Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Baptism Of Obama

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HRC's David Smith On Sirius OutQ Today

Yesterday Howie Klein, who blogs at Down With Tyranny and Crooks And Liars, appeared on Michelangelo Signorile's show on Sirius OutQ to blast the HRC for withholding its endorsement of U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal.

On the show, Klein told Signorile's listeners to withhold their HRC dues and send them instead to Jim Neal. The Human Right Campaign's David Smith will appear on the show at 4:30PM to rebut. Listen on Sirius channel 109 or online here, where you can get a free three day pass.

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Good Work Wednesday

A Chinese auction at NYC Eagle this Saturday will benefit Braking The Cycle and the NYC LGBT Center.
Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 10pm, Team Eagle is hosting a fundraising auction at the Eagle with some great items on the block including, a Poker Party for 8, an LAPD Helmet, Movie Bundle from HERE TV, Private cooking lesson for 4 from Tim Shaw (Chef to the stars), clothing from Slick it Up, Inseam, Direktor and The Leatherman, Chelsea Piers gym and "W" hotel packages, and much much more!
This year's Braking The Cycle AIDS ride will go from Gettysburg to Manhattan on September 26-28.

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Daily Grumble

The temperature in my apartment has hovered around 50 for the last week, thanks to this ridiculous "spring" weather. And don't expect your landlord to fire up the boiler, it's only cold enough to be annoying. Poor Shelley has spent the last few days burrowed under the comforter. I actually considered getting a space heater last night. And tomorrow is May. Bah.

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Sweeping Reforms For Australia's Gays, But No Marriage

The Australian government has announced over 100 reforms giving gay couples almost the same rights as straight couples - with the notable exception of marriage.
The move has been welcomed by LGBT groups but has drawn criticism over the refusal to legalise 'gay marriage'. Under the changes, gay couples in long-term relationships would be treated the same as married couples on issues such as taxation, pensions and welfare payments. Attorney General Robert McClelland announced that the Labour government would introduce legislation next month to remove same-sex discrimination from some 100 laws.

McClelland told reporters in Canberra: "The changes will provide for equality of treatment in a wide range of areas including superannuation, taxation, social security, workers compensation and pharmaceutical benefits," "These will make a practical difference to the lives of a group of fellow Australians who, for far too long, have suffered discrimination at a Commonwealth level."
Pink News provides a recap on the status of the marriage equality movement worldwide:
The Netherlands was the first country to allow same-sex marriage in 2001. Same-sex marriages are also recognized in Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa. The first same-sex union in modern history with government recognition was obtained in Denmark in 1989.

Civil unions, civil partnership, domestic partnership, unregistered partnership/ unregistered co-habitation or registered partnerships offer varying amounts of the benefits of marriage and are available in:

Andorra,
Colombia
Croatia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Hungary
Iceland
Israel
Luxembourg
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
Slovenia
South Africa
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom
Uruguay.

They are also available in some parts of Argentina, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Mexico, the U.S. states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state, and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.).

In the United Kingdom, civil partnerships have identical legal status to a marriage, and partners gain all the same benefits and associated legal rights; ranging from tax exemptions and joint property rights, to next-of-kin status and shared parenting responsibilities.
Uh, Massachusetts?

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European Court: Siblings Don't Get Same Tax Breaks As Civil Partners

Interesting:
Two elderly British sisters have lost their case in the European Court of Human Rights to allow them to avoid inheritance tax when one of them dies. They argued that British law treats them less favourably than a lesbian couple in a civil partnership. The siblings have been living together in Wiltshire since they were born, but Joyce, 88, and Sybil Burden, 90, fear that one of them will be left with a large inheritance tax bill when the other passes away.

In a 15-2 vote, judges sitting in Strasbourg ruled they did are not the victims of discrimination. "The absence of such a legally-binding agreement between the applicants (the Burdens) rendered their relationship of co-habitation, despite its long duration, fundamentally different to that of a married or civil partnership couple."

The sisters vowed to continue their fight through lobbying politicians. "We are struggling to understand why two single sisters in their old age, whose only crime was to choose to stay single and look after their parents and aunts, should find themselves in such a position in the UK in the 21st Century."
When gay partner benefits are discussed in Freeperland, a common objection is that if unmarried gay couples get benefits, then anybody who cohabitates should get them as well.

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HomoQuotable - Wayne Besen

"The decline in the public sex culture and gay bars can be attributed, in part, to the rise of the Internet. However, a larger trend, captured by the Times magazine article, is at work. A good portion of men in their mid 20's have been out of the closet for more than a decade. (They were barely in.) Having had a normal adolescence, they are already burnt out on gay bars and ready to start families.

"A couple of weeks ago, I visited Washington and met up with the friends I used to party with in the mid to late 90's. Today, they are all in long-term relationships and in bed by the time they used to wake up from their disco naps.

"The changes in the gay social scene have happened so fast that they are sometimes difficult to comprehend. It's as if someone slipped a roofie into the GLBT community's mimosa and while we slept Rudy Giuliani swooped down in drag and cleaned up our Times Square.

"Sometimes, I fondly reminisce about the good old days. Then, I recall that that the endless party was a product of our oppression. The storied "days" were actually really late nights - and as I get older, I want to be up on Sunday morning in time to watch "Meet the Press."

"Caught between the wild party and wedding party generations, the rapid pace of change can seem unsettling, yet reassuring." - Activist and author Wayne Besen. Read the entire piece.

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Duffy - Warwick Avenue


I cannot get enough of Welsh pop sensation Duffy. And not just because when I first posted about her last year she sent me a sweetly autographed photo. (Which I promptly lost somehow.) This is the third single from the full-length Rockferry, due out here May 13rd.

The previous single, Mercy, topped every chart in Europe, stayed at #1 in the UK for five weeks, and has gotten 7.5 million views on YouTube. The album is already out overseas and is presently #1 for the 7th week on Billboard's Top European Albums chart. Duffy plays Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater on May 12th (get tickets here) and will be performing a free in-store acoustic set at the Union Square Virgin Megastore the next day.

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D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y

Somebody wants to help you.

(Via - By The Bayou)

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Soylent Yeller

Because America wants a dog food named after beloved family pet that gets rabies and is killed with a shotgun blast from a crying boy.

(Via - Slog)

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Another Dumb Distraction

At his press conference to endorse Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley said, “This lady right here makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy. There’s nothing I love more than a strong powerful woman.”

Clinton began using Rocky-inspired metaphors during her primary campaigning in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia was the setting for the Best Picture-winning 1976 movie.

Despite an outcry from many bloggers, thus far most gay rights groups have remained silent on the incident, even though the word "pansy" is considered by many to be a pejorative code word for homosexual. Only GLAAD has issued a mild protest.

GLAAD:
"GLAAD is concerned with Gov. Easley's flippant comment this morning utilizing the word "pansy,‘" said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. "The word is considered by many to be a demeaning and degrading reference to gay men. We encourage all those engaging in political rhetoric to stay away from using language that is considered defamatory toward any group of Americans."
But bloggers, many of them Obama supporters, have come out swinging:

NC-based blogger Pam Spauding:
So why didn't our outgoing governor just go ahead and say "faggot"? Note that Hillary, who was right there with the NC gov, said nothing about his remark. Of course Easley infamously received the endorsement of Equality NC in his re-election bid, then in a debate said he'd sign a marriage amendment if it hit his desk, so why should we be surprised. And who is Hillary trying to court here -- the "traditional Southern conservative." Take the homo money and run, as it were.
John Aravosis at AmericaBlog:
It's ironic. Hillary is afraid to use the word "gay," and gets visibly uncomfortable when answering questions about gay issues. But using slurs for "fag"" doesn't bother her in the least. Hillary and her people will say anything to get elected. And if that means gay-bashing to win the bubba vote, then so be it. And her people wonder why so many have turned on Hillary in the past few months.
Ryan Davis at Huffington Post:
Now, I know from spending many recesses in middle school being called a pansy that it's just a subtle way of saying "faggot." Clinton stood by while Easley made that comment, smiling away. Speaking to a prominent gay journalist friend of mine this morning, he expressed his frustration with her campaign. "Hillary doesn't care about the gays. It's that simple. We're a political tool, like everything else in that family's orbit." Clinton owes the gay community, which she has shamefully used as an ATM during her campaign, an apology for gay-baiting. We're waiting, Hillary.
Andrew Sullivan on The Daily Dish:
She's on O'Reilly and her surrogate is accusing her opponent of being a "pansy". Classy - but vintage Clinton. Never miss an opportunity to exploit homophobia. Remember DOMA? Remember doubling the discharges from the military? Remember inaction on AIDS? Remember the Clintons' using anti-gay marriage ads in the South in 1996? And yet the gays keep coming back for more. I don't understand why. I really don't.
Former HRC staffer and Netroots activist Phil Attey emailed me with this scorcher:
The statement was calculated and hateful. Americans over the age of 50 are fully aware that the word "pansy" is that generation's polite way of publicly saying the word "faggot." Both Governor Easley and Senator Clinton are of that generation, and both of them know what he meant by the word. This was not a slip of the tongue. This is part of Senator Clinton's new "Rocky theme" ... a theme that sadly includes now gay bashing. On behalf of the LGBT community, I demand the following three things:
  • Governor Easley immediately issue a public apology for his use of hate speech and commit to launch a new state-wide campaign in North Carolina to educate the public on the issue of anti-LGBT hate speech and hate crimes.
  • Senator Clinton make good on a previous campaign ascertain that that she would strongly "reject and denounce" any endorsement from someone who engages in hate speech by immediately rejecting and denouncing Governor Easley's endorsement.
  • Governor Easley face me in a public boxing ring in Raleigh, NC this weekend, so I can show him and the those who make such hateful comments, that if you go up against a real "pansy," you're going to end up pushing daisies. And, yes, I double yellow dog dare him.
Mixed reactions in the comments of the NY Times's political blog, The Caucus:

- "He was referring to gay male. There is no doubt about it because NC is in the so-called “Bible belt” where gay bashing is common. He was attempting to send a signal to the conservatives by indirectly indicating that Senator Clinton is anti gay just like them. This was clever use of the word."

- "Please. I’m a gay man and I use “pansy” this way myself. I don’t think I’ve ever said it and thought about it meaning someone was gay.Now, if the Gov had said it makes Rocky look “gay” then it would rightly be seen as a shameful anti-gay slur. But pansy? Come on, people."

- "I would define PANSY as someone who claimed to be ducking SNIPER FIRE but in reality was not."

- "Earth to Media: ENOUGH ALREADY! I’m not even a Hillary fan but this parsing of every single word one of her supporters/surrogates says is ridiculous. I don’t like it when it’s done with Obama and I don’t like it when it’s done with Hillary."

When I read the quote early in the day, I dismissed it and didn't even include it in my post about Easley's endorsement, as it came past where I'd decided to clip the story. Obviously, many feel much stronger about the word than I do.

I think I'd prefer that we reserve charges of "hate speech" for more deserving examples, but it will be very interesting to see how Hillary reacts to this, if at all. At the end of the day, however, like the Rev. Wright flap, this is yet another annoying distraction from the real issues facing this country. I am completely sick of thinking about all of them.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Talk, Talk

When I mentioned my 4000th post last week and wondered, "What HAVE we been going on about?" - I should have thought to look at my post tag counter. Since Blogger added post tagging in December 2006, here are the top ten most frequent JMG post topics and how many times they were used.

1. NYC - 357
2. 2008 elections - 249
3. Morning View - 206
4. LGBT rights - 189
5. Gay marriage - 117
6. Hillary Clinton - 103
7. Barack Obama - 101
8. LGBT culture - 71
9. Transgender issues - 68
10. ENDA - 49

Of course, the counts for Hillary and Obama are almost identical because you can't usually mention one without the other. I'm not surprised to see NYC at #1, but wouldn't have thought it would be by so much. I love useless statistics!

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HRC Withholds Endorsement Of Jim Neal, Openly Gay North Carolina U.S. Senate Candidate

Via Daily Kos diarist SPNJ889:
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) REFUSES to support Jim Neal, an openly gay candidate in North Carolina running for US Senate. Something fishy seems to be going on. Is the DSCC interfering in a Democratic Primary election?

Jim Neal, a progressive Democrat in North Carolina, is running to take on Senator Elizabeth Dole. He was the only Democrat running for the nomination until the National Democratic Party found out he was gay. The DSCC freaked, and recruited a Republican-lite candidate named Kay Hagan to run for the nomination (she originally refused to run). Basically, everyone in Washington DC is freaked that there is a openly gay candidate who actually has a shot of winning the Dem nomination on May 6th.

Jim Neal is supported by many here in North Carolina. He's a businessman/investment banker, so he has financial sense. He also is progressive on many issues. He's an amazing speaker in person, and would really put Elizabeth Dole on her toes.
Dan Savage:
[I]t seems to me that not receiving the endorsement of the nation’s largest gay rights group might actually help Neal with North Carolina voters. He should point to HRC’s refusal to endorse him as proof that he doesn’t march in lock-step with gay rights groups, blah blah blah, and that their non-endorsement is proof that he’s not a single-issue candidate.
Here's the list of Senatorial candidates endorsed by the HRC:

Max Baucus, D-MT
Joe Biden, D-DE
Susan Collins, R-ME
Dick Durbin, D-IL
Al Franken, D-MN
Tom Harkin, D-IA
John Kerry, D-MA
Mary Landrieu, D-LA
Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ
Carl Levin, D-MI
Jack Reed, D-RI
Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH
Mark Udall, D-CO
Tom Udall, D-NM

I can't imagine why the HRC has not endorsed Neal.

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Principal Outs Gay High School Couple

The ACLU is protesting the outing of two high school students by their principal, who revealed the students' relationship to other students and teachers, then called one of the student's mother to reveal her son's gayness and tell her that she would not tolerate homosexuality at her school.
In a letter to school board officials in Memphis, the ACLU demanded that the school reprimand the principal and take steps to ensure such actions never happen again. In September of 2007, the principal at Hollis F. Price Middle College High told teachers she wanted the names of all student couples, “hetero and homo,” because she wanted to monitor them personally to prevent students from engaging in public displays of affection.

The two students now represented by the ACLU, Andrew and Nicholas (who have asked that their last names not be revealed), were two A students who had been seeing each other for a short time and were attempting to keep their relationship quiet and private. The principal heard about them through another student, then wrote their names on a list she posted next to her desk, in full view of anyone who entered her office.

One of the boys’ mothers personally witnessed the list when she met with the principal a few days later. “I couldn’t believe it when I went to meet with the principal and that list was right there by her desk where anyone could see it,” said Andrea, Andrew’s mother. “African American people face enough obstacles to succeeding in this world and I want my son to have every opportunity he’s worked so hard for. Our schools should be helping our children do well, not tearing them down for something like this.”

Although the boys had never been observed by any school staff engaging in any sort of display of affection, the principal called Nicholas’s mother Nichole. According to Nichole, the principal said things like “Did you know your son is gay?” repeatedly and went on to say that she didn’t like gay people and wouldn’t tolerate homosexuality at her school.
Both of the boys are "A" students and one of them subsequently was not chosen for a trip to New Orleans to assist in rebuilding. He was told the school was afraid he would engage in embarrassing or inappropriate behavior.

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Details Mag: Single Gay Dads Are Hot

Details Magazine blogs about the gayby boom. Interesting story overall, but with a few "Oh, brother" moments, one of which I've bolded below.
Evidence of the gayby boom is everywhere. It isn't just the strollers in gay neighborhoods. Some Halloween parties at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community centers now brim with gay dads showing off their immaculately costumed progeny. And participants in New York City's Gay Pride Parade have turned down the volume of the music in order to be more accommodating to kids.

"They're even talking about having a family week on Fire Island this summer," says Ron Poole-Dayan, a marketing consultant who runs a biological-parent support group in Manhattan and has 7-year-old twins with his partner, Gregory Poole-Dayan. "So that tells you something."

Ten years ago, if you were a gay couple who wanted a baby through in vitro fertilization you were likely to go to Southern California, which embraced IVF early on and has many specialist agencies. Today these clinics are pretty much all over the country.

And it's not just gay couples who are investigating IVF. Many homosexual men have decided to go it alone, which provides at least one tangible bonus: While single parenthood can be a turnoff on the heterosexual dating scene, being a single gay dad is—there's really no other word for it—hot.

"In the gay community, having a child as a single man is a sign of assertiveness," Ron Poole-Dayan says. "It's also appealing to know this is a gay man who isn't afraid of commitment." Poole-Dayan says he's seen six out of the seven single gay dads he knows pair off after the births of their children.

That's what happened to B.J. Holt, 40, a general manager for Broadway stage productions. "I worried about being a single father," Holt says. "But sure enough, as soon as I started the process with a surrogate mother, I met my future partner." Today Holt and his partner, who asked that his name be withheld, are raising Christina, who is 7 months old.

Darek DeFreece, 36, an investment-banking attorney who lives in the Bay Area, was aware of the possible consequences of being a single father. "I worried about the workload, about having enough time to give to my family and my personal life," he says. But those concerns seemed relatively trivial when he looked at the long term. "It was especially important for me to have children as a single man. I looked at myself in the future, and being a single, older man without kids didn't seem like a desirable place to be." (DeFreece no longer has to worry about being on his own—he and his partner have 9-month-old twins, Jake and Riley Catherine.)
In other words, if you really want a husband - get a baby. Next week on Maury Povich.

A few years ago when I called out a friend on his habit of cruising men with infants, he sheepishly admitted that he found young fathers "hot". I drew him out further on why he felt that way and he said that a man with a baby in his arms was holding physical proof of his heterosexuality, his very masculinity, and that, therefore, made him "hot". Hotter, by definition of his status as a breeder, than any gay man. Nothing new in that, much of gay porn launches from the same conceit.

I've run into this "hot father" mindset a few other times and I'm quite certain that some of these gay men acquiring babies are merely using them as a gentler, 21st century version of past masculizing devices: muscles, tattoos, trucker wear, etc. However, I am very aware that my own utter lack of interest in parenting may cause me to project these suspicions onto those who are completely undeserving.

Of course, how this gayby boom plays into the increasing straightifying of gay culture in another issue entirely. Any gay person that wants to be a parent should pursue that dream - I just worry that some of these dreams are coming from the wrong place. Still, as a commenter here said recently, even we old-school queers have to consider that perhaps by having children, these queer parents are the true transgressives of the movement. Let's hope that most of them are doing it for the right reasons.

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NC Gov Endorses Hillary

A week before that state's primary, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has endorsed Hillary Clinton.
At a joint appearance in Raleigh Tuesday morning, the two-term Democrat said Clinton "gets it." "It's time for somebody to be in the White House who understands the challenges we face in this country," Easley said. Easley's endorsement comes a week before the state's May 6 primary. It's a boost for the former first lady, who is trailing Barack Obama in most state polls. Easley is the second North Carolina superdelegate to endorse Clinton. Obama has the backing of six superdelegates in the state. Easley and Clinton began the day touring a biotechnology lab at North Carolina State University.
North Carolina holdouts: According to the New York Times, Elizabeth Edwards is leaning on her husband to endorse Hillary. John Edwards is thought to be waiting until there is a clear nominee, presumably not to hurt his chances of being selected (again) for the VP slot. There is a chance the two Edwards will split their endorsements. The family plans to visit Walt Disney World this week in order to keep the primary spotlight off of them.

UPDATE: Andy Towle covers the growing controversy regarding Gov. Easley's comment that Hillary "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy."

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How To Sabotage Your Candidate

Dana Milbank:
Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.

In front of 30 television cameras, Wright's audience cheered him on as the minister mocked the media and, at one point, did a little victory dance on the podium. It seemed as if Wright, jokingly offering himself as Obama's vice president, was actually trying to doom Obama; a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.

Wright suggested that Obama was insincere in distancing himself from his pastor. "He didn't distance himself," Wright announced. "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American."
Obama:
"Some of the comments that Rev. Wright has made offend me, and I understand why they offend the American people. He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign."

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Fava Beans And A Nice Chianti

Another gay cannibal?
A gay Yorkshire man has been charged with murder in the death of a man he picked up. The naked body of Damian Oldfield, 33, was found in a house in Harehills following remarks the suspect made at a local takeout restaurant. Police said that part of Oldfield's right leg had been cut out and pieces of diced meat were discovered in pot on a kitchen stove.

Forensic tests on the meat showed it to be human. Investigators say they do not know how much of the leg had been eaten. Anthony Francis Morley, 35, is in jail awaiting trial. Police say they do not know how Oldfield and Morley met and have appealed to the gay community for help. Oldfield worked as an advertising salesman on a Leeds-based magazine. Colleagues say they are shocked at the killing.
Surely you remember Armin Meiwes, the gay German cannibal whose 2001 personal ad said, "If you are between 18 and 25 years old, you are my boy. Come to me and I eat your horny flesh." One of the men responding to Meiwes' ad voluntarily allowed himself to be castrated and then he and Meiwes sauteed and ate his penis together. When the organ donor's body was found, Meiwes had consumed at least 40 lbs of it. Meiwes was sentenced to life in prison last year.

I'm not even gonna see what the Freepers say about this one. Probably something like: "The liberal-controlled MSM will never let this story onto the front page. They don't want America to KNOW the truth about how many "gay" people engage in cannibalism!!"

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Analogies Are Fun

(From Married To The Sea via Ballad Of A Ladyman)

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Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of Fly Life, this week's Swag Tuesday prize is two tickets to the True Colors Tour starring Cyndi Lauper, the B-52s, Andy Bell, Rosie O'Donnell, Wanda Sykes, Deborah Cox, Joan Jett, Joan Armatrading, the Cliks, the Indigo Girls, Nona Hendryx, and others.

Here's a video clip of Cyndi inviting you to the 26-date tour, which kicks off in Boston on May 31st and finishes at Colorado's legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater on July 5th. Check out the artist lineup for the show nearest you because it changes from date to date.

The winning tickets are good nationwide and may be redeemed for any show on the tour. Enter to win by commenting on this post. Please only comment once and remember to leave an email address that you check frequently. Entries will close at midnight PST. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

NPR On Gay Bar Extinction

On Friday, NPR's Marketplace show discussed the rash of gay bar closures around the country, citing Fortune Magazine's recent list of "10 Businesses Heading For Extinction", which includes gay bars. Listen to the audio here. An excerpt:
Every year, Fortune Magazine releases a list of 10 businesses it thinks are facing extinction. Some of this year's casualties? Record stores, crop dusting and telemarketing. Oh, and gay bars, too. That one caught our eye because gay business in general is booming. Stacey Vanek Smith has more.

STACEY VANEK-SMITH
: It's a busy weekend night at a gay bar in Los Angeles. Actor Jason Dottley says gay bars don't just cater to a gay clientele anymore. The scene has become a lot more mixed.

Jason Dottley: It's an indication of open-mindedness. I think it's a sign of progress.

But that progress has a left some older gay bars sounding like this . . . [sound of ocean waves crashing]. The Boom Boom Room opened in Laguna Beach in 1947. It used to be a favorite hangout of Rock Hudson's. But today the windows of the white, art-deco facade are papered over. Fred Karger started coming here in 1973.

Fred Karger: It's a magical place. It had a little, kind of loungey bar, and it had pool tables. They'd have this wonderful cabaret show on Wednesday nights.

The new owner plans to tear down the Boom Boom Room and build a luxury hotel. Gay bars all over the country have met similar fates: New York's Roxy, The Avalon in Boston, The Pendulum in San Francisco. But here's the weird thing: Gay business is booming. Gay spending power in the U.S. is worth an estimated $750 billion. So why are gay bars having so much trouble? Marketing expert Jerry McHugh says part of it is generational.

Jerry McHugh: Generation X people and Generation Y people are less concerned about gay-exclusive socialization, and they're more interested in a more-diverse environment.

McHugh says for gay boomers, bars used to function like community centers.

McHugh: When I came out it was the early 90s, and it was really helpful to go to these places.

Boston Globe writer Robert David Sullivan says a few years ago he noticed the number of gay bars in Boston had been cut in half. He says it was strange because they had been such a cornerstone of the gay social scene.

Robert David Sullivan: It was sort of structured that you could meet people that way, and you could say things and not censor yourself.

Sullivan says today young, gay men and women use the Internet, not bars, to meet people. And the older generation has graduated from late-night bar hopping to a mellow meal out.
I can't find the referenced Fortune story, but a seemingly identical list appears on Entrepreneur.com.

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Florida Says Nuts To Nuts

Oh, those wacky Floridians. A bill is before the state legislature to ban the "ornamental testicles" that some Sunshine State idiots are hanging from their trucks and SUVs.
Metal replicas of bull testicles have become trendy bumper ornaments in some parts of the Sunshine State, but state Sen. Carey Baker is campaigning to ban the orbs.

Baker acknowledged that Florida lawmakers have more pressing issues, including huge revenue shortfalls, but said the state needs to draw a line on what's obscene before more objectionable adornments appear. State Sen. Steve Geller argued against Baker's bill. "I find it shocking that we should be telling people that have the metallic bull testicles ... you're now going to have points on your license for this," said Geller.

Geller was in the minority. Baker's bill to fine drivers $60 for displaying the ornaments passed the Senate. It's now up to the House, but there's only a slim chance that members of that chamber would pass the measure before the session ends this coming Friday. If it were to be passed, Gov. Charlie Crist has not indicated whether he would sign it, although he has not been too critical of this and other not-so-pressing issues. "It's good to have some things that maybe aren't quite as serious. Got to have a little levity," the governor said. A similar bill in Virginia, aimed at rubber trailer hitch replicas of male human genitalia, died in committee this year.
If you must, you can get your "bumper nuts" here. You can also get the nuts on a hinge so they swing in traffic. Ugh.

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PhoboQuotable - Albert Mohler

In the Christian Post, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, reacts to the Times Magazine article about young married gays, taking particular note of the couple that hinted that theirs would be an open marriage.
"Young Gay Rites" is itself a noteworthy signal about the future of marriage. If Denizet-Lewis is right, the legalization of same-sex marriage is changing the ways some homosexuals are living their lives. In other words, same-sex marriage in Massachusetts is changing homosexual culture in some unexpected ways.

The Christian concern about marriage is rooted in the picture that marriage provides. Marriage is a covenant and the central institution for human society. The picture of marriage is the bringing together of those who are alike (both made in the image of God) and different (male and female). Out of this picture of difference brought together within covenant comes the gifts that flow from marriage.

The tragedy of same-sex marriage is not the awkwardness and strangeness revealed in this article, but the repudiation of that picture. That repudiation represents a great loss and confusion – but it also represents a violation of God's command concerning marriage.

Denizet-Lewis's article raises at least one final thought. If the legalization of same-sex marriage is changing homosexual culture, is it also changing heterosexual marriage? We can only wonder how long it will take for some heterosexual couples to decide that "emotional fidelity" and "sexual fidelity" can be separated.

We are living in the midst of vast cultural change. It is almost as if an entire civilization is being transformed before our eyes. Reading "Young Gay Rites" should be sufficient to make that realization hard to miss.
Somebody needs to lift up that rock and holler down to Mohler that millions of hets already have open marriages.

(Via - Queerty)

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True Colors '08 Tour Dates

The 2008 True Colors Tour lineup includes Cyndi Lauper, the B-52s, Andy Bell, Rosie O'Donnell, Joan Jett, the Indigo Girls, Deborah Cox, Wanda Sykes, the Cliks, Nona Hendrix, and others.
05.31.08 Boston MA US Bank of America Pavilion
06.01.08 Wantagh NY US Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre
06.03.08 New York US NY Radio City Music Hall
06.04.08 Toronto ON CA Molson Amphitheatre
06.06.08 Mashantucket CT US Foxwoods Casino
06.07.08 Washington DC US DAR Constitution Hall
06.09.08 Minneapolis MN US US Bank Theater
06.10.08 Chicago IL US Chicago Theatre
06.11.08 Clarkston MI US DTE Energy Music Theatre
06.13.08 Atlantic City NJ US Borgata Hotel and Casino
06.14.08 Bethel NY US Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
06.16.08 Atlanta GA US Chastain Park Amphitheatre
06.17.08 Atlanta GA US Chastain Park Amphitheatre
06.18.08 Clearwater FL US Ruth Eckerd Hall
06.19.08 Fort Lauderdale FL US Sinatra Theatre
06.21.08 Houston TX US Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion
06.22.08 Dallas TX US Superpages.com Center
06.23.08 Oklahoma City OK US Zoo Amphitheatre
06.25.08 Phoenix AZ US Dodge Theatre
06.27.08 Alpine CA US Viejas Casino
06.28.08 Los Angeles CA US Greek Theatre
06.29.08 Berkeley CA US Greek Theatre
07.01.08 Seattle WA US WaMu Theater
07.02.08 Vancouver BC CA Deer Lake Park
07.04.08 Salt Lake City UT US USANA Amphitheatre
07.05.08 Morrison CO US Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Most tour dates are already on sale. Buy tickets here.

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But She's Too Young

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Ex-Boyfriends - Situation

Here's the first video from San Francisco's Ex-Boyfriends. The JMG reader who sent along the clip notes that the video was shot at SF's armory, now the home of Kink.com, which may explain the bondage imagery. Great song.

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20/20 Explores "Gay PDA"

Friday night's edition of 20/20 explored the reactions of the public to two gay couples engaging in public displays of affection in Birmingham, Alabama and suburban New Jersey. In Birmingham, the sight of two men kissing on a park bench prompted one woman to call 911, but overall the reactions were surprisingly supportive.

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The Chosen Family

On Saturday night my clan gathered at Nowhere Bar to celebrate Dr. Jeff's 30th birthday. The next day, the always eloquent Father Tony reflected on our chosen family:
As I looked about the room, I saw a few new faces, but mostly those of the men we have come to know over the past few years. Our little brigade has grown and evolved and owns much common memory. Now, we are known to each other rather deeply. As is the case with any family, there have been great bushels of laughter, a few words that might have been better left unsaid, some romance, some dalliance and some easily forgiven nonsense by the revelries of the moon. We have supported each other in unwarranted ways, and have not written each other off because of imperfect behavior. We have kept secrets, and not kept secrets. We have sometimes embellished the secrets we have not kept. Throughout, we have edited and framed each other brilliantly.
Yes, yes, yes.

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Young, Gay, & Married (And Divorced)

Captioned with photos that mock the misty 1950's image of domestic bliss, the lengthy cover story in yesterday's New York Times Magazine tells the story of several gay male couples in their 20's who have married in Massachusetts since it became legal in 2004. The author, a young gay man himself, was bewildered when some of his peers started getting engaged:
I didn’t know what to make of these engagements — or of my subsequent discovery that more than 700 gay men 29 or younger had married in Massachusetts through last June, the latest date for which numbers are available. On the one hand, I wondered why these guys were marrying so young. What was the rush? It seemed to me that one of the few advantages of being young gay men — until gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, at least — was that we were institutionally protected from ever appearing on “Divorce Court.”

But I could also relate to young gay men yearning for companionship and emotional security. Had gay marriage been an option when I was 23 and recently out of the closet, I might very well have proposed to my first gay love. Like many gay men my age and older, I grew up believing that gay men in a happy long-term relationship was an oxymoron. (I entered high school in 1989, before gay teenagers started taking their boyfriends to the prom.) If I was lucky enough to find love, I thought, I’d better hold onto it. And part of me tried, but a bigger part of me wanted to pitch a tent in my favorite gay bar. I wasn’t alone. Everywhere I looked, gay men in their 20s — or, if they hadn’t come out until later, their 30s, 40s and 50s — seemed to be eschewing commitment in favor of the excitement promised by unabashedly sexualized urban gay communities. There was a reason, of course, why so many gay men my age and older seemed intent on living a protracted adolescence: We had been cheated of our actual adolescence. While most of our heterosexual peers had experienced, in their teens, socialization around courtship, dating and sexuality, many of us had grown up closeted and fearful, “our most precious and tender feelings rarely validated or reflected back to us by our families and communities,” as Alan Downs, the author of “The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World,” puts it. When we managed to express our sexuality, the experience often came booby-trapped with secrecy, manipulation or debilitating shame.
Also telling their stories are a couple of young guys who've already been gay-married and divorced.
George was still struggling to understand where his marriage went wrong. He met his ex four years ago, when George was 22 and living what he called “a carefree post-college life” in Northern California. George said he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship, but he fell in love with his ex (who was several years older) after meeting him through mutual friends.

“At the time I was thinking, Wow, I really wish I had met you eight years from now,” George recalled. “But I met him when I met him, and I wanted to be with him. I knew I had a lot of growing up to do if I wanted to make the relationship work, and I did. I grew up pretty fast.”

The couple registered as domestic partners in California (partly for the health insurance) and then moved to Massachusetts a year later, where they were married in 2006 in front of a couple hundred people in a church in the suburb where George was raised. Most of the attendees were family members and friends — some of his ex’s extended family, George said, weren’t supportive of the marriage.

“And in a million other ways we were constantly reminded that our relationship wasn’t equal to a straight relationship, even though we were legally married,” George told me. “Whether it was doing our federal taxes, or hearing that most states weren’t going to recognize our marriage, or just not being able to walk down the street and hold hands without getting snickers or comments. Like many gay couples, I think we brought unresolved shame and deep-rooted feelings of unworthiness into the relationship. You don’t even realize it’s there sometimes, but it definitely affected us.”
And as usual, Dan Savage has the most sensible take on the phenomenon of young married gays:
Dan Savage, the sex-advice columnist, told me he worried that some young gay men in Massachusetts might rush into marriage as a way to have their relationships validated by their families. “Once, our relationships were only respected if we had remained together for a long, long time,” Savage said. “Only longevity earned us some modicum of respect. Straight couples could always rush that validity by getting married. Now I just worry that some gay kids, desperate to have their gay love taken seriously, will wield their new marriage licenses and say: ‘See how real our love is? We’ve only been together five months, but we’re already married. You better respect us now!’ ”

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Rev. Ken Hutcherson Leads Protest At Seattle-Area Day Of Silence

Infamous Seattle-area anti-gay activist Rev. Ken Hutcherson led a walk-out of his daughter's high school in protest of their Day Of Silence on Friday, with over one-third of the school taking part.
A Day of Silence inside Mount Si High School meant to show support for gay and lesbian students erupted in noisy protests outside. More than one-third of students didn't show up for classes Friday. Principal Randy Taylor said 495 out of 1,410 students weren't at school, including 85 athletes whose parents had asked that they be excused for their personal beliefs.

About 100 people joined the Rev. Ken Hutcherson, a prominent anti-gay-rights activist, in prayer and song that questioned the dedication of a school day to what they said was a controversial political cause.

Snoqualmie police placed yellow crime-scene tape between Hutcherson's supporters and about 40 counterdemonstrators, including some former students, who tried to drown out the pastor by beating drums and chanting, "Go home."

Earlier, about 80 parents and supporters of the event, sponsored by the school's Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), stood quietly outside the school as students arrived in the morning. Some wore tie-dye scarves, and a former student waved a rainbow flag. "We want to let students in the GSA know they have support in the community," said Lucinda Hauser, a Mount Si parent and member of the local Methodist church.

Members of the group of supporters said they did not want to confront Hutcherson or his supporters and left about 8 a.m. The national Day of Silence was observed Friday by more than 200 high schools around the state and more than 7,000 school and colleges nationally. It has been observed nationally for the past 13 years.

Participants take a vow of silence to represent the silence many gay and lesbian students feel they must maintain at school to avoid harassment. Some conservative Christian groups, including Concerned Women for America, had called for a national boycott and urged followers to keep their children home from school.

The Mount Si event became a flash point for controversy after Hutcherson, whose daughter attends the school, was invited to give the Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech earlier this year about his experiences growing up black in Alabama. Because of his controversial views on homosexuality, one teacher booed his appearance and another questioned his support for equal rights.

Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, last week called for 1,000 "prayer warriors" to join him outside the school Friday. He and his wife also took out a half-page ad in the Snoqualmie Valley Record calling on residents to join them.

Speaking to his followers Friday, Hutcherson said, "We want education, not indoctrination." He said school officials had not listened to parent complaints that the Day of Silence interrupted learning and was more appropriately held before or after school.
Last year Hutcherson asked for evangelicals nationwide to buy stock in Microsoft in order force a "shareholders revolution" and force the company to recant its support for LGBT rights in Washington state.(Via - Seattle Times, Photo credit Ken Lambert)

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

JMG: Year Five Begins

Today is my 4th blogiversary. My first post:
I was born and raised in rural North Carolina.

My fondest childhood memory is of playing in the dense, acrid, poison fog that was belched out by the county mosquito control truck, during its daily dusk-time trip down our dirt road.

The cry of 'Smokey! Smokey!' would fly up and down Nine Foot Road, once the first faint sound of the pest control truck's generator was detected in the distance. Trailer screen doors would slam open and kids would pour into the street for 10 minutes of gleeful, giddy, mad dashing around in the thick white clouds of DDT. We would smash into each other with full force in the blinding swirls and just scream and laugh hysterically, pick ourselves up and start running again. Parents had not a whit of concern about their children playing directly behind the spewing pipes of a pest control truck. In fact, NOT being allowed to play in the poison fog was often held out as potential punishment for misbehavior.

I think this explains a lot about me.
And on we go.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Poi Dog Pondering And Habibi

Last night the Farmboyz and I attended the Poi Dog Pondering concert at the Bowery Ballroom, the first time seen them since I had pretty much ignored them on some multi-act bill back in Florida a dozen or more years ago. Poi Dog's style is impossible to pigeonhole - they're a bizarre melange of blues, disco, house, and Hawaiian, with not a little Irish folk thrown in.

Last night's 23-song set included much of their early hits like Complicated, but also leaned heavily on their just-released seventh studio album, 7. The highlight of the show for me was their cover of Ten City's That's The Way Love Is, one of my favorite early house tracks. Poi Dog's current eight-piece ensemble has one of the highest levels of musicianship you'll likely experience live; I recommended catching them on the rest of this tour, which hits Philly, Baltimore, and Boston over the next three nights.

After the show, we headed for Habibi, the gay Arab party which has moved around Manhattan for the last couple of years. We've always wanted to attend Habibi, so when we heard that this month's event would be at the Eagle, of all places, we couldn't resist. We walked into the lower level to see that they were finally using their recently-acquired cabaret license. The pool table was removed for dancing and with Arab techno blasting and Bollywood videos on the big screen - the place was jumping and packed.

In fact, I had to tell Father Tony that I hadn't seen so much fun being had at the Eagle in a long time. At one point, a gorgeous female belly-dancer displaced the shirtless Arab hotties on the go-go platform and performed with a tray of lit candles balanced on her head as hooting men threw dollar bills at her feet. DJ I.Z.'s music was fantastic and I was reminded of my brief obsession with bhangra-techno back in the early 90's. Some Jordanian guy told me that I.Z. was playing songs in Arabic, Turkish, and Hindi, but the crowd seemed to react to each of them equally well and the dancers near us sang along to almost everything.

Habibi is Arabic for "my beloved male friend" and as the night wore on, there was a lot of belovin' goin' on. Since so many of last night's songs seemed to have the word "habibi" in them, Father Tony speculated that the word might be an Arabic music version of "corazon", the word that appears in most Spanish pop songs. Here's a video played last night, German pop duo Milk & Honey's Habibi (Je T'aime.)

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Call Me....Azariah

I got a few emails yesterday to let me know that according to Gay City News, I had just shocked the world of televangelism by coming out. I think I'll call my new ministry "Joedeism".

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Wingnuts Protest The Protest

So much for the wingnuts keeping their kids at home today. Instead, these jokers in Nebraska took it to the school.
A small group of anti-gay demonstrators who showed up at Lincoln East High School Friday morning prompted 10 to 15 students to stage their own protest, with one student running through a banner that said "homosexuality is a sin."

At about 7:30 a.m., Lincoln police got a report of several adults carrying anti-gay posters near Lincoln East, said Officer Katie Flood. Police didn’t arrest or cite anyone but documented the disturbance, Flood said. The incident took place during the school’s Day of Silence, an annual, student-driven event that took place in high schools across Lincoln Friday, said Gene Thompson, associate principal at Lincoln East.

The event allowed students to be silent during times when they were not in class to bring awareness to acts of harassment against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender students. Thompson said three or four adults carried anti-gay posters in a public park south of the school. He said more than a dozen students then began protesting the adults. The school sent administration and security staff to ensure nothing happened. The school didn’t suspend anyone and the incident was over by shortly after 8 a.m., Thompson said.

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Fewer Tests For Pozzers?

And interesting new study reveals that HIV+ people may not need the regular monitoring of their virus now insisted upon by most doctors.
A paper published by The Lancet medical journal has revealed that patients who suffer from HIV may no longer need to have regular testing. The research showed that there was little difference between the survival rates of those who had their immune system tested every six months and those that weren't tested at all.

The results may have a drastic impact on the west's view on how HIV patients in developing are treated. In 2007, an estimated 33.2 million people lived with the disease worldwide, and it claimed the lives of an estimated 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children. Over three quarters of these deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

Scientists have argued that without constant tests antiretroviral drugs may become useless. As an increasing amount of antiretroviral drugs have been distributed across developing countries, some doctors worry that without lab monitoring patients will develop drug resistance faster.

Western HIV sufferers are tested every six months. When their immune system becomes particularly weak doctors may decide to change the combination of drugs. Andrew Phillips and colleagues from the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London used a computer model that simulated patient details based on HIV progression in real patients.

Phillips and his colleagues found that 83 percent of patients who were monitored with lab tests survived five years, compared with 82 percent for those who went without the tests. Over two decades, 67 percent of those who got lab tests survived versus 64 percent for those who didn't.

The results will be welcomed by campaigners who would like to see more antiretroviral drugs sent to developing countries. However, some scientists are concerned that drug resistant forms of the virus may spread if large numbers of HIV sufferers take drugs that don't work.
As the final paragraph notes, this news may have the greatest impact in the developing world where the limited funds are now split between providing drugs and follow-up testing. I doubt many American patients would willingly forego regular assurances that their virus is in check.

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Ban On Anti-Gay T-Shirt Reversed

Just in time for today's Day Of Silence:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit reversed a lower court's ruling against an Illinois student Wednesday, saying the district court must order a Naperville high school to suspend its ban on a T-shirt that reads "Be Happy, Not Gay" while the student's lawsuit proceeds. School officials prohibited student Alex Nuxoll, who is represented by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, from wearing the clothing.

"Christian students shouldn't be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs," said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum. "Public school officials cannot censor a message expressing one viewpoint on homosexual behavior and then at the same time allow messages that express another viewpoint. The court's ruling is a victory for all students seeking to protect their First Amendment rights on a school campus."

Nuxoll, a student at Neuqua Valley High School, desires to express his perspective at various times throughout the year, including the next school day after the "Day of Silence." Other students at the school are permitted to wear shirts with messages supporting homosexual behavior as part of the "Day of Silence," which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. The 7th Circuit ruling prevents school officials from singling out Nuxoll's message for censorship.
I think the court made the right decision since gay-friendly students are allowed to wear pro-gay shirts today. However, I can definitely see how a t-shirt war of messages could disrupt a school on other days.

The Day Of Silence is being observed at over 6500 schools around the nation today and as we know, the wingnuts have been lobbying to keep their kids at home. I'll report on absenteeism rates as reports come in.

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Explicit Open-Mouth Homosexual Kissing!!!

The American Family Association is "repulsed" by what it calls "explicit open-mouth homosexual kissing" on As The World Turns, where the gay teen couple finally had their long-overdue kiss on Wednesday.Wheee! And here's the kiss. It's a sweet kiss, but not exactly the tonsil-probing that the AFA claims. Not that we'd expect those dried-up twats to know a proper snog when they see one.

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Best Bets For Furry Fun In May

Furball - Full-immersion bear-disco therapy with DJs Frankie Knuckles and Man Parrish. Saturday May 17th at the NYC LGBT Center. Doors open 9pm. Tickets $10 at the door.Flashdance SF - an 80's flashback party in San Francisco put on by my pals that throw the annual Trocadero Transfer reunion, Remember The Party. DJ Rotten Robbie, 6PM - 2:30AM, Sunday, May 18th at the Glas Kat (the old Troc space). Ticket $15. Advance tickets here.
Body & Soul - the incredible, never duplicated, house and classic R&B love fest with DJs Danny Krivit, Joe Claussell, and Francois Kervorkian. Doors open 6PM, Sunday, May 25th at Webster Hall. Advance tickets $20. Get tickets here.

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Stagecraft

Unsurprisingly, the NY Times has uncovered that the Obama campaign deliberately placed that trio of A&F-clad boys behind their candidate, a bit of "stagecraft" done by all campaigns interested in reaching a particular demographic.
Mystery solved. The so-called Abercrombie boys who showed up behind Senator Barack Obama during his speech Tuesday night in Evansville, Ind., were just random Obama fans. They were asked by the Obama campaign to join the crowd behind the candidate.

Because they were all wearing T-shirts from Abercrombie & Fitch, they stood out in the crowd, even receiving cell-phone calls from friends who had spotted them on television during the speech. Soon the media mentioned them, wondering whether they were part of an advertising campaign, a shrewd bit of product placement by the retailer, which is geared toward the same young crowd attracted to Mr. Obama’s candidacy.

Not so. The young men saw a report on CNN and called the network to say they had not planned anything. One of them works at the Abercrombie & Fitch store in Evansville. He and one of his brothers and a friend decided to go to the rally; they wear A&F clothes all the time and didn’t think twice about the T-shirts.

At the rally, a campaign volunteer asked them to stand behind Mr. Obama during his speech. It was not clear what role the T-shirts played, if any, in their selection. Spokesmen for the Obama campaign and A&F said there was no plan to highlight A&F, and both were caught by surprise when the T-shirts drew such attention.
According to the story, the placement was done to reach white working-class voters. Is A&F a "working-class" brand? I thought it more for twinks and preppies.

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Sean Bell Verdict Rocks NYC

In a case that has riveted NYC for the last 17 months, today three NYC detectives were acquitted in the shooting death of Sean Bell, a black Queens man who was fired at 50 times after undercover officers claimed they thought he was going for a gun. No gun was ever found.
Three detectives were found not guilty Friday morning on all charges in the shooting death of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a club in Jamaica, Queens.

Justice Arthur J. Cooperman, who delivered the verdict, said many of the prosecution’s witnesses, including Mr. Bell’s friends and the two wounded victims, were simply not believable. “The testimony of those witnesses just didn’t make sense,” he said.

His verdict prompted several supporters of Mr. Bell to storm out of the courtroom, and screams could be heard in the hallway moments later. The three detectives were escorted out of a side doorway. Outside, a crowd gathered behind police barricades, occasionally shouting, amid a veritable sea of police officers.

The verdict comes 17 months to the day since the Nov. 25, 2006, shooting of Mr. Bell, 23, and his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, outside the Club Kalua in Jamaica, Queens, hours before Mr. Bell was to be married.

It was delivered in a packed courtroom and was heard by, among others, the slain man’s parents and his fiancée. The seven-week trial, which ended April 14, was heard by Justice Cooperman in State Supreme Court in Queens after the defendants — Detectives Gescard F. Isnora, Michael Oliver and Marc Cooper — waived their right to a jury, a strategy some lawyers called risky at the time. But it clearly paid off with Friday’s verdict.
A large protest of the verdict is already underway on Queens Boulevard, with traffic now restricted to one lane. Thus far the protest is peaceful, but there are some fears that things could turn violent, particularly with the verdict coming at the start of the weekend. Al Sharpton has been an advisor to the Bell family and is expected to plead for calm.

UPDATE: The Queer Justice League will join a protest rally of the verdict at noon tomorrow at the Queens District Attorney's office. Address: 25-01 Queens Blvd. between Hoover Ave & 82nd Ave. Take the E or F train to Kew Gardens-Union Tpke & walk 4 blocks SE, parallel to train.

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Reanimation

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Tim Gill Terrifies The Jeebus People

Gay activist Tim Gill has got the Christian right positively shaking in their pews.

Gill, the wealthy founder of software giant Quark who was recently named the fifth most influential gay person in America by Out Magazine, was "exposed" by Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network this week as the "stealth" activist behind many recent advances for the LGBT movement in state and local elections across the nation. Gill's good work, while no secret to gay activists, had apparently operated far below the Christian right's radar until now.

But in the CBN feature story bookended by Robertson's commentary, the exposé almost reads more like a love letter to Gill than a condemnation. Go watch the CBN video clip as "family values" strategists describe Gill as brilliant and smart as they tick off the campaigns in which Gill quietly funneled money to gay-friendly candidates and upended right-wingers. Through his Gill Action Fund, Gill helped win dozens of state and local elections for our side - all done while remaining largely unknown to beleaguered Republicans.

From the transcript:
One of Gill's 2004 targets was Ray Martinez of Fort Collins, Colorado. As the three-time Republican mayor of this Republican leaning area, Martinez thought he had a great shot at winning a state senate seat. Martinez told CBN News "the odds looked very good. The polling we saw was very favorable." But in the last few weeks of the campaign, Martinez got hit with an avalanche of media attacking his personal character and pro-life stance.

"We didn't know who was funding it," Martinez said. "We heard rumors of their names, but we could never find their names and we couldn't expose those because they were buried in a barrage of paperwork." Martinez had raised over $300,000 - more than enough he thought to win Fort Collins. But several published reports show Gill and various associates had poured close to $1 million into the race through '527' political organizations.

By taking out Martinez and other Republicans, Gill helped Democrats seize control of Colorado's statehouse for the first time in 30 years. The result? A slew of gay-friendly laws that redefine the family in Colorado.

The Payoff

Today, pro-family lawmakers in the Rocky Mountain state say the "Gill factor" is impossible to ignore. State representative and Minority Whip Cory Gardner says "it puts extreme pressure on people who are trying to make a living at work and trying to raise money for a campaign who don't have deep pockets."

In 2005, Gill started the Gill Action Fund. The fund's mission is "securing equal opportunity for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression." The next year, the fund's success rocked the political world. According to several published reports, it orchestrated donations worth $15 million to Gill's favored candidates and causes.

The payoff this time was wins in 50 of 70 targeted campaigns and power changes in the state chambers of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Iowa. Gill took out Iowa House Speaker Danny Carroll with one of his favorite stealth tactics: small checks from Gill and friends around the country. Carroll says he never knew what hit him until after the election when he checked campaign contributions for his opponent.
The clip ends with a shot of parents pushing their kids on a swingset as the narrator ominously warns that Tim Gill is looking to "flip statehouse chambers and ultimately, the way the country views sexuality and the family." I spoke with Gill on the phone yesterday and he laughed at that image, saying, "They're trying to say that I'm anti-swingset!"

Pat Robertson closes with this: "What are the Christians doing about this? The answer is 'absolutely zip'. There was an organization that I founded but it's not there anymore. To my knowledge, there is no other Christian grassroots organization that is even coming CLOSE to what Tim Gill is doing on the left for homosexuals."

And that, my friends, is high praise indeed.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Notorious H.R.C.

Hillary Clinton Rap: Taking Back The White House is yet another candidate music video, but this one is cuter than most. Includes a nice bite on Biggie Smalls. And at the end she totally nails the Hillary cackle.

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Moscow Pride Banned For Third Year

For the third straight year, Moscow's mayor has banned gay pride.
The homophobic Mayor of Moscow has banned this years gay pride event. The Mayor, who has referred to gay rights marches as "satanic" has outlawed the march which was due to take place next week. The move comes amidst a growing number of violent threats from members of the orthodox church and far right groups.

However, a number of gay rights activists are insisting on holding a variety of events over the coming weeks, highlighting the homophobia that Russia's LGBT community are subjected to. Moscow Pride was banned by the city's Mayor in 2006 and in 2007.

There has been an increasing amount of global publicity concerning the persecution of Moscow's LGBT community and the prejudice that the community are receiving from their homophobic Mayor. A spokesmen from his office said: "It is a matter of surprise and indignation that gays plan to carry out unsanctioned gatherings in various parts of Moscow during the Festival of
Peace and Work".

An unsanctioned parade on May 27 last year, the anniversary of the abolition of a Soviet law that criminalized homosexuality, ended with ultra-nationalists throwing eggs and punching and kicking gay activists. Last year a number of gay protesters including Peter Tatchell and Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass, were physically attacked by a homophobic mob.
I think I said the same thing last year, but as you attend your gay pride this year, count your blessings.

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AIDS Vaccine: Giving Up Hope

Horrible survey from England's Independent:
A shocking new survey has uncovered that the international community of Aids scientists are giving up hope of finding a vaccine for the virus. The growing pessimism of scientists comes after the disastrous failure of a trial vaccine. The trial drug, manufactured by pharmaceutical company Merck, has been found not to work and in some cases it has increased the likelihood of being infected with HIV.

After initially promising results when tested on primates the drug reacted very differently when tested humans who were at a high risk of infection.The misleading results that were derived from animal testing will be welcomed by animal rights groups.

The survey, carried out by The Independent, surveyed 35 leading Aids scientists from the Britain and the United States. Two thirds believed that an HIV vaccine will not be developed within the next 10 years and some of them said that it may take at least 20 more years of research before a vaccine can be used to protect people either from infection or the onset of Aids.

This latest report yet again sparks debate over how funds should be allocated. Many have argued that the vast sums of money spent on drugs trials should be channelled into infection prevention.

Winnie Seruma told the Independent: "When I was diagnosed, nearly 20 years ago, it was when the first drugs had come on the market. A lot of people had said before then that there was no hope and that all efforts should be put into prevention. But look where we are now. We cannot lose hope; we need to invest in a vaccine."
Deeply depressing.

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Study: Young Queers Want LTRs & Kids

A study conducted in NYC claims that a majority of young gay people expect to raise children and be monogamously partnered by age 30.
What is believed to be the first major study of the hopes and aspirations of gay young people has found most want to spend their adult life in a long-term relationship raising children. More than 90 percent of young lesbians and more than 80 percent of gay males expect to be partnered in a monogamous relationship after age 30.

Two thirds of females and more than half of males expressed likelihood that they would raise children in the future. "These findings, while appear to be representative of urban lesbian or gay youth's aspirations, are a glimpse into the future of the LGBT community," said Robert-Jay Green, PhD, executive director of the Rockway Institute, a national research and public policy center located at Alliant International University.

"If these young people realize their expectations, the LGBT community will be a vastly different place in 20 years, with many more families and children. The implications are staggering for how the lesbian/gay community will be different in the 21st century than in generations past, when it was mainly a secret society of singles."

[snip]

When asked about expectations of future relationships, 66 percent of males and 80 percent of females rated future long-term relationships as "extremely important" or "very important." Eighty-two percent of females and 61 percent of males hoped to be partnered during the next five years.

Ninety-two percent of females and 82 percent of males expected to be monogamously partnered after age 30, and 79 percent of females and 73 percent of males expected to live with their partner. Sixty-four percent of females and 37 percent of males said it was "extremely likely" they would marry if allowed by law. When asked about expectations of child-raising, 36 percent of females and 20 percent of males said it was "extremely likely" they will raise children.

Overall, 67 percent of males and 55 percent of females expressed some degree of likelihood that they would raise children. Of those who expressed some likelihood, 58 percent of males and 54 percent of females expect to be raising their own biological children. Forty-two percent of males and 32 percent of females expect to adopt. Sixteen percent of males and 14 percent of females expect to be foster parents. Thirty-six percent of females and 17 percent of males expect to help their partner raise her or his biological children.
Hmm, 82% of young gay men expect to be monogamously partnered by age 30. Ah, naive youth. As for the "staggering implications" of this study, it would certainly mean the end of the kind of gay culture we've always known. Blech. Props to those with kids, but my social life would be empty if most of my friends were burdened with children.

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The Two Larry Kings

CNN host Larry King remembers murdered gay teen Lawrence King in his PSA for tomorrow's Day Of Silence in public schools.

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Tonight: Karen Finley At Rapture

Tonight at Rapture Cafe & Book's closing party: a rare opportunity to see legendary performance artist Karen Finley. 8PM, 200 Avenue A. Free admission!
Karen Finley performs a work-in-progress: Impulse To Suck. Rapture celebrates its final "transition" tonight beginning with a performance of a work-in-progress by the highly acclaimed and controversial performance artist Karen Finley. One of the legendary NEA Four, Finley's work has often been called "obscene" due to its graphic depiction of sexuality, abuse and disenfranchisement. Tonight's piece, is entitled IMPULSE to SUCK, and highlights the recent dramatic descent of our former governor, Elliot Spitzer. Please bear in mind that there is limited seating for this event, so please come early.

Karen Finley was in Albany, New York on March 10 in the Capital for a conference waiting to hear a speech from Governor Eliot Spitzer on Reproductive Health. Instead later that day, Spitzer performed an apology with his supportive, devastated wife standing next to him. Finley will speak about the performance of the apology, the erotic transference of the media’s fixation on Spitzer’s frown and the emotional starring role for Silda. Finley will perform her latest spoken word text which examines the confession, the apology, the imagining of the sexual encounter, the travel of the escort, the compulsion, the immigrant father’s plan for his son to succeed, and to the couples imagined therapy sessions. Looking at the psychodrama in the intimacy of our political leaders, Finley poses to see the agony of the son’s need for approval from the father and the ancient wrestling of the feminine archetypes of mother and whore.
More about Karen Finley. My 2005 Karen Finley story here.

Following Finley at 9PM will be Glenn Marla's Heavy. Free admission!
Each month, during the past year at Rapture, Transqueer performer, writer and artist, Glenn Marla, has been presenting what is, in our humble opinion, simply the best showcase of young, fresh and vibrantly talented performance artists to be found anywhere in this city. It's called "Heavy," and this edition is aptly titled, "Heavy Heart," since this will be Glenn's last appearance at Rapture, and indeed, our final closing night!

Expect stellar performances by: La John Joseph, Dan Fishback, Bryan Heyboer, Max Steele, Sequinette, & much more. We will be drinking up all the liquor in the house during the course of the night, so if you are a drinker, prepare to get toasted. After all, we can't take it with us! Groove to DJ baby K! Glenn Marla was Miss LES 2006, and IS NYC's hottest fat go-go dancer! Onstage Glenn explores, celebrates, and plays with gender, fat, and sex.
More about Glenn Marla.

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