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November 24th, 2015

They Have Always Existed. But Where Did Decency Go?

This came across my Facebook stream the other day, from Jim Wright, who you should follow…

they_exist-wright

It’s not that these people exist…
…it’s that you live in an America where they are cheered

-Jim Wright

 

That’s it. I mean…the gutter was always visible to us, but in the same way the grotesque carnival sideshow tents were always there to peek into. You could tune in the screaming pulpit thumpers on the radio dial if you knew where to look. There were phone numbers you could dial to get recorded messages from Birch Society crackpots and white supremacists. Every now and then you got a pamphlet handed to you by a man whose stare made you want to stay out of arm’s reach. There were late night talk show on the UHF band, like The Joe Pyne Show, that you might tune in to for a laugh, only to switch channels soon after because you felt like you were suffocating listening to so much hate, so off-handedly spoken into the camera.

Now the gutter is front and center in the national conversation. Only it’s not a conversation anymore because the gutter doesn’t do conversation. It just screams in your face, and then laughs when it sees that it can still shock you in a place you thought you weren’t shockable anymore…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on They Have Always Existed. But Where Did Decency Go?
November 5th, 2015

There’s A Message There For You Too Mrs. Boynes

On Facebook yesterday, Janet Boynes Ministries posted a link to an article applauding the outcome in Houston with this statement:

Houston voters just sent a very strong message to the homosexual lobby, don’t mess with Texas!

But the message from Houston, and Texas generally these days, is Please don’t mess with Texas. Because Texas can’t cope. Texas is afraid. It’s afraid of brown skinned people. It’s afraid of well educated people. It’s afraid of people of different religions, different Christians, godless heathens. It’s afraid of Teh Gay. It’s afraid of transgendered people. Please don’t mess with us because we’re a mess…

George Takei hit the right note yesterday:

Fear indeed can be a powerful weapon, but it ultimately never can defeat love. Those who deploy it always wind up on the wrong side of history, which will remember you as heroes and them as mere bullies. -George Takei

George Takei Statement

This from a man who would know from first hand experience what the ignorant fears and paranoias of the many can do to minorities. There’s another message here Mrs. Boynes, but you will need to step back from the immediate moment to see it clearly.

When I came out to myself as a gay teenager back in 1971 all but 2 states had sodomy laws. Now I could legally marry the man I love, and in a state (Maryland) whose voters approved same-sex marriage at the ballot box. “The arc of the moral universe is long,” said King, “but it bends towards justice.” And I am old enough to have witnessed the progress of that arc from Hardwick v Bowers to last night, when the only way bigots could get a non-discrimination law protecting a hated minority repealed was to make their case in the toilet. When I was 17, a law protecting sexual minorities would have been laughed out of the conference room, if not tarred and feathered. Now you have to make scarecrows out of bathroom icons. Even in those lopsided victories hate can manage in the reddest of red states, that’s gotta be depressing.

And I have witnessed over and over again in my own lifetime the truth of what Takei is saying. Where is Anita Bryant now? Where are any of the hatemongers of the 60s, 70s and 80s? At the same time Prop 1 was defeated Salt Lake City elected a Lesbian as mayor. Salt Lake City mind you, not San Francisco.

There’s your message Mrs. Boynes. You should read it sometime. We are not fighting for special rights. We are not fighting for social approval. We are not fighting for the right to take a pee. If you could see the people for the homosexuals, for the transgendered, for the Other that Texas fears and loaths, you’d understand why we will pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, and get back to work on it. Hearts of gold. Spines of steel.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on There’s A Message There For You Too Mrs. Boynes

Respect

There’s a lot of well justified anger over what happened in Houston Tuesday. And as always, you hear complaining that by venting that anger the losing side isn’t respecting the democratic process.

It’s a bullshit argument, and maybe also yet another indication of the race to the bottom in Texas education. Respect for the process is one thing, respect for the beliefs and opinions that led to a particular outcome is another. You respect the democratic process by working within the system to change outcomes you dislike. That doesn’t mean you have to treat anyone’s ignorant prejudices as anything other than ignorant prejudices. Prejudice does not gain respectability by virtue of there being a lot of it.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Respect
October 12th, 2015

Without Compromise

without compromise

“If we took just five minutes to recognize each other’s beauty instead of attacking each other for our differences—that’s not hard, it’s really an easier and better way to live. And ultimately, it saves lives. Then again, it can be the hardest thing—because loving other people starts with loving ourselves and accepting ourselves. And I know many of you have struggled with this, and I draw upon your strength and your support in ways that you will never know.

“And I am here today because I am gay. And because maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility. I also do it selfishly, because I’m tired of hiding. And I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of that pain. And I am young, yes. But what I have learned is that love—the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes, even the pain of it—is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise. There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection, or simply being mistreated because of who they are.

 

Full text of her speech at The Human Rights Foundation conference Here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Without Compromise
October 6th, 2015

Our Stories Matter

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

exodus-dismantled

Being chosen to lead Exodus in 2001 was like becoming the ex-gay Pope following the Catholic sex-abuse scandals. The ministry’s board knew it could not survive another public scandal, so it questioned Chambers rigorously before deciding to hire him. During the interview process, Chambers recalls a board member asking him what success would look like under his leadership. He replied, “It looks like Exodus going out of business because the church is doing its job.”

Chambers words would later seem prophetic, but he first needed to travel a long road. In 2005, he called homosexuality “one of the many evils this world has to offer.” And in 2006, he lobbied for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But Chambers admits that during the same year his thinking began to evolve.

As I heard more stories and evaluated my own realities,” Chambers said, “I realized change in orientation was not possible or happening.

(Emphasis mine). Full article is Here. Our stories matter. Our stories are what win this struggle. We tell our stories, and we stop being the monsters others have made us out to be, and we become neighbors. Our stories turn their lies to rust.

I’ll post another installment of my story by the end of this weekend. Tell yours. We will win this thing, if we tell our stories.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Our Stories Matter
October 3rd, 2015

The School Shooting…(continued)

Here’s the guy who had a gun and didn’t go looking for the shooter because he knew the police might think he was the one…

had-a-gun

Full article Here.

Parker noted that he was hustled into a classroom with other students by a professor who asked if anyone was armed. He said he raised his hand and said he would attempt to protect his fellow students if they came under attack.

This was the sane thing to do. Note that he had military training. There’s a discipline that comes with that you just don’t see in the open carry zealots, which is what makes them so scary.

But also note this: it makes a case for not totally banning private citizens from carrying a firearm too. It’s even making me rethink my own knee jerk reaction about having them on a school campus. If this was typical behavior then I don’t think there would be much opposition to concealed carry. And with strict licensing, safety training and background checks I think this would be. This guy had military training. You would expect he could pass all of that handily. But it’s not typical behavior, and that’s the problem.

People with guns don’t worry me as long as there is some reasonable control over it. It’s the stunning lack of control the NRA and others are insisting is their right that worries me. No…being a hazard to others in our public spaces is not your right. They say if you have to get a license to drive why can’t we license gun ownership too. Well I still think people ought to be able to have guns in their homes or on their own property as long as they can pass a background check. But taking one into our public spaces should definitely require a license. And that license should definitely require passing a background check, passing a range safety and accuracy test and passing a test for knowledge of the applicable laws. Something I have a hunch the most vocal of the open carry idiots could not.

And even then, it should be left to the locality to decide what weapons are allowed and where no weapon is allowed. Cities for example, might decide no, you can’t carry Anywhere in a densely packed urban zone because of the danger to bystanders in such close quarters. No, you can’t carry in a subway. No, you can’t carry in a shopping mall. The localities know best where their own danger zones are and how to handle them. And if the argument is high crime zones are exactly where citizens need their means of protection the most, my reply is high crime zones are where civilization is failing and more people with guns sure as hell isn’t the answer to that. There’s a failure of society and government in those neighborhoods that needs to be addressed. Not every problem is a nail.

So here’s a situation where a law abiding man who had a gun on him knew better than to believe everything the NRA and the Ted Nugents of the world keep yapping about how more guns in the hands of citizens would have stopped all the spree killings we’ve suffered recently.  But also there was this: 

Parker noted that he was hustled into a classroom with other students by a professor who asked if anyone was armed. He said he raised his hand and said he would attempt to protect his fellow students if they came under attack.

This is why I am in favor of gun control, and why I am against outright bans.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The School Shooting…(continued)
October 2nd, 2015

The School Shooting…No, Not That One A Few Days Ago…No Not The One Before That One…

I’m going to just write some thoughts as they occur…

  • David Gerrold, who I follow on Facebook not so much for his fiction as his willingness to talk about how it is to work in TV and Hollywood, while lambasting NRA extremists wrote what I think is the right take on the Second Amendment. You see people arguing about the “well regulated militia” part and either ignoring that part about “the right of the people” or insisting that the one overrides the other. Gerrold said essentially that taken together they mean “the people” have a right to own guns, but that “well regulated” part means congress has the power to regulate them. Yes. That works for me. It makes complete sense.

    I keep bringing this up: We have the right to self defense, and to the means of self defense, but our shared spaces convey shared obligations and responsibilities. To the extent that government can require car makers to make their cars safe to drive on the public streets, make them not disgorge crap into the air everyone breaths, make everyone get a license to drive on them, and tell localities exactly how to erect signage on those streets, and what sort of markings streets must have, so that the streets are safe for Everyone to drive on, it can also limit what sort of weapons you can bring into public spaces, which public spaces must of necessity be weapon free (oh…say…courthouses…polling places…Schools!) and require licensing to show that you know how to handle them safely and that you understand the law.

    This is just common sense as far as I see it. Public space that is too dangerous for the public to use is a contradiction. It’s not a public space if nobody sane dares go there. And as to the notion that more guns makes public spaces safer…well:

  • The nutcases were babbling initially that the school was a so-called “gun free” zone, and of course, blaming that on the carnage. But it wasn’t a gun free zone after all, and furthermore, there actually Were people on campus carrying guns. They didn’t intervene for the staringly obvious reason that they were afraid the police would mistake them for the shooter if they did. Be nice if the More Guns On The Streets The Better crowd would try to understand this.

    We have the right to self defense, and to the means of self defense. That’s a right that is obvious in the context of democracy. But that’s the limit of it. The role of government is to secure our rights. And a vital part of that is a police force that keeps the peace. How anyone sees that a dozen or so armed people fighting it out on the streets with a spree killer amounts to civilization is beyond me. The police have to handle these situations and they can’t if everyone is a potential threat. At best a weapon gives you better odds at getting the hell out of there, or staying alive while ducking and covering. But you can’t do more than that or else you are contributing to the chaos of the event.

    Most of us in this life aren’t prepared to engage a shooter, even if we take our guns out to the range on a regular basis. At best we can train ourselves to handle firearms safely, hit what we’re shooting at, know what our limits are, and maybe keep our homes, loved ones and our own butts alive if the worst happens suddenly. But dealing with violent crime is the sort of specialty skill you have a trained police force for, so the rest of us can go on with the business of civilization. They keep the peace. That is their job. A country were everyone needs to bear arms to keep the peace is better described as an anarchy, not a democracy. And there’s a reason why anarchy and civilization are mutually contradictory terms.

    We have the right to self defense, and to the means of self defense. That’s a right that is obvious in the context of democracy. But that’s the limit of it. If you want to play with military grade weapons and go after the bad guys, join the army or your local police.

    And if you can’t make the cut there…take that as a lesson. Most of us can’t either. Respect the ones that can. Let them do their job. It’s a really important one.

  • I could wish I saw nearly as much passion about the recent news story of how Alabama, the birthplace of The Voting Rights Act, is once again moving to deny black Americans the right to vote, as I see now about gun control. Oh there is anger and activism on that issue without a doubt. But the anger, the take no prisoners fury, on this one issue is incomparable. And it is disturbing. There are so many of us who are gun owners, who believe the second Amendment confers a right on individual Americans as opposed to militias (one supposes not the sort of militias as the ones that came to Cliven Bundy’s defense…) to own a gun, who can be talked to about this, and worked together with to achieve some good sane sensible gun regulation. If only we could be talked to in terms other than we’re crazed gun nuts with Dirty Harry fantasies of killing people. Please. We are not that. We enjoy the shooting sports. We believe we have a right to self defense.  We don’t have fantasies about overthrowing the government. In fact, if I could point to one thing about right winger rhetoric on guns that absolutely drives me nuts it’s the notion that our guns are a defense against tyranny.  No.  The ballot box is our defense against tyranny!

    Now…look at this…

    alabama-dmv-closures
    The entire article is here.

    This is how we loose our precious democracy. The belly laugh is the same people who are bellyaching about needing their guns to defend themselves from tyranny, are the same ones making damn sure only folks like themselves are allowed to vote, or have any say in their government. Tyranny? Why goodness no…they just want Their country back is all.  So I have a question for all my liberal friends who are as heartbroken and appalled as I am at the level of gun violence in this country: What change do you think is going to be remotely possible in a nation where only republican votes matter?

More later…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The School Shooting…No, Not That One A Few Days Ago…No Not The One Before That One…

Tangled Webs

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

blindsided

This is all of a piece with the cathedral of lies the homophobes have been building over the decades. All that junk science, all those lies about the lives of gay people, all that meticulously crafted misinformation. It was supposed to sway the masses and win them the culture war. Instead it’s cocooned them in a fantasy world. No, the Catholic church is nowhere near as gay friendly as the way more humane than Ratzinger ever was Francis is making it seem. But the same people at Liberty Council who have been manipulating Davis for their own ends, really thought they could manipulate the highest levels of the Catholic church too.

As my bitter Baptist grandma used to say, oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. And the first person you deceive when you start down that path, is yourself.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Tangled Webs
September 30th, 2015

Here Comes Another One…Just Like The Other One…

This came across my facebook stream just now…

anotherone

 

Indiana House Majority Leader Jud McMillan, a co-sponsor of the state’s controversial “religious freedom” law resigned his seat abruptly Tuesday, after a sexually explicit video starring the representative was sent via text message from McMillin’s cell phone. TheIndianapolis Star reported it is unclear who sent the text or how broadly it was distributed. 

This is the second time McMillan has resigned from a job over sexual misconduct allegations…

Oh look…

McMillan has styled himself as a champion of the religious right’s crusade against marriage equality. His campaign website listed marriage discrimination as his top issue. “I will protect the integrity of the institution of marriage,” the site read. “In southeastern Indiana the family has always been the foundation of our strength of community. Our relationships with our wives, husbands, parents, children, siblings and other loved ones provides the glue that binds our common purpose. In these times of turmoil the rest of the country could learn something from our example.”

Yes.  Yes it can. “This is the second time McMillan has resigned from a job over sexual misconduct allegations.” Glass houses man. Glass houses.

Allow me to thump my pulpit on this One More Time, because it can’t be spoken about enough: Gay people are their scapegoats. They point their fingers at us, fashion us into scarecrows for the decline of morals and the end of civilization, so they won’t have to look at the mess they’ve made of their own lives.

Over and over again we see the righteously indignant, thumping their pulpits one day about the homosexual menace, caught up in their own tawdry sex scandals the next. Cause And Effect is going on here. They’re screaming at us, to drown out the screams of their own conscience.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Here Comes Another One…Just Like The Other One…
September 25th, 2015

Them Homos Can Really Sing And Dance Can’t They…

This came across my Twitter stream just now…

vv_summit_copland

 

Well…yeah. Appropriating our creative work while spitting in our faces is something they do all the friggin time. They’ll have us all thrown in jail if they could, while happily tacking our artwork to their walls, wearing our designer clothes, and humming to our music playing on their iPods. I was reading Orson Scott Card a few years back rhapsodising on how much he just loved to hear K.D. Lang sing. This is the man who has said that homosexual couples don’t really have emotional attachments to each other but only think they do. This is the man who said homosexuals are expropriating the institute of marriage and if same sex marriage were made legal he would have no further allegiance to this country.

But my goodness that lesbian can really sing can’t she…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Them Homos Can Really Sing And Dance Can’t They…
July 8th, 2015

Question

These clerks and judges who say they’re not granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it goes against their “sincerely held religious beliefs”…I have a question. Have you ever…Ever…Even Once….denied a heterosexual couple a license on the basis of your religious beliefs?

Or is is just the gay couples you have religion about?

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Question
June 1st, 2015

Yes It’s Madness…But There’s A Method To It… (Message In A Bottle…)

Cracked Magazine, which is getting more known for it’s online lists of things (5 Classic Board Games With Disturbing Origins…4 Overlooked Consequences Of Spiderman Joining The Avengers….) just published 5 Things I Learned At A ‘Pray Away The Gay’ Camp.  Here’s one of the line items…

#4. They Physically Torture You For Being Gay

“My hands were tied down and ice was placed on them while I was shown pictures of men. Later sessions would include copper heating coils, needles in my fingers, and electric shocks,” all while Sam was shown gay porn.

Then they’d take the coils away and show … men and women holding hands.

“I was never shown heterosexual sex, just heterosexual attraction,” Sam says. “I was just supposed to associate the touch of a man with pain.”

But a gay man is sexually drawn to other men. And in adults, those feelings of desire mature and evolve into deeper feelings of love and intimate trust and companionship. There’s no neat and tidy way to disconnect desire from human intimacy in adults. After decades of doing this to gay men, and witnessing for themselves the results of it, you might think they’d understand the damage they’re doing.

And you’d be right…

Obviously, despite the old saying, you can’t “heating-coil the gay away.” The torture didn’t make Sam straighter; it just made him terrified of sex, intimacy, and general human closeness.

The scapegoat has to hate themselves. They have to accept their lot in life is one of misery and pain and that they deserve it. And more importantly, they must be taught to fear anything that might lift them out of the pit of loneliness and despair:  They must fear being loved.

“By the end, even hugging my father brought back flashbacks,” Sam said.

Sam isn’t alone — according to literally every scientific study, that’s exactly what happens to people who go through this kind of thing. Sex and physical intimacy are positive things that human beings seek out because they feel good, and you can’t trick the human brain into thinking something feels good by zapping it or burning it with hot copper coils. It only makes the feelings negative.

It’s not a bug…it’s a feature…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Yes It’s Madness…But There’s A Method To It… (Message In A Bottle…)

Inappropriate Behavior

This came across my news stream just now…

gay valedictorian

Evan Young, a graduating senior at Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Colorado, was recently blocked from giving his valedictorian speech and outed to his parents.

With a 4.5 GPA and a scholarship to Rutgers University, Young was selected as valedictorian of his graduating class. Although he had agreed to edit his speech according to Principal BJ Buchmann’s revisions, Young refused to exclude his admittance to being gay.

After Young refused to remove the statement from his speech, Principal Buchmann called the student’s father, Don Young. Don recalled the conversation to the Daily Camera:

“Mr. Buchmann called me and said, ‘I’ve got Evan’s speech here. There are two things in it that I don’t think are appropriate. One was he had mentioned another student’s name. And then there was his coming out that he was gay.’”

Evan was not allowed to give his speech and was not recognized as valedictorian at his May 16 graduation.

Look carefully: They didn’t just tell him he couldn’t give his speech…they denied him his honors as class valedictorian too. It was a rank the kid had achieved by virtue of his 4.5 GPA.  But he was proud.  And worse, he was a gay kid who had achieved.

There’s the problem. Gay kids have to hate themselves at least as much as they are hated, if not more. They must know they are unworthy. So they silenced Evan and took away his class rank. If they could have, they’d have erased from human memory the fact that he’d ever been his school’s valedictorian. They had to. The problem wasn’t that he would have told other gay kids that it was okay to be gay, but that he would have shown them by his example that they could rise themselves up and achieve too. That was the unforgivable sin.

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)
May 25th, 2015

My Poor City…

This came across my Facebook stream the other day…

sbc_gay_son

“I pray that the church will no longer be segregated,” he [pastor Danny Cortez] explained. “I pray that those who have been marginalized would feel safe in our churches. I pray that we as the church would set aside our difference and learn what it means to be the body of Christ.”

Well good luck with that. Your congregation, save for the few who’ve decided to walk out on it for your loving your son more than the Southern Baptist Convention, understands. And something Baptists understand, if not the SBC, is the local congregation is the community that matters when it comes to church business.

The convention’s Constitution states that “churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.”

Homosexual behavior. Homosexual behavior. Homosexual behavior. That same-sex couples experience a wholeness of body and soul, love and desire, completely escapes them. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. That really is the thinking here. They are utterly incapable of seeing the son for the homosexual, the father for the Endorser Of Homosexual Behavior, the congregation for the Church Not In Cooperation.

Cortez’s letter comes just days before the the Southern Baptist Convention could vote to exclude New Heart Community Church at its scheduled in Baltimore later this week.

My poor city. Hasn’t it had enough bad publicity?  I can see it now…The Southern Baptist Convention votes to exclude yet another Baptist church for being hospitable to its gay family and neighbors…in a state whose citizens voted For allow same-sex marriage…just days after Ireland did the same…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on My Poor City…
May 21st, 2015

You Repent First. Take All The Time You Need…

Some years ago, a young adult fresh out of high school struggling to find a workable career path, I fell in with some friends of a friend who had a shop building custom speakers and sound equipment cases for bands. In addition to building speaker and equipment cabinets, they also had an impressive sound system of their own design capable of filling a theater, which they would rent out along with their services as sound guys whenever a band needed something a bit more than the bar sized sound systems they had with them.

To make a long story short, one day while I was out with them doing a gig somewhere in Virginia, the manager of the band we were working with noticed my little lambda necklace. This was back in a time before the rainbow flag, when the lambda was the recognized symbol of the gay rights struggle. He points at it and says somewhat belligerently “Why are you wearing the gay symbol?” This was a period in my life where I was still being careful who to come out to, but at the same time I’d made a resolution to myself not to lie if cornered. Well, I was cornered just then, and hoping for the best I told him it was because I’m gay, “We don’t allow gays in our crew he says. Bernie, one of the co-owners of the speaker shop, begins laughing and saying that I’m just joking. Somehow this only made me dig my heels in more. “No, says I…I’m gay.”

Next day Bernie fired me, taking pains to insist it wasn’t because I’m gay…I just wasn’t working out. Somehow.

Time passes…the universe expands… Some years later I run back into the old friend who connected me with Bernie and George (the other co-owner). How are things? Fine, how about you? Blah…blah…blah… As we’re busy catching up with what’s been happening in our lives, Glenn asks me if I’d heard about what happened to Bernie. No, says I, what’s up with him? He’s in jail, says Glenn. Couldn’t keep his hands off of under aged girls, he says.

Glenn eventually stopped talking to me after friending me on Facebook and being shocked, shocked, to discover what a militant homosexual I am. Oh well. On judgement day let it be said I would rather stand before my creator as an unrepentant sodomite, than have to account for some of the heterosexual lives I’ve witnessed with my own two eyes.

duggar_molester

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on You Repent First. Take All The Time You Need…
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