Category Archives: gays

Here Now the News

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 08 Election

Al Jaffee’s fold-ins for Mad magazine, from the 1960s to the present, in interactive form, from the Noo Yawk Times.

China Celebrates Status As Number One Polluter

Pat Paulsen for President. “Resurrect and Elect!” “Think Inside the Box.”

‘Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat’

We Are The World redux.

More news here.

And, of course, the big news story of last year: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash
http://www.theonion.com/content/themes/common/assets/videoplayer/flvplayer.swf
Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Don’t know if any of this is ha-ha funny, but it’s certainly peculiar/funny. Rather like the date itself.

ROG

"Sing If You're Glad To Be Gay"

Some old Tom Robinson song is stuck in my head.

I didn’t comment on the Tim Hardaway gay bashing comment the other week because I just didn’t have anything fresh to say about it. I noticed TH on the Hating section of Tom the Dog’s sidebar. I did note in Gay Prof’s comments on the subject that I thought the Hardaway incident was a good thing because it got the topic out there. GP’s best line, BTW: “I think Hardaway harbors resentment that he has a last name well suited for a gay porn star.”

I am annoyed that Hardaway, and, for that matter, Isaiah Washington of Grey’s Anatomy, also accused of gay bashing one of his co-stars, are black, based on the obviously faulty and naive notion on my part that, being aware of the discrimination placed on their own people, that they would be more sensitive before castigating others.

In any case, I am intrigued by three pieces of legislation that may be addressed by Congress, noted here. One is “a measure that would outlaw workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation”; I think this a no-brainer, though proving such behavior towards women and blacks, for instance, is often difficult. Even more hard to prove, unless it’s as blatant as a Matthew Shepherd type of situation, is a “hate-crimes bill that would cover offenses motivated by anti-gay bias.” I favor both, and both are expected to pass.

The other item in play is a bill seeking repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military. The edict was established in 1993, when Bill Clinton, in pretty much his first act as President, authorized it.

I never much liked it, thinking that it created a class of people who essentially had to lie by omission about who they were. At the same time, I heard about how even being suspected as gay in the military could be very treacherous. A new wrinkle is that, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group that supports lifting the ban, the policy is disproportionately affecting troops in key specialties:
Of 742 such dismissals in fiscal year 2005, the highest number than in any category — 49 — were medical personnel. An additional 40 were law enforcement officers, along with 14 intelligence officers, 35 infantrymen, and seven nuclear, biological and chemical warfare specialists.
This generally squares with the Government Accountability Office’s 2004 study, which found that of the 9,488 service members who at that point had been discharged from the military for gay and lesbian conduct since 1993, approximately 757 — or 8 percent — “held critical occupations,” meaning the kinds of jobs for which the Pentagon offers selective reenlistment bonuses. That number included 322 with “skills in an important language such as Arabic, Farsi or Korean.”

So, besides the deception aspect, the policy may not be working.

I think I understand the notion of closeted gays. The imperfect parallel I can relate to is when a black person “passes” for white, and wants to hide his/her darker skinned relatives, lest someone find out the terrible secret.

But, from this vantage point, it appears that coming out is very liberating. I don’t hear as many snarky comments about Ellen Degeneres as I did a few years ago: (Post 9/11/2001 sample from a particular blowhard that I will not name: “This is the second time in a row that God has invoked a disaster shortly before lesbian Ellen Degeneres hosted the Emmy Awards.”) I don’t know what particular disaster has supposedly befallen America now that she’s hosted the Oscars.

John Amaechi, the target of Hardaway’s attack, is now an official spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project, a program designed to help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people come out and live openly.

But no one I recall has been more liberated in coming out as George Takei, Mr. Sulu from Star Trek, as seen here:

Link

ROG

RM

You know those folks who can’t come up with a cohesive concept for a column, so they compose these little snippets of unrelated ideas and throw them together? This is one of those pieces. Not only that, unless I find some extra time somewhere, there will be another one next week!
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Earlier this month, I praised Sandra Day O’Connor for her dissenting opinions in two highly controversial cases. Right after that, she announces that she’s leaving the Court. Coincidence…or conspiracy?
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Been in the attic again. Trying to figure out what I can prepare ahead of time for those days when I’m out of town, or don’t have Internet access (or even a word processor), I hit upon an answer. I found this folder with a personality profile of me from six years ago, and an astrological reading of me from about 20 years ago. I found them to be surprisingly accurate, and somewhat interesting. So, when I’m stuck, I’ll be going to that well, including at least once next week.
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There was this “contest” last year to see who would be on the cover of Metroland, the alternative newsweekly around these parts. I didn’t win, but I was a runner-up, and they actually did a story about me which appears about 4/5s of the way down. Such narcissism.
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As I was checking out some blogs to see if my Mixed CD got reviewed (it wasn’t), I saw a reference to a “racist Mexican stamp”, which led me to another blog, which led me to this news report. The story then was mentioned briefly in Metroland yesterday. Do I think the stamp is racist? At the risk of sounding too PC, do you really have to ask? Mexican President Vincente Fox has NOT acquitted himself well in the situation, either.
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The United Church of Christ has taken a strong, affirming stance with regard to gay and lesbian members. As my delighted UCC friend Jenny noted, “It will bring considerable challenges for those churches who have not been welcoming to gay and lesbian members.” Probably NOT the end of this issue in the UCC or any of the mainline Protestant churches, including my (Presbyterian) denomination.
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Venus Williams was a Wimbledon underdog. I like this story of this once dominant player, who, due to injury and other interests, slid down to 14th in the women’s tennis rankings, but came back to win an amazingly hard-fought battle against Lindsay Davenport, part of which I had a chance to watch.
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The most poignant irony about the horrific London blasts is that people could seek safety in the tunnels during the German bombing in World War II, but that in this case, some of the bombs were IN the trains in the tunnels. I’ll always remember the date as Ringo Starr’s 65th birthday, just like I remember September 11, 2001 as Moby’s 35th (and I imagine how crummy they must feel). About.com reports that bloggers have played an important role in getting out news about the bombings yesterday. Ultimately, I relate pretty well to what my buddy Fred Hembeck (July 8) has to say. My prayers go out to those affected.

Boys in the Band

I had dropped out of the State University College at New Paltz and was working as a janitor in Binghamton City Hall in the spring of 1975 while my sister Leslie was performing in “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum” for the Binghamton Civic Theater. After the short run ended, Charlie, who was the lead in “Forum”, decided to direct a play called Boys in the Band, which had played on Broadway in 1968, and was made into a movie in 1970. If you’ve looked at either hyperlink, you’d know that this was a play featuring seven (or eight?) gay men at a dinner party.
Charlie had a casting call, and given my need for greater mental stimulation, I decided to try out. As it turns out there was a specifically black character in the play, and that I was the only black person to try out. (Though Charlie said that I would have been cast regardless.)
We started rehearsals. Some of the cast (at least five) were in fact gay, but at least two of us (a guy named Bill, who played the lead, and myself) were not. So Charlie thought that we all ought to go to a gay bar, as some sort of bonding experience. I did not know there WAS a gay bar in Binghamton, but there it be, a couple blocks from my old high school. It was an interesting experience having a guy (or two) hit on me.
We also went to at least one party at either Charlie’s or cast member Jeffrey’s house, and it was a fascinating mix of the banal (pretty normal conversations about weather and whatnot) with the stereotypical (music by Barbra and Judy).
Bill used to give me a ride home after rehearsals and we’d talk about the experience of working on the play, what surprised us, what preconceived notions we might have had and how they had been challenged.
One of the things that the script required was for me to kiss my “lover” – it was a peck on the lips- played by a guy named Mickey. It was difficult for about 3/4s of the rehearsal time, but finally, I decided, “I am an actor, I can do this.” (Though, in fact, I hadn’t been in a play since 1970, when I was in high school.) In any case, in the last week of rehearsal, I finally managed to do the kiss.
Near the end of the play, Bill had a lengthy monologue which he was having a hard time learning. Charlie got impatient with him during the later rehearsals. My character is “passed out” on the floor for about 10 minutes during this time, and I found that I was learning Bill’s lines. So during the rehearsals (but not during the actual performance), I’d whisper lines to him, which I believe helped.
The play was performed for a couple weekends. Another of the things the script called for was for Jeffrey’s character to take a shower. So, he took off his clothes and feigned taking a shower. I never saw the scene until the play opened (my character had not yet arrived at the party), but it garnered audible gasps each time. (I thought it was a bit gratuitous.)
The review in the newspaper never even reviewed the performances, but instead noted the play as a “statement” of some sort.
My high school friend Carol (not to be confused with my-now wife Carol) later tells me about this dialogue with our mutual HS friend.
Lois: It’s too bad about Roger.
Carol: What ABOUT Roger?
Lois: That he’s gay.
Carol: He’s not gay!
And apparently, the pastor at a church I used to attend thought so, too, as he gave me definite vibes.

That was the first time that I was aware that some people thought I was gay. It was definitely a learning experience in being “the other” from a different perspective.

I remember there were some (presumably) straight actors in that same period who were stereotyped for their orientation in a movie or play. So other performers were wary of taking on such roles. Someone from Martin Sheen’s high school recently told me that Sheen came back some years later, and the faculty adviser said that Sheen could be asked about almost anything…except about that highly rated mid-1970s TV movie called, “That Certain Summer,” in which he played a gay man. I often wonder just how much progress we’ve made since then.

And, coincidentally: For all you baseball fans, watch Carson, Jai, Kyan, Ted, and Thom kick off the start of a fabulous new season of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, when the Fab Five visit the World Champion Boston Red Sox. Tuesday (tomorrow) at 10 p.m. on Bravo.