Monthly Archives: February 2010

Johnny Weir Too Flamboyant For Figure Skating. (Is that even possible?)

The sports world is none too happy with three-time National Figure Skating Champion Johnny Weir. He’s just too flamboyant for men’s figure skating.

I’m glad Bryan Safi addressed this, because it’s been pissing me off. I mean, come on. It’s figure skating, for goodness sake.

ESPN’s LZ Granderson (who has the most fantastic locs in the universe) tackles the issue from a different and equally important angle.

[…] if some of us would take off our black-and-white blinders long enough — and perhaps stop acting the way we think we’re supposed to act — we might actually begin to see and appreciate the diversity within the lexicon of manhood. This philosophy isn’t just about creating an environment in which it’s comfortable for gay men to compete in sports. It’s also about creating a space in which it’s OK for straight men not to.

So with regard to the Olympics, I don’t think the question we should be asking is whether or not Weir being gay hurt his medal chances. That’s too surface for my taste. No, the real question is why so many dudes ignore, and are even threatened by, the possibility that Weir could be straight. Now that’s a conversation only real men can have.

Defining FABULOUS
Defining FABULOUS

On a side note, Tom and Lorenzo have ripped the Olympic Men’s Figure Skating costumes in their own inimitable way. (Ladies too!)

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Miss Beverly Hills: Praying for youth and beauty really works!!!

Yesterday we learned that this year’s Miss Beverly Hills, Lauren Ashley, thinks we should obey Leviticus 20:13 and kill gay people.

So I figured, why not see how far she takes this Biblical literalist point of view. Turns out, not far.

For example, here’s what she says about praying for youth and beauty, from a series of interviews Miss Beverly Hills did with Dr. Steve Burres of BuyingBeautyTV.com.

Dr. Burres: Has your Mom thought about doing procedures?

Miss Beverly Hills: […] My Mom, actually, she is gorgeous and she’s 50 and everywhere we go everyone says “That’s your sister.” When she was 45 she thought about it, um, she’s 51 now, but she actually…I don’t know if you know, like, if you know any spiritual–anything about Jesus or anything […] She would sit in God’s presence, like, invite God and like, she would come out brand new, like look brand new! Like, she looks so young, and she says it’s all because of that.

Dr. Burres: Because she prays. Or does she pray to look young?

Miss Beverly Hills: Both. God [unintelligible]. And it works, and she’s gorgeous.

Of course, there’s no mention of Proverbs 31:30 (“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last”), or 1 Samuel 16:7 (“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”), or Matthew 16:23 (“You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”).

But enough about her mother. Let’s look at how Miss Beverly Hills is dressed.

It's just so wrong.
It's just so wrong.
.

In short, it’s too short. And cut too low. And the fit is kind of tight. And it’s red. And that’s a fancy necklace she’s wearing. And I think she colors her hair. Has she never read 1 Timothy 2:9 (“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves”)?

Let me be clear: I don’t have a problem with what Miss Beverly Hills is wearing, at least not from a scriptural standpoint. And I don’t have too much of a problem with her mother wanting to look pretty and/or younger.

But if she wants to quote Biblical passages out of their historical and cultural context, she should get herself in order first.

Miss Beverly Hills Thinks Gays Should Be Murdered

Oh, beauty pageant contestants. When will you learn?

Last year it was Carrie Prejean, and it looks like Miss Beverly Hills Lauren Ashley is this year’s model.

They photoshopped the shit out of her face
They photoshopped the shit out of her face

From FOX’s Pop Tarts:

“The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. In Leviticus it says, ‘If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.’ The Bible is pretty black and white,” Ashley told Pop Tarts.

“I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that’s a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life.”

In the 2007 documentary For The Bible Tells Me So, Rev. Dr. Laurence C. Keene (Disciples of Christ) says, “There’s nothing wrong with a fifth-grade understanding of God — as long as you’re in the fifth grade.”

I don’t want to be mean, but has anybody checked Ms. Ashley’s school records?

President Obama Did *NOT* Promise DADT Repeal This Year

Okay gays, gather round. We need to get something straight.

I’d hoped this meme would go away, but bloggers keep claiming that in his State of the Union Address President Obama promised a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) this year.

The simple truth is that President Obama didn’t say that. Here’s what he said (Don’t worry, it’s cued for that sentence):

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

Now forgive my mangling of terminology, but I remember from school that a sentence must make sense without the prepositional phrases. Removing President Obama’s long ass prepositional phrase, we have this:

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

He did not say they would repeal the law this year. He said they would work on it this year. Of course, I hope DADT repeal happens this year, and I’m cautiously optimistic of our chances.

I also think Obama is wise to let highly decorated women and men in uniform make the case on camera to Congress rather than open the way for Republican outcries of partisan politics.

But the Wordsmith-in-Chief didn’t make the promise of repeal in 2010, no matter how much we wish he had.

LGBT Advocate Joey Heath Featured on PBS

In the past, you may have seen me mention Joey Heath, the young gay man who was denied a transfer of membership in the United Methodist Church a few years back. His challenge of that decision put him at the center of the UMC’s controversy about LGBT inclusion.

Joey was interviewed for the PBS series Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. It airs tomorrow (check local listings) on PBS, but the segment was made available online today.

I met Joey a few months back in Washington, D.C., and I can tell you that he’s as contagiously optimistic as he appears on PBS.

Please watch before you read on. I’ll have some spoilers and a pop quiz immediately after. (Here’s a link in case the embed doesn’t work.)

 

 

Okay, hands up all who knew Bob Perdue was “ex-gay” before they mentioned it. Everybody? That’s what I thought.

It’s a good piece, and I’m glad PBS is tackling the issue, but I’m eternally frustrated by the presentation of “ex-gay” as a viable, healthy choice. The fact that the “ex-gay” industry has convinced Rev. Perdue that he was abused into being gay and needed to be repaired is heartbreaking.

I warn him, though, that passing that lie on to new victims is a dangerous, unGodly, and anti-Christ path to tread. Being gay is not a sickness, is not like alcoholism, and does not keep someone from “experiencing life to the fullest.”

(Also, if you’re going to reference Leviticus 18:22, I’ll quote Leviticus 20:13 right back at you. Pick up a rock and get to it, sir.)

Those statistics on homeless LGBT kids have been floating around for a while, but I hadn’t heard the one-in-three statistic for New York City. It’s so sad that so many parents are willing to throw away their kids. I daresay it’s a side effect of teaching such as Rev. Perdue’s.

Kudos to Joey and the others on the side of God who were interviewed for this piece. You’re a wonderful example of what The Church should be.

Sideshow Bob McDonnell to Gay Employees: “That is all.”

Remember that episode of The Simpsons where they went into the Witness Relocation Program because Sideshow Bob was out to get Bart? Fifth Season, second episode called Cape Feare. The one where they sang the entire score from the HMS Penifore. Possibly the best episode ever produced.

Remember now? About ten minutes into the episode, Sideshow Bob appears in the following 23-second scene:

On February 5th, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) made the rounds not unlike Sideshow Bob, telling Virginia employees through Executive Order that they would not be discriminated against–specifically–due to their race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, political affiliation, or any disabilities.

And for the first time since 2002, Virginia’s lesbians and gay men have been left off the list. In other words, “That is all.”

From the Virginian-Pilot:

A 2008 Gallup poll showed nine out of 10 Americans believe gays deserve equal rights for job opportunities. A Virginia poll that same year produced identical results.

Those polls have translated into tangible improvements in working conditions for countless people. Most Fortune 500 companies ban discrimination against gays. Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, adopted its anti-discrimination policy in 2003. Thirty states have adopted protections for public workers. Salt Lake City, the epicenter of conservative America, passed an anti-discrimination ordinance last year with the support of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The state workers who plow Virginia’s roads, investigate consumer fraud complaints and monitor rivers for pollution aren’t able to share in that progress. Since the 1970s, Virginia governors have issued executive orders barring discrimination in the state work force based on race, gender, disability or religion. Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine extended those protections to gay employees. Gov. Bob McDonnell signed an executive order last week but did not include sexual orientation, saying that decision is up to the legislature.

After coming to work each day for eight years knowing that they were guaranteed equal treatment in hiring and promotion decisions, gay state workers are now left to wonder and worry about their careers.

We need a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

That is all.

NH Rep. Nancy Elliott: Graduate of Barber/Camenker Anti-Gay University

Here’s some video you’ve probably seen by now. New Hampshire State Representative Nancy Elliott (R) is speaking before a Judiciary Committee Meeting on a bill to undo New Hampshire’s new gay marriage law.


Rep. Elliott displays a two-pronged attack plan: 1) Gross ’em out and 2) lie through your teeth. Where did she learn them? Though the tactics certainly aren’t unknown in anti-gay circles, they’re best displayed by two rabid anti-gay foes.

In September 2009, a group of far-Right Wing fanatics converged in St. Louis for a two-day “How to Take America Back” conference. Organized by a veritable Who’s Who of anti-gay crusaders, the conference included a workshop called “How to Counter the Homosexual Extremist Movement.” The workshop was hosted by two anti-gay luminaries with very specific skills.

The first instructor was Matt Barber. Barber has a bunch of made up titles with Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, deals primarily in the Ick Factor. Right Wing Watch had this to say about the workshop:

There was some small disagreement about how much people should rely on religious arguments in the public sphere, with Matt Barber urging people to focus on the “ick” factor around gay sex and on claims that homosexuality is a health threat, which he called the movement’s “Achilles heel.”

The goal here is to divert from a civil and philosophical discussion of ideas to an irrational one of embarrassment and propriety. And it’s not the only time Barber’s tried to gross people out. Several years ago he famously referred to gay marriage as “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’

Barber’s co-instructor at September’s anti-gay workshop was none other than Brian Camenker, head of SPLC-certified hate group Mass Resistance.

Cameker’s weapon of choice is the outrageous “Think of the Children!” lie. He’s the driving force behind the oft-repeated but long-disproven Kevin Jennings charges, and the David Parker/Mad Dad lie.

Let’s take another look at Rep. Elliott’s performance, because I’d bet money that she was in that workshop in September. (The entire hearing is embedded below in four parts. Note that the old man on Elliott’s right and the woman with the deadpan expression on her left are decidedly against the amendment.)

Rep. Elliott had some trouble out of the gate with the Ick part. First of all, “wiggling it around in excrement”? I think her husband might benefit from some remedial courses. Secondly, her transition from “Grossly specific” to “It could happen to you!” was downright clumsy. She needs to practice that more. (Also interesting was her insinuation that anal sex = rape with the question “Would you let that be done to you?”)

As for the outrageous lie, this afternoon Rep. Elliott released a statement admitting what the Nashua, NH school board and the rest of us already knew: Nancy Elliott was lying. There was no gay porn in 5th grade classes. From today’s prepared statement to the Judiciary Committee:

This statement made in the Judiciary Committee had caused some controversy so I went back to my source for the statement to verify the information that I had received. I found that I could not confirm the accuracy of the information.

I am presenting this letter at the first committee meeting of Judiciary since last Tuesday. I do so at the earliest opportunity in order to make clear I am withdrawing what I said regarding the Nashua schools.

I would like to apologize to Judiciary Committee, the Nashua public schools and its employees and the speaker as well as anyone else affected by what I said.

Apology or no, Rep. Elliott’s mission was successful. As we know from Brian Camenker’s exploits, getting the lie on record is what counts. If Rep. Elliott’s amendment passes and is presented for a popular vote, people predisposed to believe her lie will do one of two things. They’ll either forget that she retracted her statement (notice how she was as carefully non-specific in her apology as she was specific in her lie), or if they remember, they’ll fear that it might happen.

Barber and Camenker must be proud. I wonder if they’ll send her a certificate.

Marriage Law Hypocrisy Proven Again. TWICE.

The ban on same-sex marriage, both by states and by the federal government, is plainly hypocritical. We in the LGBT community know that, as do our allies.

Sometimes, though, we need to re-teach the rest of America the inherent hypocrisy of civil marriage laws. This week saw two new educational attempts.

Our first stop in incredulity is the campaign from Brian Feldman. He promised to marry any woman who showed up at the Orange County, FL Courthouse Marriage License Office last Monday. Three strangers showed up, and he chose Hannah Miller for his bride with a simple game of Spin the (Water) Bottle, which you can see in the below video.

The wedding between two virtual strangers took place this afternoon. Neither Feldman nor Miller has any apparent romantic affection for the other. There is no expectation of sexual intercourse, let alone children. Lifetime commitment is out of the question.

I do wonder if Feldman will apply for coverage on Miller’s health insurance plan. That would be an interesting test.

Then there’s the wedding of Kitty Lambert and Ed [Unknown]. Two days ago, Kitty went to the Buffalo, NY City Hall and applied for a marriage license with her long-time partner Cheryl. The couple has five children and twelve grandchildren.

When the city worker refused their request for a marriage license, Kitty turned around and asked the group of supporters if any man would volunteer to marry her. Ed raised his hand, and about ten seconds after learning each other’s first name, a government worker granted their marriage license.

Lambert and [Unknown] don’t plan to go through with the marriage, saying that they’ll wait until they can marry the person they choose.

For two strangers with under $100 and no desire for real commitment, the government allows marriage as long as they have different genitals, even if the government knows the marriage is a lie. (That’s good, by the way.)

Lesbian or gay couples with decades-long relationships and complete families? That’s when the government cries foul.

Tim Tebow’s Deal with the Devil

Much interweb ink has been spilled over Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion commercial scheduled to air during the Super Bowl. To be honest, I don’t have too much of a problem with it, even though CBS rejected a completely innocuous gay-inclusive United Church of Christ commercial six years ago. The real test will be next time a credible gay-positive ad is presented. Until they show us differently, I’m inclined to accept CBS’s statement that their standards have changed with the times.

As I see it, the real problem is that millions of people will be tuned in on Sunday not knowing that Tim Tebow is lending his credibility (such as it is) to Focus on the Family (FoF), a dangerous, homophobic organization built on a doctrine of prejudice and fear.

Here is a short, incomplete list of positions that Tim Tebow supports through his association with FoF and by extension FoF’s sister organization Family Research Council (FRC). (FoF and FRC were split in 1992 solely for tax reasons.)

  • In February 2009, FoF official affiliate Family Policy Council of West Virginia ran a commercial that said that same sex marriage was “attacking” marriage while showing a heterosexual family in crosshairs.
  • In March 2009, FRC President Tony Perkins said that the United States should sign an anti-gay rights statement offered in the United Nations, thereby joining with GWB’s “Axis of Evil”.
  • In May 2009, FoF founder James Dobson claimed that the Matthew Shepard Act (now Law) protects pedophiles because the law doesn’t define “sexual orientation”. Of course, current law already defines the term, so there was no need for a new definition. This was explained in committee before an amendment ordering definition was rejected as unnecessary.
  • In July 2009, FoF celebrated the “findings” in a “study” by NARTH that said that Ex-Gay treatments are “beneficial”, a statement that every credible source rejects outright.
  • In September 2009, FoF organized a rally in support of Maine’s anti-gay civil rights campaign. They were so frightened of having their words on the record, they barred the press from the event.
  • Not only that, they refused tickets to people who didn’t fall in lock-step with their agenda.
  • In February 2010, five days before the Tebow commercial was set to air, FRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Peter Sprigg told Chris Matthews’ audience that gays should be thrown in jail. Two years earlier, Sprigg told a reporter that he wanted gays “exported”.
  • In February 2010, three days before the Tebow commercial was set to air, FRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Peter Sprigg unambiguously advocated kidnapping if a non-custodial parent doesn’t like the judge’s order.

These positions and more (I’ve barely scratched the surface) are supported by Heisman Trophy-winning Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow through his association with FoF. And don’t give me any guff on the harshness; we’d say the same thing if he did a commercial for any other supremacist group.

Hopefully next time Tebow’s on the field he’ll put Matthew 23:23-28 under his eyes. He (and they) could use the reminder.

P.S. Another reason I’m in favor of CBS running the commercial: That’s $2.8 million they won’t have to spread more vitriol against the LGBT community.

The Very Real Fears of a Gay Ugandan

This morning, virulently anti-gay quasi-religious group “The Family” sponsored the National Prayer Breakfast, a long-standing tradition in Washington D.C. National Media paid special attention to the Prayer Breakfast this year because The Family has also been credibly linked to the proposed law in Uganda that would demand the killing of gay Ugandans.

In response to the Prayer Breakfast, a coalition of civil rights groups has begun the American Prayer Hour, which had its first press conference yesterday. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released video from the press conference.

Speaking were Rev. Elder Darlene Garner of the Metropolitan Community Church, Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Church, and Harry Knox, Director of Religion and Faith for HRC.

But most importantly, a gay Ugandan identified as “Moses” spoke before the cameras. Fearing for his life, Moses concealed his identity in front of the cameras. He talked about his fears and what life is like for a gay Ugandan.

It’s the most frightful speech I’ve seen in a very long time.

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

Bishop Gene Robinson

Harry Knox

Hopefully this explains why the LGBT community goes to red alert when American conservatives spread fear and call for the criminalization of homosexuality. It’s only one step away.