Saturday, May 18, 2013
Virginia law, passed in February 2012, allows private adoption agencies to refuse same-sex couples or gay people to adopt children based on private or religious beliefs, according to a Washington Blade story in February, 2012, here.
But on Friday, Equality Virginia pointed out the apparent hypocrisy in Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s “Campaign for 1000” to find a thousand more families to adopt children in the Commonwealth.
One out of four foster children not adopted will be incarcerated within two years of turning 18, and 50% will become homeless.
“Lets Get Real” has a story on the adoption push here.
Will we have (again) a world where there is a presumed from everyone a capability to raise and adopt children/
Friday, May 17, 2013
President Obama should issue XO prohibiting contractor discrmination; setting an example for the rest of the world
Could an executive order from the President forbidding any federal contractor discrimination based on sexual orientation pave the way, in practical terms, to Congress’s being willing to pass ENDA (the Employment N on-Discrimination Act), introduced in 1993.
So suggests Jeffrey Marburg-Goodman on p. A17 of the Friday Washington Post. The title in print is “Signing on to employment equality”. Online, it’s more specific: “An executive order could end LGBT discrimination in contracts”, link here.
Wouldn’t the official repeal of the military “don’t ask don’t tell” in 2011 put practical pressure on the system to end civilian employment discrimination? We’ve covered he history of security clearances (especially my own) here before. (The CIA has been OK with openly gay enployees since the early 1990s -- as long as it's "open".) In practice, in commercial settings with mainframe information technology , I never experienced any real discrimination after 1974. As an individual contributor, management was most concerned with whether one did his job, Even in “conservative” Dallas in the1980s working for a credit reporting company during the height of the AIDS epidemic publicity, I encountered no problems. I had no direct problems as a civilian employee working for USLICO, a life insurance company that catered to military officers in the 1990s. (I wonder how USAA was then.) Private industry, in my experience, tended to embrace diversity, particularly in Minneapolis after USLICO was bought by NWNL which became ReliaStar, and then ING. ReliaStar had public diversity meetings within the company.
There have existed libertarian philosophical arguments against anti-discrimination ordinances, some of them publicized by GLIL (Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty) in the 1990s, in the newsletter “The Quill” and in press releases (especially an unfortunate one that I recall in 1996). For example, Hooter’s might be jealous of its aggressively heterosexual image. On the other hand, it’s common these days to find heterosexuals (men and women) bartending in gay establishments.
Wouldn’t the lifting of the military ban put a lot of psychological pressure on the Boy Scouts? Maybe it has, but there are residual problems, to be sure. In the 1980s, the BSA actually employed mainframe programmer-analysts and showed up at jobs fairs in Dallas. I didn’t bite.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I just wanted to carry on some thoughts coming behind my “anthropology” exercise yesterday.
That is to note that I did not have the opportunity to be “desired” in social situations where lookism drives the action – drives and discos. I did not visit a gay bar for the first time until March, 1973, at age 29. I remember walking around the block housing Uncle Charley’s South in NYC twice before having the nerve to go in and enjoy the “goody line” (the free Sunday afternoon buffet). I was already balding and less than “perfect”. So I never enjoyed being in the position to command the attention from others with personal charisma and attractiveness from others.
I did, of course, learn the whole body of material about personal growth and the “polarities” as was taught by Paul Rosenfels at the Ninth Street Center in the East Village in New York in the 1970s (now, it is, posthumously, the Paul Rosenfeils Community.
In this line of thinking, selectivity and independence were considered good. And they are. If you can do your own thing – today with the help of the Internet – you are more likely to attract the people you want. That can present a “chicken and egg” problem, as I noted on my main blog Tuesday (May 14).
But “doing your own thing” first requires stability – and externally caused difficulties (natural or hostile) can throw you into interdependence on others in unwelcome ways. Not everyone has the opportunity to achieve things on their own, less be naturally appealing in public venues. So we seem to wind down to a profound social justice problem.
I haven’t been to clubs as much as usual in 2013, for a variety of reasons – including increasing content workload. People do approach me in bars. Maybe a little over half of the approaches are “unwelcome” (but some are). I realize there is a bit of an attitude about this.
Once, back in October 2001 (shortly after 9/11, when people were a little nervous), in a popular Minneapolis bar, an African American woman approached me asking when my birthday was an which birthday it would be. She was protecting someone else from unwanted interest. You can imagine how that felt.
By the way, not being too “popular” in young adulthood may have saved my life. I’m still around. The HIV epidemic, as playwright Larry Kramer (“The Normal Heart”) once said, enforced a kind of reverse Darwinism.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Gay character Will Horton on "Days" shows how homosexuality can actually improve a "tribe's" Darwinian advantage: Anthropology 101
It strikes me that the “Will and Sonny” subplot in “Days of our Lives” says something about “nature” and male homosexuality that, in the grand scheme of things, makes sense to an alien anthropologist.
Will Horton, supposedly about 19 (Chandler Massey) is turning out to be the alpha male, almost like one in a lion pride. He had a quick fling with ex-girl friend Gabi anyway, resulting in her pregnancy, after “ex-con” Nick Fallon (character whom the show has ruined, played by Blake Berris) fell in love with her and announced marriage. It got complicated, but Will also won back the loyalty of his boyfriend Sonny (Freddie Smith), one of the few “sane” or “steady” characters in the show.
So here Will spreads his own genes, to be around a few billion years from now when mankind has to move to Mars, Europa, or Titan because the Sun becomes a Red Giant. And he can enlist two other men besides himself (Sonny and Nick) to help support his daughter and give his own “genes” a competitive advantage in the millennia to follow him. The daughter could have three daddies (although Nickie may well be headed back to jail, given his behavior). What a beautiful strategy for giving your own progeny a competitive advantage. Get another man to feel attracted to you and help you raise your kids, when he won’t have his own.
Will has shown the ability to dominate others before, such as when he went head-to-head and tried to blackmail EJ. Will also might become a chess master. (He needs to play better against the Dragon Sicilian, and maybe the Sveshnikov.)
The bisexual character Nolan Ross in ABC's "Revenge" also offers interesting perspectives on how nature really works. And I guess "Modern Family" gives us some lessons about hidden nature, if we think about it.
Think about it, Most social mammals have “alpha males” and in many species, not all males reproduce. Lions, wolves, and some primates prefer that only a few "fit" males reproduce and carry genes forward. The idea of “alpha male” even crosses species. (In “The Life of Pi”, a teenage boy convinces a tiger to obey him because the tiger figures out he has a better chance of surviving and reproducing himself if he takes orders from the boy when they are at sea.) The boy can make tools and catch fish to feed them both; the big cat cannot.
Nobody can say this is idea for morality, politics, or sociology. But it is certainly natural and happens all the time in the animal world. In human society, left unchecked, it could encourage authoritarianism eventually.
We all know that when we feel “attracted” to someone and that attraction is ratified, it seems like an existential matter, of real importance. The moral problem comes from the need to make a relationship permanent, at least long enough for children to be raised, and now, for parents to be taken care of. It can be a challenge to retain that passion, not only as the partners age, but when misfortune befalls one of them.
Angelina Jolie’s recent decision illustrates that point in the heterosexual world. It’s more likely to be an issue today than it was a half century ago because people live longer and medicine can catch problems and prevent death in people who have the emotional support to accept invasive procedures and changes to their looks. I had a little preview of this back in 1978 myself.
The "equality" debate used to be not so much about same-sex couples, as it was the tension between the "unmarried" and "childless" (higher taxes, often, but more disposable income) and "families with children" (without the marriage penalty). That was the spin in the 90s. Should the childless set themselves aside to raise OPC, other people's children? It often happens in families after tragedies (the "Raising Helen" problem of raising a sibling's children -- also in the ABC TV series "Summerland"). But it can also happen within same-sex couples.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Anderson Cooper has a brief report on the anti-gay rants of a certain Charles Worley at the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC, about 50 miles north of Charlotte, oddly a town where Apple has a major data center.
Cooper interviews a member of the church about the curious anti-logic of Worley’s prescriptions, and gets nowhere with logic. The link is here. I won’t embed this one. Cooper has said before that he doesn't like to run stories on anti-gay religious extremists, because it gives them the attention they crave. But he did it this time.
Bur the Christian Post ran a story in which Worley “justified” his rants, that are on the level of Fred Phelps of Westboro, and even Paul Cameron back in the 1980s. All of this is pretty graphic. It does remind one of the “quarantine” talk of the 1980s, and worse.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Minnesota House approves gay marriage; likely to pass Senate Monday; recalling my own time in Minnesota 1997-2003
The Minnesota House of Representatives in St. Paul has approved gay marriage by a vote of 75-59.
The bill is likely to pass the Minnesota Senate Monday and be signed into law by Democratic (DFL?) governor Mark Dayton.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a detailed story here.
It was not immediately apparent when marriages could occur.
Last November, Minnesota voters turned down a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
This year’s gay pride celebration in Loring Park would certainly be one of the largest ever. In terms of surface area covered, the Twin Cities Pride celebration is one of the largest in the country, as just about every major corporation or non-profit has a booth. It usually occurs the last weekend of June, with website here. In 2002, the Saturday booths endured temperatures of 102F.
I lived in Minneapolis from 1997-2003 and became quite familiar with the community, and with Pride Alive of the Minnesota AIDS Project.
I’m also somewhat familiar with the State Capitol complex in St. Paul. The Libertarian Party sponsored numerous anti-tax rallies on the steps there. And in 1998, when I was injured in a freak accident in a convenience store in downtown Minneapolis, my own attorney happened to be a state representative, so I visited the Capitol at least once.
I also remember the night that Gov. Jesse Ventura was elected as an independent in 1998. I also met Ventura in person at the HRC dinner in the Minneapolis convention center just two weeks after 9/11 in 2001. I remember all those days well.
The Minnesota Senate passed the bill approving gay marriage today.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
New York State agency helps provide care of elder LGBT people; two documentary films on LGBT elders appear
LGBT elderly people in some parts of New York State have a new resource, HCR Home Care, which has been set up in conjunction with the Gay Alliance of the Genessee Valley, as related in this Washington Blade story May 1, here.
The local Gannett "Democrat and Chronicle" has a story (paywall) (website url) here.
LGBT eldercare is slowly gaining attention in the media. On my movies blog, on Sept. 24, the Arlington Agency for Aging (VA) screened the documentary film “Gen Silent” (by Stu Maddox), which is reviewed on my Movies blog at that date.
And the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore will screen “Before You Know It” by P. J. Raval, about three aging gay men in different towns. This wasn’t convenient right now, but I put it in my Netflix Save queue. I don’t yet know whether material in these two films overlaps. The film showed at SXSW. I don’t see a DVD purchase site yet, but I hope it shows up soon for home viewing (possibly with Logo?)
LGBT people are likely to wind up caring for parents or other relatives; older LGBT may lack the experience having raised families of their own when they are “forced” into this filial duty,