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Archive for September, 2011

September 29th, 2011

Q: How Can You Tell When A Homophobic Bigot Is Lying…?

Answer: Their mouth is moving.  This, from Joe. My. God

Yesterday we enjoyed the evisceration of anti-gay NC Sen. James Forrester at the hands of Michelangelo Signorile, who got rather incredulous at Forrester’s lack of HIV knowledge, especially considering that Forrester claims to be a Fellow with the esteemed American College of Preventive Medicine. As it turns out, THAT WAS A FUCKING LIE.

Pam Spaulding has the delicious dirt via contributor Scott Rose, who got this response from the ACPM:

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The quick answer to your questions is that Dr. Forrester is not, and never has been, a member of ACPM (much less a Fellow, which is our highest designation of membership). However, this is troubling to us, too, that he’s apparently claiming to be a Fellow of ACPM, and we would like to know where Dr. Forrester is making these proclamations so that we can approach him and demand that he cease falsely using ACPM credentials in his campaign or wherever else he’s using it. If you can point us to some places where he’s using those credentials, we’d be most appreciative. Many thanks.

This you may recall, is the Upstanding All-American Heterosexual Christian Pillar Of His Community…

…who  introduced the current anti same-sex marriage amendment in the North Carolina Senate, and whose rational for doing that was in part, his longstanding work as a physician and Fellow at the American College of Preventive Medicine dealing with the medical problems of homosexuals.

When all is said and done, the only problem I have with bigots who live in their own alternate reality is they can’t actually go live there, they have to keep inflicting their fantasy world on the rest of us in the reality based community.  That said, it is occasionally sweet to watch reality bite them in the ass from time to time.  I stopped waiting long ago, for any of them to learn anything from the experience.  I just bask in the schadenfreude.  Can you at least take that little tin North Carolina Flag lapel pin off your jacket while you’re looking your fellow senators in the face and lying through your teeth?  Try to be respectful of your state flag man.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Q: How Can You Tell When A Homophobic Bigot Is Lying…?

September 27th, 2011

Stories To Definately Avoid If You Believe In Love: Scenario 2. Didn’t I Say I Warned You?

Continuing our gallery of morose, possibly horror story grade film or novel scenarios, here’s another based on the stream of thought I had contemplating the plot device in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That’s the one you may recall, where the two lovers break up and one decides to undergo a procedure which erases the other from their memory, and the other, sad to learn of it, does the same.  Then they reconnect anyway which only goes to show they were really meant for each other to begin with and love isn’t always a fairy tale but a lot of hard work for both people. Yes, yes…so very romantic. Actually, I love that plot device. But somehow it always turns a tad dark in my imaginings…

I have an idea. It’s a story about a heterosexual man…

When he was a teenager he was well liked by his teachers and friends. He’s very open minded, somewhat more so then his parents who are mostly liberal, but with some hang-ups about class and gender and race. They’re not raving prejudiced, because that isn’t fashionable, and they try, really try their best, to teach their kid not to be that way.

In school he befriends a gay kid and right away they start to get along really well. He defends his gay friend from bullies and takes his part in political arguments about gay civil rights and same-sex marriage. They become very close friends. Brothers almost. But as often happens, not just in gay/straight relationships either, he finds his perfect girlfriend, and the gay kid finds a nice boyfriend, they slowly begin to drift apart.

The gay kid’s boyfriend turns out to be a real jerk, and as he grows older it becomes a pattern with him. He falls into a bitter cycle of one disastrous affair after another. Nothing seems to work for him.

The straight kid’s girlfriend on the other hand is his perfect match. They have a lovely, almost fairy tale romance that grows ever more beautiful over time. They marry, have beautiful kids, he finds the career of his dreams, they settle down in a nice suburban community with good schools and decent shopping.

Fast forward. The straight guy is in his late middle age, and he is reflecting on how happy his life has been. Especially compared to most of his classmates from way back when. Many of them have had it really hard. One day, he reconnects with his gay buddy from back in the day. His gay buddy has had it hard. Very hard. He’s still single, and bitter.

They have lunch together one day and they instantly reconnect like old and dear friends. The gay friend is happy that his old pal has had it so good and it is obviously sincere joy. Seeing how happy his old friend from high school is makes him a bit happier too, brings him out of his gloom and lifts his spirits. It makes him believe once more, after so long, that life maybe doesn’t have to suck after all. It can get better.

He decides to tell his straight friend that he’s re-considering something his parents tried very hard to talk him into back when they were teenagers. There’s a procedure…it’s frowned upon in more liberal circles, but not illegal…that can change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. It’s just been so hard living my life as a gay man, he says, so lonely, so terribly terribly lonely... For all his accomplishments as a gay political activist, his private life has been completely miserable. I’m not sure I want to go on the rest of my life like this, he says. His straight friend is appalled. He urges his gay friend not to do it, it would be a sell-out, not just to the cause he’s long fought for, but to himself, to his soul. Yes, says his gay friend, but…it’s so hard being so alone. At least as a heterosexual, I’d have more of a chance at finding the kind of life you’ve had.

It is a sad conversation, but by the end of it the straight guy has mostly convinced his gay friend to hang on, and live an authentic life. Even if you change he says to his gay friend, how do you go on knowing that it isn’t really you, but something that was done to you? Then his gay friend lays one more thing on him. The procedure can be coupled with a memory wipe, so you never know you were once gay. New memories are introduced to make you believe you were always straight. That’s completely outlawed now against children, but he says, even on adults it’s a lot harder to do that to someone our age. Too many memories…the risks of complications are much higher. No…he finally says, it isn’t worth it.

They get up to go their separate ways and now it seems the gay friend has had a definite change of heart. No…it’s too late now to even think about changing. Better he had done it back when he was a teenager. But really…better still to live an authentic life. And anyway he says with a shy smile that takes his straight friend back to their school days, the worst thing would be having to forget you.

They part ways. The straight guy had always known his gay friend had a crush on him, and for his part he was always very fond of his gay friend. Back in school they were almost inseparable. Brothers almost. But it was always clear to both of them that it could never be. He is thoroughly heterosexual. He has always liked women. And now he has a wife he loves very much, and even at their age they still have a great sex life.

But now something is bothering him. He does a little digging into this ex-gay procedure. It was something he’d never really looked at before. He’d always opposed it, had always spoken out against it. There had been attempts to outlaw it completely that he had supported.  But activists had only succeeded in outlawing the practice on children.  Mostly he avoided the issue altogether.  And now that he thinks of it, that seems a little strange.  In his own low key way he is actually very politically aware and active. But his style was more behind the scenes then his gay friend’s upfront activism.

It quickly falls entirely out of his mind. Then he gets an email from his gay friend thanking him for the visit after all these years, and the encouragement. He writes that he’s redoubling his efforts to find a mate after all, and getting back into the fight for full gay equality. He would still like to see the ex-gay procedure completely outlawed, and he tells his straight friend he’s getting back into that fight now.

Oh yes…that. Now it begins to bother him how uncharacteristically he’d just put it all out of his mind. It was something that should normally still bother him about the world he lived in. His parents had raised him to be tolerant and progressive, even if they’d had their own repressed doubts and prejudices. Homosexuality wasn’t something they’d ever much discussed when he was a teen. But as an adult, often while remembering his gay schoolmate, he had always worked for the better, more inclusive world.

Now he looks more deeply into it, forcing himself at times, posting reminder notes just to make sure he follows up on things he finds out about the ex-gay process…its invention, its history of usage…the patterns of its use…the political controversy. Sometimes it’s a struggle to maintain an interest…he has so much else he’s busy with in his own life. But soon his wife, also very much the progressive and pro-gay rights person, gets involved and begins helping him with it. He has told her the story of his gay friend’s struggles and she is very sympathetic, and as disgusted by the very existence of the ex-gay clinics as he is. With her help, he maintains focus.

So he digs for information and learns more and more about the procedure that turns gay people straight and wipes their memories of ever having been gay. What he learns appalls him. He periodically writes his gay friend back and tells him about what he has uncovered…much that was never really fully aired in public. His gay friend is overjoyed to have his old pal back in the fight.

But at night the research is also causing him very unpleasant dreams…dreams about sudden violent arguments with his parents…or someone’s parents, he is not sure. He wonders if they are real memories or just his own projections of what his friend’s home life must have been like.

One morning, saying nothing to anyone of his plans, he goes to a private investigator, someone who he has read about, who has done much of the main investigation for various gay rights groups concerning the ex-gay clinics. This man has a reputation for uncovering secrets in not always legal ways, but his revelations were crucial in getting the procedure against children stopped. He asks this man to check to see if anyone in his high school class had been taken to one of the ex-gay clinics, and then had their memory of being gay wiped.

The investigator takes him into another room, stacked with filing cabinets, some bulging. Through various court cases, and a few not completely legal methods, he has acquired tens of thousands of what were once secret files, documents, recordings, some he is still not at liberty to disclose the contents of publicly. These files have proven critical in the search for victims, the investigator says, and the prosecution of some of the people who ran the clinics, as well as the outlawing of the procedure against children.

Tell me a little about the school you all went to, says the investigator. Tell me about the neighborhood, the area churches, politicians, community leaders. Certain ex-gay clinics were intimately connected to certain churches, and certain politicians. Tell me a little more about the students…and…about yourself… The whole sordid story of these clinics is in these files. Tell me what I need to know, and I can give you the information you are looking for.

He spends hours talking to the man, who all the while is entering data into a small computer. Then the investigator gets up, walks over to a filing cabinet, and after a little flipping through the files inside, pulls one out. He hands it to him. In it is a name and a case history. Somehow he is not completely shocked to learn that, yes, there was one kid from his high school that got sent to an ex-gay clinic.

Him.

He reads. The evidence in the file suggests it was done to him against his will. His memory of ever being gay, of ever even suspecting he was, was completely wiped. He checks the dates. It had to be he realizes, very soon after his parents found out about his gay friend.

And then and there in that office, reading the notes on his case for himself after all those years, he remembers it all in a sudden rush…about when his parents first learned about his gay friend. They had turned suddenly angry and suspicious. They’d had an awful argument. The next day some men had entered his bedroom in the middle of the night, and taken him to a place…somewhere…somewhere dark…

He can recall no more then that. But it is enough.

He walks back home in a daze. He loves his wife. Really deeply and truly loves her. And without a doubt she loves him. Their sex life is great, even in late middle age. They have beautiful kids, grown now and pursuing their own careers and love lives.

But…he loved his gay friend too. To his gay friend he has always been a straight buddy. Yes, his gay friend had a crush on him…that was always something they both knew, but it was always clear to both that it could never be, because he was straight. Except he wasn’t. At least, not born straight. He looks back to their teen years together and sees it clearly. They were always more then just friends. They were soul mates.

I…I loved you…

And he sees the life his gay friend had…his very lonely, bitter struggle…and sees now, clearly, the life he could have had…the life they could have had.

But…what does he do? What Can he do? Who does he tell? What good would it do to say anything to anyone at this point? His parents have both passed on…he, his wife, his gay friend, are all at the doorstep of old age. What good would it do to tell anyone? But there is more. The last words the private investigator spoke to him before he left the man’s office echo in his brain: You know don’t you, that the procedure can be reversed. You can be the man you were born to be again. If you want. Others, many others, have had the procedure reversed.

But could he really, after so much time has passed? And what would happen to his family then? What would they have? He loves them very much.

It’s not true that there is only one perfect soul mate out there for each individual. His gay friend still has a chance to find someone to love, and be loved by. They both know this. He decides to say nothing. The investigator had assured him that nothing would be said about him unless he specifically authorized it. Privacy laws forbade it. When he gets back home he finds an email from his gay friend telling him he’s dating someone new now, hoping that this time it would be different.

He agrees to meet them both for lunch somewhere, he and his wife and his gay classmate and his new boyfriend. And at that pleasantly cheerful little gathering of old friends and their lovers, he sees that this new guy is nice on the outside where it doesn’t count, but isn’t any better deep down inside where it does then any of the other guys his friend has hooked up with in the past. He can see another broken heart coming for his friend all over again.  And it makes him angry, angry at the new boyfriend/creep, angry in a deep dark place inside where he had never been angry before.

His wife sees the broken heart coming for his gay friend too. He’s such a beautiful spirit, his wife says to him later. It’s so tragic he never found someone. I hate how this world treats people like him. Not just that he’s gay, but that he’s such a beautiful spirit. It’s so hard for people like that to find love. So hard for everyone really. I’m so glad I found you.

Not all horror stories have blood splashing everywhere.

“Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree.”
-Ethiopian Proverb

by Bruce | Link | React! (7)


Stories To Definately Avoid If You Believe In Love: Scenario 1. Remember, I Warned You.

Another one of the Big Three major loves of my life finally decided to get himself a Facebook account recently…I discovered during another of my periodic name searches.  I mentioned on my status update that I wished there was a Forget You pill I could take, but that I’d only take it for one of the Big Three (Hi Keith!).  A friend then directed me to the film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I was already aware of that film, although I haven’t watched it yet.  But the central plot device is a beautiful one for a romance story: Two people who choose to undergo a procedure that makes them forget about each other, who then hook up again later anyway, which means they were really meant for each other to begin with. Yes, yes…a very lovely tale of true romance. And one I’d happily read myself, if it were presented to me in a gay context.

Writing it myself is another matter, and not just because I’d have to copy it outright from somebody else, a thing I regard with distaste when I see other would-be artists doing that.  On the other hand, Picasso himself said a mediocre artist copies and a great artist steals.  And this plot device is just brimming with possibilities.

Unfortunately for you dear reader, those possibilities always seem to take a dark and morose turn with me.  I can’t imagine why that is.  But in the interest of getting some of this stuff that has always been percolating in me ever since I can remember…I seem to be able to think up more ideas then I ever have time to follow through on…let me belabor you with a few scenarios for a novel or movie.  Go ahead and use them.  If they flop and everyone hates you for making them sit through it, you can always blame me.

Here’s Scenario 1…there isn’t much to it.   Call it, The Good Life

It’s about a gay guy who tries all his life to find his soul mate.  Comes out to himself as a teen, but instead of going through fear and loathing about his sexual orientation, he accepts it, and tries extra hard to make himself worthy of a nice boyfriend.  Gets good grades, graduates near the top of his class, never cheats or lies or steals.  He’s no cardboard prude by any means, but he tries extra hard to be a worthy lover, so he can attract the man of his dreams.  Unfortunately for him, all he ever gets are the boyfriends from hell…the ones attracted to Nice Guys because they’re easy to manipulate and fun to cheat.

That’s his life.  One bad, failed romance after another after another after another.  His gay friends are no help either.  Oh they believe in love all right…but they think our hero is a tad childish to believe in Romance and finding that man of your dreams.  Better they keep telling him, to settle for Mr. Right Away instead of Mr. Right.  Who knows they say, that sexy rent boy you purchase for an evening might turn out to be a steady thing.  And if not, hey, he’s affordable at least.  Time and again, though he never finds out what the audience does, they fail to connect him to other guys who might actually be right for him.  Romance is for daydreamers.

Eventually he’s a very old man.  And one day he realizes this is all that will ever be.   He sees that he will never find that love of his life after all, that he is going to die alone and loveless, never having been loved, never having had that life affirming body and soul relationship with another person, never known that quiet peaceful joy of holding, and being held in the arms of the one you love.  Now, at the twilight of his life he sees, finally, the reason that there are so many beautiful love stories out there isn’t because there really are so many beautiful love stories out there, but that so terribly many people are like himself, lost and lonely and aching for a love that will never come.  He wishes he had never been born.

But all is not hopeless.  Modern technology has an answer for everything.  He takes the last little bit of his life savings and goes to a clinic, where they replace all his bad memories of failed romances with a fake memory of meeting his soul mate when they were both teenagers and they have a happy life together and then in their shared old age his soul mate dies (peacefully of natural causes) and he morns.  But then he goes on with his life because they both promised each other that they would if one of them died before the other.

He leaves the clinic knowing only that he had checked himself in for a very normal and natural case of depression after his one true love had passed away.  The doctors and nurses there he remembers, were all very kind to him, and all said he’d been a very lucky man to have found such a beautiful meaningful love, and he left the clinic feeling a little sorry for them, because they were still searching for it.

He spends his last few years peacefully remembering his lover, spouse and soul mate, and dies one day a happy man, knowing he had lived life to its fullest.

You see?  Even horror stories can have happy endings.

.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Stories To Definately Avoid If You Believe In Love: Scenario 1. Remember, I Warned You.

September 9th, 2011

Something Rotten In The State Of NOM…

Via Good As You. Orson Scott Card retells Hamlet. Yes. Seriously.

Anyone who thinks they’ve witnessed the heights of bigotry, look…if you haven’t read any of Orson Scott Card’s rants about homosexuality you absolutely Have Not seen the pure unadulterated thing…

Outcry over Hamlet novel casting old king as gay paedophile

A small American press has been swamped with complaints after publishing a version of Hamlet by the science fiction author Orson Scott Card in which King Hamlet is a gay paedophile.

Hymned by the publisher Subterranean Press as a “revelatory” retelling which shows “what’s really going on” in Shakespeare’s play, the story suggests Hamlet’s father wasn’t murdered by his brother Claudius, but Horatio, in revenge for being molested by him as a child.

The book is not a new release, having been published twice before, for the first time in 2008, but an explosive review at the Rain Taxi Review of Books has unleashed a wave of criticism.

“Here’s the punch line: Old King Hamlet was an inadequate king because he was gay, an evil person because he was gay, and, ultimately, a demonic and ghostly father of lies who convinces young Hamlet to exact imaginary revenge on innocent people,” writes William Alexander. “The old king was actually murdered by Horatio, in revenge for molesting him as a young boy – along with Laertes, and Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, thereby turning all of them gay … Hamlet is damned for all the needless death he inflicts, and Dead Gay Dad will now do gay things to him for the rest of eternity: ‘Welcome to Hell, my beautiful son. At last we’ll be together as I always longed for us to be.'”

For anyone who has read Orson Scott Card’s The Hypocrites Of Homosexuality and Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization (the scare quotes are his), this is as unsurprising as the sight of the sun rising in the east. But bear in mind as you are reading all this, the National Organization for Marriage finds him fit enough for its board of directors…a man who once said that if same-sex couples are universally allowed to marry, every pledge of allegiance he ever uttered since he was a child becomes null and void…

“If America becomes a place where the laws of the nation declare that marriage no longer exists — which is what the Massachusetts decision actually does — then our allegiance to America will become zero. We will transfer our allegiance to a society that does protect marriage.” -Orson Scott Card, Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization.

Perhaps someone should ask Brian Brown if he feels the same way about his allegiance to the United States of America. Oh…and civil war.

I honestly don’t think Card hates homosexuals. Bigotry isn’t always hate. The gutter has no bottom and there is a step down even from hate, where the complete dehumanization within oneself of the hated other is achieved. Did the architects who designed the gas chambers of Auschwitz hate the Jews, or were they simply doing their best to rid Europe of what they regarded as a pestilence? Hate is not the bottom. If your entire concept of “bigot” is such as Fred Phelps who wave their signs screaming that Matthew Shepard is burning in hell and Thank God For Dead Soldiers, it can come as a shock to see a human heart even more depraved, and worse, to see it so matter of fact about it, as if discussing the weather or last night’s baseball game. But the further down in the gutter you go, the more peaceful it seems.

Card doesn’t scream and shout. He doesn’t stand on a street corner and wave the bible and preach hell fire and damnation. If you sit him down to discuss it (ask people who have interviewed him) he will tell you calmly and matter-of-factly that gay rights is a collective delusion… that granting rights for deviant behavior is ridiculous… that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex… that when two homosexuals start telling people they’re a couple they are just “playing house” (his words)…that they might think that they have deep feelings towards one another but that’s all that it is…just wishful thinking, just pitiful trying to convince themselves that their deviant sexual urges are something higher and nobler then empty lust. He will tell you calmly and matter-of-factly that a homosexual’s highest allegiance is to the community that gives them access to sex… that homosexuals recruit children into homosexuality by molesting them and that is how everyone or nearly everyone who ever was a homosexual became one.

He will tell you all of this simply, calmly, and matter-of-factly. So matter-of-factly that you do not, simply cannot doubt this man will never be moved from his prejudices, no matter how much evidence to the contrary moves past his eyes. He does not deny the evidence, he simply does not see it. He can’t. He’s a bigot.

Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. Homosexuals are a threat to children. Homosexuality must be actively suppressed by force of law, preferably in a discrete, non-confrontational way, brutally if necessary, or the homosexuals will eventually recruit so many others into homosexuality that civilization will collapse.

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society. -Orson Scott Card, The Hypocrites of Homosexuality.

Orson Scott Card will tell you this, as if he is telling you the time of day.

Some prejudice is simply misinformed. Some prejudice is cultural…like the song says, you have to be carefully taught. Even in the most vehement of haters of that kind, there is humanity buried somewhere within. It can be reached. Maybe. Then there is the prejudice that is an abyss. You cannot move an abyss, you can only stare into it, while it stares back into you.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Something Rotten In The State Of NOM…

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