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Archives 2005 November 5

Tuesday November 29, 2005

Heroes Of The Culture War Trading Card Series…Collect Them All!

Card 16 – Randy "Duke" Cunningham:

(Washington) Randy "Duke" Cunningham, one of the sponsors of the Federal Marriage Amendment, resigned from Congress on Monday after pleading guilty to taking more than $2.4 million in bribes.

The San Diego-area Republican faces a lengthy jail term.

"The truth is, I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office, a tearful Cunningham told reporters at a San Diego news conference.

"I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions and most importantly, the trust of my friends and my family."

Cunningham, 63, pled guilty to receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes that included over a million dollars in cash, antique Persian rugs, furniture, use of a yacht, club fees, a Rolls Royce and vacation expenses in exchange for steering defense contracts to two conspirators.

The decorated Vietnam War veteran ran his last campaign on "family values". Some of the bribe money he received went to pay for a graduation party for his daughter.

Cunningham was a sponsor of the 2004 attempt to amend the Constitution to bar same-sex marriage and a co-sponsor of the 2005 attempt.

It was probably time to ask yourself where you were going Randy, when you saw yourself trying to turn the constitution of the United States of America into a sledge hammer against minorities because you didn’t much like them. Your brakes were gone Randy. You could have looked in a mirror and seen it then. But you didn’t.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | Archived HaloScan Comments

Missing From The Story

Peterson Toscano asks a good question

After screening the Fish Can’t Fly film at a conference of gay evangelicals, a woman who had been married to an "ex-gay" for many years asked me, "What about the wive’s stories? Why aren’t they included in this film?"

You should read his post, and all the more so for its poignant insight into how many, if not most people on the ex-gay trail cope with making love to the heterosexual spouses they’ve been pressured into marrying. I’ve suspected for a time now, that part of the reason the spokesdroids for the ex-gay movement, at least the big names, have started saying that change doesn’t necessarily equate to becoming heterosexual and getting married, is the wives of ex-ex-gays. I’m not saying they’re sympathetic to these women’s grief. I strongly doubt that people who believe god created women to serve men give much thought to the lives, let alone the feelings of women. But all those stories of good Christian women whose marriages came apart at the seam marked Change Is Possible, must scare them at some level.

I dated someone who first entered, then clawed his way out of that tar pit. It left him emotionally wobbly for years and years. We talked for hours about his relationship with his parents, and how badly they treated him after he came out. We never spoke about his marriage except in passing, and it was darting across thin ice over an ache that alternately scared me and made me nail spitting angry that it had been done to him. I blamed his parents, mostly, for pressuring him into it, for not loving him for the kindhearted good natured person he was, and ushering him into this wasteland of self hatred. He didn’t deserve it. But what of his wife? I wondered at times how the wife felt about it all. Did she blame him? Did she blame herself? Did it make her question her beliefs, or dig in deeper? The sense I got was that it was a fairly acrimonious parting. Mostly I just tried to stay out of it. I don’t think he communicates with his former wife anymore either. They probably just both want to keep that past buried.

Oh…Surprised that there are gay evangelicals? Well…don’t be. They’re right here.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511291’);

Monday November 28, 2005

Notice: I Will Be Changing Web Hosts Shortly

This is just a heads up to readers here. Hopefully none of you will notice anything happening behind the scenes because from your perspective all that will happen is that my web site domains (brucegarrett.com and brucegarrett.net) will resolve seamlessly to different servers and everything will work as it always has. But my current web host Zzapp.org, is closing its doors, as the gentleman who runs it, my dear friend Jon Larimore, is calling it quits after almost twenty years of running the online presence of the Community Educational Services Foundation.

Back before there was a commercial Internet, back in the days of IBM PCs and DOS and computer bulletin boards (BBSs), Jon started GLIB, the Gay and Lesbian Information Bureau, as a service of CESF, to provide news and information to the gay community. What sprang from that was one of the first online gay communities that soon reached from coast to coast via a private network of other gay BBSs. It’s hard to imagine now what life was like for gay people back then. I lived in the suburbs of Washington D.C., which even then had a pretty vibrant gay community. But to get news I had to travel from the suburbs into the one gay bookstore in the city, visit one of it’s few gay bars where I might find a copy of the Washington Blade, or go to some dank seedy adult bookstore where I might find a copy of The Advocate. Your chances of finding The Advocate, our only national newspaper at the time, at a regular news stand were nil squared. And the Advocate was still being mailed out to subscribers in a plain brown envelop with a vague return address (LP Publications, Inc), because many people simply would not subscribe if their smalltown post office saw they were getting a queer magazine delivered to their home.

GLIB made it possible for gay people all over the country to find a community, no matter where they lived, no matter how isolated they were. Jon saw back then what this technology could do for gay people, and he built something with it that changed the lives of many people for the better. He certainly changed mine. The Internet pretty much swept the BBS world away, but many of us will still remember fondly, and with a touch of awe, how those little desktop computers could change our lives so radically, just by adding a modem, and dialing GLIB’s number. I wish Jon well on whatever path his future takes him. He has a legacy of good he can look back on, that few of us will match.

I’ll keep you all posted as to how the hosting switch goes. Like I said, you should notice nothing. That’s the plan anyway…

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511282’);

Now Why Would Anyone Think That?

This week’s cartoon is about the letter Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley sent to his parishes , the day after a group he strongly supports submitted petitions for a referendum to amend the Massachusetts constitution to ban same sex marriage, O’Malley sent a letter to the parishes, calling for get this an end to prejudice against gays. He says he doesn’t want gays to feel that the church discriminates against them. More commentary here, on the cartoon page.

A few days after O’Malley sent his letter, the Vatican withdrew an invitation to sing at next month’s Christmas concert from Daniela Mercury, a Brazilian singer whose sin was to promote condom use in an anti-AIDS campaign. A letter from Vatican officials saying they don’t want gays to feel that the church wants them to die is pending.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511281’);

Thursday November 24, 2005

Stumbling Dazedly Into The Cult Of Steve…

[GEEK ALERT] For years my main computer workstation, Mowgli, served as the household network file server too. Which meant that every time I did a cartoon I was saving some fairly large Photoshop files created on Bagheera, my Mac G5, to Mowgli across the household network. My thinking was that having one main file server made it easier to do my data file backups. But as Bagheera and Akela, my Mac Powerbook, become more and more integral to my household computing environment, and as Mowgli’s motherboard becomes more and more temperamental. I’ve found myself depending on them more and less on Mowgli. So just a while ago I offloaded the directory I store my cartoon files on from Mowgli to Bagheera. I have a spare USB drive that I can use to back up the data drive on Bagheera using rsyncx, a version of the Unix rsync utility that knows about Mac resource forks. Consolidating all the files was how I found the sketch of Mark that I posted below.

Mowgli uses swappable system drive packs. It allows me to switch from Windows XP or 2000 to SuSE or Mandrak Linux, just by swapping drives in and out of the rack. So Mowgli can run one of several OSs I have system drives for. But Mowgli’s motherboard is slowly flaking out on me. The other week I lost COM2 and I only discovered that after my SmartPhone battery went dead and I had to resuscitate it’s database off JPilot. JPilot is the Linux open source version of the Palm Desktop and it’s a really nice program. But I discovered to my alarm that it has a bug in it that prevents it from using COM1. So now I was stuck, completely unable restore my SmartPhone data from JPilot. I spent hours fussing with it all to no avail. Finally I had to export all my records from JPilot into a lowest common denominator file format (comma delimited fields) so I could then import them into the Palm Desktop software for Windows XP. And even then I couldn’t export and import my calendar data…only the address and memo book. But I got my SmartPhone back in service, sort of. It took hours out of my day doing it.

Before I would have written it off to a learning experience of the kind that’s helpful to me at work. I not only design and code software systems, I also work with systems using COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) software. Often getting all the pieces to just work together is nine-tenths the work. Knowing how to fiddle with this stuff and make it all work as part of a single system is some of what makes me useful to the Institute. But I don’t have as much time for messing with this stuff at home as I used to. I still love tinkering with these machines, I just have no time anymore to do it. I have work I have to get done, and more and more these days I just need my hardware to work.

So damn if I’m not really growing to appreciate my Macs. Steve Jobs is luring me into his clutches…I can just feel it. But I’ve lived with Macs in the house for just over a year now, and it really seems to be true that Apple’s control of both the hardware and the OS makes the Macs very reliable pieces of equipment. Everything really does just work on a Mac. I just wish the damn GUI wasn’t so idiosyncratic. And that the Mac wasn’t so…well…out of the mainstream. For example, on MySpace (which I’ve had a small presence on ever since the Memphis protests) the Advanced Editor for posting blogs just doesn’t work on the Mac. But even that isn’t as aggrivating as trying to work with software that worked fine one day, and blews up in your face after you installed a security patch that mucked things up. Microsoft is notorious for that. Since I’ve had the Macs, I’ve applied dozens of software updates and patches and have never had a problem. Things Just Keep Working. I could get used to not being afraid every time I had to apply a security patch.

I’ve spent hours spinning my wheels trying to debug Windows issues that often arise when I install software that mucks up something, or a service patch that breaks some software I depend on. The most recent set of service patches to come down the line for XP seem to have broken the directory sync software I use…which alas is no longer being maintained by the author. So that was something else I spun my wheels for hours on recently, just trying to figure out why this program, which I use daily, suddenly stopped working right after I applied the XP service patches. Finally I just gave up. Then I had to spend some time reworking Mowgli’s backup systems. I’m now using a combination of Unix rsync and a disk imaging program I bought to backup my Windows system drives after Mowgli’s motherboard failure last year. So that was more time out of my life I had to spend fussing with my computers.

I’m just getting tired of it. The Mac stuff seems to just work. The software you install just works, and it plays nice with the other kids and with the OS and I’m really coming to like that. I don’t think I’ll ever be a one OS household. I’m too much the techo geek for that. But I can see a day coming when the Macs are my primary machines, and everything else is just for play.

[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511243’);

Can You Draw The Pirate?

Did I say I was going to try and stay the hell away from my computers this weekend? Ha! I figured I’d take a little time and do some file system maintenance on my household computer net that’s needed doing for a while. In the process I found this…

It’s a pencil sketch from last year’s Mark and Josh Christmas Cartoon. Not sure why I bothered scanning in a rough sketch, unless it was for an experiment I didn’t eventually bother with. But you can see in it a bit of how go about drawing figures. A oval for the head with some cross marks on it for the face…few ovals here and there for the body and limbs… The smudging is due to the fact that I work in a very soft lead, and do my roughs on smooth, semi transparent layout paper. It’s easier to erase and redraw on, and I can stack a bunch of individual elements over each other and move them around until I get the composition I want. Nowadays I’m sure most newcomers to the art do all that right in the computer. But this is how I like to work.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511242’);

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m going to try and spend as much of my Thanksgiving holiday weekend as I can away from my computers, so I can take care of some household work that needs doing. Like…oh…raking the leaves that are now stating to fall from my Japanese Maple in my front yard. Except I’m such a techno nerd I don’t rake…I take my wet dry vacuum out and vacuum them up. I’ve been thinking about buying one of those leaf vacuum things that you can sling around your shoulders while you work but my budget is still pretty tight after my vacation expenses.

I also want to straighten out my second floor office space, which is slowly going completely random on me. After four years here I still can’t get the layout of this room right. My plan when I bought the house was to put adjustable shelving up on most of the walls and a wrap around work table under them, except in front of the window where my small sofabed was going to sit. Under the work table would go my computers and file cabinets. On top would be keyboards and monitors, printers and scanners, and lots of open workspace. Would have been nice if it’d worked. But the back wall adjoins the house next to mine. Those are the firewalls, made of concrete block and plaster and you can’t hang anything on them without drilling with masonry tools, which would be a pain. The previous owner tried hanging shelves up in various wall closets here that run along the firewalls, drilling posts into the concrete block which he fixed in place with these cheesy plastic drywall anchors that all…every single one of them…pulled out under the load.

So with that plan shot down I’ve been flailing around for a different way to arrange things in here ever since. At the moment the look is mostly cluttered. My office is beginning to look like a storage room that random stuff just gets tossed into now and I hate it. I’m going to try and fix it this weekend, or at least try something new.

So I’ll be pretty quiet here most of the holiday weekend. And you should be doing something else besides sitting on your butt in front of your computer anyway. Go enjoy yourself with some friends. Have some fun. Eat recklessly. I’ll be doing the same. Mostly. When I’m not busy with my house. The cartoon will be up on Monday as planned.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511241’);

Monday November 21, 2005

Not Exactly Your Boy Scout Handbook…

Peterson Toscano has been on a roll that I’ve been meaning to point to here. He’s made three posts using his 374-page Love In Action Steps Out Program Class Manual as a springboard and they’re all first rate reading. Here they are:

The Ex-Gay Lifestyle

How "Ex-Gay" Therapies Made Me More Desirable to GAYS!

Submission For Bondage Lovers

In How "Ex-Gay" Therapies Made Me More Desirable to GAYS! Peterson makes a telling observation about how some folks in the gay community (Hi Andrew!) have the same cheapshit attitude toward fem guys that Club Ex-Gay does…

You see according to these folks, real men don’t whine. They are not campy. They don’t have emotional relationships with other men, and they don’t hug. They do not use "flamboyant gestures". Real men maintain professional relationships. They can change their oil and they like playing rough sports. They act more like the Vin Deisel and The Rock then say Woody Allen or Johnny Depp.

What fascinates me is that according to the messages I see in mainstream white gay media and in the words and reactions of many the white gay men I meet, white gay men are expected to act much in the same masculine ways if they hope to be seen as attractive and taken seriously by others.

If you are a fem gay man, you are the brunt of the joke in the sitcoms. A fem gay can do hair and give girly advice, but does not get the man he loves. In personal ads over and over you hear loud and clear that if you are a fem man, you are not wanted. "Straight acting only. No fems!"

Well…you also get the sense from reading the personals that if you’re over thirty you’re not wanted either…which is why I stopped reading them after I turned 31. But…yeah…the relentless dissing of fem guys by other gay guys who, let’s be honest here, have sex with guys which sure as hell doesn’t fit any definition of "straight acting" that I am aware of, seems more then a tad insecure.

Be sure to read the comments on Peterson’s blog. He’s managed to attract others who have been through the same ex-gay gristmill, and it seems like people are each trying to help one another make sense of what happened to them. It is powerful reading: Peterson and his individual readers, stepping forward and telling their stories to each other, and to the world. It is the stuff this medium was made for.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511212’);

Lock And Load

This week’s cartoon is about this, and also, indirectly, this. When churches start echoing with rhetoric that is not only militaristic in tone, but openly appealing to the use of weapons against enemies who are largely unarmed and peaceful, then…yeah…it’s time to start getting nervous.

More commentary on the cartoon page,

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511211’);

Sunday November 20, 2005

Sex! Sex!

Part four of A Coming Out Story, in which Bruce tells his libido a thing or two…

You can read it here…or start from the beginning here.

Now…it’s 9:30 here in Baltimore…and I gotta finish this week’s political cartoon yet…(but it’s almost done…)

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511201’);

Friday November 18, 2005

Blogs…I Just Don’t Get Them…

Some of the cool kids in the mainstream media still seem a tad befuddled about this whole blogging thing. It’s Future Shock, and while I don’t share the unease, I can sympathize to an extent because it’s been the fact of most of my life. When I was an elementary school kid, you got your news from the morning paper, and if you were a news junkie, you picked up a copy of the afternoon paper too. From the radio and TV you got mostly news summaries at certain regularly scheduled times during the day, unless there was some crisis happening somewhere…like…oh…that little thing about blockading Cuba because the Soviets were putting missiles there.

That was it. There was no 24 hour cable TV news. There was no internet. There was shortwave radio, for us budding little techno geeks. But otherwise, if you wanted to know what was going on in the world you waited for the next scheduled news broadcast, or tomorrow’s paper if you wanted it in detail.

And what you got, was what the newspapers or broadcasters felt like giving you. That had real consequences for minorities. In June of 1977, I searched the news broadcasts frantically for any information about how Anita Bryant’s anti-gay referendum was doing down in Dade County Florida. But nobody was bothering to cover it. Gays? Gays? Who cares about the gays? Eventually I turned on my shortwave, and got the bad news from, I think, the BBC world service.

I remember watching the first Telstar broadcast from Europe. I was eight years old and I had no clue about how profoundly this technology was going to change my world. I was living then, in a world where air mail was separate and more expensive from regular mail (there were even special envelopes for it, with red and blue stripes around the edges…) and a long distance phone call to or from family in California was a big (and very expensive for somebody) event. We all had to gather around the phone, and use the precious time to make sure everyone got a chance to say ‘hi’ to everyone else. I think the Telstar broadcast I watched showed me live pictures of the streets of London, but I’m not sure. I do remember thinking it was all pretty neat stuff.

And that’s pretty much always been my reaction to new technology. Hey…look what you can do now… When they say yesterday was a simpler time, what they mean is that the speed with which news and other information came at you was a lot slower. You didn’t have to make time to digest it, you had time. Plenty of it in fact. Whether you needed it or not. You lived in an inescapable isolation from most of the world beyond your own physical horizons, that is probably utterly unfathomable to anyone born since CNN started broadcasting back in 1980. I have lived in a world of ever expanding horizons. Too often I take my own attitude about that for granted. Why wouldn’t you like living in that kind of world?

Well…not everyone does. I used to hear it said all the time when I was growing up, that it was a smaller world nowadays. No. The world is a bigger place. Mine is, and so is yours. We don’t have to live our lives confined to our local village anymore. We can venture out into the world, wherever, whenever, literally at the touch of a button on a cell phone, or by placing your hands on a keyboard. Even the little wires that once tied us to telephones, or modems and network plugs, are disappearing. Just a few months ago I sat down at a coffee shop in Moab Utah, a vast desert landscape all around me, opened my laptop and started chatting my blog readers…people who come and visit me at my web site, my virtual space, from all over the world. I can do that. You can do that. My world is much bigger then it was when I was a kid, watching the first Telstar broadcasts. And I have made friends in that world, people I chat with regularly across the net, some of whom I have yet to actually meet in person. But what will that phrase, ‘in person’ even mean in another couple of decades?

You had to expect that people who can do this, are going to start talking to each other, and to the community of the world at large, that adhocracy that Toffler spoke of, about things that matter to them. That has some pretty profound implications for the profession of journalism, that I don’t think the old guard really wants to deal with.

Nearly everything I read coming out of the mainstream news media about blogs seems to have this subtext to it that I’ve heard so often before, when technology comes crashing like a freight train through someone’s comfortable paradigm. This isn’t real…this isn’t real…this isn’t happening… Watching old guard journalists try to digest the new information technologies, reminds me a lot of how it was watching mainframe programmers digesting the PC. Some of them get it right away, and jump right in rubbing both hands. Some of them get it but decide it isn’t for them and they shrug, look around for another horizon, and ride the wind to elsewhere. There are people who never wanted their lives to get caught in a grove, even a comfortable one. You want to live, to learn, to grow. You want death to catch you while you were in the middle of trying something new, seeing something you never saw before. But some people like that comfortable grove. And when something smashes through it, they’ll just stand there like deer caught in headlights.

Copyright 2005 National Public Radio (R)
All Rights Reserved
National Public Radio (NPR)

SHOW: News & Notes with Ed Gordon 9:00 AM EST NPR

November 14, 2005 Monday

ED GORDON, host:

Blogging is making everyone a columnist. Once the ground for only a select few, it seems everyone with a computer and a thought is setting up their own site and giving their opinion. But commentator Amy Alexander says she’s not one to follow that trend.

AMY ALEXANDER:

Some friends recently asked me why I hadn’t set up a blog…

Blah…blah…blah… You can read the rest of it on Atrios. Amy Alexander complains about many things. She complains that bloggers have no editors. She complains they allow the minutiae of their lives on their blogs. She complains that bloggers are too interested in socializing, "back slapping", then reporting. She complains that they’re doing it for free. In short, she’s complaining that blogs are not the news media she’s been working in for most of her life.

Well…no kidding. The times they are a changing Amy. And no…bloggers aren’t journalists necessarily, although some of us are. But this is an entirely new thing Amy, with some very profound implications for your profession. And sad to say Amy, your profession, by going pretty much to sleep after November 2000, has if anything helped accelerate the rate of that change. I don’t think you realize how much, and how deeply, people really hate the news establishment these days. Can you say 2000 plus Americans dead in Iraq? Can you say, quagmire? Secret torture camps in Iraq and former soviet states that are now being run by Americans? No more Habeas Corpus? Can you say, New Orleans? America going several trillion dollars in national debt, while Junior’s cronies get richer and richer? Can you say, religious right veto of a cancer vaccine? Where has the goddamned news media been for the past five years Amy?

Professional journalists, the good ones anyway, the dedicated ones, the ones that love what they do more then they love smoozing with the rich and powerful, can probably surf the wave to wherever it’s taking us all. But the rest of you are on the highway to history’s landfill. What was once Journalism is going to become infoainment. You’ll all be nothing more then gossip columnists in the next couple of decades, selling the latest in fashion trends and hot new consumer products. Actual journalism is going somewhere else Amy…somewhere it can survive…somewhere it can go on about its work whether it pleases big business or the republican party or the religious right or not. You won’t be there Amy. You’re not interested in doing that kind of journalism any more. Let’s face it, giving Americans the information they need to make this democracy work, doesn’t pay you enough, does it?

For the past five years now, most of you worthless jackasses have been simply passing on George Bush and Karl Rove crap, and witlessly letting the republican party Mighty Wurlitzer and the religious right poison the political dialogue in this country, without raising so much as a peep. Facts? Facts? We’re not here to report the facts…that would be taking sides… And now you’re miffed that the rabble is talking among themselves rather then keep eating bullshit? Man…you really never thought much of your readers, did you?

It was going to happen anyway. The technology is there. People will use it. Things will change. But by witlessly repeating crap even a talking head can tell isn’t true, your profession has made people rush to embrace it. People are talking among themselves now, instead of listening to the likes of you, and that’s because you’re all a bunch of worthless fucks.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511181’);

Wednesday November 16, 2005

Those Wacky Heterosexuals…(continued)

Why is it, that it’s always deep in the Bible Belt (or Utah) that you find children marrying adults?

Ever since her 13-year-old niece wed a 14-year-old boy last year, Sharon Cline has sent lawmakers a slew of letters begging them to change a Georgia law that allows children of any age to marry — and without parental consent — as long as the bride-to-be is pregnant.

"Some of the lawmakers just didn’t believe this could happen," said Cline, who lives in Weston, Fla. "It was very frustrating."

They’re believers now.

And that Road To Damascus moment came…when…?

Lisa Lynnette Clark, 37, was charged last week in Gainesville with child molestation for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old friend of her teenage son. Just days before her arrest, she wed the boy under a Georgia law that allows pregnant couples to marry regardless of age and without consent.

Disturbed by the child groom, Georgia lawmakers may soon debate changing a law that many didn’t know even existed. Geared toward preventing out-of-wedlock births, the law dates back to at least the early 1960s.

"I never knew it was in the code until this morning," Jerry Keen, the state’s House Majority Leader, said Tuesday. "Our legislative counsel — the lawyers who draft the laws — even had to look it up."

Still, Keen and other leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature stopped short of endorsing a change to the state’s marital requirements.

"It’s very difficult to govern by exception. You have to govern by rule," said Keen, who is from St. Simons.

Hey you drooling moron…same sex couples are going to be the exception too…not the rule. But that didn’t stop you from amending your constitution did it?

Dig it. If the 37 year old adult here was a male taking advantage of another teenager through some loophole in Georgia law, they’d be falling over each other to amend their constitution again to outlaw it. But being that it was a 37 woman, they feel like they need to talk about it first. And what they’re thinking about doing is adding new penalties to the laws against child molestation. Somehow, they don’t think the idea of adults marrying kids, or kids marrying kids, is much of a threat to the sacred institution of marriage. Did it ever occur to these nitwits that they’re actually enticing teenagers to have sex?

Even before Clark’s arrest grabbed national headlines, the state’s law was last month lampooned on the TV sitcom "George Lopez." In the episode, the title character’s daughter threatened to elope in Georgia because her parents didn’t approve of her boyfriend.

Nice plan, but she’d need to get pregnant by him first. Hi mom…hi dad…meet your new grandchild.

They furiously defended their sodomy laws in Georgia for decades. Took it all the way to the Supreme Court where, in 1986 the Warren court upheld them. The sodomy law stayed on the books until the Georgia supreme court struck it down in 1998. The republicans were predictably furious. Meanwhile heterosexual teenagers in Georgia could get around their parent’s disapproval by employing a law that allowed them to get married without parental consent, so long as the girl was pregnant. And this wasn’t raising any eyebrows. Now think about that.

Here we have a law that encourages teenage pregnancy, takes away parental rights, and lets a girl as young as can physically get pregnant marry a man no matter how old he is, or a woman to marry a boy no matter how young he is so long as he can get her pregnant. And even now the republicans aren’t sure they want to fix that.

But they knew right away that letting adult same sex couples marry each other would destroy the sanctity of marriage. I have a question: what sanctity?

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511161’);

Tuesday November 15, 2005

Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin…(continued)

Daniel Gonzales at Ex-Gay Watch has a post up with an image of the latest newsletter missive from Alan Chambers, the current president of Exodus. In it Chambers, who has repeatedly dispensed the Exodus line that they bear the gay community no ill will, but only seeks respect and tolerance for ex-gays too, says pretty clearly that as far as he’s concerned gay folk are the tools of Satan:

At the core of it all, this isn’t a battle about whether homosexuality is right or wrong, it is a battle between good and evil. One of the many evils this world has to offer is the sin of homosexuality. Satan, the enemy is using people to further his agenda to destroy the Kingdom of God and as many souls as he can. Our job is simple: wage war against the Kingdom of Darkness and save souls.

Gays are tools Satan uses to destroy the kingdom of God… Boy…you really gotta love that mutual respect and tolerance stuff.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511152’);

Cartoon In Family And Friends Magazine

My cartoon License Please will appear in an upcoming issue of Family & Friends Magazine. During the Love In Action protests last July, Family & Friends ran a great series of articles, including a telling interview with John Smid. Ex-Gay Watch has them all online here. I’m not quite sure how the magazine itself is distributed, I’ve written them asking for more info. But you can contact them via email here.

Man…I had a hit with that one. And I almost feel guilty too because it practically drew itself.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511151’);

Monday November 14, 2005

From Now On, Only Atheists Will Write Stories About Religion.

Cliff Kincaid, writing about The Gay Propaganda Machine, shows us why accuracy isn’t exactly the goal of Accuracy In The Media:

In a blatant violation of journalistic ethics, Time magazine assigned a homosexual reporter, John Cloud, to write the recent Time cover story on homosexual teenagers but did not disclose his conflict of interest to its readers.

And a heterosexual wouldn’t have a conflict of interest here? If the gay man has a sexual biased toward acceptance of homosexuality, isn’t the flip side of that the heterosexual man’s sexual bias against? Ah…but there’s bias, and then there’s bias…

The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality has denounced Cloud for having "a long history of promoting the gay political agenda while disguised as a mainstream reporter.

Now there’s an unbiased source for you.

So the problem for Cliff (and AIM as always) isn’t so much having a conflict of interest, as having the right conflict of interest. Hey, I know…let’s only allow priests to write about teenagers and sex. No…wait…

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511143’);

Great Moments In Conservative Virtue Trading Card Series (Collect Them All!)

Card 23 – Pat Robertson Warns Dover, Pennsylvania…

Televangelist Robertson warns town of God’s wrath

WASHINGTON – Conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them on Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.

"I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

Card 24 – Bill O’Reilly Tells Al Qaeda To Go Ahead And Blow Up The Coit Tower

From Media Matters For America:

Criticizing a ballot measure passed by 60 percent of San Francisco voters urging public high schools and colleges to prohibit on-campus military recruiting, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly declared on the November 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off-limits to you, except San Francisco."

From the November 8 broadcast of Fox News’ The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly:

O’REILLY: Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I’m not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I’m the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.

The 210-foot Coit Tower was dedicated in 1933 and contains a museum and murals that depict working life in 1930s California.

Card 25 – Then O’Reilly Says He Really Meant It

From Think Progress:

I mean, look, everybody knows what’s going on there. What I said isn’t controversial. What I said needed to be said. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at a city that has absolutely no clue about what the world is. None. You know, if you had been hit on 9/11 instead of New York, believe me, you would not have voted against military recruting. Yet the left-wing, selfish, Land of Oz philosophy that the media and the city politicians have embraced out there is an absolute intellectual disgrace.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511142’);

That Wasn’t In The Script!

This week’s cartoon is about Arnold, and the California voters loved him not so long ago, back when he had them convinced that he was a different kind of republican. Somehow, during the recall election that got him into the governor’s mansion, people thought that Arnold was the anti establishment candidate. But Arnold is an actor, and the anti establishment candidate is a tried and true role. In that he’s a lot like Reagan, another actor who helped the right wing mask its brutal agenda in a fog of stage persona.

The republican base in California would elect Pinochet if his native language had been english. The irony is that they hated Arnold, because he spoiled their recall election for them. They wanted their boy to take the governor’s mansion away from Gray Davis. Arnold got in on a wave of popular support based not just on his movie career, but on the persona he put forward, of an outsider who was going to come in and clean house. Things would be different. Arnold was going to get rid of the corruption, clean out the entrenched special interests, return Sacramento back to the people. It was an act. But he won largely without the support of the batshit right. He didn’t have to throw himself into their arms after the election. He didn’t need them. But in the end he was their boy after all. And anyone with half a brain could have figured that, on the basis of his party affiliation. He could have easily won as a democrat. He ran as a republican. And in California, the republican establishment is every bit as batshit crazy as they are in Texas.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511141’);

Wednesday November 9, 2005

Haloscan Comments Working Again…

Sorry…I mangled the call to the Haloscan server in my previous three posts. Insert clumsy fingers excuse here. They’re fixed now.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511094’);

From Skywatcher To The Photon Cleric

I am the guy who came out to the entire school in his senior speech and got a standing ovation for his courage.

I am the girl who kisses her girlfriend on the sidewalk and laughs at those who glare.

We are the couple who planned and studied and got a damn good lawyer and BEAT the state that wanted to take our child away.

We are the ones who took martial arts classes and carry pepper spray and are just too dangerous to gay bash.

I am the transgender person who uses the bathroom that suits me, and demands that any complaining staff explain their complaint to my face in front of the entire restaurant–and shares with my other trans friends which restaurants don’t raise a stink.

I am the mother who told her lesbian daughter to invite her girlfriend over for dinner.

I am the father who punished his son for calling you a fag.

I am the preacher who told my congregation that love, not hate, is the definition of a true follower of God.

I am the girl who did not learn the meaning of "homosexual" until high school but never thought to question why two men might be kissing.

I am the woman who argues (quite loudly and vehemently) with the bigots who insist that you do not have the right to marry or raise children.

We are the high school class who agrees, unanimously, along with our teacher, that love should be all that matters.

If you agree, repost this. Do it. You don’t have to be afraid. You can handle it. You’re stronger than you think.

I am making a difference. Hate will not win.

You are making a diffence guy. In your own way. On your own terms. And by golly I am convinced now, finally, that hate will not win. I believe it. At last…I really believe it.

Thank you guy. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511093’);

Good Election News

Yeah…Texas passed its anti-same sex marriage amendment. On the other hand they may find themselves down there in one of those, you asked for it brother situations, as the new amendment seems to be written in such a was as to prohibit the state from recognizing Any marriages.

And Texas is…well…Texas. Except for Austin, which is to Texas as Lawrence is to Kansas. The results in the rest of the union were overwhelmingly positive, and ought to give the republicans some sleepless nights for hooking their wagons to Bush and the Religious Right. Voters in Dover, PA., threw out every single friggin’ one of their Intelligent Design crackpots out of office last night. Every single friggin’ one of Arnold’s California ballot initiatives failed, effectively nullifying his political power, since he’d staked it on being able to take his agenda directly to the people. It might have worked except…uhm…the people didn’t actually like his agenda. This is what happens when right wingers start believing their own propaganda. Red State Virginia elected a democratic governor, and the news there is that the democrat won even in the red outer suburbs, which Bush republicans have been calling their stomping grounds for years.

And the state of Maine finally turned it’s back on the Christian Coalition and embraced it’s gay and lesbian citizens, upholding a simple antidiscrimination law that religious right nutcases had managed to strike from the books repeatedly. Which only goes to show that persistence in the cause of equality and justice does win eventually. Never let the bastards wear you down.

Almost lost in all the news was this little tidbit of sweet ballot box justice for GLBT Americans (via Pam’s House Blend):

I’m sure we’ll be reading about Dem electoral uprisings of this sort from all over the country today, but here’s a tasty one out of Cleveland Heights, OH.

Blogger David Caldwell says homo-bigot City Councilperson Jimmie Hicks, Jr. who consistently fought a domestic partner benefits ordinance with a very public campaign against gays is probably wondering what hit him last night.

Hicks should have seen the handwriting on the wall in 2003, when the ordinance passed. Yesterday, he was not only tossed out of office, but he was replaced by an openly gay challenger. Sweet revenge at the ballot box.

You should read the post at Pam’s House Blend, as well as the one from David Caldwell, for some history about Hicks and the Cleveland Heights registry. Hicks is another in an ever growing line of black ministers who seem to think that invidious discrimination is fine and dandy, as long as it isn’t any skin of their backs. But Jesus had a thing or two to say about hypocrites, and here’s what the voters of Cleveland Heights had to say about Reverend Hicks the other night:

Kelley 8,027
Dietrich 7,701
Caplan 7,586
Tumeo 6,773
Hicks 5,158

So not only did the gay man defeat him at the polls…so did everyone else who ran. Good for Cleveland Heights.

And good for Maine. And good for California, and northern Virginia, and New Jersey. Maybe some day the good people of Texas will start winning a few too. This morning that doesn’t seem like its too much to hope.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511092’);

Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin…(continued)

Does anyone seriously believe these people are trying to win homosexuals over to Christ? No. They’re trying to incite religious passions which they hope, either consciously or in that deep secret place where they dance in the ashes of other people’s hopes and dreams, will result in violence. There’s just no other explaination.

Indiana Church Burns Gay Flag

(Bloomington, Indiana) Members of an Indiana church opposed to homosexuality demonstrated on the campus of Indiana University then marched to a Bloomington gay-owned store where they burned the Rainbow flag.

Carrying signs that said "Fags Die, God Laughs" the group of about 25 denounced the university for its LGBT diversity program. The group has held a number of anti-gay protests at UI over the past few years but, the campus newspaper, The Indiana Daily Student, said this was the largest.

Some of the protestors brought children singing hymns.

Fags Die, God Laughs… It just rolls off the tongue easier then Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin. The church in question isn’t Fred Phelps’ who lives in Topeka Kansas, but the Old Paths church, whose leader is a man named John Lewis. There’s a bit more on the protest that day from an article on the Indiana School of Journalism’s site, titled, Separate Paths

"We’re not protesting so much as we’re exercising our religion," Lewis said at the time. "Christ tells us to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

Preaching the gospel…

"Faggots" is my term for sodomites," he says. "The faggot is symbolic of a sodomites life – because he doesn’t live it long. He lives it violently and he extinguishes quickly. The cold evidence of this is in the obituaries of the single males who die in their 20s and 30s of AIDS."

Lewis has spent most of his life traveling the Midwest, preaching and fighting against abortion and gay rights. In 1994, he began leading services in the homes of several southern Indiana residents who had asked him to be their preacher. Four years later, he converted a pole barn in Campbellsburg, Ind. into Old Paths Baptist Church. Now, he organizes five to 10 man protests at several locations throughout the state.

"Preaching the truth brings the hell out of people," he says. "Then their true nature comes out. They’re full of hell, they’re full of sin, they’re full of adultery, they’re full of sodomy."

One thing they’re not full of, is humanity. That’s what the man behind the pulpit is telling people. They’re not human… We’re faggots. AIDS is God’s punishment on us. God Hates Fags… When fags die, God laughs. Some of them say we’re possessed by demons. And the people listen…because these aren’t just random cranks babbling on street corners…these are men of God. And hearing them, the people do just what you would expect them to…just what the man behind the pulpit wants them to…

NYC City Worker Charged In Brutal Gay Beating

(New York City) New York City Police have charged two men with the bashing of a gay man in the West Village.

Police say the pair hurled homophobic epithets at Kyle Spidle as they beat him.

The attack occurred on Grove Street not far from the Monster Bar where Spidle works.

Spidle’s jaw was shattered in the attack.

The attack began when two men began yelling from a vehicle at Spidle about the way he walked down Grove Street.

When Spidle yelled back the pair got out of the car and began bashing him. They then returned to the vehicle and drove off.

Stunned witnesses managed to get the car’s license number.

Monday police arrested two men. Gary Rodriguez, 38, and Francis Brand, 27, are charged with assault.

Police say that Rodriguez is a Department of Sanitation worker. He has worked for the city for the past eight years.

You can tell a demon…by his limp wrist…

Man left in coma after anti-gay attack

A heterosexual man who was beaten by a group of youths after an assumption was made about his sexuality was left with severe brain damage, a court heard yesterday.

Asa Freeman, 33, was beaten by a gang after they saw he had a limp wrist and assumed he was gay. The wrist was actually the result of a stroke Mr Freeman suffered as a child.

They assaulted him during a night out with a male friend in Trowbridge, shouting "faggot" and "queer" as they beat him, prosecutor Andrew MacFarlane told Swindon Crown Court yesterday.

He said the attack, which took place in January, was unprovoked and sparked by anti-gay feelings amongst the group of young men.

Mr Freeman was left in a coma, only to awake with ìa sort of consciousnessî recently, the BBC reports.

He is now unable to perform any functions for himself as a direct result of the attack.

Oh…wait…he wasn’t a faggot after all. Never mind…

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘2005110921’);

Monday November 7, 2005

Getting Over It…

In the comments on my "Closed Minded…" post, Bill S. remarked that he was looking forward to the next installment of my Coming Out Story. Actually that fight with my old high school friend had kept me away from my basement art room for days into weeks, because that’s where it happened. And it all started while I was showing him my artwork. Bill’s comment woke me up out of my funk for long enough that I was able to sit down at my drafting table again and do some drawing. But it also got me thinking about how that’s happened before with this particular friend.

That wasn’t the first time I’d let him take the wind out of my sails when it came to my artwork. Back in the 1980s I was doing a series of drawings on the theme of falling in love for the first time. I wanted to draw about love. I wanted to make a few statements about how same sex lovers feel all that awe and joy and wonder in each other that opposite sex couples do. Somehow, rather then doing it in oil on canvas, which I was also doing a lot of back then, I did them all in charcoal and ink, with the occasional ink wash, on really nice four ply Strathmore board. At the time I thought it was my best work in that medium ever. I was really proud of it. The gay friends of mine I showed them to all to a person gave me a lot of positive feedback. I began to think about trying to exhibit them somewhere, perhaps at an upcoming Pride Day fair I’d rent a booth and see what happened. But it never got that far.

Here’s two of them that I photographed for my essay here on how I got into doing political cartoons:

One Heartbeat - 1987
One Heartbeat
charcoal and ink on Strathmore board
1987

The Old Gate - 1988
The Old Gate
charcoal and ink and ink wash on Strathmore board
1988

One day while this same friend of mine was over at my apartment back in Rockville, I started showing these to him. He made a few disparaging remarks about them and I could see he was disturbed by the subject matter, but since I was still in denial about this I let it slide. Or I thought I had. But I also lost interest in the project, and stopped doing those drawings.

If a ranting bigot had fumed at me for glorifying perversity I’d have laughed in their face and kept right on doing them, and with gusto. And I’d have gotten better and better at it. Yet I allowed someone I thought was a friend to completely dishearten me about my work, and I stopped doing it.

God…you really have to be careful who you let into your heart.

So…I should try to get back into doing these. It’s a good topic. It’s a necessary topic. Back when I started doing these drawings I felt like the culture around me didn’t treat same sex love with the kind of respect and affirmation that it deserved, and to a large degree I think it Still doesn’t. And that’s because so many people Still reduce the experience of gay and lesbian people to the sex we have. That we love, and are loved is not supposed to be part of our lives. That we can and do experience that soul to soul intimacy that is so very, very life affirming is something that, more so then even the sex we have, we’re supposed to keep out of sight, lest we disturb people.

A friend of mine told me once about how, while taking a college course on human sexuality, the ignorant jock types in the class could laugh and mock the images of gay male couples having sex, but the images of them being affectionate with each other completely offended them. When I started doing these drawings back in the 1980s, it was in large measure a reaction to that. As I worked on each one, doing the pencils, then transferring the pencils to the artboard, inking with my dip pens and then working over it with my sticks of charcoal, deep down inside my thoughts were something like, Our love is beautiful and of sacred worth too. And if this culture won’t give it its due, then at least I can try…

Politics aside, love is like the perennial topic for artists all over the ages anyway. Had I been born in the most accepting of times, in the most accepting of cultures, I suppose I would have naturally gravitated to it. I’ve a romantic temperament, and artistically I’m a bit of a drama queen. But it’s even more important for gay and lesbian artists in these times to give our love its due. I shouldn’t have let someone who wasn’t really that much of a friend in the first place take the wind out of my sails on this. If I really believe in love, and I think I still do, then I should say something about it. Especially nowadays, with so many people vehemently insisting that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.

Maybe I could do some of this in oil on canvas for a change. I got a new easel last year with a bonus check from work that I Still haven’t used. And I really need to restock my tray of oil paints. Dang though…Grumbacher doesn’t sell it’s Finest line of oils anymore…

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511072’);

Witch Hunt

This week’s cartoon might have been a tad more appropriate last Monday…but I was away from my drafting table for a while.

Phil Burress, about whom I’ve cartooned before…got himself and his Citizens for Community Values outfit slapped with a complaint, filed with the Ohio Elections Commission, charging that his group, and several other anti-gay groups involved in last year’s Ohio election (which included an anti same sex marriage amendment to that state’s constitution) only reported thirteen grand out of almost two and a half million dollars in campaign contributions. Whoops.

That’s what having values does for you. Phil says it’s all just a witch hunt. Unlike…oh…his political attacks on gay and lesbian Americans.

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511071’);

Saturday November 5, 2005

Deep Thinkers…

No…not the Independent Gay Forum, but Worldnet Daily… where the cream of right wing science does battle

Debating peak oil vs. deep oil perspectives, Smith went head-to-head with Matthew Simmons, author of "Twilight in the Desert" on the cable news outlet’s program. Smith, CEO of Swiss America Trading Company, contends that oil is not a fossil fuel. Rather, he believes it is being producing deep within the earth and is brought to attainable depths by centrifugal forces of the earth’s rotation. In contrast, Simmons argues that oil is a finite resource and that Saudi Arabian oil supplies are dwindling, putting the world in a possible economic and political crisis.

Michael Crichton can probably explain how it is that the same centrifugal forces that are pushing that endless supply of oil to the surface of the earth don’t also make everything on that surface, where the force would appear to be the strongest, fly off into space.

"Deep oil" theory, such as it is, is the concept that the oil we consume isn’t the fossil remains of ancient biomass, but rather the result of a process happening deep below the earth’s crust, where carbon and hydrogen are combining into hydrocarbons. The problem with this alternative theory, insofar as it’s offered up as a rebuttal to peak oil, is that it doesn’t refute it at all. If oil has been produced deep under the earth’s crust, and bubbling up to the surface in whatever way, and the surface of the earth isn’t already miles deep in oil, then the processes which produce oil must still be very, very slow ones. So either way you look at it we’re consuming the stuff faster then the earth is producing it.

And that means there is a theoretical peek production out there somewhere. The only way deep oil saves us from peak near term, is if it means there is lots of oil that hasn’t yet been discovered, close enough to be economically viable drill for, because all those oil company folks have only been looking where there was a likelihood of organic-rich sediments. But wells have been drilled into non organic-rich geologic structures that would nonetheless be expected to trap hydrocarbons, if they were actually being produced deep in the earth’s crust or mantle, and no hydrocarbons have been found. We’re running out of places to look, deep oil or no.

The problem I have with the term "peak oil" is a tad like the problem I had with Y2K. You’ll recall that, because of how dates were routinely encoded in software up until the late 1990s, computers all over the world were supposed to stop correctly keeping track of time precisely at midnight, December 31, 1999. Those of us who write software for a living knew that, while Y2K was a potentially bad problem, it was also one that would not hit everywhere at once at the stroke of midnight new year’s eve. Programs that calculated dates across the Y2K boundary were going to start failing long before that date…some as long as years before that date. Software that calculates the date a credit card expires for example. Or loan payments over a period of years. Y2K wouldn’t happen all at once, but in dribs and drabs over an extended period of time, during which the problems would be worked out. So when it did come, Y2K was a non-event. We’d actually been dealing with many individual Y2K software problems for years already by then.

I think peak oil will play out exactly like that. We’re already dealing with the effects of tighter world wide supplies. Granted a lot of that has to do with war and politics, but those problems are exacerbated by an overall demand that is rising faster then production. The problems are already starting to happen. Instead of one big crashing peak followed by a downward slide, we’ll hit many dips and rises, over the course of years and years, as some oil fields hit their peak, and a few new ones come on line, and we figure out new ways of extracting the last little bits of what’s in the proven resources, and we become more efficient at using oil products, and finding alternatives as the cost of oil products keeps going up. The closer we get to peak, the more the price of oil goes up, and that slows down demand again. So I doubt there will be a peak, so much as a lot peaks and valleys over decades, as we do this dance of supply and demand. We’ll end up figuring out how to use less of it, a bit at a time, one year at a time, a little here and a little there, and our economies and our lives will go on, if somewhat differently. We may never even hit smack against the peak, if supply and demand keeps the price of oil high enough that we get more efficient and start going elsewhere for energy before we hit it. The transition away from an oil based economy doesn’t have to be catastrophic, provided we can keep our politicians from going to war over oil.

Oh…wait…

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511052’);

The Traditional Values Of Child Abusers

Via John Aravosis, I see that the little "love the sinner, hate the sin" mask is slipping again over at the Traditional Values Coalition…

Surprise, surprise. John also has a great capture of the image of two scared little tots being leared at by a big male in an SUV that they’re using on their website. I guess they hadn’t heard over at TVC that gays are favoring hybrids more these days. I suppose a big guy in a Prius isn’t going to look quite as threatening…but…hey…isn’t a persian gulf state oil guzzling SUV one of those things that right wingers are more likely to be driving…? Let’s make that image more realistic. Make it a slight and effeminate gay boy running away from a religious right nutcase in a Hummer looking for some quick tush.

Seriously. All this gets me to thinking once again about the perpetual right wing slander against gay people, that we’re somehow more likely to be child molesters then straights, that we’re likely gay because someone molested us, that it’s molestation that makes a kid gay, and the proof of that is in how many gay people say they were molested. And as I’m wandering the reaction on the web to this latest attack on gay people by good Christian men, I come across this post over at Looking For Sam, titled, Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

I’ve talked for years about how the anti-gay religious right uses funny statistics to prove that homosexuals are more likely to be child molesters. On the one hand they use a very narrow definition of what a homosexual is, to arrive at the conclusion that there are less then two percent of us in the general population. But then on the other hand, when it comes to child sexual abuse, they claim that each and every instance where a man molested a boy is necessarily a case where man was a homosexual, since the act itself was a homosexual act…which is to say that even if you only have one instance of homosexual sex in your lifetime, you are necessarily a homosexual. Yet that’s not the definition of homosexual, that gives them their two percent figure. If you use the same definition of homosexual in both cases, you get pretty much the results that gay men are no more likely to molest children then straight men.

The issue then comes down to why a heterosexual man would be sexually attracted to young boys. But this shouldn’t be rocket science either. Children are not physically like adults. At Looking for Sam, they go into this in some good depth:

Research has shown time and time again that regressed offenders are very typically heterosexual in their adult relationships. Unlike our three percent sample, they date women and marry them. They often are parents, stepparents or extended family members of their victims. By all appearances – and by their own self identification – they are straight. Drs. Groth and Birnbaum emphasized this point, saying:

In over 12 years of clinical experience working with child molesters, we have yet to see any example of a regression from an adult homosexual orientation. The child offender who is also attracted to and engaged in adult relationships is heterosexual.

You should read this post in its entirety. But I’ll just quote one more passage from it. They discuss research which measured (by way of phallometric (penis-measuring) tests) the sexual response of adult offenders and discovered that, yes, the ones that said they are straight, were in fact sexually attracted to adult women. That was the majority of cases, in a proportion analogous to the proportion of heterosexuals in the general population. In other words, gay men were not disproportionately offenders. Ah…but why would heterosexual males be attracted to young boys?

Amongst the heterosexuals, the commonest remarks concerning attractive features of the victims, were that the young boys did not have any body hair and that their bodies were soft and smooth.

Bingo.

That part of our brains, the libido, just has it’s own logic, it’s own way of adding up things. I don’t like body hair myself (and I wish I had less of it). I but to say I like smooth isn’t exactly right either. I like hard, not ripping muscled, but solid in a way a woman’s body, or a child’s just isn’t. It lights me up. The male body just does, to the sight of it, and especially to the touch of it. I can still vividly remember the first time, while still in my teens, that I put my arms around a girl’s waste and drew her to me, just testing the waters as it were. I felt how soft her body was right away, and it took me completely by surprise…and this was what has always fascinated me about it ever since, deep down it was like something inside of me suddenly exclaimed, Whoa…that can’t be right..! But I’m told that this sort of thing is exactly what lights up a lot of straight guys. They like that soft smooth female body. It’s why women are always having to shave their legs.

Kids are like that, all soft and delicate, and they’re small, and easy prey for an adult with utterly no conscience, who thinks that everyone on this earth exists simply to gratify them. It ought to go without saying that any adult who would take advantage of a kid that way has no concern for them at all. It would hardly matter what sex they were. They’re just a useful means of self gratification. They were attractive to the libido, and vulnerable.

But why then, does it seem like so many gay men have instances of abuse in their childhoods? I think there are two things going on. First, the ex-gay ministries, the legitimate therapists, the abuse clinics, obviously are only seeing the gay people who have had that sort of thing happen to them. It just stands to reason that people without any major trauma in their lives, either physical abuse or just purely emotional abuse, aren’t going to check themselves into these places. Until there is a little genuine science done on the matter, I don’t know that we can say that gay people are more likely to have suffered child sexual abuse then straights are. But it might be true to some degree. And that’s not because gay people are busy out there recruiting kids into the gay lifestyle, or because it is abuse that makes you gay. It’s because gay kids are, I am convinced now, categorically more vulnerable to abuse.

There are way more heterosexual men then homosexual men. That’s just a statistical fact. So if heterosexual child abusers assault male kids because of their feminine like bodies, then what of a gay kid who is perhaps a tad more effeminate acting then his peers are? Isn’t that more likely to make that kid a target, single them out from the pack for more attention? And effeminate kids often find themselves being shunned, or at least looked at askew by family and peers, which would make them even more vulnerable to some older adult who seems to be offering them friendship and acceptance. And there’s another thing: a gay kid may find themselves drawn to their abuser, in a way a heterosexual boy would not.

I’m not saying a kid that age even knows what sexual attraction is. But nearly every coming out story you hear starts with "I always knew I was different…". Even as young as then, some nascent sexual awakening process is already underway, and you find the attractive sex starting to tug at you. When I was a kid, long before I started my walk though adolescence, I found myself absolutely arrested at the sight on TV, of Johnny Weissmuller in his Tarzan loincloth, George Reeves in his Superman tights, and an older Johnny Sheffield in the Bomba movies. Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, just didn’t do it for me. Something is going on, even at that age, that is drawing you to the attractive sex.

Young gay boys can be especially vulnerable then, on two counts. First, if they’re visibly effeminate, the combination of their childish bodies and the feminine vibes they’re throwing off must surely make them a more likely target of older predatory males. And secondly, their nascent sexual orientation is going to make them more vulnerable to seduction by another male. And especially so, if they’re feeling alienated from family and peers because of any perceived gender nonconformity.

Let it be said that boys in general in this culture are not given the education they need about these matters. As a male, you’re assumed to always be the one in control when it comes to sex. That you might be the one being seduced, that you might want to be the one being seduced, is never discussed. Boys just aren’t supposed to be like that. It’s not considered gender appropriate in this culture. The idea that some guys, straight guys too, might not always want to be in control, might actually enjoy being the one who is courted, and charmed, and swept off their feet, leads right smack into that homosexual panic zone this culture just can’t seem to get itself beyond. What are you…some kind of faggot? Real men take charge… So you’re not taught about it, or how to deal with it. You’re just told that boys, boys who want to grow up to be real men anyway, aren’t like that. End of discussion. In so many ways, this pernicious belief that you can keep kids safe sexually, by keeping them ignorant about sex and their own sexuality, only makes them vulnerable.

But I think gay kids are especially vulnerable, and this may be why you hear so many gay adults with stories of sexual abuse in their childhoods. Compounding that vulnerability, is the way they’re often treated by family and peers. And families that alienate their gay offspring, treat them with contempt or open hostility, bear a responsibility for any abuse that follows. You had a job to do and even if your son is gay and it embarrasses the hell out of you or it royally pisses you off that your son is gay you still had that job to do and you didn’t do it. Trying to pound the homosexuality out of a kid, or ex-gay it out of them, just belly flops all of you into the same denial about the kid’s sexuality that, when the moment comes, just stands aside and lets them get into trouble. And what is more, it protects the abusers by making the kid more ashamed of their sexuality, and less likely talk about being hit on by an older guy, let alone actually abused by one. It just greases the cycle of abuse.

If a young boy is starting to throw off feminine vibes, and/or showing a certain rapt interest in guys, their family needs to embrace them, keep them warmly in the fold, take them by the hand one day and give them the same warnings about love and life, and loosing your heart, and how not every charming fellow you meet has your best interests in mind, that a daughter would get.

Matter of fact, all boys should get pretty much those same warnings. But I’m convinced now, that gay kids really are more vulnerable, and need a little extra measure of warning, and in this culture, a little extra measure of love.

Which is not exactly what the Traditional Values Coalition wants them to get…

by Bruce Garrett | Link | postCount(‘200511051’);

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