Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Gayest Show on New Year's Eve

As a heads up, the gayest countdown show on television tonight will be Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffith on CNN.

Anderson has had a few queenie moments this year (his review of Living Lohan was hysterical), and if anyone can pull it out of him, I suspect it will be Griffith.

Here's the teaser.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Highlights of 2008

The three things I'll remember about this year:

1) Getting slapped in the face with the passing of Prop 8

2) Getting bitched slapped on the other side of my face by a change-touting president elect who invited a hate-monger bigot to give the religious invocation at the inaugural ( so much for change).

3) Saying "I told you so" to all my friends and associates that voted for George Bush in 2000.

Happy New Year, my little pumpkins. Have a fantastic holiday and a safe New Year.

For the New Year: Business As Usual...with Cocktails!

Join LAGLCC as we ring in the New Year, with our First Thursday Mixer of 2009!

When: Thursday, January 8th

Where: OBAR

Address: 8279 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood

Time: 6 - 8 pm

Cost: $5.00 for members. (This is a member only event - Guests are welcome, but must be accompanied by a LAGLCC member)

RSVP to amandagazlay@gmail.com

Payments accepted at the door.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Monday, Do You Know Where Your Job Is?

Record lay-offs continue, and I don't know about you, but it's hit a huge majority of my friends out here in Los Angeles.

If you've lost your job in the last few months, hang in there.  This too shall pass and you are NOT alone.

Peace, JD

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Saturday, Do you Know Where Your Rights Are?

It's Saturday. Do you know where your rights are?

In yesterday's episode of "Idiots That Want to Fucking Take Your Rights Away", the Yes on Prop 8 people in California filed paperwork to overturn the 18,000 gay marriages that occurred this past year, and - to put the cherry on top -hired attorney Ken Starr to lead the charge as their lead attorney.

You might remember Ken Starr as the overzealous prosecutor the Republicans backed to try at- all-costs to remove Bill Clinton from the Presidency. W hat's the difference between a pit bull and Kenneth Starr? One is a homophobe and probably a big ole closet case.



Today is Saturday, and tonight there will be candlelight vigils across the country starting at 5 pm. I encourage you to take time out from whatever you are doing (fighting with relatives, drinking yourself silly, fighting over a sale item at Barney's or Macy's, you know...whatever) to come out for a bit and let our numbers been seen.

You can find out what's going on in your town at www.jointheimpact.com

In Los Angeles, the vigils will happen at Hollywood/Highland and in the Valley at Laurel Canyon and Ventura.

This past week, Obama selected hate-monger Rick Warren from the Saddleback Church in Orange County to speak at the inauguration. This really pissed off LBGT people and pretty much anyone with a brain in their head.

The good news is it's been the furor over this request has been covered on every major news outlet all week including CNN, NBC news, ABC, CBS and MSNBC. Which means you could turn on the news and see the lovely comments this Warren piece-of-shit has been spouting to his "flock". Things like likening homosexuality to pedaphelia, incest and polygamy. Classy, huh?

But on the bright side, at least everyone is getting to see what a bigot this guy really is.

Also, as pointed out in the Rachel Maddow (sigh) Show on Friday, if you go to the Saddleback web site, it's clearly noted that homosexuals are NOT welcome.

Pundits figure Obama is NOT recalling this horrifying mistake because he's more scared of THEM then he is of US. And by "us" I mean, once again, anyone with a brain in their head.

Just as a general note, Obama is doing this probably to court the Evangelicals.  Important to note:  There are other Pastors he could have invited, and not all Evangelicals share these highly bigoted, divisive opinions on LGBT citizens.

Another thing to note is most of Warren's rhetoric can be read nearly word-for-word in the official credos written by the Nazi party against homosexuality in 1930's Germany.  I mean, seriously, word-for-word.

So these protests and vigils are profoundly important. It shows our numbers, keeps our feelings in the news across the U.S. and continues the dialogue about our rights.

The Viacom-run LGBT cable channel LOGO will be covering the vigils all over the country tonight.  Show up and express your opinions if interviewed!

Once again, please take time away from your evening to stop by with friends at any of the vigils. It matters.


Friday, December 19, 2008

California Attorney General Flips for Us

Jerry Brown, the California Attorney General, changed his previous support of Prop 8 to a firm NO on Prop 8 today when he asked the California Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8 on the grounds it removes a constitutional right.

More on this story on the Los Angeles Times blog.

On The Bright Side


Although the announcement by Obama that pastor Rick Warren will speak at the inauguration ceremonies sent shockwaves through the LGBT and liberal communities of this country, on the bright side... this shock and dismay was widely covered in the media over the last two days. Pastor Rick Warren's harmful, hateful and divisive rhetoric was played on all the national and cable news outlets, as well as on local SoCal evening news shows.

This is surely a sign that our voices and concerns are being heard. Rick Warren likes to lecture that we are just 2% of the population, therefore our rights and civil liberties don't matter, but with all this coverage - and the tone of the coverage - it's clear we do matter to a large part of the population who understand separate is not equal.

Please help me in continuing our visibility by taking part in a candlelight vigil in your neighborhood this Saturday evening.

There is information on how to get involved at www.jointheimpact.com


I'll be attending the vigil locally here in the Valley at Laurel Canyon and Venture between 5 - 9 pm. There will also be a vigil at the hugely popular Hollywood and Highlands at the same time. The LOGO network will be covering these vigils all across the country. Show up and be heard. The news will cover this as well, and it's important we have the numbers.

I urge you to take even a 30 minute pitstop on the way to holiday parties and participate. It's also a great thing to bring your straight friends to.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Watch Video: The FUror over Rick Warren pick by Obama

Obama selected conservative Pastor Rick Warren to speak at his inauguration. Warren was a HUGE supporter of Prop 8 and lectured his "flock" adamantly to vote "Yes". With the announcement yesterday, LGBT people in this country got furious fast.

The fury continued on tonight's episode of Anderson Cooper 360 (watch clip below).
It's obvious Rick Warren uses divisive language. "He uses faith to preach fear".
Hilary Rosen really nails this in this clip. Nice to see her really get riled up about this. "

A Lesbian in Paris...the final episode....

An American Lesbian in Paris: Au Revoir!
by Shannon Connolly








Two nights ago, sipping on my third (fourth? fifth?) glass of champagne at a little bar called Flute just down the street from the Arc de Triomphe, I felt for the first time pangs of regret that my four months in Paris were coming to a close. I was sharing the evening with two new friends – the first lesbian couple I had met during my time in Paris, in fact. And also for the first time since I had arrived in Paris, I felt myself wishing the night would just go on and on.


They were the first women I could talk to in person about Proposition 8 since it passed, they were the first people who wanted to exchange coming out stories (be honest, how often do you actually go four full months without telling yours to someone?), they were the first people I could talk to about But I’m a Cheerleader and Loving Annabelle and Bound – in truth, it was the first time I had really felt like myself since my arrival in Paris. When I climbed into a cab at 3:30am, several hours after the metro had closed for the night, I leaned back in the seat and looked out the window, watching Paris at night pass by, and seeing it in a new light.

I was a “tourist” for four months this year. Sure, I technically “lived” in Paris – but my time there was essentially an extended vacation and was broken up by countless other voyages throughout Europe and the UK. But, when I rode home in the cab after my night at Flute, I felt this familiar warm feeling inside – a sort of swelling up with happiness at having spent time with people who understand me, people who live like me, people who are like me. And I realized how unique and special that connection is that we gays and lesbians and transgender people get to feel when we meet one of our own.

Have you ever been a tourist somewhere? Somewhere really far from home? Ok, imagine you are in a foreign country, a place where you walk around knowing you are inherently unlike almost every person around you. And imagine you’ve been there for quite a while now. You are surrounded by people and yet feeling an acute loneliness. And then, walking down the street, you pass someone wearing a sweatshirt with your high school logo on it. Because of that simple thing you have in common, you make an instant connection with this person, this stranger who is like you in a place where you feel so alone.




That is sort of what it is like for us, isn’t it? Finding others like us, in a world where many of us often feel like outsiders in our own families, in our own hometowns, is like finding an old friend in a foreign place.

My night of champagne and stories and laughs with a couple of women like me was just what I needed before I left Paris. I’ve spent a good part of my life feeling like a tourist in a world where I’d really just like to find a few people like me – so, rather than make me sad to leave Paris, that evening only made me appreciate more the life in LA that I am about to return to.



Paris has its charms and its beauty and its attractions, but when my plane touched down in Philadelphia (where I will spend the holidays with my family) last night, I almost cried just knowing that I am one step closer to feeling those warm-and-fuzzy gay connection feelings every day again when I get back to California.

Au revoir Paris!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Get Involved: Post Prop 8

A message from the Young Stonewall Dems and the Jordan/Rustin Coalition:

Stonewall Young Democrats

A message from California Young Democrats:

Young Democrats Wanted!
 
An exciting and rewarding campaign year has ended.  We, as young democrats, have been instrumental in the election of President-elect Barak Obama, numerous congressional races, and noticeable gains the state legislature.  Most of all, by bringing new ideas and a true hope for positive change to the forefront, we have reenergized our Party.  Now is your opportunity to become a part of the party leadership and direct the future of Democrats in California.
On January 10th and 11th Delegates to the State Democratic Central Committee will be elected from each of the 80 Assembly Districts throughout the state. Delegates attend the State Convention and participate in forming the direction of our State Party, electing the officers of the party, and endorsing candidates for office. Not to mention, there are a lot of great hospitality suites at the convention to network with democrats from around the state.  For more information about the delegate elections click here.

CYD is conducting an organized effort to elect young democrats to the state party.  Our goal is that Young Democrats represent 15% of our party. 
 
On December 14th at 11am, CYD will be hosting a web training for members of the California Young Democrats giving an overview of the Democratic Party, an introduction to the delegate selection process, and an overview of Executive Board and Delegate responsibilities.  Crystal Strait, Political Director of the California Democratic Party will join us online to help answer your questions.  We will also be hosting web trainings on Tuesday, December 16th at 6pm and Wednesday, December 17th at 8pm with Crystal Strait but these will be open to all Democrats in California.   

If you are interested in running, please sign-up with us online and we will provide you with all of the necessary information and assistance to help you win!!!  The California Democratic Party deadline to submit an application to run is noon on December 31, 2008.   Here is the application.

All young democrats who submit their information will be enrolled in our web training and receive weekly campaign tips on how to run a successful delegate campaign. Assistance in filling out forms and navigating the red tape will also be available.

As always, feel free to contact me at Ncaston@YoungDems.org or call me at 707-291-3470 with any questions.

Sincerely,
Nick Caston

Parliamentarian
California Young Democrats 

Ellen and Britney Go Caroling

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page dies at 85


Famous pin-up model Bettie Page passed away yesterday at the age of 85. She died from complications from pneumonia compounded by a heart attack.

Page was one of the first Playboy centerfolds and an iconic pin up girl of the 1950's until she became "born again" in 1958.

Lesbian filmmaker Guinevere Turned wrote the screenplay for the 2005 biopic THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE starring Gretchen Mol.

Here's some video of Page in her hey day.

A Few Ho's From JD

Ho Ho Ho.

That being said, you're invited to my SmokingCocktail.com Holiday Mixer.

As always, empowerment through networking, community involvement and idle gossip.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Your Guide to a Day without A Gay or Gays on Strike!

Tomorrow, December 10th is our official Gay Strike day.

What does that mean?

All LGBT folks and our allies who believe in equal rights should:

1) Call in sick to work or take a vacation day
Unless you work for a lgbt company

2) No spending!
Don't buy ANYTHING unless it's a gay owned business.
I'm sure there are restaurants in your area that are gay owned, so have dinner out!

3) Volunteer
Either volunteer at a local LGBT organization, or even better, get your gay friends together and volunteer for a STRAIGHT organization. Get out there and help your community, schools, seniors and let everyone know a gay for a day!

4) Come Out
I know it's hard for some of you, but maybe today is the day you make that big push and come out to SOMEONE...anyone. Your parents, your corner grocer, your mail man, your boss, your college friends.... just one person if you can.

5) Did I mention don't spend any Money?
Don't spend any money!!!! Unless it's a gay owned business!

What if you're straight? Then have dinner at a gay owned business. Clean out your closet and make a donation to an organization - like Out of the Closet or your local LGBT Center. Volunteer with your gay friends! Or make a donation to Lambda Legal who is going to be going in front of the Supreme Court of California at the beginning of the new year.

What's the point of all this?

Do you need a point? We are a viable community of American citizens, and organizations are trying to take our rights away. This is a show of solidarity. If just a few of you volunteer and talk to straight people, or if your coming-out opens just one person's eyes, it'll matter. Plus it's a great way for you to have respect for yourself by showing that you stand for equal rights and that you are part of this movement. It also continues the show of a unified lgbt people and their allies across the United States who are going to CONTINUE to fight for equal rights for all.

So don't pussy out. Take the day off!

From the press release from the Out And Equal Organization:

December 8, 2008, SAN FRANCISCO - Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the only nonprofit organization whose sole mission is workplace equality for all people, has thrown its support behind the National Day Without Gay, which will take place on International Human Rights Day, Wednesday, December 10, 2008.

National Day Without Gay is a nation-wide protest in support of human rights and full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. On that day, the LGBT community and its allies will take a historic stance against hatred. Intended as a continuation of the grassroots surge against Proposition 8 across the U.S., National Day Without Gay calls on all people to join in this public action to protest the writing of discrimination into California's highest legal document, the State Constitution.

“We recommend that people use this day as an opportunity to promote awareness in the workplace,” said Selisse Berry, founding executive director of Out & Equal. “There are still no federal laws protecting people from being fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. And this is a good opportunity to help change people’s perceptions about the LGBT community.

Jack Black on Keith Olbermann talking about Prop 8: Watch Video

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ira Glass, Ira Glass, Oh My God Ira Glass

That title was a nod to A CHORUS LINE, if you didn't catch it.

Anyway, last Friday night I attended the Independent Documentary Association (IDA) Awards Night at the Directors Guild. Fabulous event.

The top ten reasons why the IDA Awards rocked:

5. I ran into a bunch of really cool documentary film makers

4. At this event, the fans and paparazzi treat Werner Herzog like it was Britany Spears. No Lie. So great to see.

3. I found out at the former executive director of FRAMELINE: The San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival - Michael Lumpkin - has moved to LA and is the IDA's new Executive Director

2. I met Ira Glass

1. Did I mention I met Ira Glass?

Here are the photos, compliments of Brian Putnam of Putnam Photography.

The Post Prop 8 Plan that Works

Last Thursday night, the non profit organization Liberty Hill responded to the loss of the Prop 8 initiative by announcing their plans for Advancing Equality.

Liberty Hill is an organization that raises money then gives it to various non profit organizations in California. Their plan is to provide money and training to grassroots organizations that will work to expand the tolerance of LGBT people in other minority populations.

For more information and further detail on Liberty Hills plans to advance equality, please visit Liberty Hill's Blog on Prop 8




You can also help out Liberty Hill by bidding on this terrific set of tickets to the Dave Koz concert on Ebay!!!

CLICK HERE FOR AN EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITY

The auction includes two tickets to Koz's Christmas show in Cerritos, plus a backstage introduction!

The proceeds benefit Liberty Hill.

El Coyote Manager Steps Down

In lgbt boycott news, the manager of trendy, Hollywood staple EL COYOTE restaurant has just stepped down from her position with the family owned business after massive pressure from local LGBT rights advocates.

The 77 year old family owned restaurant is the frequent stomping grounds for local residents who were shocked to hear that manager Marjorie Christoffersen had donated $100 to YES ON PROP 8.  A large majority of their clientele is either LGBT or liberal minded.  A boycott ensued immediately following this disclosure which motivated a press conference where Christoffersen explained her donation was due to her faith and membership in the Mormon Church.  The refusal to apologize or make an equivalent donation to a LGBT rights org at this press conference, motivated all their regular customers to dine and drink elsewhere.

El Coyote has been operating on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles for 77 years and sits in a residential area near the largely gay West Hollywood.  Many of the houses in the surrounding blocks are owned by LGBT folks, who have made the restaurant their neighborhood staple hang out.  It's a family owned business run by matriarch Grace Salisbury.  Marjorie, her daughter, is the only Mormon in the family.

Local residents were shocked that part of the money they spend every week at the restaurant was going to an organization hell-bent (excuse the expression, but only slightly) on taking away the civil liberties of an oppressed minority.  The boycott wasn't so much meant to punish the establishment as it was simply just a very large group of regular customers who felt betrayed and simply chose to eat and drink elsewhere.


Friday, December 5, 2008

A New Lesbian Web Site is Born!

Hello darlings, there's a new girl online, and it's SheWired.com

It's owned by here!, which also owns GayWired.com, Out, The Advocate, Alyson Books and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting right now.

Either way, check it out and if you live in SoCal there will be a fabulous kick-off party this evening at Linda and Michelle's TRUCK STOP at the Here Lounge at 8 pm.

Here's the blurb:

Please join us to celebrate the launch of SheWired.com, the destination for women on the web. SheWired.com features a fresh design and exclusive, informative content spanning such topics as pop culture, politics, travel, health and lifestyle. In addition, SheWired.com introduces a dynamic mix of uncensored blogging and video blogging personalities, including Jill Bennett and Cathy DeBuono.

Join Regent Media along with Jill Bennett and Cathy DeBuono to welcome SheWired.com:


Friday, December 5, 2008
Fuse Event’s “Truck Stop”
Here Lounge
696 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
www.fuse-events.com

Gift Bags Drink Specials Contests

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Two Great Ways to Support and Enjoy Out LGBT Media Artists

There are two fantastic events happening tonight that both promise to not only be fun, but a great way to support and mingle with out lgbt artists in media.

Print out the flyer for a discounted admission to the Improv, or rsvp to Out @ Warner Brothers since they'll have to reserve you a drive on pass to the lot.


Prop 8 - The Musical, starring Jack Black

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Art for Rights



ANTEBELLUM GALLERY proudly presents- an all-inclusive art exhibition of civil rights & marriage equality for ALL.

On this day all people will present their art, images, performances, and ideas depicting CIVIL RIGHTS & MARRIAGE FOR ALL. ANTEBELLUM invites all to be part of this historic exhibition.

When: opening night- December 6th- 7pm till 10pm

Art, music, live bands, performances, spoken word, videos

Exhibition runs thru December 13th

Antebellum
1643 n Las Palmas ave
Hollywood, CA 90028
323 856-0667
www.antebellum.us.ms

Monday, December 1, 2008

CyberMonday: Don't Kill Anyone, Shop Online

Today is cyberMonday - which means all the online sales and the biggest internet sales day of the year. Ah, consumerism.

Meanwhile, maybe it's Obama's victory, but sales this season are actually up. Personally, I'm shocked, but it does keep our economy going, so keep shopping.

As a reminder, this holiday season remember to support those that support us. Three large companies that support us include Apple, Levi's and Starbucks. So a pair of jeans, a cool shirt, an ipod or new macbook plus a pound of coffee sounds pretty good under a tree.

Meanwhile, click this link to find out where the rest of the sales are today:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gay Comedy at the historic Improv, this Wednesday night

Gays R Us

Loraine Love is the host for the evening, along with comics Liz Feldman, Roy Cruz,
Cathy Carlson, Daniel Leary, Erin Foley with Sandra Valls headlining!!

Wednesday, Dec 3rd
8 pm
Hollywood Improv
8162 Melrose Avenue

Click on flyer below to print out for discounted $10 admission.

Today - Toy Drive for APLA

Rally and March in Leimert Park, Nov 23

Photos by Lily Khadjavi, Jordan/Rustin Coalition.


Sonic Boom

For those of you that live in California and thought you had really, really earth-moving sex this morning, that was actually a sonic boom caused by the space shuttle reentering the atmosphere. The space shuttle Endeavour landed today safely at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave desert, fyi. It was redirected here - as always - because of weather in Florida.

And who the hell is having great sex? Isn't the time of year dedicated to fighting with your family, having your childhood buttons pushed, over-drinking as a result, overeating then subsequently worrying about gaining weight, worrying about being able to afford holiday presents....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The World is All Gay

What if the world was gay, and it was heterosexuals looking for marriage rights?

Catch this great short (my absolute favorite from the film festival circuit a few years ago) with Jane Lynch as the preacher, and a hysterical cameo by Margaret Cho. Directed by Anne Renton.



For more info and future projects from this team, visit www.loveisloveshortfilm.com

Watch the Lesbian "Twilight"


How exciting that Catherine Hardwicke's vampire flick TWILIGHT is cleaning up at the box office, but how about a lesbian vampire flick? Oh wait, it's been made and it premiered on LOGO this week.

Check out this short, lesbian, vampire flick from director Tina Scorzafava... you can watch it and rate it right now at www.logoonline.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rich Raddon, Director of LA Film Fest, Steps down After Yes on Prop 8 Donation

Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival's director, Rich Raddon was revealed to have donated $1,500 to the YES ON PROP 8 campaign and what followed was a huge barrage of letters and emails from the progressive, independent film making world to the festival's managing organizations Film Independent and the non-profit FIND LA.

Raddon gave his resignation last week, but the organization's board denied it. More letters and emails came from prominent film makers which motivated the organization to finally accept his resignation after a special board meeting Monday night.

Any independent film festival tends to lend itself to showcasing and celebrating non-studio and independent-minded films that encompass a variety of international and local issues as well as depicting the human condition of many minorities and cultures. The idea that the man at the helm was giving money to take away rights to a group of people was unacceptable.

I have met a multitude of Mormons - both gay and straight - that do not discriminate and will not accept their church's doctrine to vigorously pursue removing rights and spreading hateful rhetoric against the LGBT community. By donating money, Raddon showed he is not one of them.

Greg Araki - who is considered to be one of the creators of new queer cinema and has been hugely involved in Film Independent over the years - was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying Raddon should step down. "I don't think he should be forcibly removed. The bottom line is if he contributed money to a hateful campaign against black people, or against Jewish people, or any other minority group, there would be much less excusing of him. The terrible irony is that he runs a film festival that is intended to promote tolerance and equality."

Torie Osborn's Letter on Our Movement Post Prop 8

As a note, Torie will have a piece in an upcoming issue of THE NATION on this, I urge you to buy it from your local newstand.

____

THE NEW POLITICS OF YES:
YES WE CAN…OVERTURN PROP 8

An Open Letter by Torie Osborn November 20, 2008

A Prayer
I write this to help move forward the conversation in the wake of Prop 8. It is a loving work in progress. I dedicate it to my friends who died of AIDS and who are shouting from The Beyond: Do not miss this opportunity to forge transformation from this defeat. Do not forget us! In particular, I honor Ken Dawson, Connie Norman, Marlon Riggs, Rand Schrader, Mark Kostopolous, Paul Monette, Tom Stoddard, and Gabe Kruks. They never forgot what really matters: love and justice.


1. DEFEAT REQUIRES HONESTY, HUMILITY AND LONGTERM MOVEMENT-BUILDING STRATEGY

Learning from others
When the devastating violence of 1992’s civil unrest scorched communities of color in Los Angeles, a phoenix rose up from those ashes. Even with formidable external forces tearing them apart, forward-looking Asian, African-American and Latino leaders showed extraordinary leadership: Rather than devolve into infighting or finger-pointing, they took a clear-eyed look at their own failures and vowed to do things completely differently. “We have an urgent need to think long-term,” were the words that reverberated, and a fundamental paradigm shift took place. Vowing to move beyond short term and fragmented efforts, diverse leaders in diverse neighborhoods made an intentional, coordinated plan: to retool existing groups or found brand new organizations dedicated to long-term community organizing for real power in their respective neighborhoods; and, to forge an ongoing multi-ethnic network of trusting relationships. Not unlike the Right after the bitter defeat of Goldwater in 1964, they dedicated themselves to building the infrastructure of a serious new social movement. As a result, quietly, effectively, since 1992, LA has birthed a vibrant economic and racial justice movement that is building neighborhood power, incubating leaders for political office, and helping move a regional social reform agenda for labor and immigrant rights and economic equity. Fifteen years later, LA has: progressives of color as Mayor, CA Assembly Speaker, and new Supervisor; a vibrant set of organizations that network and strategize across ethnic lines; and, a pipeline of young leaders who will make history for decades to come. Progressive ideas that seemed preposterous in 1992 -- such as the living wage and environmental justice -- are mainstream.

That transformation started with humility and self-responsibility – and an eye on the prize of longterm movement-building for justice. What could have devolved into permanent divisions instead moved from pain to power.

I have seen nothing similar in the LGBT community since the bitter victory of the homophobic Proposition 8. Nobody has accepted responsibility for failure and stepped up to lead a coherent, community- wide discussion of where to from here. As a result there is too much finger pointing, and a startling loss of credibility for established LGBT organizations and leaders. Without a humble and truth-telling self-assessment, the energetic protest and proliferation of new young activists may well evaporate, or be too narrowly contained within one single – if exciting -- strand of the LGBT movement: web activism. Or, inaccurate analysis will become set in stone and lead toward division rather than powerful motion forward.


2. WHY WE WILL WIN NEXT TIME: BEATING PROP 8 IS A TRUE CAUSE OF THE NEW OBAMA ERA OF PROGRESSIVE PATRIOTISM

The nation-wide eruption of anger over Prop 8’s homophobic victory – at the same historic moment Connecticut granted marriage equality -- is the first major wave of social activism of the new Obama era. Make no mistake about it, if progressive allies and the LGBT community do our homework, we will reverse Prop 8. Yes, we got outgunned pretty spectacularly on Proposition 8 by that big scary Mormon Church and the lies of the Right wing, BUT the world has suddenly and radically shifted toward justice and equality and the Right is rapidly losing power. Feel the zeitgeist! Listen to how silly Newt Gingrich sounds when he talks about the new “gay fascism”. View Jon Stewart take on Bill O’Reilly and tell him marriage equality is the next great cause. Watch Keith Obermann passionately promote our cause!

Wake up, LGBT America! Equality and justice is on the ascendancy and we will win. Today, we have faith in the courts – and the public outcry creates a climate that helps with the legal challenge -- but if the CA Supreme Court fails us, we will go back to the ballot box in California in two or four years, and we will win. If we look with clear eyes and learn well from our own mistakes, and take a few pages from the playbook of our own history, as well as that of our allies in communities of color, there is no doubt marriage equality will be achieved in fairly short order, at least in California, which legalized inter-racial marriage twenty years before the country as a whole.

Full disclosure: I wrote sacrificially large checks, but did not work on No on 8. I was one of thousands of people who felt called by history to drop my life and join the Obama campaign fulltime for the last two months before the election. I spent 24/7 working to help move the army of nearly 15,000 California volunteers to western battleground states, primarily Nevada – which we turned blue by an amazing 12 points. My primary passion was working shoulder to shoulder with the most amazing team of (mostly) women of all colors and backgrounds to do the all-important job of getting African American and Latino to Nevada for voter-to-voter outreach.

Occasionally, I suffer from self-doubt: Would I have chosen to pour all my energies into Obama if I had known Prop 8 would lose narrowly, and Obama would win Nevada by such huge margins? I don’t know, but I honor my time with the Obama campaign as a glorious and instructive experience. On that last GOTV weekend, with 25 others on my team, I walked the dusty streets of suburban Henderson and rural Boulder City, Nevada. I spent election night with a few of my team and a thousand strangers at the Hotel Rio in Las Vegas. We cried hard with Jesse; we danced harder with the Kenyons. Victory shared with several billion world citizens was sweeter than I have ever known. I will not let the homophobes take that from me, and, in fact, my experience on the Obama campaign is what gives me huge hope.


Halleluliah!: We are Not Alone – at last!
I returned from Obamaland in Nevada to the implosion and righteous rage in my own community in LA and across the country. Immediately, I learned the first lesson I need to share: For the first time in our history as an LGBT community fighting the Right: We are not alone. I remember the bitterness of No on 64 in 1986 – fighting the evil LaRouche initiative to quarantine People with AIDS: we couldn’t get ANY nongay organization to endorse us besides our steady ally, the ACLU. Today, we have an army of straight allies who are just as outraged as we are and who have vowed to help us reverse this decision. Thursday night after election day, our LA Obama team had our victory celebration and, with a heavy heart, I drove to Silver Lake to the party – my spirit staying in Westwood with the protesters surrounding the Mormon Church – but wanting to see my Obama campaign sisters and brothers, my new friends and tribe. I still cry when I recall the love and solidarity that poured toward me that night about Prop 8. To a person, the Obama staff and volunteers I spoke with, a majority Latino and African American, mostly nongay, told me to count on them in the next steps in beating Prop 8. And then they showed up at the City Hall protest November 15. The world has turned; even more than those who endorsed No on 8 – greatly increased from previous battles -- we have a critical mass of newly empowered and passionate allies for justice, fired up and ready to go! As one new Obama friend put it: “Sister, you got next!” Those who fear that African American and Latino voters are permanently against us are flat wrong: if we do our footwork, all the signs point to changed minds and hearts in the near future (see: “Where to From Here” section). Change is in the air!

I have emerged from immersion in the Obama movement knowing that it’s a new day in America: a new progressive patriotism is on the rise that suddenly makes the Right a throwback. It won’t happen automatically; it will require hard work, but a new spirit is rising. “Respect/Empower/Include” was the mantra of the Obama campaign, and it means everyone. What a delicious irony that the first major issue that calls the question of the new era of change is the freedom for gays and lesbians to marry! Remember that this issue was blamed by many Democrats for Kerry’s loss four years ago.



3. WHY WE SHOULD HAVE WON: WE KNOW HOW TO BEAT THE RIGHT
Last week, I saw the must-see film, Gus Van Zant’s MILK, and was brought back thirty years to the No on 6 campaign against the Briggs initiative that would have fired gay teachers. The ugly homophobic words of messianic homophobes Anita Bryant and John Briggs were the same words we heard from the YES on 8 folks, only the Right has gotten more clever over its three decades in power: there isn’t one celebrity spokesperson, and they wrap the package in a happy-yellow family picture. But the themes were eerily similar: we threaten their children, we threaten their religion. And, yes, we’ve come a long way when we are fighting for the right to marry as opposed to defending the right of gay schoolteachers to work. But, the film inspired me to speak out, because I believe in my heart that we could have beaten Prop 8 had we studied our own history. 30 years ago was a different time, a time of widespread social activism on the progressive side; organizing and coalition-building was the norm, and the latest human rights movement – ours -- learned how. We came from a 25-point deficit to beat Briggs because we did exactly in 1978 what Barack Obama did this year to win the presidency: Build BOTH a professionally run, disciplined, topnotch top-down campaign AND an inclusive huge grassroots movement that engaged every single person possible in activist support.

In 1978, I was immersed in the lesbian-feminist ‘women’s music’ world and helped organize an amazing 10-city Holly Near/Meg Christian concert tour that reached 50,000 people. The day after their concerts, Holly and Meg led training sessions to inspire and educate hundreds of women to become, yes, community organizers. There were a zillion other ways to plug into No on 6, and, as a result, the gay and lesbian community came together on No on 6 in a way that presaged fighting AIDS later. (Historical note: at the time gay men and lesbians were living on separate planets, as you’ll see in MILK where you meet exactly one lesbian although in truth a huge and vibrant lesbian community lived then in the Mission, out of the camera lens focused only on Harvey and the Castro.) Together, we built a grassroots movement the likes of which had never been seen before in CA; thousands of people came “Out of the closet and into the streets”, pouring into organizing meetings in bars and coffeehouses and feminist bookstores and newly emerging community centers and clinics that were our new home base.

But even that mass grassroots movement would not have defeated the right wing’s vicious campaign without the professional political consultant, David Mixner, who got Ronald Reagan to do a 30-second radio ad that ran the last two weeks of the campaign. This year, the No on 8 equivalent of that Reagan ad designed to reach the “moveable middle” was Barack Obama. In one of the most puzzling decisions of the No on 8 campaign, Obama opposed Prop 8 early on, but the campaign failed to use it until the last days of the campaign when it was too late. When Obama’s CA campaign director asked me in early October why Barack’s face wasn’t plastered all over mailers and TV and radio – which might have made a big difference in Black and Brown communities that overwhelmingly voted for him -- I posed the question immediately to a friend in the campaign’s inner circle. I was told Barack’s position was “too confusing” (he says he opposes gay marriage). Confusing? He gave us the endorsement early; moreover, it was his ONLY endorsement in CA, despite pleas from other initiative campaigns. I’ve heard people blame the Obama campaign for sucking money and people out of the struggle against 8. And I’ve heard too much ugly anger at the Black community. But take responsibility, folks – you had Barack’s endorsement and you didn’t use it. That left it wide open for the YES folks to manipulate Obama’s position and add yet another lie -- that he supported Prop 8. That was a possibly fatal error and we cannot blame the Morman Church or African-Americans for it.

One final critique of No ON 8: Never again should our EDs run our political campaigns! Next time, let’s engage our community’s nonprofit leaders as grass roots leaders, mobilizing their membership, staff and constituencies, and NOT as professional political campaign operatives. I’m a four-time former Executive Director and I believe in longterm institution-building and the need for excellence in EDs. But as one who was also Southern CA Campaign Coordinator for No on 64 (the 1986 AIDS quarantine struggle), believe me, the skill-set of a nonprofit executive is NOT the same as that required to run a political campaign. We need to hire the best, toughest political campaign consultant and let them go, not constrain them with a web of bureaucracy: No on 8 had a big committee of 93, then a smaller committee of 25 and, finally, an “executive committee” of seven representatives of nonprofit groups. The tragedy is that this unwieldy structure precluded BOTH a topflight political campaign and a powerful grassroots campaign – that is, the campaign structure itself diverted energies from a real organizing campaign.

API Equality: Effective Grassroots Organizing
There was one standout model of effective grassroots community organizing in the LGBT community this year; it was part of the No on 8 campaign, but it began autonomously and was a three-year effort: “API Equality.” This campaign should be closely studied as a template for future efforts. Volunteer driven, collaborative, muscular, inclusive and savvy, it engaged and leveraged community-based nonprofits trusted in their neighborhoods and ethnic communities, political allies, diverse ethnic media, and fearlessly confronted homophobic religious groups. API Equality reached their ‘moveable middle’ through engaging allies and putting the human face of LGBT Asian Pacific Islanders front and center. The result? 51% NO vote despite fierce homophobic resistance. Let’s celebrate this success and learn from it!


4. WHERE TO FROM HERE? FROM PROTEST TO POWER

To move from protest to power and guarantee success in the courts or at the ballot box, if it comes to that, and -- most importantly-- to advance the LGBT and progressive movements, several things are necessary:

I. ANALYSIS: A fearless and thorough analysis of what went wrong and right with the No on 8 campaign. Several of the funders are planning on hiring an independent consultant to review the campaign and the results should be made public when they are complete, probably not for several months. Meanwhile, the more smart analysis rooted in data and experience, and pointing toward the future, the better!

II. STRATEGIC CONVENINGS – NOW! We are in a “movement moment” of high energy and new activism. It will not last. Most critical is to ride the wave and try to put something in place that will last: new relationships, banks of names and funding for when we know what the strategy is. And STRATEGY. We need to blog and twitter, yes, but also to convene, retreat, hold summits, strategize – in person as well as online. A few of the good ideas I’ve heard for convenings that should happen as soon as possible:
a. A People of Color Civil Rights/Equal Rights Summit: Gay and straight African American, Latino and API leaders having a summit and together learning from what worked and what didn’t and intentionally forming a path forward could be very powerful.
b. Interfaith and religious organizing: Allies from faith communities having conversations with YES on 8 church leaders to listen well and at least begin the conversation.
c. A cross-generation summit: The young, new LGBT net-organizers holding a meeting with longtime activists who hold many years of movement history and exchanging ideas and questions.
d. Movement infrastructure and leadership The new activist groups meeting with existing GLBT nonprofit leaders and learning what movement infrastructure exists and how it can be retooled to engage the new skills and talents of younger, new leaders coming up. There may be a shakeout in the months ahead: new organizations might emerge; old organizations might decline – what has power and impact and sustainability remains completely up in the air. (As does the new question, by the way, of the LGBT groups’ ongoing relationship with progressive allies: labor, feminist, civil rights and civil liberties, community-based people-of-color organizations? Who holds and nurtures those relationships on behalf of the LGBT movement?)

III. PRIORITIZE LONG-TERM COMMUNITY ORGANIZING IN LATINO AND AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES.
Again, we have a superb model in what API Equality did in the Asian communities, over a protracted three-year period. We need to study it, and look at how it can be successfully translated into the African American and Latino communities, given material differences in funding and nonprofit infrastructure, and the fact that the Right has targeted and organized brilliantly against us over 20 years, particularly in the black community. (I recommend Dee Mosbacher and Sylvia Rhue’s film “All God’s Children” about the Black church and homophobia).

NEWS FLASH!: The good news in LA – central to winning statewide, remember – is that the Liberty Hill Foundation, whose credibility in African American and Latino communities goes back decades, has just made an institutional decision to prioritize funding and training for the next several years on organizing and coalition building on marriage equality in Black and Brown communities. All who want to see that succeed should be writing checks now to www.libertyhill.org. They have a fundraiser December 4 to support these efforts; see their website.

1V. LEVERAGE THE NEW PROGRESSIVE COALITION. If we are indeed in a new era of change, then equality is nonnegotiable. Progressive patriotism is ascendant. We have to tirelessly and fearlessly leverage the Obama justice era and deepen the new progressive coalition. From what I understand, the No on 8 campaign raised huge funds from unions, but never formally asked the formidable labor movement, at least in LA, for its real muscle – peer to peer phoning and canvassing; next time must be different. In addition, many of the networks of grassroots folks that scaled up to elect Obama stand ready to be mobilized – while the Obama campaign and the DNC decide how that grassroots power is to be mobilized, there are lots of informal networks of volunteers that we can tap into. Best positioned to link to the progressive online network is the Courage Campaign – they are already linking with MoveOn.org and with key labor leaders, are already hiring organizers and net-organizing to capture the people and dollars that are ready to beat 8. www.couragecampaign.com


5. CONCLUSION: THE NEW POLITICS OF ‘YES WE CAN’

The world turned on November 4. A new movement is taking shape. I was immersed in it for two months and from my 40 years of activist experience, I can tell you the following:

* The Obama movement is about finding commonality and shared purpose: E Pluribus Unum. Both pragmatic and idealistic, it’s rooted in core patriotic values of democracy, equality and civic engagement. Most of all, this new movement looks at the positive and not the negative traits of our schitzophrenic American history, valuing above all the jagged journey toward justice – the progressive American story of ever-expanding “liberty and justice for all”. It brushes aside the culture of identity politics and its tendency for competing victimization: its motto is “YES WE CAN”, not “I’M OPPRESSED”. It has faith that people can change if you treat them with respect; its stated mantra is “Respect, Empower, Include.” There is no place for inequality in this new era, but after 30 years of Right wing power, America has some catching up to do. Both homophobia and economic inequality have been hallmarks of the past thirty years of Right wing dominance in America, so we will need to do some work to align our different struggles for justice – economic and equal-rights. But it will happen, with faith and hard work. The winds of change are at our back, and when my Obama-campaign friends vow solidarity on marriage equality and defeating Prop 8, I believe them. There is a new and diverse army of supporters out there just waiting to be tapped, for us. Just as we will need to stand in solidarity to restore equal opportunity to economic security and achieve racial justice as we go forward. All in the name of a shared commitment America’s highest ideals.

At last Saturday’s rally, my longtime friend, former boss, and a true brother in solidarity for full and complete equality for LGBT people, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, gave a gorgeous speech about marriage equality that you can find all over YouTube. It included these words: “In the eyes of the law and the eyes of God, THOU SHALT NOT DISCRIMINATE.. .…This is not just about protest and this is not just about the internet. Let us go back to our homes and into our neighborhoods and start this conversation and take it to the shuls and to the churches and to every civic institution and to City Halls and to the Halls of Congress and all the way to the White House…..”

If we do this, in very short order, we will beat Prop 8. Not to mention help forge a new American movement for democracy and equality that cannot be stopped.
YES WE CAN. SI SE PUEDE!

Copyright, 2008
Torie Osborn
Torie.Osborn@gmail.com

Torie Osborn is a longtime social activist and former executive director of LA’s Gay and Lesbian Center and Liberty Hill Foundation, as well as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She recently served in Mayor Villaraigosa’s cabinet as Senior Advisor on poverty and homelessness policy, as well as liaison to philanthropy. She is currently a writer and independent consultant to foundations and social-change nonprofits.

Monday, November 24, 2008

MILK Screening


Click to enlarge.

Watch Video: Protest on November 22 in Sacramento for Equal Rights

Watch Video: Cho Tells Mormons to "Shove Prop 8 Up Their..." at Sacramento Rally

Margaret Cho learned to play guitar and wrote this song that she performed this past Saturday at the Prop 8 Protest in Sacramento.

Tonight in Los Angeles - Stonewall/Prop 8 Panel

Post Prop 8: The Renewed Fight For Marriage Equaility Panel

Please join us on November 24 ,2008 at 7pm as we welcome the following guests:

Moderator:
Rodney Scott
Chair, Special Committee on Marriage Equality, Stonewall Dem Club
President, Christopher Street West

Panelists:
Javier Angulo
Vice President, HONOR PAC
(Latina/o LGBT political action committee)

Ron Buckmire
President, Jordan/Rustin Coalition
(African-American LGBT advocacy organization)

Cary Davidson
Attorney for 'No on 8'
VP, Equality California

Jenny Pizer
Senior Counsel, Lambda Legal


West Hollywood Park Auditorium
647 North San Vicente
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(free parking lot immediately adjacent)

Prop 8 - Tonight, Virtual Town Hall

PROP 8- The Facts and The Future
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Time:
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Location:
Your computer
Description
A virtual town hall meeting entitled “Prop 8: The Facts and Future,” accessible to anyone with a computer and Internet connection.

The 90-minute online forum will be hosted by Karen Ocamb, news editor at Frontiers and IN Los Angeles. It will be broadcast live via streaming audio. Audience members can send questions to the moderator in advance at: TownHallModerator@gmail.com or send questions/comments to her during the broadcast.

The town hall meeting will be recorded for those who are not able to participate in the live session.

Panel members include:

• Amy Balliett, founder of Join the Impact
• Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
• Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California
• Rev. Eric Lee, president/CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Los Angeles
• Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights
• John A. Perez, assembly member-elect of California’s 46th District
• Steve Smith, No on 8 senior campaign consultant of Dewey Square.

To join the town hall meeting, visit: www.lagaycenter.org/Prop8TownHall

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Protest Los Angeles

ORGANIZED BY “LOVE AT WORK – THE EXCHANGE”
JOIN BLACK LGBT OF LOS ANGELES
IN A PEACEFUL MARCH TO PROTEST
THE PASSAGE OF PROPOSITION 8!!!!

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2008
AT 11:00AM

MEET AT LEIMERT PARK FOUNTAIN (CORNER OF VERNON AND CRENSHAW) THE ROUTE IS NORTH ON CRENSHAW BLV. TO KING BLVD, AND THEN BACK TO LEIMERT PARK.


MARCH BEGINS AT 11:30AM


ALL GAY, LESBIAN, QUEER, SAME-GENDER LOVING, BI-SEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, THEIR FAMILIES, FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS ARE INVITED TO COME OUT AND PARTICIPATE.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO BRING YOUR OWN SIGNS
AND BRING YOUR OWN DRINKING WATER

PLEASE DO NOT WEAR RED OR BLUE

*THERE WILL NOT BE A RALLY AT LEIMERT PARK AFTERWARD
.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT REV. FREDA LANOIX
AT REVFREDA@AOL.COM OR AT MYSPACE.COM/REVFREDA

Friday, November 21, 2008

Watch Video: Republican Mayor cries while Coming Out For Gay Marriage

Do you think he's crying because he feels for us, or because he knows he's going to lose all the Republican votes in his re election? Either way, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders shocked everyone when he changed his mind about gay marriage and signed a resolution to the city attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage. He originally released a statement saying he would veto it and has been vocal against gay marriage in the past.

PS: This video is from 2007!
Thanks Craig for sending this!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are you Going to Sacramento?


TAKE IT TO SACRAMENTO ON NOVEMBER 22ND!

With the unfortunate outcome of the recent passage of Proposition 8, the GLBT community has united in a presence that we have not seen since the early 1980’s and the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

It is with great respect that California Outreach, in partnership with Equality Action Now, humbly asks you to join GLBT individuals and organizations, PFLAG and our straight brothers and sisters at a peaceful outreach on the steps of the California State Capitol Building at 2:00pm on November 22nd.

Please join us as we reach out to all the citizens of California to demonstrate that we will not tolerate discrimination being written into our State Constitution.

Who: Anyone and everyone.
Where: California State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA
When: 11/22/08 2:00PM
Why: Equal Rights are inalienable and CANNOT be taken away.

In 1987 the largest rally for gay rights in Sacramento took place, counting 15,000 strong. We need to stand together and make a statement that we will not stand idly by and let the rights of our sons, daughters, parents, and friends be taken away. Twenty one years later -- are YOU ready to make history?

http://www.californiaoutreach.com
http://www.equalityactionnow.org

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS
- Comediennes MARGARET CHO and SELENE LUNA

- GLORIA ALLRED, Head Attorney in Supreme Court Marriage Cases

- SENATOR DARRELL STEINBERG, President-elect of the CA State Senate

- REV. AMOS BROWN, NAACP Board Member

- ROBIN TYLER & DIANE OLSON, plaintiffs in Supreme Court Marriage Cases and first to be married in CA after the ban was struck down in June

- JOHN LEWIS AND STUART GAFFNEY, accomplised Marriage Equality USA Speakers and plaintiffs in Supreme Court Marriage Cases

- SHANNON MINTER, attorney with the National Center For Lesbian Rights

- GEOFF KORS, Equality California Executive Director

Currently in talks with Governor Schwarzenegger and Gavin Newsom (Mayor of San Francisco).

Who Put the T in LGBT?

Today is the Transgender Day Of Remembrance, so let's take a moment to concentrate our loving thoughts at a quiet moment to all our T brothers and sisters - the ones we have lost due to violence, and for those who have and continue to fight beside us for equal rights for all.

If you are in Los Angeles, there is a vigil this evening at Plummer Park.

Details:
Transgender Day of Remembrance is set aside to memorialize the lives of those killed due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice.

Plummer Park/Fiesta Hall (7377 Santa Monica Blvd)
6-7p: Reception
7-9p: Program
Followed by: "Take Back the Street" march and candlelight vigil from Plummer Park to Human Rights Triangle (Santa Monica and Crescent Heights)

This is a message from my friend Ruben Rodriquez:

To all the non-trans people I know and love,

This Thursday, we'll take a few hours on this ONE day a year to collectively remember people we've lost due to anti-transgender violence. The event marks the 10th anniversary of T.D.O.R. and every year, I am reminded of the year Maria Roman declared on a giant banner in black block letters: "HOW MANY TRANSGENDERS NEED TO DIE BEFORE YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?"

Great question, Maria.
I still don't know the answer.

So, LISTEN: if you're about protecting civil rights...wait, no. If you're about FIGHTING for HUMAN RIGHTS, then COME OUT and be fierce and magical and terrific and march_holla_remember_heal with the trannies.

you WON'T regret it!!!

ALSO...if you're down for social justice...anti-violence, anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-classism, anti-xenophobia, anti-heterosexism...then you're down for trans justice.

Photos from Last Night's Mixer

Photos by photographer Brian Putnam


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reprinted by Consent of the Author

By Rob Eric in response to Newt on Bill.
___
An open letter to the genius that is Newt Gingrich (please note the sarcasm)

Newt Gingrich was on Bill O’Reilly (I know can you imagine that…on Bill O’Reilly. Who would have thought.), and had this to say about the current Prop 8 revolt.

"Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.”

Oh really Mr. Gingrich? Is that what you think? well let’s put aside the fact this great country of ours was supposedly built on a separation of church and state… and let’s just concentrate on how incredibly stupid you sound in this little “thought” of yours.

For over 40 years I have been called a fag. I have been threatened bodily harm for the way I talk. I have heard that God hates me. I have been told that the bible condemns not only my soul but my lifestyle, my friends and anyone who may agree with a pro-gay agenda. I have been told that the reason I don’t have equal rights is because I am an abomination in the eyes of God. I have seen my friends beaten up. I angrily marched when a young gay boy was beaten senseless, tied to a fence and left to die and then told it was God’s will. I have watched brave friends protect the country they love but have not been able to say who they really were in fear of being cast aside. I have seen friends fired for being gay (which FYI is still legal in 35 states). I have watched history being written and maligned when it comes to the plight of gay men and women (quick someone look up pink triangles and the holocaust in google). The list goes on and on but let me get to my point.

Fuck you. Fuck you and fuck the establishment that you represent. How dare you say that we are imposing anything on you after you have imposed so much on us. We’re a threat to religion and those who believe in it? Damn right we are. We have taken enough beatings and now we are reaching up and grabbing the hand that has been hitting us for so long. If it takes boycotts, and screaming and getting in your face the way you have done to us for so so many years than so be it. You are the bully that got sucker punched and is now crying foul. Again I say to you…and I mean this with all my heart…fuck you. This fight is just beginning and it won’t end until we can walk down the street and know that we have the same rights as anyone else in this country of ours no matter what God we believe in…or don’t believe in.

With love and the power to scream,
Rob Eric

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An American Lesbian in Paris: Part 5

An American Lesbian…Overseas
by Shannon Connolly


I have decided to change the title of this blog (at least for this post) considering that in the past 3 weeks, I have spent less than half of my time in Paris and most of my time in Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Cannes, Nice, Venice and now, Rome. Tomorrow I leave for Prague. So, clearly “An American Lesbian in Paris” would not be a fitting title at this particular moment in time.

Let me give you some advice about traveling on a budget (or especially as a student) in Europe – choose your accommodations carefully. I arrived in Venice two nights ago with my friend Lisa, ready to settle in to the “charming” Bed and Breakfast we had booked that was amazingly inexpensive and just steps away from the Rialto Bridge. It was nearly 9pm when we arrived in Venice, and by the time we took the bus ride from the airport and then the ferry ride across the Grand Canal, we were starving. So, in no particular hurry to get to our B&B, we stopped at a lovely little restaurant hidden down a small alley. There were bras hanging from the ceiling as decoration. At least 100 of them. Great little place with lots of character. We ate authentic Italian pasta (hate to tell you, but it’s not much better or different than the pasta in the US), shared a half a bottle of wine, and then continued on our way to B&B Rota. When we arrived at the address, I was sure there had been some mistake.

You know in horror movies when the weary travelers arrive on a deserted street looking for lodging? And the music gets low and becomes foreboding? And then the travelers warily open the door of an abandoned-looking building, while everyone in the audience is thinking “Don’t go in there! Don’t go in there!”? Yeah, that was me and Lisa in Venice. Against our better judgment, we stayed the night in the creepy hostel and simply did our best to stay out and about in the city of Venice the next day. We were only there a day but managed to squeeze in lots of exciting activities including a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and an oh-so-touristy gondola ride.

We came home later that night to find a new stranger occupying the extra bed in our room (that’s how hostels work: lots of strangers, one room). We took a liking to her and dragged her out with us to revisit the bras-on-the-ceiling restaurant from the night before. Turns out the girl was from Israel, but in Venice for a few days to clear her mind to decide whether to stay with her fiancĂ© or break off her engagement. Whoa! Big stuff for a getting-to-know-you conversation. A little more wine - make that a lot more wine – and Lisa and I were sitting there counseling this girl as if she had been our closest friend for twenty years. I’m pretty sure that by the end of the conversation we had convinced our new friend to break off her engagement to the man she’s not sure she wants to marry and had each offered her a place to stay in California should she find herself in search of a new life in the United States.

Our experience at the hostel we are staying at in Rome has been completely different. In fact, this is by far the nicest hostel I have ever stayed in. If you are young and traveling to Rome anytime soon, especially as a student, stay at Yellow Hostel. It’s clean, well-managed and the staff are extremely friendly.

Our first night here I went down to the front desk to inquire about restaurant recommendations. The girl behind the desk was super friendly and pulled out this huge paper map of Rome, pointing to the Colosseum.

“Here you go. There’s a gay bar and restaurant right here down the street from the Colosseum…”

And she goes on talking, but I’m still stuck on the first part of her sentence because I am SURE, absolutely POSITIVE that I said nothing about being gay or looking for a gay restaurant. So as I stand there wondering to myself, with a little bit of excitement actually, if somehow, just maybe I am finally exuding some sort of gay signal. Maybe I am finally showing up on people’s gay-dar!

Alas, the girl continued on to say:

“You can’t miss it, there’s a big rainbow sign out front. It might even be called Rainbows. Anyway, if you go right there and continue up that street I’m sure you’ll find lots of bars and restaurants where you can have dinner.”


Turns out she just uses the gay bar as a landmark because their rainbow flag is easy to spot. Damn! Really thought I had become more obviously gay somehow.

Later that night when we went to that area of Rome (Ancient Rome where the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill can be found), I of course peeked in to Rainbows out of curiosity. Not much going on, but then again it was early in the night. Definitely possible that it became livelier later in the evening. Good mix of men and women mingling out front though, so that was a plus. Would have loved to make friends, but sadly, I do not speak a word of Italian and even my French isn’t of much use here.

Now that you have been updated on my latest travels, let me give you a Paris scene recap. My good friend Daniel and I went off to explore the bars of the Marais once again about a week ago, in hopes of finally finding some action. We passed several bars that were completely dead (I thought Thursdays were a going out night in Europe?) and a few others with Drag Queen nights going on. As exciting as the scene looked in the drag bars, they were pretty crowded and mostly filled with boys. So, Daniel and I continued on our way down Rue des Ecouffes – the street where one can find the lesbian bar 3W that I referenced in my first blog. We entered (but only after I assured the bartender that my male friend was with me…turns out they are not boy-friendly unless the said boy is accompanied by a lesbian pal) to discover a fairly empty bar and just a few occupied tables scattered around the room. Over the next two hours while Daniel and I sipped on cocktails (well, Daniel sipped on a cocktail, I drank bottled beer), I was groped by not one, but two very drunk lesbians who seemed to find nothing wrong at all with coming up behind a complete stranger on a barstool and practically licking her face. At this point, even my French failed me. How would one go about saying, “Please stop licking my face” in French? I really do not know. So I resorted to looking at Daniel with pleading eyes to help me out of what was becoming a very uncomfortable situation and he politely lied, “That is my girlfriend.” The groping women left me alone after that, but so did the rest of the women in the bar.


I have to say, the Paris lesbian scene continues to disappoint me. But, as I promised in my last blog, I am working on researching (I love calling chatting up French women “researching”) the gay cultural scene in Paris, not just the gay bar scene. Paris does have a Gay and Lesbian Center (Centre Gay & Lesbien), and as it turns out, there is a sort of gay Paris welcome and orientation every Saturday at the center from 6pm-8pm. It is conducted in French, so if you are traveling to France and do not speak French, you may do better to check out the Paris Gai Village website (www.parisgaivillage.com) where you can find information on tours and other services. Anyway, as you can tell from my travel stories, I have not been in Paris on any Saturday in about a month. But after Prague, I will be in Paris for a solid two weeks, during which I intend to attend one of these welcome sessions and maybe, just maybe actually find some good gay action in the city of lights.

Let's Dress Our Kids Right!


I'm going and bringing a ton of stuff!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

This Tuesday, This Wednesday


The Power Premiere: Dish and Photos

In the middle of all these protests, there was actually a really wonderful event: The Power Premiere.

It was held at the historic Hollywood Athletic Club, which is now called "Social", in an intimate, sexy room full of fabulous couches. Lisa Thrasher (Power Up co president) was the first to speak, and within moments gave an incredible and moving speech about the civil rights movement, and where we stand now in our own gay rights movement (she is an attorney!), and was even moved to tears when she spoke about her father's work in Civil Rights law. What followed, was a very moving evening where 10 Amazing Women in Show Business spoke about what mattered to them, and why they do what they do. It was lovely.

I have to say I enjoyed it a million times more than these stuffy boring dinners with big name celebs getting awards for the ten thousandth time. This was very intimate, and the energy in the room was fantastic. The women honored were also - as the name implies- amazing, and it was wonderful hearing about the work that people do within our community.

I'll let the photos do the talking. In here: Brian Graden, Andrea Meyerson, Peter Paige, Suzanne Westenhoefer & Jen Houston, Stacy Codikow, Mark Reinhardt, Maria Lynn, Mariah Hanson & Kathy Valenti, Briana Stockton & Elizabeth Keener, South of Nowhere's Maeve Quinlan, Gabrielle Christian and Mandy Musgrave (Splashley), Cheryl Dunye, Cathy DeBuono, Gaye Anne Bruno, Jennie McNulty & Sheila Higgins, Cherry Bomb, Michaeline Babich, Thea Gill, Erin Foley, Pat Branch and so many more!!!!

Bill Maher/Ashton Kutcher on Prop 8

YES ON PROP 8 Press Conference: Watch Video

I wonder if this guy thinks the "white powder" and "terrorist" claims are clever for his side, but does he realize they are going to increase the already high rate of hate crimes in this country. It is so un-God like.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Watch Video: Wanda Sykes Officially Comes Out of the Closet

As the saying goes, Every time a homosexual comes out of the closet, an angel gets its wings.

Anderson Cooper.... ah, is it even worth the breath....