Thursday, October 31, 2013

Random Musings

So, if you haven’t heard of Chiwetel Ejiofor — pronounced CHOO-ih-tell EDGE-ee-o-for — you soon will. He recently starred on Broadway in Kinky Boots and will most likely be nominated for, and win, an Oscar for 12 Years A Slave.

But, right now, he can be seen in the Starz showing of a BBC production, Dancing On The Edge, about a fictional jazz band — loosely based on Duke Ellington — in 1930s Great Britain.

The music is fabulous, the story is intriguing and, yes, you knew it, I was gonna go shallow.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is gorgeous; those eyes, that accent. Yum.

Over there to Russia anti-gay president Vladimir Putin is trying to assure everyone that The Gays are welcome in his country:
"We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation."
Just don’t be gay, though, because the Russian law banning 'gay propaganda' still stands.

I am a huge fan of White Collar, even long before Matt Bomer became the next big thing, and came out of the closet. But this season we have a new character on the show, played by the oh-so-delicious Warren Kole. He’s playing the role of Matt Bomer’s character Neil Caffrey’s “handler.”

Wow, If I could get a job handling either of these two I’d be over the moon.

I adore our cats and we have a standing rule in Casa Bob y Carlos:
1) Bob takes care of what goes into the cats and
B) Carlos takes care of what come out of the cats.

Except when Carlos isn’t home and MaxGoldberg leaves a massive hairball in the doorway to the bathroom, making me in charge of that particular HazMat spill.

I don’t necessarily like a hairless cat but I’d love a hairball-less one. Just sayin’.

Lordy lordy lordy, American Horror Story: Coven just gets better every week. I love that the writers and producers don’t tell just one story — witches and voodoo princesses — but talk about both of those things, and racism, and adultery, and, okay, bestiality — sex with a minotaur kinda counts doesn’t it? — and zombies.

Plus, after last week’s show which featured the brilliant Patti LuPone as a religious wingnut, last night we saw the return of Frances Conroy — Season One’s hot-young-old maid — as a member of the council investigating mysterious happenings at the school.

Plus, there was some Leslie Jordan tossed in there as a Quentin Crisp-esque gay witch.

Heaven; or at least a witchy equivalent.

We haven’t seen much of Renee Zellwigger lately — not that I’m complaining, I always thought she was over-rated — and now I think I know why.

Look at that picture: Renee in January on the left, and Rene last month on the right.

Someone looks like someone else. Nip.Tuck.

Halloween; the Great Gay holiday. Not so much for me — that Great Gay Holiday is The Oscars telecast, followed by The Tonys. But, folks like to dress up and so here’s some:

Martha Stewart as Glinda the Good Witch. Leave to Martha to play against type. And Ryan Seacrest, living in the late 80s. I mean how else do you explain why he’d dress as Michael Crawford from the original B’way production of Phantom. Gay. Gaygaygay.  And Adam Lambert as The genie; there’s a lamp that needs rubbing. Kelly Osbourne as a svelte Dame Edna and Fergie and Josh Duhamel as Elvira and RiffRaff — another 80s flashback … I guess there are no new ideas. Hugh Hefner and the Missus, Crystal Harris, as Robin Thicke and Mylie Cyrus — this is even creepier than the original. And last, and least, Derek Hough, spiked hair and guy-liner — I think this is less costume and more half-priced drink night at Boy Bar.

Still, speaking of Hough, let’s dish on his sister Julianne, and her Halloween “costume.” She decided to go as a character called Crazy Eyes from Orange Is The New Black and thought she’d use blackface.

Blackface. In 2013. Either she’s ignorant — and that’s a distinct possibility — or she’s stupid — another thought — or she knew that by going out in an offensive blackface moment she’d be going Mylie Cyrus on us and having everyone talk about her.

I mean, seriously, she didn’t think this was wrong on every level? And the person who applied the makeup didn’t think it was offensive? And her friends thought this was appropriate?

No, I think she knew it would cause a stir and get her name in the media and then she’d say sorry and we’d forgive.

I don’t. She’s offensive and stupid.

 “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Now, Guy Fieri. The platinum-spiked-haired-not-gay-ALLEGEDLY Food Network host. Last night , after a flight back from San Francisco with his hairdresser, Ariel Ramirez, the two men got into a drunken brawl in the front seat of an SUV with the hairdresser shrieking at Guy, “You’re a f**king d**khead.”

Sometimes these things just write themselves.

Carry on.

Kanye West, fashion designer and “real” person.

A few years ago, Kanye teamed up with Louis Vuitton to design and sell sneakers that ranged in price from $840 to $1,140, Kanye has been known to drop a buttload of cash on his wardrobe, as every good gay with money is known to do.

But now Kanye is singing a different tune, because now he keeps shrieking about how expensive LV clothes and accessories cost; he says the prices are “too extreme” and as a result, he will no longer design for the company.

But he did design a plain white T for A.P.C that sells for $120.00.

Delusional say what?

Friday night is Grimm night at our house. We loves some Grimm and some David Giuntoli.
But, recently, the man who plays his captain, the actor Sasha Roiz, is piquing my interest. 

Hotness.

And now we have Dracula, starring the, for me at any rate, oozing-with-sex-appeal Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Vlad.

Bite me. Please.

Celine Dion has a new album out and she will be all over TV shrieking and squawking about it.
I broke my ear plugs out of mothballs.

Seriously, after Titanic all I thought of what t hat I didn’t want her heart to go on.

Just go away.


Repost: LGBT History Month: This Is Us*

* originally posted October 31, 2009

When I was an in-the-closet queerling, living in Sacramento, I remember reading this Letter to The Editor in the Sacramento Bee and it has always stuck with me.  The anonymous writer was responding to another Letter in which homosexuality was called a 'soul-deadening' perversion.

This is that writer's response:
Is homosexuality a ‘soul-deadening’ perversion? Let’s try an experiment:
I’m going to rip out the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling; burn Handel’s Messiah; slash the Mona Lisa; bury Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’; incinerate every Tchaikovsky score; torch every Greta Garbo film; ban every Bessie Smith song; and grind every Marlene Dietrich performance to dust.
Then we can evaluate what kind of ‘soul-deadening’ world we would live in without gay people.
So, here we are, the last day of LGBT History Month and I thought I'd put up a snapshot or two of who we are as a community. And when you hear or read that being gay is an awful thing, that we are all going to hell because of who we love, when we don't deserve the same rights and privileges as every other American, remember where we came from, who we were, who we are, and who we will be.....

This is us [at least up until 2009]:

Larry Kramer, Suze Orman, Jared Polis, George Takei; Ian McKellan, Cole Porter, Alan Turing, Dan Solmonese; Paul Monette, Andy Warhol, Peter Paige, Alice B. Toklas; Tracy Chapman, Matthew Shepard, Esera Tuaolo, Neil Patrick Harris; Marc Shaiman, Wanda Sykes, Rudy Galindo, Dave Koz; Martina Navritilova, Bob Paris, Rosie O'Donnell, Greg Louganis; T.R. Knight, James Whale, Dale Peck, Gregory Maguire; Dan Matthews, Rufus Wainwright, Bishop Gene Robinson, David Hyde Pierce; Margaret Mead, RuPaul, Randy Shilts, David Sedaris; Ethan Morrden, Mark Pocan, Vito Russo, Ned Rorem; Charles Perez, Gertrude Stein, Gore Vidal, Jimmy Somerville; Bill T. Jones, Christopher Isherwood, Andrew Holleran, Rock Hudson; Chaz Bono, Thomas Mann, Barney Frank, Cleve Jones; Kelly McGillia, Stephen McCauley, Bruce Vilanch, Tab Hunter; James Dale, Thom Gunn, David Cicciline, Walt Whitman; Judy Gold, Tom Ford, Frida Kahlo, Ellen DeGeneres; Alberta Hunter, Lily Tomlin, Noel Coward, Sam Harris; Nathan Lane, Janis Joplin, Bessie Smith, George Michael; Alan Cumming, Harvey Fierstein, Sara Gilbert, Ma Rainey; Harry Hay, Anthony Perkins, George Nader, Sheila Kuehl; Dan Choi, Oscar Wilde, David Hockney, Candace Gingrich; Lea DeLaria, Armistead Maupin, Joe Orton, B.D. Wong; William Haines, k.d. lang, Ramon Navarro, Pedro Zamora; Quentin Crisp, Caesar Romero, Felice Picano, Cherry Jones; Tom Ammiano, John Barrowman, Bryan Batt, Kate Clinton; Mario Cantone, Michael Callan, Robert Gant, Willa Cather; Harvey Milk, Tallulah Bankhead, Edward Albee, Angela Davis; Rudolph Nureyev, Cynthia Nixon, Edmund White, Liberace; Montgomery Clift, Ian Roberts, Stephen Fry, Jodie Foster.....

........and the march goes on....

On This Day In LGBT History

October 31, 1968 – Silent film star Ramon Novarro was found murdered. A bathroom mirror had the words “US GIRLS ARE BETTER THAN FAGGITS” smeared with blood. Hustler Paul Ferguson and his brother Tom Ferguson were convicted of the murder and both received life sentences. During the trial, Novarro’s sexual orientation was called into question with more vigor than the guilt or innocence of the defendants.

October 31, 1969 – Time magazine ran a cover story on “The Homosexual in America” that included a report on the Stonewall Riots. It was protested by the Gay Liberation Front because the writer said homosexuals are mentally ill and immoral.

October 31, 1977 – Halloween brings thousands of queer-bashers to Toronto’s Yonge Street looking for the annual drag parade. Gay representatives meet with police beforehand to try to prevent crowd from gathering. Operation Jack-o’-Lantern, a gay street patrol is organized to monitor situation but police do little to control crowd.

October 31, 1980 – For the first time, Toronto police do not allow queer-bashers and spectators to congregate outside St Charles Tavern to wait for drag queens. Traffic and pedestrians are kept moving with help of large numbers of police officers. Not a single egg thrown.

October 31, 1987 – The Associated Press reported that several nursing homes in King County Washington were under investigation for refusing to accept AIDS patients or those suspected of being likely to have been exposed to HIV.

October 31, 1992 – The coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights held a march in London.

Finding A Way Into Acceptance

Lynn Koval and her sister, Lysa Broussard, wanted to pen a business in South Mississippi. It sounded like a good idea, except they wanted to pen a gay bar in South Mississippi where, Lynn Koval says she’s seen five gay bars fail in the past decade.

Not good business, maybe, but the sisters went ahead with their plan and opened Just Us Lounge on Division Street in Biloxi — which is where yours truly was born, by the way … not in the bar, I mean, but in Biloxi. But one thing they did a little differently than other gay bars in town, was that they decided to give back to the community in any and every way they could. 

In fact, for the past 13 Christmases, Just Us Lounge has adopted every South Mississippi Angel Tree child with HIV or AIDS and the bar buys those kids every single thing on their “wish list.” Just Us Lounge has also donated turkeys to the Back Bay Mission in Biloxi and often host all kinds of benefits in their bar. Last month, Just Us hosted a benefit night for Walk for Down Syndrome and all the money from the cover charge was donated to the organization. Lysa Broussard hopes the benefit becomes an annual fundraiser.
"We are a viable resource, not just for the LGBT community but the entire community – period. As long as we can meet overhead, our goal is to give back to our community."—Lynn Koval
And for the record, Just Us has been in business since 1998 in Biloxi, and in 1999 the sisters merged Just Us with another bar Sanctuary. They wanted Just Us to provide a safe social gathering place for the LBT community in South Mississippi, but when the bar opened the sign out front welcomed all people, gay and straight.

Now, it wasn’t always nice and sweet. When Just Us first opened fifteen years ago, Lynn Koval was greeted at the front door by three hanging nooses; the bar has also been protested by white supremacists, but Lynn and Lysa weren’t giving up.
"I told my staff that if a Molotov cocktail didn't come through our doors the first year, we would be open for 20 years-plus."—Lynn Koval
And they’re closing in on that mark, making the club open to the entire community, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. And they’ve hosted all kinds of people over the years, including Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway and LGBT servicemen and women who are stationed at nearby Keesler Air Force Base — where, yes, I was born.

Lysa Broussard says that the key to the success of Just Us, when many other gay bars have failed, is because of the unique Coast community, which she calls a more accepting melting pot community than is found in other parts of the state.

I don’t remember much about my time in Mississippi, not because I blocked it out, but because my family moved to California when I was six months old, but I’ve always been annoyed by the ignorance of some folks in the state, the bigotry, racism and homophobia of some people in the state.

Still it’s a pleasant surprise to hear of such an accepting place down in the southernmost part of a southernmost state where being gay isn’t any different, where the gays bars are community supporters, where people help one another out no matter your race or gender or orientation.


I might wanna go check out my birthplace, and a bar or two, as an adult one day. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Architecture Wednesday: The Carriage House

Don't get your hopes up.

This 1870s Italianate Victorian in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco is not the house we'll be seeing today. But this house, built on one of the largest city lots in Pacific heights is home to the home we'll be seeing: the addition of a carriage house--that's it, back there, through the openig on the right--built in 1920, that sat dilapidated and unused until the current owners purchased the home.

The entire carriage house was completely gutted and reinvented with a sleek, modern interior, while making much needed improvements to the historic exterior. It was repurposed as an extension of the family’s living room with a new high-end Bulthaup kitchen, the garden was renovated to be more welcoming and useful to the family. 

A gracious deck and staircase befitting of the historic nature of the house was built off of the main drawing room providing a much need link between house and garden. Rows of trees and strategic planting separate the parking area from the garden, which also serves as a sport court. Subtle score lines in the concrete and blue stone patterns define a basketball “key”, while also blending in with the overall diagonal concrete score pattern. An outdoor shower and hot tub complete the concept of garden oasis within the busy city.

Oasis, indeed.

As always, click to emBIGGERate

source

Repost: LGBT History Month: "The Puppy Episode"*

*originally posted October 30, 2009

"The Puppy Episode."

It sounds completely innocent, and perhaps that was the reason for the title, but it turned out to be anything but......It was the episode of the TV show Ellen, when Ellen Morgan comes out of the closet and brought Ellen DeGeneres with her.

Ellen had been on for three years, and both Ellen DeGeneres and the writers and producers, were unhappy with the lack of focus in the show. It wasn't the usual single-girl-sitcom-about-the-trials-and-tribulations-of-dating; one producer suggested that since Ellen Morgan showed no inclination toward dating, she should get a puppy.

Executive producer Mark Driscoll:
"It was an indication of just how lost the show was that network executives would be excited by Ellen buying a puppy."
 But then it took on a life of its own, and soon "The Puppy Episode" was born, though it had nothing to do with dogs.

In the summer of 1996 DeGeneres and the shows other writers began negotiating with ABC, and its parent company Disney, to have Ellen Morgan come out during season four. Word of the secret negotiations leaked in September of that year, sparking a storm of speculation as to whether the character, the actress, or both would come out.

Disney rejected the first draft of the script, though not because it would be controversial; Disney exec Dean Valentine said the story did not go far enough. With Disney fully onboard, "The Puppy Episode" was written, and ABC announced on March 3, 1997 that Ellen Morgan would be coming out.

But all wasn't happy and, well, gay, at the time. Believe it or not, there were some people who were upset that Ellen Morgan was going to utter those words...."I'm gay." The studio received bomb threats and phone calls came in declaring that anyone and everyone associated with that show would be going to Hell. And even people in the entertainment industry questioned the need for Ellen Morgan to come out.
"I did it selfishly for myself and because I thought it was a great thing for the show, which desperately needed a point of view."—Ellen DeGeneres
DeGeneres began dropping hints in the episodes leading up to "The Puppy Episode" that she was planning to come out on the show and in real life, including such sight gags as opening the show with Ellen Morgan actually coming out of a closet; and DeGeneres even kissed k.d. lang while presenting her with an award at a Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center function in early 1997.

Finally, in April 1997, came the Time magazine cover, featuring Ellen DeGeneres uttering the words, "Yep, I'm Gay." Ellen, and then-girlfriend [and future crazy] Anne Heche, appeared on Oprah the day "The Puppy Episode" aired to discuss their relationship.

Ellen was out. And Ellen was out.

"The Puppy Episode" and Ellen DeGeneres' coming out generated enormous publicity before the show even aired. Right-wing-nut groups like the American Family Association [AFA] pressured ABC to drop the storyline and urged Ellen sponsors not to advertise. Two such advertisers, J. C. Penney [sidenote: in 2012 JCP hired Ellen to do an advertising campaign for them] and Chrysler, decided not to buy time during the episode, and another, Wendy's, decided not to advertise on Ellen ever again.

This was just twelve fifteen years ago, people.

Of course, even asshat Jerry Falwell had to get in the picture, and took to calling Ellen DeGeneres, "Ellen Degenerate", to which DeGeneres responded, "I've been getting that since the fourth grade. I guess I'm happy I could give him work."

Still, support for Ellen and Ellen was huge. GLAAD organized "Come Out With Ellen" house parties, and the Human Rights Campaign [HRC] created "Ellen Coming Out House Party" kits that included invitations, posters and an Ellen trivia game. HRC initially planned to send out 300 kits, but response was overwhelming, and they upped that number to over 3,000.

When ABC affiliate WBMA in Birmingham, Alabama, citing that old chestnut "family values", asked for the networks permission to air the show in a late-night slot, ABC refused; the affiliate then refused to air the episode at all and the local LGBT organization Pride Birmingham arranged for a satellite feed of the episode and rented a 5,000-seat theatre for a viewing party, which sold out. Activists in Abilene, Texas circulated a petition requesting that their affiliate, KTXS, not air the episode but were unsuccessful.

"The Puppy Episode" was the highest-rated episode ever of Ellen, drawing some 42 million viewers; it won an Emmy for Best Comedy Writing, and won a Peabody Award for Excellence in Television, and a GLAAD Media Award.

Ellen Morgan's coming out has been described as "the most hyped, anticipated, and possibly influential gay moment on television" and is credited with paving the way for such LGBT-themed shows such as Will and GraceThe L WordUgly Betty and others. It has also been suggested that Ellen and these other series have helped to reduce societal prejudice against LGBT people.

Following "The Puppy Episode", Ellen was renewed for another season, but ABC, possibly faced with more advertisers withdrawing, began to preface each episode with a parental advisory warning.

DeGeneres criticized the network for including the warnings, telling Entertainment Weekly: "It was like this voice like you're entering some kind of radiation center. It was very offensive, and you don't think that's going to affect ratings?"

DeGeneres further noted hypocrisy on the part of ABC which aired episodes of The Drew Carey Show and Spin City, featuring two men kissing, with no disclaimers at all. Was it because the men, and their characters were heterosexual, and so the joke was okay?

So, many say, Ellen DeGeneres took it a step further. Episodes after "The Puppy Episode" dealt almost solely with LGBT issues: Ellen coming out to her parents and boss, quitting her job at the bookstore and finding a series of new jobs, searching for a girlfriend, and learning more about the LGBT community.

Even some members of the LGBT community criticized this new Ellen. Chastity Bono, working for GLAAD at the time, was quoted as saying, "[Ellen] is so gay it's excluding a large part of our society. A lot of the stuff on it is somewhat of an inside joke. It's one thing to have a gay lead character, but it's another when every episode deals with specific gay issues." Bono would later say her comments were taken out of context.

Ellen was canceled after its fifth season.

With the cancellation of Ellen, DeGeneres went back to stand-up comedy, where she had begun her career, and returned to television in 2001 with the short-lived The Ellen Show, in which her character Ellen Richmond was openly lesbian from the start. She has since found enormous success with her talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Speaking of "The Puppy Episode" and its aftermath, DeGeneres said:
"It was a huge step in my life. I think people sensed the honesty in it. I think it helped a lot of people, and still to this day I hear about parents and children being able to have an honest conversation through watching that show. That's ultimately what television can be: It can get conversations started."
I agree. I was out, way out, when this show aired, but I teared up when Ellen Morgan uttered those words, because I had teared up the first time I uttered them. And I teared up because this was one of the first times I had seen one of 'us' on TV who wasn't a joke, or a villain, or dying of AIDS.

It was a gay character, just a normal gay character. And I'll always remember the one line I loved even more than the coming out line; it happens when Ellen Morgan tells her therapist that no one gives you a cake with the words "Good For You, You're Gay" on it. And when she finally admits that she is gay, her therapist says those words to her.

I say that to everyone I know who's come out since that show aired:
"Good for you. You're gay."
And the march goes on.

On This Day In LGBT History

October 30, 1976 – The first gay civil rights group in Quebec, Association pour les droits de la communauté gaie du Québec (ADGQ) is formed.

October 30, 1987- A panel discussion on gays and the constitution was held during the inauguration of the new Lesbian and Gay Studies Center at Yale University.

October 30, 1992 – New Ways Ministry, a Mt. Rainier Maryland group led by three Roman Catholic bishops, announced it would release a statement of disagreement with the Vatican’s call for gays and lesbians to be barred from becoming adoptive or foster parents, teachers, coaches, or military personnel. 1,500 lay persons signed the statement.

ISBL Asshat of the Week: Jim Wheeler

I’ve often made fun of the Teabaggers on this here bloggy thing, calling them everything from illiterate — seriously, have your scene there sines ::sarcasm::: seen their signs— to stupid, moronic, asshatted, and sometimes dangerous.

Jim Wheeler fits all of those categories and more which is why he is a hands down winner of the coveted — coveted? — ISBL Asshat of the Week Award™.

Wheeler, a Nevada assemblyman, has come under fire recently for a YouTube video in which he is heard telling gathering of Republicans that he would vote to allow slavery if that’s what his constituents wanted him to do.
"If that's what they wanted, I'd have to hold my nose ... they'd probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah." — Assemblyman Jim Wheeler
Of course both sides, I mean the GOP and the Democrats, but not the Teabaggers themselves who might see Wheeler as their ‘Golden Child’ have denounced Wheeler and his stupidity.
"Assemblyman Wheeler's comments are deeply offensive and have no place in our society. He should retract his remarks and apologize." — Nevada Governor, and Republican, Brian Sandoval
Nevada Senator, and a Republican, Dean Heller called the Wheeler comments “insensitive and wrong," while Nevada’s Assembly Democratic caucus said they were "reprehensible and disgusting." Senate Minority Leader, Republican Michael Roberson took to Twitter to call Wheeler’s comments "outrageous … embarrassing and … just plain sad" before adding, "It's time for Jim Wheeler to find a new line of work."

I’m kinda thinking if his constituents would ask him to vote for slavery and he would, maybe they should ask for him to vote himself off Teabagistan Island and he would.

Now, though, he’s apologizing, sort of; Wheeler is playing that old ditty, the ♫ ♪ My Remarks Were Taken Out Of Context ♫ jive! He said he was just trying to make a point that he was elected to represent his constituents and he’d do what they wanted.

Um, well, Jim, howsabout saying that instead of saying you’d vote for slavery; see this … I represent the people of my district and I will do whatever they ask … sounds a helluva lot better than … I’d vote for slavery if my constituents wanted me to.

Wheeler now says he’s being falsely being portrayed as a bigot:
"Anyone who knows me knows that I could never vote for something like that. It's disgusting. It's beyond disgusting."
He might be right, but he’s being accurately portrayed as a morn who doesn’t know when to shut his piehole.


And that deserves the title of Asshat Of The Week, which, I like to think, Jim Wheeler’s constituents would vote for if they could.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Texas’ Ultra-Restrictive Abortion Law Partially Struck Down

Wendy Davis, winner
Remember Wendy Davis’ epic filibuster in the Texas legislature during the fight over abortion legislation? Remember that her filibuster forced Governor Miss Ricky Perry to call a second special session in order to allow the Taxes legislature to pass extremely restrictive new abortion laws?

Well, part of that legislation was struck down this week, on the heels of the news that those two special sessions of the Legislature cost the taxpayers in Texas $1.6 million dollars.

Yup, after spending months and months trying to find ways to save money, the Texas Legislature, and Governor Miss Ricky, spent a million-and-a-half dollars to pass legislation that has since been partially struck down.

Miss Ricky, loser
In a state where Governor Miss Ricky — who is certain to try and run at the White House in 2016 — calls himself a fiscal conservative. I guess that means he’s fiscally conservative if he doesn’t care about the issue but when he has a horse in the race — as in telling Texas women what they can and cannot do with their bodies and their healthcare — no expense is too great.

And after spending all that money, US District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the provision in the law that required doctors performing abortions to have an agreement with a local hospital to admit patients, thereby foiling another attempt by the “pro-life” movement to use TRAP [Targeted Regulation ofAbortion Providers] laws to circumvent a woman’s constitutional right to choice.

The Court went on to point out that:
“By requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges, the evidence is that there will be abortion clinics that will close. The record reflects that 24 counties in the Rio Grande Valley would be left with no abortion provider because those providers do not have admitting privileges and are unlikely to get them.”
Of course, this was the legislature and Governor Miss Ricky’s plan all along; to pass a law that did not technically ban abortions, which is a violation of the Constitution, but to instead ban abortions by closing down providers.

Fortunately for Texas women and the pro-choice movement, Judge Yeakel’s ruling was a victory, but it still cost the Texas taxpayers $1.6 million dollars because of their fiscally conservative GOP government is not so fiscally conservative when it comes to certain issues.

Repost: LGBT History Month: Harvey Fierstein*

*originally posted October 29, 2009

Harvey Fierstein is a lot of things; he's been a drag performer, a stage actor, film actor, cartoon character, musical performer, gay rights activist, and playwright. His life is as unconventional as any you might find, as is his success. He's made a career of turning unconventional stories into Broadway sensations. 

In the 1980s, his play Torch Song Trilogy won him two Tony Awards, for Best Actor and for Best Play. In it, Harvey plays a drag queen--a breakthrough piece because it proved that a gay–themed show could turn a profit on Broadway--and in 2002 Harvey Fierstein won another Tony Award for Best Actor, by playing a woman, Edna Turnblad in the musical Hairspray. In between he won a Tony for Best Book of a Musical, for La Cage Aux Folles, giving him the distinction of being only the second person in history to earn four Tony Awards in different categories.

Harvey wanted to be a writer, even way back in high school, and he took every creative writing course he could find. Trouble was, he wasn't so good at it, so he switched to something he knew better: drag. As a 270–pound teenager, Fierstein specialized in impersonations of brassy–voiced Broadway star Ethel Merman, and became a hit in some of New York's lesser–known clubs. he also created his own characters, Virginia Hamm, Kitty Litter, and Bertha Venation, which he took to the clubs. he was doing all this while still in school.

Despite the demands of his busy life, Fierstein gained the attention of Andy Warhol, who cast him in Pork, one of Warhol's few theater productions. The play, in which Harvey played an asthmatic lesbian, had its debut at New York's La Mama Experimental Theater Club in 1971. Soon, Fierstein was writing his own plays, inspired by other La Mama actors who wrote plays for him to perform; Harvey returned the favor by writing his colleagues into his plays, the first of which, International Stud, debuted in 1972. The gay community loved it, but no one, least of all Harvey Fierstein, ever thought his brand of theater would ever make it to Broadway.

A critic dubbed Harvey "the devil come to earth for writing such a horrible thing," and, never one to be stifled by criticism, Harvey continued writing, though, to appease his parents who wished he would earn a steady income, he enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to study art education, earning a BFA in 1973. Fierstein taught briefly, but he couldn't stay out of the theater, and continued working on his plays, writing and staring in his one-act productions. Two of those plays, Fugue in a Nursery and Children First, would be combined with International Stud to form Torch Song Trilogy.

The main character in Torch Song Trilogy is Arnold Beckoff, a drag queen who yearns for an ordinary life, who wants nothing more than to settle down, adopt a child, and live happily ever after. Arnold sees no reason his sexual orientation should hinder that goal. Fierstein based the character on his own experiences as a gay man who wanted to marry his lover, who left him for a woman, who watched his friends be gay bashed, who longed to have a child. The play was hit because everyone, gay and straight, could identify with Arnold, who wanted out of life what most people want.

With his newfound success, Fierstein next took on a musical adaptation of La Cage Aux Folles, writing most of the book on the subway, to and from his appearances in Torch Song. La Cage Aux Folles opened at the Palace Theater in August of 1983 and ran for 1,761 performances. Other plays followed, Spookhouse, Forget Him, and Safe Sex; none as successful as his previous works.

Over the next several years, Fierstein appeared in more than 30 films; he even reprised the role of Arnold in the film version "Torch Song Trilogy." He appeared on television in everything from, yes, "Murder She Wrote" to "Cheers," and voiced the character of Homer Simpson's gay secretary in "The Simpsons." In 2002, he was back on Broadway as Edna Turnblad  in Hairspray.

But Harvey isn't all drag queen and playwright. he's also an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community. He purposely only takes roles that he believes will influence people's opinions about gay people:
"There are times when I don't take roles because I don't want to be perceived a certain way. For example, I was offered the role as the monster in Stephen King's It —a clown who ate children. I wouldn't do it. Even though it was a great role, I felt that I didn't want to be perceived in that way because of the horrible lie that gay people want children. I wasn't even going to put that in the back of people's minds."
Over the years, Fierstein has been a vocal gay–rights activist, speaking out for gay people, queer theater, and AIDS causes. He has been a spokesman for the Services Legal Defense Fund, a group that advocates for the rights of gays and lesbians in the military, and he continues to work for marriage equality and LGBT rights.

The march goes on, sometimes in stilettos and spandex.

And while I've admired Harvey the writer, entertainer, actor, singer, and yes, even dancer, this Harvey is the one I admire most.



On This Day In LGBT History
October 29, 1979 – Gay activists hold “mince-in” at Ontario legislature in Toronto to draw attention to inaction on human rights protections for gays and lesbians.

October 29, 1995 – In Iran, a 31 year old man was convicted of “ugly and improper conduct” and sentenced to twenty lashes for cross-dressing.

October 29, 1997 – Representatives from the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization, and the Gay Lesbian and Straight Educators Network met with House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt to discuss the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and funding for AIDS care and research.

October 29, 1997- US House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt met with several leaders of national gay and lesbian organizations to discuss ways in which the party could assist gay and lesbian candidates through the coming election cycle.

October 29, 1997- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced a bill calling for the extension of health insurance coverage to the domestic partners of US federal employees through the federal employee health program.

October 29, 1997- Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals unanimously overturned Circuit Court Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth’s decision prohibiting a divorced gay man from seeing his children in the presence of his partner.