Gaylingual: June 2007: Archives

June 28, 2007

Laura Bush Promotes Faith-Based "Snake Oil" For HIV genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

Selling Snake Oil

Look, I generally like and respect Laura Bush...and while I would typically refrain from criticizing the First Lady...I have to call her on her latest remarks regarding the faith-based efforts being employed by the Bush administration in the African AIDS initiative. Here's what Laura Bush had to say:

"Religious institutions bring a personal healing touch to the fight against AIDS," Mrs. Bush said, adding that Zambian health caregivers "know very well the healing power of faith."

OK, this may sound callous but when was the last time a person, infected with the HIV virus, experienced a cure as a result of the healing power of faith? Further, the last time I checked, a healing touch does very little to lower a viral load or increase t-cell count...that requires expensive medications.

Now I'm sure the First Lady didn't mean her remarks literally, but it demonstrates the degree to which this administration will go to promote their failed faith-based abstinence initiative...as well as the abject denial they demonstrate in the face of factual evidence that it isn't as effective as sex education and the distribution of condoms.

Canisius Banda, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said Zambia placed "great importance to the role of faith-based organizations in ... the fight against HIV and AIDS."

But he said such groups were not always supportive of certain aspects of the U.S.-backed prevention message that focuses on abstinence and faithfulness, along with condom use.

"They are weak on condom usage. They seem to have difficulty with that part of the message," he said. "They are very strong on abstinence as well as being faithful."

Again, this will sound shrill, but if one of the Bush children was infected with HIV, I doubt they would be focused on sending her to see a representative of a religious organization for a serving of "healing touch" and a dose of the "healing power of faith".

One last comment and I will stop. If the Bush family were to switch places with an African family, I doubt George and Laura would be content to tell the twins to abstain from sex (assuming they would have a say in such matters given African culture) and refuse to allow them to have condoms in order to protect themselves should they need to do so.

Faith is not science and abstinence is not the equivalent of contraception and access to antiretroviral medication. If god is watching as we sit in our ivory towers spending limited resources on…and lecturing impoverished Africans about…the power of faith and the need to abstain, I doubt he's preparing a hero's welcome for the pious purveyors of faith based snake oil.

Daniel DiRito | June 28, 2007 | 4:19 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 27, 2007

Poll: Gays Have Tacit Permission To Be Homosexuals genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

Peeping Tom

A new CNN poll suggests that a majority of Americans believe that gays cannot change their sexual preference. I applaud the shifting perspective, though I'm not sure that I can accept that being homosexual requires such an acknowledgment; any more than it would make sense to poll gays to see if they acknowledge that heterosexuals cannot change their sexual preference.

Fifty-six percent of about 515 poll respondents said they do not believe sexual orientation can be changed. In 2001, 45 percent of those responding to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll held that belief. In 1998, according to a CNN/Time poll, the number was 36 percent.

In addition, 42 percent of respondents to the current poll said they believe homosexuality results from upbringing and environment, while 39 percent said they believe it is something a person is born with -- a close division that reflects the national debate over the issue.

However, those numbers are greatly changed from the 1970s and '80s, in which fewer than 20 percent of Americans said a person is born homosexual. In a 1977 poll, the number was 13 percent.

Inherent in such polling is institutionalized prejudice and judgment...a preconceived notion that being gay is somehow open to a vote of acceptance. Such polling begins with the premise that being a homosexual is relevant to heterosexuals. In reality, the reverse is far more accurate since society is predominantly heterosexual and judgment is directed from the heterosexual majority towards the homosexual minority. Therefore, the negative impact of sexual preference is born disproportionately by homosexuals...a construct I find detestable.

When I look at the data, one item stands out in its significance...and while its meaning is the result of my own speculation, I think its worth noting and discussing. Note that 56 percent believe that homosexuals cannot change their orientation and that 39 percent believe that it is something an individual is born with. That discordance (as well as the discordance between those who believe homosexuality results from environment) is meaningful and I contend that it is a measurement of judgment and blame...although it is likely the result of religious doctrine.

Let me explain. If one believes sexual preference cannot be changed, then how would a respondent explain answering these two questions differently? The seventeen percent difference (fourteen percent in the case of those who believe it results from environment) requires an explanation and the obvious one is that the conflict is explained in a belief that homosexuality is chosen rather than a trait one possesses at birth. That leads us back to judgment...a belief that gays aren't willing to change...a state of being that would allow one to conclude that the homosexual is electing to sin and ignoring religious doctrine...making them subject to the condemnation of their heterosexual detractors.

The number may also be a measurement of the conflict some heterosexuals are experiencing between what they believe through experience and/or science, and what their religious beliefs tell them they should think about homosexuality. The good news is that it appears that experience and/or science may be winning the battle...even though the reporting still demonstrates the impact and influence of the religious indoctrination.

One might also conclude that the conscience (a mechanism of fairness) is at work and compelling the disparity...meaning that deep down...despite religious beliefs...these respondents know it is wrong to apply judgment though they can't yet compel themselves to fully discard their learned bias.

I'm hopeful that the perceptions will continue to change. At the same time, I cannot help but find it offensive that the sexuality of some Americans is open to the judgments of the remaining Americans. There's something very creepy about that focus.

Daniel DiRito | June 27, 2007 | 6:33 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 26, 2007

The Pendulum Swings: Young Voters Lean Democratic genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Left And Right

When talking about the weather in a number of locales, one often hears the expression, "If you don't like the weather, give it a few minutes and it will change." Politics seems to be a much slower process that is even less predictable...but one thing is certain...the principle of the pendulum will always remain a significant factor. The latest New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll tells us that an inevitable shift may be emerging.

Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll. The poll also found that they are more likely to say the war in Iraq is heading to a successful conclusion.

More than half of Americans between 17 and 29 years old — 54 percent — say they intend to vote for a Democrat for president in 2008. They share with the public at large a negative view of President Bush, who has a 28 percent approval rating with this group, and of the Republican Party. They hold a markedly more positive view of Democrats than they do of Republicans.

At a time when Democrats have made gains after years in which Republicans have dominated Washington, young Americans appear to lean slightly more to the left than the general population: 28 percent described themselves as liberal, compared with 20 percent of the nation at large. And 27 percent called themselves conservative, compared with 32 percent of the general public.

Forty-four percent said they believed that same-sex couples should be permitted to get married, compared with 28 percent of the public at large. They are more likely than their elders to support the legalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.

By a 52 to 36 margin, young Americans say that Democrats, rather than Republicans, come closer to sharing their moral values, while 58 percent said they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party, while 38 percent said they had a favorable view of Republicans.

By any measure, the poll suggests that young Americans are anything but apathetic about the presidential election. Fifty-eight percent said they are paying attention to the campaign. By contrast, at this point in the 2004 presidential campaign, 35 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said they were paying a lot or some attention to the campaign.

It remains to be seen if one of the candidates can capitalize on the traditionally idealistic tenets that this age group is likely to embrace. The poll suggested that there is enthusiasm for universal health care and a liberal immigration policy as well as the legalization of gay marriage. Responders also indicated they would support a woman or a black candidate for president...signs that clearly provide an opportunity for Senator Clinton and Senator Obama.

These voters are also paying far more attention to the upcoming 2008 presidential election than the same age group did in 2004...a very favorable trend for the Democratic nominee. Of potential concern to Democrats is this group’s belief that the war in Iraq will have a favorable outcome.

I'm of the opinion that this should signal Democrats to do more than oppose the war; they need to offer constructive alternatives that may bring a positive end to an otherwise negative situation. While that may be difficult to achieve, it would behoove the Democrats to explore a proposal being offered by Senator Biden whereby Iraq is partitioned into three autonomous political entities with some loosely established national structure.

Such a plan might allow the U.S. to begin withdrawing troops and shifting responsibility for success to the people of Iraq...a plan that might at least provide a more palatable conclusion to the U.S. effort. If implemented, it may solidify independent voter support for the Democratic nominee as well...a key factor to the success of the Democrats in 2006.

Image courtesy of www.thechiefsource.com

Daniel DiRito | June 26, 2007 | 8:36 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 21, 2007

Senate Committee Cuts Abstinence Funds genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Birds And Bees

In a move that is consistent with recent studies, a Senate committee voted to cut funding for controversial abstinence only education which has not proven to be effective. The committee also voted to increase funding for the Ryan White CARE Act.

A Senate Appropriations Subcommittee has cut next year’s budget for controversial programmes that teach abstinence as the only way to practice safe sex.

The programmes have been found to routinely teach medically inaccurate information about contraception and HIV/AIDS and mandate teaching that sex outside of a heterosexual marriage "is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects."

In April 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services released a federally funded report conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. that found that these programmes have no impact.

Youth who participated in them showed no difference in either the age they first had sex or in the number of partners from those who had not participated in an abstinence-only until marriage programmes.

The Senate committee also provides $31 million in additional funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, including $25 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Programme.

The Ryan White CARE Act has suffered in recent years under the direction of the GOP controlled congress and with the insistence on funding abstinence programs by the Bush administration. Faith based groups with little prior experience in sex education and AIDS prevention have taken the lead in many of these programs...often leaving longstanding organizations struggling to maintain important programs with successful results.

Abstinence only programs are also a requirement attached to the Presidents African AIDS initiative. Under that program, a third of all prevention funding is required to be spent on abstinence only programs. As with the U.S. based programs, these programs have not been effective in combating the spread of HIV.

The most recent statistics on combating the spread of AIDS in Africa offer a grim assessment. For every South African initiating lifesaving medications last year, five others were infected with the disease.

Despite President Bush's recent announcement to expand funding to 30 billion dollars, the disease continues to have the upper hand. Hopefully money spent on abstinence programs can soon be directed into other efforts to combat HIV.

Daniel DiRito | June 21, 2007 | 6:49 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 20, 2007

Cyndi Lauper Unveils Hate Crime Video To Benefit HRC genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Video-Philes

Cyndi Lauper is headlining True Colors, a concert tour to benefit the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBT rights. The following video is being aired during the tour and it is intended to make people aware of the need for hate crimes legislation. The Matthew Shepard Act would make hate crimes legislation a reality.

If you would like to support the effort, please go to the HRC site and use their "Take Action" feature to voice your support for the bill to your representatives in Washington.

Daniel DiRito | June 20, 2007 | 5:00 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 17, 2007

Fred "Outta His Mind" Phelps On Surgeon General, Gays genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Fred Phelps, the ass that keeps on giving...is at it again. This time he rails against the powerful gay movement and the fact that they are opposed to the nomination of James Holsinger to be the new Surgeon General. Phelps is a bit comical (if one can say as much) in his ranting at the power gays have in the United States. If you believe his rhetoric,, gays virtually run the government and make all the decisions.

If that's true, then why in the hell haven't we sent Phelps and his flock away for some much needed reprogramming? The bottom line is that Phelps and his family have made a handsome living off of their vile diatribes of hatred.

H/T to Pam's House Blend

Daniel DiRito | June 17, 2007 | 1:25 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 16, 2007

Colbert - The Word: Pathophysiology & Gays genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Stephen Colbert takes on the nomination of James Holsinger to be the new Surgeon General in a new segment of the word titled "Pathophysiology"...a word in the title of a paper Holsinger wrote for the Methodist Church on homosexuality. In that report, Holsinger suggests that homosexuality is unnatural and leads to illness and disease.

Colbert concludes that gays should come with a warning label...something that probably makes more sense to Holsinger than any thoughtful person would care to know.

Thought Theater previously provided a tongue-in-cheek list of the top ten reasons George Bush nominated James Holsinger to be the Surgeon General...which can be found here.

Daniel DiRito | June 16, 2007 | 8:43 AM | link | Comments (0)
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June 14, 2007

Massachusetts Kills Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment genre: Gaylingual

Gay Marriage

The Massachusetts legislature has killed a bill that was designed to begin the process of eliminating gay marriage in the state. The bill would have placed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on the ballot for voter consideration in November of 2008. The defeat keeps intact the 2003 ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that mandated the institution of gay marriages.

From The Human Rights Campaign:

WASHINGTON — Today, during a joint session, Massachusetts lawmakers voted 151 to 45 to defeat a measure that would have placed a discriminatory, anti-marriage constitutional amendment before voters on the November 2008 ballot. The proposed amendment threatened to undo the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s historic 2003 decision making the state the first to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples.

“This proposed constitutional amendment was a misguided attempt to put peoples’ equal rights to a vote. We are grateful that the overwhelming majority of Massachusetts legislators rejected this divisive measure," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Today’s vote is a reaffirmation of Massachusetts’ proud record of choosing equality over discrimination. For the past three years, loving and committed same-sex couples have enjoyed the equal right to marry in Massachusetts. Despite the doomsday predictions of opponents of equality, the sky hasn’t fallen, and no one’s marriage has been threatened. To the contrary, the institution of marriage has been strengthened as same-sex couples and their families have enjoyed the equal rights and protections they deserve under Massachusetts law. The legislature’s action ensures that they will continue to enjoy those equal rights and protections."

The Massachusetts state constitution requires that just one-fourth of elected legislators approve an “initiative amendment" (a proposed constitutional amendment introduced in the legislature by initiative petition signed by a specified number of voters), in consecutive joint legislative sessions before the proposed amendment goes to the voters. Opponents of equality gathered signatures to place the proposed anti-marriage amendment before the legislature by initiative petition. Last January, 62 of the state’s 200 legislators voted in favor of the proposed amendment, which would define marriage “only as the union of one man and one woman." If 50 or more legislators had voted in favor of the proposed amendment today, it would have been placed before the voters on the 2008 ballot.

The vote was always expected to be close and less than a month ago there were concerns opponents of gay marriage may have had the needed votes. In my opinion, the longer residents of Massachusetts live with gay marriage...and realize that it has no real impact on their relationships and their families...the more difficult it will be to overturn. Adding to that rationale is evidence that young voters are overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage...a factor that will increasingly impact the debate as it will behoove politicians to be mindful of public sentiment.

UPDATE:

According to the Boston Globe, opponents of gay marriage will now have to wait until the 2012 election to petition the legislature to allow a similar constitutional amendment. It looks like that will provide some additional time for opposition to wane as well as some much needed breathing room for supporters of gay marriage.

Daniel DiRito | June 14, 2007 | 11:31 AM | link | Comments (0)
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June 13, 2007

Does Where You Go Depend On Where You've Been? genre: Gaylingual & Six Degrees of Speculation & Uncivil Unions

The Maze

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 to replicate the marriage model that is 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 the most recent 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 an old song that has 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. 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?

Daniel DiRito | June 13, 2007 | 10:41 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 12, 2007

The Daily Show: Is Nascar Getting A Little Fruity? genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Samantha Bee brings us another in depth expose...this time on whether Nascar is getting a little too gay. With Garnier Fructis sponsoring a car and offering free makeovers at the track, Samantha thinks Nascar is a little fruitier than we may have assumed.

Daniel DiRito | June 12, 2007 | 7:46 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 11, 2007

Ex-Gay's Call Gays Bigots - That Boat Won't Float genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

Switch

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), an organization opposed to homosexuality...and a copycat of PFLAG, an organization that supports the LGBT community...has voiced its support of President Bush's nominee for Surgeon General, James Holsinger. Holsinger has been involved with efforts to rid individuals of their homosexuality (reparative therapy) and he has written reports arguing that homosexuality is unnatural and leads to illness and disease.

The group accuses gay rights activists and organizations of bigotry because they refuse to endorse the ex-gay movement. Frankly, the story isn't even newsworthy except for the fact that it provides another opportunity to illustrate the hypocrisy that is the hallmark of these ideological fanatics.

From The Christian News Wire:

Ex-gays and Americans who support the right to self-determination of same-sex attraction are routinely ridiculed by the very people who claim to be victims themselves. "Gay activists lobby to be included in tolerance policies, hate crimes and employment non-discrimination legislation, but work hard to deny ex-gays the right to the same treatment," said Regina Griggs, executive director of PFOX. "This demonstrates how far the gay rights movement has moved from self-described victims to proactive perpetrators."

"Ex-gays should not have to be closeted for fear of other's negative reactions or disapproval," Griggs said. "They do not think something is wrong with them because they chose to fulfill their heterosexual potential. We need to ensure the safety, inclusion, and respect of former homosexuals in all realms of society, but especially by the medical and mental health communities starting at the highest levels."

"As a medical doctor, it seems Dr. Holsinger is aware that contrary to distortions by gay activists, no professional medical or mental health associations deny the right of any individual to seek support in resolving unwanted same-sex attractions." Griggs said. "Indeed, these associations adhere to a code of ethics which call for their members to support the client's right of self-determination."

"Americans need to face the growing issue of bigotry perpetrated upon ex-gays and their supporters. Gay activists cannot claim sympathy as victims when they attack ex-gays for political purposes of their own," said Griggs. "Tolerance is not a one-way street. All individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions deserve the right to self-determination and happiness based on their own needs, and not the political inconvenience of others."

Oh yes, they are simply promoting tolerance, happiness, and the "right to self-determination"...so long as one achieves that by denouncing one's homosexuality. In reality, gay organizations and activists oppose gay reparative therapy because it clearly uses religious doctrine against vulnerable individuals…and there is also no credible evidence that it can succeed in the long term. I'll co-opt the kind of lingo used against gays and suggest that, "We hate the sin removers, not the sinners".

Seriously, here's the deal. For years, these wing nuts have accused the gay community of recruiting heterosexuals to become gay...though they haven't provided a valid example of an organization that seeks to do anything of the sort. Truth be told, gay people have no need to recruit others; if someone is gay, they'll know it and, in virtually all instances, they will make their own decision to act upon their orientation. Nonetheless, these religious groups are adept at crafting misleading rhetoric to rally their supporters and suggest that gays have a "militant agenda".

In reality, it is groups like PFOX that recruit gays to denounce their homosexuality by using religious doctrine to guilt gays into undergoing tortured attempts to live heterosexual lives. So the bottom line is they accuse gays of the very thing in which they actively engage...arm twisting recruitment. It comes as no surprise...distortion is a way of life for these holier than thou hypocrites.

As I was thinking about the efforts to convert gays to become heterosexual, I recalled the 2004 presidential election campaign and the way the GOP seized upon John Kerry's comment that "he voted for the funding, before he voted against it". From that utterance forward, they set about portraying Kerry as a flip-flopper.

I guess flip-flopping is acceptable when it has to do with sexual orientation. It seems that these groups are no stranger to the art of nuance...the very concept they used to label and lambaste Kerry...but hey, they only avail themselves of it when it serves their agenda. I guess I just don't understand the rules.

Regardless, I'm afraid I can't support a group whose membership is made up of flip-floppers. I just can't take seriously someone who would say, "I was an active homosexual...before I was no longer one at all". I'm pretty certain this latest "gays are bigots swift boat" is manned by a crew that has donned its share of sailor outfits...but I'm betting it's also a few oars shy of sailing.

Image courtesy of www.waynebeesen.com

Daniel DiRito | June 11, 2007 | 9:25 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 9, 2007

GWB's AIDS Funding: Good News, Bad News genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

HIV Ribbon

The recent announcement that President Bush would seek to increase his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to 30 billion dollars...doubling the prior 15 billion dollar commitment...is by and large a very positive development in the battle to combat the disease. The additional money should provide much needed medication for over a million infected individuals in Africa; doubling the number being treated with life saving drugs.

From WebMD:

The plan enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, which will ultimately decide how heavily to fund it in coming years. It remains unclear what programs Congress would cut to find an additional $15 billion, and the president on Wednesday made no suggestions in that regard.

The president urged Congress to move quickly on a bill reauthorizing the program, though lawmakers won't decide on actual funding levels until next year. Quick action would also allow Bush to leave a mark on the program before leaving office, rather than leaving it to his successor to shape the policy.

The bad news is found in the existing program details...which could well be included in the criteria for the additional funding. Current guidelines require that one third of all prevention funding must go to abstinence only programs...programs that haven't proven to be all that effective in preventing infections in countries where women often lack the autonomy to make their own decisions about sexual relations. Under theses circumstances, the distribution of condoms and thorough sex education seem more practical.

In fact, the recent evidence in Uganda suggests as much...though many of the proponents of abstinence programs disagree. A large number of the groups managing the abstinence programs are faith based organizations that have made their first forays into AIDS relief as a result of the new funding guidelines. No doubt they are motivated by ideological beliefs and financial incentives.

From The Bay Area Reporter:

"We continue to have grave concerns over the misguided restrictions on prevention funding," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. He urged Congress to lift the provision requiring that a third of all prevention funding go to abstinence-only programs "based purely on ideology, instead of proven science-based prevention strategies."

The Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2007 (HR 1713) would do just that by cutting the abstinence requirement. It was introduced by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Christopher Shays (R-Connecticut).

Anyone interested in understanding the people and the organizations behind abstinence funding should read Michael Reynolds article in The Nation titled The Abstinence Gluttons. They are a force to be reckoned with. Reynolds provides an in depth look at Raymond Ruddy, a prime mover in abstinence only programs and a long time supporter of George W. Bush.

Reynolds concludes that without congressional oversight, money will continue to flow into "Ruddy's extended family of antiabortion, anti-condom, anti-gay, abstinence-only Protestant evangelicals and Catholics--a radical consortium that threatens the health of millions." That would be more bad news.

Daniel DiRito | June 9, 2007 | 3:25 PM | link | Comments (0)
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