Sunday, September 23, 2007

Aha Moment: 09/23/2007, 7:20 AM

The best revenge isn't looking good; it's looking elsewhere.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Had He Forgotten He Had a Lesbian Daughter?

Much has been made over the tearful announcement by Jerry Sanders, Republican Mayor of San Diego, regarding his last-minute (almost literally) decision to reverse his previously announced intention to veto a San Diego City Council resolution that had been passed by that body challenging California's gay marriage ban.

Sanders' emotional announcement appears below and is worth watching if you haven't seen it yet.

While I ultimately applaud Sanders' decision, I have ask, "What took you so long, Jerry?"

As Sanders states in his speech, he is the father of an adult lesbian daughter who came out to him over two years ago. He was aware of her orientation when he campaigned against same-sex marriage, offering up "separate but equal" civil unions instead. At this stage of the national debate, I think this is unacceptable. Politicians with LGBT family members who continue to advocate against equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians need to be asked, point-blank, why.

As funny as the title of the "New York Blade" article announcing the birth of Mary Cheney's son was ["Mary Cheney Gives Birth to Human Boy"], it also strikes the truest, albeit saddest, note in this entire issue. Elected officials are campaigning on, advocating, drafting, pushing, lobbying for, and signing intolerance against their own flesh and blood into law.

As Larry Kramer would say, "Where is the outrage?"

My deep suspicion is that many relatives of gays and lesbians who actually voted for Bush/Cheney in the last election were voting their subconscious, allowing their internalized homophobia to pull the lever.

I intend to ask each person in my birth and chosen families whether or not they intend to vote for any candidate who does not support full marriage rights for gays and lesbians. The truth is I'm not even sure I ever want to get married, but I do want to know why anyone in my family thinks heterosexual love deserves privileges that love between homosexuals does not.

The stakes are too high. Too many LGBT teenagers die, become addicted or infected, or suffer unnecessarily because this culture of hate exists.

In this time of senseless war, inexcusable poverty and famine, and spiritual desolation, I'm done apologizing for demanding answers and explanations on what should be the biggest no-brainer, non-issue we collectively face.

If we can't come together on love, we are a society lost.

Don't bullshit yourself, it is that simple.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dale Jr. Comes Out with Big Mo'

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR poster party-boy and former winner of the Daytona 500 Race, launched a candy bar today. The Big Mo' chocolate bar, which will hit the shelves in January 2008, will come in two flavors -- caramel and peanut butter.

Earnhardt, Jr. reportedly said "[a]t one point or another everyone has had their own idea of making the perfect candy bar [uhm, they have?], and this was my chance to do it." The name supposedly relates to Earnhardt, Jr.'s hometown of Mooresville, N.C. and is a reference to the name of his group of friends, charmingly known as the "Dirty Mo' Posse." There is, however, a big difference to me between a "dirty mo" and a "big mo." Dale Jr. is 32 and I find it tough to believe he hasn't himself called or made reference to someone as a "big 'mo" in a derogatory manner and meaning a "big homo." In all fairness, the apostrophe is in the wrong place, but, the reference seems too blatant to be disregarded.

Is the name the result of some gay adman's pitch that miraculously slid under the radar all the way to production, or, is it Earnhardt & Company's tongue-in-cheek, fratboy humor poke at gays?

I know what I'd like to believe and I know what is likely true.

It will be interesting to see if there is any fall out from the LGBT community on this. I suspect it's inevitable.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good News for Forty-Seven Percent of America

As I tried desperately to exorcise the demons from my day out of my body using the elliptical machine at the New York Sports Club on 14th Street I couldn't help looking at the 20 television screens facing my stationary vehicle of self flagellation. Half of the screens blared Drew Carey's new game show, "Power of 10." The premise of the show is that guests compete by estimating how Americans responded to various poll questions. Carey -- overweight, loud, crude -- seems the perfect host for "Power of 10," as he is clearly "Made in America." Who better to confront us with the truth about ourselves?

My iPod was delivering "The Pussycat Dolls," as I started to work up a sweat, so I could only read the screen, which flashed each poll question. The first question I saw grabbed everything -- my gut, head, heart, balls.

"What percentage of Americans would swim in a pool with a person they knew was infected with HIV?"

Again, I couldn't hear the banter between Carey and the two contestants as they prepared to enter their guesses. The contestants were two men, both as large as Carey, who appeared heterosexual and more ethnic than the host. They were literally and figuratively large slices of the American Pie. There was a great deal of laughing as they entered their respective estimates: one guessed 23% and the other thought it was in the low 30's percentage area.

My jaw dropped.

The poll results revealed that 53% of Americans polled indicated that they would swim in a pool; 47% apparently felt that they would not take that "risk."

My heart joined my jaw.

I'm not going to say anything more about this, other than it encouraged me to be more open about my HIV status and the fact that when I discovered my status I actually had an AIDS diagnosis. Ignorance on this issue is inexcusable in this country at this point. For that many Americans to think that any risk whatsoever exists for swimming in a chlorinated pool with someone who had HIV is shocking. Shocking, and deeply sad.

The good news for that 47% is that every single person I know who is HIV+ would refuse to swim in a pool with someone that ignorant or bigoted.

So, you're safe America.

Go have another Big Mac.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six Years

I notice that I still only discuss September 11th with people that were here that day. I'm not sure why.

I know that I deal with anger, or whatever it's actually masking, when I see tourists taking pictures in front of the hole, or the vendors who are selling books with pictures of the destruction, or the protesters using the location as a "provocative" spot to bring their message.

September 11th sneaks into my consciousness whenever I see a sky as gloriously blue as the one that morning or pass the bus stop in front of St. Vincent's, remembering it covered with pictures of the missing, when I see the remains of a melted candle in the cracks of a city sidewalk., when I see a face in a crowd, moving forward, but numb.

I still won't watch footage of the impacts or the jumpers; I avert my eyes from images from the day.

What is gone is the smell that lingered from the first year -- smoky, burnt, electrical. What remains is me, getting up and trying to make a life here, in spite of . . .

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm Behind You NYC: Gone Fishin'

Date & Time: September 11, 2007

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Location: 8th Ave., b/w 23rd & 24th Streets

Reason: In the age of subway metrocards, sightings like these have become rare. This is an image of a subway grate fisher using a pole he constructed himself and many other "implements" to reach through the grate to pull dropped things up including, but not limited to, money, jewelry, and cigarettes (seriously). A scene straight out of Henry Roth's "Call it Sleep."