Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jim Gaylord Finally Gets An Apology

In 1972, Jim Gaylord was teaching social studies at Tacoma’s Wilson High School. He was 35 years old, popular with the students and his co-workers, and a confirmed bachelor, which was what most people called gay men in those early post-Stonewall days.

Jim knew he was gay — he’d known since he was quite young — but it wasn’t until the early 70s that he came out to himself and began seeking out other gay men for friendship and companionship, being very careful to keep his private life private; even his colleagues had no idea he was gay.

One day, though, one of his students, who knew a gay adult friend of Gaylord’s, came to talk with Jim about his own attraction to other boys. It was a brief conversation, at best, and Jim barely recalled much of it, but a time later that young boy tried to take his own life.

He survived, but while being interviewed by the police the boy said he’d spoken to Jim Gaylord because he assumed he was gay. What happened next was, and is, shocking.

The police took that information to the vice principal of the high school, who came to Jim’s house one night and asked him point blank if he was a “homosexual.” Jim decided then and there that he was tired of lying by omission and said it was true, he was gay.

A few weeks later he received a letter of termination; it said, in part:
“The specific probable cause for your discharge is that you have admitted occupying a public status that is incompatible with the conduct required of teachers in this district. Specifically, that you have admitted being a publicly known homosexual.”
Jim Gaylord, now 76, never taught school again.

But Jim fought back; openly gay — even to his parents who hadn’t known their son was gay until he was fired — Jim, who’d always taught his students about civil rights and equality and standing up for one’s self, was not going to just quietly sit back and do nothing.

He was jobless, with a mortgage to pay and no income, but thankfully his local teacher’s union stood behind him, even hiring him as their office manager so he would have an income and support.

So Jim appealed the termination to the school board, whose five-member panel had met in secret to fire him but, at his hearing only three showed up; it was still enough to let his termination for being gay stand.

But Jim wasn’t done, and he decided he would sue the school board for wrongful termination. And while many of Jim’s fellow teachers and more than a few students testified on his behalf — and just as many testified against him — a judge ruled in favor of the school district, saying that, in effect, being gay was immoral and the district was within its rights to fire Gaylord.

Jim then appealed his case to the Washington state Supreme Court where, in 1977, five years after being fired, that court ruled that a school board can discharge a teacher if it feels the teacher’s ability to do the job is impaired, and they felt that the complaints about Jim being gay did, in fact, impair his ability to do his job; ironically, though, the complaints about Jim being gay came out after he was fired.

Jim still refused to surrender and appealed his case to the US Supreme Court, who declined to hear his case at all. He would never get his job back. What he did get, though, some forty-two years after being fired, was quite unexpected, and yet quite welcome.

Another young gay man wanted to talk to Jim Gaylord, though this young man came to Jim to talk about being fired for being gay as part of an Oasis — Tacoma’s support and resource center for LGBT youth — oral history project.

Seth Kirby, the executive director of Oasis, was unaware of Gaylord’s story, but began wondering if the Tacoma school district would consider an apology to Gaylord? After placing a number of calls, climbing the ladder of succession, Kirby finally spoke with Kurt Miller, the Tacoma School Board president, who said an apology to Jim Gaylord was long overdue.

And when Oasis presented its oral histories project — including Jim Gaylord’s story — during its annual fundraiser, Proud Outloud, Kurt Miller formally apologized; Miller also spoke about the differences in Tacoma’s public schools from those old days when Jim Gaylord taught, noting that the school board recently passed a nondiscrimination and equity policy for students that deals with gender identity and sexual orientation; and the district has the same policy for its employees.

Jim Gaylord, who still lives in that Tacoma house where the vice principal knocked forty-two years ago, is a retired librarian — a job he took when his case when unheard by SCOTUS — and says he’s happy with the apology, even though he never asked for it.
“It helps put a relatively pleasant end on an unpleasant situation.”
And an end to an unpleasant time in this country where it was commonplace for gay men and women — especially those in education — to be fired simply for being gay, a condition that still exists in many parts of this country to this day.

And while the apology may seem a little too late, it does offer proof that the times have changed, and are changing. Jim Gaylord never taught again, but he stood up for himself, as a gay man, and stood up for an entire community. He may not have won his case, but he fought for himself as a gay man and that’s a lesson that keeps on giving.

If Jim Gaylord could stand up for us in 1972, then we can keep standing up for all of us in the LGBTQ community in 2014, and beyond.

ISBL Asshat of the Week: Renee Ellmers

I don’t know why anyone would choose to be a Republican; sure, I get conservative; I get financial conservative. But what I don’t get is the rigid, rightwingnut religious rantings of people who say they want smaller government then try to get Big Government to stick its nose in every nook and cranny, and vagina, in the country.

And I’ll give men a pass because, well, men are idiots. But I don’t understand female Republicans. Why would you join a party, a political party that seems hell bent on telling you what you can do with your own body? Sure, I know there are Pro-Life women out there, but why let a man tell you what you can do, what health care choices you can make, and how you should live your live as though you don’t know how?

Then I read about Renee Ellmers, the ISBL Asshat of the Week and if she’s a typical Republican, well then, I get it now.

Recently, a group of the more conservative GOP women in the House of Representatives attended a Republican National Committee conference that was supposed to train them how to talk to women voters about Republican policies.  You know, cuz women — and by women, it appears they mean the non-GOP women — are dumb.

Since there are only 19 female Republicans in the House, it wasn’t a big meeting and it went mostly unnoticed; except for ….

One of the 19 was Renee Ellmers, a two-term Congresswoman from North Carolina. Ellmers shot to conservative asshat fame last year when she that she won’t be giving up her pay during the government shutdown that her party created because, she said, “I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line.” 

She also, at the same time, used that tried-and-untrue GOP method of opposing Obamacare with a boatload of lies and innuendo; in fact, she was such an outright liar that even her own constituents stormed her Facebook page to put her on blast for “embarrassing them” and their state. 

But that didn’t stop Ellmers who, at that GOP conference on how to talk to female voters, gave a speech entitled "Taking Back the Future" and here’s a little of what she said:
“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level. Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.”
Okay, let me get this queer: she believes men are smarter than everyone else because they have props, and most of us are just too dumb to understand a pie chart. But she goes on — and boy, does she go on — to say that all women really want is more time in their lives … as in, and I quote, “more time in the morning to get ready.”

So, according to this woman, women are too dumb to understand a graph, and need more time in the mirror before heading out to do a job that men do better because they have graphs. But then she puts another nail into the coffin of the GOP when she said this:
“We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and with everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go.”

Wow. So, the way to get women to understand GOP policies is to treat them as though they are stupid; use one-syllable words and pictures; maybe pretty music and mirrors and lights; shiny stuff.

Again, I say, I get conservative, but I don’t get why a woman should join the GOP when the men in the party want to tell her how to use, or not use, her own body, and the women in the GOP think she’s too dumb to understand anyway.

At least Renee Ellmers doesn’t understand, and that’s why she’s the ISBL Asshat of the Week.

Let me put it in a way she might understand: you’re dumb, honey.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Facebooking ....

WTF? Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde is a very, very sexy woman, and this comes from a gay guy so you know that means she's extra sexy.

But, girl, really? Stripes? Stripes in awful colors? A handkerchief hemline? Orange shoes? 

My first thought was that Barnum and Bailey must be missing a circus tent, or maybe someone decided to tent Olivia Wilde and spray for termites.

Just sayin'.

It's Just Six Minutes ....

I was strolling around the interwebz this morning as I do, and stumbled across this video at Reluctant Rebel, with the post title ‘Watch This – It Is Worth Six Minutes of Your Time.’ But Carlos was making breakfast and I didn’t have the six minutes — Seriously? I didn’t have six minutes? — so I closed the page. 

But after breakfast, I saw the link again and while I debated in my head whether to spend six minutes on one thing, I mean, sheesh that’s like a lifetime these days, I clicked on it and was very glad that I did.

This is Debi Jackson, the mother of a transgender child, telling her story, her child’s story, and everyone needs to hear it … even if it does take six minutes.

Ms. Jackson, not at all what one might consider the typical transgender ally, has become the most fierce of advocates, even going so far as the create a website for parents of transgender and gender nonconforming children: Trans-Parenting.

But, before visiting the site, if you have another few minutes to spare, take the six minutes to listen to Debi speak; listen to her tell her story, her daughter’s story, and tell you what you need to know about transgender, what it is, how it is, that it simply ‘is’.

Amazing. Now watch. It’s just six minutes but it could change your view and your mind.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Ain't One To Gossip But ...

Lindsay Lohan spent last week in New York, celebrating her birthday, and then rushed back to London to begin preparing for her stage debut in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow.

Unfortunately, it seems she’s up to her old tricks. A source — and you know it’s Dina “All press is good press” Lohan — says Lindsay is off-the-wagon on on-the-party-bus again and is so out of control that she arrives late to rehearsals late, is unprepared to rehearse, or simply doesn’t show at all.

It’s like when she did Georgia Rule, with Jane Fonda, and the CEO of production publicly chastised her  for her unprofessional behavior; it’s like when The Canyons screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis called her “mixed up,” “scattered” and “bossy;” it’s like when she kept the film crew of her reality show docu-series waiting because she “was unavailable” to film. It’s typical Lohan.

On the other hand, an unnamed spokesperson for the production — and that could be Dina, too, after a box of Chardonnay — says that “rehearsals are not yet under way and casting still in progress.”

So, maybe she isn’t late? Or maybe she isn’t even actually cast in it yet?
Remember all the run-up to the pre-divorce ceremony of Kim Kardastrophe and The Madman? I mean it was everywhere; they were everywhere; and after the wedding, for a few scant days, they were everywhere else. Now? Not so much. But maybe it’s because Kim has figured out a way to make her third marriage last longer than the first two: never see your husband.

Since marrying in that trashy Italian wedding forty-eight days ago, the K’s have spent exactly nine days together, most of which occurred during the honeymoon-slash-Photoshop workshop.

A source — and you know it’s That Woman whoring out the gossip on her own children — says Kim and Kanye have started living separate lives ever since Kanye discovered that his porn-star-fame-whore-thrice-married bride only cares about herself, her show, her family, herself:

“Kanye now recognizes that Kim’s main interest are shopping and lounging around a pool. It’s really concerning to Kanye that Kim doesn’t even want to try to experience new things.”

Like threesomes; with her husband and, ALLEGEDLY, an Italian designer?
Oh Katherine Heigl, you do go on.

After she bolted Grey’s Anatomy for a film career that lasted all of a hot minute, she dragged her ass back to TV and a new drama, a Scandal-lite NBC show called State of Affairs. She is known to be, well, a bitch on TV sets and film sets, parking lots and grocery stores, and so that begs the question, what does she have to say for herself?

“I certainly don’t see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. If I ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional.”

Wow. Could that be more of an admission that she’s a raging bitch? I would never intend to be difficult. Okay, so it wasn’t a plan, it just was? That’s like the ultimate non-apology-apology; if you thought I was a controlling, backstabbing, talentless hack, well, that wasn’t my intention.

Sit down Katie.
After Jenny McCarthy was let go fired quit fired from The View she announced that she would be back on her own show, yakking the yak, uninterrupted and, possibly, airing opposite The View. I figured she’d be live Tweeting, but apparently she got a job on not-so-Sirius radio for a one hour a week — down from five hours of TV so it is a step down, y’all — called Dirty, Sexy, Funny; I’m guessing Stupid, Lame, and Soon-To-Be-Cancelled was already taken?

Here’s what Jenny lied to told Howard Stern about her career:

“If I wanted to stay with Rosie and I was a Republican, I would still be there right now [but] it’s like halfway into it, it was probably around February, I went, ‘God I’m not allowed to be the best of me here,’ I feel like to have a voice, to be able to speak without having to interrupt people…It’s very difficult, and I don’t like doing it, it’s very uncomfortable, so I felt like, ‘You know what? Maybe this is just a stepping stone for me to go somewhere where I can actually be my full self.’”

I think she means full of herself.

PS Jenny had a talk show on VH1 with much the same premise before she was hired by The View and that went by the wayside faster than you can say Jenny who?
Meanwhile, back at serious actress Lohan.

I guess rehearsals for Speed-the-Plow haven’t started because as soon as Lohan hit London, she was off again to a film festival in Ischia, Italy where her greatest accomplishment was getting drunk and taking a tumble.

The obvious question is why was Lindsay at a film festival? Her last film crashed and burned in a week at the box office and the big film she was signed onto at the end of her reality show docu-series never happened so why was she there?

Party. Party for the girl who’s been giving interviews all over England saying she wants to be taken seriously as an actress and not just some globe-trotting Tara Reid 2.0. I mean she keeps saying she moved to London because the paparazzi aren’t as in-your-face and she can act and work and be on-set, not some cracked out wacktress going to any film festival because someone gave her a free ticket for publicity.

But she did, and she partied and then she fell down and went boom. Like her career.

Brody Jenner is hot; smoking hot. I know, he might be kind of a douche, but I can overlook the douchiness for the hotness. He looks like a younger version of his father, Bruce Jenner, before age and Botox and ombre hair coloring and facelifts got in the way. I could just stare at him all day 

But I’m not here to talk about his beauty; I’m here to talk about his feud with the Kash Kow, Kim Kardastrophe-West. Y’all remember that he didn’t go to the pre-divorce ceremony in Italy because Kim wouldn’t let him bring his girlfriend, though she cleared space in an overhead compartment for NorthSouthEastWest, right?

But Brody is now saying he didn’t go because he was “busy” playing DJ in Chicago and couldn’t squeeze in his step-sister’s mockery of marriage because, well, there will be others. Still, please to explain how Brody beat feet, with his girlfriend, to attend the wedding of Kim’s ex-boyfriend Reggie Bush over the weekend?

Yup, he skipped the Kash Kow Fiasco but went to see her ex tie the knot. I’m guessing that won’t air on their “reality” show because it’s all too real.
God, I loathe Cameron Diaz. I find her kinda skanky, very annoying, lacking in talent, and just plain obnoxious. I also think — and maybe it’s just me — that the only reason she has a career is because she puts out … ALLEGEDLY. I have no other explanation for her film career.

And while she went to the premiere of her latest film, Sex Tape … yawn … she was apparently a giant bitch to the fans, er, fan who gathered along the red carpet to catch a whiff of her. In fact, both she and her Sex Tape co-star Jason Segel flopped with fans because they refused to sign autographs or even allow pictures to be taken. In fact, the only thing Cameron deigned to do was lecture a fan:

“When a 20-something fan asked Jason for a photo as he left the premiere he said, ‘No’ and literally slammed the car door right in the fan’s face. People gasped, that’s how bad it was. And when Cameron was spotted, she also refused the fans telling them, ‘If I did it for you I’d have to do it for everyone.”

Funny, she makes out there was a mob of people waiting for them after the film, when there was just a handful of fans on the sidewalk.

I’m kind of hoping that only a handful of fans will bother to see this film.