Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today in Gay History

Happy 184th Birthday

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895)

Pioneer Homosexual Theorist/Pamphleteer

Credit glbtq for the folllowing:

Ulrichs then earned his living as a reporter for the important Allgemeine Zeitung (Augsburg) and as secretary to one of the representatives to the German Confederation in Frankfurt am Main. He also received a small inheritance from his mother on her death in 1856.

Using the pseudonym Numa Numantius he published in 1864-1865 five booklets under the collective title Forschungen über das Rathsel der mannmännlichen Liebe (Researches on the Riddle of Male-Male Love). They set forth a biological theory of homosexuality, the so-called third sex theory, which he summed up in the Latin phrase anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa (a female psyche confined in a male body).

Ulrichs coined the term Urning for the male subject of this condition; he variously called the female counterpart Urningin, Uranierin, Urnin, and Urnigin. (The term "homosexual," coined by Karl Maria Kertbeny, first appeared in 1869.)

Using his real name in his next booklet, Ulrichs described his appearance at a Congress of German Jurists in Munich, where on August 29, 1867, he urged repealing the anti-homosexual laws. He was shouted down and not allowed to finish, but this was the first time that a self-acknowledged Urning/homosexual spoke out publicly for his cause. Thus Ulrichs was not only the first theorist of homosexuality, but also the first homosexual to "come out" publicly.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP ~ Sen. Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009


Ted Kennedy, friend and hero to LGBT folks, people with HIV/AIDS, minorities, the disabled, liberals, and progressives over his decades in the U.S. Senate, succumbed to brain cancer late Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. This is a tremendous loss for the nation, losing what many Americans, myself, consider to have been the greatest elected official of our lifetimes. We salute you, Mr. Kennedy. Every gay person in America owes you our everlasting gratitude.

HT to FromTheLeft for this LEGACY tribute:

Writing a number of laws ranging from making it easier for workers who change or lose jobs to keep their health insurance, to giving 18-year-olds the right to vote, to deregulating the airlines, and helping lower airfares. He spearheaded legislation to raise the minimum wage and in the early 1970s, wrote the law creating Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to seniors. He was influential in reforming immigration laws and in expanding Head Start programs. In 1982, he helped gain an extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and he was a principal sponsor of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which negated Supreme Court decisions that made it more difficult for minorities to win lawsuits charging job discrimination by employers. In 1990, he worked to gain passage of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act giving disabled Americans greater access to employment, among other things. That same year, he was author of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act providing funds for community healthcare and support services. In 1993, Kennedy worked with newly elected President Bill Clinton to gain passage of a bill to allow employees to take time off from their jobs to care for a newborn child or deal with a family illness.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lifted whole grain

from the much-admired Band of Thebes blog:

Cambridge Mayor & Her Wife:

Nation's First Black Church Gay Wedding

Aadeni Exactly eight blocks down Harvard Street from Skip Gates' house is St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, where this Sunday the nation's first lesbian black mayor will marry her partner in America's first same sex wedding in a black church. In terms of actual historical significance, the legal union of Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons and Mattie Hayes by a black minister in a black church is more important than the wrongful arrest of a black professor in his own house by a white police officer. Monday morning, for the first time ever, lgbt members of black churches nationwide will wake up with the leverage of being able to say to their pastors, "St. Barts will marry us, why won't you?" and conscientious black leaders will have to begin shifting their thinking from "if" to "when." As all houses of worship grapple with degrees of lgbt acceptance and as religious organizations play an increasing decisive role in US politics, this first minority foothold marks a monumental step forward in the march toward equality. It should be a national story, yet it hasn't even appeared in the Boston Globe five days after Simmons sent out her press release. You might ask why the black preachers who speak against homosexuality get so much coverage in the mainstream media while this good news is ignored by everyone: NYT, LAT, WashPo, CNN, even Towleroad and Pam's House Blend haven't mentioned it. Possibly they're waiting until after the nuptials, but it's already big news online in the UK and France.

Simmons' press release concludes with:

“I believe this may be the very first African-American church to hold a same gender wedding, and that’s something that just wouldn’t have happened years ago. But times are changing, people are becoming more accepting of their fellow citizens, and we are slowly arriving at more of a ‘live-and-let-live’ kind of world. It’s not an easy process, and there have certainly been some detours along the way, but I think all the kind words I’ve received about this ceremony suggest we’re living in a friendlier, more open society. Our society is definitely making progress.”

Really, Simmons and Hayes should be the Cambridge-ites invited to the White House for a beer. Or champagne.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Health Care Reform Post Office Style

Journalist Bill Decker of The Daily Advertiser, published this tongue-in-cheek comparison of the present US health care system to the postal service:

Let's Stamp Out Socialist Health Care!
U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie, conducted an immensely popular health-care forum Monday in Lafayette. One of the panelists was Dr. Andy Blalock of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center who said:

"Health care that's run like the post office is not good medicine."

Let's turn that around. Imagine that the post office was run the way American health care operates:

The rest of the industrialized world pays 50 cents to mail a first-class letter. Americans pay $1 for slower, more uncertain delivery. If you can afford it, of course, you can use Federal Express.

You get postage through work, so you and your family have to pay only 25 percent of the cost. Then your boss switches post offices. Now you have to use a mailbox in Opelousas.

You're on a lot of junkmail lists, so the post office raises your postage.

One-sixth of Americans have no postage at all, so they don't mail anything until they have to keep the gas turned on. Then they go to Federal Express. Your postage goes up to pay for their overnight envelopes.

n You send a Christmas fruitcake to Grandma. The postman crushes the fruitcake under a stack of Frederick's of Hollywood catalogs. Then he goes on FOX and complains that postage is expensive because postmen have to pay to replace so many flat fruitcakes.

The following June, a collection agency says you owe $75 for the fruitcake postage. You call the postman, who says the post office used the wrong stamps. The post office says it's the postman's fault. They won't talk to each other. You have to keep calling back and forth between them.

The following year, the post office drops you. They found out you had a pre-existing e-mail.

Your neighbor, the one with the "I Heart Glenn Beck" T-shirt, tells you to cheer up: America has the best postal system in the world.