Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ACLU challenges school districts on filtering out gay-related content on school Internet

On August 30, the Washington Times ran a front page story by Cheryl Wetzstein, “ACLU battles schools over gay websites: use of filters a rights issue”, link here.

The ACLU was warned some school districts, such as Prince William County in Virginia (south of Fairfax) that filtering non-sexual websites with information about gay issues would be a First Amendment issue.

Because of the political and legal (even constitutional) aspects of issues like gays in the military (“don’t ask don’t tell” and its repeal), and gay marriage, there is more reason to include gay-related materials in high school social studies curriculum, particularly AP classes. And there may be reasons to discuss HIV and STD’s in both biology and in health and PE classes, as has long been the case.

The ACLU has a story about a similar filtering issue in Missouri, here.

Filtering was also a major component in nine years of litigation over COPA, the Child Online Protection Act, covered in another blog (see Profile).

When I had my fiasco with the Fairfax County Public Schools in October 2005 as a substitute teacher over my own website (look at the “BillBoushka” blog – via Blogger Profile – and go to July 27, 2007 for the details), my “” website was never filtered by the school system. Even after the incident, I occasionally found references to it in the logs with the FCPS IP address.

As I reported a few years ago, another FCPS English teacher actually assigned a blogging project in 2006, to the consternation of school officials.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MCC congregation in Fredericksburg VA apparently closing

I have received some emails from MCC Fredericksburg indicating that the congregation in Fredericksburg VA is closing down. The last service was to have occurred Sunday but was postponed because of Irene.

The congregation had met at 409 Progress Street.

In August 2007, it hosted a concert by Jason and De Marco, which I attended. 

Fredericksburg is halfway between Washington DC and Richmond on I-95.

The blog for the congregation was last updated in May 2011. The site domain name seems not to be active.

Does someone have specific information?

Pictures: Fredericsburg Pride in 2008.

Friday, August 26, 2011

DC Clubs have hurricane parties; weather still calm

I peeked in on the “Hurricane party” Friday night at Cobalt-30 Degrees in Washington DC.  The crowd was about the same as a typical Friday night, even though anyone staying at Rehoboth would have had to return because of Hurricane Irene approaching.

Rehoboth Beach, DE has been mentioned as one of the communities with a stronger presence of same-sex couples. 

The weather in Washington DC was humid and calm.  Tropical force winds are supposed to be around Saturday evening during party hours.  I think most of the utilities in the affected areas are underground and they really shouldn't have power outages.  Winds are likely to be a little less than the worst, maybe around 30 mph a lot, from the NE.  Still, a lot of trees in DC have very poor root systems, near sidewalks, and will fall, including those in the Dupont Circle and Shaw areas.

With a potential disaster in some areas of the East approaching, it's well to reconsider the ban on MSM's from donating blood.

From the video below, note the storms come from the wrong direction, the SE.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NIH study finds that "true" bisexuality in men really exists

A study published in the Journal of Biological Psychology  from NIH (abstract link) verifies that for males, “bisexuality” is a real thing. Some researchers have said that women are much more likely to be “variable” than men, but Kinsey scores of 3 or 4 really do happen, according to physiological measurements obtained from volunteer test subjects shown various images. 

It should not be surprising, since many gay men who have come out later in life have been married and had children “biologically”.  Curiosity or compulsiveness is probably not the same thing as real attraction.

The CNN story is here.

There is a New York Times story from Ann Carns that no longer displays content.

Monday, August 22, 2011

SLDN: Celebrate Repeal Day, Sept. 20, 2011

SLDN says it will host a celebration of Repeal Day on Tuesday Sept. 20, 2011 at the K Street Lounge at 1301 K St NW in Washington DC, at this link

SLDN has also been encouraging individuals to host their own events that day.

I guess I need to become domestic enough to play host (and have “home field advantage”) again.

There is a bit of sobering thought with this. If someone like Perry or Bachmann got in the White House, The Ban could certainly come back, maybe all the way to mandatory asking. Mitt Romney doesn’t worry me, though (“nice try”).  It was a GOP group  (LCR) that launched the lawsuit that was so instrumental in bringing DADT down.  It certainly came down in the spirit of Lincoln. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Right in 2012 could pose anti-gay threat

Although AlterNet articles can sometimes sound hysterical, Amanda Marcotte has an interesting perspective on what seems to be coming down the pike from the far Republican right in the election year in terms of social conservatism and anti-gay positions, link here

The first point, emphasizing anti-contraception rather than just anti-abortion, may be the most telling. It’s pretty obvious how that used to play into anti-gay attitudes decades ago when we had sodomy laws. But today the “new right” is sometimes using a new-old argument, “demographic winter”, claiming that the economically well off (read “white”) don’t have enough babies to replace their population. I’m surprised Marcotte didn’t get into this point more, or discuss the so-called “natural family” movement.

Another corollary could be that states, strapped for Medicaid funds to pay nursing home bills, will start to enforce filial responsibility laws against adult children, which could be especially punishing to the childless.  We could see the “culture wars” take a nasty right turn.

Would a Perry or Bachmann administration try to undo the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” (or maybe even go back to asking and forced outings?)? That’s an obvious risk. Romney I’m not as concerned about, because his behavior in public sounds a lot more temperate, and he says he will keep his religion out of his policies.  Perry wears his evangelical Christianity on his sleeve (although I do support his “loser pay” proposals for tort reform), and we all know about Bachmann’s husbands and the reports of reparative therapy at his clinic. 

Of course, I've seen some of this before. I lived in Dallas for most of the 1980s, and listened to the Moral Majority harp all the time, and then we had to fend off a horrible proposed extension of the Texas sodomy law in 1983 after the AIDS crisis broke into the media.  People who lived there probably remember the "Dallas Doctors Against AIDS".  I sure do.

Update: Aug. 16

The New York Times blogs, in a piece ("The Caucus") by James Dao, explains how a President Bachmann could reinstate the "old ban" (mandatory asking) by fiat, here.  And the Huffington Post has an article by SLDN's Aubrey Sarvis, "Somebody should tell Bachmann: Our military leaders ended DADT", here.  "Perhapth" with some arm twisting. A deeper point seems to be that someone with the irresponsibility of Bachmann should not be in office at all.  Someone who think's it's OK for the country to stiff people on due bills is a bit unpredictable.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Presbyterian minister in Arlington VA discusses recent move on ordination in sermon today

Sunday, August 14, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA, Rev. Judith Fup-Eickstaedt gave a sermon “Breaking Down Barriers”, where she talked about the need for compassion to go beyond filial responsibility and cross into other communities.  Starting with discussion of the refusal of Jews in the time of Jesus to share with Samaritans, she branched out into talking about expanding out of social conventions, and finally led to a discussion of accepting open gays into the ministry of the Presbyterian Church, as was recently voted on and covered in the news (May 30, 2011).

She did refer to gays as a kind of immutably defined “people”, like heterosexuals, and avoided any existential arguments.  She also said that she usually didn’t like to address the political controversies (like gay marriage and the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”) from the pulpit, but preferred for people to discuss this among themselves in small groups. But today, the circumstances were indeed different. The Gospel says that God’s love is for all people. I remember how Rev. Don Eastman said that over and over at the old MCC Dallas on Reagan St. back in the 1980s. 

Below: From the Cobalt, Friday night. It seems that someone always wants a photo op with me. I don't know why.

Friday, August 12, 2011

2010 Census publishes reports of increases in same-sex couples

In a story Thursday Aug. 11 by Carol Morello and Ted Mellnik, the Washington Post reports 2010 diennial Census reports that the percentage of same-sex couples (reporting themselves as such) rose to 1.2% in Virginia and 1.5% in Maryland.  Apparently these are real couples and not "roommates".  Somewhat over half were raising children, and same-sex couples in rural areas, while less numerous, were more likely to be raising children from previous heterosexual marriages.

The percentage of people who would have identified themselves as gay or lesbian (not on the Census) would probably be a lot higher since many more would be living alone. 

The link for the story is here

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Washington Blade discusses controversial "GOProud" gay "conservative" group

Sean Cotter has an important editorial in the “new” Washington Blade, “GOP, Bachmann, and the New Gay Right”, link here

GOProud has its link here

Cotter’s history is interesting, and it is true that the gay movement was at one time mainly associated with the Left, which in the 60s and 70s could become quite indignant itself.  I remember those days well.

Cotter also makes clear the difference or chasm between GOProud, Log Cabin Republicans (with its “successful” lawsuit against “don’t ask don’t tell”, no doubt important in bringing pressure on Congress to pass the repeal) and, for that matter, GLIL (Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty).

And Bachmann sounds, at least of this writing, like a real threat to modern notions of gay equality as we have come to understand it. You can’t conveniently brush off the reports of her husband’s involvement in “reparative therapy.”

The biggest problem on my mind right now, however, is the idea that one can responsibility put the ability of the United States to pay bills it has already incurred at risk, in order to pursue a political agenda, and then talk past all reasonable arguments for a solution. Andrew Sullivan had discussed this recently on his "Daily Dish", calling the worst of the Tea Party (maybe including some of GOProud) as anarchists, and by no means "conservative". 

It’s true, however, that the country will have to cut spending, and can no longer think in terms of “groups” or “victims”.  People will again learn that they have to be responsible for others, outside of the narrow range of their choices. But the battles over gay marriage and gay parenting fit right into that goal.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Tonight, "On the Town", I "got it".

Well, the huge thunderstorms stayed stacked up by Southeast winds against the east flank of the Virginia Blue Ridge, and in Washington DC we just had a moist, warm but not hot evening with only drizzle, to go “clubbing”.

The drag queens at Town DC celebrated some birthdays, but no one tried to make fun of the politicians for the recent downgrade or near miss with making the US a deadbeat country.  No, things aren’t so serious here, even as they are on SNL, where Seth Meyers makes fun of all of them.  But I think Town DC drag queens could take a shot at impersonating the politicians (like Michele Bachmann).

Bill Bennett was the DJ upstairs, Wess downstairs. I saw someone in the Music Box wearing a T-shirt that read ‘Fitch”, which is one of the ratings agencies that didn’t downgrade “us”.

And, by the way, I “got it” tonight. Pictures (below) tell the story. It's not real common for me to buy people drinks, but I did treat with vodka and pineapple.  (No, I don't know my drinks; I've never been to bartending school. 

This time, parking in the Town Lot was easy. I was asked if it I was parking for Town or for Club 930, for which apparently the charge is different.  (For a discussion of 930, see my drama blog, May 3, 2010.)

It was all “festive.” 

I can remember that when I took piano in the 50s, my piano teacher said that "Allegro" means "gay and lively".  It was too early then for puns. 
As for the map that leads off this blog posting -- sorry, Virginia still has the Marshall-Newmann Amendment. 

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Last known gay survivor of Holocaust passes away at 98

Geir Moulson of the Associated Press reports today the passing of Rudolf Brazda, at age 98, the last surviving person sent to a Nazi concentration camp for homosexuality, story here

The Nazi campaign against homosexuals has been a matter of controversy for some historians, including Lothar Machtan who authored “The Hidden Hitler” in 2001, and talked about Hitler as a “closet case” rather brazenly in translations of the book. On the other hand, Martin Sherman’s 1979 play “Bent” became a disturbing film in 1996 about Nazi "witchhunt" capture of and treatment of gay prisoners in the concentration camps.  Frank Rector authored a famous  book “The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals” in 1981, published by Stein and Day.  In "Conduct Unbecoming", author Randy Shilts compared the US military's preoccupation with outlawing "homosexual thoughts" pre-1993 to the attitude of the Nazis.  I remember my parents having a book called “Education for Death: The Making of a Nazi” by Gregor Ziemer in a family bookcase back in my high school days, but it disappeared. Still another important documentary film was "Paragraph 175", about the notorious Nazi anti-gay law. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Study of gay Mormons seems to point toward an attitude more like the Vatican's

Jennifer Dobner has an interesting story in the Associated Press about gay Mormons, link here, based on a study done at Utah State University.

The LDS Church used to condemn homosexual thoughts as well as acts, but now some elders are beginning to admit that the causes of sexual orientation are unknown, and beginning to take a position more like that of the Vatican, that is more like a personal challenge to be borne.  But homosexual acts can still lead to excommunication, and there is somewhat of a “don’t ask don’t tell” attitude evolving.

The whole exercise of homosexuality and the socially conservative values of some religions reflects the idea that many people seem to need to believe that everyone else will have to play by their “rules” before they can continue giving themselves to other people in a way that demands emotional complementarity.

The group for Gay and Lesbian Mormons is called Affirmation (link).  I knew one person in the group in the 90s. 

(Note: the URL title of this posting has the accidental typo "if" which should be "of".  Can't be perfect.)