Monthly Archives: September 2011

What’s So Wrong About The ‘Is My Son Gay’ Android App?

I’ve been writing for the new tech site Techcitement for a few months now. Today I had my first opportunity to work the Radical Homosexual Agenda © into an article about the “Is My Son Gay?” Android app you have probably heard of by now. Find out what I thought of it here, and please comment if you have something to say!

One thing I didn’t mention over at Techcitement: Am I the only one a little put off by how much Barbara Walters was concerned about the feelings of gay kids’ parents in the clip from The View? She doesn’t seem to be worried about what they’ll do to their kid because of those feelings, just that they’ll have them. I found it a bit bizarre.

gay-android-app

You can also check out my other articles, including one about using light bulbs for high speed data transmission. The technology is for real, it’s on its way, and you will lose your shit over the demonstration video.

Give the rest of Techcitement a look-see, too. We’ve got a darn good writing staff going, and you should really get on board now before we sell out and go all corporate.

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Fame Whore Stereotypes Gays, Fake Apologizes, Immediately Stereotypes Gays Again

You guys. This. Is. EPIC.

Patti Stanger, a person I’d never heard of until Monday, is apparently the centerpiece of some millionaire matchmaker show on Bravo. You know, the Bravo that spends a lot of time courting a gay audience. For some reason she appeared on Andy Cohen‘s Bravo talk show Watch What Happens Live and made ridiculously offensive generalizations about gay men. It was horrifying for all involved, though she didn’t seem to catch the look on Cohen’s face.

(She also said that all Jewish men are liars, which is equally appalling.)

Okay, here’s what I want to know: Why in the hell didn’t Andy Cohen kick this useless pair of fake tits with bad extensions off the show when she told him that gay men can’t be monogamous? Or how about when she said that telling a man he looks straight is a compliment, because it means he’s not “queeny.” Bitch should have been out the door before that word got past her fake plastic lips.

I’m sorry, were we not supposed to mention how obviously fake they are?

But since Andy Cohen didn’t take that responsibility, pretty much the entire online community sounded a collective WTF for the next twelve hours. When Patti found out that people didn’t think her awesome stereotypes, while handy and time-saving, were hilarious, she took to twitter to “apologize.” Here’s what it looked like:

patti-stanger-xo

Okay, here’s where it gets personal for me. See, I caught wind of this mess during my lunch break at work, and like everyone who lives online, I checked on twitter, found the fake apology, and tweeted back a couple of my famously witty rejoinders, which included introducing Patti to Peter LaBarbera. I think they’d really hit it off.

Then CNN quoted one of my tweets. I’M FAMOUS, Y’ALL!!!

The quote came as part of an article about Patti’s appearance on Joy Bahar’s show on Monday night, in which she “apologized” again, then said that gays are whores. But she loves us, she really does. She has all sorts of gay friends!

Okay, first of all? No, that wasn’t the question. Scroll back up and check the tape. The question was from Dustin in Canton, Ohio, who wanted to know about open long distance relationships, not Tyler in Los Angeles, who wanted a commitment. (Tyler was the one you “complimented” by saying he looked straight, remember? I know we all look the same; maybe we could all wear differently colored hats to help you tell us apart.)

Secondly, yes, you said all gays, not “gays in Los Angeles,” which I’m sure would be offensive to a lot of LA gays, too.

Thirdly, Grindr can definitely have a sex-now atmosphere, but nothing in the culture surrounding Grindr requires me to locate a rest stop bathroom before I get fucked. I’m allowed to do that in my own house. (I know, right? THEY LET ME DO THAT!!) And the reason for Grindr’s GPS is that there aren’t a heck of a lot of us around, and it’s nice to know that I may not be able to swing a dead cat and hit a homo out here in Dayton, Ohio, but my brothers in arms are indeed out here.

(By the way, the straight equivalent of Grindr? 99 percent of bars, movie theaters, gas stations, schools, workplaces, and streets all across the country.)

Fourth, saying “I’m sorry if [insert person or group here] is offended” is not an apology. It’s an effort to move responsibility for what you did back at the other party. Either apologize or don’t; just don’t pretend to apologize. It’s offensive, it’s childish, and however little I may think of you, I’m pretty sure it’s beneath both of us.

Okay, let’s continue. (I just can’t get enough of Patti digging her hole deeper!)

Patti and everybody else needs to understand this last point, so I’m putting it in a nice bold font: Getting married to the person you choose is not a privilege. It is a Civil Right.

The US Supreme Court has defined choosing the person you marry as a Civil Right for nigh on a hundred years. Calling it a ‘privilege’ demeans the institution and the blood that was spilled to afford Americans — ALL Americans — that right.

Look, I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep over some fame whore being a bigot. But honey, what you’re saying? They are words of bigotry. Own it. Saying that “The Gays” are categorically defined as whores, or even that we’re all great motherfucking home decorators, is not something you do if you have an atom of affection for a group of people.

And seriously, call Peter. He’d love to get his hands on your extensions, girl.

Jamey Rodemeyer’s Second And Final ‘It Gets Better’ Video

It’s been a week since Jamey Rodemeyer completed suicide, and like many of you, I can’t get him off my mind. I’ve been looking through Jamey’s tumbler blog, and after sifting through hundreds of Lady Gaga gifs, I found this video. He uploaded it on September 13th, just five days before his light went dark.

I see in this video the same cognitive dissonance as in his earlier It Gets Better video. In both, he said the words he was supposed to say, but he didn’t even convince himself. “It gets better, hold your head up high, you were born this way” was his mantra; the lines he repeated to get through the long days and the longer nights until the reality of his life became too strong.

As Harvey Milk famously said, “I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it life is not worth living.”

Jamey had run out of hope. I could fill the page with words (about 1,000 before I started over) trying to explain what happened, but it all comes down to that.

This is what the It Gets Better Project is all about. That’s why I’m From Driftwood, GLSEN, and all the LGBT rights groups exist. Ultimately, they’re here to nudge the rest of us into the hope and reality of a better tomorrow, so that one day there won’t be a 14-year-old kid who cuts and cries and finally completes suicide.

Jamey Rodemeyer March 21, 1997 - Sepember 18, 2011
Jamey Rodemeyer
March 21, 1997 - Sepember 18, 2011

I hope to see that day soon. Until then, as Jamey said, paws up.

Forever.

Three Days Before Autumn: In Memory Of Jamey Rodemeyer

Jamey Rodemeyer 1997 - 2011
Jamey Rodemeyer
1997 - 2011
I haven’t said anything about the death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer yet. I’m working on a post, but it’s not quite ready yet, and to be candid, I haven’t been in the best of mental states to be talking about this sort of thing lately.

But before we get too far away from Jamey’s death, I want to share this song with you. It’s from Christian singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson and was written after the untimely death of influential (and possibly gay) Christian folksinger Rich Mullins 14 years ago.

Mullins died on September 19 back in 1997, the same day Jamey died this year. This lament is poignant and emotional on its own, but that connection makes it even more poignant. When I heard of Jamey’s passing, my mind immediately went to the line “And I swear I heard thunder at the sound of his name.”

It’s a rough live cut and the audio could be better, but turn up your speakers and listen.

I’m sorry, Jamey. I’m sorry it hurt too much. I’m sorry they couldn’t understand. I’m sorry you couldn’t find another way through it.

I’m just so sorry.

[box]Note: Three Days Before Autumn is currently available only on Peterson’s live album Appendix A. That’s probably not the best place to start out with his music; if you’re inclined to hear more, consider getting one of his studio albums. His 2003 album Love And Thunder is a particular favorite of mine.[/box]

DADT IS DEAD: Assessing The Damage And Tying Up Loose Ends

It’s over. After 18 long and painful years, the US Military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law is officially repealed.

I couldn’t be happier to know that the next generation will only know by my generation’s horror stories what it was like to hide in order to serve, and I can’t help but imagine their reactions.

They will stare in disbelief as they hear Air Force Sgt. Jené Newsome‘s story of police acting as Peeping Toms in order to out her and have no recourse but to accept a discharge.

A closeted servicemember, photograph by Jeff Sheng
A closeted servicemember, photograph by Jeff Sheng

Their jaws will hit the floor when they hear how Navy Lt. Tracy Thorne-Begland was paraded before a jeering crowd in May 1993 and all but called a faggot by US Senators. He would be discharged twice for being gay, once before DADT and once after the law went into effect.

They will shake their heads as Army Sergeant Bleu Copas tells how his superiors broke DADT law multiple times, both in asking him directly if he was gay and in breaking into his personal email account to gather evidence, but in the end, his being quietly gay was more destructive than breaking the law, and he was fired.

A closeted servicemember, photograph by Jeff Sheng
A closeted servicemember, photograph by Jeff Sheng

They will be stunned into silence as Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach tells how he was outed by falsely accused of rape and had to decide whether to defend himself against those false claims or continue his military career. Ultimately he chose to defend himself, and after his exoneration had to fight in court not to be fired, finally winning his case only because a court ordered it due to the law being repealed.

They will learn in any respectable military history or LGBT history course about Air Force Major Margaret Witt, who fought her discharge so vigorously and so successfully that a court actually ruled that her discharge was unconstitutional, leading to a legal standard that was actually named after her.

A closeted servicemember, photograph by Jeff Sheng
A closeted servicemember, photograph by Jeff Sheng

Those in the next generation will be even more stunned to find that these firings were treated as reasonable and even honorable by more than half the country for over a decade, and by well-respected Republicans for even longer.

Even as we are overjoyed by the end of DADT, we must keep our eye on several loose ends left by the repeal.

  1. Repeal notwithstanding, it is still legal today to discriminate against a servicemember because s/he is lesbian, gay, or bisexual. We’re allowed to serve, but we are absolutely without protection against discrimination in promotion or assignment. First thing Tuesday morning, President Obama should sign an executive order, which should end such discrimination.
  2. All discharges under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be reviewed and upgraded to remove DADT-identifiers. Currently, anyone discharged under DADT faces forced outing any time they apply for a job. Discharges under DADT labeled general, dishonorable, or other than honorable should be reviewed and changed to a more appropriate classification.
  3. Discharged servicemembers like Army National Guard Lt. Dan Choi and Army Cpl. Anthony Woods should have debts related to DADT discharge forgiven and previous payments reimbursed. Choi, for example, is getting letters from debt collectors for $2,500 related to his discharge, and Woods has had to pay the Army $35,000 in tuition because they decided they didn’t want to honor their commitment to him. This is unjust and must be reversed.

These actions should happen swiftly and decisively. Doing so would go a long way toward shoring up support within the LGBT community for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

The era of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is ending. Here’s to the new era of fairness and equality that we all continue to work toward.

An Important Civics Lesson For North Carolina’s Legislature

I could say so much about the anti-marriage constitutional amendment that the House and Senate of North Carolina approved this week. There are so many avenues, so many little bits of information that needs to be remembered now that the bill has been passed and placed on the May 2012 ballot.

I could talk about how the Republican majority in the House snuck the amendment onto the floor, disguising it as a bill on an unrelated and uncontroversial issue until the last minute on Monday afternoon, when the bill changed chambers, committees, bill numbers, content, and ballot date in less than 75 minutes. (Fortunately someone leaked the actual text late Friday.)

I could talk about how the Republican House Majority Leader Paul Stam refused to allow public comment before the vote, openly breaking North Carolina’s open meeting laws, saying that people would get to comment at the polls next May, so, you know, fuck ’em.

I could talk about how Senator James Forrester, the major Republican sponsor in the Senate, went to a church last Thursday night and perpetuated the lie that gays live 20 years less than straight people, after which he said, “We need to … get them to change their lifestyle back to the normal lifestyle which we can accept,” as if he’s Big Daddy on the plantation.

Oh, and thanks to ThinkProgress, it’s on tape.

I could talk about how UNC Law Professor Maxine Eichner told the North Carolina Legislature that the vague language of the amendment endangers laws against domestic violence involving unmarried straight couples. Apparently that human collateral damage is okay with the Republican majorities, because both bodies voted the amendment through anyway, with eight Democrats joining the Republicans.

I could talk about how Community College instructor Johnny Hunter stood up in a press conference last Wednesday and banged two locks together to show how weird gays having sex is. That’s on tape too. (Don’t worry, it’s cued up.)

(And I’m sorry, that’s nowhere near as poetic as Dr. Camilla Bowner’s electric socket analogy.)

I could talk about how Republican House Majority Leader Paul Stam had such contempt for the process and for the American taxpayers whose rights he was taking away that he literally snacked on popcorn during Monday’s brief debate.

I could talk about all those things, but (378 words later) I won’t.

Instead, I’ll share some unfortunately relevant words from Rachel Maddow. It’s a quote that I’ve had in rotation over there on the right since she said it last year. (Image shamelessly stolen from Brian Gets Clarity.)

What part of that don't you understand?

Feel free to pass it on.

[box]Major thanks and sympathy to North Carolinian Pam Spaulding, who’s been on top of this whole mess from the start, saying a whole lot so I wouldn’t have to. You should definitely follow Pam’s House Blend to its new home at Firedoglake.[/box]

Hate Group AFA’s Frank Turek Can’t Figure Out Gay ‘Pride’

Last week, corporate trainer Frank Turek’s speaking contract for a Bank of America (BoA) training event was canceled when an employee brought it to their attention that in addition to his corporate training work, Turek is also a conservative christian pamphlet writer and American Family Association (AFA) weekly radio host. Apparently BoA didn’t think bringing in an employee of an SPLC-certified hate group was a good idea.

Anyway, the story’s been making the rounds, and this bit of audio from an interview Turek did with AFA’s Tim Wildmon and Tony Perkins (leader of the Family Research Council, another SPLC-certified hate group).

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/frank-turek-gay-pride-9-2-11-part-1.mp3″ text=”Frank Turek Can’t Figure Out Gay ‘Pride'”]

It's not that complicated, Frank.
It's not that complicated, Frank.
Anytime you have to call something “pride,” there’s a problem with it, particularly when it comes to behavior because you don’t hear people walking around saying “heterosexual pride” … Although I think there was some parade down in Brazil or something recently…

Pride? Pride? Pride is, as we all know, really the root of all sin; we want to do it our way rather than God’s way.

Laying aside for a moment the tried-and-true false “homosexuality is just behavior” rhetoric, I want to bring Turek’s fixation with the word “Pride” to your attention. That’s a common problem people (usually anti-gay people) have with the LGBT-rights movement.

(To make this post simpler, I’ll also lay aside the troublesome parallels between the concepts of Heterosexual Pride in response to Gay Pride and White Power in response to Black Power. Oh wait, I guess I won’t.)

Fortunately for us, British comedian Dick Coughlan recently addressed the issue of pride, covering it quite well. He even talked about the Straight Pride Parade in São Paulo, Brazil that Turek mentioned.

Coughlan begins the video (NSFW, by the way) with some comments on completely heterosexual Republican Indiana State Rep. Phil Hinkle’s Craig’s List problem, which I still haven’t gotten around to bringing up here, before segueing into the portion quoted below.

Gay people tend to be a group, who, within a great deal of, unfortunately, so-called “civilized society” are made to feel ashamed and embarrassed for what they are. They are told that they are wrong, they are immoral, what they are and what they do is disgusting, and they should be ashamed.

And so in response to that, they decide to say, “Fuck you, we’re not ashamed, so we’re going to have a Pride March.” It’s not really a pride march, because you are born this way, there is no pride in being born a certain way, but what they’re actually saying is “We are not ashamed.”

That’s what it’s about, yeah? “We are not ashamed.” You can’t really call it a We Are Not Ashamed March; It doesn’t have the same ring to it.

That about says it. Any questions, Frank?

[box]AFA audio from Right Wing Watch, which has more audio that I didn’t include. If you aren’t reading every RWW post every day, you’re missing out. Seriously, y’all, they’re not to be missed.[/box]

Mistrial Declared In Lawrence (Latisha) King Murder Trial: Gay Panic Defense Still Works

CBS is reporting this hour that the judge in the case of Brandon McInerney has declared a mistrial after jurors told him that they were deadlocked.

Bringing a gun to school and shooting someone in the back of the head — TWICE — doesn’t count as premeditated murder. At least that’s the case in the minds of some of the jurors in the trial of Brandon McInerney, the boy who murdered 15-year-old Lawrence (Latisha) King in broad daylight in front of a room of witnesses in February 2008.

A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a California teen accused of murdering a gay classmate at a junior high school three years ago.

Jurors on Thursday told Judge Charles Campbell they were unable to reach a unanimous decision whether Brandon McInerney was guilty of killing 15-year-old Larry King.

The brazen shooting in front of stunned classmates in a computer classroom gained wide attention when authorities dubbed it a hate crime because King was gay and evidence suggested McInerney had white supremacy leanings. Extensive news coverage persuaded Campbell to move the case from Ventura County to neighboring Los Angeles County.

The prosecution contend McInerney, who was being tried as an adult, made a conscious decision to kill King during a computer lab class. They said McInerney told others he wanted to hurt King in the days leading up to the slaying and he hid a .22-caliber handgun in his backpack before pulling the weapon out and shooting his classmate twice in the back of the head.

Defense attorneys do not deny McInerney killed King, but they said their client snapped when he heard moments before the shooting that King wanted to change his first name to Latisha.

Prosecutors now have to decide whether to re-file murder and hate crime charges against McInerney.

Latisha (née Lawrence) deserves better.
Latisha (née Lawrence) deserves better.
Gay panic. Works every time.

EVERY.

TIME.

You want to know why trans and gay people kill themselves? This is why. We are seen as less than human. We are seen as less than real.

You want to know why straight people kill trans and gay people? This is why. We are seen as a nuisance to be snuffed out, and if someone actually pulls the trigger (FUCKING TWICE), it’s because the fag scared him by being faggy or something.

This is why, and honestly, I don’t even know what to do about it anymore.

To call this an appalling failure of justice and human decency would be the height of understatement.

I wish long and miserable lives for the jurors in this trial who aren’t convinced that planning and methodically carrying out the death of a gay kid is murder. Very long, and very miserable. May the memory of Latisha King’s murder haunt them the rest of their lives and into the next.