Friday, November 28, 2014

Would You Hit It?

Adam Lambert, a runner-up on American Idol, who is actually a bigger star than the guy, er, whats-his-name, who won Idol that year.

And, I may be wrong, but isn't that whats-his-name behind Lambert, asking for some coins? I dunno, because that's neither here nor there.


Yes or No.

I Didn't Say It ...

Michael Sam, in GQ Magazine, on coming out:

“If I had it my way, I never would have [come out] the way I did, never would have told it the way I did. I would have done the same thing I did at Mizzou. Which was to tell my team and my coaches and leave it at that. But since I did tell my team, word got out.  ... But the recruiters knew, and reporters knew, and they talked to each other, and it got out. If I didn't have the year I did, nobody would have cared. But I did have that year. And a lot of people knew. Someone was gonna ask me, 'I heard you told your team a secret.…' Well, I was comfortable with who I was, and I wouldn't have denied it. And then I wouldn't have been able to control the story. But I have no regrets. Some people can argue that I had the potential to go higher in the draft. But I think everything happens for a reason. It looks good to see me in the position I'm in now, because I can show the world how good I am and rise up the ranks. I'm at the bottom now. I can rise up, show I'm a football player. Not anything else. Just a football player."

As I like to say, he isn't a gay football player, he's a football player who is gay.
Amy Schumer, on Joan Rivers:

"I only met Joan Rivers once, but I carried her with me for as long as I can remember. The first time I heard Joan was in the move Spaceballs. She was brash and hilarious and just hearing the voice coming from that gold robot put this crazy idea in my head: that I could use my voice, too. When I filmed my first standup special in 2007 I had to fight to get a joke past the censors. The joke was, 'I'm at the age where my friends are having kids and the way they tell me that they’re pregnant is by taking us all out to brunch and saying, 'You guys? I'm keeping this one.' And I thought I was pretty edgy for doing such a dark joke in what is still an unforgiving time for women who exercise their right to choose. It wasn't until a year later that I watched a clip of Joan on The Tonight Show and she was doing a joke of a similar nature. She spoke of a friend of hers who'd gotten fourteen appendectomies in Puerto Rico ... I laughed out loud. The truth and the pain and the way she said it cut like a knife. When she performed that joke on television it was the early 70s. Think about that. She stuck her neck out at a dangerous time; she couldn't even say the word abortion on television. Now, I’m not going to say how big of balls she had to say that joke on the air, because she has taught us time and time again that having balls has nothing to do with it ...Joan was the bravest of all.  Joan always got blasted for being mean, but she had the guts to make fun of herself more than anybody. ... I loved a lot of funny women ... Gilda, Carol Burnett, and Lucy, too, but I spoke up in class ... because of that first voice I heard coming from that golden robot. She wasn't just a woman or a person. She was a comic, and wanted to be treated as such. I'm sure this speech would annoy her. She didn't want to be given credit for aspiring women. She wanted to be known as a great comedian. And, she was." 

Yes, she was. I like to consider myself a little like Joan because I say what’s on my mind, and I will make that joke that some might think inappropriate. But it’s my mind, my mouth, my joke.
Thank Joan for that.
LeAnn Rimes comparing herself to her stepson:

“I was super-driven as a kid. Even though I was on the road a lot, the teachers would give me homework and I would get it all done. I look at my 11-year-old stepson Mason, and I’m like, ‘I signed a record deal when I was your age. You’re still fumbling with tying your shoelaces.’

And y’all thought Cinderella have a Wicked Stepmother.
By the way, there are no known photos of LeAnn tying her own shoes because they don't make lace-ups for cloven hooves.
Linda Harvey, “ex-gay” wingnut, on a Christmas gift for your favorite teen or college student struggling with their sexuality:

“If you were wondering what to get your teen or college student for Christmas, how about giving them the gift of common sense and morality? This is the way many people have described my book, Maybe He’s Not Gay: Another View On Homosexuality. Same-sex relationships are not what anyone was born for yet there are reasons why people get there and even more reasons why they can leave those feelings behind.”

Linda? Honey? Nutjob? By the time your youngsters get to be teens or college students they know they’re gay, they’ve probably had some gay experiences, and your little Hate Book won’t change that.
Maybe you should take a seat now.
Robbie Rogers, openly gay soccer star, on being a role model:

"I realized that just by playing and being on the soccer field, that's a symbol right there, and that can encourage and give people hope. It was really those kids inspiring me that was kind of like my final decision — I need to sack up, I need to go back into soccer.'" 

The very kids for whom he is a role model, were role models to him for returning to soccer after coming out.
That’s progress.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Give. Thanks.

I first posted this back in Ott-Eight,  and decided to edit it a bit and repost it today, to kind of remind me of where I was then, what I thought then, and what I wanted out of life; the more things change the more they stay the same.

Not to brag, but I've been told that I am an extremely polite person. I was raised on Please and Thank You, Yes Ma'am, No Sir, and I still act that way today.

True story: I was selected for jury duty back when we lived in Miami and when they were questioning us in the courtroom, it was my turn to stand. Well, it was a narrow aisle, so I put my hands behind my back, and as the judge and the lawyers began to ask their questions, I always answered Yes sir, No Sir.

The judge stopped for a second and smiled. "Are you in the military?" he asked.

"No, sir" I said. "I was raised by a military man and a Southern woman."

True story: A few years before that, while living in California, I was in a grocery store buying a birthday cake for a co-worker. I asked if I may please order a cake. May I please have a name iced onto it? I pleased and thank you'd my way through the ordering process and finally the girl left to go in the back and finish my order. But then, just before disappearing to that back room, she turned around and said to me, "I think you are the most polite person I've ever waited on."

I smiled and said, "Could you just shut up and ice my damn cake!"

When all else fails slip into sarcasm. That's my motto. But I digress.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, probably because there are no gifts involved, except for the gift of time; time spent with loved ones and friends; the gift of thanks. This is a day of thanks for Americans; a truly American holiday, like 4th of July, but one we celebrate not with picnics and beer, firecrackers and sparklers, but with a meal we share with loved ones, friends and family.

I have so much to be thankful for this year.

Yes, the usual family and friends and health and happiness, blah blah blah, everyone says that. But I am also thankful that we are an America on the verge of a new day, when we are all, even those of us under the LGBT balloon, considered more equal than we have been in the past.

Fourteen years ago, Carlos and I couldn’t be legally married anywhere in this country, and here we are now, married, legally, in South Carolina and 34 other states and the District of Columbia. I never saw that coming, but I am so thankful for that.

I am thankful for the years I had with my sister — and missing her every single day — because of the things she taught me, and continues to teach me. I am thankful that I could see her, and feel her, alongside my Mom as Carlos and I stood in a courtroom and said, “I do.” I could feel all that love, and for that I am always thankful.

I am grateful to her four daughters, all of whom she raised so well that when Carlos and I told them we were getting married, they all responded, “Now he really is our Uncle.”

I am thankful for my Dad. He didn’t ask for a gay son, but he got one; he didn’t know what to do with a gay son, but he did the best he could. And, when the time came to marry Carlos, and we decided to go west to Washington to do it, it made my Dad’s day. I think he was more excited than we were, more proud that we were doing it. I wish every gay person could have a Dad like mine, who sees that change is good, and sees that not everyone is the same — even in your own family — but who loves you all just the same.

I am thankful for cold mornings and blue skies.

I am thankful for small dogs and cats because, well, I'm bigger than them and I will always beat them. Just channeling Joan Crawford and Christina at the pool.

I am thankful for......Carlos. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to have him; even the days when he makes me insane …. More insane? … I realize I’d rather be driven nuts by him than not to have him at all. I am thankful for the smirk he gives me; I am thankful for the look of horror on his face when I bust out in a showtune; I am just plain thankful. I don’t know where I’d be, or who I’d be, if I hadn’t met him all those years ago.

I am thankful to my Mom, especially today. Thanksgiving was always her holiday; cooking for her family was my mother’s greatest joy and a great gift to all of us. I am thankful that I can keep that tradition alive, and can see my Mom in that.

I am thankful for leaves changing color and drifting to the ground on a breeze.

I am thankful for music and pets and soft blankets and breathing and speaking, and having a voice when I speak.

I am thankful for thinking being feeling loving living.

For Life.

And all it encompasses.

To Life.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Architecture Wednesday: Butte Residence

I don’t know much about this house, but I know there’s a lot of land attached to it: 38-acres to be exact.

Thirty-eight acres on a butte in Jackson, Wyoming overlooking the confluence of the Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers, with panoramic views of the Teton Mountain Range and National Parks.

The house itself seems suited to the land, all 7,600 square feet—in addition to a separate artist’s studio—of it, with the gentle curves of the roofline, and the use of wood and stone; not to mention glass, since there seems to be a breathtaking view from each and every room.

But I keep going back to thirty-eight acres and, in the horror movie that runs like a loop through my mind, the thought that, in Wyoming, on 38 acres, no one can hear you scream.

But at least it’s pretty …

Today In Christian Love: Women Who Have Sex Before Marriage Are 'Filthy Dishrags'

At Lancaster Baptist Church in California, one of those mega-churches — because a sign that you truly love God is to attend services with 5,000 devotees — Pastor Paul Chappell decided to tackle the issue of premarital sex, asking:
"One wonders, whatever happened to purity?"
Interesting topic, I thought, though clearly a topic more suited to America circa 1957 than America in 2014, but, you know, whatever. But then the not-so-good pastor went a step further, and wondered about the women who engage in premarital sex, calling the “filthy dishrags.”
"Whatever happened to that? Whatever happened to the days when girls said, 'I'm not going to be touched by every guy? I'm not going to walk down the aisle like a filthy dishrag on my wedding day.' Whatever happened to that day?"
I kina wondered what he thought about men who engaged in premarital sex. I imagine, Chappell thinks they’re real men, high fiving one another because they just boned their girlfriend or something. But Chappell doesn’t seem to realize that the women he calls filthy dishrags are having sex with men, so why no name-calling for the masculine gender?
He says his rant, and name-calling, was spurred on by criticism of his church's purity pledge:
“There is a standard in this church that the dresses are going to come down to the knee when a lady stands up here. They call me old-fashioned ... I’ve counseled too many men to know that if we don’t have everything covered just right they’re not going to be thinking about wonderful grace and Jesus.”
And some men in the crowd actually shouted "amen" to that, though I wonder how many filthy dishrags those men had gotten into during their lives. Before their wedding day; heck, maybe some of these men even married the filthy dishrag though why one would ever buy the cow … yada yada yada.

Chappell also ranted about the way women dress, especially at wedding and funerals:
“I get so sick and tired of going to weddings and, it’s the bride’s day, and here’s some Jezebel with hardly any clothes on strutting around the wedding, Look – you come to a wedding around here, show some respect to the bride. You go to a funeral ... women do the exact same thing. You come to the house of God, it ought not to be a flesh show!”
But Pastor, how are the men in your congregation ever gonna find that good woman if they don’t go through a Baker’s Dozen or so of those half-dressed filthy dishrags shaking their groove thangs on the dance floor at a wedding; or, I would imagine, bending over provocatively at the buffet after the funeral.

Pastor Chappell needs to wake up and quit shaming women for premarital sex because, as I said, unless these women are having battery-operated sex, or having girl-on-girl sex, then there are an awful  lot of men out there dirtying up the dishrags without fear of reprisal from Chappell's pulpit.
via NCRM

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Transgender Lives Matter

One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou:
The ache for home lives in all of us, that safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
As gay people, sometimes we cannot go home, because we are questioned, we are disowned, we are denied. And because of that, we often create a new family — because our birth families have shunned us — out of a group of friends, gay or straight.

I was lucky, though. While I believe that my parents may have a hard time realizing they had a gay son, it didn’t take them long to realize that a gay son was still their son, still to be loved, still to be family.

That didn’t happen for Jennifer Gable. Not in life, and most certainly not in death.

Jennifer Gable was a 32-year-old transgender woman who lived in Idaho and worked at a Wells Fargo bank. Although born a man, she had been living as a female, her true self, for the past few years and, last month, while at work, she suffered an aneurysm and died on the job.

That’s heartbreaking; what happened next was disgusting.

When her friends and co-workers attended Jennifer’s funeral, they were stunned to find an open casket, with Jennifer presented as a man – dressed in a suit, with her long cut off.
In fact, the funeral wasn’t for their friend; it was for Geoffrey Charles Gable. That’s the name in the obituary that Jennifer’s family sent to the local paper:
Geoffrey Charles Gable, 32, Boise, passed away suddenly on October 9, 2014 while at his job at Wells Fargo Bank.
He was born in Twin Falls on January 27, 1982 to Anthony Clark Gable and Lori Ann Walton.
Geoff and his brother, Steven, were raised from toddlers by their maternal grandparents, George and Joan Walton.
He attended Morningside Elementary School, O’Leary Junior High and graduated from Twin Falls High School in the year 2000.
He was married to Ann Arthurs in 2005 in Hawaii. They were later divorced.
Geoff grew up as a member of the Twin Falls First Christian Church, where he was baptized in 1996.
She was erased. There was no Jennifer; there was Geoffrey and there was ‘he’ in the obituary and ‘him’ in the obituary and ‘his’ in the obituary.

Meghan Stabler, a board member of Human Rights Campaign who had assisted Gable when she transitioned called it an “erosion’:
“Just erosion of her identity and an old photograph of how the father perceived her to be. I only knew her online. She reached out to me a couple of years ago when she was in transition. The usual: What do I need to worry about at work? Am I going to be OK? Is life going to be better? Can you assure me everything is going to be OK?”
And everything was okay until Jennifer passed away, and then her family made her out to be what they wanted her to be, a man, and not who Jennifer was: Jennifer.
“She had done what she needed to do legally to be seen as her authentic self. Her father erased her identity either though ignorance or arrogance.” — Meghan Stabler
Even the death certificate listed Jennifer Gable as male. But she wasn’t male, she was female, and no matter what her ‘family’ — the one into which she was born — wants to think, she will be Jennifer Gable in the hearts and minds of the family that truly loved her, and knew her, and wanted her.

RIP Jennifer Gable.

Black Lives Matter

I am not a black man in America.

I am just a man in America who's tired of seeing black men gunned down in the streets because they were "in the wrong place at the wrong time" or they were 'walking while black."

I am tired of seeing people, and dare I say it, mostly white people shrug when they hear the news. When you shrug at the news that means you find it acceptable; it isn’t. Stop shrugging.

I am tired of The Conversation because every time this happens we have The Conversation and then we go right back to talking about the latest Kim Kardastrophe — that is NOT a misspelling — or whatever piece of fluff passes for news that day. Not having The Conversation is the same as shrugging; nothing is accomplished, nothing changes. Nothing is said until the next black man lies dead in the street.

It's time we stopped killing people in the streets, mostly black men, whether they be innocent or guilty. It's time to stop assuming that because a man is black he is automatically a threat, automatically guilty, automatically dead.

We cannot keep letting this happen, and keep talking about it, and then do nothing to stop it. That’s insane.

Racism is a problem in this country, even though we — well, some of us — pat ourselves on the back for electing a black president. We’ve seen how that’s played out over the last six years.

All I can think about is that if Michael Brown was a young white man shot by a black police officer, we’d be having a whole different reaction to this story.

That's not America, and that's not right.

Have the conversation. Do something. Black lives matter.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ty Herndon Comes Out ... Then Billy Gilman Does, Too

After nearly two decades in country music and after nearly twenty years of speculation over his sexual orientation, Ty Herndon has come out as gay:
"I have an awesome relationship that I've been in for a good number of years. I] love him very much and he loves me."
Herndon was married twice in the past and revealed that both is ex-wives knew he was gay when they married him; sounds like marriages of convenience to stave off the rumors of his homosexuality.
"I had a lot of people around me that I trusted at a time and I was like, 'Hey, you know this about me but the world doesn't. So I'm gonna need to call on your services for a little while.' It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that's what I had to do to have my career. Standing on some pretty solid legs today, so I get to tell my truth today."
Truth. That’s what it means; being able to be yourself, love yourself, and let everyone know exactly who you are, damn the torpedoes.
"I've dreamed about being in country music since I was 6 years old. It's my life, it’s what I do, it's who I am, and I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be to be a country star."
Rumors began circulating about Herndon's sexuality back in 1995, when an undercover male police officer alleged that Herndon exposed himself in a park where he’d gone to buy crystal meth:
"I wish I had really great recall or memory about that. I think I had been up for like 6 days doing drugs the night and the day was really a huge blur for me."
Now fully clean and sober, Herndon is looking forward to a future with Matt, his partner of five years.

Happiness, truthfulness; it’s all in those two words: I‘m gay.

And then, hours later, it happened again …

On the heels of Ty Herndon’s coming out, fellow country music performer Billy Gilman announced that he, too, is gay.

He had his Coming Out on YouTube, and during the five-and-a-half-minute long video, Gilman credited his friend Ty Herndon for making his road a little easier to follow. But, at the same time, he talked about the mere rumor that he might be gay hurt his career, and likely cost him a record deal:
“I threw a showcase in Nashville, and no major label showed. … It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist or a gay person, but it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that I’m in a genre and an industry that’s ashamed of me for being me.”
Several months ago, a reporter took a picture of Gilman and his partner. He says at that moment he knew what he needed to do.
“It was in that moment that I knew that I’d rather it be from me, than you reading it from somewhere else. I can honestly say I’m scared to death.”
Scared, sure, because you never know what the future holds for you, especially in the country music arena.

I mean, look at it: it appears that Ty Herndon was encouraged to get married twice to maintain a heterosexual image; it seems that just the rumor that Billy Gilman was gay stopped him from signing with a major Nashville record label even though he’d been a very popular child star in country music.

And then there’s Chely Wright.

In the late 90's, after years of singing in Nashville, Chely Wright had her first Number One country hit, "Single White Female".  She followed that up with three other top 10 hits and sold over a million singles in the United States. She made her first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on September 16th, 1989 and made many subsequent appearances, especially after having that Number One. But, since coming out as gay in 2010, Chely Wright she has not once been invited back to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, even though she was considered a regular, pre-2010.

The good news is, that may be changing, slowly. Ty Herndon notes that he’s seeing increased support for gay country singers, and the LGBT community in Nashville and Country Music:
"Traditionally in country music, we don't see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that's changing so much. Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness… Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for [the lyrics] 'follow your arrow, wherever it points' and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song."
So, maybe there is hope that gay country artists can record music, can be openly gay, and can be invited back to the Grand Ole Opry.

Failing that, at least allow the good folks at Homo HQ to offer a big “Howdy” and a “Welcome Out” to Ty and Billy, and to make sure they receive the Obligatory Coming Out Toaster Oven and a copy of The Gay Agenda.

Welcome out, boys, welcome out.
Billy Gilman

WTF? Heidi Klum ... Thank Goddess Miss Ross Saved Me

Heid Klum at the American Music Awards last night and all I could think is, Is this the winning look from a designer on Project Runway: Garbage Heap?

Seriously. It looks like a sequinned Ace bandage wrapped around a black sheet worn over bike shorts. And do not get me started on those Project Runway: Gluegun Shoes she's got on and that WTF length..

She's supposed to be a fashion model, not a fashion for-the-love-of-Chanel-don't-do-this.

I thought I was gonna be sick so I took a look at Miss Ross at the same event. Diana Ross will be 70 next year and she is out-rocking anyone and everyone on the carpet last night.

Work those feathers, Miss Ross!!

Well, Isn't That Convenient?

For over two years we’ve listened to the GOP squawk about Benghazi like a gaggle of parrots demanding a cracker, and now this? For two years the GOP has used Benghazi as a wedge to divide this country, to run their campaigns on, to denigrate the President and the Secretary of State, and now this? For two years, every time something good happened in this country — like better jobs numbers, lower unemployment, a rising stock market, a healthy economy — the GOP began shrieking Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! and now this?

The Republicans have spent untold amounts of money investigating Benghazi, and then investigating the investigation into Benghazi, and then denying the outcome of each and every investigation when it didn’t jibe with their viewpoint that it’s all some conspiracy being manipulated by the illegal immigrant in the White House, and now this?

Now that the Midterm Elections are over, the House Intelligence Committee — and I won’t make a joke about that — has wrapped up its Benghazi investigation and released their shocking report just moments before the GOP scurried home for their Thanksgiving Day break. And what does it show?

Did it show that the White House sat on intelligence that could have prevented the attack, something the GOP has muttered all along? No, it did not. Did it show that Hillary Clinton's State Department bungled the response to the initial protests in Cairo, which resulted in the attack and the deaths? No, it did not. Did it show, as the GOP has been saying it would for over twenty-four months, that the CIA bungled the military response to the attacks? No, it did not.

It shows the White House and the State Department and the CIA did absolutely nothing wrong, something we have known all along. But the GOP kept on until the midterm elections were safely past and until after Obama’s immigration speech so it would be basically ignored. And now, suddenly, after two years of everyone in the GOP calling the President and the Secretary of State and the CIA a bunch of liars, we’ve learned that the GOP was … wait for it … wrong. Again.

It's not that the committee found nothing to criticize because they did; the State Department facility in Benghazi had inadequate security, and some of the early intelligence after the attacks was inaccurate, and maybe the CIA should have given more weight to eyewitnesses on the ground. But those criticisms were fully acknowledged by the first investigations.

The GOP was wrong, and they basically knew it after the first investigation but they kept at it like a dog with a bone.  There is no scandal — except for the one every Thursday night at (PM, EST — and there never was, but one Republican, who I tend to see of as more like a rabid closeted homosexual dog with a bone, will not accept the findings of his own party, or of any investigation into Benghazi because he says he knows better.

South Carolina’s own Good Old Boy, Lindsey “I am not a Homosexual” Graham has refused … refused I say, refused … to accept that the new House Benghazi report that has cleared both Obama and Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing in its response to the Benghazi attack.
"I think the report is full of crap."
Graham foot-stomped and head-snapped all over TV this past weekend, insisting that members of the Obama administration altered the Benghazi talking points after the attack.
"I'm saying that anybody who has followed Benghazi at all knows that the CIA deputy director did not come forward to tell Congress what role he played in changing the talking points and the only way we knew he was involved is when he told a representative at the White House, I'm going to do a hard review of this, a hard rewrite."
When CNN host Gloria Borger told Graham, again, that the House report concludes that the administration received bad information at first and did not lie, he hissed:
"That's a bunch of garbage. That's a complete bunch of garbage."
Hell hath no fury like Miss Lindsey scorned, especially when she was hoping to use Benghazi as a weapon if she decides to run against Hillary Clinton for the presidency in 2016.

Someone get the smelling salts.