Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cobalt DC tries an "old new" idea for Saturday night EOM party; more on re-enlistment after DADT repeal

Last night, Sept. 24, CobaltDC on 17th St. in Washington DC sponsored its first “RawDC” party, which replaces “Shift” the last Saturday of the month. You can look at the sponsor’s website  and come to your own conclusion about “gays gone bad”. Yes, there was porn on a couple walls, which I did not videotape (copyright). The Gay 90’s in Minneapolis has (at least when I last visited) a room with similar videos.

The disco music was continuous, in that it did not stop, recount itself and restart causing people to pause when they dance.   (No, disco is not like a Beethoven sonata.) It sounded like an early 90s or 80s genre.

It really strikes me that the clubs have gotten over their phobia about banning smoking starting in 2007. Most patrons seem to like the no-smoking atmosphere.  The air is cloudy with water vapor (foggers), masking some of the "activity", but not smoke. 

I left about 1:30 and found the streets empty. A cat dashed across 17th in front of JR’s.  Finally, I got a cab that turned out to be a hybrid vehicle with an energy monitor inside.

The vehicle (a Prius?) had an energy monitor that diagramed the power generation of the vehicle, looking roughly like this  (Wikipedia attribution)

On DADT Repeal Followup:

The media has been running stories about formerly discharged soldiers (under DADT) not being able to reenlist because there are no slots for them now in the jobs they did.  In the civilian world, I encountered something similar. Because in my era, security clearances for gays were a problem, I lost out completely on that whole possible career area. Current economic circumstances can make it impossible to remedy past discrimination. That’s the real world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Science shows same-sex relations among many animals

To answer right-wing claims that homosexuality is “unnatural” and willful (and assertions that this the main reason to oppose it), one can look at a New York Times story today, front page, by James Gorman, “Amorous Squid Seeks Partner: Any Sex will Do”, link here

This particular species of squid can’t “see” its partner well enough and simply offers its sperm like it was spam, to anything. Many species of squid die immediately after reproduction, however.

The article discusses Bonobo chimps, and dolphins, as well as albatrosses, and even some insects that practice “traumatic insemination”.   Albatrosses raise their young in female-paired couples.  Male sea horses carry their young.

Perhaps one could call some of these examples "homosocial". 

So the bigger natural law is that nature is diverse.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SLDN's event celebrating the end of DADT: overwhelming turnout in Washington DC

Tonight, SLDN held its Washington DC celebration of the official end of “don’t ask don’t tell” at the K Street Lounge at 13th and K Streets NW.

I got there at about 7 PM, for an event that started at 6, and found the line out into the street. It took about an hour to get in, as apparently well over 600 people attended an event in a facility that could only hold a much lower head count.

NBC News was there outside on K Street.

I missed the speeches. What was left was a business-dressed but festive crowd. Back in my days in Dallas in the 80s, a physician friend of mine had liked to use the word “effete”, which probably overstates it.

I talked to one person about the concerns over the 2012 elections and the possibility that a conservative GOP president could unilaterally reimpose the ban (as Aubrey Sarvis has written). He said, "you can never take away rights."

Afterwards, I went into the “Five Guys” fast food joint at McPherson Square Metro and ran into people from the event.  The restaurant had an interesting request, not to remove any peanuts or shells from the restaurant to protect children in the neighborhood that might have a peanut allergy.

Outside, at the Metro Station, I’ve never seen so many homeless people sleeping around the entrance to the station.

On the Metro Orange Line back home in Arlington, an Air Force officer in uniform happened to sit next to me. I finally mentioned the significance of the day, and he said the Pentagon had been preparing for it for months.  At work, in the Pentagon today, it was a non-event.

I’ll keep people posted on the availability or theatrical showings of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.

There were flyers announcing Josh Seefried’s new book “Our Time: Breaking the Silence of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’”, to be available Oct. 13.  There is an announcement on the site for LGBT military network Outserve here.  Apparently Josh had previously written under a pseudonym.  (When I see the title "Our Time", I immediately think of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town".)

There was also a poster announcing a (different) anthology book “The End of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.
Note: WJLA Channel 7 reports a big party at Freddie's in Arlington, near the Pentagon. I'm not omnipresent.

It's official, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" ends at 12:01 AM EDT today

As of 12:01 AM, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended “officially”.  A Navy officer married a same-sex partner in Vermont, in full dress uniform.

Remember, the 1993 law had specifically mentioned "marrying or attempting to marry a person known to be of the same biological gender" (or some such words) as a reason for discharge, long before gay marriage was legal in any state and when civil unions were just getting started.  Congress must have been paranoid even then that gay marriage was inevitable. 

Here is an article by Aubrey Sarvis “Obama’s Measured Path to DADT Repeal” in the Huffington Post (of course), link

According to Sarvis, the “ah-ha” moment that formal repeal was inevitable came as early as February 2, 2010 (a Tuesday), when Gates testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In the end, the policy died not with a bang, but with a whimper.  Play "Waltzing Matilda". 

But there is real concern what could happen if one of the more "extremist" GOP candidates actually wins the presidential election in 2012.  Log Cabin could be in a real pickle next year. 

I’ll be talking more soon on just why I took this battle so personally for eighteen years. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A quick road trip to Baltimore

I ventured to Baltimore last night to see what it was like on an “ordinary” Saturday night. After dinner at the Mt. Vernon Stables, I went over to the Club Hippo, that had announced a party with DJ “Joey O”. 

The dance floor crowd was not built up until about midnight. There was a group of men with T-shirts with orange labels relating to “Bangkok”.

In the quiet bar portion, Karaoke goes on, and this time I saw two or three performers at a time.

The Penn Station parking lot charges $20 if you go past midnight.  As I was leaving to get back on to I-83, someone ran a red light on Charles Street and almost hit the car in front of me pulling out first.

All in all, a “quieter” night. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Suburban Minnesota school district caught in controversy over "neutral curriculum" and outbreak of anti-gay bullying

Erik Eckholm has a detailed story on the front page of the New York Times today about the controversy over school curriculum policy in Anoka, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb along Highway 10 about ten miles north of the downtown city (I’ve driven through it many times), but in a different county.

“Indifference” or even “neutrality” is not always benign when coming from those in control. The school system has a policy that discourages discussion of sexual orientation or gay issues as part of the curriculum.  So students don’t learn that anti-gay bullying, even as an example of many kinds of bullying, is wrong. 

The link for the story is here

The Twin Cities area is one of the most civilized I’ve ever lived in or even visited.  But even in the suburbs here, anti-gay behavior is a problem.  And look at the clinic run by Michele Bachmann’s husband. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

For servicemembers, "public speaking is easy", but maybe still a little risky

The Huffington Post has an article on the “conflict of interest” rules for servicemembers who attend repeal parties on Sept. 20, link here.

There are some rules as to what servicemembers may do in uniform, and generally the rules are stricter for partisan activity than non-partisan, and generally servicemembers may not speak for their commands. The article here is a little bit intricate. I would read it carefully.

People hosting parties should also look at this. 

Monday, September 05, 2011

Choi trial stopped, among wrangling over "vindictive prosecution"; when does a military officer have to "disobey orders"?

The Washington Blade, in a page 2 story by Lou Chibbaro, Jr. on September 2, is reporting the halting of the trial of former Army Lt. Dan Choi, for charges related to a protest in Nov. 15 along the White House fence. A federal judge acknowledged the possibility of “vindictive prosecution”, normally seen in trials of federal officials, as raised by Choi's defense, The trial was halted when a prosecutor challenged the claim.It's a pretty complicated mess. 

Choi is a West Point graduate and has been one of the most visible soldiers in recent years in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, which will be celebrated Sept. 20.  From my perspective, his visibility is on the level of that of Keith Meinhold and Joe Steffan back in the 1990s but with added “notoriety”, as literary agents would say. Expect a book soon.

One of Choi's arguments regarding the demonstration incident is that he doesn't have to obey illegal orders, and in fact is obliged to disobey them. 

The link for the Blade story here.

Below, more partying.  Labor Day weekend was more active and "festive" than I would have expected.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Rehoboth: more observations (and the big bad neighbor in MD)

I did drop in on the Blue Moon in Reboboth Beach, Delaware, on my one-day visit.  A weekday afternoon, it wasn’t crowded, but the people are probably coming back for Labor Day. I’m not sure if Reboboth has a large dance disco now; it’s been a matter of controversy in the past.

The Blue Moon has an electric grand piano for performances. I don’t recall seeing that in a bar in DC.

You can park on Rehoboth on weekdays, but it’s gotten to be impossible on weekends.  One year I parked at the State Park two miles to the north and walked.

The Queen Street Beach Thursday had a moderate crowd (as I noted yesterday).  Rehoboth and Ocean City seem to have dodged the bullet on Irene, passing just ten miles off to the East.

My first experience with beaches was in 1947, at age 4, when my parents and family friends rented a place in Bethany Beach. Then, every year thereafter, it was a week in Ocean City every June, for 15 years.  In 1950, we had to come home early because I got the measles.  There was no vaccine then.  We stayed in an apartment one block from the beach (on Baltimore Ave) every year, except one year when we stayed at the Beach Plaza.

I noticed on Philadelphia Ave. in Ocean City that almost every intersection had a red light camera, but I saw no warnings of photo enforcement.   

Update: May 25, 2013.

The Washington Post has an article (Metro) about the Blue Moon and Rehoboth as a destination that fared much better than other areas after Superstorm Sandy, by Steve Hendrix, here

Friday, September 02, 2011

New film "Don't Ask Don't Tell" to appear around Sept. 20; a religious group advertises its attitude by plane over Reboboth

Eisner Vuguru has announced a new film “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, based on the one-man play “Another American: Asking and Telling” by Marc Wolf, which I had reviewed about twelve  years ago on my hppub and then doaskdotell site.  The Facebook handle is this.

I’ll have a review as soon as I can get a copy or get to a screening on my movie’s blog. Another nickname for the movie seems to be “We Asked, They Told.”

Yesterday, as I wandered on the “gay section” of Rehoboth Beach near Queen St. (at the end of the Boardwalk), I found a jellyfish, and then, as I walked toward the volleyball game, noticed a private plane broadcast a “Jesus Saves” banner over the beachgoers.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Huffington Post runs story on gay dads and back to school

David Valdes has an interesting column in this morning’s AOL Huffington Post, “Do Ask, I’ll Tell: Gay Parents and Back to School Time”, link here.

The author is in a male couple relationship with a daughter. He does talk about the reaction of other (heterosexual) parents at back-to-school nights. Some of them really wanted to know who was the husband.  One (biological) mom spoke in terms of “getting to be the wife”, as if females were privileged by definition in our society (they are).

I remember that we always registered in August, even back in the 50s.