Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stand Out Story of the Week


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Friday, April 17, 2009

April 17th NATIONAL DAY OF SILENCE

Carl Walker-Hoover took his life last week after enduring constant bullying, including anti-LGBT bullying. Though Carl did not identify as gay, his story is a tragic reminder that anti-LGBT bullying and harassment affects all students. Carl would have turned 12 on the Day of Silence. Learn more about his story here.


Today in Gay History

On April 17, 1965


The Mattachine Society of DC organized first official protest at the White House by a gay rights group. Foe a look at one of its newsletters, The Insider, from 1966, see the pdf copy by clicking here. Its pretty inventive what could be done with a typewriter back then. It's also noteworthy that all of the members were referred to by first name and last initials only. It was, of course, another time from which we've all come a long way in 44 years. May the Faerie's rest Harry Hay's soul!


For more on the history of the Mattachine Societies, see the excellent article by our family encyclopedia, qlbtq .

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The idiot brigade is lining up to get on FOX News to call President Obama a fascist while the CEO's that have destroyed their companies still rake in the cash. Stop watching Beck and Hannity and read the news, people!

Your Daily Digby:

Want to know what your CEO made last year? The Executive Paywatch site offers three user-friendly ways to find out. And if you want to have a little fun at the CEO’s expense, play the “Boot The CEO” game and kick the money out of the greedy CEO’s hands.

Their arrogance knows no bounds:

In 2008, despite the worst economic meltdown in over 75 years, U.S. chief executives continued to take home over 300 times more pay than their workers. That’s a gap ten times wider than the gap between top execs and workers that existed just a generation ago.

Corporate boards of directors seem determined to keep this massive gap intact. Most corporations are refusing to make even symbolic gestures toward more common-sense executive compensation.

Remember last fall’s firestorm over executive jets? In 2008, over half America’s big corporations — 104 of the 200 the Wall Street Journal tracked — continued to foot the bill for the personal air travel of their top executives, only three fewer than the year before.

CEOs have to report the personal air travel subsidies they get, along with whatever other perks they receive, as taxable income. Over a third of America’s biggest corporations last year actually gave their executives extra money to pay the taxes on all this perk income.

The dollars devoted to this tax reimbursing — or “grossing up,” as power suits refer to the process — averaged $16,400 last year. That sum might not sound like much, given the millions CEOs take home overall, but, in 2008, average American workers had to labor five months to make $16,400.

The Wall Street Journal doesn’t include perks like free air travel and tax gross-ups in its $7.6 million figure for 2008 CEO “direct compensation.” The New York Times $8.4 million total does.

Neither paper’s pay totals for 2008 include the gains CEOs registered last year cashing out the stock options they collected in previous years. These cashouts generated some staggering personal paydays.

Occidental Petroleum’s Ray Irani, for instance, took home $49.9 million in “total direct compensation,” according to the Wall Street Journal figures. But he gained another $215.9 million in 2008 from options and other long-term “incentives” that Occidental had stuffed in his personal portfolio before last year.

Corporate boards have essentially created what amounts to a perpetual motion pay machine that year in and year out gins up millions in executive compensation, no matter what may be happening economically in the real world.

In “good” times, with revenues and profits up, boards hand executives stock awards and cash bonuses as rewards for their fine “performance.” In hard times, boards keep the stock awards coming — as an incentive to stick around and perform better in the future.

And thus continues the delusion that the wealthy are the most productive members of society which requires that they be allowed to dictate the terms by which the burden of their failure and mismanagement is borne by others.
The corporate aristocrats are working hard to keep the rubes focused on the big, bad gummint because if they ever realize just how thoroughly they've been scammed by these Masters of the Universe, who knows what might happen?

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Today in Gay History

Happy 90th Birthday

b. April 16th 1919

Merce Cunningham

Dancer-Choreographer
Extraordinaire



Merce Cunningham (right) looks admiringly at his longtime companion, John Cage (left). Cage died in 1992 after they'd been creative and personal partners for more than 54 years!


This from the April 10, 2009 NY Times:

“NEARLY NINETY,” a new work by the choreographer Merce Cunningham, will have its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Thursday. The title makes sense: Mr. Cunningham turns 90 that day, and the choreography runs nearly 90 minutes.

A 2009 photograph of Merce Cunningham.

There are other Cunningham anniversaries this year. Ten years ago this July, on the stage of the New York State Theater, he was awarded the city’s highest cultural award, the Handel Medallion. To that audience he recalled, as he has on other occasions, how he arrived in New York for the first time in September 1939, by train, ready to join Martha Graham’s company as its second male dancer: “I stepped onto the sidewalk, took one look at the skyline and thought, ‘This is home.’ ”

. . . He was for many years a phenomenal dancer and has committed his whole career to virtuoso technical accomplishment. I sometimes think he was America’s Nijinsky, without the madness. Like Nijinsky he had an astounding jump, an extraordinary neck, an animal intensity, an actor’s changefulness.

For more on this GIANT of 20th and now 21st Centuries dance and the arts innovation, see qlgbtq's excellent encyclopedic tribute here.

Many knowing people hold that he is the most influential person in dance in the past 75 years!! His longevity alone commands admiration!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Count the Double Entendres in Teabaggin Piece



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Teabagging Causes Dain Bramage



Happy

Tax Day


One out of more than 1000 benefits gay couples can't have, even in states that allow marriage equality: Filing Joint Tax Returns

Legally married Americans have a choice whether to file jointly or separately. Gay couples in America do not have that choice.

Here are just a few benefits gay couples lose by not having their relationships recognized as marriages:

The main advantages to filing a joint return are:

  • The total tax liability of you and your spouse will usually be lower if you file jointly than if you file separately
  • Less cost and time to complete one joint return
  • Largest standard deduction, which is a dollar amount that reduces the amount of income subject to tax if you are not claiming itemized deductions
  • A married person who files a joint return is allowed to contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) even if that person does not work
  • Certain credits and adjustments, such as the child and dependent care credit, adoption expense credit, Hope and Lifetime Learning credit and deduction for qualified educational loan interest, are generally not available if you are married but choose to file separate returns (married filing separately status), but they are available if you file a joint return with your spouse.

The main disadvantages to filing a joint return are:

  • Signing a joint return obligates you to accept full responsibility for the information contained in your tax return as well as for any errors and omissions, so that means you may be held individually responsible for the taxes, penalties and interest that result from your joint tax return
  • Your refund could be withheld by the IRS to pay your spouse's financial obligations, such as unpaid child support or student loan default
  • You are less likely to be able to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses, for example, the expenses not covered by your insurance plan
  • You are less likely to be able to deduct your miscellaneous itemized deductions.

The prudent choice whether to file separately or jointly>>>just another one of those "special rights" the homosexual agenda is trying to get.

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Today in Gay History


On this day in 1154 the first ever recorded evening of drag comedy was held at St. Christopher’s Ale House in Sussex, England as the pub was overtaken by a number of wandering minstrels who were dressed in women’s garb, sang show tunes and heckled the audience.

While it seemed to deeply offend the male patrons who believed they were merely in for an evening of mead drinking and Crusade planning, the wenches and choir boys were said to have been thoroughly amused.

While there is no evidence of widespread teabagging in connection with this April 15th romp, there is also no evidence that they were hiding their candy, either.


Oh, yeah, and HAPPY 557th BIRTHDAY

April 15th

to Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519)

Much more about Leo next year. He'll keep until his 558th!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

See, Know Evil : Gay Republicans Split


Queerty.com headlines this schism:

Gay Conservatives Split


and h/t to Joe.My.God for this heads up

about next wave of oxy morons.

New Conservative Gay Organization Forms

If you thought the Log Cabin Republicans were too progressive, now there's an even wing-ier group for gay conservatives. Via Bruce Carroll at Gay Patriot:

I am thrilled to help announce the birth of a new national gay conservative organization, GOProud. As long-time readers know I have been very critical of the national Log Cabin Republicans for many years. Their left-of-center positions on important issues have bothered me as LCR has continually sucked the teet of the Gay Leftist agenda. LCR’s silence and unwillingness to stand up and be vocal on true gay conservative issues (outing of Republican staffers, increasing threat of gays being selectively aborted, peril gays face by Islamic extremists) has been mind-boggling. And LCR’s continued obsession in trashing Republicans, yet letting Democrats get a pass on their gay-related hypocrisies, has been infruriating. Many of you, friends and critics alike, have told me if I wasn’t happy with LCR to do something about it. I have tried shining light on the organization from GayPatriot.org. But many of us felt more had to be done. So I’m proud to announce my involvement as a board member of this new organization. Many more details will follow and I will be sure to let you know how to get involved. For now, please go to GOProud.org and sign up.

Ben Smith at Politico reports:
A dissident faction of gay conservatives is launching a rival group to the traditional voice of gay Republicans: the Log Cabin Republicans. GOPROUD, the new 527 group, will launch next week, according to a media advisory. The contact given for the group is Christopher Barron, a former Log Cabin political director who broke with the group. "Essentially, there's no voice for gay Republicans or gay conservatives in particular in D.C. right now. Log Cabin has been completely and totally absent here in D.C. for months and months," Barron said. "It has simply moved way too far to the left and is basically indistinguishable from any other gay left organization."
It's easy to dismiss these guys as a tiny, inconsequential group of self-hating loons, but expect them to become a favorite go-to whenever wingnuts are looking for cracks on LGBT issues. "Aha! See! Even GOProud is against hate crimes protections for you people!" Check out Gay Patriot's post from Friday: "Gay Rights Laws Limit Our Freedom."

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Today in Gay History




Happy Birthday April 14th
Sir John Gielgud (1904-2000)

Sir John Gielgud has long been acknowledged as one of the greatest British actors of the twentieth century. A highly versatile performer, he played leading and character roles on both stage and screen, in every genre from classical tragedy to low comedy. While in many ways reticent about his sexuality, his experiences illustrate the significant changes in public attitude towards homosexuality over the decades.

Arthur John Gielgud was born in London on April 14, 1904 to a family with theatrical backgrounds on both sides. His father was the son of a Lithuanian actress, and, through his mother, he was the great-nephew of Dame Ellen Terry, the most renowned British actress of the nineteenth century.

Gielgud began acting in his teens, joining the Old Vic theater company in 1921, . . .and, before he was thirty, [he won acclaim for] the more mature lead roles in Richard II, The Tempest, Macbeth, Hamlet, and King Lear.

During this time, he began his first major relationship. Actor John Perry lived with him until their separation in the early 1940s.

By the 1930s, Gielgud was a box-office idol--a rather unlikely one, given his bulbous nose and unprepossessing figure; indeed, his detractors thought his Romeo "feminine." His great gifts were his cat-like mobility and, most notably, his expressive voice, which fellow actor Sir Alec Guinness described as being "like a silver trumpet muffled in silk."

Gielgud also became a respected stage director, launching his own distinguished company in 1937 at the Queen's Theatre. He directed and often performed in productions of Shakespeare and such classics as School for Scandal, Three Sisters, and The Importance of Being Earnest.

In 1953, Gielgud was named in Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Honors List as the recipient of a rather belated knighthood. That this honor came about at all was a result of two of his colleagues, Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Ralph Richardson, pleading with Prime Minister Winston Churchill to remedy the grievous oversight.

As Gielgud's homosexuality was generally known if not publicly acknowledged in a time when sexual acts between men were still a criminal offense in Britain (and remained so until 1967), the government had been reluctant to bestow its approval on him.

Given the controversy over his knighthood, it was cruelly ironic that within months of receiving the honor, Gielgud was involved in an embarrassing incident that might have been fatally damaging to his career.

During the early 1950s, British legal authorities conducted a veritable persecution of gay men that resulted in criminal charges against a number of prominent figures. Gielgud was arrested outside a public lavatory in Chelsea for "importuning for an immoral purpose," and the press conducted a vitriolic campaign against him.

Gielgud nonetheless received a standing ovation upon his next stage appearance, and his arrest is thought to have been instrumental in starting the process of decriminalization. (The incident did not, moreover, prevent the Queen from granting him two further distinctions, the Companion of Honour [1977] and the Order of Merit [1996].)

But, having been so deeply humiliated, Sir John never spoke publicly about the matter or his sexuality again, and he was banned from entering the United States for the next four years. . . . .

He acted in more than 130 films in his long career, the greater portion of which were made between the 1960s and the 1980s; and in 1982 he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the sardonic butler in Arthur.

Finding it increasingly difficult to commit lengthy dialogue to memory, Gielgud retired from the stage in 1988, but continued to perform in films, nearly until the end of his life. At the age of eighty-six, he had his first nude scene in Prospero's Books (1991), and he subsequently appeared in Shine (1996), The Portrait of a Lady (1996), and Elizabeth (1998).

In 1999, he was deeply bereaved by the death of his partner Martin Hensler, with whom he had lived for nearly forty years. Within months, on May 21, 2000, Gielgud himself passed away quietly at his home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, at age ninety-six.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Today in Gay History


Happy Birthday April 13th
Hon. Deborah A. Batts (b. 1947)
Federal Judge

H/T to qlbtq

Deborah A. Batts, an African-American lesbian, became the first openly gay federal judge upon her 1994 appointment to the U.S. District Court in New York.

Batts has been low-key about her sexuality but has not hidden it. A member of the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York, she once urged a graduating class at Fordham Law School to enact laws to protect against anti-gay discrimination.

Batts' unwillingness to be a gay rights activist undoubtedly aided her rise to the federal bench. Recommended by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

The earlier nomination by Clinton of another lesbian--Roberta Achtenberg, as undersecretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development--met with strong opposition. However, the Senate Judiciary Committee never inquired about Batts' sexual orientation, and the Senate quickly confirmed the appointment. Batts began service on the federal bench on June 23, 1994.

Little is known about Batts's personal life. Divorced with two children, she has refused to discuss much of her life in an attempt to avoid becoming known as the "gay judge." She has described being a lesbian as "definitely an important part" of her life, but has added that it is only one of many important parts of her life: "I am also a very devoted mother, I'm an attorney, a former prosecutor, and I'm an African American."

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2 M 4 M



The campaign announced in the last few days by the organization NOM

( National Organization for Marriage) has been labeled by that group as

2 M 4 M, but the group sadly neglected to reserve that name as an

internet domain name. The group intended it to be an acronym for

Two Million For Marriage.

But here's one of the first significant postings on the 2M4M website being developed by sane people in favor of marriage equality as

2 Men for Marriage!

Why Marriage Discrimination Matters: Seven Scientific Reasons

PDFPrintE-mail

For people of every religious persuasion, marriage is a cherished part of our tradition, and for good reasons: It is the building block of families. Marriage helps adults codify and solidify their commitments to each other. Marriage creates a stable base from which to raise the next generation. Marriage even helps us relate to each other across lines of race, religion, and creed.

People of all heritages and all beliefs get married, in ceremonies long or short; religious or civil; solemn or filled with laughter, and we understand that their marriages are similar to our own and those of our families in a fundamental way: that they represent a promise to each other, to their God, and to their community. Marriage is such an important institution that no person should be excluded from its power to create and strengthen the family.

Indeed, social science research confirms its importance to our society. The National Organization for Marriage lists the following seven scientific reasons marriage matters:

1. Marriage reduces the risk of poverty for children and communities. The majority of children whose parents don’t get or stay married, experience at least a year of poverty.

2. [Unmarried] households increase crime. Boys whose parents divorced or never married, for example, are two to three times more likely to end up in jail.

3. Marriage protects children’s physical and mental health. Children whose parents get and stay married are physically healthier, have lower rates of infant mortality, and also much less likely to suffer mental illness, including depression and teen suicide.

4. Both men and women who marry live longer, healthier and happier lives. On virtually every measure of health and well-being, married people are better-off than otherwise similar singles, on average.

5. Just living together is not the same as marriage. Married couples who cohabit first are thirty to fifty percent more likely to divorce. People who just live together do not get the same boost to health, welfare and happiness, on average, as spouses. Neither do their children. Children whose parents cohabit are at increased risk for domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. Children born to parents who were just living together are also three times more likely to experience their parents’ breakup by age 5.

6. Parents who don’t get or stay married put children’s education at risk. Children whose parents are divorced or never married have lower grade point averages, are more likely to be held back a grade, and to drop out of school. They are also less likely to graduate from college.

7. When marriages fail, ties between parents and children typically weaken too. Adult children whose parents divorced are only half as likely to have warm, close ties to both their mothers and their fathers. For example, in one large national survey, 65 percent of adult children of divorce reported they were not close to their fathers (compared to 29 percent of adults from intact marriages).


As you can see, providing the benefits of marriage to all couples secures these social benefits for them and their children, and so builds strong communities and benefits us all. Opponents of same-sex marriage -- proponents of marriage discrimination -- will tell you that they are being compassionate and loving by "protecting traditional marriage". But in upholding tradition, it is always important to reflect on whether that tradition supports or is detrimental to your overall aims. In particular, it is cruel to deny the children of gay parents the benefits of their parents being married. If your aim is to protect children and build strong communities, the compassionate choice is to secure the benefits of marriage for all couples and their children.

The battle for compassionate and inclusive marriage happens at the coffee shop and in your email. Here are the answers to some questions to help you defend the family:

Q: But how could traditional marriage be wrong? And how can we change tradition without breaking marriage?

A: The history of America is a history of extending freedoms and rights to those that deserve them even if the denial of those rights is traditional. Marriage in America has previously included the requirement that women submit to their husbands in all things and that the couple must be of the same race, neither of which are requirements today. The tradition of marriage is flexible enough to expand to encompass changes in our understanding of the propriety of its requirements without breaking the community- and family- covenants it represents.

Q: Won't allowing same-sex marriage lead to polygamy? Or marriage to dogs?

A: This is a popular scare tactic to wield, but there's a reason this type of argument is considered a logical fallacy. Ending marriage discrimination against same-sex couples is not the same thing as re-defining the entire concept of marriage to include more than two people or non-humans. And we as a society can choose to end the discrimination without re-defining the number of people in a marriage or the fact that they must be people and not animals.

Q: What about the children?

A: Ending marriage discrimination will be good for thousands of children whose parents are the same sex. Ending marriage discrimination will have no effect on the children whose parents are opposite-sex parents, except in that their friends who are children of same-sex couples will be allowed more stable of homes to live in.

Q: Will my church be required to perform same-sex marriages?

A: No. Your church is not required to perform marriages that are not within its faith. No Protestant churches are required to perform Catholic marriages. No Catholic churches are required to perform Jewish marriages. No church will be required to perform same-sex marriages.

Q: But what about that church in New Jersey?

A: That church in New Jersey rents out a secular property they own to people of all faiths for wedding ceremonies, and allows free public use of the property at other times. They had been claiming a state tax exemption on the property under the grounds that it was open to all of the public "on an equal basis". Of all of the people allowed to use their secular property for events that had nothing to do with their church, they singled out a lesbian couple as disallowed, in violation of their state tax exemption claim, and were successfully sued and later denied continuing that particular state tax exemption. If your church reserves its sacred spaces for worship in its own faith, and does not discriminate during non-faith-based events that are open to the public (bingo nights, for example), and does not claim special tax exemptions based on the fact that its property is open to everyone of any faith, it should never have this problem.

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