Friday, April 06, 2007
It's been a good week for the movement.
-The ACLU claimed a victory in Okeechobee, Florida, a small town near the northern edge of the Everglades, where their federal lawsuit forced Okeechobee High School to recognize the Gay-Straight Student Alliance. The school had banned the group as a "sex-based club", saying it violated their abstinence-only policy.
-New Hampshire's state house has approved civil unions for same-sex partners. The bill also provides for New Hampshire to recognize out of state civil unions. If it passes the NH senate, the bill will be presented to Gov. John Lynch.
-Indiana's proposed ban on same-sex marriage failed to make it out of committee, making it unlikely that the ban would face a vote this year. Conservative Hoosiers are tearing their hair out.
-The HRC busted the American Family Association for lying on their site, Stop Thought Crimes, where the AFA claims that there is no current federal hate crime law to which LGBT people can be added. "The federal hate crimes law (18 U.S.C. section 245), covering race, religion, color and national origin, has been on the books since 1969."
-Family Pride, the gay family advocacy group, will be live-blogging beginning tonight during their wait for tickets for this year's White House Easter Egg Roll. Family Pride expects hundreds of LGBT families to take part, doing what parents do best, showing off their kids. It's a beautiful thing.
Show Him The Money
And moving to News Of The Deranged, Tom Cruise is coming to Manhattan next week to host a $100,000 per table fundraiser to benefit a Scientology "New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project", which claims to be able to detoxify cops, firefighters and rescue workers who were exposed to poisons during the World Trade Center rescue. Crazy, right? Even crazier, this bullshit hocus-pocus act has been given hundreds of thousands of dollars by the city, even though experts call the project "medical mumbo-jumbo". Some rescue workers are onboard for the procedure, which involves large doses of niacin and sitting in a sauna for up to five hours, which doctors warn can be very dangerous.
Fairies Can Tie The Knot At Disney
Walt Disney has announced that its Fairy Tale Wedding package will now be available to gay couples, meaning that LGBT folks can stage ceremonies at either U.S. resort or on their cruise line. No word on whether they are changing the name of the wedding package (which starts at $8000), but let's hope they don't. If I got married at Disney, I'd want it to be at Pirates Of The Caribbean. Think of the costume theme! Plus, you'd get to say, "Arrrr do." You're welcome.
I Are The Champion
Yesterday Malcontent announced the winner of this year's March Gayness blogger showdown, and it am me. At first it appeared that I'd won by one vote, which would have been so Bush 2000, but it turns out that voting had closed earlier when I had a bigger lead. So thank you, my gentle, intelligient readers, that was good for a laugh, wasn't it? And thanks again to Malcontent for tipping us to a pile of new gay bloggers. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll just be slipping into my 2007 Daddy Pants.
Morning View - Grand Central Terminal
Thursday, April 05, 2007
If Sanjaya Wins...
Sanjaya having survived last night's show, with Dial Idol correctly picking the bottom three, including this week's reject, Gina, you might be amused by the website If Sanjaya Wins, which is selling t-shirts upon which you can make some sort of pledge to your reaction, should Sanjaya actually win the season. "If Sanjaya wins, I will ...." I can't believe I'm actually paying attention to this. I feel like a middle-schooler. Wait, who put this note in my locker?
More Foreskin Furor
In response to the recent endorsement by the World Health Organization, the New York City Department of Health is also planning to promote circumcision for men at risk for HIV, asking community groups AND gay rights organizations to discuss the procedure with their members. This, despite WHO's own statement that the procedure holds little value for gay men who practice receptive anal sex. About 10% of NYC's gay men are thought to already be infected, with the number as high as 25% in gay neighborhoods like Chelsea. The NY Times article raises the new/old specter of down-low black males, whose circumcision might give protection to black females.
Maybe NYDH's slogan should be "Cut tops, not bottoms." In any case, I'll be very surprised if NYC's black and Hispanic gay men don't raise hell about this campaign, at least until there is some (ahem) hard data proving its worthiness for gay men.
AHF Files Suit Against California
AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed suit against the state of California yesterday, accusing the state of ignoring California law and refusing to provide care for HIV/AIDS patients. You may recall that AHF recently sued Pfizer, claiming that the pharmaceutical giant was promoting unsafe sex via its Viagra advertising. In the latest suit, AHF says that California is being deliberately slow to implement a 2002 law requiring that the state extend Medicaid coverage to HIV+ non-disabled patients statewide. AHF claims that California has failed to extend Medi-Cal coverage to a single new patient covered by the 2002 bill.
The AHF's president, the controversial Michael Weinstein, says, "At the time of its initial passage, I noted that the bill was the most important piece of AIDS legislation in California in a decade. It does absolutely no good to have such visionary legislation if state bureaucrats are unable or unwilling implement it, so we are filing this action to compel California to comply with the law." The AHF suit calls for California to immediately comply with its own legislation and for the court to find that the state has violated the law.
I thought that the AHF was way off-base in its lawsuit against Pfizer, but this latest action is well founded. I'll follow-up here as the case progresses.
Kickin' It With Jay-Z & Ne-Yo
Last night me and my boy Jay-Z was chillin. Kickin it, ya dig? Fo realz! Y u trippin? Meh, I can't even fake hip-hop slang. The real story is I attended a Def Jam release party for Ne-Yo's new record, Because Of You. You may recall Ne-Yo's hit from last year, So Sick. You may recall it, but I don't, however I'm told it was a monster smash. Really, is there anything sillier than a middle-aged white guy attending a hip-hop release party? My "homeboy" Jerry works for the label and he's been dragging me to these things for 20 years. Jerry is good people.
The event took place at Arena, near Times Square, formerly Show, formerly a burlesque house, back when those places clogged 42nd Street. Arena opened in February and is rather nice, with several balconies and seating areas overlooking a medium-sized dance floor and small stage. I believe it's what straight folks call one of them there "bottle clubs". It reminded me of Soho's Element. And unlike most music industry finger food functions, Ne-Yo's party had a proper Southern buffet with fried catfish, mac and cheese, cornbread, and collard greens. After all that food, the open bar didn't seem very appealing, but somehow I soldiered on.
After a couple of hours of us milling around with catfish and beer while listening to Rhianna (also an Island/Def Jam artist), Jay-Z introduced Ne-Yo then immediately bolted through the crowd for the door, pausing for a few autographs and the above photo. Sadly, Beyonce' was not in tow. Ne-Yo didn't perform, exactly, instead the diminutive singer (smaller than Usher!) wandered the stage in an ice-cream suit and fedora, drink in one hand, giving introductions to his tracks as they played. I was a bit surprised at his relatively smooth R&B vocals, even laid over hip-hop beats. He seemed like a sweet kid.
I was amused by two things at the party. First, the non-stop, and I mean NON-STOP usage of Sidekicks and Blackberrys by everybody in the club. You'd think that it would be hard to send text messages while dancing with catfish and a drink. You'd think that, but that would be wrong thinking. Also, the kids today really like their Hennessy and Courvoisier. Sadly, I witnessed no uncorking of Cristal.
After the show, Jerry and I wandered into Times Square, where Jerry insisted we visit the new massive, two-story M&M's store. Seriously, this huge place sells nothing by M&M's and M&M's related swag: t-shirts, coffee mugs, key chains, etc. It's totally depressing. Meeting Jay-Z and Ne-Yo was pretty cool, though. I feel all kinds of, like, down.
Next Wednesday I'll be calling numbers at Will Clark's Porno Bingo at Hell's Kitchen's Ninth Avenue Bistro. The event benefits NYC's Gotham Knights rubgy club, a team that I've actually trekked outer-borough to see, thanks to a few buddies that play for them. Also appearing at Porno Bingo will be gay porn reviewer Vincent Lambert (NSFW). I expect heavy drinking to ensue.
Open Thread Thursday
If you could attend any concert by any band in any year, what would it be? In 1981, my friend and I followed the B-52's around Florida on their Wild Planet tour, seeing them 9 times in about two weeks. I think I'd pick their show at Tampa's Agora Ballroom that year. There are lots of bands I never got to see, but I'd actually take a rerun of that show.
Labels: Open Thread Thursday
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
HomoQuotable - John Waters
"[Divine] was (going to be) the first gay male character, a gay uncle, which could have been hugely successful at the time." - John Waters, revealing that at time of his death in 1988, Divine was about to begin appearing on Married With Children. Interesting news, but despite what the linked article says, wasn't Billy Crystal's character on Soap tv's first regular gay character? Little help out there? I was crushed when Divine died, especially coming at the time of her greatest success in Hairspray, which on some days I call my favorite movie of all time. "She can't hear you!" Still kills me. What was your favorite Divine role?
There Can Be Only One
And at the moment, it ain't me. Voting for ultimate blog Daddyness ends at 8am tomorrow. Thanks again to Malcontent for a silly/fun bit of foolery that led me to some new blogs that will go up on my blogroll shortly. And then we'll get back to serious stuff, like Sanjaya.
ACLU On JMG
With the help of Aaron, I'm still trying to figure out how to use the BlogAds site, but as you may have noticed, JMG now features an ad from the ACLU which asks you to submit your personal LGBT-related job discrimination stories for use in their vital work on behalf of ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Please visit the ACLU site if you feel your story can help in their lobbying efforts. Each month JMG will feature a free ad donated to an LGBT-related progressive cause.
Out Outs Cooper & Foster
Out Magazine is brewing some uncharacteristic controversy by placing not-exactly-out celebrities Jodie Foster and Anderson Cooper on the cover of their Power 50 issue, which ranks "the most powerful gay men and women in America." Cooper ranks #2, Foster #43. The issue hasn't hit the stands yet, but New York Magazine is reporting on the issue, which places David Geffen at #1 and the New York Times "gay mafia" (Richard Berke, Ben Brantley, Frank Bruni, Stuart Elliott, Adam Nagourney, Stefano Tonchi, and Eric Wilson) collectively at #7.
Cooper's gayness is an open secret, but one he has refused to discuss, despite his happiness in posing the same question to his interview subjects. Jodie Foster is known to be in a long term relationship with a woman, with whom she is raising two children. Bloggers make the list too, with Andrew Sullivan at #12, Perez Hilton at #17, and AmericaBLOG's John Aravosis at #19. The biggest surprise on the list is porn director and drag queen Chi Chi Larue at #36. The most puzzling is furniture maker Mitchell Gold at #49.
Queer Superpowers, Unite!
The first meeting of the Queer Justice League will take place at NYC's Gay Community Center on Thursday, April 12th at 7:30pm.
This meeting will be a space for long-term ACT UP members and new young activists to come together and discuss the future of the fight for LGBT equality. If you want to have a voice in the next generation of queer activism, join us! Everyone is welcome. The conversation is also happening online - click here to join our listserv! If you're located outside the New York area, we especially encourage you to share your ideas and opinions through the listserv.The Queer Justice League notes that their name may be changed, which I think is a shame. Think of the costumes! Isn't there already a Gay Avenger or something out there in comic-land?
Visit our blog to read some background on the Queer Justice League* and Larry Kramer's call to action, or check us out on MySpace and join our growing list of friends. Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morning View - IRT Headhouses
There aren't many above-ground subway stations in Manhattan, but these two "headhouses" are my favorites. The top station, on the south side of Broadway and 72nd, was build by George L. Heins in 1904, and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Across the street, a second headhouse was added in 2002, providing crossover between the northbound and southbound tracks. I actually like the new one better, rather atypical for me, but I think they did a fantastic job both reflecting and contrasting the original headhouse.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Alanis Has Funny Humps. And Lumps.
Gay Executions Continue In Iraq
Via Rex Wockner comes word that Outrage!, the UK-based activist group headed by Peter Tatchell, is reporting that gays are continuing to be executed by hit squads in Iraq, with the support and approval of Iraqi clerics. The dead men pictured here were suspected of being gay.
OUTRAGE!: Iraqi lesbians and gays continue to be subjected a systematic reign of terror by Shia death squads. The government of Iraq refuses to crack down on the killers or to take any action to protect its gay citizens. It is a regime that is dominated by Shia fanatics and homophobes,” according to Ali Hili, the coordinator of the humanrights group Iraqi LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).The Outrage! blog lists many example of LGBT Iraqis abducted and murdered. One example: "Sayf, a gay 25-year-old, worked for the Iraqi police as a translator. He was kidnapped in the Al-Adhamya suburb by black masked men in Ministry of Interior security force uniforms who drove a marked police car. Almost certainly they were members of the Badr militia which has infiltrated the Interior Ministry and police. Sayf’s body was found several days later, with his head cut off."
“Supporters of the fundamentalist Sadr and Badr militias boast that they are cleansing Iraq of what they call ‘sexual perverts’. They are open about terrorising gay Iraqis to make them flee the country and murdering those who fail to leave. Their goal is a queer-free, pro-homophobic Iraq. They are dragging our country back to the dark ages,” said the London-based Mr Hili, who is also Middle East spokesperson for the gay human rights group, OutRage!
Some members of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government are linked to the anti-gay death squads. They are the political representatives of the Muqtada al-Sadr movement and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Both these parties have militias, respectively the Mahdi army and the Badr brigades, who are responsible for the execution-style killing of lesbian and gay Iraqis – and the murder of many other Iraqis, including Sunni Muslims, trade unionists, unveiled women, journalists and men wearing shorts, jeans or western-style haircuts.
“The murder of gay Iraqis has the support of highly influential religious leaders, such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. He issued a fatwa in late 2005, calling for the execution of gay people in the ‘most severe way possible’. After international protests, he removed the fatwa from his website, but the fatwa itself has not been
rescinded. It remains in force and is the spiritual sanction for the death squads to murder gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people,” said Mr Hili.
Once we finally do leave Iraq, I fear that these murders will only escalate. Peter Tatchell reports that an underground network of gay Iraqis is helping some evade the hit squads, providing temporay refuge in safe houses. Visit the Outrage! blog for information on how to donate funds to help the Iraqi gay underground pay for this housing and for escape passage to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
Heads-Up On West 28th
Five years ago, when NYC's Eagle opened on West 28th in Chelsea, it was a lonely walk down a crack-head strewn sidewalk to reach the Eagle's front door. Today W.28th is the epicenter of Manhattan nightlife, with a dozen or more major nightclubs popping up in the area over the last few years.
With all that traffic comes a lot more safety, and I've been glad at times to have a dozen security guards eyeballing me from behind their velvet ropes as I head to the end of the block. However, for those visiting the Eagle in traditional leather bar garb, taunts and insults sometimes occur. Yesterday I heard about an incident involving limo drivers waiting outside of mega-titty bar Scores, who verbally assaulted two chaps-wearing guys leaving the Eagle. Things never got past name-calling and staffers at the Eagle have told me that Scores is a great neighbor and that their security has occasionally helped them out. Still, keep your heads up on West 28th.
Un Train Très Rapide
A new French train just broke the speed record for conventional trains, traveling between Paris and Strasbourg at over 350 mph. And I'm just happy when clunky old Amtrak makes it from NYC to DC without breaking down. The manufacturers of the French train were visited by a committee from California who are considering a state-long high speed line from San Diego to Sacramento, with stops in LA and SF. That would be fantastic, but like many, I look at this train and think "terrorism". How can you secure hundreds of miles of track?
China Launches Gay Show
China is launching its first ever gay television program, a weekly internet-only show called Connecting Homosexuals. Gay life has been steadily improving in China, with homosexuality decriminalized in 1997 and no longer considered a mental illness. According to the linked article, the official government stance on gays is called "the three no's". No disapproval, no approval, no promotion. I've heard from friends that a small but boisterous gay club culture is slowly beginning to appear in Beijing, although most places are not 100% gay and tend to show favoritism to Westerners at the door.
Morning View - The Dorilton
The Dorilton, a glamorous Beaux Arts apartment building on the Upper West Side, was built in 1902 to the dismay of critics who derided it as "overblown Parisian ostentation." Today it's one of the hottest addresses on Broadway, featuring 59 apartments, many of which have balustraded balconies with sculptures. Of particular delight is the nine-story arch at the 71st Street entrance, which leads to a massive courtyard. Embiggen for loveliness.
Labels: Morning View
Monday, April 02, 2007
Squeaking by Outsports with a scant 51.6% of the vote, this here website thingy has advanced to the final round of Malcontent's March Gayness, in which JMG is pitted against OMG Blog for ultimate blog Daddyness. Check out OMG Blog, then vote here. There can be only one! Go Gators!
Incest, Kiddie Sex = Gay Marriage
The Archbishop of Italy, Angelo Bagnasco, has compared the current battle in Italy for same-sex marriage to incest and pedophilia, saying, "Why say 'no' to forms of legally recognised co-habitation which create alternatives to the family? Why say 'no' to incest?” Why say 'no' to the pedophile party in Holland?” Italy is preparing for a vote on a civil union type bill for same-sex couples, which activists say falls far short of the "Spanish-style" of gay marriage, now considered the gold standard of Europe. Bagnasco's comments were roundly condemned by top Italian politicians, but the Archbishop was at the baths and not available to clarify his remarks.
Sanchez Investigated By USMC
I promised that I wouldn't write about Matt Sanchez anymore, but I've gotten 50 or so emails in the last 24 hours, wondering why I haven't commented on the USMC investigating him for wrongfully soliciting "deployment funds". From yesterday's Marine Corps Times:
I am so glad that Sanchez says he's "not gay". Even though he says in a Radar interview today that he has enjoyed sex with men, we should be thankful that he is not claiming us. Very thankful.
The Corps on Friday was slated to wrap up an investigation into allegations that a corporal in the Individual Ready Reserve who appeared in gay porn films before enlisting solicited more than $12,000 from private organizations by asking them to fund a deployment to Iraq he never made, according to e-mails from the investigating officer forwarded to Marine Corps Times.
Reserve Col. Charles Jones, a staff judge advocate called to Marine Corps Mobilization Command in Kansas City, Mo., on temporary orders that expire Saturday, informed Reserve Cpl. Matt Sanchez of the allegations against him in a March 22 e-mail that advised Sanchez of his rights.
Jones wrote that Sanchez’s participation in porn films was part of the investigation, but that two of the three allegations against him involved lying “to various people, including but not limited to, representatives of the New York City United War Veterans Council and U-Haul Corporation” about deploying to Iraq at the commandant’s request.
“Specifically, you wrongfully solicited funds to support your purported deployment to Iraq” by coordinating a $300 payment from the UWVC and $12,000 from U-Haul, Jones wrote.
In an interview Thursday with Marine Corps Times, Sanchez said the fund-raising allegations are “demonstrably false” and that he never collected money from either organization.
The Gift That Keeps Giving
Australian news outlets are abuzz with the arrest of a 48-year old man who had regularly been holding HIV "conversion parties" in his Melbourne home. I've heard of such parties in NYC and SF, in which the bizarre, unthinkable, unthinking world of "bug chasers" is celebrated, and HIV-infected men proudly label themselves as "breeders", happily available to give "the gift" to otherwise healthy (but clearly not mentally so) men.
Serosorting, the practice of only having sex with those of the same HIV status, which has been credited with dropping HIV rates in Sydney and around the world, is out of the question for men whose fantasies revolve around the act of getting infected. However, similar to the men who willingly submitted to castration, there is no "un-do" for this one.
Gowns And Harnesses
Yesterday I had a fun lunch with Matt Foreman and his partner, during which Matt told me about having attended the previous night's Night Of 1000 Gowns, and we chatted about the similarities between the Imperial Court and International Mr. Leather pageants. Later in the afternoon, I arrived at the Dugout to find an Imperial Court victory party in progress. Bears, empresses and mayhem ensued. However, I'm still scratching my head over this banner.
Morning View - Tom's Diner
HomoQuotable - Doug Woog
"For the first 10 years, the typical member was 17 to 22 years old. They’d come in saying: ‘I’m gay. My life is over.’ One literally hyperventilated walking through the door. But in recent years, the kids are 14 to 17 and more confident. They say: ‘Hi, I’m gay. How do I meet people?’"- Connecticut-based gay youth counselor Doug Woog, in a NY Times article about a gay youth who came out in sixth grade. The kid's mom: "Coming out was the best thing for him. We ask him, ‘Why didn’t you come out in fifth grade?'"