Please select your page

Pride was this past weekend, and it was kind of perfect in so many ways, and pretty much exactly what I needed.  If you're interested in what my day was like, read below.  It's kind of long, and very much like an actual blog (I know, scary, right?).  If not, I won't be offended either, promise.

Add a comment

Read more: Pittsburgh Pride 2013


Alright, a quick update today, let's see what we have.

First up, a salute to WoW:

Zachary Quinto has a new movie out, and it looks pretty awesome, especially for all the friends in my life who work weddings.

NPH is going to be playing Hedwig on Broadway, and I need to go and see that.  If you're unfamiliar with "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," it's the love story only made possible by a back alley castration in East Berlin before the fall of the wall.  Seriously.

And America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers is back:

That's it for now, see, really short!  Have a great one!

Add a comment

Samantha Bee hits it so far out of the park with this, I'm almost speechless:

 

All my best,

Mike

Add a comment

Alright, let's see what we have today.  First up, an awesome parody of the Cheerio's ad:

If you didn't see the news from E3, here is the trailer for the next Smash Bros game, which will include Mega Man!

So, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who helped to write the immigration reform currently working its way through Congress, will vote against it if it includes protections for the LGBT community.  And in case that didn't convince you he's a total asshat, he also thinks people should be able to be fired based on their sexual orientation.

And Texas Governor Rick Perry thinks that we should be able to discriminate against non-Christians.  Because Christians are a harassed minority, or something like that.  Read Goldy's piece, it's well written.

I'll have a longer post up soon, but Pittsburgh Pride was this weekend.  This is not from Pittsburgh, but a great sign nonetheless.  And it is great because the only way to respond to hatred sometimes is with childish humor:

Add a comment

Alright, let's see what's going on today.

First up, posted by Clintus, and I love it:

Sometimes, people don't realize what's it like having a state religion.  England, of course, has one, and they have "surrendered" on marriage equality.

Meet Scooter the llama.  Who was tased by police after she spit in their face.

And finally, the new trailer for The Hobbit part 2:

There's all kinds of info coming out of E3, but I'll have to sort through it all, but suffice to say the new Smash Bros. is going to finally include Mega Man!

That's it for now, have a great one!

Add a comment

Alright, let's see what we have today.

I really, really, really hope they don't get sued, but a children's hospital has rebranded chemo treatments as superhero formula.

So under oath, a gun executive called proposed gun control legislation "common sense."

Surviving the World celebrates victories of marriage equality:

Sometimes, I hate the world.  White supremacist are all up in arms because...well does it really even matter.  The point is Cheerios.

A bunch of really awesome people debate how Superman shaves.

Following up "Ship My Pants"

I was all excited about the great outreach the Pope was doing, and then the Vatican reminded us all that Atheists are going to hell.

An idiot Idaho sheriff is dropping his BSA charter because "sodomy is against the law."  While it is true that law is still on the books in Idaho, that law has been rendered void by the Supreme Court.

The best wedding photo ever.  Seriously.

More about the Oregon bakery who won't bake a cake for a lesbian wedding.  Their version of City Paper called and was able to order cakes for Pagan ceremonies, divorce parties and even stem cell/cloning celebrations.  The bakery claims it didn't act with an anti-gay animus, just faith principles, but I'm not seeing it.

I spent Friday night watching the house floor of the Illinois legislature.  Their marriage equality bill failed, and this was the tearful ending of the night.  The bill however, in a surprise move, has been extended until August 31 by the Speaker, giving it a new chance.:

The Lutherans join the Episcopalians with their first openly LGBT bishop.

That's it for today, have a great one!

Add a comment

Last week, the Boy Scouts national council voted (61% in favor) to approve the membership resolution which allows openly LGB youth to be members of the program (as far as I can tell, there is nothing either way about gender identity, I’ve seen some conflicting reports, so I’ll keep digging).

Which means that children that start off in Cub Scouts (or Boy Scouts, Venturing, etc), are able to come out and be their honest selves.  An amendment to that membership policy to allow openly LGBT adults was sent to committee and it looks like won't be acted on for a while.  The new membership policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, leaving time for the national organization to update their youth protection, anti-bullying and other programs.

Of course, this creates a strange situation where youth can come out as gay, would have to leave their troop when he turns 18, but could remain a youth member of a Venture Crew (or Ship or Post) until he is 21.

And this also brings about the biggest hypocrisy, which anyone with half a brain can see: The BSA is proud of you and happy to have you until you're 18, but after that, you don't meet their moral code and have to be kicked out.  That somehow, non-heterosexual adults are dangerous and immoral.  

People on both sides were outraged, which was to be expected I suppose.

On the right, we have the hate-groups proclaiming that this is the end of the BSA, and that they should still be discriminating against children.  Yes, let that sink in.  These are groups advocating that a group should be discriminating against children, simply for how they were born.

They scream and yell that this will lead to straight kids sleeping in tents with gay kids.  But they need to remember that that has been happening for over 100 years.  The big lie is that the membership ban is a policy that's been in place for over 100 years.  The BSA itself is 103 years old, the membership ban was not added until recently (the 1990’s), and then reinforced in 2000 via the supreme court case.

This is not about sex (or politics as many add), it never has been.  Any sexual contact in Scouting is inappropriate, just as it always has been.  I’ll never really understand the obsession those on the right have with gay sex.  Seriously, they think about it more than I do, or any LGBT friend that I have.

And to reiterate...again...there is no link between homosexuality and pedophelia.  I’ve written about it extensively, The case against discrimination.

But they need to realize the public component to sexuality, that’s the missing piece.  A Senior Patrol Leader talking about scheduling his Eagle Scout project around a dance he is attending with his girlfriend is the public side of sexuality.  There is nothing inherently wrong with that, just the scheduling woes of a typical teenager.  But for a gay kid, having to tiptoe around details in his life is a minefield.  And not exactly trustworthy either.

No one is asking or saying that Scouts are completely open about every facet of their lives with other members of their troop.  But tight bonds form, lifelong friendships are forged and a whole patrol works so closely together that it’s like a family.  And hiding such a big part of your self, even a fact that has no bearing whatsoever on your abilities as a Scout, is asking the impossible.

What those opposed to this also need to remember is that the BSA is faith-based, but does not subscribe to one particular faith.  You can't impose your own doctrine onto others or use it to set policy.  And there are plenty of religions that reject the idea of homosexuality as sin.

On a side note to this, I get a certain amount of glee watching the folks at On My Honor freak out over all this, but their membership (and again, you can’t hold everything random facebook group members say against the group itself, but when it’s the vast majority like this, you start to make some connections) gives Christianity such a bad name.  The amount of misogynistic, anti-muslim and anti-jew speech, on top of the homophobia, is just appalling.

And on the other side, we have those who gnash their teeth and rend their garments because the change doesn't go far enough.  This is a stepping stone to full equality and a huge step in the right direction.  They need to remember that this is the more important step, the one that protects the youth.

The BSA is a youth-led organization; it exists for the youth.  Adults that are threatening to leave because this isn’t enough need to check their egos at the door and see this as the positive step that it is.  There are going to be gay kids that need your support in Scouting: be there for them and keep pushing for change from within.

And again, anyone with half a brain can see that the adult membership ban won’t be around for much longer, and kids can see the inherent hypocrisy of the current membership policies.

The BSA is a private organization, and still has the ability to set its own membership standards, just as any private organization does, that is what came out of the Dale v BSA case in 2000.  The government did not step in and make this happen, it is a new policy enacted by the voting members of the national council, a private organization setting its own membership standards.

There is no gay agenda to destroy the BSA or the foundations of the United States.  There is only a wish to be seen as equal, to be treated fairly and to offer every single youth the chance to be part of a fantastic organization.

And we need to remember that this is a big step forward, the BSA is no longer discriminating against children: treating every youth with basic human decency.  This is not adding sexuality to the Boy Scouts, this is simply acknowledging that LGBT youth exist.

Scouts for Equality and the Inclusive Scouting Network (along with the HRC and GLAAD) continue the fight, even though we don’t know how long it will take.  But more change and full equality is coming.

Today we celebrate.  Tomorrow we continue the fight.

All my best,

Mike

 

This is actually the second time I've written this out (I got distracted, surprise surprise and I timed out), which means I've lost the list of links I had here.  But suffice to say it's the normal hate groups predicting the end of the BSA and in this case, demanding that we keep hurting kids (and the leaders that voted for the change, seriously, there were calls for drownings).  By this point, you can probably recreate what they said on your own, so we'll let them keep their filth to themselves.  A few other councils have announced they are in support of a fully-inclusive membership policy, so it’s nice to see that spread across the country as well and the opposing group to Scouts for Equality is trying to form their own national group, but since they can’t find one that hates the right people, they are mulling making their own new organization from scratch.  Which will be great once they get sued for using Merit Badge (which has a copyright) or anything else similar.

Add a comment

I love the phrase "For science!" so I was excited to see a study released about the affects of marriage equality and discrimination:

[P]reventing gay and lesbian couples from getting married leads to negative side effects, including a 37% increase in mood disorders, a 42% increase in alcohol-use disorders, and a 248% increase in generalized anxiety disorders, according to Mark Hatzenbuehler, a psychologist at Columbia University.

And the opposite is true as well:

Hatzenbuehler has also found, in a study conducted in Massachusetts, that gay men experienced fewer stress-related disorders after that state permitted gay marriage.

In a study tracking the health of 1,211 gay men in Massachusetts, Hatzenbuehler found that the men visited doctors less often and had lower health treatment costs after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage.

It's interesting to see studies showing this, and just the fact that having the rights we fight for are enough to boost public health.  Coupled with the economic benefits of marriage equality and non-discrimination ordinances, it really is a no-brainer.  And that's science!

You can read more about it here.

All my best,

Mike

Add a comment

Alright, let's see what we have today.  First up, for those enjoying the fourth season of Arrested Development, or in case you want to get caught up, there are two great summaries of the ongoing jokes here and here, and a good article at Nerve about what you learn about love from AD.

This is very scary, ice tsunami:

Wil Wheaton explains why it's awesome to be a nerd.  Check it out here.

Jason Collins has revealed that he choose the jersey number 98 as a tribute to Matthew Shepherd.

I will never ride this (also because it's in Texas):

I'm not a huge fan of the Pope, or the Catholic Church, but this new pope has made some good in-grounds.  Including his comments here.  Fun fact though: a crazy bigoted former coworker who is on his way to seminary, is freaking out because in his own mind, you can only go to heaven via the Catholic Church.  You know, ignore the pope, his boss, because he doesn't hate the same people he does.  Sigh. 

In case you've forgotten that public transportation is important, to everyone on the round, check this out.

Google Glass from the perspective of a two year old:

A bridge (I believe the one that collapsed a few years back) in St. Paul lit up to celebrate marriage equality in Minnesota.

And in sad equality news, a baker has denied a cake to a lesbian couple for their wedding.  For those curious, just substitute, say, "African American" before couple and see if it's still bigoted, and illegal.  Hint: it is.

This has been floating around, and it's awesome.  Sad that it needs to be posted, but awesome:

It's always fun to see hockey graphic departments show their nerd sides.

I've been working my way through Crash Course: Chemistry, and this is a great companion piece (that is not from Crash Course):

That's it for now, but I'll be back with more soon.  Have a great one!

Add a comment

Updated: Check out the very bottom of this post for an update log.

I think that sometimes I take for granted that everyone else isn’t inside my head.  Believe me, that’s a good thing (for all of us), but just in terms of some knowledge, I want to make sure we all understand what I’m talking about.

Chances are you’ll recognize or know some of what I’m talking about below, maybe even all of it, but I hope you learn something.  I’ve tried to organize it in sections, hopefully it makes sense.  I also tried to keep it brief, there are of course many more details and many more subjects I did not get to, and I'm focused on Pennsylvania, since I'm here.  Your mileage may vary.

There’s a lot we should be proud of (ignoring the fact that we had to fight for what few rights we have), and a lot to continue to work for.  There are many people we owe quite a bit to, and all those we continue to fight for.  Let’s get started.

Hank Green (SciShow, Crash Course, Vlog Brothers), sums up the biological side of things pretty succinctly and is a good place to start:


Alphabet Soup
LGBTQ....There's a lot more letters that come come after, many of which I don't know.  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans(gendered and sexual), Queer, Questioning, Ally....and the list goes on and on.  Hence the name, "alphabet soup."  In our desire to be inclusive, we have a huge tent.  I've noted it elsewhere, but I, when I remember, like to use the order GBLT, because who doesn't love a good BLT sandwich?

Lawrence v Texas
This 2003 supreme court case struck down anti-sodomy laws across the country, although many still remain on the books.  Anti-sodomy laws were used primarily against the LGBT community to literally invade their bedrooms and arrest them, while heterosexuals engaged in any sodomy behavior (any sex not for procreation) were not prosecuted.  This was actually the second time these laws were brought before the supreme court, the first being 1986’s Bowers v Hardwick.  Basically, before these laws, it was illegal to be LGBT in states with these laws.

Hate Crimes
Federal hate crime legislation protects citizens against hate crimes based on a variety of classes, and in 2009, sexual orientation and gender expression were finally added (as well as other expansions of the law).  Hate crime protection gives police forces additional funds to investigate and prosecute hate crimes, as well as bringing stronger sentences for those convicted.  Fun fact, heterosexuals are now finally protected from hate crimes by homosexuals as well.

Hospital Visitation
It was not until 2011, after a series of high-profile incidents, that hospital visitation rights were extended to the LGBT community (in hospitals receiving federal aid).  Imagine not being allowed to be next to the person you love as they lie dying in a hospital.  Powers of attorney, patient wishes and even civil unions had been ignored, leading to the necessity of an executive order.

DADT
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was the policy, fully repealed in 2011, that made LGB members of the armed forces hide who they were or face a dishonorable discharge.  Members of the military can still be dismissed for being transgendered.

DOMA
Defense of Marriage Act is what currently defines federal marriage law and the reciprocity between states’ marriage laws.  The federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage, so couples in states with marriage equality are barred from over 1,100 rights and must file separate tax returns.  Lambda Legal brought the case Windsor v United States to the supreme court to overturn parts of DOMA, especially those dealing with federal recognition and taxation.  Edith Windsor is a widow, but was forced to pay over $300,000 in estate taxes when her wife died, since in the eyes of the federal government they were strangers.

While all 50 states have reciprocity of heterosexual marriage (i.e., when you get married in one state, you’re recognized as such in all 50), each state may individually decide whether or not to recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships for other states, leading to a patchwork of legality for same-sex couples as they travel across the country.

This video, shows why fighting DOMA is so crucially important:

Prop 8
Proposition 8 is the ballot initiative that removed the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry in California, creating three classes of people in the state: heterosexuals, homosexuals who were not married, and homosexuals who were married, but would never be able to marry again (in case of the death of a spouse or divorce).  AFER, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, brought the case Perry v Schwarzenegger, and it was argued before the supreme court after a string of victories for equality.  Side note: Schwarzenegger and the government of California declined to defend Prop 8 in court, and as the basis of standing was examined, the case evolved and is now finally known as Hollingsworth v Perry.

Marriage Equality
One scenario, even if parts of DOMA is repealed, is the continuation of a country with a mishmash of marriage laws.  Fighting for full, federal marriage equality is necessary, not just for a marriage certificate, because that is not what defines a relationship, but for the social recognition, the stability of a family and the comfort that we’re all equal in the eyes of the law.

ENDA
Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has so far, been a pipe dream.  This law would make it illegal to fire (or not hire) someone based on their sexual orientation.  Versions that also include gender expression have also been proposed, but to the same effect.  Currently, it is completely legal to fire someone for their real or perceived sexual orientation.

SNDA
Student Non-Discrimination Act, the same as ENDA, but protecting students from institutionalized discrimination.

Housing Inequality
Just like employment, housing and housing loans can also be denied based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lavender Scare
Just like the “Red Scare” of communism, this was a systematic purge of LGBT workers in the federal government.

Blood Ban
Any man who has sex with a man (and that’s the language used), regardless of sexual orientation, since 1977 is barred from giving blood for life, according to current regulations.  All blood is already screened for a multitude of diseases, but the implication here is that all gay men have HIV, or at least, we all contracted it simultaneously in 1977 and that heterosexuals have no diseases that couldn’t be detected.

Immigration Reform
Until 1991, members of the LGBT community could not legally immigrate into the United States.  Immigration reform is also of special concern to the LGBT community because, when coupled with DOMA, we face extra barriers to overcome to be with the person we love, if they happen to be a citizen of another country.  Bi-national same-sex couples are routinely separated, having no protection under the law, tearing apart families.

Local non-discrimination
This of course, varies by area.  Allegheny County, for instance, has their own version of ENDA (which does not apply to 501(c)3 charities).  If I were to work less than a mile to the east, I would have absolutely no protection against employment discrimination.  Philadelphia recently passed the most comprehensive protection package in the country, and Pennsylvania is once again attempting to enact statewide protections.

Boy Scouts of America
I’m not going to go into it here as it is constantly evolving and I’ve written about it...at length (and yes that was in the voice of Prof. Snape).  If you’re interested, just read the rest of the blog.

Freedom of Association/Postal Service
Before 1957 it was illegal for LGBT citizens to use the postal service to promote their rights, and prior to Stonewall (and far after), LGBT groups were routinely harassed by police.

Stonewall
While not the first time members of the LGBT community stood up for themselves, it is what kicked off the modern gay-rights movement in 1969.  After being raided, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, in New York City, stood up for themselves, were joined by fellow citizens of Greenwich Village, fought back, and the ensuing riots was the catalyst for our demand for equality.

Harvey Milk
The first out elected official in the country.  Elected to the board of supervisors of San Francisco, famous for his work for equality, not only for the LGBT community, but the elderly and children as well.  His famous quote, in reference to coming out and working to make the world better for those coming after him, “You gotta’ give them hope.”  Was assassinated, along with the mayor of San Francisco.

James Dale
Brought the supreme court case Boy Scouts of America v Dale in 2000, led to the BSA upholding their ban on LGBT scouts and leaders.

Matthew Shepherd
Brutally murdered in Wyoming.  His mother created the Matthew Shepherd foundation and extension of hate crimes to cover sexual orientation and gender expression was the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Act.

Alan Turing
British scientist responsible for the modern computer age and cracked the Nazi enigma codes during WWII.  Was convicted of being homosexual by the British government and sentenced to chemical castration.  Committed suicide before the sentence could be carried out.  He has yet to be pardoned by the British government.

Jason Collins
First male athlete in the big four (football, baseball, basketball, hockey) to come out while still playing.  Although has not been re-signed (free agent) for the 2013-2014 season.

Brian Simms
First out state official in Pennsylvania, elected in 2012.  Currently represents downtown Philadelphia.

I’m from Driftwood
Video series dedicated to the many unique stories of the LGBT community and our allies. (http://www.imfromdriftwood.com/)

It Gets Better Project
Founded by Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller to combat LGBT suicide.  The idea is that because of the Internet (and YouTube specifically), we don’t need permission to talk with the kids that need our support the most.  We can tell them that life does get better, and it’s worth sticking around for. (http://www.itgetsbetter.org/)

You Can Play
Founded in memory of Brendan Burke, out, gay player and manager for Miami of Ohio by his father (Maple Leafs former GM, Brian Burke) and brother (Flyers Scout, Patrick Burke), You Can Play has officially partnered with the NHL to tackle homophobia on the ice, in the locker room and in the stands. (http://youcanplayproject.org/)

Trevor Project
Crisis intervention and suicide prevention for the LGBT community.  (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)

Human Rights Campaign
The main lobbying group of the LGBT community, working with local organizations and lobbying in Washington, D.C. for equal rights.  Their symbol is the yellow equals sign on a blue field.  Fun fact, you can be a card-carrying gay (or ally), by joining the HRC (they have fairly useless donor/membership cards), but it's a nice gesture.

SLDF/Out Serve
Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund and Out Serve merged after the repeal of DADT, they work to support LGBT members of the armed forces, veterans and their families.

Equality Pennsylvania
The state-level organization working for equality in Pennsylvania.  Reintroduced the state-level ENDA in 2013 with record support, over 100 co-sponsors in the house and senate.

Lambda Foundation/Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh
The Lambda Foundation is the local LGBT organization, the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh is a spin-off organization that puts together Pittsburgh Pride.

Lamba Legal
National legal organization focusing on LGBT issues and fighting for those with HIV/AIDS

PFLAG
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, national organization of allies.

GLAAD
Previously the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, now just goes by GLAAD and also focuses on trans and bi issues as well, media watchdog for the LGBT community.

Pride
Pride is usually celebrated in June to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, although some locations move it around due to weather concerns.  An open celebration (seriously, everyone is invited, including allies) of how far we’ve come, the fact that we’ve survived and enjoying the community that we’ve created for ourselves.

 

Update Log

May 27 - Added alphabet soup, a few other details.

Add a comment