is receding. I'm glad the people of Ramadi and even some of the rural provinces can now feel safe in their neighborhoods, and I'm glad we're seeing ethnic integration. Thank jeebus... ahem, I mean, Muhammed.

Is this a success for President Shrub? In a way, yes... though I hate to admit it. When he first came to office, I often said that he had some of the best appointments ever. He surrounded himself with brilliant people (though corrupt, money hungry, and entrenched in the military-industrial complex). I think this, really, seems to be a success for General Petraeus. It seems Bush has put the proper person in place to deal with the mess that we created.

And, even if this does work out for the best, our reasons for going in and the last five years of failure, loss, and pain remain inexcusable. Your right, Saddam was a bad bad bad man... but the doctrine of prophylactic warfare should not be the corner stone of our foreign policy.

It should be, as always, a last resort.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


What is the state of drag in the city? Is it, possibly, truly, dead?

Last night, friend AA and I made it up to Bullfishes in Northside ("just a drink or two" turned into a 230am night -- sometimes I am glad for bar cut off times). Expecting the usual Friday night fair, including lesbian drama and some bad hip hop, we debated going in as we discovered there was a show from a group we had never heard of before -- the Lixgood Family. Bolstered by the fact that there was no cover, which always makes me feel like I'm drinking for free, we headed in expecting to be disappointed.

The Lixgood Family was good. ... real good. To start off, I think it is an interesting societal commentary that most drag king and female-based troupes are modeled after the family (complete with "mom" and "dad"), whereas drag queen and male-based troupes are more hierarchical ("show director" "hostess" or "emcee" followed by everyone else). I think the family approach lends itself to the show as if it were an invitation to the participants to experience "family time."

But the performances were awesome; the Lixgood Family was there having a good time. While choreographed, it was relaxed and easy and fun. It was clear that they were up there just having a good time.

That simple idea always gets me off.

And the SEXY voluptuous vixens -- Miss B. Haven, Silhouette, and Catalicious -- were amazing as they rocked the stage. I love lesbians for many reasons, but they always seem to appreciate curviness in a woman.

The show excited me, and it's rare that I am excited by drag anymore.

Entertainment should be entertaining, both to the entertained and the entertainers. (Four different forms of the same word in the same sentence, grammatically correct if repetitive... BOOYAH!)

On a side note, I think black sexuality and gender performance is developing along a fascinating trend. Black drag queens have long been a part of the movement, and fought at Stonewall. But I'm curious to know whether what I saw is "things to come" or simply a fluke.

I'm booking the Lixgood Family, btw, for September. I'll keep you updated.

BLOGGING: A slight adjustment

Comparing the media release from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce with the Joe Wessels article in this morning's Post (RIP the Post), there seems to be somewhat of a difference in information. I don't know where Wessels got the blogs he listed, but apparently there was a whole setup to this announcement that I missed.

So, with that in mind, here are the ones he listed the morning:

Critical Inquiry into the sometimes shoddy reporting and conservatism of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Cincinnati, As I See It
A photo blog. It's quite nice, really.

Jackie Danicki
I like this gal. She's awfully purty; but mostly, I like her take on stuff. Do I think it's a little egotistical to have a website made out of your name? Sure, but I'm down with the idea.

Cincinnati Blog
No really, just a blog about Cincinnati -- if you didn't get that from the title.

Building Cincinnati
More about the architecture and built space in Cincinnati. My dear friend MC woudl absolutely adore this little page.

Two others listed that I haven't really looked into:
The Daily Bellwether
Nasty, Brutish, and Short

And on the national scale, for any who are interested, one of my favorite blogs ever:

Neat-o-rama -- No really, you, too, should become a devotee.

BLOGGING: Opening Up for Business

On the heels of the recent announcement of Cincinnati's best blogs in the city; I thought it was time I dipped into the field, a decision I've been tossing around for a while.

So, here I am, and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing.

In fact, amusingly enough, I think I've already forgotten what my web address is.

So here are a couple of things to start us off and where we're going from here:

1) Earlier this year, CityBeat -- pro-gay, sometimes pro-Cincy, independent, liberal newsrag that pisses me off more often as I agree with it -- debated the whole "Cincinnati Rocks vs. Cincinnati Sucks" dichotomy that seems an affliction in most people around town. I am, usually, on the side of Cincinnati Rocks.

2) I am officially a Westsider. That is, I live in Price Hill. However, my friends on the Eastside inform me that my former neighborhoods -- Northside and College Hill -- counted as the Westside too. I didn't know at the time. I guess I need to join up with my posse and start that silly little hand motion everyone does.

3) I am gay. I am also a homosexual. I sometimes identify as queer. And, yes, there is a difference.

4) There is a lack of good local gay blogs, or blogs from openly gay Cincinnatians who talk about their experience with both. I seek to fill that void.

5) I'm sometimes conservative and sometimes liberal. I'm sorry if that confuses you, but, it just kinda happens.

So we'll see how this goes, and, I hope, all of you can keep me on my toes. :-)