As we approach the 1-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we reflect that there still has been no legitimate reconstruction effort or justice brought to the people of New Orleans who were displaced and abandoned by our government. We read in the news about the US occupation of Iraq, and the US supported occupation of Palestine and Lebanon. We also reflect on the way that our communities are systematically denied healthcare, housing, education, jobs, and the basic right to live free from fear and violence. The greedy racism that permitted so many deaths in the Gulf region last year continues to plague us in many areas of our lives, here in Boston, and over seas.
The BRPHRDC is calling a citywide organizers meeting to gather our strengths and identify the places we can consolidate and support each other's efforts. Come share how your community is being 'Katrinaized.' What does the war at home look like from your perspective? What are you working on, and what are your challenges? Is there one issue that is worth us all coming together around, without threatening our diversity of issues and experiences? Practically, how can you support other's issues? How would you like to be supported?
For those activists fighting on the front lines, please join us on July 30th, at the Cultural Café on 76 Atherton Street, JP, from 1-6.
Please RSVP by Friday and reflect on the following questions:
* How is your community being 'Katrinaized.'
* What does 'the war at home' look like from your perspective?
* What are you working on?
* What are your challenges?
* Is there one issue that is worth us all coming together around, without threatening our diversity of issues and experiences?
* Practically, how can you support other's issues?
* How would you like to be supported?
The Cultural Café is near the stony brook station on the Orange Line in the AAAMRP building.
Contact Eva at email@example.com for more information or to RSVP.
The Current Crisis
While Israel is sending bombs and missiles over Lebanon and Gaza, the only thing the LGBT press can be concerned with is religious outrage over the presence of the queers at the upcoming World Pride parade. Some orthodox Jews have threatened violence against the parade and many Arab leaders are threatening protests.
There may be threatened violence against World Pride participants, but that is nothing compared to the real violence going on in Gaza and Lebanon. The ferocious attacks on Gaza and Lebanon are supposedly in response to the capture of one Israeli soldier in Gaza and two soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border--making the Israeli operation (sarcastically titled Geshmi haqqeytz "Summer Rain") fly in the face of international law and just about every theologian's "just war" theory.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is clearly, and by his own admission, operating under a principle of collective punishment and has announced publicly that he wants the Palestinians to suffer. So, Israel is targeting a civilian population in retaliation for the kidnapping of soldiers--who are, by the way, clearly military targets.
So much for the bogus definition of "terrorism" being about targeting civilians. We see now what we have known all along: terrorism is anything that those in power don't like, and anything that those in power do is, by definition, not terrorism. Terrorism is not a tactic where civilians are targeted, but any act--legitimate or not--that is against the interests of the US and Israel.
All kinds of horrifying and illegal acts by Israel can be justified by asserting Israel's "right" to defend itself, and yet, few are willing to give Palestinians the same kind of moral leeway when they are asserting their right to resist an illegal occupation.
With all of the death and destruction going on in the Levant, one would think that Muslim leaders in Jerusalem would find something other than World Pride and the presence of queers to flood the streets in protest about. But, like black ministers in the US, they choose to preoccupy themselves and their community with issues like sexuality rather than look at the things that are really oppressing their people. Why don't Muslim leaders in Jerusalem flood the streets in response to Israel's agression against Lebanon and against the Palestinians?
Relevance for Queer People
Queers often side with Israel because Israel is more tolerant towards queer people than Palestinian society. Israel has gay clubs, particularly in Tel-Aviv, and Dana International, a very popular Israeli singer, is an MTF transsexual. In fact, she won the Eurovision competition in 1998 for her song "Diva." And it is absolutely true that sexism and homophobia are prevalent in Arab societies. In fact, many queer Palestinians move to Israel because of the persecution they face among their own people. All of this causes any queer person who stands with the Palestinians in their struggle for human rights to incur harsh criticism from the queer community.
But those who look at it from the simplistic Israel-tolerant/Palestinians-intolerant perspective miss the big picture. In the long run, militarism, imperialism and racism do not help the cause of queer people at all. The policies of the US and Israeli governments have a directly negative effect on the state of queer people in the Middle East.
First, a historical point. The current state of affairs in the Middle East, both in general and in relation to queer rights, is largely due to the legacy of colonialism. We Americans have incredibly short memories and we live in a fantasy world where we believe that things that happened fifty, sixty and a hundred years ago have little to no effect on what happens today. However, the border divisions, the families in charge, the ugly turn of events in Iran in 1979, the state of Iraq, the rise of Osama bin Laden, the relative power of Hamas, etc. all had their origins in short-sighted policies designed by those who wished to rule the region.
This is not to say that those in power now bear no responsibility. But the lion's share of responsibility lies with those who created the conditions for these people to come to power in the first place.
A good example of the deleterious effects of bad policy by major powers is Hamas itself (the fundamentalist party in charge of Palestine now). It is well known that the power of Hamas can at least be partially attributed to Israeli support for Hamas as a counterweight to the secular PLO. And this tactic is nothing new. Israel and the US, in their various adventures during the Cold War, regularly used radical Muslim sects to counteract the power of secular nationalist movements.
Obviously, the proliferation of radical Islamic sects has had a detrimental effect on the political development of resistance to imperialism in the Middle East, and consequently, also has negative repercussions for queer people in the Middle East.
Now, the only resistance to foreign domination of the region tends to take the form of radical, fundamentalist sects. But even Ghandi said that violent resistance was better than no resistance at all--and so, in the absence of a better option, Arabs go with the problematic resistance rather than no resistance at all. And let me be clear: the Palestinians do have an absolute right to resist occupation.
It is particularly galling to hear people talk about how Palestinian queers flee to Israel because of its "liberal" attitude towards queers. Israel is so liberal that 63 percent of even secular Jews oppose World Pride, and orthodox Jews are threatening violence against it!
These same self-professed champions of Palestinian queers leave out that, thanks to Israel's racist policy towards the Palestinians and the virtual lock-down of the West Bank, Palestinian queers are in a very precarious situation when they actually get to Israel.
This is so typical of Western hypocrisy. We will shriek and shout at the outrages to queer people that take place in other countries, and yet we will not re-evaluate or challenge our own countries' racist, discriminatory practices towards immigrants. It makes me think that this "concern" for queer people in other countries is really just racism and another way to portray people of color as barbaric, superstitious and backwards. Of course, these portrayals of Middle Eastern people as incorrigibly homophobic feed into the racism that justifies unscrupulous military action against these "backwards" peoples.
I would be lying if I did not admit that I was horrified by the anti-queer, sexist acts that take place in the Middle East. At the same time, I do not believe that the political state of the Middle East just happened by magic. There is a historical context to this situation, and that history has been dominated by the schemes of the world's great powers. These schemes, collectively known on the left as "imperialism," are the biggest enemy for queer people, for this creates the conditions for homophobia to flourish both in the Third World and in developed countries.
Queer people should look at the dynamics that created the contemporary state of affairs, and the dynamics which continue to perpetuate this state of affairs, instead of looking at superficialities such as whose society is more "tolerant."
Finally, I have been in enough pointless tit-for-tat soundbyte matches with Israel-apologists to last me a lifetime and I will not respond to any such comments here. They will say, "Well, the Palestinians said/did this or that" and I will come back with "Well, Israel said/did this or that." There will be a back and forth about what happened in 1948 so-on and so-forth. Usually the debate degenerates into me defending myself against baseless accusations of anti-Semitism. I have nothing but contempt for this kind of intellectual sloth, and I won't give it the time of day. There is plenty of information in the links provided below and throughout this column, so you can take it or leave it.
Article on Queer Muslims by Yakoub Islam (UK)
Good Primer on the Latest Crisis in Gaza and Lebanon by Phyllis Bennis (US)
Response to the "Palestinians-started-it" copout by Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz (Israel)
General information on the history of the conflict from a pro-Palestinian perspective by Al-Awda (US)
Growing up, I celebrated Israel. Every year I would march with the rest of my synagogue at the Israeli independence day parade in Philadelphia, singing Debbie Friedman songs, and eating falafel. I think the first falafel I ever ate was at an Israeli independence day celebration. Israel, I was told, was my homeland. If anything were to ever happen, another Holocaust, another Inquisition, or even if I were just having a bad day, I could move to Israel and be home. Israel was an incredible place that God had given us, the Chosen people, thousands of years ago that we recently reclaimed. Today, I should be proud to call myself Jewish and love the land that welcomes me.
As I got a little older, I began to get confused. I knew things were not right in Israel. Something was going on there that didn't match up with the wonderful stories of the Promised land, of doves and olives branches and the rainbow that followed the flood. There were other people in Israel who weren't Jewish? Some of them were mad at the Jews? It didn't make sense to me. I knew that Jews had been hated in the past, but it always seemed to be the irrational kind of hate, Hitler-hate. This was different.
People were mad, saying that Jews took their land. But I thought Israel was Jewish land? It didn't make sense to me that other people could be making such a claim and could be so upset about it. Hadn't God granted us this space so that we could be safe and free? I shut my eyes and plugged my ears. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict was too much for me. It had been going on for years, but I don't think I'd even heard of a Palestinian until high school. Suddenly, there was something called an intifada and people were talking. People looked to me for my opinion. What did I think of the Oslo Accords? How about that trip to Camp David? It was too much for me. I couldn't keep track of it all. I felt like I had fallen behind in an ever-evolving information race that I hadn't even seen the start of and there was no chance of ever catching up. Sooner or later, it would resolve itself and I wouldn't have to worry.
At one point, my parents went to Israel to see some of our family there. When they came back, they gave both my older brother and me green sweaters with a little tag for the Israeli army on it. My older brother refused to wear it. He didn't explain why and I got a quick hand-me-down. One day, I was wearing the sweater my freshman year of college. I ran into a friend, Nikoo, an Iranian transplant to Tennessee with an accent and eccentricity that made me smile. She asked me what my sweater said, and I casually told her it was the Israeli army. Her eyes got big and she quickly turned around to check out the Kit-Kats behind her. Not totally sure why, I put the sweater away and never wore it again. Middle Eastern politics were too complex for me.
I became involved in politics in other ways. I Marched for Women's Lives in D.C. I rallied for a living wage for the janitors at college. I worked the polls for a progressive, gay state representative. I organized and participated in interracial discussions on campus. I planned a summit on dating violence for high school students. I spoke to over 1,000 people about my experiences as a queer person. Politics became my life. But still I stayed clear of "the conflict." Suddenly, I found myself a month away from my Birthright trip. I jokingly told everyone that I was going on a "10 day zionist propaganda whirlwind tour of Israel." To prepare myself for the trip, I bought a couple books and did a little research online. By now, most of my politics had already been fairly cemented, although my Palestinian/Israeli conflicts were more like cookie dough, only not as sweet. I was a radical leftist, through and through. I wanted to smash capitalism. Dismantle patriarchy. Uproot racism. Explode queerphobia. Undo colonialism...
I realized that I was not a zionist. While I had had a hunch for a long time about my politics regarding Israel, it wasn't until recently that I really began to understand my own feelings on the issues. As I talked to people about their opinions, I found myself further and further to the left. I was surprised at how some of my friends were spouting off right-wing ideology that could have come from Bush or Rumsfield, yet they were talking about Israel. I didn't understand. I thought these Jewish friends of mine were liberals. Why was I standing all alone?
Without too much more time to research, I was soon in JFK airport with 39 other Jews, aged 22-26, ready to explore Israel. Social anxiety aside, I was nervous. Would there be a space for Jewish dissent? Would this group be interested in dialogue? Did they know that "Torah is a conversation?" While I'm proud to say that a good number of people in the group were interested in discussion, I'm sad to say that most, including the leaders, were not. Over the course of the trip, racist propaganda was continually the focus of our education. From the erasure of any sort of Arab narrative, to the most simple of racist statements, Birthright did nothing but cohere my anti-zionist politics. Questions were not allowed. Dialogue was shut down. I was nervous to show my books to most people, afraid they would be burned.
For some reason, I feel as if I should feel more conflicted about the whole thing. It's like there's a part of me that thinks I should feel bad for my politics, like I've disappointed someone, possibly myself. But I'm not conflicted. I haven't disappointed myself. I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of my dissent. I realize that I'm just beginning to get a taste for what's to come as I continue down the path of education. I can't say that the opinions I have now will always be the exact same opinions I'll have in twenty years, or even next week. If I don't change my mind, it means I've stopped thinking. But I know that I'll take the Jewish values of b'tzelem elohim and v'ahavta l'reacha kamocah with me. I know that we are all made in the image of God and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. I look forward to the day when I can again celebrate the holy land.
- Victory! Planned Parenthood League of MA announced that the Legislature overrode Romney's veto of funding for family planning services. A portion of the funding will be used to create a new emergency contraception hotline to coincide with the new Emergency Contraception Law. Tell-a-friend!
- Action Alert! PETA is reporting that tens of thousands of monkeys are being imported into the United States to be used for cruel and unnecessary experiments. The importation of these monkeys, who often carry diseases, puts both humans and animals in our country at risk. Act Now!
- Two gay men have been beaten to death in the Boston area in the past several months. Police are investigating if there is a link. Read more.
- The International Longetivity Center has released an incredibly comprehensive report on Ageism in America (pdf) and what you can do to fight it.
- Good News: Joe Lieberman (endorsed by HRC) is trailing his anti-war, pro-gay opponent Ned Lamont in the polls for the first time. Meanwhile, Daily Kos argues (with math and charts!) that Lamont can't win the general election.
MASS RESISTANCE E-mail: July 20, 2006
In this email update:
1. Three huge defeats (VICTORY IS OURS!) in House override votes yesterday. "Good" reps cave in left and right!
* One temporary win: We won the "gay commission" vote. (The ONLY Romney veto sustained!) But they forced a reconsideration vote, and key reps caved in and we lost!
* During debate: Rep. Philip Travis was the only hero in a building of cowards. No one else would speak up.
* This afternoon the fourth gay funding item will be taken up. Don't hold your breath. And starting today, they all go to the Senate for override votes there.
2. This should have been won. What should MassResistance do from here?
=== 1. Three huge defeats in House override votes yesterday. "Good" reps cave in left and right! ===
[As you know: Last month, the Legislature slipped three items into the Massachusetts 2007 state budget that would increase the taxpayer money for homosexual programs in the public schools to around $2,000,000! (This figure, like the others, is totally wrong. They are assuming all of the suicide prevention money is going to LGBT related work) And a fourth item that would create a second, super-charged "Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth" made up of gay activists that could spend that money in your schools. Luckily, we persuaded Gov. Romney to veto just about all of it.]
Yesterday the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to override three of the four vetoes by Gov. Romney on huge funding increases in the public schools, and a new, very powerful and independent "Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth." (The fourth vote will probably take place today.)
It was a disgraceful scene. Even though we had personally visited the offices of all of them at least three times with the Little Black Book and other hideous horrors paid for with taxpayer money, many of the state reps we had counted on simply caved in. All of the others, except for Rep. Phil Travis (D-Rohoboth), refused to enter into the debate when it came up.
Each of these items needed at least a third of the votes present to sustain the veto. Here's what happened:
Click here to see how each rep voted on each item.
Vote on Item 4513-1130 (Dept. of Public Health).
They took this up first, about 4:35 pm. This was the budget item where the gays had stashed over a million dollars in open-ended funding. This one got steamrolled 133-21. I couldn't believe that so many of "our" reps would not vote to stop this.
Vote on Item 4590-0250 (Dept. of Education)
They took this up next, about 5:00. This gave the homosexual lobby another $100,000 directly for programs targeted at children in the schools. We came VERY close on this -- 104 to 50. But you'll see that a lot of so-called pro-family reps in groups 1 and 2 would not vote for us on this.
Vote on Section 4 - Commission of Gay and Lesbian Youth
This came next about 5:15, and it's where the real fireworks took place. This creates your biggest nightmare -- a new official Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth that's independent of all outside control, selected by specifically named homosexual groups, which has the power to influence all other state agencies, and can raise and spend its own money in addition to the millions it will get. It is the homosexual movement's dream. (Actually it is not enough!)
Before the vote, Rep. Philip Travis (D-Rehoboth) stood up and spoke. He gave a very reasoned argument that this was not good public policy. Then immediately, Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield) came to the podium. She literally started screaming at Travis, calling him a bigot and a hater, (which he is, and so is anyone who signs the marriage petition in P-Town!) and said that as a lesbian she knows better than anyone else the need for this commission. It was an unbelievable, angry, emotional rant. Travis got back up and said he felt she was out of order making personal remarks. (What are personal remarks?)
Then the vote came. It was 99-52! We had won -- they didn't get the two-thirds. There was an immediate uproar in the hall, and the acting chairman (Rep. Paul Donato) had to gavel it quiet. (This was the only one of Romney's 200 vetoes that had won a vote.)
Suddenly Rep. Liz Malia (D-Boston), a self-identified lesbian, (I'm so glad your not just name calling Brian, you'd never do that!) moved for a reconsideration vote. There was more uproar in the hall, which continued for a few minutes. Then the chairman called a recess until 6:00 pm.
We're told by longtime observers that this is what the leadership does when they lose a key vote. They immediately call for a reconsideration vote, then get a recess and use that time to strong-arm enough reps to get the votes they need to prevail. And that's clearly what happened this time.
Around 6:10 they finally got back into session. They took a quorum roll-call. Someone demanded a roll-call vote on the request for reconsideration, so they took that (which won 122-25).
Then Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset), a reliable gay supporter, got up and spoke, attempting to refute Rep. Travis' arguments. Then Rep. Marie St. Fleur (D-Boston) also got up and gave an emotional speech about the need for an "independent" gay commission. It was horrible to listen to. After that, Rep. Travis got up and gave another fairly eloquent speech, pointing out that if this so important it should be a real bill with a public hearing, not just slithered into the budget where it can be voted in quickly without proper public evaluation.
[Note - we now have all this on video. We may post it just so you can see it for yourself!]
Then the vote came. It was 104-44. We had lost. They had strong-armed the votes they needed.
Here are the reps who supported us the first time, then caved in. These people are disgraceful sellouts. (Maybe they need to hear from you): (They will receive a big thank you from me! I'm going to make packets!)
Rep. David Flynn - simply didn't vote the second time.
Rep. Thomas Kennedy - switched his vote.
Rep. Joyce Spiliotis - switched her vote.
Rep. Jennifer Callahan - switched her vote.
Rep. Robert Koczera - switched his vote.
Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty - didn't vote the second time.
Rep. Stephen Tobin - switched his vote.
Rep. James Welch - switched his vote.
Rep. Angelo Scaccia - didn't vote the second time.
Interestingly, on the other side, Rep. David Nangle didn't vote the second time, and Rep. Christopher Fallon (in group 3!) voted with us the second time after voting against us the first time (we can't explain that).
What really hurts is Joyce Spiliot is selling out. (awww Bri Bri had his feelings hurt)You may remember back in 2004, we put TREMENDOUS energy into her state rep campaign when a lesbian activist (Gasp! A Lesbian activist!) was challenging her in the primary. What a traitor! What also hurt us (You sure are sensitive Brian) was Rep. Emile Goguen's absence from all the votes. We spoke to him last evening - he said he had an important meeting with public officials he couldn't miss, didn't know those votes would be taken then, and said he felt very bad. He's a good guy. (I am sure he loves the stamp of approval from Article Hate)
NOTICE that in that entire building, only Rep. Philip Travis -- a DEMOCRAT (Can you believe it! A bigotted democrat?!) -- had the guts to get up and speak for what's right. All the other "good" (Hate gays, good. Love gays, Bad) reps just sat on their hands. And what about the Republicans? Good question. (Umm.. did you just say that your own rhetorical question was a good one? Wow Brian. Wow.)Rep. Travis is not running again this year, and will be missed. (by who?)
Vote on Item 7020-0005 (Dept. of Education)
Will probably happen today. It's another $150,000 directly to the homosexual activists for programs in the schools. I'm not holding my breath on this.
Today or tomorrow, the Senate will take up these override votes. As of now, that bunch is even more in the tank than the House. It would take a miracle to stop it there.
I am very proud of the people who took time out of their summer to go down to the State House and personally go to every office in our groups 1 and 2. They made their staffs actually look at the gory details of what's really being given to schoolchildren, and most of them were truly shocked and even disgusted. In many cases, our people got to talk to reps personally. (who are your peeps anyways?)
It's too bad that too many of these "good" reps let us down. We had been "told" (not to be confused with just plain old being told without quotation marks) by so many staff members that they "were with us" but it now seems a lot of that was just lip service. (OMG! Brian, it was totally you! It all makes sense. You're the guy from the glory hole! Your lip service was fabulous honey!) In the end, too many good people caved in to the homosexual lobby. (not to be confused with the lesbian lobby, queer lobby, bisexual or trans lobby - the homosexual lobby is sure to have sex all over the state house.)
And Unfortunately, I don't think there were enough of us, especially from the districts, who got engaged in this. We "showed" the reps, but we didn't make them "believe" that a lot of people were particularly angry. Until we can do that, we won't turn the corner.
Click here to see how each rep voted on each item.
http://www.MassResistance.com/veto/house_vote.html (Excellent resource for our side as well!)
=== 2. This should have been won. What should MassResistance do from here? === (Keep being crazy it works out really well for us!)
Back on January 31, four hundred people braved the winter weather to come to the State House and testify against H1641, a bill which would require teaching of homosexuality in schools as a requirement to graduate. Many people stayed until 9:00 pm waiting their turn to speak. As a result, we were able to get the bill killed in committee, even though its passage was a major goal of Planned Parenthood for 2006.
But over the past several days, despite pleas via email and with phone calls But these budget items passed yesterday are many, many times worse in their overall effect.only about a dozen people were willing to go to the State House and make their case. Most were mothers with school-aged kids. Two were teachers. One was a 14-year-old boy who came because of the homosexual agenda in his school. (A fourteen year old boy came because of the homosexual agenda? Hot!) A lot of people just plain turned us down (Oh Brian, I'm sure your used to that you big bottom!) - too busy.
We also hand-sent nearly 1000 emails to selected people in the districts of all the reps we felt we needed to target, with their office and home numbers. Our sense now is that only a small percentage of those people did anything with that. What's going on? (They think your crazy Brian and Amy, and they don't fucking care!)
In all, we calculate that a core group of about 80 people did the bulk work in this past week's effort. Eighty people isn't going to win any revolution. (Given that your numbers are always exaggerated by about 10 I'm guessing you are referring to 8 people including the fourteen year old boy who came for you.)
I guess what shocked me in this recent crucial fight was the apparent lack of anger, and the lack of any sense of urgency or distress, among the vast majority of people who receive this email. (maybe it is not so crucial after all?) Maybe a lot of people just don't want to believe that these things that were just passed will homosexualize the schools in a way that you cannot imagine (Can you enlighten me? How?), and it will effect states beyond Massachusetts. Well, believe it! I am baffled (as usual!) that so many people we contacted were so disinterested. It was eerie. It's as if the David Parker incident, or the Little Black Book, or "King and King, or any of the any many, many other things we have reported had never happened.
I've written about perseverance and my belief that this can be won with the right kind of attitude and dedication. But I'll be honest with you. If you don't care about this, why should I? (That my friend is an excellent question to ask yourself. Why should you?!)
There are two very clear schools of thought among pro-family groups on how this terrible battle should be waged. One is that we need to be polite and non-confrontational, and appear as moderate, loving, etc. The other is that we must demand our rights as citizens, and not taking no for an answer, even if it means being rude once in a while. I think you know which camp MassResistance is in. But far too many people are in the other camp. (The movie camp is so cute, you should rent it!)
From here, there are only two directions for a group like MassResistance. We can spend the next few months building up the organization to a great level, raise lots of money, and confront Legislature, state government, and the gay lobby head-on. Or we can fold. (but if you fold who will everyone laugh at?) There really is no in-between. Among other things, the gay lobby is raising enormous money and plans to use it to get even more seats in the Legislature this November. Should someone be there to counter them? (oh, what's the use?)
Right now, I'm sorry to say this but I don't have a lot of confidence that enough of the people who read this are committed to fighting back. (Brian begins to lose his marbles) I'm not sure what to do. (going) Is it worth continuing? This past week was not particularly enjoyable, to say the least. (going) Should we just concede all this and more to the homosexual movement? (gone!) How many of you are personally willing to do things? (The same 8 people as usual Brian, it's still them) We need to make some decisions quickly. If you have any thoughts on this, feel free to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael screamed at me on the phone, and repeated my name - Mark Snyder - before and after each of his sentences while I remained calm and tried to explain why I was concerned. He kept asking me questions like "why does it matter if I am gay, can't straight people say faggotry?" To which I responded over and over, yes straight people can say faggotry but not if they are using it against our community, I was simply calling to clarify how you were using the word." I even used examples of how to use the word faggotry in a positive and humorous way in the style of Margaret Cho. Michael only responded with anger and twisted my words around Tucker Carlson style because he was wrong.
The Original Review from the Weekly Dig:
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL DELIRIUMGENRE INTERNATIONAL CLUSTERFUCK VERDICT DEAR WORLD: CAN WE STOP MAKING THE WORST THINGS EVER THE MOST POPULAR THINGS EVER, PLEASE? LABEL CIRQUE DU SOLEIL MUSIQUE RELEASE 6.20.06 CIRQUEDUSOLEIL.COM
Ever wonder what drives the members of Cirque du Soleil to fling themselves headlong toward death day after day? I used to. Then this heap of cosmic global faggotry showed up and taught me to vomit in 15 different languages. If this is world music, I have a newly piqued interest in the space program. [MICHAEL BRODEUR]
Excerpt from our phone call:
Me: You hated the album right?
Him: Yes it was awful and full of faggotry Mark Snyder!
Me: So faggotry is a bad thing?
Him: Mark Snyder I didn't say that
Me: Are you perhaps ashamed of your own faggotry?
Him: Listen to me Mark Snyder (anger anger anger yelling yelling yelling)
Me: (calmly) It is about how you used the word as a negative Michael....
So Michael, here are some new examples for you:
Good: Wow! That dress is a frenzy of cosmic faggotry! I love it!
Bad: Wow that dress is hideous, it's like total faggotry!
Good: This year's pride parade was an explosion of fabulous faggotry!
Bad: This year's pride parade was a disgusting display of faggotry!
And look! LeftCenterLeft has had their own little run in with a bad review using the word faggotry!
Michael still does not understand why I called even after I explained it to him a million times. If you're going to use the word faggotry, use it as a compliment. Otherwise it will be interpreted as homophobia. Simple.... right? It is not using the word, it is how you use the word that is important right? No, Michael continues to twist and distort our conversation in this week's issue of the Weekly Dig.
The folks at the weekly dig use words like faggotry to give them edginess....to make them feel more hip than everyone else. The trouble is, they repeatedly use the words without any sense or cultural competency to back themselves up.
MEANWHILE: A Boston radio host has been kicked off the air for his own little fag remark.
Very rarely make comments about my private life.
But today, as I'm about to begin 6 months in the studio to record what I hope to be the best record of my career, I feel an overwhelming gratitude for the past 10 years of being a performer. Most recently, I've been moving toward a career that is more closely aligned with 'art' than it is 'commerce'. And in keeping on this trajectory - I have become increasingly more emotionally authentic in my music, writing and my relationship to my audience. As so many of you have given me your heart and soul over the past 10 years I thought it only fitting that I too return the respect and inform you of the most significant event in my life.
On June 19th 2006 I married my boyfriend of two years, Richard, in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London.
I can honestly say it was the happiest day of my life.
I feel lucky to live in an era where my relationship can be considered legally legitimate and I commend the UK Government for embracing this very basic Civil Liberty.
I'm proud of who I am, and after what felt like an eternity, I'm finally in a place where my heart is secure and content. And I can finally make sense of all of the searching.
I still maintain the belief that families and relationships are not commodities to be sold off for public consumption. In this regard, I am and will continue to be a public person with a private life.
I have always written songs about human relationships and our journey in life. I've never felt the need to differentiate or speak to a specific part of society. This hasn't changed. I will continue to write songs for everybody and hope that the feelings and thoughts I sing about are universal. Today, as I get on a plane to return to London, my head will be filled with all the future possibilities that I hope to explore musically.
To the people who buy my records, come to my shows and demonstrate on a daily basis their love and support for me and what I do: thank you.
Your overwhelming message to me lately seems to be that you are just glad that I am happy. For this, I am eternally grateful.
To my Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother - thanks for always being so cool and loving me unconditionally.
With love and respect always
Writer: Phillip J. Bartell & Q. Allan Brocka
Director: Phillip J. Bartell
Emily Brooke Hands
When my roommate gleefully told me that he had scored us tickets to go see Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds (the sequel to Q. Allan Brocka’s Eating Out) at Outfest this weekend, my heart skipped a beat. I mean, who doesn’t get palpitations over the idea of fag hags, former American Idol contestants and hot, sweaty, possibly naked men in a raunchy sex comedy?
I will admit that I had my doubts about the film. The first Eating Out was far from spectacular but had its moments - it was your classic, cheesy gay sex comedy and it somehow gained an amazingly large cult following. The great news though, is that Sloppy Seconds is ultimately the best kind of sequel – it is funnier, smarter and a million times better than the original.
In Sloppy Seconds we rejoin Kyle (American Idol’s Jim Verraros) who after a tragic break-up with ex-boyfriend Marc (Brett Chukerman replacing Ryan Carnes from the original film) has his eyes set on the school’s new, sexually confused nude model, Troy (an incredibly smoldering Marco Dapper), whose Southern accent and impressive “still life” have Marc and Kyle both creaming themselves.
Taking totally different strategies to catch them a chatch - Marc helps Troy explore his sexuality with the help of his gay man obsessed fag hag, Gwen (Emily Brooke Hands) while Kyle pretends to be and ex-gay by faking a relationship with the slunty (no, I spelt it correctly) Tiffani (Rebekah Kochan) in order to attend meetings with Troy to help him cope with his desire to be straight (and get him in bed in the process).
The plot is strikingly similar to the first film’s but the cast really steps it up a notch to make the jokes hit harder and the sex feel sexier. Brooke Hands and Kochan reprise their roles with such nasty humor that it is hard not to love these nasty, bitchy women. Dapper, in his first feature to date, really steals the show as the vulnerable and sensitive model looking for some truth to his internal struggles and someone to help him through them. He also has a temendously nice body of which you get to see every nook and cranny.
My favorite part of the film comes when Troy and Kyle attend the ex-gay group meeting. This group of obviously gay men and one gothy lesbian play so well together – you will fall off your chair as the men grasp at every juicy detail of their ex-lesbian friend describes giving her first blowjob. And Jim Verraros’ lesson on eating pussy will make you think twice the next time someone offers to shake your hand.
All in all, Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds is a sex romp that you won’t soon forget. It tops (or bottoms) the first by far and the cast will have you falling on the floor. Go see it. And visit their myspace www.myspace.com/eatingout2 to watch the trailer.
QueerToday: Welcome to QueerToday.com, and thank you for doing this interview! We are very excited about your initiative to bring a queer night into the boston nightlife scene!
QueerToday: What is your name and your role at Bent?
BENT: My name is lily and I organized and manage BENT.
QueerToday: Who's idea was BENT?
BENT: i was approached by a booker looking for information about the gay scene in boston. he was interested in starting a lesbian night at the middle east downstairs and i thought we should make it 'queer' and all inclusive.
QueerToday: That's fabulous! You had an opening night recently. How was that?
BENT: It was better than I imagined. We had a huge crowd and Bad Jamie really rocked. It was awesome!
QueerToday: I think a lot of people are hungry for a queer night out in Boston. What kind of atmosphere, and music can a person expect at BENT?
BENT: The DJs spin your favorite queercore, indie, dance rock, and new wave music. Its a lot different than the other gay nights in boston who play hip hop and techno. the bands that play at BENT are all really quality rock bands with amazing stage presence. expect to have fun.
QueerToday: For those who are not familiar, what is queercore?
BENT: It is a genre of music, mainly queer punk. The Pansy Division, L7, Tribe 8, and The Haggard are examples of some queercore bands.
QueerToday: So each night there is a band performance, and also DJ's?
BENT: Yeah! It is a really good time.
QueerToday: What kinds of outreach have you been doing to spread the word about BENT?
BENT: We have flyers all around Boston and surrounding areas. We also did some internet promotion.
QueerToday: It is really great that the night is 18+, places are becoming increasingly strict about age. Now, the question everybody wants to know: how much is the entrance fee?
BENT: Entrance is 10 bucks at the door. I know that really sucks, but its the Middle East Downstairs! Getting queers into a famous club like that is a big deal. Once you're in, the drinks are cheaper than a lot of other clubs. Its totally worth it.
QueerToday: Great! Is there anything else you'd like to share with the QueerToday.com activist community?
BENT: I just want them to know that BENT is totally worth it. There is so much queer talent in this town and barely any outlets for them to play. Seeing these queer bands at the Middle East Downstairs is amazing! Hopefully the tides will change here in Boston with the gay scene. We need to get back to our punk roots, especially during this day and age when we have to deal with these adoption and marriage issues. We all need to band together and be queer. Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transfolk.... we need to unite and become one. and of course, dance! Thank you so much!
BENT is 18+, $10, Thursdays @ MiddleEast in Central Square. View the BENT MySpace!
Shocking! Warning! What you are about to read is sick and depraved!
What's next, cows sodomizing each other?
The leaders of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition surely had something to do with the transsexual cows that have invaded the streets of Boston. (Thank God I live in Acton!)These cows have BOTH horns AND utters! I can't help but think of that Peid Peiper of gay rights over at BAGLY or the sick and repulsive folks who run GenderCrash or the "trannybois" at the DykeMarch, everytime I am confronted by one of these images of depravery! Nevermind the fact that there are many species of cows that have both utters and horns, I am confident Macy's and the homosexual/transsexual lobby had something to do with this! Boston should do what most farmers do - cut the horns from the female bovines! Clearly this is another example of Government Sponsored Endangerment of Youth, and the rampant sexual identity confusion amongst the gay community. Are you surprised that Mayor Menino supports the transsexual cows 100%? You shouldn't be!
This short film ran at the Sundance Film Festival,and was quickly slapped with a cease and desist order from the legal department of Sesame Workshop.
This popular youtube film parodies Brokeback Mountain with Bert & Ernie.
This is good for our side because it buys us some time--and we need it badly. From my observations of the rally at the State House, I have come to believe that the message of the pro-same-sex marriage side needs a complete overhaul.
The slogan, "let the people vote," regardless of how disingenuous and cynical it is, is actually powerful and, at least according to several people on our side, is swaying many legislators. Politicians, always ready to find a mushy-middle instead of actually growing a backbone and taking a stand, are hiding behind sentiments like, "Well, I support same-sex marriage, but I think we should let the people vote..." We have to convince legislators that the more democratic thing to do is to defeat this amendment by any parliamentary means necessary. This will require that our side take out this "let the people vote" foolishness head on, point out how hypocritical it is, and continue to condemn the abominable idea that people's civil rights should be subject to a vote (and "voting" does NOT, I repeat NOT, equal democracy--especially in America).
Isn't it strange that we live in a country where the popular vote doesn't even decide who the President of the United States is and then, all of a sudden, when it comes same-sex marriage, people are tripping over themselves to "let the people vote?"
Do not let other issues usurp the importance of this legislation, the lives of youth are at stake. After you contact your legislators (TakeMassAction has the details) about keeping schools safe for LGBT youth, head over to bagly.org and make a donation to the oldest youth-led LGBT organization in the country.
The political dynamics behind this particular assault on the queer community have implications that go far beyond queer rights or the so-called "culture wars." There are three main reasons that I think a united front with more conservative LGBT advocacy organizations is appropriate:
1. We cannot sit idly by as theocrats claim that our civil rights can be subject to the whims of an election.
In America, many bigoted and discriminatory practices have been justified by appeals to "democracy," "majority rule" and resistance to "tyranny." The anti-gay lobby in this country is no different and they find themselves in a long line of hateful ideologues who use populist rhetoric to legitimize injustice and discrimination.
In addition, the American electorate is not representative of the American people. Of course, it is well known that most Americans do not vote--especially in local elections. The electorate also tends to be wealthier than the population as a whole and numerous people in this country are not even eligible to vote due to disenfranchisement (felony records, for instance, disporportionately disenfranchise black and Latino communities). We know that the 2000 election was stolen and there is reason to suspect that the 2004 election was also stolen. To say that voting is an expression of "democracy," especially in this country, is disingenuous.
No one here would argue that voting is not an important aspect of any democratic society. But no one's civil rights and freedoms should be subject to something as fundamentally flawed as voting. We fear our civil rights being subject to a vote not because we fear the will of the people, but because we know how elections and the political system in this country are used to circumvent the will of the people.
Elections and voting in America are about money, obfuscation and propaganda--not truth and democracy. If the question of same-sex marriage gets put on a ballot, we can expect a lot of misleading, deceitful, and demoagogic thirty second ads and soundbytes from those who wish to use the State to punish queer people for their non-conformity. We should fight very hard so that we are not in a position to be "swift-boated" by the Christian Right.
2. We have no illusions about the judiciary in America, yet we must defend an independent judiciary against assaults by the right-wing.
The attacks on the judicial branch and the maligning of them as "activist judges" are particularly insidious at time in which the President believes he should be able to do anything and everything in the name of his so-called "war on terror." The courts are one way in which the President's attempts to roll back civil liberties can be checked. But the attacks on the judicial branch by the right-wing play right into the hands of an Administration that seeks to erode civil liberties and act with impunity.
At the same time, we must also recognize that the judicial branch is conservative and more often than not makes the wrong decisions. We cannot rely on the courts or the law to provide us with our civil rights. We must make consistent and compelling moral, social and political arguments for our cause. This is something that we, as queer people, and our allies can do only in the context of a mass social movement. Even appeals to "activist judges" require an appropriate political context in order to be successful.
3. They don't really care about democracy.
Let's face it. "The people" cannot vote on things that have a far greater impact on their real life than same-sex marriage ever could. For example, "the people" cannot decide whether or not to bring the troops back from Iraq. "The people" can't even decide whether or not they want a Wal-Mart in their community because corporations supposedly have "rights." No one on the Christian Right ever suggests that people should have more control over important political decisions, except when they want to whip up bigotry to deny people their civil liberties.
Their selective "concern" for the people is dangerous and reminiscent of other authoritarian political movements that stir up mass support for bigotry and discrimnation while allowing for the erosion of democracy and freedom in other areas.
In sum, though we criticize the prioritization of same-sex marriage within the movement, we should recognize the importance of defeating the Christian Right in this battle. We are not just defending our community from attack, but stopping the Right from a major attack on the judiciary, democracy and civil rights. Be sure to contact your legislator and show up at the State House on Wednesday to show your support for our community!
Now is the time to contact your legislators! The legislator is scheduled to vote on Wednesday. The anti-same sex marriage amendment is #20 on the agenda. Legislators could maneuver in such a way to avoid a vote by timing out, not providing a quorum, and other strategies. As of now the vote looks like it is going to be extremely close with us on the losing side, so please take the time to contact your legislators.
"Conclusion. There was no error in the Attorney General's certification of the petition. We remand the case to the county court for entry of a judgment declaring that the Attorney General's certification of the petition is in compliance with the requirements of art. "
I found the following quotes interesting. I'm not sure, but are they trying to say GLAD could have argued this better and won?
"There is no Massachusetts precedent discussing, or deciding, whether the initiative procedure may be used to add a constitutional provision that purposefully discriminates against an oppressed and disfavored minority of our citizens in direct contravention of the principles of liberty and equality protected by art. 1 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. This basis for noncertification was not argued to the Attorney General when he considered validity of the initiative, nor has it been raised by any of the parties in their briefs."
"The parties have argued this case solely on the meaning of the word "reverse" in the context of the debates that took place during the adoption of the initiative process for constitutional amendments. Although the matter is not free from some doubt, I agree that the word "reverse" has a meaning that differs from the word "overrule.."
MassMarrier thinks this hints at future legal action.
More hints of future action:
"We may then give careful consideration, in view of what has been said above, to the legal tenability and implications of embodying a provision into our Constitution that would look so starkly out of place in the Adams Constitution, when compared with the document's elegantly stated, and constitutionally defined, protections of liberty, equality, tolerance, and the access of all citizens to equal rights and benefits."
"If the initiative is approved by the Legislature and ultimately adopted, there will be time enough, if an appropriate lawsuit is brought, for this court to resolve the question whether our Constitution can be home to provisions that are apparently mutually inconsistent and irreconcilable,"
Dear Tyler Dawbin,
Congrats on beating Article Hate to the punch by posting your Pride Photos so promptly. I do enjoy them very much! Aren't they fabulous? We sure do need to keep the art of drag and protest alive, don't we?!
So Tyler, something has been on my mind... What is it? Why are you so obsessed with us? Why do you chase us down and take thousands of photos of us? Why do you attend all of our rallies, and get in our faces? Isn't one anti-gay blog enough? Why so many? And don't you get tired posting hundreds of comments on all of our blogs?
Is it that you want other men (note: Tyler has now taken down his "call for ex-gay stories" blog - probably because he was the only one on it which made him look like an ex-gay) to penetrate you? Yeah, thought so. There is still time to live your life without shame, fear, and guilt.
A little advice for you: let go of the shame girl, and join the party.
Mark D. Snyder
Mercury News: "The vote machines were rigged" - Lopez Obrador
When will the Human Rights Campaign and MassEquality understand that just because someone favors same-sex marriage (or in the case of HRC doesn't even go that far) it does not mean they deserve an endorsement?
Someone who supports the initiatives of the republican party will be bad for health care, schools, jobs, women's rights, and the environment. Those issues are queer issues. LGBT organizations must realize the interconnectedness of our struggles, and form progressive collations if we are to create real change in this country. Endorsing republicans is not the way to do that.
If Steve Howitt agrees with the dems more than the GOP on issues like women's rights, healthcare, the environment, immigration, etc. then why not change parties? Why affiliate himself with people like Mitt Romney? (And vice-versa for Joe Lieberman!)
I would love to learn more about the democrats who will be running against Steven Howitt but I cannot find anything.
The MASS AFLCIO has endorsed Steven D'Amico.
(SEEKONK, MA) The “Friends of Steven Howitt” welcomed Governor Mitt Romney to Seekonk on October 7 in his efforts to support his candidate of choice, Steven Howitt, who is running for State Representative in the 4th Bristol District. The event took place at Ledgemont Country Club. - 2004 Howitt Press Release
(Rehoboth, MA) Francis Farm was the venue for the Lt. Governor Kerry M. Healey to announce her support and endorsement of candidate Steven Howitt for State Representative in the 4th Bristol District. - 2004 Howitt Press Release
Contact HRC today and let them know endorsing pro-war, conservative Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont is a slap in the face to the queer community.
After the Constitutional Convention (July 12), let MassEquality know that is is NOT okay to endorse republicans.
What do Amy Contrada, Brian Camenker, Tyler Dawbin, CJ Doyle, and Carol McKinley have to say about these stories?
(Albuquerque, New Mexico) Gay community leaders are seeking answers about a police raid on an Albuquerque bathhouse where officers allegedly were wearing bullet proof vests and armed with semiautomatic weapons. - 365gay.com
(Athens, Tennessee) The FBI is expected to join local and state investigators later this week in hunting down whoever burned a cross at the home of a gay Athens man. - 365gay.com
NEW YORK - While cities around the world hosted upbeat gay pride parades in recent weeks, human-rights activists kept watch on a contrasting set of developments: gays beaten by demonstrators in Moscow, convicted on sodomy charges in Cameroon, targeted by sweeping anti-gay legislation in Nigeria. - Bradenton Herald
(Boston, Massachusetts) Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, fighting for an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage has become the biggest contributor to a similar campaign in South Carolina a Boston newspaper reports. - 365gay.com
Pods of Interest to QueerToday:
Worcester, DCU Oct. 27-29th 2006
Transcending Boundaries Conference is for bisexual/pansexual, trans/genderqueer, and intersex people and our allies. TBC is for and about those who do not fit into the simple categories of gay/straight, male/female, and we couldn't be more excited! We are pleased to announce that this year's conference will be held in conjunction with the PFLAG Northeast Regional Conference for family, friends, and allies from across the region. We'll take over DCU Center to foster community, educate ourselves, and overcome societal sex, gender, and sexuality boundaries! The conference begins with a reception Friday evening and we're planning workshops all day Saturday and Sunday, a Halloween party, and a keynote luncheon with nationally known speakers.
To the editor:
But farreaching political change beckoned as the 70’s gave way to the 80’s. In 1981, the City voted to scrap its system of electing all City Councilors at large; instead constituting the City Council by 9 district seats, with 4 Councilors to be elected at large. Moreover, a wide-open Mayor’s race loomed when Mayor Kevin White announced he would not seek reelection in 1983, after 4 terms in office.
A true visionary, Eric seized the historic opportunity to bolster the community’s political position. Amazed at all the fresh faces he saw at a concert of the new Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, Eric decided that activists needed to widen the scope of the organized movement. He founded the Boston Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance in 1982 as a forum for diverse points of view, and unified action on issues of common concern. In so doing, he laid the basis for a vigorous and unprecedented level of participation by gays and lesbians in city politics.
The 1983 elections ushered in major political changes that would have seemed unimaginable just 5 years earlier. Openly gay David Scondras was elected to the Boston City Council, and the newly elected Mayor Ray Flynn, reached out to the community in assembling his administration. A crowning achievement came with the passage of the Boston Human Rights Ordinance in 1984. Ever since, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people have been major players in
The City and the community have come so far since 1978 that it is difficult to imagine a time when we were so politically marginal and under siege. Yet there is no mystery in how we were able to come so far so fast (in historical terms.) We are standing on the shoulders of giants like Eric Rofes. He had the vision to propel us forward to a better future at a time when only such farsightedness could give any reason for hope. We are much in his debt; his passing is a loss to us all.
Chair, the Greater