Gaylingual: May 2007: Archives
If anyone ever doubted the existence of a "flesh and blood" wing nut...fear no more. The following video clip is absolute proof. The video is of Fred Phelps, the notorious pastor from Topeka, Kansas, launching a scathing assault on the Cheney family in response to the birth of a son to Mary Cheney and her partner.
I'm certainly no fan of the Cheney's, but I view attacks of this nature to be nothing more than evidence that hatred born of the fanatical interpretation and application of religious doctrine has no place in society. Disagreeing with Dick Cheney's politics is one thing...but this type of personal assault is indefensible.
It should come as no surprise that Fred Phelps would stoop to this level. He and his band of followers have a long history of crass and disgusting demonstrations directed first and foremost at gays, and then at anyone they deem to have been associated with tolerance for the gay community.
Daniel DiRito | May 26, 2007 | 7:22 PM |
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It should be no surprise that I'm not fond of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. In fact, one of my favorite Thought Theater postings was a letter to Dr. Laura that I found on the internet...a letter in which the author quoted verses from the bible while asking Dr. Laura if the author's interpretations were correct...it’s quite funny and you can find it here. But I digress.
Dr. Laura's son has recently been the focus of some unflattering media coverage. Deryk Schlessinger, 21, is enlisted in the Army and is the subject of an investigation into a MySpace page that depicted torture, racist remarks, obscene images, sexual assault, and discussions of drug usage. The page listed Schlessinger as the author and there were messages from friends which would seem to indicate it was authentic...though the investigation will ultimately determine if the page actually belonged to Schlessinger.
Radio talk-show host Laura Schlessinger is appealing to news media outlets to respect her son's privacy amid an Army investigation into whether he is behind a lurid personal Web page that featured cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation.
In all honesty, I don't wish misfortune upon Dr. Schlessinger...however I do find it amusing that she is now requesting that the media respect the privacy of her son and her family. I can't help but notice the hypocrisy. Here's a woman that has made a living by attacking the private lives of gays. The following are just a few of the quotes attributed to Dr. Schlessinger:
"A huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys."
"Political activists have successfully repositioned sexual deviancy as a constitutionally protected 'lifestyle' equivalent in every way to heterosexuality....This is not about discrimination against homosexuals."
"You know what was largely responsible for that guy’s [Matthew Shepard's] death? Those two guys who killed him did not go out looking for a homosexual to kill that night. They were shooting pool. He went to the bar. He left with two guys he thought he was gonna have sex with. He got murdered. How many women has that happened to? How many women have left bars thinking they were gonna get some action with some guy who raped and murdered and tortured and murdered them? Far more women than homosexual men have ended up dead that way, I would guess."
Obviously she can say what she wants...and she apparently has no problem doing so. The same is true for her son...except for the fact that his actions, should they be proven, were conducted while he was employed in the military and may result in some unpleasant consequences. The following is a quotation from Deryk's alleged web page:
"Yes!!! I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it...and some that don't."
If these turn out to be Deryk's words, I guess it is as they say, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree...and hence this is exactly the problem with people and parents who set out to define others as villains. Their words and their actions are frequently adopted by their children and the seeds of prejudice, judgment, and hatred are often passed on and amplified within the next generation.
I wonder how Dr. Laura feels about people quoting these alleged words of her son...including his describing himself as a deviant...the very word which she has attached to gays for years. If Deryk Schlessinger is found to have been the author of this site, it will be difficult to not see the situation as some form of karmic justice. I'm not a religious person...but I'm well aware of the religious concept of "judge not lest ye be judged". Perhaps in the future Dr. Laura will think twice before casting the first stone. The notion of "what goes around comes around" doesn't bode well for her glass house.
Daniel DiRito | May 25, 2007 | 6:20 PM |
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Can someone explain to me the concept of "gay indoctrination?" Unfortunately, with my "conversion" to homosexuality, I seem to have missed out on the recruitment program. As I imagine the process, I'm reminded of my college days and the infamous rush week...that period of time at the beginning of the school year that is typified by efforts to convince naïve newbie's to join fraternities and sororities. Along those lines, had I known that admission to the gay club came with free booze and chips, I might have signed up sooner.
All kidding aside, a new article at ReligionandSpirituality.com is titled California Senate Passes "Gay Indoctrination". The subject of the article is California SB 777, a bill actually titled The Student Civil Rights Act, which instructs attorneys at the California Department of Education to monitor and "protect all California students from harassment and bias in public schools based on their gender identity or sexual orientation".
Here's how the article from ReligionandSpirituality.com characterizes the bill:
The California State Senate on Thursday passed legislation mandating that schoolchildren as young as kindergarten learn about and support transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality. SB 777 requires textbooks, instructional materials, and school-sponsored activities to positively portray cross-dressing, sex-change operations, homosexual "marriages," and all aspects of homosexuality and bisexuality, including so-called "gay history."
"Parents are angry at the Democrats for passing this school sexual indoctrination bill and frustrated that Republicans did little to fight it," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), a leading California-based pro-family organization. "We call on Arnold Schwarzenegger to pledge that he will respect parents, protect children, and veto this bad bill, just like he did last year."
"The notion of forcing children to support controversial sexual lifestyles is shocking and appalling to millions of fathers and mothers," Thomasson said. "SB 777 will shatter the academic purpose of education by turning every government school into a sexual indoctrination center."
Unfortunately, the article presents the details in a way that can only be described as a tail wags the dog format. In reality, the bill is intended to protect students from school sponsored bias and prejudice. Yes, the intent of this legislation suggests that the tools employed to educate be mindful of such bias and prejudice as well as refrain from using such teaching tools and methods in the classroom. Is that a tacit endorsement of homosexuality? I guess one could construe it as such...but in reality it is no different than prior civil rights legislation that forbade the inclusion of racial bias.
As we know, the prior passage of civil rights legislation didn't alter the hearts and minds of those filled with bias and prejudice...but it did seek to prevent them from unleashing that bias and prejudice upon individuals guilty of nothing more than possessing skin of a different color. Honestly, whether or not one thinks homosexuality is a sin or an abomination shouldn't translate into state sponsored validation of those beliefs. As I see it, the legislation is simply instructing the Department of Education to uphold that concept. If the beliefs of parents lead them to instruct their children that a gay lifestyle is sinful and forbidden (heaven help the child that thinks he or she is gay), so be it...but the school system, in my opinion, has no business institutionalizing those beliefs.
Here's how the other side describes the legislation:
The Student Civil Rights Act ensures that all students in publicly-funded schools, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), clearly understand the protections they are provided under state law. SB 777 creates uniform nondiscrimination standards within the state's education code and clarifies the responsibility of school officials to ensure a safe learning environment.
"Schools need clear direction - not mixed messages -from the state to adopt adequate policies to protect all youth," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "Inconsistencies in state law create significant gaps that leave students vulnerable to harassment and bias and unaware of their rights. SB 777 helps fill those gaps so that all youth are protected."
"Right wing extremists have recently attacked this bill, grossly distorting the facts about what the legislation does," said Kors. "The Student Civil Rights Act protects all youth, not only those who identify as LGBT, from discrimination so they all have the opportunity to succeed in school and thrive in life."
Don't get me wrong, I'm clearly "biased" towards the latter depiction over the prior...but all too often it seems that what we lose in these polarized debates are the actual people who are affected when this type of legislation is either enacted or rejected. These are children who have mothers and fathers (who hopefully love them enough to not reject them) that don't want to see their children abused by other students or institutional bias.
Does one's faith require one to inflict harm upon those who fail to comply with one's established doctrine? Should parents condone their children or their schools abusing other students simply because of their sexuality? I understand that there are those who don't see such actions as abuse because of their religious beliefs...but if I understand Christian values, Jesus never condoned such judgment and scorn. I have no problem with those who believe that homosexuality is a sin and that think god will punish those who practice it. I simply believe they have no right to play god. In fact, I believe their existing teachings would concur.
Lastly, and most importantly, I can attest to the fact that everything in my background was structured to endorse heterosexuality...but everything within my identity was designed otherwise. I spent hours and hours praying that I would be heterosexual...I made bargains with god to make it so...but it wasn't who I was. In the end, despite all the aspersions that I heard and all the bias that I witnessed and endured, I couldn't deny my sexuality unless I was willing to end my existence. Thank god or whomever one chooses to thank that I chose life.
I only wish everyone would take the time to see inside the hearts of these young and vulnerable people before they succumb to their own fears and victimize those who are guilty or nothing more than accepting the reality of their identity. I realize that many parents might not want to confront the possibility that a child will be gay, but I can tell you from experience that if your child is so designed, you can either facilitate years of agony and doubt, or you can find it in your heart to love the child that you created. If there is a god, I can't imagine that he or she would ever fault a parent for loving one of his or her blessings.
My homosexuality is no more a product of indoctrination than my brown eyes and brown hair. Every homosexual is the product of the heterosexual reproductive process...and by and large we all grew up in heterosexual families. Prohibiting the fair treatment of gay children because we fear a child will be "indoctrinated" is every bit as absurd as banning heterosexuality because it creates homosexual children. Isn't it time we move beyond our fears and begin to face the many realities that are encompassed within the whole of our human identity?
Daniel DiRito | May 25, 2007 | 12:48 PM |
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If today’s Pew Research Poll says one thing loud and clear, it tells gays in the closet to come out and get to know the people around you. With almost every demographic, those who become acquainted with gays have much more favorable opinions about gay rights and gay marriage.
In the past four decades, growing numbers of gays have come out of the closet and into the mainstream of American life. As a consequence, 4-in-10 Americans now report that some of their close friends or family members are gays or lesbians, according to a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
An analysis of survey results suggests that familiarity is closely linked to tolerance. People who have a close gay friend or family member are more likely to support gay marriage and they are also significantly less likely to favor allowing schools to fire gay teachers than are those with little or no personal contact with gays, the poll found.
Percentages vary greatly by political orientation: Conservative Republicans are the least likely to say they have a close gay friend or family member (33%), while liberal Democrats are most likely to say so (59%). Race seems to have virtually no effect on whether a person knows gay people well.
Among religious groups, mainline Protestants and seculars (those who don't claim any particular religion) are the most likely to say they had a gay family member or close friend, with 47% saying so. White evangelicals (31%) and Hispanic Catholics (33%) are the least likely to say they have gay family members or close friends.
People living in the south (37%) are less likely to know gay people well than are people living in the Northeast or West, and people living in rural areas (34%) are less likely to say so than those in urban or suburban areas.
The results provide some overarching strategy directives. Not to diminish the efforts of any existing LGBT advocacy group, but nothing could better state the power of the individual than these polling numbers. Further, can there be any doubt that the best means to break through existing barriers, stereotypes, and prejudices is to befriend the perceived enemy.
Let me be clear…I am not suggesting that revealing one’s sexuality to a devout evangelical will elicit tacit acceptance of homosexuality…but it may well reduce the evangelicals perception that they must rally to oppose any measure than grants LGBT individuals some degree of equality…or at the very least the assurance that those opposed to homosexuality will not seek to take away the basic rights of their fellow LGBT citizens.
The reality for gays, proven time and again in the historical chronologies of previous minority groups, is that human contact serves to dispel negative conceptions and to diminish hostility much more effectively than legislative initiatives. In fact, if one listens to the rhetoric of those opposed to LGBT rights, they frequently characterize our legal and political efforts as a militant agenda intent on imposing acceptance and legitimization of the LGBT lifestyle.
Having a background in psychology, I recall being instructed that persuasion was far and away the most successful means to achieve therapeutic change. Efforts to direct or guilt or use fear to get one’s client to alter negative or destructive behaviors often failed…and even worse, frequently served to reinforce the propensity of the client to push back, resist, and act out at escalated levels. The premise holds true with regard to changing the mind of those who oppose LGBT rights.
Speaking from personal experience, my coming out, though difficult, eventually led those who knew me, and continued to have contact with me, to see that I remained the person that they always knew…though with the addition of my homosexuality…and they came to discard the judgments they held that they had never fully sought to understand or challenge. By coming out, I facilitated that process. It also made LGBT advocates of those who would have remained adversaries.
Come out, come out, wherever you are…the title of this posting…is the best hope we have for greater LGBT acceptance. It is also an effort that, once completed, pays rewards for generations. What better legacy could one leave?
Daniel DiRito | May 23, 2007 | 3:03 PM |
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I've been looking for a video of Rose Royce singing Wishing On A Star for a long time. Fortunately, one recently appeared on YouTube. Over the years, I've collected memories of friends and family in the form of music they liked or that they introduced me to. This song goes back to 1983 just after I came out to my family.
Shortly after, I moved to Denver and lived with two of my cousins...both gay as well. During that time, Jeff introduced me to Rose Royce and in particular this song. I can still see the actual moment in my head...sitting on the living room floor and looking at the album cover...then listening to this song and instantly loving it. Maybe it was because I desperately needed a star to wish upon...my coming out wasn't a pleasant experience and my family had a difficult time coming to grips with my being gay.
I've written about this before...but so often it is the person coming out that has to be strong...even though they are probably the one in greatest need of a kind word or some type of understanding. What amazes me is the fact that gay people somehow summon the strength to survive the process...a fact that I think is a testament to the pull and the power found in at last becoming the person you have always known you were. In many ways coming out is the last of many attempts to save one's life. Frankly, hiding one's identity is akin to suicide though it is a much slower and, in my estimation, a much more painful process.
Anyway, Jeff died a number of years ago but as with so many people I've known, I remember them often and especially through the music that meant the most to them...and became equally meaningful to me.
Daniel DiRito | May 18, 2007 | 2:17 PM |
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Little Britain, a sitcom from the United Kingdom, chronicles the escapades of Daffyd, a gay man in a remote Welsh city. He likes the other inhabitants to think he is the only homosexual in the area. In this clip, Daffyd wants his pals to know that he is bored. If you enjoy British humor, you'll like this program.
Daniel DiRito | May 7, 2007 | 10:09 PM |
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Senator John McCain, in a letter to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), offered his support of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military's current position with regards to gays in the military. McCain suggested that while he understands the good intentions of those who favor the repeal of the policy, he believes that the risk to the cohesion and morale of the military is too great.
Washington, DC – United States Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, has reiterated his support for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. In an April 16 letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), McCain says the law, passed in 1993, "unambiguously maintains that open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion and discipline."
I realize that many of those opposed to gay rights are angered when those who support measures to protect gays and provide them with the same rights as heterosexuals suggest that a corollary can be drawn to the civil rights movement. Many feel that being gay cannot be compared to being black since one can be concealed and one cannot. While that argument has some semblance of truth, it isn't a reason to deny gays the full array of rights or to require them to hide their identities.
Frankly, that would be akin to having told blacks in the 1960's that they should all follow Michael Jackson's example and alter their appearance to be more white or offering classes in linguistics in order to alter existing dialects often associated with African Americans so they wouldn't be so noticeable.
In his letter, Senator McCain says that, "I believe polarization of personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well-intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual service members above those of their units. Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America’s Armed Services." McCain, who voted in favor of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 1993, says "I remain opposed to the open expression of homosexuality in the U.S. military."
I found the military cohesion argument laughable. If the sexual practices of gays...practices that they share with other gays…are a threat to unit cohesion, then what happens when one heterosexual soldier sleeps with the wife of a member of his unit? If sex is the linchpin to cohesion, then what is being done to assure that heterosexual sex doesn't harm unit cohesion? The answer is that there are standards of behavior and adultery is not allowed...but the mere potential of sexual infidelity doesn't preclude heterosexuals from serving nor are they required to hide their sexuality. Clearly, there are numerous factors that can harm the cohesiveness of the military...but all others are dealt with as issues of conduct and are not prerequisite conditions to deny service in the military. Two committed gay adults should have the same freedom to engage in the sexual activities they choose without fear of being discharged from the military.
Given the recent news about the loosening of standards for entry into the military...allowing those with criminal backgrounds and those with psychological disturbances easier entry is clearly a risk to cohesion but it is seemingly acceptable. Can we say double standard?
Years ago, black soldiers were separated from their white counterparts because of prejudice and presumably the threat that integration may have posed to unit cohesion...but we evidently acknowledged that the problems was symptomatic of unacceptable prejudice and we set about ending prejudice and discrimination towards black soldiers...we didn't ask black soldiers to hide who they were or prohibit their service because some of their fellow soldiers would dislike them and therefore that might hurt the morale of the unit.
People like Senator McCain would have us think that the military is unable to deal with issues of morale and behavior...and yet anyone who knows anything about the military knows full well that little within the military is left to the discretion of the individual soldier...they are told what to think and how to behave...and if they don't comply they are dealt with accordingly. Are we to believe that the issue of gays in the military is more complex than confronting other prejudices over the years? I think not.
Further, does anyone believe that soldiers aren't already coexisting with know gays? Of course they are...unless we're to believe that some 65,000 gays can hide in the military without notice...a fact that would virtually concede that the powers that be are routinely fooled by their own soldiers. What would that infer about our military's competence to flesh out our enemies?
The bottom line is that those who argue against allowing gays being allowed to openly serve in the military are simple promoting prejudice and institutionalizing discrimination. The purpose of our military is to preserve order and defend our way of life. Should that purpose include making one group of citizens second class members? If the military isn't going to set the right tone and example, why would we expect the average citizen to act appropriately? If our government isn't going to lead the way in ending prejudice, I would like to know who will.
Daniel DiRito | May 4, 2007 | 2:11 PM |
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I did a posting quite a while back on how people pick drag names and I ended the posting with a list of drag names that had food as the theme. Thought Theater readers had a lot of fun with the posting so I though I would bring it back with a new theme...anything medical. My starter list is at the end of the posting...feel free to add your own in the comments and we'll see how many we can create. Oh, I've also included a link to a site that will create a drag name for you...it's just before my list of names at the bottom of this entry.
It's common knowledge that a drag queens name may be as important as the rhinestone regalia he/she wears. The conventional approach (although I would say that it's more urban legend than actual fact) is to take the name of your first pet and add it to your mother's maiden name and voila...you have your drag name. Chances are you won't like the name if you try it...of course that's only if you were inclined to have a drag name. As with Seinfeld speak...not that there's anything wrong with that.
I ran across an interesting article that indicates that there is an art to name selection and to become an actual namer is no easy task. The study of names is an adjunct to the study of linguistics and dialects and given the attached humor it seems to get the lion's share of the attention. The article is from the San Francisco Chronicle (duh!) and I've included some interesting excerpts below. Following the article segments (full article here)
"My drag queen name, for the record," said Professor Ronald C. Butters of Duke University, speaking between academic paper presentations in a beige room on the second floor of the Oakland Marriott, "is Coco Butters."
The room tittered appreciatively. If any crowd of buttoned-up academics could enjoy a good drag queen name, this was it. Butters was presiding over a recent panel on "Queer Names of Stage, Screen and Fiction" at the American Names Society conference, held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society and three other groups. The conference, held in early January, drew people from all over the country and the world, and, in addition to official business (the Linguistic Society's vote on "Word of the Year," for instance), there were three days of overlapping panels and paper presentations.
The subjects covered by American Name Society, though, stood out in a sea of obscure papers on obscure topics. Perhaps the broader appeal of its work has to do with the universal nature of its mission statement; the society, founded in 1951, "seeks to find out what really is in a name."
Who knew that although drag queens usually employ sexual innuendo or humor in their stage names, it is strikingly uncommon for male gay porn stars to do so? Apparently, bland names are perceived to be more attractive.
Unsurprisingly, many drag queens chose honorifics such as Lady and Miss and upwardly mobile names like Xaviar Onassis Bloomingdale or, less frequently, overtly lower-class monikers such as Winnie Baygo or Mary K. Mart. Ethnic stereotypes got some play too, with China Silk and Bang Bang Ledesh.
How does one become a namer? Members of the American Name Society enter the world of naming from many directions.
Ed Lawson, a professor emeritus at SUNY Fredonia and former president of the American Name Society, was a psychologist who studied stereotypes before focusing on names. In one study, he selected a group of young women with "ethnically nonspecific faces" and gave them three ethnically distinctive names for three groups of subjects. Sure enough, Lawson found that people's impressions were colored by the perceived culture of the names. "The Jewish girls were labeled smart, the Italian girls were seen as passionate, and so on, " Lawson said.
When asked about the persistent Internet meme about how to choose a porn star name (some combination of first pet's name or mother's maiden name or your middle name with the street name of your first address), Zwicky laughed. "No, I didn't see any evidence of those games at play in my study. I, for one, couldn't get a good porn name from that. My first dog's name was Spot."
But as Zwicky noted in his presentation, he has no data on what, if any, impact a name has on a porn career.
A name isn't a porn star's most salient feature.
I found another site that lets you enter your real name and it will create a drag name for you...from what I can tell the names it assigns are random...but it's still fun to see the names it generates
OK, now on to the fun. Here's my list of "medical" drag names:
Angie O. Plasty - That ought to get your blood flowing again.
Sister Ectomy - Can you have your sister removed?
Carlin Oscopy - Isn't that a kick in the backside?
Ginger Vitis - I hear she can remove her teeth.
Halle Tosis - Poor girl has never been kissed.
Amie O. Centesis - After all, you want to know if she's a boy or a girl, right?
Carmen Electralytes - You're gonna need some of this after all those drinks.
Anna Stesia - She's cute but boring...she'll put you to sleep in no time.
Wanda Cass Tration - She'll make your mamas and papas scream.
Gina Lola Frigida - Hot as hell but cold as ice.
Aunty Biotic - She's the one for you if you've been a really bad boy or girl.
Barri M. Enema - Shake shake shake...shake your booty.
Cesaria Section - She's a hotty...but she's been known to leave you scarred for life.
Kathi Terizenem - It's gonna hurt like hell when she pulls it out.
Madame Ovary - They wrote a book about her exploits.
OK, now it's your turn...I've gotta run...I'm late for my Doctor's appointment.
Daniel DiRito | May 2, 2007 | 7:05 PM |
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