July 30, 2008

CNN Tries to Deal with Gender and Olympics... Ends up Being Awkward.

Let's look at "things that are awkward..." again.

"Olympians tested for gender." Including great lines discussing how some men might have been used in women's games because the countries "really, really, really, really wanted to win." Or just the general sense of awkwardness. Or the suggestion that they should just "look under the hood."

The best part is that the first half is about gender, and they are MAD awkward. Then the second half is about a guy who shot a lawnmower, and they are so comfortable talking about that. Wtf?

July 26, 2008

The National Erection

There can be no doubt that this is one of the most amusing protest actions I've seen in my entire life. It beats even my favourite Code:Pink one where they painted an entire tank bright pink.


This was originally posted on Cambridge Common in May, but I reckon I didn't see it.

Rep. Sally Kern Caught with Gun at State Capitol

Oh my god, seriously, this post almost writes itself.

-- An Oklahoma lawmaker who made headlines in March for her comments regarding homosexuals was stopped from bringing a gun into the state Capitol on Wednesday, troopers said.

But Rep. "Homosexuals are a bigger threat than terrorists" Kern wants to reassure you that her inappropriate gun-toting "has nothing to do with the homosexual situation." (Good to know that, for once, The Gays aren't to blame!)

Apparently, she was just in such a rush to get inside the Capitol building that she just plumb forgot to take the handgun out of her purse. Whoopsie!

I mean, it could happen to anyone, right?

The incident Wednesday is the second time in two months that Kern has been stopped with a weapon at the Capitol. In early June, troopers said, Kern breached security and entered the Capitol with a weapon. [...]

She stressed that in both cases it was merely a matter of forgetting that she had the weapon.

Oh. Okay, then. As RAGING HOMO Oscar Wilde once said, "To lose one parent bring a gun into a government building once may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both do it twice looks like carelessness a Thing That Is Awkward."

OMG. I hereby pronounce Rep. Kern an official, Hollywood-league, train wreck. All that's left are the nude photos and the rehab.

QWOC Week (Queer Women of Color)

An update from Queer Women of Color! August 4-10 is QWOC Week: details below.

QWOC Week - a once very distant dream - is finally happening in Boston! Mark your calendars and put in those day-off requests because we're putting together an incredible lineup of events.

Visit www.qwocboston.org/Events.html to view the entire schedule, but most importantly, spread the word. We're calling LGBTQ people of color from far and wide to come on down to Beantown and celebrate with us. Going Boston link.

If you're interested in volunteering, email to volunteerqwocboston.org stating
your interest (in any specific event, if you choose).

We have a wonderful group of volunteers working on the events but could use more planning, promoting and admin help.

You ready, people? It's time to paint the city in purple! Don't you think it would be cool to see it everywhere that week? Yeah, it can't be found as easily as other colors, and not everyone has it in their closet cause it doesn't "go" with everything. But, that's what's been said about LGBTQ people of color, too... Seems fitting.

Happy Purple Pride everyone!

July 16, 2008

... and now some GOOD news!

I know it's been an inordinately long time since I've posted here, but this is exciting enough that I'll forget about being bashful.

Today, during its debate about the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Senate effectively approved a measure to end the Federal ban on HIV-positive people entering the country. The ban has been in place since 1987, when the late Jesse Helms got it passed during a peak of homophobic AIDS-related hysteria. The ban has always had a disproportionate effect on queer people, since straight foreign nationals married to US citizens can get an HIV-ban waiver based on their marital status.

There's still a few more votes before the whole PEPFAR bill gets approved by both houses, and the Federal government will still be able to restrict entry into the country based on HIV status, but discretion as to whether or not HIV is "of public health significance" will be transferred to the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Right now, HIV is the only medical condition in the Immigration and Nationality Act that makes a foreign national inadmissible to the US. The public health experts at HHS, who have pushed for loosening these restrictions in the past, are far less likely than Jesse Helms to single out HIV (for which transmission is easily preventable) as a reason for inadmissibility.

In other words, a bad and regressive law is being repealed, with practical consequences for foreign nationals with HIV, as well as more general symbolic significance, since a major codification of homophobic discrimination is being thrown away.

Immigration Equality is following this on their blog. Andrew Sullivan surely will be, too.

July 11, 2008

Herald outdoes itself with transphobic article

This latest article has to be something record-setting even for the awfulness of the Herald. Warning: it's horrific. Undercover ‘john’ takes on trannies, pimps.

I'm not smart enough to dissect this article right now, so please... hack the Herald article into tiny pieces, then we'll all mail them to the paper.


Here's the contact information for the Herald.

Please contact the Boston Herald and call on them to issue an apology. Tell them that they are failing to meet basic standards of journalistic integrity and that they must remove the defamatory terminology and references from the article.

Boston Herald Contacts:
Jessica Van Sack
City Reporter
(617) 619-6437

Joe Dwinell
City Executive Co-Editor
(617) 619-6177

Kevin Convey
Editor in Chief
(617) 619-6403

The Internets Has the Future

Mildly NSFW (language) "Macdonald's brunch hack". Let the lulz flow forth.

Thanks, bOING-bOING!

July 07, 2008

Famous author Thomas Disch suicides

It is with horror that I read this morning that Thomas Disch - poet and author of brilliant works - committed suicide on the Fourth of July.

Disch was openly gay since 1968 and his partner for 20 years was the poet Charles Naylor.

This obit isn't just about the loss of Disch, however. It's about something else: it's motivated. See, Disch lost his partner in 2004 and it was a travesty in its own way; insufficient health care, which Disch had been already bitching about for decades, was a significant factor. He suffered badly from a kind of PTSD due to 9/11, and he himself was unable to get appropriate treatment. And finally, after his partner's death, he lost their home in Philadelphia and was being evicted from their apartment in NYC.

Disch became cruel and erratic after 9/11, ranting about Muslims and immigrants. He was no saint, although some may love him like one for The Brave Little Toaster. He was, however, clearly mentally disturbed and - like the characters in his infamous 334 - in the end, died for the NuMerican sin of Not Being Able to Get Health Care because Our Country is Fucked in the Head. Michael Swanwick's comment on the subject was, "Even if he had to commit suicide, he shouldn't have had to worry about being evicted."

I want to close this obit with a description of him posted on the Amazon website, because it says in brief so much:

Thomas M. Disch is the author of such diverse publications as The Prisoner, The Dreams Our Stuff are Made Of, Camp Concentration, and The Brave Little Toaster. A renowned poet and book critic, Disch's review, criticism, and essays have been published in The Nation, Harper's, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Weekly. He has received the John W. Campbell and O'Henry awards and the Pushcart Prize. Disch has a forthcoming original novel, The Word of God, Or the Holy Writ Rewritten, coming out from Tachyon in July 2008. He divides his time between New York City and rural Pennsylvania.

Go in peace, Mr Disch. You are much loved and hated.

July 06, 2008

Lyme Disease originated in Europe

This may seem an unusual post for quench, but as some of you already know, I am disabled because of two severe bouts of Lyme Disease, which is currently ravaging the northeast. The epicentre of the outbreak is Lyme CT, about 30 miles from my parents' home, and nearly every one I know from home and nearly every friend, acquaintance and coworker of my parents have suffered this potentially debilitating disease. My mother told me today of three more people she knows who have Bell's Palsy, a temporary total paralysis of one side of the face that is accompanied by bodily weakness and is often cause for temporary disability of a month caused by Lyme. Long-term (non-reparable) nerve damage is also common: it leads to depression, severe anxiety disorders (such as I have), bodily weakness and paralysis and bone and joint degeneration. Severely increased suicide rates are directly attributable to Lyme infection.

So it was with great interest that I read about Lyme in ScienceDaily...

The bacterium responsible for Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, originated in America, or so researchers thought. Now, however, a team from the University of Bath has shown that this bug in fact came from Europe, originating from before the Ice Age.

[snip]There is no vaccine for the infection, which can cause arthritis and problems with the nervous system and heart if left untreated.

Wellcome Trust. "Lyme Disease Bacterium Came From Europe Before Ice Age." ScienceDaily 30 June 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2008 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080629142805.htm

The article is very short, but also notes that it has been present in the New World for "a long time"... I'll be following this for sure.

July 04, 2008

Live Long and Marry

What do you get when you combine marriage equality, a charity auction, and a Dalek Christmas Ornament?

...I'm not really sure, but it seems pretty cool.

A bunch of folks over on LiveJournal have started an auction for marriage equality. Everyone is welcome to offer up their goods and services, everyone is welcome to bid, and bids are made as donations to "Equality For All, Marriage Equality USA, Equality California, or your preferred organization or coalition fighting for marriage equality."

Y'all should check it out: http://community.livejournal.com/livelongnmarry/

Bidding is open until July 15th, and over $3,300 has been raised already!

Thanks go to esteemed young adult novelist Tamora Pierce for bringing the auction to this Quenchista's attention. (Tammy has a couple items up for auction here and here.)

July 01, 2008