Saturday, February 26, 2011

Washington Time runs "record rants" that invoke the world of the 50s; Obama appoints openly gay WH social director

Both Jeffrey T. Kuhner and Robert Knight offered interchangeable rants not only against gay marriage but (as Kuhner put it) against “Obama’s homosexual America” in “The Washington Times” commentary last week.  Kuhner’s link (Friday Feb. 25) is here and he talks about a “homosexual society” as a “childless one “doomed to extinction”.

I’m still left with a couple of strong impressions when I see these sorts of tracts. One is the idea that, if others aren’t going to have to play the game of life by “my rules”, then I can’t play it either.  That is, if others have the freedom to enjoy intimacy for its own sake (not just for prolonged support of family and procreation) to the point of same-sex or disparate-aged relationships (“upward affiliation”), then “I” won’t be able to keep a marriage together for a few decades myself and share a family  bed with someone as we go old together.  

Another impression is the logical antithesis of the “equality” (or HRC equal sign) debate. A lot of people see a society as dependent on elimination, almost in the way of ancient Sparta.  Or consider Joseph Nicolosi (he actually appeared on Dr. Phil) whose 2002 book I discussed on Jan. 21, 2009 on my Book Review blog. He speaks of “gender deficit” as if it were part of the measure of a man (and not as Clay Aiken means it), an excuse to cut someone out of participation in society as unworthy. That’s essentially fascist thinking, which ran away in Europe in the 1930s.  Yet, turn that around, and you have a moral objection to “upward affiliation.”
I guess this is “their” opinion.

On a happier note, The Washington Post reports Saturday morning Obama’s appointment of the first male and first openly gay (both, separately) social director for the White House, Jeremy Bernard, 49, in a story by Roxanne Roberts and Manuel Roig-Franzia, link here

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MD state Senate passes gay marriage, overcoming "illogical" objections

The latest word is that the Maryland Senate has OK-ed gay marriage. The bill has to be approved by the House of Delegates to go to the governor, but it would make Maryland the sixth state to approve of same-sex marriage.

Social conservatives made their usual arguments, centered around the importance of raising children. That’s not in dispute, but the “logic flow” in their arguments needs to be parsed.

Since some heterosexual relations don’t result in children (and the attendant responsibilities), it’s more “logical” to day that the “special privileges” for married people should exist only when there are children, or other dependents (like the elderly).  True, in a heterosexual relationship there is a presumption that such responsibility could occur unless specific steps (such as contraception) are taken to prevent it.  But society could just create the same privileges for same-sex couples happen to have responsibilities for children or other dependents.

But then we get into the “birthright” argument, that children deserve two biologically opposite parents. (“The kids are all right”.)  Here, there’s another logical wrinkle. Proponents of gay marriage, besides speaking of immutability, say that gender doesn’t matter as much as commitment and responsibility. True, but the fact of same-sex attraction means that, in an existential sense, gender does matter.

Let’s face it, one reason that the “privileges” or marriage “matters” is that sometimes they do call for subsidy or sacrifice from the unmarried. Hence the debate over equality.  So we hope we can grow up as a culture and accept same-sex marriage.  No matter that in my own life there are “relationships” that I choose for my own (mutual) benefit where I don’t want the state involved at all (and don’t need it).  That won’t change. But what does need to change is an awareness that not everything that happens in life (including family responsibility) comes from the “Axiom of Choice”.  The “Raising Helen” situation happens more often than we think. 

Feb. 26

Two DC area television stations covered the recent marriage in Washington DC of two men in their nineties.  Youth is not everything; Oscar Wilde could be wrong sometimes. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obama DOJ drops defense of DOMA but not of DADT; inconsistency?

Readers may enjoy pondering the Obama administration’s inconsistency today, as the DOJ is not going to continue to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, but still is technically holding on to the remnants of “don’t ask don’t tell” in court. The news release is here.

Okay, maybe it’s part of the “certification” or “continuation” process. But in the meantime, servicemembers’ lives and the nation’s military can continue to be damaged. 

Log Cabin Republicans claims that 31% of gay voters go Republican. 

Also, on Tuesday night, ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington ran a story about male couples raising kids, which has risen from 4% of male couples in 1990 to 16% in 2009.  But in many cases the kids come from previous heterosexual marriages.

On Thursday, Jeffrey Toobin on CNN said that the Obama Administration and its DOJ (Eric Holder) is taking the position that sexual orientation is immutable and therefore discrimination based on it is legally like discrimination based on race or gender. Toobin says the Supreme Court has never maintained that (in "hightened scrutiny" analysis) and may still be unlikely to do so. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AOL reports Reagan allowed "gay sleepovers" (via Colbert show)

AOL offered a video on a website called “TVsquad” today (story website url link), reporting that Ronald Reagan was the first president to allow a “gay sleepover” in the White House. That might please Log Cabin Republicans.

This information came from Eugene Jarecki, director of the recent HBO film “Reagan”, when he appeared on The Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert  (site) took it in. Jarecki also says Reagan raised taxes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ABC presents same-sex couples as parents

ABC Good Morning America reinforced ABC's "Modern Families" by presenting a family with three gay parents, the Berman-Cotlers from Colorado, two women (Holly and Marsha) as partners and a gay man raising twins.  Later a young man now an Eagle Scout testified about being raised by a same-sex couple. Indeed, "The kids are all right."

Also today there was a report that the IRS is recognizing same-sex couples in CA, NV, and WA. I'm not sure how this comports with Proposition 8.  I'll follow up soon.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Problems for those discharged under DADT persist; SLDN holds annual dinner March 19

The gradual end of “don’t ask don’t tell” leaves many issues for soldiers already discharged under the policy, according to a story Monday morning Valentines Day in the Washington Post by Ed O’Keefe.

Soldiers still are haunted by SPN numbers and some still have discharges other than honorable. Some have difficulty finding employment as a result. Some have lost access to veteran’s preference or benefits, And a few are still pursued for recoupment of educational expenses. The story link is here

SLDN (Service Members Legal Defense Network) does have its Annual Dinner this year, Saturday March 19 at the National Building Museum in Washington DC, near Judiciary Square and Union Station. The benefit is pricey: there are limited tickets for $250, and the standard individual ticket this year is $350.  The watchdog  work to be done remains as pressing as ever!  But reasonably (by DC standards) priced hotel accommodations have been made available at the Donovan House nearby, for out of town visitors.  The link is here

Only a few years ago, the Annual Dinners were labeled as "end the witchhunts" and were held at various times, ranging from October to May, sometimes in the Woodley Park area. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Washington Post op-ed makes the case for why "social approbation" for gay marriage really matters

The Washington Post now has a Local Opinions page for op-eds from “ordinary people”, and on page c6 on Sunday February 13 there appears a page an article “Why the world ‘marriage’ matters” by “Jane Rigby Silver Spring”.  The link is here.

The titling of the author threw me, as I saw the words “my wife” as I scanned the article with my eyes (waiting for new glasses, tomorrow).  Usually a piece like this comes from “The Right” but not in the Post.

The author, a lesbian who married in California during the window period before Proposition 8 (I suppose we can compose puns on “Windows 7” and even “Windows 8” now, since the latter is to appear), and she wonders how the debate in Maryland, where a new gay marriage bill percolates again, will turn out (I thought Maryland was recognizing out of state gay marriages, but that is apparently murky again; I’m in Marhsall Newman country, Virginia.)

She writes “Marriage matters, because marriage is how society decides whose relationships matter, and whose don’t….  Marriage is about whether straight people are going to recognize those relationships. It’s how they decide who’s family.”

In the past, my reaction would have been, I’m on my own anyway, I don’t even want the social supports.  I want the freedom.  I recall that great “License Expired” essay in GLIL’s newsletter in the middle 1990s. I remember that the Ninth Street Center (now the Paul Rosenfels Community) in New York City made a lot about doing without the social supports. But it was socially “walled off”, protectively tucked away in the East Village.

My own perspective changed during the past few years as I dealt with my own eldercare challenges, and my mother’s decline, and yes, an estate.  Some years back, there was a dangerous situation where my mother’s care could have been or even was compromised because some people didn’t respect me, her son, as an unmarried and uncommitted gay man. 

As I’ve found, we’ve reached the event horizon for libertarian ideas of individualism and absolute personal sovereignty.  The world the past few years has tested its limits. 

As former Washington Blade editor Chris Crain (now World “Citizen Crain” (blog) wrote back in March 2004, “Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve.” 
Pictures: More from the "bash".  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Anti-gay attitudes in Jamaica lead to requests for asylum while Uganda situation brews

While the press has paid a lot of heed to the horrific anti-gay laws proposed in Uganda (and the recent targeting there), today (Feb. 12), the Washington Post has a story by Shankar Vedantam about gays from Jamaica seeking political asylum in the United States.

Of 92 gays and lesbians who won asylum in 2010, one third were from Jamaica. The article relates an incident where one person here created a Facebook page identifying himself as gay and having links to family members back in Jamaica.  He deleted the page when a cousin warned him that his mother would face “retribution” back in Jamaica but later recreated it without mention of his former life in Jamaica.

The link for the story is here

On Monday, Feb. 14, The Washington Times carried a major front page story by Ioannis Gatsiounis in a "special" to TWT, about the slaying of David Kato Jan. 16, link here.

There are still bills afloat to force parents to "turn in" gay children or renting to known homosexuals, measures that bring back memories of the worst of McCarthyism in this country. One wonders, "why?"  TWT article reads "Uganda ... faces a crisis in drawing a distinction between opposing homosexuality and condoning violence committed in the name of that opposition."  Ask the question, "what are 'they' opposing it for"?  Vicarious immortality?  Tribal values?   Sounds like the Taliban to me. 

Pictures: Scenes from the Friday night bash (called "Boys Life") at Cobalt DC.  Rated PG-13 by Western standards.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tuition recoupment persists as a problem for self-outed under "don't ask don't tell" even as the repeal procedure starts

Chris Johnson has a story in the Washington Blade Feb. 11 over some continuation over the issue of the military trying to recoup tuition from servicemembers discharged under “don’t ask don’t tell”, even as the policy is “gradually” being repealed.  The link is here.

In recent years, SLDN and other legal groups have been able to stop recoupment claims when servicemembers were outed by third parties, but not necessarily when servicemembers  outed themselves.

That’s the case with Sara Isaacson, after separation from the University of North Carolina ROTC program after self-outing shortly before graduation.

Johnson also has a story regarding the progress of the repeal within the Pentagon, which goes through four bureaucratic phases: “pre-repeal, certification, implementation, sustainment”.

It isn't over until the last out!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

CPAC has a media circus over participation of GOProud; others see "gay conservative" as "oxymoron"

The somewhat artificial alliance of American conservatism – economic, defense, and social, seems to be unraveling according to recent stories about the desire of some components of the CPAC, or Conservative Political Action Committee, to unseat GOProud, a group of “Gay Conservatives” with likely ties to Log Cabin Republicans, or sometimes to the Libertarian Party or to Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty (GLIL) which will be 20 years old Feb. 12. Remember it was the LCR (Republican) lawsuit that seemed to point the way to the final unraveling of "don't ask don't tell". 

Stephen Dinan has a headline story in the Washington Times on Wednesday Feb. 9, but the content of the story is far tamer than the hysteria of the headline suggests. Sarah Palin says she thinks conservatism should be inclusive, and the Tea Party has supposedly stayed away from the “religious” idea of family values.
B. Daniel Blatt offered an interpretation of the TWT story at Gay Patriot today, here

There has always lived a certain kind of person who needs to see others play by the same rules that he has to follow and follow the same path in life that he does, for own life, with its sustained commitments, to mean anything.   

A subtitle of my own 1997 book was "A Gay Conservative Lashes Back" although an Amazon reviewer called me neither conservative nor libertarian (what does that leave? -- my main blog, Jan. 2, 2007). 

Monday, February 07, 2011

The DotGAY Initiative (based on new proposals for Internet domain name TLD extensions)

The recent developments at ICANN to add more generic domain name TLD’s to the Internet has led to a “dotGAY  Initiative”, as demonstrated by the site for “Dot Gay LLC”, which is apparently funded by a number of organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and a number of other groups such as the Trevor Project and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.  The LLC would have to pay ICANN about $185000 to reserve the tld, which it can use to sell domain names.  The link explaining the Initiative is here

What would be interesting is how gay “trade” festivals, especially film festivals (like Reel Affirmations) could use it. 

Saturday, February 05, 2011

February party at Town DC, commemorating last year's blizzard; Mardi Gras is still some time off

Mardi Gras will be later this year, but the first Saturday in February at Town-DC, the one year anniversary of 2010’s biggest blizzard, was eventful enough. This time, the drag show seemed to invoke Sirius XM; a young woman in front of me said it sounded like Taylor Swift (but not “Mine”).  Later, "The Triplets of Belleville" appeared:

For dancing, most people stayed downstairs.  The music stayed 60s, 70s and 80s, and it is surprising that people in their 20s prefer music written before they were born. That’s an argument for the classics. Upstairs, the bee-bop was too non-musical, and the crowd didn’t seem to mount.

The weather was warming up during the evening, 42 when I left.  What a change from last year. This time, parking after 10 PM in the main lot was no problem. 
Last picture, that's me. The Sunfish cap is a souvenir from my 1993 visit to that submarine, following in Sam Nunn's footsteps (Oh, he had visited the Hammerhead). Yes, conditions on a submarine are crowded, and people hot bunk. Ask director Kathryn Bigelow. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

HBO filming documentary about repeal of "don't ask don't tell" and Log Cabin's role

Today, Log Cabin Republicans issued an email regarding an HBO documentary regarding the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”, and LCR’s role in it with regard to the litigation which is still ongoing (but which resulted in a federal judge’s striking down the policy). HBO apparently is looking for active duty, Guard and Reserve members willing to be interviewed, which SLDN has said still could be dangerous.

I couldn’t find the LCR press release at its site, so here is the complete text here.

“HBO is finishing production on a documentary regarding the repeal of DADT in conjunction with the Log Cabin Republicans. If you are currently serving in the military in an Active, Reserve or Guard component, and would like to be interviewed, please contact John Blair, Associate Producer, at (323) 603-6300 or at Filming will take place in Washington, DC and San Diego, CA and will be concluded by the end of February.”

HBO has a “Sex in the City” episode called “don’t ask don’t tell” which seems unrelated.

I could not find the title of the film online.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Frameline competition find has awarded grants to LGBT films

Frameline competiton fund has awarded grants to seven LGBT films. The press release was sent to me by email today, and here is the link for the full content, with many images:  I’ll try to find these films and review them individually on my movies blog. (If someone sends me a DVD for review, I have to inform readers of that fact; but I hope some of them show up at Reel Affirmations in Washington DC this April.)  It’s interesting that one of the movies is called “August”: Josh Hartnett was in a movie by that name about an Internet startup in the month before 9/11. 

Included is a biography of Vito Russ

The email was sent to me by Bridget Dixon of Hollenbach Associates. 

Here is the YouTube trailer of Frameline's 30th Anniversary Trailer.