Today marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which launched the LGBT-rights movement.
If you’re not familiar with the riots, here’s what happened:
People ask why we celebrate pride. NoFo writes it much more eloquently than I ever could, here is an excerpt:
We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of selective morality, when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes, when entire states codify our families into second-class citizenship, when our employers fire us, when our landlords evict us, when our police harass us, when our neighbors and colleagues and fellow citizens openly insult and condemn and mock and berate and even beat and kill us—we continue to survive.
We’re proud because—thanks to the incredible bravery shown by gay people who lived their lives openly in the decades before us—we can live our lives more and more openly at home, at work, with our families, on our blogs … and even on national television.
We’re proud because after all we’ve been through, the world is starting to notice and respect us and emulate the often fabulous culture we’ve assembled from the common struggles and glorious diversity of our disparate lives.
We’re proud because this weekend we’ll celebrate with drag queens, leather queens, muscle queens, attitude queens and you’d-never-know-they-were-queens queens, and together we can see through the “pride” in our parade and enjoy the underlying Pride in our parade.
Quite simply, we’re proud that we have so much to be proud of.
We can take some time, and even in the face of hatred, bigotry and discrimination, we can carve a place in this world, claim it our own and celebrate.
We can celebrate, because this is our party. We don't need anyone's permission to celebrate:
Because even if Pride doesn't change many minds in the outside world, it's our PARTY, darlings. It's our Christmas, our New Year's, our Carnival. It's the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street and blow each other air kisses. And wish each other "Happy Pride!" Saying "Happy Pride!" is really just a shorter, easier way of saying "Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Well done, being YOURSELF!"
We can celebrate the community that we have, the radical acceptance that we embody and the fact that we’ve survived. We have a chance to come together, remind ourselves we belong to a larger community, have some fun and take back our city; just for a little bit. We know that hatred will continue, but still we march forward. We have pride because it helps those coming after us. In the words of Harvey Milk, it gives the next generation hope:
And this is a chance to celebrate the fact that I’ve survived. A chance to celebrate the fact that I’m a proud gay man. And even that act, powerful unto itself, has hopefully made a difference.
The most important and powerful action a person can make is to come out to those around them. Then the LGBT community isn’t a scary abstract anymore, it has a face. If you know someone who is openly LGBT, you see their humanity. You can understand that we’re not asking for anything special, just the same rights everyone else is guaranteed by the constitution. A chance to be happy. A chance to live the life we want, surrounded by those we love.
When will we stop talking about coming out?
"Many of us want to, and will: when a gay, lesbian or transgendered kid isn’t at special risk of being brutalized or committing suicide.
"When a gay person’s central-casting earnestness and eloquence aren’t noted with excitement and relief, because his or her sexual orientation needn’t be accompanied by a litany of virtues and accomplishments in order for bigotry to be toppled and a negative reaction to be overcome."
We will stop talking about coming out when it’s not news anymore, when the last barriers have finally been broken down. We’ll stop screaming for our rights when we’re finally treated as equals by our government. We’ll only stop telling our stories when they don’t matter.
The anniversary of Stonewall comes just two days after marriage equality came to all 50 states (and the anniversary of decisions in Lawrence v. Texas and Windsor v. United States), a major piece of the equality dream the drag queens, homeless youth and the rest of Stonewall protesters had less than 50 years ago. In 11 years, we've gone from no marriage rights to full equality across the country. We still have a lot to fight for, ENDA being at the top of that list, but for now, we can celebrate the 'thunderbolt' of equality that we have achieved:
So we keep fighting for progress, wherever we can. We celebrate our advances and keep chipping away at our obstacles: and this month we can celebrate both, as well as the individuals that make up our amazing community.
We’re proud of how far we’ve come. We’re proud to keep fighting. We’re proud.
It’s Pittsburgh Pride, and the shit is hitting the fan.
Note, I wrote the majority of this in the days leading up to Pride.
First, some background. We start with the Lambda Foundation. Years ago, they were the LGBT organization in Pittsburgh. Delta was a spin-off of Lambda and did the event planning. Over the years, Delta became the prominent organization. A couple years ago, what was left of Lambda was absorbed by Delta under the name “Lambda Giving,” with their goal to facilitate charitable giving (with a separate board).
Delta is headed by Gary Van Horn (side note, I graduated high school with his younger brother, and he’s a decent guy), and years ago he was in a bunch of legal/criminal trouble. To anyone outside of Monroeville, this old news gets dredged up as news whenever there is a controversy around Delta, we just shrug my shoulders: we all knew Gary had some trouble in his past and just sort of expect these kind of shenanigans. There’s more than what’s been reported, and the more I talk with my friends, the creepier interactions I keep hearing about, but suffice to say Van Horn isn’t someone you really want to hang out with, let alone be in charge of such a large organization.
To Delta’s credit however, I feel bad because no matter why they book to headline Pride, there is no way they’ll ever please everyone. Last year when it was Chaka Kahn, there were a ton of people complaining it wasn’t someone more relevant. After Adam Lambert performed, there were complaints his set was way too short. When planning a big event, you’re never going to please everyone, that’s just how the world works sadly, and those who are disappointed by some aspect will be vocal.
Which brings us to this year’s headliner: Iggy Azalea. Personally, I think her music is horrible, but she’s “relevant” (more on that in a moment). However, in her past, Azalea has a history of homophobic and racist comments, particularly on social media. Which again, things don’t go away on the Internet, they’re there forever.
I can almost give her a pass on her homophobic comments, she actually did have what seemed to be a very heartfelt and sincere apology, and I like to believe that people have changed. But her entire career, her entire persona, is based on the appropriation of a southern, African-American rapper.
She’s a white girl from the suburbs of Sydney, Australia.
She hasn’t apologized for her racist remarks, and tries to make a living through stealing a culture that she hasn’t lived and that comes off as offensive. She eventually backed out, in the wake of cancelling her entire tour, she cancelled her appearance at Pride, being replaced by Nick Jonas. Azalea has now gone on to say people are only hating her because "it's cool."
The booking of Azalea sparked off a cavalcade of criticism of the Delta Foundation, many of which had been brought up before, but were now all adding up to create a bigger picture of the organization. Bruce Kraus, the first and only openly LGBT member of Pittsburgh City Council (and its president), as well as GLSEN and many faith orgnaizations, pulled out of Pride, not only because of Azalea, but also the direction that Delta has been going for years.
They are inherently dedicated to cis-gendered, wealthy, white gay men. The board has no trans* members, and only two women. Pride in the Street is routinely an expensive concert to go to, especially for a community that is economically disadvantaged to begin with.
Their magazine, Equal, was finally shut down after months of not paying their writers or their printer.
One service they did offer, was small fundraising/banking services to smaller LGBT groups, such as the Gardens of Peace project (much like when banks will be donation locations for non-profits/emergency assistance funds, the Delta Foundation would do the same for other projects), except when they needed to get their money, they got the runaround or were charged interest on it.
This is an organization that last year, during Pride in the Street, shut down the public sidewalks, so unless you had a ticket, you could not get to the business and restaurants that were on the streets that were closed to traffic. This unannounced change led to a lot of people turned away from other events they had tickets to, or were forced to pay an additional fee to get to them.
But I what I think is the most damning of all, is that in the last seven years, the Delta Foundation has given less back to the community than what they contracted Iggy Azalea to play for.
Delta Foundation used to bill itself as the largest LGBT organization in Western Pennsylvania. That language has softened this week to describe themselves as “one of the largest,” finally making room for others, which is a nice change.
As such, they have failed to encompass the LGBT community in Pittsburgh. I don’t expect them to be perfect, no organization is. But these are criticisms that have been ongoing for years. And they had the balls to post on Facebook that this was the first they had ever heard of them, after hosting a meeting to try to address some of these issues:
That’s either entirely disingenuous or proof that their entire board has no clue what they are doing. Or maybe both.
But I think part of the reason we’re at this point is there is less work to do in Pittsburgh than other areas. Pennsylvania has marriage equality, and Allegheny County has ENDA. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, especially in the rest of the counties that constitute Western Pennsylvania, but so much of the other goals we need to fight for are at a state and national level, beyond the scope of Delta (not that they couldn't help EqualityPA however).
So for now, Delta serves as a glorified party planner. Van Horn won’t step down (why would he, it’s a cushy job, and he still owns a bar I believe), and I’m afraid not much will change at Delta. But for the first time, there were Latin Pride events held in Pittsburgh (not that we’re known for our Hispanic population, but it’s more than I imagined, sitting around two percent), and what was formerly Black Pride, now Roots Pride, seems to be really taking off, both as a protest to Delta and as a fully inclusive and minority-oriented series of Pride events.
I don’t necessarily think splitting apart is the way to go, but at least right now, here in Pittsburgh, it seems to be the only way to get things done. And if this forces Delta to actually make systemic changes and listen to the greater queer population in Pittsburgh, so be it.
I hope we can all reconcile and reconnect, and maybe that will even happen for 2016 Pride, we'll have to see where this conversation goes, and we have to hold Delta accountable to keep having the conversation and to actually listen.
This however, is not just a problem that plagues Pittsburgh: this is a national problem. The HRC was recently described as a "White Man's Club," and it has every appearance as such, and a recent UK poll of gay men shows a shocking rate of racism.
This is something that lots of us, myself included, want to make better (and are probably guilty of ourselves). We can't just sit on the sidelines and allow this to be our community. Especially when there are so many external forces at work.
Which brings us to the second part of this sad article, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
For those unfamiliar, there are two daily papers in Pittsburgh (not counting the Business Times), the PG is larger by itself and leans liberal, the Trib (which has better coverage of Westmoreland County and owns the weekly neighborhood papers), leans conservative.
However, the PG published an utterly shocking, bigoted and harmful article in their editorial section about Caitlyn Jenner recently. I won't repost it, it's that's bad, not only from a hate standpoint, but just flat out lies.
The City Paper has an excellent take down:
In case you didn’t catch it, yes, Graham used references to the “good ol' days” of carnival freak shows to refer to Ms. Jenner, or as Graham so sensitively calls her: “Brucette.” Brucette?!? Really? Why not just call her “fruity,” “fairy,” “queer” or “fag?” I’ll tell you why. Because you know those words are hateful, disgusting and inappropriate. So you try and be cute and clever with "Brucette." Guess what? It’s just as disgusting, maybe more so.
And what is most shocking, is, as City Paper notes, the PG was recently awarded a GLAAD award and had a great speical feature covering the lives and stories of six trans* individuals here in the city.
The PG has defended the article, the Editoral Page Editor responded:
As an editor, I found Jennifer's piece well-written and worth publishing.
The HRC (yes the one above I just called out for being a white man's club) did their job and also had a fantastic rebuttal to the horrific article.
Consider the facts:
• 20 percent of transgender people have lost a job simply on the basis of their identity;
• 50 percent have been harassed on the job;
• Transgender people are four times more likely to live in extreme poverty;
• And so far, at least 8 transgender women of color have been murdered across the country in 2015.
By Ms. Graham’s logic, I’d be forced to use a women’s bathroom — despite being a short, bald man who, if I’m being honest, looks like a slightly more svelte version of George Costanza.
Whatever Caitlyn Jenner decides to do with her life (yes, HER life) will little affect Ms. Graham. You know, every major professional organization — from the American Medical Association to the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Psychiatric Association — believes not only that I and Caitlyn Jenner and our likely 1 million or more fellow transgender Americans exist, but also that we should be supported by the medical community. And there’s widespread support for laws that protect transgender people from discrimination.
Pride is a celebration. We remember the Stonewall Riots and everyone who came before us. We remember those who have fought for our very right to exist. To love. To be free. Pride is a time when all the beautiful facets of the queer community (and our allies) can rally together, enjoy a celebration, take stock, and see what our next move is.
Pride is always inclusive. Even when the organizations that run the events and parts of the greater community turn their backs on us. We will continue to fight, to make the world a better place.
Not just for ourselves, but for those coming after us.
I still marched in the Pride Parade (I'll probably have a post about my Pride experience later this week). Yes there was drama, both internal and external, but Pride belongs to the community. Not to a non-profit, and certainly not to those who would make us believe we're somehow broken.
Wherever you are, I hope you celebrate(d) Pride, and I hope you'll join the queer community and our allies at Decision Day Rallies when the Supreme Court announces their decision sometime in the next two weeks.
But most of all, I hope you can celebrate Pride in your own way. Safe, and with the knowledge that you're worth it, and part of the greater community.
Alright, quick update, let's see what we have today.
They wish we were invisible. We're not. Let's dance. Joe My God's annual Pride post, worth the read.
Speaking of Pride, here's Target's video they released for Pride this year, really awesome and includes a clip from a great wedding video I love:
Shark killed in traffic accident. Sad, but true.
Men who have sex with men are still barred from donating blood. To protest this, an artist has created "Blood Mirror" a tank filled with the blood of gay and bi men:
Philea, the lander on the comet 67P, has woken up!
Mapping where in Africa it's illegal to be gay.
The evolution of Disney:
Wall-E is going to be a Lego set! Adorable!
And finally, couples ask each other's questions in truth or drink:
That's it for now, but I'll be back soon, have a great one!
Let's see what we have today. First up, proof that we're living in the future: a knife that toasts bread as it slices!
Arrested Development is coming back for a fifth season!
Republicans in Congress have stopped benefits for veterans. Well, just the gay ones living in states without marriage equality.
Quite possibly the greatest mash-up of all time, Kimmy Schmidt and Orange is the New Black:
A look at "Midnighter" the relaunched superhero from DC. I read the first issue and loved it, although the article gets one thing wrong, the app he's on is Scruff, not Grindr.
Jason Collins calls out Tony Dungy on his homophobia, and it's perfect.
THere's now a new X-Wing drone. Awesome!
Derrick Gordon, a gay basketball player, is transferring to play for Seton Hall, and it's a big deal.
Maybe people honestly don't know this. But gay men can look at each other when they have sex. Now you know.
From before the Irish marriage vote, what would happen if we lost:
Laramie, Wyoming, home of Matthew Shepherd, finally passes LGBT protections.
Overall, the number of hate groups fell 17% last year. But the number of anti-LGBT hate groups increased 10%.
I have to admit, I thought this had already passed. The FDA is now proposing that men who have sex with men (their language), can donate blood if they abstain for a year.
And to everyone saying what Caitlyn Jenner did didn't take courage, read this post about a viral Facebook post dealing with the same. Neither form of bravery is mutually exclusive, and hate helps no one:
That's it for now, have a great one!
Quick post, but some good stuff. First up, with June starting tomorrow, it's Pride month. Here's Dan Savage's guide to straight people enjoying pride festivals:
I think the message in Pride for straight people–and why I think straight people should go–is that there should be more than one way to be a straight person too. That there is a script written for straight people about how you’re supposed to live your life and who you’re supposed to be and that script is confining and stultifying and restricting and straight people to need to break out of that. I think what a lot of straight people leave with is ‘Wow, there’s so many ways to be queer maybe I can conceive of perhaps a different way to be straight.’
A bunch of friends built mini-houses all together, creating "Bestie Row"
Something I've always wondered, why are there so many Penn Stations? Which, coincidentally, was on my bus stop when I took it downtown!
I saw this going around those close to me in age, and it sums us up perfectly: The Oregon Trail generation. Not Gen X'ers, not Millenials. Somewhere lost in between.
And finally, we celebrated Harvey Milk Day by volunteering here in Pittsburgh. To commemorate, one of my favorite quotes:
Quick update today, more to come later. Also, I'm not sure what's going on with the videos, I'm looking into it, hopefully I can get the embedded youtube to work again soon!
First up, Jurrasic World is doing a promotion with Barbasol Shaving Cream, which is awesome!
Get ready for all the feels, here's the trailer for "Batkid Begins"
Soooooo, Earth has a Death Star. The ISS might be getting a laser to destroy Alderaan space junk.
Magnum's (the ice cream bar, not the condom) new ad features drag queens and other gender-nonconforming members of society, and it's awesome. Points for having Willam in there!
The actor who played Neville Longbottom is the Harry Potter movies has grown up into a hunk. Seriously. And his twitter exchange with J.K. Rowling is hilarious!
A waste of life anti-gay pastor is...surprise! Actually gay himself! He's a top and loves to cuddle, by the way. But why the extra vitriol? Because in a counseling session, he told a teenage boy struggling with his own gay identity that he should kill himself. Normally, I don't think anyone should be outed, we should all be able to come out on our own terms, but when an anti-gay person uses their power to take away the rights of their own community, they deserve the full wrath of the mob. And this guy in particular with the whole suicide thing.
See also: The Catholic Church
And in awkwardly ironic news, that time Jim Bob Duggar, when running for office, after his son had already confessed molesting his sisters, called for the death penalty for those who commit incest. I guess those who rally against things that hard really are hiding something. But all in all, my heart breaks for the victims and I hope they can get some actual counselling, not whatever psycho bullshit their parents are giving them.
Sorry to end on such a down note, but I"ll be back with more soon, have a great one!
Quick update, but I'll be back with something more substantial very soon. But first up, here's all the new TV that I'm excited about. First up, The Muppets:
Next up, it's not coming out until 2016, but SyFy's The Magicians looks amazing (although I don't like how Brakebills looks, but otherwise, I'm very impressed):
And lastly, the sitcom based on Dan Savage's life: The Real O'Neil's. Honestly, it looks like it could go either way, but I"m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and hope that it turns out well.
Speaking of Dan Savage, here's a great piece about his idea of the "sexual hierarchy:" What/who you think about/want to do, what/who you do, what/who you tell people you do. The more in concert those three are with each other, the happier and more comfortable you are with your sexuality.
The Good Men Project calls the GOP out on their hypocrisy.
Ireland made history yesterday by voting, in a public referendum, to amend their constitution to bring marriage equality by a 2-1 margin! And if you want to have some faith in humanity restored, this article describes #HomeToVote: Ireland does not have absentee ballots, so Irish ex-pats flew from around the world to vote Yes on the marriage question. Congrats to Ireland, hopefully the US joins you in June!
Alright, let's see what we have today, first up, the first details about The Muppets revival coming ot ABC. Just imagine me flailing like Kermit in anticipation.
In other TV news, The Magicians got picked up for a full season! Also in news I don't have a Link (get it) for, the Myst TV show is being picked up by Hulu! White Girl Status: I literally can't even.
Study shows that sports are still a last-bastion of homophobia, to the surprise of no one.
A timeline of marriage equality in the US:
Stephen Colbert is amazing. He auctioned off his set and funded every teacher's grant request in his home state of South Carolina with the funds.
In case you hadn' theard, a woman in Nebraska was suing EVERY HOMEOSEXUAL IN THE COUNTRY. Or at least, that's what we think, her hand-written court filing was filled with misspellings. But a judge tossed it out. Looks like I won't have to testify.
Now you can visualize Westeros (Game of Thrones), Google Maps style!
Remember kids, abstitence-only sex ed totally works...and causes a massive outbreak of chlamydia at a high school.
A Russian artists takes the anti-LGBT threats posted on twitter and posts them alongside "adorable" selfies of the people making the threats
Jessica Williams hits it out of the park with this segment:
Republican hypocritical assholery part I: Texas GOP house sponsor of anti-LGBT rights bill has gay, HIV+ son.
Republican hypocritical assholery part II: Gay republican who comes out begrudgingly acknowledges the decases of fighting those on the left have done so he can have an easier and more equal life...to campaign for far-right policies.
And lastly, the German catholic church does what the US catholic church won't: have some basic human decency. They have decided that gay employees who get civilly married won't be automatically fired. This, unlike the US catholic church that has fired employees for getting married, getting engaged, or just coming out. Baby steps! But credit is due, so good for them.
That's it for now, have a great one everyone!
Let's see what we have today. First up, try not to act surprised: an anti-gay republican legislator was caught....sending dick pics to other guys on grindr.
There is no federal constitutional right to same sex-marriage. It doesn’t exist. There is no federal constitutional right to same sex-marriage. There isn’t such a right. You would have to really have a ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex. There is no such constitutional right....This is not a policy against anyone. I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that has existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman.
Are gay marriage opponents being bullied? No. The Freedom of Speech does not mean you can't be criticized. It means the government won't throw you in jail for non-violent-inducing language.
A 90 year old tortoise, who had his legs eaten off by rats got some awesome wheels:
The elevator for the new observation deck at 1 World Trade Center shows the history of Manhattan island. Check it out!
Think the NFL is inclusive? Think again.
A bit heavy-handed, but these are the questions gay people deal with. So now we're asking straight people.
Mika's new music video:
Straight people are apparently horrible. Because, according to far-right logic, if gay people get married, they'll abort all their babies. Unravel the mental gymnastics here.
And speaking of abortions, Republicans in Colorado love them so much they gutted funding to a program proven to not only reduce the number of abortions in the state, but also save the state money. Because they really, really don't want anyone having sex. Seriously, that's what this all comes down to.
That's it for now, have a great one!
Alright, let's see what we have today. First up, December can't come fast enough. I've watched this and obsessed over it, but haven't posted it here yet:
Mortal Kombat gets a gay fighter for the first time!
The Too Many Cooks/Game of Thrones mashup we all needed.
Science now shows us the damage parents do their kids they bully for being non-heterosexual.
On the flip side, science also looks at the impact of pro-lgbt ad campaigns and media exposure.
Seriously, how are pandas still a thing:
The Vatican has ended its feud with an order of nuns for their focus on helping the poor (instead of fighting gay marriage and abortion. Seriously).
Check out the images of a black flamingo, the only known one in the world.
Russia has banned internet porn. This isn't going to end well.
The vote on marriage equality is coming up quick in Ireland. Check out the awesome ad that's airing right now:
A great article on straight privilege. Which is a thing that (if you're straight), you probably don't ever think about. Hence, privilege.
Aydian Dowling is in the lead to be the first trans* model on the cover of Men's Fitness.
The horrors (and live-tweeting) of sitting in on your kid's abstinence-only sex ed. Go read this!
The images from the Chilean volcano eruption are amazing:
You should also check out the article that explains volcanic lightning.
That's it for now, but I'll be back with more soon. Have a great one!