Category: GLBT

Out in America/Out in New York

It was a celebration of being GLBT in American and a review of our recent history in this country.

It had its flaws, I think, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that people view it…many times, if possible.  I love it that we live in the New York City environs (just west of Newark, NJ) and we get two New York PBS stations, so I got a chance to watch it Wednesday night on Thirteen and will have another chance Sunday on WLIW (Long Island).  And it will probably eventually come to our own New Jersey PBS station, NJN.

It is, after all, time for another pledge drive.  It’s always time for another pledge drive.

What is it?  It’s the new documentary by Andrew Goldberg, Out in America.  The version we get here is actually called Out in America/Out in New York, which consists of the original documentary wrapped in some local material, hosted by Kate Clinton (who also participated in the documentary) and Andrew Goldberg, who wrote and produced the documentary in conjunction with Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Mr. Goldberg said that he felt that if people could just see how much GLBT people were like themselves, that the world would get better.  There was a bit of a flaw in his procedure for doing that.

He didn’t find average, everyday people to interview.

A Marriage Story for all the Skeptics Out There

Recently I attended a Quaker wedding.  Having now introduced the subject of this entire post, the temptation is to add a sufficient  qualifier.  None of the most common phrases used sounds especially elegant.  Same-sex marriage or its compliment, same-gender marriage, sounds pedantic.  Gay marriage sometimes implies that a union between two homosexual people is less authentic or valid than one between a heterosexual couple.  In conclusion, what I will say is that there were two grooms.  And over the past nine months I have gotten to know the both of them, which was why I was put to work that day as the world’s most nervous and highly anxious usher.  Friends tend to be introverted and somewhat socially awkward, and this Friend is no exception.    

TAMU anti-sex conservative group prompts move of transgender conference

The Third Annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit was scheduled to be held at Texas A&M in August, but a conservative group expressed its outrage over the idea…after there was a seminar on Safe and Fun Sex sponsored by the TAMU GLBT Resource Center.

[Sex therapist Cay] Crow taught students in graphic detail ways to enhance fellatio and cunnilingus (i.e. oral sex). She specifically discussed how to put a condom on someone with one’s mouth, deep-throating, G-spot stimulation, tongue piercings, condoms, genital shaving, and changing the temperature of one’s mouth.


Their response?

Texas A&M should not be using taxpayers’, students’, and donors’ money to teach unchaste sexual behavior to young, unmarried men and women.  What does the university administration have to say about this funding inequality and bias?

–Justin Pulliam, chairman of the Texas Aggie Conservatives

Clowns and Bathrooms (with talented eye-candy)

clownfish Pictures, Images and PhotosAs per usual, I spent some time wandering around the Interweb, looking for stories that might need elucidation…or at least response.  Sometimes I find some good stuff, like the recent good news out of Nevada.  More often than not, I find depressing stuff, like the transwoman who was beaten by four people in Fredericksburg, Virginia just for being trans…and apparently for chastising a young man because his dog was a loud barker.  One of the assailants is thought to be a relative of that young man.    

On the plus side this week is Steven Petrow’s essay at Aol Healthy Living, Straight Talk: when a Daughter Changes Her Gender, Does She Become a Son?

And he is indeed her son — no need for quotation marks around the word. One of the basic concepts of gender identity is that you are the gender you think and say you are. The external genitalia that make a doctor proclaim, “It’s a girl!” in the delivery room are not the sum total of that individual’s gender identity.

Like he said.  For some reason, people have this fixation that gender is determined by one’s chromosomes and so sex should be inelastic.  I guess they’ve never met a clownfish.

(Cue Nemo).  

News with a T

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has called for more to be done to provide for greater protections for transpeople in his state.  This comes in the wake of the brutal attack of Crissy Lee Polis by Teonna Monae Brown and a juvenile accomplice and the subsequent filing of hate crimes charges.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons. We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

–Martin O’Malley

Brown’s attorney claims her actions were in self-defense and that she is really a “nice young woman”.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons,” O’Malley said. “We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

There is an accompanying video reporting on the hate crime charges but embedding has been disabled.  The video features Lynne Bowman of Equality Maryland.

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)

Today, May 17, 2011, is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.  The hope of a day like this is to eradicate its reason for existing.

A life without discrimination is a basic human right.

You may have by now seen the UN Commissioner on Human Rights speaking out against hate crimes and “corrective rape”.

The UNCHR also produced a pamphlet (pdf) called The United Nations Speaks Out:  tackling discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.  I’ve linked to the English version, but the pamphlet is available in multiple languages.

In more than 70 countries, laws make it a crime to be homosexual, exposing millions to the risk of arrest, imprisonment and, in some cases, execution.

LGBT Aging: Kitzhaber declares May 21 Gay & Grey Day in Oregon

Last week I prepared an essay about LGBT aging, entitled Avoiding becoming part of Gen Silent.  Tonight’s dairy continues on that theme.

Interspersed with some other news about LGBT seniors will be some videos of some of us.  History has proved that the way to get people interested in a cause is to put faces on the cause.

So the diary is video-heavy.  Be forewarned.  I divided the different stories, which come from Portland, New York City, San Diego, Philadelphia and Iowa City, from each other by use of the videos.

Avoiding becoming part of Gen Silent

On Thursday I went to a retirement party for the woman with whom I have been co-coordinating the Bloomfield College Gay/Non-Gay Alliance since I started working full-time here in 2001.  It got me thinking about my own impending retirement and what will happen as I grow older.

Together with that, there was a news item about a film festival in Canada, called the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival in Calgary, which is showing, among many other films, Gen Silent, a film about elderly GLBT people who fear they will have to go back in the closet in their last years to be treated as they wish to be.  Below is the trailer for this documentary.

DADT Update: The Service Chiefs Report, The Republicans Fret

There’s been a great deal of concern around here about the effort to prepare the US military for the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), and I’ve had a few words of my own regarding how long the process might take.

There was a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee last Thursday that had all four Services represented; with one exception these were the same Service Chiefs that were testifying last December when the bill to set the repeal process in motion was still a piece of prospective legislation.

At that time there was concern that the “combat arms” of the Marines and the Army were going to be impacted in a negative way by the transition to “open service”; the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Army’s Chief of Staff were the most outspoken in confirming that such concerns exist within the Pentagon as well.

We now have more information to report-including the increasing desperation of some of our Republican friends-and if you ask me, I think things might be better than we thought.

To the people walking away from Omelas

Scarlet Letter

We’ve been hearing a lot about the marriage equality bill in Maryland (which was today recommitted to committee), but very much less about HB 235, which would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in housing and employment…but not in public accommodations, which has become a bit of a sore point for some (for a little understatement).

It must also be noted that the expression “public accommodation” does not apply exclusively to public bathrooms, showers and changing facilities. Public accommodation also includes schools, libraries, hospitals, restaurants and retail establishments. It is not an exaggeration to characterize lack of protection from discrimination in public accommodation in the same way as one would the idea of segregated lunch counters. Segregated lunch counters in 2011. In Maryland.

Trans Griot

To thine own self…

Scarlet Letter
I was very far away. My real life had gone underground and could not be seen by anybody. The person at the surface that everybody saw was no longer me.

–Philip Ó Ceallaigh

I became a teacher in 1977, when I was a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Oregon.  I spent five years there earning my PhD before moving on to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for three years, during which time both my parents died.  That sort of put the kibosh on me getting enough done to earn tenure there…and my mentor (E. H. Feller) died as well…so I moved on to the University of Central Arkansas, where I taught for 16 years.

Steps Forward, Steps Back

The Human Rights Campaign, which has not always been our friend, has announced that it is sponsoring a Back to Work project seeking to empower unemployed and underemployed transgender people by providing them with the tools and skills they need to have a chance in the current job market.

The inaugural event will be in Boston on February 26-27.  Cosponsoring the event are the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY), AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC) and MassEquality.  The event will be hosted by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.    

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