June 28, 2006

Dobson on Gay Marriage...

For an interesting read, check out James C. Dobson's CNN Commentary on Gay Marriage:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/06/28/dobson.gaymarriage/index.html

In it, he makes some rather uncompelling arguments about gay marriage, including how he feels the "liberal press" has betrayed him, as have Senators for not voting overwhelmingly in favor of "traditional marriage" and "family."

More than anything though, take note of this comment:

So where does the issue go from here? Time will tell. It took William Wilberforce more than 30 years to bring about an end to Britain's slave trade in the 1800s. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of a protracted victory.
It takes a certain amount of gall to compare gay marriage to slavery, of all things.

Flaming Crosses

Holy crap that is an amazing ad. Though I have to agree with a commenter who had this to say about it:

I just wish it was three-hundred feet high and placed on top of the White House. That would be great.
Thank heaven for the chutzpah of Faith in America and thanks to Pandagon for bringing it to our attention.

June 26, 2006

What War Against Boys?

From Salon's Broadsheet:

Don't you just love it when a long-term, large-scale study debunks a myth that has been promulgated by the media? Me too! That's why I was happy to see an article in today's Washington Post about a new study that seems to largely refute the so-called boy crisis in education.

"Using data compiled from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federally funded accounting of student achievement since 1971, the Washington-based think tank Education Sector found that, over the past three decades, boys' test scores are mostly up, more boys are going to college and more are getting bachelor's degrees," the Post reports.

Repeat after me. Despite what you've read in Newsweek and jillions of other publications, test scores are up, more boys are going to college and more boys are getting bachelor's degrees. Sounds like a crisis to me! The studies' authors conclude that the hysteria about boys and education has been fomented by "inadequate research, sloppy analysis and discomfort with the fact that although the average boy is doing better, the average girl has gotten ahead of him." Yes folks, it seems that the media decided that if girls were doing better, then boys must be in big, big trouble.

Dear Christina Hoff Sommers,

Find a new meme.

Love,

The Feminist Revolution

"Being GLBTQ is a positive experience!"

hi everyone!

I stumbled across this blog the other day, and thought I would post it because it's really cute and made me smile. I think that it really shows how much a supportive friend, family member or ally can make someone's life happier.

Some choice entries:

Happy bi life is...

coming out to your bf and having him reply, "me too".

Happy trans life is...

Going to your aunt's house (in middle of nowhere south Georgia), having her talk about some local woman who needs to be pitied because "her husband is going to be a girl. It's against what god wants, it's against nature, it's just not right, etc." (literally) biting your tongue so you don't say something you'll feel bad about (or at least be punished for) and then having your dad (her younger brother) tell her that she "shouldn't be making such a big deal, it's not wrong, and god's not against it. Where does it say that in the bible?" My smile nearly split my face after he started talking.

Happy gay politics are...

getting a letter of response from Senator Menendez concerning the marriage protection ammendment. i know it's just a form letter, but this form letter wanted me to "be assured that i will continue to do everything in my power to uphold the rights and liberties of all citizens, and to prevent any form of discrimination against any group."

Happy trans life is...

...moving into a new place and needing to call for new utilities under a male name and have every single one of them ask me a female name immediately after I said my old name.

Happy lesbian trans life is...

your girlfriend's parents are 100% supportive of the relationship and refer to you with the correct pronouns. :)

Happy gay life is...

....whenever someone asks "Are you a single Father?" being able to answer "Nope. I'm a double Father." And then just waiting to see how long it takes for them to get it.

....having your daughter yell "DAAAD!" from the other room and having my partner go in to check on her only to hear her go "OTHER DAAAD!" a few seconds afterwards.

....having my daughter come home from summer camp with -two- Father's Day craft projects to present to us because everyone there knows she needs two and is fine with that.

Happy genderqueer/genderless life is...

having your younger sister accidentally refer to you as her brother, hesitate some when correcting herself, and then not blink when you respond with "whatever".

Happy lesbian/bisexual life is...

waking up next to your beautiful girlfriend, and wishing for the day to come (soon, please be soon) where you can move in together and sleep together every night, and wake up to her each morning.

June 20, 2006

Congressional investigators estimated the U.S. government spent $30 million last year buying personal data from private brokers. But that number likely understates the breadth of transactions, since brokers said they rarely charge law enforcement agencies any price.

In the article, several of these brokers say they provide free services to the government, and also basically say that they do illegal things to get the information. One company even explicitly says that it breaks the law. The government officials hiring the brokers say they don't research whether or not the brokers do illegal things because their services are fast and they are on the internet. Brokers do things like impersonate people to get information.

June 19, 2006

The Gay Animal Kingdom

From Seed Magazine. It's a good article, and advances the views of Joan Roughgarden, a Stanford biology professor, who argues that homosexuality is not an evolutionary aberration, but rather is an essential trait.

...[H]aving homosexual sex is the biological equivalent of apple pie: Everybody likes it. At last count, over 450 different vertebrate species could be beheaded in Saudi Arabia.

Update: She gets bonus points for having published a book called Evolution's Rainbow.

Happy Juneteenth!

More info here.

BYU fires professor because he opposes federal marriage ammendment

Last week, BYU fired a professor for writing an op-ed opposing the federal marriage ammendment.

Pam's House Blend covered this story with segments from both the letter firing him, and teh op-ed that led to the firing. Read the Pam's House Blend coverage here.

June 17, 2006

gay book burning

Police are investigating an arson at Chicago Public Library. According to this article, the fire was started in the gay and lesbian books section, although the section does not have explicit signage labelling it as such. Still, the gay and lesbian book section at that library has over 1,000 books so is presumably pretty easy to tell that it is the gay and lesbian section.

No one in the library was injured but the idea that institutions and books about LGBT subjects are the target for burning is quite unsettling.

At this point, it is not being investigated as a hate crime, but, an activist quoted in the article said he was concerned it may be a hate crime, "it wasn't the history section" is how he put it.

Meeting someone?

I work in a laboratory, and my labmate -- cute, Chinese, English-language skills passable but not fabulous -- just came out to me and asked me where gay men can meet each other. Not for casual sex, but for dating/relationshipping. Since I, in general, suck at meeting people (last weekend a very very happy exception), I'm not much help to him. Quenchistas? Readers? Help the boy out. Comments are open.

June 13, 2006

Guantanamo Update

Guantanamo Update.

One of the three detainees who committed suicide at Guantanamo had been scheduled for release and not yet told.
there's also info on bad health care, etc.

What are you doing tonight?

Hey Quench!

Tell me the most fun and the least fun thing you've done tonight.

eg. for me, the least fun was that I was at a meeting that went over by an hour. The most fun was when I went grocery shopping and also came home to remember I had leftovers in the fridge. So food is good.

June 10, 2006

open letter

In response to this tragic article in the advocate which suggests that "Immigration reform needs to get in line behind the LGBT civil rights movement, which has not yet realized all of its goals." I was going to do a point-by-point refute on quench but then I found this amazing open letter that I think everyone should read. (I know this is a little old but it has yet to be on quench so here goes).

What a huge number of people with different interests and backgrounds this letter brought together. Great work!

April 10, 2006

An Open Letter to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community:

We are a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color who work in the LGBT movement. We are writing to you in response to Jasmyne Cannick’s article "Gays First, Then Illegals”, which ran in The Advocate, in which she, a black lesbian, argues that she cannot support the current battle for immigrant rights because LGBT people have not yet won the right to marry. We are writing to express our profound disagreement with her, and to offer alternative LGBT perspectives to the current immigration battles happening across the country.

To begin with, Cannick fails to realize an obvious fact – the LGBT community and the immigrant community are not mutually exclusive. There are thousands of LGBT immigrants in this country. There are thousands of black immigrants. And there are thousands of black LGBT immigrants. To put forward an argument that says "we should get ours first" makes us question who exactly is the "we" in that analysis. In addition, we recognize the historically interconnected nature of the immigrant and LGBT struggles — such as the ban on “homosexual immigrants” that extended into the 1990’s, and the present HIV ban, which disproportionately impacts LGBT people — and we believe that only by understanding these connections and building coalition can we ensure real social change for all.

And we ask those who share the destructive views of this article to remember the immortal words of Audre Lorde when she said that “There is no hierarchy of oppression”. We reject any attempts to pit the struggle of multiple communities against each other and firmly believe that "Rights" are not in limited supply. We condemn the “scarcity of rights” perspective espoused by Cannick and other members of the LGBT movement, and are surprised to see members of our community trafficking in such ugliness. But then, one reason why it has always been so hard to shift power in this country is because the ruling class has successfully made us believe that there are only a few deserving groups to whom rights
can be given. This strategy has always been used to divide oppressed groups from coming together to work in coalition.

We are painfully aware that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities still lack many basic protections under the law in this country, including the right to care for and support all of our families, in the various ways in which we construct family and kinship. Nevertheless, supporting immigrant rights, while we continue to work
for LGBT liberation, does nothing to hurt our cause. In fact, we believe the opposite to be true, and want to work towards building powerful coalitions between immigrant and LGBT movements to work together for social justice.

We are also aware that many immigrant right advocates have intentionally or not) used anti-black rhetoric to move their agenda forward. Arguments such as “Don’t treat us like ‘criminals’” or “We are doing work that ‘other’ Americans won’t do” have the effect of positioning immigrant narratives as subtly juxtaposed with American stereotypes of non-immigrant black communities. They leave native-born black Americans as among the only people who do not have access to the immigrant narrative, and so are in a permanent position of subordination, as the state consistently negotiates and redefines citizenship and “American-ness” for almost everyone but blacks. Nevertheless, the solution to this problem is not to abandon support for the struggle of immigrant communities. Rather, we call on immigrant
movements and non-immigrant) black organizations to work together for real racial and economic justice in this country. Together these movements can work to end the exploitation and targeting of both communities, and to ensure that black folks and immigrants do not end up having to choose between competing for low-paying jobs, or being targeted for detainment or imprisonment.

As lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color, we support the current immigrant rights marches and rallies happening across the country this month, and we march too. We march because immigrants are among the most politically vulnerable, underpaid and exploited communities in the country, and are asking for basic human rights, including the right to live free from torture and exploitation, and the right to work. We march because we recognize the connections between the state attacks on immigrant and LGBT communities, and that LGBT immigrants in particular are disproportionately affected by much anti-immigrant legislation. We march because we oppose the heightened policing and criminalization of immigrant communities, including the increased militarization of the border, as mandated by HR 4437 and Senate bills. We march because we oppose indefinite and mandatory
detention of noncitizens—as well as the mass incarceration of people-of-color-communities in the U.S. more broadly—and envision a society that ensures the safety and self-determination of all people, regardless of national origin, race, class, gender or sexuality. We march because we oppose the guestworker proposals, which would continue the exploitation of many low-wage workers. We march because we demand the repeal of the HIV ban. We march because our sexualities have been historically criminalized by this country, and we understand that “law” and “justice” are not the same thing.

It is our understanding that Jasmyne Cannick was writing as an individual, and not as a representative of either the National Black Justice Coalition on whose Board of Directors she serves) or The Stonewall Democrats for whose Black Caucus she serves as Co-Chair). As LGBT people of color, we call upon both of those organizations to publicly clarify their own positions in this ongoing civil rights discussion.

We also call upon our community to imagine how much more progress we could make if we all stopped thinking of social justice as a zero-sum game.

Sincerely,

Katherine Acey
Executive Director, the Astraea Lesbian Action Fund

Faisal Alam
Founder & Former Director, Al-Fatiha Foundation for LGBTIQ Muslims

Samiya Bashir
Board Member, National Black Justice Coalition
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry
Board Member, Fire & Ink

Noemi Calonje
Immigration Project Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights NCLR)

Noran J. Camp
Office Administrator, Freedom to Marry

Chris Chen
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
immigrant from Taiwan 1997

Alain Dang
Policy Analyst, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Debanuj Dasgupta
Board of Directors, Queer Immigrant Rights Project

Carlos Ulises Decena, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Joseph N. DeFilippis
Executive Director, Queers for Economic Justice

Marta Donayre
Co-Founder, Love Sees No Borders

Andres Duque
Coordinator, Mano A Mano

Monroe France
Educational Training Manager, Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network
Board of Directors, Queers for Economic Justice

Eddie Gutierrez
Rep. for Christine Chavez, granddaughter of labor and civil rights
leader Cesar Chavez

Priscilla A. Hale, LMSW
Executive Director, ALLGO

Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano
Director of Arts and Community Building, ALLGO

Kemi Ilesanmi

Surina Khan
Interim Vice President of Programs, The Women's Foundation of California
former Executive Director, International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights
Commission

Lee Che Leong
Director of Teen Health Initiative, New York Civil Liberties Union

Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Assistant
Professor of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
Board of Directors, Queers for Economic Justice

Yoseñio Vicente Lewis
Board Member, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Latino, Trans Social Justice Activist, first generation U.S. Citizen

Glenn Magpantay
Steering Committee Member, Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York

Rickke Mananzala
Campaign Coordinator, FIERCE!

Gloria Nieto
National Latino Justice Coalition

Doyin Ola
Welfare Organizer, Queers for Economic Justice

Jesús Ortega-Weffe
Director of Community Organizing, ALLGO

Emiko Otsubo
former Board member, Queers for Economic Justice

Clarence Patton
Executive Director, NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project

Donna Payne
Senior Diversity Organizer, Human Rights Campaign

Earl L. Plante
Development Director, National Minority AIDS Council
President-Elect, Board of Directors, National Black Justice Coalition

Achebe Powell
Betty Powell Associates

Lorraine Ramirez
Public Policy Committee, Queers for Economic Justice

Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera
Convener, the National Latino Coalition for Justice

Ignacio Gilberto Rivera
Founder, Poly Patao Productions
Board of Directors, Queers for Economic Justice

Russell D. Roybal
Director of Movement Building, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Shay Sellars
Major Gifts and Events Administrator, National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force

Pedro Julio Serrano
Communications Associate, Freedom to Marry
President, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s

Sarah Sohn
New Voices Legal Fellow, Immigration Equality
Board of Directors, Queers for Economic Justice

Lisa Thomas-Adeyemo
Co-Coordinator, National People of Color Organizing Institute,
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Director of Counseling, San Francisco Women Against Rape

Carmen Vazquez
Deputy Executive Director, Empire State Pride Agenda

Robert Vazquez-Pacheco
former Program Manager, Funders for Gay and Lesbian Issues

Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz
Capacity Building Project Director, The National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force

Andy Shie Kee Wong,
Coalition Manager, Asian Equality

Lancy Woo and Cristy Chung
lead Plaintiffs in the Woo vs Lockyer, marriage rights case

Miriam Yeung
Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, the LGBT Community
Center

-- Organizational affiliation listed for identification purposes only --

June 08, 2006

Classified

"We believe that when people with wealth have a deep understanding of their own privilege, they can play an important role in movements for social justice as both participants and funders. People with wealth can bring needed resources, access and connections to movements. They can talk openly about the ways they've witnessed privilege working and why this grounds their commitment to social change. They can help name some of the destructive power dynamics around wealth and class that often chip away at progressive movements from within. People with wealth can actively challenge others with privilege by speaking from a place of shared experience. However, when people with wealth act without a deep understanding of their privilege, it can undermine their participation. They cannot open up conversations [free from ego] about their connections and resources. They are unable to recognize their own [destructive] patterns or challenge others with privilege, leaving those of us who are the everyday targets of painful power dynamics alone in the role of pointing it out."
A week or two ago, WTTO encouraged us to start thinking and posting more about how we experience privilege. This new book takes a crack at that, if the title is any indication. It's called "Classified: how to stop hiding your privilege and use it for social change." Plus, it looks like you can actually download the entire book for free, which is what I call putting your money where your mouth is. Totally cool.

June 06, 2006

the joys of living in a red state

Virginia wants to pass a same-sex marriage ban in November, but groups like The Commonwealth Coalition give me hope. I stumbled across their website the other day, and it made me so happy.

Black Moon

O man, have I ever discovered an amazing movie. It's Joyce Buñuel, Louis Malle & Ghislain Uhri's majestic 1975 film Black Moon, which is totally un-sum-uppable. This is what IMDB says:

There is a war in the world between the men and the women. A young girl tries to escape this reality and comes to a hidden place where a strange unicorn lives with a family: Sister, Brother, many children and an old woman that never leaves her bed but stays in contact with the world through her radio. Since the content of this picture is not as important as the pictures and allegories, the simple plot can not be described further.
Let me add that the film begins with a badger being run over by a young woman in a tiny peugot-esque car who then rounds a bend in the road and discovers female soldiers - it's the front. She twists around past a dead blonde woman and just up the road hits the other side of the road - male soldiers, who execute female POWs.

Also, the animals in the film talk. They make their animal noises, but they sound like they are talking. The pig is creepy, but the ginormous rat talking to the old woman in squeaks is just freaky.

It's very surreal, but unusually, I don't find it aggravating. I find films like this aggravating so often in their randomness and attempts to seem amazing, but this one rocks.

Wonder what animal is next. There have been a giant millipede, serpents, a pig, a horse, a unicorn, some other bugs...

O crap, the old lady just croaked. I think I better pay more attention.

WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!

GONADS AN' STRIFE! (WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)

Not the Most Useful Photo to Accompany Your Story

This is what I call a "dumb captioning". It's the picture from the article "Transsexual change identity without surgery comes to life in Spain" referenced before.

DUHHH.

June 05, 2006

Something that is Really Awkward

Email received from someone who wants to work with me on some issues regarding trans issues begins:

Just now I tried calling you, but the number you have listed in our database is no longer working. In any case, I'm hoping that we can talk soon. I was so disappointed that you weren't elected to the HGLC Board - I was really looking forward to working with you.
Well, I reckon that means I wasn't elected, doesn't it? I was sorta wondering about that.

Wonder how long I've been looking like an asshole because no one could be arsed to tell me I wasn't elected.

This kind of thing has been happening to me a lot these days. Awkward, and in that angrilatin' kind of way.

June 03, 2006

Viva la legislación!

I'm back, after a long class-induced absence, and ready to resume role as Queer Eye for Poli-Sci. As pointed out via the open, and a quick search found an Englang article for Quench perusal, Spain's taken a step in the right direction:

The bill says transsexuals can change their gender listing and name in Spanish civil registries without undergoing surgery, but on several conditions. A doctor must certify they were born the wrong sex and have been living for an extended period under the one they want, and the person must undergo hormonal or other medical treatment to encourage the change of identity. (1)
Really exciting. Especially given that several regions of Spain provide transition surgery as part of health care. Official rhetoric has been really promising: neither phobic nor strained in an ignorant attempt at "PC" but fairly appropriate. The implication engendered by the bureaucratic commentary, excuse the pun, is stunningly supportive: Spain is only taking a logical step, one already taken by many other European countries, and one that will be taken by every nation in the due course of development and the realization of human and civil rights.

June 02, 2006

Whoa.

The same rhetoric that exists to perpetuate the repression of women is being used to discipline the Democrats, to keep them in their well-delineated and worthless place.
I don't know if I necessarily think this article is on target, and I wish that the author had backed up his or her points with Republican sound-bites, but the point being made is too interesting to dismiss.

June 01, 2006

Baldness makes you gay. Also, unfaithful.

So, after RealDolls and BatDyke, I bring you the third WTF update of the day ...

According to ukgay.com, MP blames infidelity on hair loss:

[Liberal Democrat MP Mark] Oaten's affair with a male escort became public in January due to lurid expose in the News Of the World.

[...]

Mr Oaten told how, leading up to the affair, he had experienced, "something of a mid-life crisis".

He added: "I was turning 40 and I really felt that I was losing my youth."

[...]

Oaten added, "the problem was undoubtedly compounded by my dramatic loss of hair in my late thirties".

Mmm-hmm. Because male-pattern baldness causes such a crisis of confidence and identity that, not content to cheat on your wife with another woman, you are compelled to cheat on her with a rent boy. Apparently, ex-gay camps will now have to start stocking up on the Rogaine to keep their charges treading the straight and narrow path.

UKgay.com, by the way, describes Belinda Oaten's reaction to the initial affair as "anger at the public betrayal," and notes that "she's likely to be no more amused by his latest statement." Indeed.

(By the way, I've spent the last 15 minutes trying to come up with a "stiff upper lip" joke, and it's just not working. Alas. Any ideas?)

Batwoman . . . lesbian?

Yup, DC comics will be resurrecting Batwoman in upcoming comics as a lesbian. The reason? The directors wanted to give her something that would set her apart from the rest of the 'Bat Family.'

Makes me kinda want to these comics now, just to see what she goes through to make her so much more "unique than others in the Bat-Family."

Kinda.

$5,000 for a WHAT?

Ok, what the hell is going on? Everyone is talking about these RealDoll (NSFW) things, even my favorite webcomic. Salon wrote a pretty interesting article about the whole RealDoll phenomenon, which has spawned (hurr) dozens of creepy (NSFW) fan (NSFW) sites (NSFW).

The RealDolls carry a $5,000 pricetag (more for the "SheMale" option, mind), though a "RealDoll torso" (NSFW) is also available for purchase for $1,000.

There are other options for though with less cash to drop on sex-dolls, though: rental. A question to ponder: would you really rent one of these things? Aaaaah. Well... you can. From Doll no Mori (Japanese only), aka "Forest of Dolls", a RealDoll rental service with 40 locations all over Japan. Aaaah.