Friday, September 28, 2007

Confessions of a Dork: Fannie's Internet Meme

Apparently I have been tagged by Fannie, and I have to list 5 reasons why I am a dork.

Well, it took me awhile (not), but I was finally able to think of 5 Confessions.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. I really, really like playing video games. Several times, even in my adult years, I have stayed in to play xbox instead of going out with friends.

2. I've cried at episodes of Little People, Big World, which I watch as much as possible.

3. When I was a pre-teen, I was obsessed with V.C. Andrews books and eventually read every one of them before I was even out of high school. I'm still mildly intrigued by them.

4. I just bought a giant new autobiography of Albert Einstein and can't wait to read it.

5. I love collecting stickers for my longboard.

Hmm, I tag Grace and Brita next. hee hee.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

AFA Alert #3: Stop the Gays from Getting Special Rights

I received two polar opposite emails yesterday. One from the Human Rights Campaign. One from the AFA.

The title of the AFA email, from founder Donald E. Wildmon (does anyone else think this is funny?) is "ENDA (H.R. 2015) could enshrine 'sexual orientation' in federal law." Wildmon goes on to say "The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) H.R. 2015 is likely to be voted on this week in the U.S. House. ENDA is aimed at providing heightened protections for a particular sexual behavior- homosexuality. It would grant special consideration on the basis of "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" that would not be extended to other employees in the workplace. That could spell trouble for Christian business owners, churches and faith-based groups. Proponents of the bill quickly point to "religious exemptions" in the bill, but most agree that it is a sham." [emphasis mine]

Um, I think calling something a "sham" usually warrants further explanation. But I don't think these AFA nuts are really interested in explanations.

Wildmon's email includes a bulleted list of reasons we should all oppose ENDA, including:
"The issue is not job discrimination: It is whether private businesses will be forced by law to accommodate homosexual activists' attempts to legitimize homosexual behavior"
Yes. I suppose a right-wing religious person would see it that way. Except most homosexuals aren't "activists" per se. I love how this guy attempts to categorize all homosexuals as having this anti-Christian "activist agenda."
And if by "legitimize homosexual behavior," they really mean "not allow decent, honest hard-working, qualified people to get fired from their jobs solely on the basis of their sexual orientation," then sure, I guess he speaks the truth. We "activists" do feel that homosexuals in the workplace should be "legitimized," in the same way every other worker is legitimized. By that I mean, of course, that gay men should be able to have anal sex in their office cubicles once ENDA is passed. It's their right.
I feel for the people who blindly believe in Wildmon without questioning his faulty blanket statements that have no backing and slippery slopes.

He also says "ENDA would approvingly bring private behavior considered immoral by many into the public square. By declaring that all sexual preferences are equally valid, ENDA would change national policy supporting marriage and family."

Sweet! Is that what ENDA will do? More power to us when it's passed if this helps pave the way to gay marriage and helps the already-existing gay families and children of gay parents gain equal rights.
Anyway, it's always interesting to see what the (way to the right) other side believes.
My second email was from the Human Rights Campaign's, Joe Solmonese, urging all of us to take action by contacting our senators to support this Bill (which I did).
FYI, Solmonese says, "Both Sen. Durbin and Sen. Obama are already signed on as co-sponsors of the Matthew Shepard Act. You're calling to thank them for their support and encourage them to stand strong, regardless of last minute right-wing efforts leading up to the vote...
...We cannot allow our Senators to be intimidated, misled, or swayed by an extremist minority. Thank you for making your calls, and thank you for being a voice of reason today."
UPDATE: I had originally written this yesterday. The Act passed in the Senate today! This is an important victory for gay rights advocates and anyone who stands for equality. As the saying goes: Love Conquers Hate. (even when the hate-mongerers are so-called religious group).
I am thrilled about this victory, even though it still has to pass the final stages of legislation and President Bush. I'll keep my fingers crossed. :-)
On a sidenote, HRC sent a thank-you email to all the supporters of the Act and the people who contacted their Senators.
No word from the AFA on this development.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And Why the Apathetic Masses are Just as Bad as Hate Speech/Acts

As I was perusing today's news for article ideas, I came across a story regarding the "Little Rock Nine."

This story is a "Where is She Now" commentary on Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine black students who was supposed to attend Central High after the desegregation laws nearly 50 years ago (next month). The picture is infamous in our nation's history: a young black woman in a white dress, clutching her school books amidst a sea of white kids shouting angrily at her or smirking to their friends. Or just staring and doing nothing.

It has been deemed "the long, lonely walk" by some journalists. While the rest of the Little Rock Nine had planned to integrate the school as a group, Eckford's family had no phone. Thus, she was left to attempt to enter the school alone.

The picture itself evokes powerful emotions for me, I certainly can not even imagine what it must evoke in a black person.

While some students who attended Central High have claimed that not everyone was like this. Or the majority wasn't so hateful towards the black students "yet the world focused on 'problem students—25 maybe, a minuscule percentage,'" the pictures in the news depict more.

For, I know well the tendency of mass crowds in situations like this to be "I just don't want to get involved." Yet, they sit idly by on the sidelines watching innocent Others get hurt. This is otherwise known as the "bystander effect." (ie- the more bystanders there are, the less likely they are to take any personal responsibility for stopping the injustice). I don't know about other people in this country, but I learned in 5th grace that this was wrong.

The black students involved in the Little Rock Nine certainly don't remember "25 maybe" students spouting their hate. What they remember are the hundreds more white kids who simply stood by and said nothing.

"The tone was set by a couple of hundred students engaged in this reign of terror," says Ernest Green, one of the Nine and an executive with Lehman Brothers. "The silence was deafening. We would have appreciated some of them speaking out when all of this harassment was going on."

While we certainly shouldn't dwell on the past when so much progress has been made with racial inequities in the U.S., I also feel that we (white people) also find them too easy to forget. For, if we don't remember things like this, that happened only 50 years ago, then we are doomed to repeat ourselves (Jena 6).

Let's give Elizabeth Eckford a reason to believe her struggle is/was not in vain.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why I am convinced that if anti-SSMers truly knew, loved, and/or cared about gay people, they would be pro-gay marriage

The following is a transcript of Mayor Sanders' press conference:

With me this afternoon is my wife, Rana.

I am here this afternoon to announce that I will sign the resolution that the City Council passed yesterday directing the city attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage [with the California Supreme Court].

My plan, as has been reported publicly, was to veto that resolution, so I feel like I owe all San Diegans an explanation for this change of heart.

During the campaign two years ago, I announced that I did not support gay marriage and instead supported civil unions and domestic partnerships.

I have personally wrestled with that position ever since. My opinion on this issue has evolved significantly — as I think have the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life.

In order to be consistent with the position I took during the mayoral election, I intended to veto the council resolution. As late as yesterday afternoon, that was my position.

The arrival of the resolution — to sign or veto — in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do.

I have decided to lead with my heart — to do what I think is right — and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.

For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community.

As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important, less worthy and less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage — than anyone else — simply because of their sexual orientation.

A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years.

I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that's natural, and certainly it is true in my case.

Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed.

The concept of a 'separate but equal' institution is not something that I can support.

I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today.All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right.

I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. These folks include my daughter Lisa and her partner, as well as members of my personal staff.

I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones — for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back; someone with whom they can grow old together and share life's wondrous adventures.

And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana. Thank you."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I heart Lady Mondegreen

And I heart misheard song lyrics and phrases.

"It's not fair/ To remind me/ Of the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me...You You You oughta knowwwww."

I heard it through the great vine that the proper term for misheard phrases are Mondegreens, which is itself a Mondegreen.

Per Wikipedia, American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in her essay, "The Death of Lady Mondegreen." She writes:

"When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques. One of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray, [sic]
And Lady Mondegreen."

The actual fourth line of this poem was "And laid him on the green."

I believe this topic has sorta come up before on my blog, thanks to my friend Teddy2. I finally got around to googling and wikipedia-ing "misheard song lyrics" tonight while studying. (Yes, this definitely pertains to Primary Care of Infants, Children, and Adolescents.)

Anyway, I found this sweet website:, which allows one to search through maybe thousands of artists for commonly misheard song lyrics. A lot of them are duplicates, but oh well.

I guess, for all intensive purposes, it's just a doggy-dog world.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Jena 6, Why Everyone Should Care

Over at Pam's House Blend, she has accused other Progressive bloggers of not blogging about the Jena 6. She sums up their lists of excuses: "It's not my area of expertise" or "It's not my issue," and a host of other lame excuses some bloggers have given.

I'm the first to admit fault in this. I haven't read much about the issue, because a.) I don't traditionally write about "race" issues, and b.) it happened in The South, where I don't live. In other words, it "doesn't affect me."

Much like the male classmate of my girlfriend who thought he didn't have to learn about the HPV vaccine because "it's a women's issue that doesn't affect me."

He's wrong in that it doesn't affect him. I was so critical of this male student who mistakenly thinks that his life won't ever be affected by HPV or cervical cancer. Or that his mother, daughter, wife, friend, aunt, or cousin won't ever be harmed by it. That he may actually be the cause of it. That he can also die from it.

But I, who was so critical before, am wrong, too. The Jena 6, like all race relations tragedies, affects each and every one of us.

Pam is right. Everyone should care about this issue.

We should all be so-called activists and experts on race relations. For, it is only by knowledge that we will build a society that tolerates all who are different. And by knowledge that we build a society where people no longer have to even wonder if they were passed over a job opportunity, ignored at a restaurant, not served at a bar, given dirty looks, been the subject of hate speech, been the victim of a not-so-innocent prank, beaten up, and YES even killed solely because of the color of their skin.

White people don't recognize this because they are white.

As a lesbian, I can relate to this in many ways. Yet as a white person, I can not.

An interesting quote by Alex Weissman sums up the white experience: "To be white is not to be race-neutral; it is to be privileged. I cannot list the number of privileges that I and other white people get because of our skin color, but the one I am most concerned with right now is the privilege not to think about race or racism."

Further, he writes: "...I have been poorly educated. I have not learned about my country; instead I have learned about the white people who have held positions of power for most of its history. In doing so, I was taught not to think about race. After all, what did racism have to do with colonialism? Or Japanese internment? I reject the idea that racism does not affect me because I am white. Racism has shaped my life in more ways than I will ever know. And that is why I, and other white people, do need to step into the Africana Center and enter into conversations about race.
Go to the other culture houses. Remember that race is not just black and white. Read poetry by Gloria AnzaldĂșa or Audre Lorde. Find out who Vincent Chin was and learn about Leonard Peltier. Walk into the Latino Center and listen. You may be afraid that the people there will reject you, but what you really fear is finding out that you might reject them."

Our country is laced with racism. And to say that black people are no longer affected by slavery today is denialist.

I'm disgusted with the way this has been handled (by the high school, by the white students and their stupid "tree" tradition, by the D.A., and the media). But, I'm even more disgusted with myself for being so focused on things that only concern "me" that I've ignored other pressing issues.

Speaking of gay people,
Joe Solmonese, of the Human Rights Campaign, took the podium today and offered a speech for the Jena 6, as well.

An excerpt from his prepared speech:

"We are here because we know about bigotry. We know about hate. We know the pain in high school of standing apart. Of being taunted. Of standing up, only too often, to be shut down.
I am here -- we are here -- because you have stood with us. Because all of us know that one injustice against any of us is an injustice against all of us."

So true.

I stand by the Jena 6 and, on a broader scale, the elimination of white racism.

Do you?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

An Article, Misconstrued

In the latest issue of Mother Jones, Gary Greenberg writes an article titled, “Gay by Choice?” The subtitle says “If science proves sexual orientation is more fluid than we’ve been led to believe, can homosexuality still be a protected right?”

As I feared, this subtitle has already led some anti-gay and anti-SSMers to rush to the lines shouting “Told you so!” to SSM supporters.

One blogger writes: “There's a fascinating article in the far-left magazine Mother Jones questioning the conventional wisdom about the fixed nature of sexual identity. Such C.W. is a studied part of the gay rights movement. Homosexuality as a fixed and immutable trait (like race) must be maintained in order for the judicial/legal theory of same-sex “marriage” and other claims to successfully move forward.”

As if any of our arguments depend on the immutability of homosexuality.

The crux of our argument doesn't depend on science to prove that we are born gay. What matters is that we don't think it's okay to discriminate based on orientation, the same way it's not okay to discriminate based on religion.

Whether you are born gay, environment makes you gay, or choose to be gay, or some combination of the three (most likely) what matters is that sexual orientation is "so deeply woven into a person's identity that it is inseparable from who they are" to quote Jon Davidson, Director of Lambda Legal.

Further, "the capacity for sexual orientation to change—with choice—the ability to change it at will. Trying to change your attractions doesn't work very well, but you can change the structure of your social life, and that might lead to changes in the feelings you experience."

For, if one were to read the entire Mother Jones article, one would discover that the main subject “Aaron,” a “reformed” homosexual, lives a life without any close contact or intimacy with anyone. He doesn't enjoy sex with women, has never had sex with men, has never had a long-term relationship with a man or woman, and he doesn't date. He lives an asexual life. He is 51 years-old. And, let me repeat, has never had a long-term relationship.

So sure. I suppose some people can, in fact, change their sexual orientation. But I would not call that a happy life for most people. Aaron may indeed be happy. But I don't think it's fair to say "gayness is a choice, see everyone! you can all change, too!" When most people would not consider an asexual life a happy one. I definitely would not call the reparative therapy he underwent a "success."

The article explains Aaron's life now post-"treatment:"
"He's dated women, had sex with them even, although "I was pretty awkward," he says.”It just didn't work." Aaron has a theory about this: "I never used my body in a sexual way. I think the men who actually act it out have a greater success in terms of being sexual with women than the men who didn't act it out." Not surprisingly, he's never had a long-term relationship, and he's pessimistic about his prospects. "I can't make that jump from having this attraction to doing something about it." But, he adds, it's wrong to think "if you don't make it with women, then you haven't changed." The important thing is that "now I like myself. I'm not emotionally shut down. I'm comfortable in my own body. I don't have to be drawn to men anymore. I'm content at this point to lead an asexual life, which is what I've done for most of my life anyway." He adds, "I'm a very detached person."

In other words, anyone CAN change their orientation, but like "Aaron" are they going to lead happy lives?

Most of the time, I think that answer is no.

I also have a hunch that most gays and lesbians would not even choose to be straight if they could so choose, because they just can’t imagine being attracted to the opposite sex. The same way straight people say they wouldn’t choose to be attracted to the same sex, if they could so choose. Even truly bisexual people can’t “simply choose” to only be attracted to the opposite sex just to make their lives a little easier. People fall in love with people, not genders, not sexes.

The “choice vs. born-that-way” dichotomy is old hat.

I know strictly heterosexual people. There are strict lesbians with their “gold stars” (never slept with a man), and solely homosexual males. I know women who only date men yet make out with girls when they are drunk (who I think are probably really gay). There are girls who have sex with girls only to please their boyfriends. And gay football players who would never consider entering into a relationship with another man. There are bisexuals. There are even “trysexuals.” There are “hasbians,” (a former lesbian who is now married to a man). And I even know some former heterosexual women who are now Birkenstock-wearing, vegetarian, cat-owning, toaster-oven-collecting, PFLAG card-carrying, full-out lesbians. And there are many more in-betweens. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t at least thought about it once in a while.

In a world with this much diversity, why do we continue to only legally protect one of those types of relationships by marriage (in the U.S.)? If you can find one person in this crazy world that makes you happiest, why does anyone else get to tell you that it is not acceptable? That your relationship isn’t equal to theirs? Those are rhetorical questions. I already know all the opposing arguments by now.

The concept of “fluid” sexuality isn’t a new idea. For our entire argument to hinge on the idea of homosexuality being rigid, immutable, and strictly biological would be insane. People are multi-faceted, in that their behaviors are usually the result of a complex combination of biology, society, psychology, sociology, etc. Likewise, for anti-SSMers to state that homosexuality is a “choice” is also too simplistic.

The point for most of us pro-SSMers is that people should be able to be with the person who makes them happiest, regardless of gender. Any two (non-related, for the incest-obsessed) people who want to get married and have equal marriage rights and protections under the law should be able to do so. Regardless of gender.

For Greenberg to insinuate that homosexuality shouldn’t be a protected right if it is a “choice,” is careless at best and reckless at worst.

He’s feeding right into the greedy, hungry mouths of those who desperately want and need some “authority” to finally tell them they are correct.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Science Research Promoting Idea of "Gaydar"

In the latest of the recent homosexuality researching trends, researchers attempt to prove that there is perhaps some truth behind the concept of "gaydar." In an interesting study authored by Kerri Johnson, of UCLA, a key to deciding a man's sexuality may be in the way he walks.

The researchers attached motion sensors (similar to what they use in the movie industry) to 8 people: 2 heterosexual men, 2 homosexual men, 2 heterosexual women, and 2 lesbians.
Then they removed any identifiable features, like clothing and hairstyles, and had observers try to guess the sexualities of the subjects. Apparently subjects were able to accurately guess the male subject's sexuality a little more than 60% of the time. The observers' guesses of the female subjects were not statistically significant (more than by chance alone).

The fact that 150 undergraduate students (sexuality unknown) were able to identify gay men shows us, as the researchers noted, that people are able to pick up when men exhibit "feminine" characteristics. The researchers noted that the gay men walked with more of a "feminine" swagger of the hips. I do wonder why this article has already hit the mainstream media, when there were only 8 sample "walkers" total, and only 2 of them from each sexual orientation. This was a very limited study with limited results, for they could also have included bisexual people, among others. It is hard to draw conclusive implications from this short-sighted, limited study, but I did think of 3 possibilities:

1. That the concept of "gaydar" may be very real.

2. That it is probably rooted in the same psycho-social processes as other types of stereotyping.

and 3. That "gaydar" is probably more harmful than it is a funny "in-joke" between other gays and lesbians. Especially harmful to gay men in a society that has traditionally hated the concept of "feminine-acting or -appearing" men.

I do believe that women have the luxury of having a wider range of socially-acceptable actions and characteristics (and clothing). Just look back to grade school and high school, and I'm sure you can recall the 1 or 2 obviously gay boys in your class. The ones who wore pink sweatsuits and jumped rope with the girls. Who were made fun of by all the rest of the boys and bullied on the playground. Or maybe that was just my school?
The author noted that the lesbians appeared to walk with a "a less exaggerated version of an Arnold Schwarzenegger-type swagger." This means that they "slightly moved their shoulders back and forth." Uh, okay. I'm sure there was a less offensive analogy the author could have used, especially since--when watching the actual videos--I saw no noticeable differences in the ways the heterosexual women walked vs. the lesbians. Let alone an Arnold-like "swagger" coming from the lesbian walker.

"I'll be back!"

While these findings, Johnson says, aren't meant to be a diagnostic test, it can tell us how people use certain cues to categorize one another. I don't think that (categorizing people based on certain cues) is necessarily a novel idea, but it is novel to the concept of gaydar. Johnson next wants to study the implications of judging someone by those "gaydar" cues.

Well, we'll see what really comes of these, and future, findings. I fear any research on homosexuality has the potential to be greatly misused by the religious right, by "protectors" of marriage and family, and by other intolerant groups.

We'll see if the people are smart enough to decipher all the implications for themselves. And work towards a more tolerant society.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Name/Occupation Coincidence

Over in Fannie's Room, she mentioned a legal professor named "Molly Lien."
I don't think I have to explain why I think why that's funny, The Wedding Singer style. ("So her name's gonna be Julia Gulia?" "Why is that funny?" "I don't know.")

How is that some people end up with names perfectly suited to their occupations? Is it merely coincidence? Or is there some kind of subconscious thing going on. I read a Patricia Cornwell book once that discusses how people's names actually do have a large impact on the way people turn out. For instance, a "John Match" could end up being an arsonist. Or an "Agatha Gunner" could very well end up being a murderer. Supposedly this happens a lot more than everyone realizes. More than mere coincidence would allow. It's an interesting concept that I would like to research one day.

Personally, I know an O.B./Gyne named "Dr. Box."

One time, there was a professor at my college named "Pat Pusey." Her sign outside her office kept getting stolen by the students.

So, I did a Google search on different variations of this idea, and the best site I could find so far was a site that asks "What is the Best True Name/Occupation Coincidence:" (several are listed here)

Thomas Crapper: Inventor of the Flushable Toilet

Winston Paine, DDS.

An O.B./gyne MD named Dr. Holeman. (haha!)

Dr. Rash, Dermatology

Astle and Astle, Attorneys at Law

Dr. Gutter, Veterinarian

Craig Greathouse, Realtor.

Another site, along the same vein, lists more examples of this (among my favorites):

Barry Black, KKK leader

Simon Wigglesworth, works for Epilepsy Action

Jeremy Crook, businessman and alleged fraudster

Bethany Lye, journalist

Can anyone else think of any?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sweet arguments from The Iowa Decision (Varnum, et. al. v. Brien)

I'm late in blogging about this, but I finally had time to read through the 8/31/07 decision from the Iowa Judge Robert Hanson, who ruled in favor of same-sex marriages.

Here are some sweet things I noticed:

*Decided that the "expert" testimony from Defendant's expert witnesses would not be admissible at trial.
FYI--These experts were Margaret Somerville (where she is on the McGill University Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Medicine); Paul Nathanson, and Katherine Young (also both from McGill University, where they appear to be some sort of dynamic duo of intolerance). Nathanson was all set to testify "regarding the significance of marriage as a social institution, and the state's role in maintaining it, and related matters."

Likewise, Young sought to testify on "what universally constitutes marriage and why."

The Court rejected all three of these "experts" on the grounds that the Court doesn't believe that "the expected testimony of these individuals is scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge that will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence..." Nor were any of these people, according to the Court, qualified to testify as experts in the issue.

Allan Carlson's testimony was also disallowed.

(despite his "impressive" academic credentials, said the Court at one point).

[emphasis mine] I wouldn't be proud to have his credentials.

Some Arguments by the Plaintiffs:

1. "As a result from their exclusion from the civil institution of marriage, Plaintiffs, their relationships and their families are stigmatized and made more vulnerable in comparison to heterosexuals. Through the marriage exclusion the State devalues and delegitimizes relationships at the very core of the adult Plaintiff's sexual orientation, and expresses, compounds, and perpetuates the stigma historically attached to homosexuality, for them and all gay persons."

This sounds much like a heterosexism argument. And "metaphorical lynching."

2. "...Plaintiffs are continually reminded of their own and their families' second-class status in daily interactions in their neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and other arenas in which their relationships and families are poorly and unequally treated, or are not recognized at all." [emphasis added]

3. "Because their parents cannot marry, minor Plaintiffs are subjected to the historical stigma of "illegitimacy" and "bastardy" which, though of diminished social and legal force, is still a status widely considered undesirable."

4. "Plaintiffs inability to marry their chosen partners is a painful frustration of their life goals and dreams, their personal happiness and their self-determination."

5. "Plaintiffs and their families are harmed in an infinite number of daily transactions as a result of being denied the right to marry, including transactions with employers, hospitals, courts, preschools, insurance companies, businesses such as health clubs, and public agencies including taxing bodies."

6. The arguments go on to list an array of other legal benefits from which Plaintiffs are being deprived (workers compensation from death of a spouse, estate and other economic protections, among others). And the arguments go on to say that while Plaintiffs can have all or most such documents drawn up, "piecemeal" document creation is very costly, and all of these are "automatically afforded to" married couples by law.

7. And just because I think some people may need a refresher course on what it means to be gay: "...One's sexual orientation defines the universe of persons with whom one is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling relationships, that, for many individuals, comprise an essential component of human identity and life." [emphasis mine]

8. "Nothing about a parent's sex or sexual orientation affects either that parent's capacity to be a good parent or a child's healthy development ('adjustment')." [emphasis mine]

9. "Allowing same-sex couples to marry is in the best interests of and will benefit children being raised by same-sex couples and the couples themselves, without having any detrimental effect on heterosexual couples or their children." [emphasis mine]

Of course most of us know this already. And those who claim otherwise are talking about mere inconveniences (like having to accept that a homosexual couple is now their equal). Not actual harm.

The Court then goes on with a discussion on the history of gay stigmatization in the U.S. I won't go into this. I think we all know how much society has intolerated gays and lesbians. And if you don't remember, then read it.

The Court's Analysis

The Plaintiffs argue that it is a violation of Iowa's Due Process clause that they are denied the right to marry. The Defendants argue that because no other State Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriage a "fundamental right," that this precludes Iowa from doing so, as well.

The Court responds with "such protections 'should not ultimately hinge upon whether the right sought to be recognized has historically been afforded. Our constitution is not merely tied to tradition, but recognizes the changing nature of society.'"

Another finding of the Court: "Though the Defendant cites an abundance of case law indicating that Courts have long considered marriage to be an important relationship, the Defendant makes no argument that promoting procreation, child rearing by a mother and father in a marriage relationship, promoting stability in opposite sex relationships, promoting the concept of traditional marriage or conservation of state and private resources are compelling state interests, despite the fact that it is his burden to do so. "

I would like to see anyone try to prove that.

Further, the Court said that the Defendant failed to prove how banning gay marriage would promote any of the above "interests" like procreation, etc.

I invite anyone to take that to task.

The Court also found that the Iowa marriage statute violates the Equal Protection clause of the Iowa constitution.

my favorite part of the Court's conclusion:

"5. Court costs are hereby taxed to the Defendant."

That's all for now. I'll end with a quote by Justice Scalia:

"...'[P]reserving the 'traditional institution of marriage' is just a kinder way of describing the State's moral disapproval of same-sex couples."--Justice Scalia. 539 U.S. at 601, 123 S.Ct. at 2496."

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Nongay Blog-a-Roonie

So... my gym is reopening. I don't know the details, so I don't want to spread any rumors.

I'm slightly annoyed because I no longer have an excuse to not work out, which was nice for the past couple of days.

Is it bad that despite the owner being an a-hole, I will probably waltz right in there again on Monday and pretend nothing ever happened, just because it is the most convenient gym for me in a city filled with annoying traffic delays? And, more importantly, because their treadmills have tvs connected to them?

Those are rhetorical questions.

Welp, better get rested for my workout...

and ps-to the girl from my high school who i haven't seen in 10 years that i ran into today, i did note the way you acted shocked when i told you what i do for a living. and it was totally rude of you to say "well, i wouldn't have pictured that." just like in high school, you're still an a-hole. i hope your babies look like monkeys.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

fun with Google

to the person who found my blog by googling "why gents and ladies prefer homosex:" thanks. it's an honor.

and to the person who found my blog by googling "culturologist lesbian:" sweet.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Lies and Lessons of the Intolerant

Intolerance = lack of understanding or kindness towards people who are different from the majority of people.

While intolerance has generally been used in reference to race or religion, I have only personally dealt with intolerance towards gay people. However, I do think that intolerant people, in general, use the same tactics ad nauseum when arguing their points.

By intolerance towards gay people, I mean, "unwilling to acknowledge or accept sexual orientation as a natural, normal state of being that deserves equal status under the law as heterosexuality." When I say "intolerant" in this article, it means "intolerant against gay people," because as I stated before, this is the intolerance I have faced.

But most Intolerants do use the same arguments regardless of who their target group is. Just insert "Black" or "Woman" or "Transgendered" for "Gay" or "Gay Marriage." That's my definition. I'm sure the critics will find something wrong with it. As a matter of fact, this leads me to Lesson #1.

Lesson #1: The intolerant person will consistently argue over word choices and semantics as a way of evading the original argument.

For example, an argument with an intolerant usually goes something like this:

"Jane: I think that anyone who opposes gay marriage is heterosexist and committing a metaphorical lynching of gay people.

Intolerant: Oh, so now anyone who disagrees with Jane Know is a lyncher? That's just great. See, everyone, she doesn't even know how to argue correctly."


Intolerant: So I guess anyone who opposes polygamy and incest is a lyncher, too. because we don't agree with those, and anyone who doesn't agree with something is lynching them. Further, you are obviously in favor of polygamy and incest due to your own faulty reasoning."

Instead of focusing on the argument of whether or not people who oppose gay marriage are heterosexist or committing metaphorical lynching, the Intolerant will focus on one word (lynching) and blow it up into an inflammatory argument that you didn't even make .

Note also the Intolerant's use of trusty ol' polygamy and incest red herrings- which, apparently, are multi-purpose distractions. There is no real desire for meaningful exchange of arguments. In fact, their only motive is to denigrate or embarrass their opponent.

Lesson #2: The Intolerant puts most of his/her eggs in the tradition basket.

In simple terms, this is almost always what the argument boils down to (petty namecalling, bad reasoning, and patronizing comments aside): Straight marriages have been around for millenia. Gay marriages haven't. Thus, we are obviously correct in thinking that you don't deserve to get married.

I don't even have to bring up the U.S.' embarrassing past stances on slavery and women's equality for most people to know that appeals to tradition aren't a very strong argument.

Oh, apparently I do have to bring it up.

Lesson #3: The Intolerant puts the rest of his/her eggs in the "Natural" basket.

This goes hand-in-hand with Lesson #2. The Intolerant often will add: "The purpose of marriage is to procreate and raise responsible citizens. And gay couples can't procreate, it is against the nature of gay couples, so they don't deserve to get married."

I have already sufficiently addressed this argument.

Yet no matter how much you dismiss the "natural" arguments some Intolerants will continue beating the dead horse as though, no really, you just don't understand than men and women are able to procreate, and that's a beautiful, natural thing that two people of the same gender can never do.

Lesson #4: the Intolerant are modern day witch-hunters, that firmly deny this on grounds of protecting something they deem important.

They often operate under the guise of "protecting" something that most people would like to protect, like "family values," "children," or "religion." This way, if you are pro-gay or pro-gay marriage, then obviously, you are anti-family, or anti-religion, or you must be harmful to children.

For example, the AFA (American Family Association) operates under the guise of Christianity. It is basically a witch-hunt against homosexuals, and how homosexuals are to blame for everything wrong with this country. However, it is easy to counter this type of argument by saying that a true Christian is tolerant. (if that is the religion that these people claim to be). as even Jesus would say, Biblical literalists and judgmental people are "wolves in sheep's clothing."

Opine Editorials motto: "Defending Marriage on the Firm Ground of Reason and Respect for Human Dignity." They purport to defend marriage, yet the overwhelming majority of their articles are related to gay marriage and homosexuality, which is thus far (since gay marriage isn't even legal) the LEAST of their worries. I'd say they have much, much bigger fish to fry than the gays. Further, if one of their grounds are "human dignity," they have a loooonnnnng way to go. Gays are their current scapegoats for the failures of the modern-day heterosexual marriage. Websites like this are thinly-veiled in their homophobic and narrow-minded content.

Lesson #5: The Intolerant will Try to Reverse the Argument.

For example, opine editorials comment policy states: "Some of the following feeds are from sites who feel that marriage equality means something other than a man and a woman being completely supportive of each other's uniqueness. You may wish to take such assertions for the value that they really believe that marriage equality means being indifferent to childrens needs, and social concerns that would get in the way of their ambitions. These feeds are given in hopes that you will engage them in polite and meaningful discussion, in hopes that with loving compassion they will no longer see equal marriage representation of one man and one woman to be a threat."
(emphasis mine)

This is similar to the oft-used: well, you're intolerant because you don't tolerate me being intolerant argument.

Tolerance as used in the above sense is not the same context that gays and other minority groups use it. "Toleration and tolerance are terms used in social, cultural and religious contexts to describe attitudes and practices that prohibit discrimination against those whose practices or group memberships may be disapproved of by those in the majority"

Sure, I may not "tolerate" the idea that gays don't deserve to get married. But does that mean I am "intolerant" in the sense of discriminating against a minority group?

And, I am "tolerant" of heterosexual marriages. I am also tolerant of two people of the same gender getting married. I am not, however, tolerant of those who are intolerant of two people of the same gender getting married. So, no, i guess i don't tolerate intolerance.

That's all for now.

Up later, when I have more time: the myth of "special rights" for minority groups.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

seriously? was this necessary?

my one remaining addiction (after giving up cigarettes earlier this year) is exercise. i've been doing it religiously since i was, oh, about 14. the first thing i do when i move is find the nearest gym and become a member. i run 5-7 times a week. i lift weights a couple times a week. it makes me feel good.

today, i woke up early for my morning workout, and there was a sign posted on the door. ("Cheetah Gym is Closed Today") . sadly (and kinda gladly) i went to the coffee shop instead, and got a white mocha latte and flax braid. then went home and settled in to an episode of Buffy before work, thinking that it was a sign for me to not work out today. maybe i needed the rest. and a little Buffy never hurts anyone.

however, rumors started circulating quickly through my work by late morning, and throughout the online Chicago community.

apparently, my gym has closed for good, according to a letter written by the owner to The Chicagoist.

wow. talk about unprofessional. i have no idea what really happened between him and his employees. nor do i care. that's not our faults or our business. but i do know that, as a paying, loyal customer, this is a serious betrayal. we now have no idea what is going to happen with our automatic debits, the contracts we've signed, and money we've already paid for this month (it's not cheap). this owner guy sucks. and i wouldn' t be surprised to see more than a few lawsuits spring up from customers. (not me). i have neither the time nor inclination for that b.s.

i just want a place to work out.

or maybe it's time for a treadmill and bowflex to put in my new sunroom.

The Freddies!

Coming now, to a blog near you: The 1st annual (or quarterly) Freddy Awards. May I direct your attention to Grace's blog, where we have chosen our favorite anti-gay, anti-equality, weirdest, most irrational, or just plain stupid comments posted by members of the Opine Editorials. Read and enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Aftermath of the Gay Wedding

my thoughts.

the wedding ceremony went on without a hitch. it was beautiful, tasteful, and well, everything a commitment ceremony should be: symbolic of shared love between two people who have decided to commit the rest of their lives together.

there was nothing "perverse" about it.

the straight people in attendance (there were over 300 people there) didn't feel anything was taken away from their own marriages.

there was no talk of legalizing polygamy or bestiality. (surprise!)

while there was talk of raising children together, it wasn't in the context of "acquiring purchasable commodities." it was in the context of "starting a family." these are two loving partners who will undoubtedly be amazing parents. they have the love, compassion, ability, and means to provide a good home to children who will feel loved.

the more i observed, the angrier i got that people are trying to infringe on rights of individuals.

the only people who could possibly get in the way of this family's happiness are those who purport to "protect families." as if family is a catch-all phrase that only represents a mother, father, daughter, son template. as if there are no other functional variations of this.

further, gays and lesbians are quickly becoming the scapegoat to "pro-family" organizations. it seems most, if not all, of their energies are all about banning same sex marriage. the current marriage crisis is hardly caused by gay and lesbian couples.

i would have loved to have seen any anti-gay marriage advocate in attendance friday night, to see what sort of justifcation they could have offered that these people don't deserve the same rights as everyone else. or to call their "union" a marriage.

the truth is, gay people have always existed. and just because a marriage has been between a man and a woman in the past, it doesn't mean it has to stay that way. unless someone doesn't believe that a homosexual relationship is equal to a heterosexual relationship, there is no reason to deny someone the right to call their relationship a "marriage." does extending the defintion of marriage to allow for gay couples somehow demean that defintion for straight people? are gay people lesser than straight people?

if you don't want to personally acknowledge someone's marriage, then don't. no one is stopping you from believing what you want to believe. or acknowledging whatever marriage you want to. just don't do it in the workplace. and don't say that someone else's relationship doesn't deserve the same recognition from the public or the state as yours does.

separate is not equal. "unions" are not "marriage." if gay people are ever going to feel like more than second class citizens in a country that has traditionally marginilized and ostracized them, they need to be able to say that their relationships are on the same par as heterosexual relationships.

i know the "feeling like more than second-class citizens" argument doesn't hold much power to anti-gay people, or people who believe their "normal" heterosexual marriage is the only sacred type of union, and that's fine.

but for those of us who this directly affects, it is enough for action.