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Saturday, September 4, 2010

I PrEDict

By Ed (Predictor)-

Hence the screename "Predictor" used on all blogs to date except for one. Elections Statistics & Handicapping & Redistricting are three Political Interests I love and have specialized in. I have been blogging since circa 2003, starting on "Raising Kaine", where I blogged as "tidewater-roots". I eventually drifted to DK in Oct 2006 and then morphed into a photoblogger.

OK, lets see if I can reduce my 56+ yrs to a few Paragraphs.
Born in NY, raised in NJ,ME,PA,VA & have lived in MD,NC,FL & Italy & now in CA in Pelosi's District (weekends & registered to vote) and living in Anna Eshoo's District weekdays
I'm a Retired Government Manager (Legal Field)...forboth Feds & State levels. My B.S. degree is in Public Administration with Minors in Political Science and Mathematics. Proud Dual Citizen (Ireland) and legally married in CA to a Canadian Citizen (so UFA is an issue for us). I've been involved in Politics since I was a child (1960 Election-on). Have held Elected Government Office as an openly Gay Democrat,and have held more Dem Party Offices than I can count or remember.

I have been openly out of the closet since 1976 fighting for Civil Rights for all communities especially the GLBT Communities.
One of my proud accomplishments was to have been a Jesse Jackson-D Rainbow Coalition Delegate in North Carolina in 1992. My GLBT Rainbow is a wide and open minded spectrum. I echo Terry's disappointments with both our Pres & our Party over their "handling" of Issues so important to their GLBT base.

I'm over 10 years HIV Positive and 2006 Stroke Survivor. My health is always marginal as Severe Chronic Fatigue is a major on-going issue. My other "Hobbies" are Philately, Scale Model Cars & Maps.

Movies, Music & SciFi & Meteorology are among my interests. I speak Italian fluently and Francais un peu. The Italian has helped alot in learning and understanding some Spanish since my move to California 13+ years ago. I'd rather be living in Amsterdam, which I know very well from my ten years living in Europe.
I have never voted for DiFi in either a Primary or General Election.
I have shaken the hands of two men who became President, and one who did not, and also the current Speaker of the House.
I'm not big on making Politicians into heroes, quite the opposite.
Welcome to all & Cheers,Ed

I swear it's this Big

We Don't Work With 'Your Kind'

By jpm-

We Don't Work With 'Your Kind'

You might think it was the 1950's:

On Saturday, August 8, 2010 a gay couple entered Southern Style Granite (SSG) on Airline Highway (address listed below) in Baton Rouge shopping for a remodeling project.

One of the owners of SSG, Darren Cifreo, specifically asked the two gentlemen if they were in a relationship with each other. After confirming that they are, Mr. Cifreo told them that SSG does not work with "Your Kind" and told them to leave the showroom.

Or perhaps it was the 1970's, in a little bar far, far away:

(Note: videos will appear if you click on the 'Read More' link!)

Or maybe it's really the high-tech world of the future:

Whatever year it is, it's despicable.

The last time I looked, it's been 142 years since the 14th amendment was enacted, and yet

We have a Senatorial candidate who thinks that businesses should be able to refuse service to anyone of the basis of race, creed, color AND sexual orientation.

We have a US Congressperson who thinks "our children ... are the prize for this community, they are specifically targeting our children."

We have a sitting Governor who thinks there are large numbers of headless bodies out in the Arizona desert, caused by undocumented immigrants.

So perhaps it is no wonder that we have random citizens who refuse to serve 'Your Kind'. Whatever kind 'They' happen to be to satisfy the hate de jour. In America. In 2010.

You can let one such random citizen know what you think about that:

It's Labor Day Weekend After All

We got sunlight on the sand,
We got moonlight on the sea,
We got mangoes and bananas
Picked by foreign worker bees
We got cell phone apps and Ipads
And lots of online fobs
What ain't we got?
We ain't got jobs!

We get stuff from Amazon,
We get Netflix, we get po'n,
We get speeches from Obama
And advice from our dear mamas,
We get letters from Anthem Blue
That make us steam and scream and stew,
What don't we got?
We ain't got work!

We have nothin' to put on a clean white suit for
What we need is what there ain't no substitute for...

Adventures in Community Gardening in Boston's South End.

   What are community gardens?

   Community gardens are dedicated urban green areas set aside to provide residents access to fresh produce, plants and flowers as well as access to satisfying labor, neighborhood improvement, sense of community and connection to the environment. They are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access, and management, as well as typically owned in trust by local governments or not for profit associations.

   A city’s community gardens can be as diverse as its communities of gardeners. Some choose to solely grow flowers, others are nurtured communally and their bounty shared, some have individual plots for personal use, while others are equipped with raised beds for disabled gardeners. Community gardens improve users’ health and well being through increased fresh fruit and vegetable consumption and providing an outlet for fresh air and exercise. The gardens also combat two forms of alienation that plague modern urban life, by bringing urban gardeners closer in touch with the source of their food, and by breaking down isolation by creating a social community.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gay In a Red State

by indiemcemopants

(Originally featured on FireDogLake)

Being gay in a red state like Alabama isn’t easy. I’m a gay cripple here. So life’s hard. We’ve got a long list of improvements that need to be made – not just as a "pony" or a nice treat – but things we need for our survival. We are not asking for, nor do we need any type of special rights. Our rights are entwined with everyone else’s rights. Joblessness, poverty and other things that are hurting people are affecting gays at disproportionate rates and gay people of color at even higher rates.

So when I say that gay people (and straight people who are perceived to be gay) in red states are desperate for ENDA to be passed, it’s the kind of desperation most people don’t ever dream of.

Clutter - Three Poems

By Robyn

I recently had to empty one office and move all my shit into another one in a different building. As often has happened when I have done this sort of thing, I uncovered an old scrap of paper. On it were three poems. Searching my data banks has revealed that two of them were micro-planed into poems which I have published before, in slightly different form.

Because of the start of the new semester, that's about all I've got to share this evening.

Originally I was going to write a piece entitled In the good old days, they just called us perverts, but I didn't find the time to flesh it out. If anyone wants to discuss the topic, I'm game to do so in the comments.

You Can't Handle the Truth!: Gay Men and HIV Education

By FogCityJohn

In 1994, psychologist Walt Odets published a scathing critique of what was then called "AIDS education." Writing in the now-defunct AIDS & Public Policy Journal, Odets examined the approaches used to educate gay men about HIV, and to put it mildly, he found them wanting. While working on a post for my blog at, I reread his article, entitled AIDS Education and Harm Reduction for Gay Men: Psychological Approaches for the 21st Century, and I was stunned to discover that almost all of what Odets criticized sixteen years ago could still be said of much HIV prevention and safer sex education today. Sadly, ten years into the 21st century, Odets's jeremiad remains both accurate and relevant.

Odets pointed out how much homophobia had influenced the development of HIV education, and he offered a number of suggestions on how that education could be improved. I was especially struck by his argument that we should stop withholding information from, and lying to, gay men about sex and HIV. Odets dared to question "the almost universal assumption among educators that if we give men 'too much information' — which is to say something like the whole truth to the best of our knowledge — they will abuse it, exercise faulty judgment, or otherwise come up with unintended results."

HIV educators, it seemed, thought we gay men couldn't handle the truth. I wonder, though, whether it isn't the other way around. Maybe it's HIV educators who can't handle the whole truth, or who perhaps don't fully understand it. And maybe we'd all be better off if we brought more truth to the discussion of gay men, sex, and HIV.


Brian J. Tessier Esq. is the President and CEO of We Hear the Children, a private foundation established to support the needs of children as identified by those who work with children.

Brian founded We Hear the Children in 2010 after a long career in the private sector. Most recently Brian served as the Senior Contract Manager at Fidelity Investments where he was responsible for multi-national negotiations and developing the contract architecture, compliance reporting and training across the enterprise. Brian’s experience also includes serving as the Expatriate Coordinator with Bank Boston where he managed worldwide immigration and international HR assignments as well as an attorney in private practice. As a litigator in private practice, Brian concentrated in domestic and family law and was active on behalf of victims of domestic violence and children.

Active in the community, Brian has served on the Board of Directors with the Women’s Crisis Center in Newburyport, Massachusetts and as Legal Advisor for the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project and as a member of the Fidelity investments and BankBoston GLBT Advisory Panels. Brian now sits on the National Advisory Council for the Human Rights Campaign, All Children-All Families Foundation.

A long time advocate of single parent and gay adoptions, Brian is a single adoptive parent of two boys. He actively works with pre-adoptive parents, schools, and foundations for the benefit of children. He twice opened court proceedings for National Adoption Day. In 2009, Brian was recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Adoptive Parent of the Year. He continues to write about his experiences as a single adoptive father. Brian is the author The Greatest Wish and The Intentional Father.

Brian received his bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Michael’s College and his law degree from the Massachusetts School of Law. Brian, and his sons live in Maine. Brian consults with Foundations and Corporations on how to Manage with Intention and how to leverage Human Capital.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness: An American Questioner

By The 3B's

I often wonder what the founders of our country would think of the current state of affairs  here in the United States of America.  For a group of individuals who sought refuge to be free to think, believe and live freely, would they be aghast at what we are as a nation today?  Have we forsaken the meaning of words, life, truth, freedom, liberty and even love? Do we now use them to divide rather than unite?  As a lawyer, author and on some level a philosopher, which I attribute to being a parent, I wonder who hears the voices of the children and the perspective they have on these words.  I look to my own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to answer some of these questions.

I can not say that I had anything other than a normal childhood growing up in the sixties and seventies.  Despite the fact I was raised in a liberal section of the country I can not and do not remember it shaping my views on the world.  My views and perspectives were shaped by living in a loving family.  I find there is a certain ethnic flair to my background being of Eastern European descent on my mother’s side and of Canadian and Irish descent on my father’s.  The commonality between both sides is the fresh immigrant perspective of people who either came here to be free or to find work and pursue their dreams, wishes and hopes. 

Additionally, there was the inclusion of everyone and the pervasive thought that “all were family”.  My father left a career in industry as an engineer to pursue teaching and our family always grew with the students his work, patience and passion brought to our home or table.  Mom, was there to welcome all, there were always others around and our home life was filled with people and extended family.  We were not wealthy by any mean, but we were not poor either, but we were rich with old ideals and fresh perspectives.  I never felt a restriction on my freedom as a child, to explore learn and pursue what made me happy.

It was not until I was older and more aware of myself, I noticed a distinction, I was different, it was in the fourth grade when I first realized I was gay.  I was not attracted to the girls who liked me I was attracted to my gym teacher, this was the first time I felt restrictions on my ability to pursue life and I knew I was not at liberty to pursue love.  Interestingly enough, these restrictions I jailed myself with as a result of the reaction I would face if I revealed the truth. 

So, at that point, did I construe the word “Truth” to be as the Founders of our country would have meant it to be?  If, I were to be able to speak to one of them on the philosophical meaning of truth would their reaction and restriction be the same as the one that I placed on myself?  Today, I am doubtful it would given how little real meaning these words have in our country as they are hurled as emotional boulders and used to build walls rather than pave ways.  Each person’s truth is unique as we are inherently given the right to pursue them, or not!

Roman Catholics Now Have Their Heads Wedged Further Up Their Asses Than Many of the Fundamentalists Do.

Christine M. Judd x390 (Cathedral High School) | ADVOCATE.COM
An athletic director at a high school in Springfield, Mass. says she was pressured to leave her position because she married her wife last month.

Christine Judd, dean of students and athletic director for Cathedral High School, stepped down after meeting with school administrators on Wednesday.

Judd worked for the school for 12 years, where she rose from science teacher to dean of students and, three years ago, athletic director. While the state has allowed gay people to marry since 2004, same-sex marriage is still not sanctioned by the Catholic Church.

"Cathedral had nothing to do with this," she said in the article. "This was a diocesan decision. In the end, the timing of this issue really affects the kids. That is where it has the most effect."

The diocese listed her departure as a resignation, but Judd said she is still exploring her legal options.

“I was given a choice of termination or resignation,” Judd said. “I’m hurt, but I wish nothing but the best for Cathedral, its students, the parents, the athletic teams, administration and faculty. I bleed purple (the school’s color).”

Judd, a Springfield resident, worked for the Catholic school for 12 years, beginning as a science teacher in 1998. She became dean of students six years ago and was given the added duties of athletic director three years ago.

“I married my partner this summer,” Judd said. “I was hoping that my loyalty, my professionalism the last 12 years would supersede the current hypocrisy that has already been shown with the Diocese of Springfield.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jumping In with an Intro

When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.
- Japanese proverb

I hope the above quote is true, because I can think of no better way of being deemed worthy than by the quality of the friends I met through Daily Kos and who've started this grand experiment of a blog. I'm grateful for them every day.

By way of introductions, I'm Allison (ajewella) and I'm a 48-year-old Bisexual woman living in Dallas, TX. Although I have degrees in teaching and psychology, I'm currently a writer for an international telecommunications corporation. Writing is my first and enduring love but in various incarnations I've worked in computer software, public health, and publishing.

I'd hoped to be living in Hawaii by now, but a bad economy and a recent health crisis (breast cancer) have delayed that dream for the time being. I've recovered my health (I'll be 2 years cancer-free in December) and now I'm working on recovering financially.

I'm an unaffiliated Buddhist and celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary last May. The biggest accomplishment of my life - and the one that give me the most joy - is the perfectly glorious little son I managed to give birth to when I was 43. When I'm not busy being his Mom, I'll be around here posting on such varying topics as bisexual issues, GLBT history/culture, and any number other things that tickle my (and I hope your) fancy.
Until next time...Love to all.

Fiorina: "My position is consistent with... the President."

Instead of answering a question about providing all the benefits and rights of marriage to gay and lesbian couples via Federal law, Carly Fiorina deflected the inquiry but said that she "supported civil unions" in last night's debate with Barbara Boxer, and specifically noted that

My position is consistent with that of the President...

Think about that.

Doing that whole "bio" thing


Hello there,

I'm Heather R, aka smellybeast on Daily Kos. I'm probably most well known in this group for my diaries regarding the Uniting American Families Act.

My partner of 3 years and I live in San Francisco. She's from the UK and here on a temporary work visa that expires next year. We will have to leave the country and my family (now hers) behind in order to stay together. So far Canada is looking like it may be an option, but barring that we will probably be moving to the UK.

My life really isn't very exciting beyond the tricky immigration situation. I have a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, which I use constantly in my work as a legal secretary (hahaha). My hobbies include caring for my elderly cat and playing tower defense games. I also love traveling, hiking and reading science fiction. Blogging at Daily Kos was my start in online organizing and I look forward to seeing what we can do here.

Since we're introducing ourselves...

<- That's me. I'm Evan, kyril here and on Daily Kos. I'm a 27-year-old Canadian recent veteran of the U.S. Navy, where I worked as an aircraft mechanic for five years fixing structures and hydraulics first on F/A-18 Horrnets and later on EA-6B Prowlers. I'm an undergraduate student in geophysics at the University of Washington. I'm an avid science fiction reader and a particular fan of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov; I write social science fiction myself, but don't yet have anything nearly ready for publication. I'm an online PC gamer. I'm also trans and gay.

I haven't done half as many interesting things as many of the people here. I only recently came out (coming out story is here) and am still in the process of transitioning. Most of my activism is online; most of the stuff I've done with my life in meatspace isn't overtly political. I've been a volunteer firefighter, an aircraft mechanic, an exotic dancer, a math and reading tutor, and several times a student. My career goals aren't overtly political either - I'm studying geophysics with the intent to do research on paleoclimate. But my life, being trans, is necessarily political. And that's why I'm here being opinionated.

Hi, from indiemcemopants

My real name is Scottie. I'm a 26 year old gay guy and I live in south Alabama. I'm in a wheelchair. Got paralyzed at fifteen years old from a surgery for scoliosis. I do a weekly column at FireDogLake Seminal's front page on LGBT issues and I write there and at DailyKos, my own blog and sometimes at Docudharma.

The Life And Times Of One R. Lyon

I am retired and live on the north coast of California. I grew up in Alabama during the last days of Jim Crow rule. I spent the first half of my working life as a social worker and the second half working in accounting and IT stuff. I've been active in several progressive do gooder causes over the years.

My writing interest include LGBT community and political issues. I am also interested in economic history and environmental causes.

A Brief Introduction

Hello everyone, my name is Alec, or "Alec82" to reflect the birth year, on Daily Kos. A little bit about me.

I'm an attorney who currently practices in an undisclosed location in Michigan. In past lives, I've lived in California and for briefer periods, France and Thailand. There are more than a few issues that interest me beyond LGBT rights. In fact, while those issues are important for personal reasons, most of my political work is not LGBT related.

When I decided to go to law school (and I come from a family of attorneys, so the issue of "choice" in that context is an interesting and problematic one), my original goal was to work in the area of international development, and law school and the degree was going to be a springboard to get there. To that end, I applied for a position as a research assistant in my second semester of law school and began working on a State Department project related to economic law reform in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank. Before I began working on that project, you probably could have described me as a nominal Zionist. The work I did on that project really opened my eyes to the unseen reality of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and so it is an issue that I have blogged about on Daily Kos and elsewhere, and it is an issue I spend quite a bit of time on offline as well as online.

But another thing happened while I was in law school: I took criminal procedure, and I loved it. And as a result of that experience, coupled with my personal and longstanding opposition to the abuses associated with the "drug war," I decided that criminal defense was an area that I wanted to work in, and it wasn't an area that merged easily with international development, so the latter went by the wayside. While I no longer work on criminal defense exclusively, it is part of my practice and it remains, in many ways, my true love.

And that is all about me.

Something like a bio

Hi everybody!

I'm Gin (short form of Virginia aka MercuryX23 at DK). I am currently doing time in Maricopa County, Arizona (I live in the reddest of red districts, AZ-02. Home of Trent Franks.) as a public high school Theatre Arts teacher. I have been lucky enough to have this amazing job for the past five years. Prior to this, I taught English and Theatre at an alternative high school in South Central Los Angeles. While I miss Southern California more than words can say, I am grateful for what I have here in Phoenix, namely in-laws who watch my two wonderful children on a daily basis. I am happily married to an amazing woman who has proven herself to be even more amazing than I initially thought she was because when I came out to her last year that I am a transsexual, she did not run for the hills. Instead, she has supported my need to transition and is learning that even though she is not a lesbian, she can be in a happy and healthy relationship with another woman.

So, yes, I am a transsexual. While I have been in transition for the last year or so (about ten months into my hrt is becoming harder and harder to pass as male), I am still looking at the world from inside a closet that I would just like to go ahead and get out of already. However, I do live in Arizona and while I have heard tale of other teachers here transitioning and keeping their positions, I am fairly confident that due to the nature of my job in particular, there is little hope that my position will still be available to me once I live full time as a woman. So I am working on my second Master's (the first is an MA-T in Secondary Education) in creative writing so I can possibly get work as an adjunct instructor at a community college or online school once my career here as a high school teacher comes to an end.

Beyond all that, I am excited for my future. I have always been politically active from the sidelines. While I've worked for a few local campaigns and blogged on and off for years, I've never felt like I was part of the game in a meaningful way. It is my goal to become politically active in the Trans community. While we have some wonderful women and men out there speaking for us, we do not have enough. We need to have our voices heard and our stories told. I hope that I can be a part of that effort.

So thank you for inviting me to be a part of this new community. I am grateful for the opportunity.

LGBT Civil Rights: Here Come The Republicans!

By David Mixner-

   In the last few months, we have seen a flood of prominent Republicans come out for marriage equality. Many of them are not only supporting the issue but actually speaking out and raising funds to assist in the battle. Most of them are getting behind the American Foundation For Equal Rights Court Case. Some LGBT leaders and activists are having difficulty adjusting to the new allies who have opposed us in the past, come from a totally different ideological spectrum and still support candidates who don't support us.
   While it is understandable that people would have a difficult time adjusting to this shift in support for marriage equality, trust me, this is good news - very good news. Most importantly, nothing more symbolizes that we are edging very close to victory than the emergence of these new allies. In fact, our entire movement has been geared to organize where our opposition will be isolated as right wing nuts. With respected and thoughtful conservative and libertarian voices joining our struggle, that is exactly what is beginning to happen in this battle for full equality.
   In 1978, the LGBT community was fighting the tidal wave of victories by Anita Bryant and her allies. She won in Miami, St. Paul, Wichita and Eugene. Ms. Bryant seemed unstoppable as she brought her hate band wagon to California. With the public support of State Senator John Briggs, they put on the ballot Proposition Six that would have made it against the law for school teachers to be homosexual. Initially no one thought we could win but a group of us were determined to fight. In the last weeks of the campaign, we couldn't quite reach the magical 50% plus 1 that we needed for victory. Exasperated but determined, Peter Scott and I went to Governor Ronald Reagan to ask for his support. Many in the community were appalled that we would seek the support of a man who opposed everything we stood for in life. To make a long story short, we obtained his support and he put us over the top. We won with 54% of the vote.
   On that election night as thousand cheered and wept in celebrating our victory, not one person came up to me to question getting Reagan aboard. It was a huge victory.
   Winning full equality in 2010 is not going to happen until we build new allies out of our traditional base. That is the purpose of a movement - to educate and change minds, to extend hands and create winning coalitions. No one is served to punish our new allies for having contrary backgrounds or different ideologies. Believe it or not, this is not about any individual's personal beliefs; it is about the next generation being free from fear, hate and oppression.

visit David at Live From Hell's Kitchen for more.

boring little me

Hi this is Irish Patti.
I am a straight woman living in Denver CO with my sweetie and our 2 dogs. I am originally from NY, and I have the attitude to match :). I know a few of the members here in meatspace. I am an LPN. I will be going back to school this January for my RN and BSN. I hope to eventually become a Nurse Practitioner. I am very liberal. I am a political junkie. I got involved in politics young because I was taught about the British Occupation of Northern Ireland. I was brought up hating Margaret Thatcher. As an adult, I put together a protest rally against her. That was one of my proudest moments. I got 500 people to protest on a summer Wednesday afternoon. I hope to help with community diaries here, especially regarding food and sports. I love to cook and bake. If I didn't love my nursing, I would go to culinary arts school.

Anything else you want to know I am more than happy to answer.

Who the Hell I Am

I'm Robyn Serven. Here's me in this picture here (well, it was me in January of 1995...I tend to be a little photo shy, I guess, since there aren't too many of them available). I'm now 51 years old, which is older than I ever imagined myself being, but I suppose I'm not really complaining (well, except for the physical problems that seem to have arrived along with getting this old).

I teach mathematics at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, which is about 30 miles north northwest of Little Rock along I-40. I am an algebraist. My special skill lies in the teaching of the fundamentals of the syntax and vocabulary of the language of mathematics. I can apply this skill because of the Ph.D. I received at the University of Oregon in 1981 (I am originally from Lake Oswego, OR, and received my undergraduate degree from Portland State University, graduating after two and one-half years with a 4.0 GPA while majoring in mathematics). Students here seem to think I am a good teacher. They also think I am challenging. Who am I to disagree with this assessment?

My reality has changed drastically several times during my life.

[Still is. Transsexual lesbian mathematics professor at the University of Central Arkansas? The most recent change is that I'm now 59 and teach the syntax and vocabulary of programming languages at Bloomfield College near Newark, New Jersey.]

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tap...tap....Is this thing on?

By musing85

First off, thanks to Terry and the rest of the gang for putting this place together--and even more so for the tremendous work they've done in attracting such an array of talents in such a short time. I hope this will be the start of something really good that gives the GLBT community a place to congregate and find out what's going on in our parts of the world--without a lot of the hassles and the constant navel-gazing that goes on at other places (which shall go without mentioning).

For those of you who aren't already familiar with me from my participation at Daily Kos and other sites around the intertoobz (and from my own blog), my name is Michael and online I go by "musing85." By day, I'm a research administrator at a large state university that only wishes it was as successful at bringing in external funding as Harvard--but which does all right, all things considered. By night, when I'm not donning my cape and making the world safe for democracy (OK, not so much), I'm trying very hard to finish my Ph.D. in modern European history. I also have academic degrees in chemistry, classics, library and information science, and history. Over and above the sheepskins, some of the other things I've studied in the way too many years I've been involved in higher education are included philosophy, counseling, theology, biology, theater, and a handful of languages.

I'm a gay man, and that's an important part of who I am--but I want to emphasize that it's a part of my identity. It is not the be-all and end-all of my identity. There are lots of things that go into my identity, almost none of which have anything to do with whom I'd be sleeping next to at night if I were sleeping next to anyone. That said, anybody who knows me knows that I am passionate about ending the legal discrimination that is still the norm in far too many parts of this here land of the putatively free and the home of the too-infrequently brave. This is one of many things that frustrates me about the Democratic Party generally and the Obama administration in particular: for my entire adult life, Democrats have been asking me to give generously of my time, my talents, and my treasure to support them--and I have done so. But somehow, that generosity only ever flows from me toward the Democrats, never the other way around. That's got to change, and I've told the Democratic Party as much: they will get my money and my votes only when they start standing up for the issues I consider important--one of which is most definitely gay rights.

A big thanks to our organizers!

I would like to thank the organizers for making this site a reality. I'm very excited about the possibilities and think there are some incredible writers here.

Who is cooper888? You can call me cooper (not my real name but it works for the internet - smile) and I am 52, living in Sacramento and happily married to my husband for 2+ years. We've been together for 12+ but when marriage equality became legal in California we took advantage of being able to formalize our relationship. We didn't feel the need since we already considered ourselves married, but boy oh boy... when the justice of the peace said I now pronounce you spouses for life, did it really hit home just how powerful the institution of marriage is ingrained into the core of your being.

I look forward to writing on more lighthearted topics such as food, etc. But currently I have a passion for something a bit more political. I'm working to defeat Andrew Pugno, architect and counsel for the Prop8 campaign. He is running for the California State Assembly as a republican in my district against democratic challenger Dr. Richard Pan. I hope you will join me in working to defeat Pugno and send a clear message to NOM and their ilk that they are not welcome as my representative. (wow, my restraint there was remarkable! I think you can imagine what I really wanted to say and exactly what language I would prefer to use)

If you are interested in learning more about Pugno and what we can do to defeat him please see my earlier posting 'Prop8 Lawyer for CA Assembly? Not so fast...'

Nice to meet everyone....

Welcome to Your Blog!

Hello Everyone!

   Welcome to your new blog! Please make yourself at home. Maybe we should take a few minutes to introduce ourselves to each other, since we have quite a few new folks signed on here to participate in this endeavor.

   I'm Terry, (tnichlsn) at DailyKos and most other places online. I'm in Boston. and have been here over 20 years now, since finishing graduate school in Albany, NY. I am a Harvard Professor, scientist, very left-leaning progressive, gay, single, bearish type guy who has meandered through this very complicated life we were all born into. I come from a very large, poor/working class, Irish, catholic family. I am out of the closet to my family and at work. I am very pleased to live in the state of Massachusetts where we fired the opening salvo in this battle for full inclusion in life in the US. Embarrassingly, we don't have gender identity protection laws on the books yet. But we are inching towards that inevitability. Governor Patrick has stated his intention to sign the bill when it finally reaches his desk.

   I decided a new blog was in order when it became clear that some Obama supporters on Daily Kos were unwilling to tolerate any criticism of this administration, especially in regard to the President's tepid support of pro-gay measures. While I am grateful for the tentative first steps this Administration has made, I find Obama's ongoing fence-straddling on marriage equality and his foot-dragging on DADT repeal totally unacceptable.

   So please, take a few paragraphs and share with the rest of us a bit about yourselves.

   I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss what I hope to implement here as we gear up to full capacity. This is your blog! I functioned as gatekeeper in the weekly DailyKos series because we needed someone there to kick folks in the pants on a regular basis to keep our regular schedule  of once or twice weekly diaries flowing. That is not the case here. I encourage all of you to publish as often as you like. My job here is simply caretaker. and traffic cop. Like the diary series at DailyKos, any and all content that is GLBTQ relevant is welcome to be shared on our main page during the day. Please, write up anything newsworthy and submit diaries freely. Writing diaries here is actually easier than the same process at DailyKos. The main difference being we don't use a file-sharing service to embed photos. You upload them here directly. (very easy!) Any questions/problems with your diary writing, please contact me directly and I'll try to help you through the procedure. There is a 'New Post' link on the top right menu of the homepage. Select it, making sure beforehand that your browser preferences is set to 'accept 3rd party cookies'. From there you should be good-to-go! Again, don't hesitate to ask questions, no one here is more technologically challenged than I!!!

   Where we will go DailyKos one step better is our approach to community diaries. What we intend we do each evening, 9 PM eastern through the early morning hours here, is clear the deck of all but the evening's scheduled community diary. (a different topic/host each night of the week, on a recurring basis) We do have the ability to push and pull diaries into and out of archives, so we can open up the site exclusively to the featured evening community diary. What these diaries consist of is up to us, but I hope we can all let our hair down and have some fun in these events. Maybe chat glbt sports, or literature or cinema/theater, or culinary arts, etc. We will also have a 'live chat' feature present during these sessions, for real time chat, in addition to the usual bouncing of messages back and forth. So if you are interested in helping us pull a once-a-week, evening diary series together of some concept you're interested in, please contact me. I have no idea how or if this grand scheme for the evenings will work or even be practical, but let's give it a shot.

   I'm not sure what else I need to tell you about our plans for this place. Our place! If you would like to see us feature something here or change something. Please don't hesitate to ask. My main disappointment with the site infrastructure is the way it handles comments, without nesting them, replies following each individual comment, like is done at DailyKos. One way we might get around that is by tailoring your replies to specific comments with a @Terry, to designate a reply to one of my earlier comments. If anyone can come up with a way for us to tweak the system so that we do have the same system as DK, please speak up!

   Thanks again and again, Welcome. Now help us break the place in!


Children raised by gay couples show good progress through school

By lcr

By mining data from the 2000 Census, sociologist Michael Rosenfeld determined the rates at which kids raised by gay and straight couples repeated a grade during elementary or middle school. He found that children of same-sex parents have essentially the same educational achievement as their peers growing up in heterosexual households.

Stanford research finds that children of gay and straight couples do equally well in school. Associate professor Michael Rosenfeld, Sociology, drew his research from census data.

In nearly every discussion, debate or lawsuit about gay marriage, the talk at some point turns to family values.

Do gay couples make for good parents? Will their children – whether adopted, conceived with the help of a surrogate or brought in from a pre-existing relationship – adjust, adapt and succeed in a world dominated by traditional families?

The answers usually depend on who's giving them, and come dressed in anecdotes and colored by bias. But Rosenfeld brings something new to the conversation: facts and figures derived from the country's largest data bank – the U.S. Census.

In a study just published this month in the journal Demography, he concludes that children being raised by same-sex couples have nearly the same educational achievement as children raised by married heterosexual couples.

By mining data from the 2000 Census, he was able to extrapolate the rates at which children in all types of families repeated a grade during elementary or middle school. According to his findings, nearly 7 percent of children raised by heterosexual married couples were held back a year, while about 9.5 percent of children living with adults identifying themselves as same-sex partners repeated a grade.

The difference between the groups pretty much vanishes when taking into account that the heterosexual couples were slightly more educated and wealthier than most gay parents, Rosenfeld said.

"The census data show that having parents who are the same gender is not in itself any disadvantage to children," he said. "Parents' income and education are the biggest indicators of a child's success. Family structure is a minor determinant."

Gay Marriage Delay is Good News... For President Obama.

by indiemcemopants

When Judge Walker decided to stay his decision to lift the stay on the Prop. 8 decision, it was upsetting to many of us. It's not right to keep gays from marrying. After reading Walker's 138 page decision, that's abundantly clear. I couldn't figure out why he would write so eloquently that delaying and denying marriage to gays is so completely destructive and then he'd deny it to us for a bit longer.

At the time, I said:
Essentially, Judge Walker is saying that he supports his ruling enough to lift the stay but not to stand by that on its merits. He wants to give the bigots time to voice their opinion (and either win a stay or get their whole appeal thrown out for lack of standing), a decision which will effectively make sure his wonderfully written and argued decision only applies to parts of California.

While I'm not averse to caution, this is too much caution. This was a President-Obama-decision. This seems like a "can't we all just get along?" ploy. It doesn't make sense. If you stand by your opinion that gays should not be banned by the government from marriage then stand up for your decision. Don't play both sides or try to act like, wait, just wait, maybe the bigots should get to deny us rights after all.
I wasn't the only one who got mad.

Banning marriage for one more minute isn't acceptable, no matter how much it helps. It causes distinct and irreparable harms to gay couples. You know who it helps though? Democrats! Including the President himself:
Gay men and lesbians will not be lining up -- as they had very much wanted to -- in city halls across the state to marry. Instead, the court said they would have to wait until it could take up the legal debate over California's Proposition 8.

That decision came as a huge disappointment to the activists who sought to have Prop 8 declared unconstitutional. But it was a relief for the White House, meaning that a potentially divisive issue would not play out during the fall midterm elections.
It seems like gay people's pain is always a huge relief for the White House and Democrats. If we're hurting because of something Democrats are doing, they can say "See? We're moderates, really. We don't like gays either." Caving to gays' demands on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal didn't happen, because the Democrats were worried about seeming too radical, but they sure did defer the repeal plan to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The idea seems to be that they want to keep gays hurting and keep right wingers happy.

We weren't in the health care talks, we won't be discussed during immigration reform talks, even though the Uniting American Families Act is a huge priority for us, and in fact, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act would save a lot of headaches for the Democrats and the President, but even knowing that, they're still not going to repeal it. So, what's the deal?

And even worse, someone close to the administration says that discrimination against gays is a distraction:
Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who is close with top White House officials, said Obama has "suffered through a season of distractions. He didn't need one more distraction."
I'm so sorry that President Obama has "suffered" because of discrimination against gay people by his employer. Must be tough for him to suffer through all of this. Next thing you know we'll be distracting him by wanting ENDA passed so we can get jobs too. I can only conclude that Democrats really don't like gay people.

The thing is: it doesn't matter. We're energized now. We're not going away. We're not stopping and we won't get quiet. In fact I expect to see gay people getting louder very, very soon. Like it or not.

Martina Honored at U.S. Open

   Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was honored at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow last evening, where she credited love for tennis and a positive attitude with helping her through the challenges of coming out and her current battle with breast cancer.
MARTINA Navratilova 20100624 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM
   Introduced at the opening ceremony of the tournament, Navratilova received a rousing welcome inside Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. Martina has been a fan favorite with the Flushing Meadow crowd for decades. She and other honorees were celebrated for their ability to dream and inspire people.

   In a brief speech, the Czech-born Navratilova credited tennis and a positive attitude with helping her field some of life’s “nasty curveballs," including her upbringing in a Communist country and her current health battle. The 53-year-old was diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer this year and underwent surgery and six weeks of radiation, returning to the court in June to win the Wimbeldon ladies' invitation doubles.
"Those two things, attitude and tennis, have really been a constant for me," she said. "Attitude is a choice, so remember to always keep a positive attitude." The four-time U.S. Open champion also addressed coming out as an athlete in her prime.

“In 1981, I came out as a gay woman,” she said to strong applause. “That was not a good thing to do back then. There were a lot of doors that were shut in my face because of that, but you know what, I could still play tennis, no matter what.”

   Her famous on-court rivalry with friend Chris Evert is the subject of a new ESPN documentary, Unmatched, which will premiere September 14.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another Day, Another DADT Dismissal

By jpm

It wouldn't be another day in paradise unless it included a promising young person's career being trashed by a service that professes to reward pride, purpose and professionalism.

But this one comes with a twist. Not only was a young sailor's career ruined, but the powers that be decided he wasn't even worthy of an honorable discharge, thereby denying him the benefits he would have otherwise acrrued (such as GI Bill entitlements).

What did this young sailor do to deserve this fate? He accidently brought a cell phone into a restricted area. (For comparison, Daniel Choi, who chained himself to the White House fence, was arrested more than once for disorderly conduct, and arguably wore his uniform in inappropriate circumstances at various times, was given an honorable discharge.)

Here's Jarod McIntosh's story.

The story is fairly straightforward: his phone was confiscated (appropriately), the duty officer discovered revealing pictures, the information was sent up the chain of command, and the Admiral in charge on the inquiry, despite the fact that

McIntosh's commanding officer argued against that verdict, saying he wanted the sailor back on the boat

and despite the fact that the Admiral had never met or served with McIntosh, RECOMMENDED HIS DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE.

Can you say unfucking real? I knew you could.

Who Are The LGBT Community?

By: Richard Lyon

The collection of people referred to as the LGBT community is a highly diverse bunch of people.

Is it these people?

Or is this it?

why do conservatives and the right HATE "traditional families"?

How Conservatives and the GOP Destroyed the "Traditional Family" They Claim to Treasure | | AlterNet: "
Social conservatives are right about one thing: the American family is under attack, but not from cultural liberals. The greatest threat to the American family is economic stress -- and the modern-day Republicans and social conservatives who preach family values are the ones who have done the most to imperil the American family. From union-busting and the outsourcing of jobs to developing countries and opposing universal health care, social conservatives have not only endangered the American middle class -- they have also made it increasingly hard to raise a "traditional" family.
well worth reading the whole article... i'm lovin' me some AlterNet lately...

Maggie Gallagher Meets St. Peter -

from Robtish.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Freaking Out About Non-Binary Individuals & Couples by Jo LeGall

By Jo LeGall

When a society dies and another rises from it's ashes it is only reborn and hopefully a bit wiser than the last incarnation. Our society was born from dissent of the class, religious, racial and financial restrictions of the past society. A bit simplistic yet close to the truth. Though the social restrictions were tweaked, changed or abolished entirely we still adopted the social binary system from the previous few social incarnations.
There is always a continuous fight over adoption of laws that seek to restrict class, wealth, race and religion. We have only had one previous battle over our social binary system, before the current battle for non-binary couples, and that was for one group of non-binary individuals; independent women. Women who no longer wanted to be forced into the pretense that they were the "weaker", "inferior" and/or "submissive" sex.
I would say that it was only after Hitler's great adaptation of United States Eugenics theory and the ultimate horror of innocents being tortured, starved, experimented on, gassed and burned that the world took notice. Even them I am not sure if the fight was to save the people or protect the wealth of nations threatened. Before Hitler, and long after his death, the United States Eugenics program continued well into the 1970s.
Ironic that is when the LGBT community also started fighting back from being involuntarily committed, treated to shock therapy, sterilisation, experimental medication and the like as punishment for their "perversion" of the binary. "Deviant behaviour" they called it, where men and women adopted the "sexual and social behaviour" of their binary opposites. A deviation from the binay system. Against the "social nature" of the binary. A dire grievance against society they claim.
Eugenics was seen as a way to cure the Human Race, although the Neo-Nazis and the KKK eliminate the human part to that as they believe the White race IS the ONLY race, of impurity, inferior stock and create a stronger human. As the binary is seen as our societal model then those who are non-binary are seen as the inferior stock to be eliminated.
The physically feminine men, the physically masculine women, the sexually feminine men, the sexually masculine women, the feminine sounding men, the masculine sounding women, any trans sexual or gender queer, those with no sexual drive, and dependent upon which societal group we are in the lesser qualities each group qualifies as non-binary.
The stay-at-home father, the working mother, single parents, because they believe the binary must always be present in all of society for society to continue existing. There must be a man and a woman. There must be a physically, sexually masculine man who sounds like a man with the high sex drive of a man paired with a physically, sexually feminine woman who sounds like a woman with the lower sex drive of a woman who then produce perfectly binary children. That is their idea of perfect society.
Human normalcy had to be "standardized", medically and psychologically. A normal human has functional limbs, easily identifiable genitalia, a binary gender identity that matched physical genitalia and gender behaviour according to their side of the binary as identified through visual sex. Those who do not are abnormal, not fully human, inferior and must be cured, re-educated or purged. Today's society has only abolished the last and barely protested the first. At birth a doctor glances to see which category of the binary we are on and that becomes our official status in society.
Today's society does not fit that strict binary image. The family is not a perfect binary family, the individuals are not perfectly binary and neither are the couples. This is the war that is waging not simply between the LGBT community and the religious fundamentalists but between the binary fundamentalists and singles, unmarried couples, non-binary aka non-nuclear families, feminists, the poor, immigrants and the races.
We are not immune. The LGBT or GLBT or TLGB or whatever letter you wish to put first or exclude entirely is not in the fight alone. We are simply focused on one hillside to be captured or lost and the outcome will impact all of society. When Prop 8 is finally struck down parents everywhere will finally have full equal rights and hopefully, the gender privilege of parenting will legally end. The major threat to families in society is not non-binary individuals and couples, it is the binary itself.
The incorrect information provided to us at a young age that we must adhere to certain social rules based on visual sex and that all those we encounter will behave according to these social rules. Yes, even in same-sex relationships. The social rule society perpetuates that gay people are promiscuous, body conscious, vain, materialistic and habitually fit or that all women love and nurture babies and men do not. That is the number one cause of divorce; the inability to get to know the individual we date in lieu of what society tells us they should be, act and believe.
No wonder after 16 years of marriage some people realise not only are they married to an utter stranger but they are also a stranger to themselves. It is also why the younger generation cannot seem to last more than 1 year married. They have no patience with the pretense that older couples adopted years ago in order to create the illusion of that perfect binary family. In order to have a solid family and relationship we must be true to, and happy with, ourselves. One day society may finally realise that there is no man and wo-man; there is only human.

crossposted at the tiny voice of reason

Thanks, NOM!

by indiemcemopants

I would like to extend a special thank-you to the National Organization for Marriage. No, I'm not lying. Thank you NOM, you've helped us win greater support for inclusion of gays and lesbians in marriage.

If you missed it, NOM spent the summer rallying six or seven people across the nation to defend marriage against the extension of marriage to loving people who've wanted it since the beginning of time. They've spewed hatred all over the country and made speeches all about traditions and morals. What ended up happening at these rallies was not quite what they intended:
A final way in which this turning point has been apparent this summer is the response to the National Organization for Marriage’s ’’Summer for Marriage’’ tour. Far from energizing communities to oppose ’’gay marriage,’’ the near-universal result, in city after city, was a far more engaged and motivated pro-marriage equality counter-action that often drew more people.

That response, then, impacted the message in media reports from Minneapolis - ’’Dueling rallies with little hitch,’’ headlined the Star Tribune - to Atlanta, where The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that NOM had ’’20 or so protesters’’ compared to ’’more than 150 counter-protesters.’’
Well, I guess that backfired.

The Prop. 8 Trial Tracker, linked above, became the NOM Tour Tracker for the summer and every post noted that the counter-protest numbers were higher than the people coming out to support opposite marriage. It makes sense though: why would they come out to a "protest" event which supports something they already have? The NOM Tour was flawed from the beginning. Their whole strategy was to paint proponents of opposite marriage as victims. The tour was about "defending" marriage or taking it back from the gays or whatever else. But straight people can already get married and if gays can marry too, it won't affect that. Straight people realize they aren't "victims" of anything. Nobody came out to support the victimization of privileged heterosexuals because that's stupid on its face.

And if you want to know how much of a beating marriage has taken lately, if you want to know how much danger the institution of marriage is in, well, it's just so, so bad:
In the states for which data were available, there were 3.4 divorces per 1,000 people in 2009, following rates of 3.5 divorces per 1,000 people in 2008 and 3.6 divorces per 1,000 people in 2007.
Less divorces? I don't know if we as a country can handle that. I would have thought that with more states allowing gay marriage, more people would leave their wives for the gay. And the article says there were less marriages last year, so that means tons and tons and tons of evil out-of-wedlock births by impure heathens, right?

No, there were actually:
13.5 births per 1,000 people last year, compared to a rate of 13.9 births per 1,000 people in 2008.
There were less births and less divorces? Assuming that the anti-gay argument that out-of-wedlock-births, divorces, and the erosion of marriages actually has a rational relationship to gay people in the first place then where's the evidence they even have for that silly assumption that's unrelated to gay people at all? There seems to be no proof, just innuendo, and nobody's buying it anymore.

And apparently, a lot less of these staunchly pro-tradition marriage are getting, you know, married. Do they just not care enough about marriage to get one themselves? How can you defend marriage from gay people if you don't even want one yourself?

Congratulations to Jane Lynch for winning Best Supporting Actress Emmy.

Last night, Jane Lynch won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her role as the infamous Sue Sylvester in Glee! In her acceptance speech, Jane thanked her wife Laura who she recently married in Massachusetts. Congrats, Jane!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Crist uses CNN appearance to reiterate support for fed marriage amendment; walks it back later.

By Pam Spaulding-

You've got to be kidding me. This is some old-school-ass hypocrisy, given what was revealed in the documentary Outrage. Florida Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist went on CNN's State of the Union and said this to Ed Henry:

HENRY: Another big issue, same-sex marriage. Many conservatives like Marco Rubio support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But this week, the former Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman came out and said he's gay and he called on conservatives to kind of move to the political center and be more tolerant on this issue. You have previously said in your gubernatorial campaign, you supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Now that you're trying to occupy the political center, are you still in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

 CRIST: I feel the same way, yes, because I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance. I'm a live and let live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don't have a problem with that. And I think that's where most of America is. So I think that you know, you have to speak from the heart about these issues. They are very personal. They have a significant impact on an awful lot of people and the less the government is telling people what to do, the better off we're all going to be. But when it comes to marriage, I think it is a sacred institution. I believe it is between a man and woman, but partners living together, I don't have a problem with.

HENRY: But governor, doesn't it sounds like you having it both ways by saying live and let live, but I also support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. If it's live and let live, why would you ban same-sex marriage?

CRIST: Well, everything is in a matter of degree, Ed, and when it becomes to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman, it's just how I feel.
Well, you have to admit - he's right there with the President on how he sees marriage. Crist is just a hypocrite on so many levels. How can you "believe in tolerance. I'm a live and let live kind of guy" then say you want to amend the constitution to specifically discriminate against a group of people? Come on Charlie, it's 2010; that answer smells like rotten eggs.

read more at Pam's House Blend.

Elena Kagan, "Privacy," and the Closet

By FogCityJohn

President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to be the next associate justice of the United States Supreme Court has set off a round of speculation about Kagan's sexual orientation. Kagan, who is 50 and unmarried, now finds herself beset by questions about whether she's a lesbian.

One response to this speculation that has been common here on DK has been to say that questions about Kagan's sexual orientation are a violation of her "privacy" or that Kagan's "sexuality" and her "private life" are no one else's business. As a gay man, I have a somewhat different take on this issue. If you'll follow me below the fold, I will try to explain why I find this so-called "privacy" argument misdirected.

Briefly stated, a person's sexual orientation and a person's sexuality are two entirely different things. Keeping the former a secret is not about privacy as we ordinarily think of that term. Instead, it is about the thing we LGBTs know as "the closet." It is about isolating, shaming, and humiliating LGBTs into silence about who they really are. So if you're not afraid of the dark, have a look below as we explore the shadowy world of the closet.

I. The Closet and Its Role in LGBT Oppression

Most of us older LGBTs are familiar with the closet. Many of us have spent a significant portion of our lives there. Almost everyone has heard the phrase "in the closet" used in reference to a gay person. But we don't often stop to think about what exactly the closet is. When I speak of the closet, I am referring to a type of psychological prison that the majority (straight) culture has constructed for LGBTs. What keeps LGBTs inside this prison is, first and foremost, the social stigma created by homophobia and transphobia. LGBTs who venture outside the closet know they can be subjected to disapproval, discrimination, insults, and even deadly violence.

Unlike a physical prison, however, the closet requires the cooperation of its inmates to be effective. The closet is a place where the prisoners lock themselves in voluntarily. They do this because they have been taught, from a very early age, to be ashamed of who they are. In childhood, we LGBTs are indoctrinated with the idea of our own supposed inferiority. We are told that our true nature is deviant, disgusting, and abnormal. As children, we internalize these messages and become supremely ashamed of ourselves. Rather than be honest about who we are and risk the social opprobrium that would follow, we retreat into the desperate and mendacious secrecy of the closet, attempting to conceal our true nature from everyone around us, and often, even from ourselves.

The voluntary nature of confinement in the closet is the closet's most ingenious feature, but it is also its Achilles heel. When an LGBT person "comes out," he or she effectively refuses further participation in the closet's system of voluntary oppression. "Out" LGBTs renounce their shame and openly embrace their true selves as good and normal.

The closet has always played a very important role in the oppression of LGBTs. By shaming LGBTs into silence, it isolates us from one another. This isolation is fundamentally disempowering. One cannot take concerted action when one thinks one is all alone. In addition, by keeping openly gay people out of public view, the closet deprives other LGBTs of role models. It also keeps society at large from seeing LGBTs in high-profile positions, and it thus perpetuates the notion that LGBTs are not worthy or capable of making useful contributions to society.

Fortunately, the closet is becoming less powerful as more and more of its inmates abandon it. Nevertheless, it retains its power when it comes to the highest levels of our government. There are no open LGBTs in the Cabinet, in the Senate, or on the Supreme Court. And this is where Kagan comes in.

The Intentional Father. (part 1)

By Brian Tessier

   This morning we catch up with our friends the 3B's, aka as Brian, Benjamin and Bryce. For those of you unfamiliar with the 3B's story here at WGLB, we'll rehash a bit before jumping into the exciting new lives they currently find themselves settling into and the exciting new endeavor Brian is diving into to help perspective new parents as they embark on the journey he has navigated so adeptly these past few years. Brian is a good friend, although we've only met/dated once, but he is every bit the Superhero Dad these previous two diaries portray him to be. I'm sure He and the Boys will inspire you if not capture your hearts the way they have mine. The following chapters detailing Brian's journey into single fatherhood were originally posted on the website/community blog ProudParenting. Brian is in the process of setting up his own website where he will continue his work and promote his new foundation- We Hear The Children.

08/09/2007 - 6:09pm
   There are only two things I ever wanted to be in this life, a husband and a father. Now, imagine watching men run for the next county when you tell them. To shorten a very long story, I decided to become a father since becoming a husband was proving much more difficult. I was beginning to think I had a better chance at pregnancy. So after a period of interviews and navigation through the complex legal and emotional process I got a call on the day before Thanksgiving 2004, telling me that there was a little boy who was two years old. So begins the saga.

   In the initial visit with my son, I witnessed a child who was bright, smiled, yelled, stomped his feet and screamed. It was not that he could not talk, he would not talk. He had his own language, created in his mind to get his needs satisfied as a result of them not being met prior. I was told that he could only say seven words, all in Spanish. I went to a corner on this initial visit and sat there with a book and a stuffed bear and waited. Ever so slowly, he approached me, would touch me and run away and giggle. Eventually, he sat in my lap and looked at me for a while, with his social worker, the foster mother and my adoption worker looking on, he put his hand on my face and said “daddy”. This was not one of the words that he knew and it was not in Spanish... so it began.

   We finalized the adoption in July of 2005, after paternity leave, teaching him to speak, potty training (I would gladly take any bar exam again to never have to potty train again) where he would sit on the toilet and sing and practice his words when he thought I was out of ear shot. I sat around the corner from the bathroom and cried as I listened to his words, imagination and person come alive. Now, we are deep in the threes and he talks constantly, questions everything and wakes each morning with "Love you Daddy” and leaves me each night with what we call a “forever” hug, as he knows I will be his daddy forever. Every night my son picks a book to read, recently he asked for a book with a mommy in it. You are never quite prepared to answer certain questions and despite all my best efforts to be as prepared as possible to counter the mind of a toddler, I am inevitably stumped at times.


   We found a book with a mommy in it and climbed into his big boy bed to read. Once in bed, he asked me if he would have a mommy (the lump in my throat and holding back tears) I started that there are families out there who have mommies, daddies, and all various combinations but a family is about all the people who love you. My son started to recite all of the people who are in and who touch both his and my life... the list is rather long but I let him go on. He finished with “all people”, “yes, all people” I said, “Love me” he said, “My family” he stated. I held my son against my chest and he gave me a forever hug, I cried as I heard “love you daddy”.

   I am sure this is not the last time I will be asked about this issue, but never did I think I would be asked about it at three. Knowing my son, had I not satisfied his need for an answer he would have pressed me for a better answer. However, in his mind his family is all the people who love him. There is much to be learned from children, I learn daily and for that I am thankful.

My Coming Out

By David Mixner

Before I came out in 1976, I lied to everyone. Often I would be the first to laugh at 'fa**ot jokes' and the last to come to someone's defense that was out. When I dared to get drunk or high enough to have sex, I would invent different personalities, names and bios so hopefully no one could figure out my identity. While closeted I was blackmailed, almost committed suicide and did anything I could to prevent people from knowing I was a homosexual. Looking back, I think of all those years where I lied, denied my very being and lived in shame and fear. What a waste.

Even coming out was a very rocky process. My mother and father responded with words to me that I never, ever thought they would use in relationship to their son. My sister Patsy frantically did her best to hold the entire situation together. My mother begged me not to tell my brother and to this day I am not quite sure why. In those initial years going home was a place to avoid instead of a place of joy. Even after acceptance began to seep into my family, I was expected not to bring 'it' up in front of them. I hated what this process was doing to me; I hated what it was doing to them.


When I came out, very few people with whom I worked with in politics or professionally supported that decision. Elected officials I had worked side by side with for years suddenly wouldn't accept my calls or my checks. People stopped sending invites and it was a very lonely time. Not only was I being rejected by most of my entire support group but I was so new, I knew nothing about the LGBT community. Eventually I worked my way to the MCC Church and Gay Center in Los Angeles which was a tiny organization back then. Slowly I found other members of the community who shared an interest in politics and cared for each other. Nevertheless, many of them weren't out to their families or at work.

In the midst of all this personal bleakness, one funny situation occurred when I heard of this small group in Los Angeles called the Stonewall Democratic Club. Made sense to me that I should go to a gathering and meet fellow Democrats who were gay. The Center directed me to their meeting in a Savings and Loan Conference room. I put on a really sharp blue suit, white shirt, tie and my best black shoes. Showing up at the meeting there were about nine people. None of them talked to me and I sat at the end of a table alone. Turns out they thought I was a cop sent to intimidate them because of the coat and tie!

The coming out process was truly horrible for me. My shame was overwhelming and I seriously considered - for a second time - taking my life. The events led to a nervous breakdown - a collapse that took months to work through and get fully back on my feet.

Then a strange sensation started to come over me - I discovered pride and was able to remove the shame. The community got to know me and I was accepted without questions. Never have I known such unconditional love and support. My image of them was that they all had an easy time of coming out; they were not like me - they had no difficult struggle. The realization eventually came to me that all of us had struggled and all of us wanted to be free. Every story was different and back then, every story should be respected as their own.

Most importantly, my new intimate friends and I made a pact that we would do whatever possible so no future generation would have the pain of coming out and not feel welcomed into this haven of the LGBT community. We would operate from a place of love and not hate. Nearly all of the men in that group have died from HIV/AIDS. The surviving women are still fighting attempting to create a place of love and welcome. And so am I.

Never again should any person feel pain in coming out.

for more from David visit Live From Hell's Kitchen.