Monday, November 12, 2007
Celebrate Veterans day, kiss a soldier!
Before posting about all the wonderful LGBT events this past weekend, and all the news in lgbt film and television, I want to stop and dedicate some type to all the veterans in this country.
I am and have always been profoundly grateful to the US military and those individuals who chose to risk their lives to protect the rights and freedoms that are intrinsically connected to that ideal of a glorious country that celebrates all men, created equal. The United States was founded by men who fought to create a country where the government was in the hands of the people. A place where anyone could come and prosper under the umbrella of religious freedom and individual rights in a country that separated church from state.
The checks and balances have allowed, over the years, the movement towards that ideal from the emancipation of the slaves, to women's rights (okay, I know the ERA never passed!). A few good men (and women!) have, over the past few hundred years, been able to fight for equality and a better life using the statutes established by our forefathers.
It has been a rough road, and it has not always been pretty. But I still believe in that dream. As much as things piss me off in this country, at least I am not being thrown in jail for having my own ideas and I know I can work, with my fellow Americans, to achieve this ideal.
As some of you may know, I come from a military family. Both my parents were in the service in WWII as were many of my relatives (in the photo above, that's my father on the far left). I spent some of my youth living on a base, and I grew up - for a bit at least - around the military, which lead me to have a firm respect for it and the people in it.
I was also fortunately enough to be raised by immigrants. As with almost everyone here, we came from somewhere else. God knows, I am a huge liberal and I question and challenge our government almost on a daily basis, but that - like everything else - is a right I have in this country.
To all the service members out there, past and present, I'd like to say "thank you." I don't know how you do it, and - I admit - I could not. But I am grateful that you believe in these same ideals (well, maybe not my ideals, but I’m working on that) as much as I do to make a difference. I stand on the shoulders of your sacrifice, with my megaphone when I shout out for equal rights for LGBT folks, religious freedom and equal rights and considerations for African Americans, American Indians and women (oh, and farm animals!). As well as my desire for a better education system, a better economy and for god's sake, when are Bush and Cheney just going to run off to Dubai and leave us alone to start rebuilding the dream!?
To tie this into the LGBT arena, let me just recommend to you a wonderful documentary that truly moved me years ago when I saw it called:
COMING OUT UNDER FIRE, by Arthur Dong.
This is an entertaining and just incredibly informative doc about the history of gays in the military. I own my own copy and I urge you to check it out because it is just so fascinating! The folks he interviews are just wonderful and funny and I was shocked at some of the interesting stories they told of being lgbt in WWII, Korea and Vietman. Who knew?!
BUY IT HERE ON AMAZON
I'm reading the back of my dvd now and here is one of the reviews;
"Fascinating and riveting. Accomplished and satifying emotionally and politically...." VARIETY.
There is also another great organization to check out: The Servicemember's Defense League. They do incredible work trying to overturn and fight the DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL law.
The Servicemembers Defense League
Also, Reichen (AMAZING RACE, DANTE'S COVE) wrote a great book about his experiences being gay in the Air Force.
Dear god, here's to a man that makes serving and advocating gay rights in the military sexy as all hell!!!
Also, when I met him, we had a wonderful talk about the military and he told me all about his grandmother who was a pilot in the Army Air Corp in WWII. She actually trained pilots for the war! Go grandma!
(That's Reichen's grandmama)
Check out Reichen's MySpace Page
Another incredible movie to check out is Glenn Close in SERVING IN SILENCE.
If you loved her in DAMAGES, you're going to love her playing a Colonel in the Army who is discharged for being a lesbian. Riveting.
CHECK OUT THIS GREAT FILM BY CLICKING HERE
And finally, I have to salute my folks. Pictured below are my parents. My mom was a WAVE in the Navy in WWII, and my dad was a navigator for bombers in the Army Air Corps in WWII. My dad went on to join the Air Force where he served for 30 years including tour of duties in Korea and Vietnam.
My film school was paid for by military money! So if you think about it, the government paid for me to sit here and be able to advocate LGBT rights. Very fitting, me thinks.
Both my folks are buried - together under one stone - at Arlington National Cemetary. Along with my dog Jake and my mom's dog Pepe (so illegal, but that's another story. To quote my mom, "Your father is probably going to roll over in his grave, but I'm taking the dogs with me! Don't freak out, they passed away before she did. But seeing us sneaking the ashes in with her's .... !!!)
Thank you to all of you that have served and are serving!