Monthly Archives: June 2011

No Masks At Disappointing Gay Best Friend’s Wedding!

It’s been four days since last Friday’s big victory in New York and I still haven’t said anything about it. While it’s a pretty damn big win and it’s been great to see how excited people got*, I find that I don’t really have a lot to say about it that everybody else hasn’t already said.

So here’s a heck of funny youtube clip from the always hilarious Disappointing Gay Best Friend video series by Mikala Bierma and Tyler Coates, directed by Mike Lacher.

She means well, y’all. She really does.

And I just can’t help but share my favorite installment so far:

Sadly, I am Tyler in both of these videos. Tragic, I know.


* Par exemple, this fabulous gay boy's video reaction to the news:

He’s a spunky kid and I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of jealous of him right now.

WATCH: Reitan Family Speaks Out Against MN Anti-Gay Amendment

I was excited this morning to see that Philip and Randi Reitan have joined their activist son Jacob in a video for the Minnesotans United For All Families media campaign against the state’s proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment. Take a look:

(Amendment backers are predictably propped up by a grab bag of anti-gay groups, even if they’d prefer you didn’t know that.)

A tip of the hat to Eric Reitan's thoughtful and always challenging blog for the video.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention that Randi Reitan has been a pretty fierce advocate for a some time now.

In related news, Daniel Karslake’s award-winning 2007 documentary For The Bible Tells Me So, which prominently features the Reitans, is available to stream from Netflix. I’m not sure how long that will last, but for now, you have no excuse for not seeing this fantastic documentary.

Shooting A Trans Woman While Shouting ‘Tranny Faggot’ Isn’t A Hate Crime In Halifax, Nova Scotia

At this point, [Halifax Spokesman Constable Brian Palmeter] said there is no reason to believe – based solely on the statements made by the shooters at the door – that this was a hate crime under the Criminal Code of Canada.

“There’s no doubt if a derogatory statement is made, it’s unpleasant, it’s distasteful. But … you have to look at the motivation behind the incident,” he said.

Constable Palmeter is talking about the shooting of trans woman and drag performer Elle Noir.

It was about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday and Noir was watching America’s Next Top Model on her computer while her roommate was in his room with his friend. Feeling tired, Noir went to the door to lock it before going to bed.

That’s when she heard someone on the other side of the door yell that they were police officers. “I went to open the door and they start pushing on the door. And I was like, ‘That’s not right. Why are they pushing on the door?’

“I looked and I saw a red bandana, a black scarf, a black hood and some white guy and I was like ‘Oh. Oh no.'”

Then she heard the men yell: “Let us in, tranny faggot, let us in.” She turned to see a hand with a gun push through the open part of the door. “And they started firing, firing, firing with a pistol.”

photo by Christian LaForce of the Chronicle Herald
Hate Crime Victim Elle Noir

She and her roommate managed to lock the door and tried to get clear of the entry. Noir heard a loud bang as she crawled across the floor and felt “a rush of heat go by my arm.”

“I guess that’s when they shot through the doorway with a shotgun, and that’s when they shot me.”

Injured, she kept crawling and yelled for her roommate to call 911.

Noir had more to say in this interview with the CBC Radio One.

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/cbc-interview-elle-noir.mp3″ text=”Elle Noir Interview with CBC Radio One, June 15, 2011″]

I hate it that I have to keep saying this about different cities, but Halifax LGBTs (especially Ts), you’d best defend yourselves. As far as the police are concerned, shooting you while shouting anti-trans or anti-gay slurs doesn’t qualify as a hate crime in Halifax.

Note: Everything I’ve read suggests that the victim in this case prefers the name Elle Noir. If you know her and she prefers the given name listed in the article, or any other name for that matter, PLEASE email me so I can make the correction.

A Message To Jewish LGBTs (and anyone else who cares to listen in)

Okay, so I just published a post about an anti-gay Jewish group. When I talk about anti-gay Christian groups, I feel fairly confident that people will understand that not all Christians are anti-gay. A) I’m a gay Christian who isn’t anti-gay, and B) when you’re talking about a majority group, people understand that one part doesn’t necessarily speak for the whole.

But as soon as I hit the Publish button on that post, I had this familiar itch on the back of my neck that tells me when something’s unfinished.

From the perspective of a minority group member, I know that a lot of (probably most) straight people lump all gay people together. When one of us speaks, s/he is viewed to be speaking for us all. We are rare enough that it’s easy to view us as a monolith. People don’t always do this on purpose, it’s just part of being in the majority.

With that in mind, I want to make sure that everyone understands that not all members of the Jewish community believe as Agudath Israel believes. For example, there’s the gay-positive Jewish friend I mentioned in the post.

There’s also this tremendous submission from the It Gets Better project.

I don’t want anyone who comes to my blog to think that there isn’t room for them in their faith tradition. Sometimes it’s a tight fit, sometimes it takes years of introspection to be at peace, and sometimes some distance is necessary and even healthy.

To any LGBT Jewish kids or adults who got here on a google search, I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to know that the lies they tell about you aren’t true.

Even if you aren’t ready to believe it yourself, you are good and you are whole and you are just as G-d made you to be.

Visit JQYouth and The Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva Day School Alumni Association for more information.

NYC Jewish School Blasts Extremist Anti-Gay Email To Parents

The New York legislature is poised to vote in favor of equality in marriage by the end of the week, and you know what that means: Conservative nuts pushing bigotry in the name of religion!

A gay-positive Jewish friend forwarded this email to me this afternoon from his child’s private school in/around New York City. Here’s what a school staffer blasted to everyone on the school’s distribution list, including those who don’t even live in the state:

From: XXXXX
Date: Jun 15, 2011 4:38 PM
Subject: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM AGUDATH ISRAEL – LEGISLATIVE ALERT ON SAME GENDER MARRIAGE
To: XXXXX

Please read the attached memo from Agudath Israel of America and take the recommended action. It is very important that we voice our strong opposition to the Senate as soon as possible!

Mind you, this particular school isn’t connected in any way to the ultra-conservative Agudath Israel of America. But why let that stop you when you have an awesome memo like this to share?

So let’s talk about Agudath Israel. The last time marriage was this close in New York, Agudath Israel sent a similar message to New York Senators, saying, in part:

Elevating same-sex unions to the status of “marriage” would convey an unmistakable message that homosexual unions occupy the same moral plane as heterosexual unions. Countless New Yorkers of all faiths reject the notion that same-sex relationships are merely reflections of an ‘alternative lifestyle,’ no more objectionable and no less acceptable than the traditional heterosexual lifestyle. These citizens strive hard to raise their children to recognize that not all expressions of sexuality are morally equivalent.

Extending the label of ‘marriage’ to same-sex unions is government’s way of telling those children that their parents are wrong, that their priests, ministers, and rabbis are wrong, that civilized societies throughout the millennia have been wrong.

Of course, this is a fear tactic that we in the LGBT community have come to expect from conservative bigots. And it’s a good strategy; they keep using it because it keeps working. I do wonder how they define “traditional heterosexual lifestyle,” though.

This is the part where I would usually link you to the group’s website, but Agudath Israel doesn’t have one, on account of their belief that nobody should use the internet.

I’m okay with that, by the way. About a third of my extended family is German Baptist, a Christian religion with an identical rule.

But one wonders, if Agudath Israel wins this one, will state enforcement of that religious belief be next? And if they do push for that, what reasonable argument is left against their agenda?

(Related: New York Catholic bishop George Orwell Timothy Dolan had some words about the marriage vote as well.)

Tracy Morgan and Kevin Hart: Two Peas in an Anti-Gay Pod

It’s been about a week since comedian Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay, kill-his-son rant became publicly known. Here’s what audience member Kevin Rogers heard, which Morgan has acknowledged saying:

…Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that “Born this Way” is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because “God don’t make no mistakes” (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake).

He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man.

He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it.

He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.

We're not laughing.
We're not laughing.

Of course, Morgan gave the usual PR-driven “I’m sorry for the words I chose” non-apology. In response, Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center in New York City made a brilliant invitation to Morgan:

“We appreciate Tracy Morgan’s apology, but wish to invite him to meet with some of our young people who have endured violence and rejection from their families for being LGBT, so that he can better understand the human suffering caused by those who promote homophobia against youths.”

I hope Morgan takes them up on the invitation. It could prove to be a life-changing event.

I also hope that he brings fellow comedian and recent costar Kevin Hart with him. Hart has a similar anti-gay rant in his stand-up DVD Seriously Funny, released late last year. To wit:

One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear.

Now keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. I got nothing against gay people. Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me being a heterosexual male, if I can keep my son from being gay, I will!

Now, with that being said, I’m not sure I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment. Every kid. But when it happens you got to nip it in the bud, you got to stop it right then. “HEY! STOP! THAT’S GAY!” Quick. “NO!”

I don’t know if I handled my son’s situation right, okay? He’s at a birthday party, right? My son’s at a birthday party, he’s playing. You know how kids play, they just play. You don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re having a good time. They’re just doing a bunch of stuff. Right? They’re moving around.

I said, okay, he’s good. I finished talking, I turned back around to check on my son again, a little boy was grinding on my son’s ass.

I didn’t know what to do. I panicked and knocked them both down. “Hey, what’s going on here? What kind of party is this? Huh? What kind of party is this? What’s going on here?”

This lady came out, she’s like, “What are you doing, they’re kids, let them play.” I said, “Well you show me another kid getting fucked in the ass and I’ll calm down.”

Will we hold the less famous Kevin Hart to the standard we seem to be holding Tracy Morgan to? So far, the answer is a disappointing no.

The Sad, Sad Face Of ‘Ex-Gay’ Zealotry

Just found this new video that I was sure was parody. I was five minutes into it before I realized that there wouldn’t be a blooper reel at the end, and that I wouldn’t see the Bieber wig fall off or the guy giggle in the middle of his ridiculous lines. Astonishingly, it’s all real.

Remember, all that was added was the on-screen commentary. This is the ex-gay pitch laid bare, code words (struggle, accountability, common sin, lifestyle, etc.) and all.

I feel bad for Aaron Barton. He’s so sad, so bottled up, so ashamed. Really, this video, and his act of accepting applause for lying about who he is, is a form of mortification. The only difference between him and the medieval monks is that instead of flagellating his flesh, Barton abuses his soul.

Perhaps that’s the only way he can feel.

This is his life, the life he chose instead of standing up to his family’s shame and his church’s bigotry. And for that, I feel pity for Barton.

At the same time, it’s important to recognize the sinister (to use his word) harm Aaron Barton is doing to gays who see him as validation of the irrational hope they hold that one day they’ll wake up straight.

To all those closet gays who might be tempted by Barton’s lie, I would say that the most important thing to remember is that your “struggle” is not about attraction, it’s about whether you will tell the truth or tell a lie.

Aaron Barton’s made his choice, at least for now. I hope you will choose to live with integrity.

No Gays In Parks, Says Anti-Gay Pastor

Oh come on.

A planned gay pride picnic in the heart of Harlem has put local church leaders in a tizzy, with one pastor vowing his family won’t leave the house on that day.

“If children start to believe it is okay to be gay, they will think it’s okay to be a pedophile or have sex with animals,” said Dr. Ronald Ferguson, the senior pastor at Antioch Church of God on W. 124th St. “It’s a slippery slope.”

Ferguson, who has three adult children and four grandkids, said he expects parishioners to follow his lead and stay indoors when the second annual Harlem Pride event arrives June 24.

“This gay pride nonsense is an abomination,” Ferguson told the Daily News. “God does not want to see homosexuals in our parks.”

A) Yes, he really said something that stupid.

B) Oh no, he’s locking himself in his house for the day. What a terrible loss to society that will be.

C) Here’s a picture from Harlem Pride 2010, with the handsomest man in all creation in the middle.

Harlem Pride 2010 Ambassadors | photo by Andrea Reese, click for more
Harlem Pride 2010 Ambassadors

The New York Daily News has some more information about this year’s Harlem Pride. Thanks for the free publicity, Dr. Ferguson!

Harlem Pride’s weekend-long celebration, from June 24 to 26, includes a barbecue, bowling and a dance party. The park party is the only event located in a public area.

Despite the verbal assault from Harlem’s black churches, [Harlem Pride President Carmen Neely] has no intention of backing down.

“I want the gay and lesbian people of uptown to have a celebration of our own,” she said. “This will be different than the events in the West Village because it will be filled with people of color.”

Neely insists the event is for everyone – including children.

“I realize the church plays a big role in the black community,” Neely said, “but we’re people, too, and deserve our day in the sun.”

Kudos to Carmen Neely and the Harlem Pride team for doing this. We are everywhere, in every race, every ethnicity, every neighborhood, and yes, every church.

The world will be a better place when people finally understand and embrace that.


UPDATE: The following was posted to the Asterisk facebook page on Friday by Harlem Pride co-founder and Board of Directors member Lawrence Rodriguez:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

In response to the Daily News article published on Thursday, June 2nd 2011, we would like to express our gratitude for the outpouring of support we received.

We feel honored as we pursue our mission to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and same gender loving pride in Harlem and to provide opportunities for networking and communication among its LGBT & SGL organizations and community members.

We hope you, your friends and family will join us on Saturday, June 25, 2011 in Marcus Garvey Park from 12pm to 6pm as we celebrate Harlem Pride 2011.

Sincerely,

The Harlem Pride, Inc. Board of Directors
6/2/2011