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December 26, 2008


According to a story at Box Turtle Bulletin today, the Washington publication Roll Call reported that Congressional Democrats are now considering shelving debate on the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

The talk is that they're not just thinking of putting it aside for a few months to give the Obama administration and the new congress time to settle-in. That would be almost logical and, to some degree, maybe even acceptable. But no. They seem to want to shelve it for 2 YEARS! That would be after the 2010 midterm elections. By that time, if the Democrats continue in this direction, they may end up not even being the majority - just like they did in 1996. In fact, they may never again be in as strong a position to do this as they will be next year when all of the newly elected minions assume their positions.

Apparently key Democrats, including some openly gay representatives, are afraid of stirring up the same hornet's nest that Clinton caused in 1992 when he tried to open the military to the GLBT community shortly after he took office. As most of you will remember, congress and the military went ballistic and that frenzied homophobia is what created the DADT policy to begin with.

I'm sure that many Democrats blamed their 1996 loss on that debacle. They're wrong. What defeated them is that they had control of the house, the senate and the presidency (like now) but couldn't agree on just about anything and backed down on everything their party was supposed to stand for - defending the little guy and simply doing what's right.

Their logic now is absolutely mind-boggling to me. This is not 1992. This time around, the repeal has the expressed support of Colin Powell, who was then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was one of the most outspoken opponents of allowing gays to serve openly. It also has the support of a majority of the country (according to the lastest polls) as well as an impressive number of retired Generals and Admirals who served during those years and were just as opposed to it as Powell used to be.

All of them cite the reality that the country's attitudes have changed significantly since then. They also recognize that the countries that have allowed gays to serve openly in their ranks haven't experienced any of the doomsday effects they had all feared in 1992. They have all said publicly that NOW is the time to reconsider this policy.

What I would say to the Democrats is "tread lightly." The GLBT community spent a lot of time, a lot of manpower and A LOT OF MONEY to help get you elected. And, thanks to Proposition 8, we're a lot more organized and a lot more activist oriented down on the streets now than we were before the election. I haven't seen this much anger, activism and commitment since my involvement with the Gay Activist Alliance in New York in the early 70's.

The fire we all felt then has been reignited today and it's not going to dim anytime soon. In fact, if there isn't the substantial progress our community now expects, that fire is only going to grow hotter and brighter.

I'm hoping they'll come to their senses and reconsider their plans.

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays

to all of my family...

December 24, 2008


In an obvious attempt at placating the GLBT community, Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin has been named as one of fifteen co-chairs for the inauguration.

Baldwin is an openly lesbian congresswoman from Wisconsin who I would, under any other circumstances, applaud for being appointed to anything within the Obama political sphere. She has distinguished herself in her service as a United States Congresswoman and is greatly admired for the example she has set.

Unfortunately, her appointment as an inaugural co-chair is virtually meaningless. It is a ceremonial position with no actual power or influence over any aspect of the inauguration. I think it's a shame that she's being used as a mere figurehead to try and offset the building frustrations within the GLBT community over having had NONE of the GLBT candidates for cabinet positions actually appointed. And, in addition to that, having the double whammy of the slap-in-the-face announcement of virulently anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to offer the inaugural invocation and anti-gay marriage reverend Joseph Lowery to give the closing benediction.

In our current frustration, let's not forget about the appointment of lesbian Nancy Sutley as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Although she is, so far, the only prominent member of the LGBT community to earn a senior role in the new administration, her appointment and the still possible appointment of openly gay William White as Secretary of the Navy, does give me hope that the GLBT rights initiatives that have been floundering around Washington for years under Bush will finally see the light of day and be passed by the new congress and signed into laws by the new President.

That being said however, I join with Box Turtle Bulletin in calling on Rep. Baldwin to resign this meaningless appointment as a show of unity with Rep. Barney Frank and a show of solidarity with the GLBT community's growing frustrations.

December 23, 2008


It's a very rare occurrence when a sitting state attorney general reverses his own position and argues against his state's legislature and a voter approved initiative. But that's what just happened.

When the successfully passed Proposition 8 was challenged and sent to the State Supreme Court, California Attorney General Jerry Brown vowed that he would defend the ballot measure on behalf of the state.

Well, according to a story published last Friday in the Sacramento Bee, Brown filed a legal brief with the court stating that the California constitutional amendment measure to limit marriage to a man and a woman is itself unconstitutional because it deprives a minority group of a fundamental right.

Brown said he reached a different conclusion "upon further reflection and a deeper probing into all the aspects of our Constitution."

"It became evident that the Article 1 provision guaranteeing basic liberty, which includes the right to marry, took precedence over the initiative," he said in an interview Friday night. "Based on my duty to defend the law and the entire Constitution, I concluded the court should protect the right to marry even in the face of the 52 percent vote."

The litigation over Proposition 8 is shaping up, Brown said, as a high-stakes conflict between the electorate's right to direct democracy and rights of minorities to equal treatment.

This whole election cycle is proving to be an intense, emotional roller coaster ride for our entire community.

From the elation of Obama's election to the disheartening successes of Props 8, 2 and 102. From earnest and excited hopes, fueled by politically leaked rumors, for GLBT inclusive participation in Obama's administration to the disappointment of having none of our cabinet level candidates appointed. Then hearing the incredibly frustrating news that an extreme anti-gay, rightwing religious fanatic was chosen to deliver the inaugural invocation. And now, to this latest, and welcomed move by Attorney General Brown that, once again, raises our hopes. This time for a Proposition 8 Supreme Court reversal.

It's amazing to me that so many of us even still care about politics anymore. But we do. Because we have to. It's our lives were talking about here and I'll be damned if I'm going to let this affect my drive and determination to FORCE FULL AND INCLUSIVE EQUAL RIGHTS for our community!

Ever seen a bipolar, schizophrenic gay person get mad? Trust me, you really don't want to!

December 21, 2008


In Beijing Matthew Mitcham became one of the world's truly outstanding, gold medal, olympic athletes. And he did it in the most dramatic, heart-stopping way possible for a world-class diver.

He's young, he's attractive, he has a winning smile and a warm, outgoing, exuberant personality. He's been named Australia's Sports Performer Of The Year and has even been immortalized on a 50c Australian postage stamp featuring his name, image and medal.

In fact, according to PinkNews.co.uk, last week, at a reception at the National Art School in Sydney, Matthew was named one of the top 25 most influential gay Australians.

So, considering all of his impressive accomplishments, why hasn't Matthew gotten a single endorsement contract? Not one - from anywhere in the world!

Considering the tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars that worldwide mega-corporations and local, home-grown businesses have showered on other olympic and non-olympic athletes, you would think that they could afford to acknowledge and support the accomplishments of this one exceptional Australian athlete.

Well, clearly - and shamefully - extremist homophobia trumps olympic gold medals. Apparently, it even trumps simple but outstanding, personal perseverance in overcoming seemingly impossible odds.

Being the only openly gay male athlete to ever compete in the world olympics does seem to carry with it a substantial price. All of the rosy rhetoric espoused by international corporations about diversity and inclusiveness certainly seems to ring very hollow right now, doesn't it?

What's amazing about all of this is Matthew's own extraordinarily mature attitude. Yes, of course, he's disappointed but his never-say-die optimism keeps pushing through. In a recent interview with the Sidney Morning Herald, Matthew said,

"It [coming out] has brought so much attention because it's put me out there, and people know who I am, but I'd like to think that it's not the most interesting thing about me.

"Like everything, there are pros and cons about it, but nothing bad has come out of coming out yet, and that's one of the best things of the whole experience."

"Yeah, I haven't got anything yet, but I'm working on stuff, and looking for stuff but, no, I haven't got anything yet."

How could anyone not like this guy? Come on everyone - pass the word around - get him some endorsement deals. He deserves it! And it's one of the only ways for him to raise enough money to finance his training and his next trip to the olympics.

Someone out there - STEP UP!!