The following video is the latest special comment by Keith Olbermann. In it, he offers an impassioned rejection of the passage of Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. We can only hope that more Americans will stand up to defend the rights of their fellow citizens.
Tagged as: Civil Rights, Equality, Gay Marriage, Keith Olbermann, LGBT, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | November 11, 2008 | 7:36 AM |
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Many elections are bittersweet. 2008 was no exception. While celebrating Obama's historic election, California voters were dashing the dreams of LGBT children throughout the world. Today, they doubt voters will ever grant an LGBT candidate the same defining moment of acceptance.
When we're young, life is immeasurable and expansive. As we leave the coddled confines of our childhood, it is the equivalent of the snail emerging from its protective shell to explore all that exists in the grand garden of life...eager and idealistic...hopeful to a fault in the absence of unforeseen obstacles and disappointments...unaware of the protective nature of the domicile we depart.
My journey began in 1976 as I graduated from The Abbey School. Two years prior to my graduation, I made a decision I recall announcing in our kitchen to my mom, "I won't be the valedictorian of my class...that's not what's important to me...but I'm going to win the Sullivan Award". I can't even say exactly how she reacted though I believe it was part surprise and part puzzlement at such a specific pronouncement. Once she absorbed my statement, she observed that grades weren't everything and, by and large, left it at that.
The Sullivan Award was given at graduation to the high school student who contributed the most to student life during their four years of attendance. While an esoteric achievement, it fully symbolized my sense of community and my unyielding belief in the promise of humanity. On a warm summer day in front of the towering monastery...as a member of the esteemed 50th graduating class...in the centennial year of Colorado's statehood and the bicentennial year of this nations existence...I received the Sullivan Award...and all was well in my idyllic world. My dreams had come true.
In a few short months, while attending college, I cast my first vote for Jimmy Carter and life was my oyster. Much to my dismay, little else would measure up for many years to come. Aware of my homosexuality, but determined to suppress it, I decided to quit college after three years and return home to work with my dad and his brother.
On the surface, the decision had the appearance of a considered choice, but in retrospect, it was motivated by my fear that should I remain in college, the opportunities to pursue my orientation would overwhelm my hesitations and preclude the remainder of my smoldering dreams...not the least of which was the political arena and the fanciful notion that the presidency was within the realm of possibilities.
In hindsight, my actions had little to do with choice and everything to do with being a Catholic raised in a small community where the thought of being gay struck my psyche as nothing more than a perceived and fully unacceptable pathology...the kind that not only precludes one from social acceptability...but most certainly eliminates any fanciful ideas of the presidency.
Yes, the little boy of five (who vividly remembered every detail of the assassination of John Kennedy...including the faces of those he encountered as he entered Safeway with is father after having heard the news on the radio)...and the boy of 10 (who watched every speech and every primary in the candidacy of Robert Kennedy...including anxiously getting up early in the morning to see if he had finally been declared the winner of the California primary...only to realize he was dead)...and the teenage boy (who watched the Watergate hearings with an intensity reserved for a member of the prosecution...up to and including the moment when Richard Nixon...the antithesis of his idealism...finally boarded a helicopter and released the presidency from the egregious grip of corruption)...had by the age of 21 found himself feeling as if fate had stripped him of his dreams.
Four years later, following countless hours of contemplation and with the realization that I had now lived a lie for a quarter of a century...I met a man and fell in love. Soon after, I allowed myself to accept my sexuality, announced it to my family, and on the spur of the moment...on a summer afternoon...with my relationship with my family in ruins and all that remained of my seemingly shattered life hastily tossed in a pickup truck...I moved to Denver.
Ever the idealist, abundantly naïve, and convinced that acceptance...or at least some simulation thereof...would undoubtedly come by affiliating with other homosexuals...I jumped headfirst into being gay. Unfortunately, doing so while attaching oneself to a lover is apt to end up being little more than an act of misguided transference. Should one be unlucky enough to choose, in haste, the wrong partner or the wrong affiliations, the process of separating oneself and completing the task of attaining a sound and self-sufficient identity can appear to be an insurmountable struggle.
In retrospect, it's terribly saddening that gays...during the coming out process...the moment they most need support...are often required to summon a strength they most likely lack in order to accept and understand the rejection they encounter from those they love. Toss in the abject scorn that much of society heaps upon homosexuals and you have a rather rancid recipe unlikely to bake an ebullient and unencumbered identity.
Not to belabor my bad choices or appear to be seeking sympathy, suffice it to say that I spent the next eight plus years attempting to grow into the 25 I had missed. Emboldened by a new job and an expanded support system, I ended my relationship and began the process of becoming myself.
Living in Denver under the newly received protections afforded to those of my orientation, the trajectory of my life seemed to be in sync with my dreams...all be they far more modest than majestic. Sadly, such synchronicity was short-lived. In November of 1992, pleased by the promise of a potential Democratic presidency, the arrow identified as Amendment Two sat waiting in its quiver, poised to puncture my improving peace.
As election night approached, Shangri-La seemed within my grasp. Bill Clinton appeared a certain victor and the polls suggested Amendment Two was headed for a handy defeat. Sitting in front of my television, the trajectory of my evening was torn into two...split apart...one half buoyed by the good returns in the presidential race; the other sinking fast in the realization that the good voters of Colorado had unleashed their coy attack upon my civil rights while cowered in the confines of the ballot box.
Like an unhealed wound, the announcement that Amendment Two was projected to pass tore it open and left me in anguish, alone on the floor...bleeding tears. How could it be that I'd found myself again at that oh so familiar juncture...lulled into a sense of safety and security...clinging to my trust in the decency of the human spirit...only to be clobbered by that brazen beast I'd come to know as bigoted bias.
As I pondered the sudden sense that my good job and the comfort of my support system were seemingly insufficient, the television announced that it was cutting away to the Democratic Party's election watching headquarters where a group of gays had stormed the stage to protest the lack of support that had allowed Amendment Two to succeed. Soon word came that the police had been summoned...then word that prior to entering the venue to escort the intruders out, the police officers had stopped to don latex gloves...inferring their fear that the unruly crowd would most certainly be infected with the hideous HIV virus.
In short order, more and more gays arrived and the uncertainty of the moment escalated and the protest grew. In an instant, I grabbed my coat and ran out the door to join my brothers and sisters. With nothing to lose, I knew there would be comfort in the kinship I would find. By the time I arrived, the crowd had grown even larger. Soon word came that Mayor Webb had been notified and summoned to calm the crowd.
Not long after, the mayor arrived and spoke to the crowd...offering words of consolation and expressing his willingness to explore the options afforded to the city of Denver to fight the Amendment. In order to defuse the moment, he asked the protesters to follow him to the State Capital Building where we could continue to voice our anger. We did...but there was little relief to be found that night.
The battle to defeat Amendment Two ensued...culminating four years later when the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. In truth, it took us four year to fully reclaim the ground we'd obtained in prior years. The victory was sweet, but the time was gone and the scars would fade, but never disappear.
Life moved forward and the plight of gays improved, though we've remained the object of derision for many...especially those on the religious right. In 2003, as we approached another election and the prospect of Supreme Court appointments that could well preclude the rights of gays for another generation, I grew weary of my career.
The passage of years served to remind me of the pace of progress...or the lack, thereof. Unsatisfied and unfulfilled, I began unwinding a 14-year career without a plan for the future. Instead of accepting the certainty of what was, I chose the uncertainty of what could be...though I had no idea what it was or where to find it. You see, try as one might, the absence of something is always known...no matter how full the cup.
Something told me it was time to look again. I informed my boss that I would be leaving the company once my house sold. Fate would have it that my departure would coincide with the 2004 election. I sold my house and the bulk of my belongings in late September...having decided to embark on a trip around the world. I scheduled my departure for November 5th, three days after the election.
At the time, I was guardedly hopeful that America would turn away from the politics of division and the scapegoating of gays. It turns out I was wrong, but I still felt invigorated by the prospects of the unknown. Absent any long-term plan, I packed my bags and left the shores of the United States. All I knew for certain was that my journey was limited to one year as a stipulation of the round the world ticket I'd purchased.
What I learned in my nearly four month trek was that the image of the United States had become increasingly tarnished and the reelection of George Bush had cast a doubt in the minds of many that his troubling presidency might well be indicative of the disquieting mindset of the average American...a development few of those I met wanted to conclude though they felt it seemed far more plausible given the November second results.
When I returned, the only thought that kept repeating in my head was that I had something to say and I needed to find the means to say it. Against the backdrop of fear for our future under GOP domination, the further faltering of this nation should that happen, and the festering fury being directed towards gays, I decided to launch a blog.
From my little corner of the world, I've disseminated my fair share of missives; ever hopeful I could exert some measure of influence in redirecting this country. All the while, I've had a sense that America was on the precipice of a pendulum swing away from the partisanship of "compassionate conservatism" (code words for the politics of theology) and ready to embrace the kind of real compassion that engenders moderation.
I had no idea that the man who spoke truth to me during the 2004 Democratic Convention would be the one to carry this torch of hope into the 2008 election. At the same time, I had no way of knowing that the 2008 California ballot would include a measure designed to remove the right of gays to marry (Proposition 8).
Last night, like clockwork, my next succinctly timed sixteen-year squall struck with little notice. While celebrating the fact that Barack Obama was elected president, an amendment was being passed in California to deny my gay brethren equality. From 1976 to 1992 to 2008, the vignettes of my life have brought both symmetry and sadness. In 1976, I celebrated my membership in the fiftieth class to graduate from The Abbey. In 2008, I celebrated my fiftieth birthday. At each juncture, my prevailing pursuit has been the unconditional acceptance of my identity as a homosexual. At each juncture, it has been denied.
On November 5, 2008, my dreams have been dashed and my hopes have been passed to another man of color. In 1992, Wellington Webb took my hand and led me towards inclusion on a cold and dark night...carrying a No On Two placard...carrying the weight of sixteen years of exclusion. In 2008, Barack Obama has been handed the torch as well as thirty-two years of my exclusion.
In the passage of this last sixteen years, those carrying my torch have succeeded in transforming the dreams of their fellow African Americans from the possibility of being the mayor of a major city to the reality of being elected to the presidency of the United States. Many times Barack Obama has spoken about the meaning and the message that would be imparted to black children should this nation see fit to elect an African American president.
It's too late for me to dream so big for myself...but it's not too late for those who may be sixteen or thirty-two years behind me. Today, I dream of the day when my gay brothers and sisters can place their hope in a gay candidate...one who carries the torch for them and speaks of the meaning and message that would be imparted to LGBT children should this nation see fit to elect a LGBT president.
As I await the next storm to appear upon the sea of my sixteen year horizon, I'm still waiting...I'm still seeking...I'm still hoping...I'm still dreaming...I'm still dying. On November 5th, 2008, in the wake of another election, I'm still on the outside looking in.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Bill Clinton, California, Gay Marriage, Homophobia, Jimmy Carter, LGBT, Proposition 8, Racism, Same-Sex Marriage, The Abbey School
Daniel DiRito | November 5, 2008 | 6:00 PM |
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I've found myself puzzled by my own silence for the last few days...wondering if I'm paralyzed by the anxiety that comes with an important election or if something larger were at play. Then I watched the following video and the answer began to emerge.
This isn't a new video. I remember seeing it when the San Diego mayor first offered his support for gay marriage in 2007. However, watching it on the eve of the presidential election brought a clarity that comes when the promise of hope nears the moment when it achieves its historical affirmation.
Let me attempt an explanation. Last Sunday, at the last minute, I decided to attend the Obama rally in Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. Fortunately for me, the path I traveled to the venue put me at an entrance that placed me in the middle of a crowd estimated to be well over 100,000. In that location, I was at the back of the first wave of onlookers...just in front of a security walkway. A sea of faces stood lined up on the other side of the portable fence used to create it.
As I pondered the notion of thousands taking the time to listen to a speech they had likely heard before, on a beautiful fall Sunday, I wondered why they came. Standing there, waiting to see and hear Barack Obama...I found myself facing away from the stage...mesmerized by the sea of faces lined up behind me...and all of a sudden an answer emerged.
In those peaceful and diverse faces, I saw a hunger and a hope for a new direction...a belief that real and meaningful change could be more than an ethereal dream...a growing certainty that this potential might well be embodied in the unlikely candidacy of an African American.
The fact that thousands more stood behind them simply served to reinforce a shared assumption. The realization that a black man could succeed in bringing such a diverse crowd of Americans to the same conclusion underscored the collective spirit of this nation and the persistence of its humanity.
The sheer weight of that awareness put a lump in my throat. The subsequent sound of U2's song, Beautiful Day, blaring from the massive loudspeakers, led me to tears. In that instance, it was clear that we still possess the power to alter the future if we summon the will to embrace the transformational opportunities presented by such rare moments of magnitude.
A full week has now passed since I attended the Obama rally. With each day has come a sense of destiny accompanied by an abundance of anxious trepidation. It's akin to awaiting the brief instance at which one's reality intersects and aligns with one's dreams...providing a wondrous window through which one can jump...leaving the shackles of the past behind...taking that first certain step towards a friendlier future.
That brings me back to the above video. In watching the mayor of San Diego risk the ire of his constituents, in order to stand up for the rights of gays to marry, my weeklong journey had come full circle.
You see, it reminded me of the significance of Civic Center Park. For many years, this park has also played host to the annual LGBT Pride Day festivities. Each June, on a summer Sunday, it is filled with hopeful faces...faces that are also hungry for the moment when the windows align and they're able to jump away from the limitations of the past and towards the promise of a more accepting future.
As I wiped away my tears, I understood the connections between the faces I'd seen in Civic Center Park this past Sunday and the ones I encounter on those Sundays, each year, in June. Nonetheless, our faces are unable to reveal the entirety of our stories...or the unique complexities confronted by each constituent group and each individual.
While all of our journeys share a similar destination, some segments of our society are at different points along the path. For as long as I can remember, I've felt a kinship with those whose paths have been cluttered with unwarranted and excessive obstacles. My empathy for those forced to confront these added challenges continued to expand as I discovered and embraced my own homosexuality. On consecutive Sundays, the divergent distances yet to be traveled by some of these groups could not be missed.
As we approach the end of the 2008 election, one group appears poised to make the jump...and I couldn't be happier. As I've pondered the possibility that America will elect its first African American president, I've allowed myself to imagine the joy that will undoubtedly accompany such an amazing affirmation. The mere thought of it brings tears to my eyes.
It also brings clarity to my sense that this election is about something much larger. This is the moment at which the eloquent words of Martin Luther King, recited in his "I Have A Dream" speech, navigate a necessary journey. Through the willful act of an enlightened electorate, his hopes will no longer exist as unfulfilled abstractions. Instead, the essence of his dream, adopted by the acclamation of millions, will be reinforced and history will mark this as a defining moment in the affirmation of African Americans.
At the same time, the next step in the affirmation of my LGBT brothers and sisters is in the hands of the California electorate. The opposition, in the form of a proposition to ban same-sex marriage, is intense and the prospects of victory remain in doubt. Despite my disappointment with the potential for defeat, come Election Day I will steel myself for either outcome.
Should we win, I'll know that the LGBT community has taken another step in our long journey towards affirmation. Should we lose, I hope to be able to take consolation in the election of an African American president. If that happens, I'll be encouraged that Barack Obama's message of hope and change may bring us closer to that moment when a majority of Americans will look back and reach through the narrow window, grasp our hands, pull us through, and speak the words we long to hear, "Welcome, my fellow Americans...the journey's over...you've reached your destination."
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, California, Civic Center Park, Gay Marriage, Homophobia, LGBT, Proposition 8, Racism, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | November 2, 2008 | 11:38 PM |
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URGENT NOTE TO THOUGHT THEATER READERS:
The effort to protect gay marriage in California is in need of our support. Tim Gill and Scott Miller have offered to match No On 8 donations up to $100,000. The campaign needs to raise 1.5 million by midnight tonight and your help is needed. I'm publishing the following request from No On 8 and I ask you to consider making a donation.
This morning's Field Poll carries news that Prop 8 is narrowly losing, 44 to 49%.
This initiative battle is razor thin. We know that 7 to 10% of voters are still up for grabs.
And Tim Gill and Scott Miller will match your donation up to $100,000 if you respond NOW.
We knew we needed something more. Something big. Something to remind California voters that there were times in our history when we did not stand up against discrimination, and these are times we now regret.
So our new ad -- which we call "History" -- focuses on the central fact of this campaign: it is wrong to discriminate and wrong to treat people differently under the law.
This new ad, narrated by renowned actor Samuel L. Jackson, drives home the message that discrimination is always wrong. Watch the ad and make a donation to keep it on the air.
Now it's our turn. It's our turn to make sure we do everything we can do so the next generation grows up in a more decent society -- a society where discrimination against LGBT Americans remains part of that sorry past rather than enshrined in our Constitution.
We must keep this ad on television statewide through Election Day. To make that happen we must raise at least $1.5 million today. Please donate NOW.
With your help, we will defeat Prop 8. Please continue your support with a donation and ask the people who care for you to do the same.
Executive Committee Member
No On 8
DONATE. HERE. NOW.
Tagged as: California, Civil Rights, Gay Marriage, LGBT, No On 8, Proposition 8, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | October 31, 2008 | 3:15 PM |
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How about a little lighthearted fun from The Onion? In the first video, we get our first look at the issues confronting gay racehorses. Ship's Captain will be the first openly gay horse to compete in a major race. Rumor has it that Richard Simmons will make his debut as Ship's Captain's jockey...wearing sassy sequined silks and sporting a rhinestone encrusted riding crop.
In the second, we hear the harrowing tale of John McCain being left unattended on the Straight Talk Express. No doubt he had know idea which way to turn. After all, McCain the marionette struggles mightily when his handlers aren't pulling the strings. I can only imagine how frightening it must have been to have to think on his own.
Tagged as: Horse Racing, Humor, John McCain, LGBT, Richard Simmons, Satire, Ship's Captain, The Onion
Daniel DiRito | October 22, 2008 | 11:40 AM |
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Did you know it's radical to seek the punishment of gay bashers through hate crimes legislation? Did you know that those religious leaders opposed to hate crimes legislation believe their right to condemn homosexuality trumps the right of gays to seek stricter punishment for those who engage in gay bashing?
Well if you didn't take a look at the following video. Tony Perkins and Bob Knight, two of the right wingers usual suspects offer their take on the evils of enacting hate crimes legislation. Like so many of their arguments, they never focus upon the intent of the actual legislation. Instead, they present their slippery slope conjecture that one thing will lead to another and before you know it, Christians will find themselves being persecuted.
Here's the problem. When was the last time you read an article about a Christian being assaulted by a gang of homosexuals? Can you name the Christian equivalent of Matthew Shepard? You see, a number of Christians are determined to prevent gay issues from receiving any recognition or passing legislative protections that they are willing to give tacit approval to acts of violence.
In the end, the message being delivered by these zealots is that their right to say whatever they want is far more important than protecting gays from physical violence. With Christians like this, the world is bound to be a kinder, gentler place, eh?
Tagged as: Bob Knight, Coral Ridge Ministries, Family Research Council, FRC, Hate Crimes, LGBT, Religion, Tony Perkins
Daniel DiRito | October 21, 2008 | 10:28 AM |
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As I've thought about Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative designed to deny gays the right to marry, and what I could do to oppose it, I've continued to come back to a missive I wrote nearly eighteen months ago. I'm of the mind that in order to discuss gay marriage, one must understand the state and meaning of marriage as it exists today, what impact, if any, gay marriage may have upon the institution of marriage, the progression of gay culture, and what is at stake for the gay community.
All too often, those opposed to gay marriage speak of it in terms of the harm it will do to their marriages. I summarily reject that premise...contending instead that whatever ails marriage has little, if anything, to do with homosexuality. It's also true that the quality of love isn't heightened with the attachment of a state approved license any more than it is diminished by its absence. Notwithstanding, the decision to deny that affirmation to gays is a tacit rejection of the merits of love.
I can't force anyone to support gay marriage...but I think I can argue that a recognition of love should not be withheld because one happens to be a homosexual. In suggesting as much, it should be apparent that efforts to deny gays the right to marry is antithetical to love. Should you conclude the same after reading the following words, I implore you to consider making a donation to oppose Proposition 8.
LINK TO DONATE
Does Where You're Going Depend Upon Where You've Been?
I was gay when being a homo was a mental illness...when queer sex was illegal...when you didn't discuss being a faggot with your doctor...when sodomites were chased down and thrown out of the military...when AIDS was god's punishment for being a fairy. I was gay before being gay was remotely fashionable. Nonetheless, I was always just me.
Perhaps the most shocking part...I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to returning to those days if given the opportunity. Not because I enjoyed being a mentally ill criminal who was likely to die well before my time...not because it was easy to hide my identity and live in secret...not because I might find myself the victim of hatred and violence.
No, I would return to those days to remind me why I must still fight today...why it isn't enough to no longer be a mentally ill criminal destined to die young...why it isn't enough to be allowed to serve in the military if I just keep quiet and conceal my lifestyle...why it isn't enough to be an acquaintance that hip heterosexuals get to namedrop at a dinner party like a new pair of Pravda shoes...why I don't want to abandon my gay culture in order to have a place at the insiders table...why I don't want the right to marry to be held over my head as if it were the Holy Grail.
I don't accept that my destiny is to assimilate myself into heterosexual culture such that I no longer create discomfort for those who demand homogeneity over homosexuality. I don't want the music I hear in gay clubs to be the same music I hear everywhere else...I don't want my sense of fashion to be identical to that of my straight counterparts...I don't want heterosexuals to understand everything I say...I want gay slang to remain gay slang. I don't want to have a party that is so nondescript that the neighbors can't tell that a gay man lives on the same block.
Let me be clear. I don't say this to reject heterosexual culture or to assert the superiority of gay culture...I appreciate and honor the validity of all cultures. I say it to remind myself and my gay brethren that acceptance need not come with capitulation...the world is large enough for every cultures to exist...and the world ought to be educated and enlightened such that acceptance equates with the ability...no, the desire and the demand to embrace and celebrate them all.
If society is akin to the palette of an artist, then it is essential that all the colors remain...lest we become a canvas absent contrast...imbued with the blandness born of banality. America may be the proverbial melting pot but our greatness results from the soup we serve from that pot...a complex soup that maintains an array of distinct flavors...all perfectly blended such that each maintains its identity and each is enhanced by the presence of the others...not overwhelmed or masked such that the independent flavors are indistinguishable.
The need for acceptance is no stranger to trepidation. How one responds to that anxiety may define the degree to which the achieved acceptance is authentic or, conversely, it may define the distance one has traveled from one's authenticity in order to obtain enough acceptance to mitigate the trepidation. The distance between the former and the latter may well describe a journey of betrayal that is predicated upon the need to extinguish discomfort at the expense of preserving identity.
That which is authentic need never become inauthentic to achieve acceptance. Any society that expects as much becomes a faceless, colorless canvas which consumes itself while feeding upon its fears. The same is true of any subset of that society which would accede to those expectations.
The issue of gay marriage is an excellent case in point. Marriage has become the gauntlet upon which the war for acceptance of homosexuality and the associated authenticity of our existence and our relationships is being waged. I reject that premise. So long as we allow marriage to define the legitimacy of our relationships, we enable the opposition to defile us.
Are we entitled to the rights afforded by marriage? Absolutely. Should we wage the battle for gay acceptance on that platform? I don't think so. Let me explain. At the core of a large share of the opposition to gay marriage is an inherent bias and prejudice against homosexuality. The message sent by those opposed to gay marriage is that we refuse to give your lifestyle the legitimacy afforded by such state sponsored recognition...your relationships are lesser than ours and we intend to maintain the institutional constructs to demonstrate as much.
Simultaneously, the dialogue that opposes gay marriage is couched in the argument that it would represent an affront to family and longstanding societal and religious traditions. By design, this is intended to steer voter debate around and beyond the realm of civil rights and the basic notion of equality. It also leaves gays on the outside asking to be let in...and nothing communicates the perception that I'm not as good as you as demanding another admit, acknowledge, and accept that I am.
An example is warranted. If you've ever watched a group of children playing, you've seen the situation where a couple children form an alliance that excludes another child or group of children...and they often flaunt a possession or a privilege...telling the outsiders they have the newest Game Boy or their parents take them to the country club on the weekends. The goal is to establish a distinction of inequity whereby those on the outside long to be included.
Fortunately, circumstances can change and the excluded can become a sought after commodity...maybe it results from a discussion about animals in a science class whereby it is exposed that one of the outsiders lives on a farm with horses...and the teacher elects to take the class on a field trip to the farm. That can lead to realignments such that some children choose to befriend the child with horses in the hopes of being invited to go riding after school. You get the picture.
Coming back to gay culture and the issue of gay marriage...beginning in the early nineties, society became fascinated with all things gay...gay music, gay fashion, gay theater, gay television characters, and many of those elements were mainstreamed...or If I may gently suggest...they were co-opted by society at large.
Conventional thought argues that familiarity breeds contempt...but on the contrary, with regards to being gay, I would contend that familiarity brought a degree of tacit acceptance on the part of society which was followed by complacency on the part of the gay community. In the wake of our perceived assimilation, we ran for the cover of conventionality...embracing many of the means and measures of conformity...which included the traditional model of marriage.
Sometimes, in order to understand one's own progression (the place at which one has arrived)...whether that be individually or collectively as a group...one must consult the perceptions of those with whom we now consort. During a past airing of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, I was struck by a comment made by George Will as the panel was discussing the issue of gays in the military. Mr. Will remarked, "The culture is moving anyway...I have a daughter...26...in her cohort...being gay is just like being left handed...it's just boring".
In terms of acceptance, perhaps that is a good thing which will ultimately, by default, manifest itself in the full granting of recognitions...including gay marriage. Call me a skeptic, but while many heterosexuals worry that including gays will diminish the integrity of marriage, I worry that our acceptance of marriage as the means and the measure by which we define our relationships may in fact diminish the fundamental premise of those relationships.
Perhaps loving someone in spite of society's validation of that love is an added demonstration of love...a love that must be found and fostered absent the endorsements and benefits that society grants when recognizing an announcement of marriage. Frankly, I'm not convinced that marriage, in its current iteration, requires much more consideration than we bring to bear on the purchase of a new automobile. It seems to me that marriage has become another commodity in this zero-sum equation that typifies our consumption crazed society.
As such, when gays bestow idyllic attributes upon the acquisition of marriage rights, do we not endorse a failing system and in the process begin to minimize the relationships we chose to form in spite of their rejection by society? I, for one, reject the notion that society, in its current form, represents the best we can do and I believe that the state of marriage no doubt supports my premise. Gays should not accept the role of villain with regard to the state of marriage and they should not seek its sanction if it simply becomes a vehicle for their ongoing victimization.
If acceptance and the affording of full participation in society were to require we give up portions of our cultural identity...or if we were to succumb to the premise that it does in order to best achieve our objectives...then I would opt to remain detached but whole. Unfortunately, I'm worried our history and our heritage may be slipping into the abyss...exacerbated by the loss of a generation to HIV....a generation that facilitated so much of the progress we've made by standing strong and living large.
At the same time, I'm inclined to reject the current state of America's morality...a morality that is worn as an external badge upon hollow human holograms of holiness. Our proximity to hallowed temples on Sunday is not a measure of our piety any more than another's absence is a measure of their dedication to the devil. Morality cannot and should not be reduced to a sexual preference scorecard, a campaign slogan, or policies that deny or impose.
The state of grace must be our goal. It holds the power to promote change and to heal hearts. Graciousness is a conscious choice that is elected when innocence has been lost...an innocence that has long since evaporated but remains forever valued and painstakingly imitated. It is not an emblem we acquire...it does not flow to the winner of an election...it is an endeavor of example whereby words are not sufficient...it must be lived.
Our gay authenticity is no different and it mustn't be wagered or mortgaged for any imagined or perceived prize. We must never accept that homosexuality and morality are mutually exclusive. Morality is an internal state; not a litany of state installed mandates. Morality maligned by the majority is nothing more than the manifestation of institutionalized immorality.
One's love for humanity requires no higher being, no promise of salvation, no threat of damnation...it should be unconditional and absolute. It need not elevate nor annihilate those who are similar or dissimilar. It honors humanity simply because it is humanity. It seeks no special treatment nor does it require one to adopt any specious identity in order to find acceptance. We humans share the same origin but we also possess different identity's...which is as it were intended. We mustn't forget.
I love beauty queens and drag queens...I love girls who are cowboys and boys who are cowgirls...I love tin soldiers, toy soldiers, and our soldiers...I love rednecks and red lipstick...I love drama whether it's on the big screen or just plain old big drama...I love cry babies and babies crying...I love hetero sexy and homo sexual...I love girls with big boobs and boobs that are big girls. They give us our texture, our color, and our depth.
I'm reminded of the words from an old song that have always spoken succinctly and eloquently to these issues that I hold near and dear, "Don't make me over, now that I'd do anything for you...Don't make me over, now that you know how I adore you...accept me for what I am...accept me for the things that I do". May I suggest that there is no finer song to honor the sanctity of our shared humanity?
No individual...no sexual orientation...no skin color...no party...no religion...no nation...has a monopoly on goodness. We're all at our best when we embrace the best our identity has to offer. I am not an opinion poll...I am not a debate question...I am not a threat to marriage...I am not that queer homo fairy faggot sodomite gay guy who blogs. I have always been first, foremost, and forever human. I should not need to tell you and you should not need to ask me...I have always been me. I will always be me.
Are gays not human enough to grant them the right to marry? Wouldn't it be grand if we Americans could find a way to embrace and celebrate the simplicity of that which connects us...our humanity? Isn't the affirmation of love the place to start?
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Tagged as: California, Equality, Gay Culture, Gay Marriage, LGBT, Love, Marriage, No On 8, Proposition 8
Daniel DiRito | October 20, 2008 | 11:13 AM |
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Never let it be said that the religious right minces its words...instead they prefer the tactic of charging their words with fear and casting all others as the enemy. In the following video, Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women for America, makes the case for evangelicals to get out and vote. Note how Wright uses the Christians are victims meme to scare her viewers into voting.
Look at some of the other verbiage she includes to push the message that Christians are in danger and non-believers are out to get them - Liberals who mock Christians...Prefer America be weak...Devastating for America...Keep this a country worth living and dying for...People ruling over us...Continue the slaughter of unborn babies...Silence those who love God...People who govern righteously...People who don't believe will achieve an ironclad majority.
Yes, the big bad liberals want to ruin America and send all Christians into concentration camps where they will be forced to worship the devil, burn Bibles, and deny their allegiance to the United States of America.
Hence, the CWA offers their own "reasonable" alternative...to win the election so that Christians can establish a theocracy, install a litmus test for all judicial appointments, prohibit non-believers from participating in government, and install Biblical law so gays and those who favor a woman's right to choose can be punished accordingly.
Ahh, yes...that would make America so much better...you know...the one nation, under God kind of America. After all, who can be bothered by that silly thing we call the Constitution?!
Tagged as: Abortion, Church & State, Concerned Women For America, CWA, Gay Marriage, LGBT, Religion, Theocracy
Daniel DiRito | September 23, 2008 | 11:24 AM |
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He doth protest too much! This is one of the most amazing interviews I've seen in a long time. In the following video, this guy, Ryan Sorba, begins by asserting that Barack Obama is a pro-sodomy activist and then proceeds to offer a scripted diatribe on the origins and evils of homosexuality.
The truth of the matter is that he typifies the Christian mindset that simply cannot get past their own obsessions with all things sexual...and in Ryan's case...all things gay. I would love to know where he gathered all of his opinions...because he sounds like the kind of person who grew up going from one Jesus Camp to another.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he's entertained being a minister, spent time in a seminary, and battled homosexual desires his entire life. The level of fear and loathing he exhibits externally has to come from an internal struggle of immense proportions. The gayness of others simply cannot elicit this much attention from a well-adjusted individual.
Frankly, if I thought I should be straight...and my choices were between being gay and being a programmed robot like Ryan...I'd learn to accept my homosexuality. This is the kind of guy that Dan Savage talks about...who ends up in a public restroom having sex with a man...or when caught...proclaims that he has a wide stance.
The frightening part of this entire situation is knowing that this guy was found at the Republican National Convention. Should there be any doubt as to the absolutely absurd ideologies that are held by a number of Republicans, here's the evidence. Heaven help us...this is the kind of lunatic we're up against. Utterly Unbelievable!!
Tagged as: Gay, GOP, Homophobia, LGBT, Republican National Convention, Same-Sex Marriage, Sodomy
Daniel DiRito | September 6, 2008 | 5:10 PM |
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Well the media finally has acknowledged that the Charlie Crist engagement / marriage may be a sham. In the following video, some of the folks from MSNBC have a little fun with Crist's potential selection as John McCain's VP.
The money quote comes from Chuch Todd, "After Friday the engagement might be off if he's not the running mate., right? ... I don't know!". Look, I respect the privacy of politicians...but I also find it objectionable for some of them to live one life while voting and conducting themselves in direct opposition to that life in the interest of political expediency.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Charlie Crist, Humor, John McCain, LGBT, Vice President
Daniel DiRito | August 27, 2008 | 10:25 AM |
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They say, "If it quacks it's a duck"...but I'm now convinced that if it quacks, it's an affiliate of Focus on the Family. In the following video, Kim Trobee cites the testimony of David Pickup to counter the fact that the American Psychological Association remains skeptical of those who promote therapy to reverse homosexuality. Trobee and her associate proceed to tell us that the APA's "embrace of the gay agenda" is under siege by learned experts and that gay activists have likely overplayed their hand.
I hate to burst Focus on the Family's Biblically based bubble, but if David Pickup is their idea of a reputable expert, they're in need of a serious reality check. Should there be any doubt, take a look at the following David Pickup video.
When I first saw the video, I wrote the following:
This is priceless. The following video is apparently a legitimate advertisement for men seeking to overcome their homosexuality. The fact that it is filled with homoeroticism only reinforces my belief that many of these men are tortured Christians with a limitless ability to disguise their sexual orientation by engaging in acts of denial that are intended to demonstrate their heterosexuality...as well as their devotion to the religious dogma they seem hopelessly driven to embrace.
Honestly, when I first saw the video clip, I thought the program had to be a joke. However, after tracking down the site where it is advertised, it appears to be a "legitimate" attempt to offer services intended to "repair" homosexuality. Of course I know nothing about the credentials of the gentleman offering the program. For all I know, he could simply be an opportunist attempting to play upon the insecurities of men who feel compelled to reject their homosexuality. Even if he is sincere in offering this program, it doesn't negate the absurdity in suggesting that homosexuality can be washed away.
In fact, I think the video is a comical adventure in homoeroticism (and I had a little fun with it in my prior posting). I suspect the use of this kind of exploitive imagery is an element in the APA's reluctance to endorse this supposed "treatment". The fact that the actual evidence also casts doubt on the therapeutic value of such programs only underscores the absurdity of the FOF assertions.
While men like Pickup would have us believe that they are providing a beneficial service, I'm of the opinion that they are simply capitalizing upon the fact that some homosexuals are unable to reconcile their orientation with the rigidity of their religious beliefs. Hence, these programs are merely the means to reinforce ideology and suppress actual one's sexual orientation.
In different circumstances, I suspect we would equate these programs with the kind of brainwashing we typically associate with cults. The fact that some participants report themselves as having altered their orientation is little more than the scripted assurances we witness from those who would have us believe that their membership in a cult is an act of willful self-awareness.
Frankly, the endless effort to establish the "militant homosexual agenda" meme as a matter of fact is sickening. The utter lack of legitimacy in this assertion is only exceeded by the total disregard for facts that is so often the trademark of those who wrap themselves in the pabulum of piety. This disconnect is disturbing...and it calls into question their claim to Christian values.
Tagged as: APA, David Pickup, Focus on the Family, Kim Trobee, LGBT, Psychology, Religion, Reparative Therapy, Sexual Orientation
Daniel DiRito | August 21, 2008 | 11:48 AM |
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Sometimes contrast creates nothing but conflict; other times it highlights the absurd positions some people hold. The following video is an example of the latter. This encounter, between the folks of Westboro Baptist Church and Red State Update's Jackie and Dunlap, is clearly intended to make us laugh. While it succeeds in doing just that, it also demonstrates the complex distinctions that defy our attempts to generalize and categorize each other.
Clearly, Jackie and Dunlap are caricatures created for comic value. Regardless, they represent one of the many mindsets we find in our American culture. One could say the same about the Westboro clan, although their actions aren't intended to make us laugh and they undoubtedly hold a uniquely controversial viewpoint. In watching this interaction, we realize the dangers that come with labeling.
Perhaps in seeing the exchange between these two groups, we are able to see the things that connect us with those we would otherwise reject. In fact, one could argue that the extremity of the Westboro Baptist ideology helps the rest of us find the common ground we share but so often fail to acknowledge. As we see in this video, Jackie and Dunlap may well have more in common with the gay couple they interview than with a group like Westboro...a group we would be more inclined to associate with the red neck personae they exhibit.
Sadly, the video also highlights the divisive nature of our political process. In the pursuit of power, all too often those who seek office choose to exaggerate our differences while downplaying our similarities. In this way, they simply raise the barriers that separate us from each other. The more this happens, the more antagonistic we become to each other...seemingly accepting the one-dimensional depictions we've become accustomed to as a result of the relentless rhetoric that rolls off the tactical tongues of our politicians.
In the end, we see that a seemingly light hearted video may have a greater capacity to foster understanding than those who spend their time behind their pulpits promoting propaganda or those who traverse the country telling us the intend to unite us; not divide us.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Humor, McCain, Obama, Red State, Religion, Saddleback, Westboro Baptist Church
Daniel DiRito | August 21, 2008 | 9:05 AM |
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No doubt election years are trying times for many of us. It's easy to find oneself drawn into the dog fight...especially if one is passionate about any particular issue. Fortunately, we live in a country that allows us to speak our minds and cast our votes accordingly. Sadly, there are those who want the benefit of speaking their mind in order to silence others. Last time I checked, that's contrary to the American way.
However, it isn't contrary to the Catholic League's Bill Donohue. It seems that Donohue has taken offense to some of the bloggers who were selected to attend the Democratic National Convention...and he's calling upon the powers that be to "nix them ASAP".
From The Catholic League:
Over 120 blogs have been credentialed as members of the media for the Democratic National Convention; those who have received credentials are allowed to cover the Convention at the Pepsi Center. While most of them offer legitimate commentary, some do not.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue is protesting two of the blogs:
"The list of credentialed blogs include radical sites like The Daily Kos. Worse are blogs that feature anti-Catholic and obscene material. The two most offensive are Bitch Ph.D. and Towleroad.
"On the home page of Bitch Ph.D. there is a picture of two children: one of them is shown flashing his middle finger. Today's lead post, which was written August 17, is called 'Jesus Christ.' It begins with, 'I'm a really crappy Catholic who hasn't been to mass in ages because most parishes around here 'will' insist on being aggressively anti-abortion....' The writer then objects to some children's toys on the grounds that they are more offensive than desecrating the Eucharist. The toys are actually balloons that have been made to depict Jesus in various poses, including a crucified Christ; one of these images shows Jesus with a penis. Several who commented on this image made patently obscene comments.
"Towleroad describes itself as 'A Site with Homosexual Tendencies.' Accordingly, it shows men in jock straps and underwear. It also has a post on Pope Benedict XVI that takes him to task for wearing a cape with ermine. Some of those who commented on this described the pope in a vile and profane way.
"Both of these blogs should be cut immediately from the list of credentialed sites. Neither functions as a responsible media outlet and both offend Catholics, as well as others. To allow them access to the Democratic National Convention sends a message to Catholics they will not forget. We look for Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Convention, to nix them ASAP."
As I stated at the outset, Donohue is entitled to his opinion. Notwithstanding, he's not entitled to call on the Democratic National Convention to censor its list of bloggers. Yes, some of the bloggers chosen (this one included) have been critical of the Catholic Church...but we also represent important constituent groups in the Democratic Party. If Donohue wants lockstep homogeneity, there's another party that more likely to embrace his point of view.
Truth be told, Donohue isn't apt to vote for the Democratic nominee anyway...which likely means this grandstanding is simply a political stunt designed to outrage those Catholics he believes might be entertaining a vote for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Again, he has every right to be heard...but so do the bloggers he's singling out.
Donohue's actions are part and parcel of the objections many have to the Catholic Church. History tells us that the Church is predisposed to dictating to its followers...despite ample evidence of its many misjudgments as well as an abundance of inappropriate decisions and behaviors.
While the Church believes in the infallibility of its leader, history suggests otherwise. The fact that men like Donohue still adhere to this mind set simply highlights his and his church's irrational insistence upon blind faith. That can only work if one lives in a vacuum or has no interest in considering the facts.
In the end, Donohue's outburst is an attempt to bully those who fail to share his ideology. He's welcome to offer an opposing view...but he has no standing to demand that those with adversarial views be silenced. This is America...not the Vatican.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Atheism, Barack Obama, Bill Donohue, Catholic Church, Catholic League, LGBT, Pope, Vatican
Daniel DiRito | August 18, 2008 | 2:12 PM |
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Those opposed to same-sex unions frequently suggest that it is a threat to their own marriages. In the first of the two following videos, 9in10.org helps highlight some of the hypocrisy behind these sanctimonious assertions.
Needless to say, their depiction of the heterosexual male's fascination with girl on girl action also highlights the acceptance of female objectification and the degree to which the male mind set dictates societal norms.
In the second video, they introduce us to BigoTV...a network committed to propagating all forms of bigotry. Pay special attention to the portion of the video (1:35 - 1:45) where our two bigoted friends engage in a little celebratory cackling. Suffice it to say that their latent tendencies are on display.
Tagged as: Bigotry, Gay, Gay Marriage, Humor, LGBT, Racism, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | August 15, 2008 | 11:32 AM |
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The following video is possibly the most egregious display of unbridled ignorance I've seen in years...and stating as much may well be an inexcusable insult to ignorant people everywhere. Rather than focus on the fact that this video maker must have never attended a science class in her life, I think it may be more fun to come up with a list of reasons to believe that sprinkler rainbows are part and parcel of a currently undisclosed militant homosexual strategy.
With that said, grab your tin foil caps, sit back, and imagine a room full of scheming homos...dressed in mauve military uniforms...designed with impeccable style, slimming lines, immaculate accents, flawless fabrication...and tell-tale rainbow badges embroidered and affixed atop their heterosexual hating hearts. Let the games begin!
Sprinkler rainbows are the precursor to the introduction of disco ball slip 'n slides...complete with smart lighting to produce rainbows, water soluble lubrication for extra slippage, and piped-in party music featuring dance remixes of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Patti LuPone standards.
Gays have created a secret society of children's clowns to hammer home the rainbow color scheme (ever see a clown dressed in brown and black?) and imprint children with a flair for the flamboyant.
The acronym R.O.Y.G.B.V., thought to represent the colors of the rainbow, was actually constructed as a clandestine code for communicating one's same-sex orientation to others. The letters stand for "Ride On Your Great Big Viper".
The Wizard of Oz, thought to be a children's book authored by Frank Baum at the turn of the century, was actually the first in a series of literary works designed to tease out the theatrical curiosities of pint-sized little people...prime targets for voluntary servitude as fairy fellators.
The myth that each rainbow has a pot of gold at its end was perpetrated by militant homosexuals to lure unsuspecting individuals away from their homes and into remote areas where they could be convinced to join a tribe of traveling drag queens who knew the way to the pot of gold.
Unicorns are frequently pictured with rainbows in an effort to subliminally signal those who may be predisposed to a fascination with all things phallic.
An effort to rearrange the names of the planets is underway. Militant gays are convinced that school children discussing the rings around Uranus in science class would be far more vulnerable to indoctrination than those who discuss the brightly colored rainbowesque rings around Saturn.
The metallic oxide salts mentioned in the video (that produce these ground-hugging water rainbows) are the work of a group called The Lesbian Legionnaires. Exposing little tomgirls to low lying rainbows is thought to hasten their rejection of all things feminine and frilly.
Stuart Shepard, creator of Focus on the Family's recent video requesting evangelicals pray for rain during Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Denver, is actually a closeted homosexual enlisted to infiltrate the organization and promote these prayers in the hope that Obama's closing remarks would be delivered under a double rainbow.
The Rainbow vacuum cleaner, sold door-to-door and through in-house demonstrations, was invented as the means for gay men to enter heterosexual households and gauge the willingness of married men to engage in provocative innuendo while discussing the systems novel attachment...the crevice tool.
Tagged as: Comedy, Conspiracy Theorists, Gay, Homosexual, Humor, LGBT, Militant Homosexual, Rainbow, Tin Foil Hat
Daniel DiRito | August 13, 2008 | 2:52 PM |
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