Category: anti-gay laws

Beverly Hills Hotel/Sharia Law; Blogger Copyrights; What’s Gluten Free?

Beverly Hills Hotel/Sharia Law

I’ve been posting the story about The Beverly Hills Hotel and how it’s run by a company named Dorchester and a CEO from a country, Brunei, that enforces some of the worst crime laws and corporal punishments in the world with LGBTI people. This is all enacted through Shari Law…Sharia. The matter only continues to grow more controversial, and now there’s a new trade pact with Brunei supported by the President of the United States. I’m linking to responsible sources and it’s all true.

Here’s something basic about Sharia:

Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest and most historically coherent definition it is considered the infallible law of God—as opposed to the human interpretation of the laws (fiqh).[5] Historically however, much of Sharia has been implemented in its strictest understanding.

The city of Beverly Hills is applying pressure to the country of Brunei to divest The Beverly Hills Hotel. Many have been boycotting it and canceling prominent events. Jay Leno, along with many other top celebrities, have been highly vocal in offering support.

Brunei, a former British protectorate of about 400,000 run by Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, last week became the first East Asian country to adopt the Islamic criminal law. It will punish offenses like sodomy and adultery with the death penalty, including by stoning.

The laws will be introduced in phases in the energy-rich country nestled between two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo, with the harshest penalties going into effect in two years.

Even more interesting, they have been holding gay weddings at the hotel, which I’m sure is because most people don’t even know about this.

“This is the height of hypocrisy, and we must ensure that profits from LGBT weddings in the U.S. stop going to a regime that could soon start executing its LGBT citizens,” the group’s president Chad Griffin said in a statement.

The reply from Dorchester is arrogant and shows no support for equal rights in general. You can read it here.

The White House has remained silent on the matter…oh, except for this, and even this has been kept top secret. The President has been working on a trade deal with Brunei and on the day Brunei began to enforce Shari law the White House was closing a deal that will now tie the US to Brunei more than ever. But it gets even better: the Islamic Sultanate will now receive special economic privileges thanks to this trade pact. Isn’t that rich?

On his East Asia trip, President Obama became the first U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson to visit Malaysia, which has laws against homosexuality with sentences that could include corporal punishment such as whippings. Obama mentioned nothing of that and only seemed intent on securing deeper economic ties and getting the trade pact finalized throughout the region. Rewarding Brunei, the first East Asian nation to follow in the footsteps of Taliban-era Afghanistan by stoning gays to death, will send a grotesque message to the world.

You can read more about that here. I think this is one of the most fascinating involved pieces I’ve read in a long time.

Here’s another link to a Towerload piece with similar content.

Blogger Copyrights

I think this matters whether you are a large blogger or a small blogger, blogging for profit or not for profit. It’s an insightful piece written by blogger, London Beauty Queen, about how she’s tired of people taking her work for free, and boldly without permission.

She discusses respect…or rather the lack of it…for bloggers, and how many just assume that blogging is less important that other arts, like writing books and photography.

I’ve been on a quest, literally, for a while to see how other bloggers like me get to post photos of good looking men all over their blogs. In some cases some of these small bloggers have been posting photos on a daily basis without links or a hint of origin. And I’m curious as to how they go about this. Do they get permission? Or do they just pilfer the photos and pretend they don’t know any better? I’ve reached a point where I won’t even post photos on social media anymore unless I know it’s safe.

It’s not chance I would be willing to take. I’ve seen some bloggers that put up disclaimers, but I’ve heard those disclaimers mean nothing because the laws are all over the place right now. And I highly suggest that when you, the people reading blogs like this, come across a blog filled with photos of good looking men you question it the same way I do. Each time I have politely questioned a blogger about this photo topic I have never once had a reply one way or the other.

There’s this interesting mind set that the entire Internet is just one big free zone where one thing is linked to another. And even though in some cases that might be true, in many cases bloggers just like everyone else are working hard to get content out and nothing should ever be assumed about what they will and will not share for free. I think most readers don’t even know this is happening. I also think that most bloggers like me would be willing to share if someone were to ask. But at least ask first.

You can read more here about London Beauty Queen. It’s a good web site in general, too.

What’s Gluten Free?

I have always been a little obsessed about what I eat and how much of it I do eat. I’ve always wanted to maintain a 32 inch waist and also try to keep a healthy diet. But the one thing that has always puzzled me is this gluten free thing that’s become so popular. I had a good friend once whose mother had celiac disease and she had to live a gluten free lifestyle otherwise she would have been in tremendous agony. It even gets more complicated for some people with gluten allergies. But frankly, you have to wonder about a lot of these people out there who are now on this gluten free trend, which is exactly what Jimmy Kimmel did in the following link. You be amazed at how many are on a gluten free diet and don’t even know what gluten is.

For what it’s worth, gluten is composed of the gliadin and glutenin proteins and is responsible for the elasticity of dough. Research has found that one of the better-known forms of gluten intolerance, celiac disease, affects 1 in every 141 people in the United States.
You can read more here, with a video clip.

It reminds me of when Howard Stern went around New York during an election year and asked people what they thought about Sarah Palin running as Barack Obama’s Vice-President. At the time, even though it was clear Palin and Obama were running on opposite tickets, most people didn’t seem the mind the Obama-Palin ticket in the least. In fact, they supported them 100%.

Dear Abby on Gays; Gov. Jan Brewer’s Hate Bill; Changing AIDS History

Dear Abby on Gays

A straight couple in Florida moved to a new neighborhood, found out two couples in the neighborhood were gay, and refused to invite them to neighborhood social gatherings because they didn’t approve of their “lifestyle.” As a result, the straight couple found themselves being excluded by the entire neighborhood and they sent Dear Abby a letter asking for her thoughts and she responded in a priceless way.

Replied the columnist: ‘I sure would. The first thing I’d like to say is that regardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person’s sexual orientation isn’t a “lifestyle choice.” Gay people don’t choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can’t change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.’

After the lesson on sexual orientation, Dear Abby offered this observation: ‘I find it interesting that you are unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are receiving similar treatment.’

You can read the rest here.

Tony and I would have welcomed them to the neighborhood. But then, Tony and I have also experienced this kind of discrimination before (previous post on that here) when we lived in a town house community about ten miles from where we live now in New Hope, PA. As a result of that discrimination we moved to a better location, a bigger private home, our home is worth more now than the town house would ever be, and those same people that discriminated against us fifteen years ago are still living there and the odds are they’ll die there.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s Hate Bill

Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, is dealing with what some think is a bit of a conundrum. In short, there are some law makers in Arizona who want to enforce a highly discriminatory bill that would allow business owners to turn away gays based on the business owner’s religious beliefs. And everyone is waiting to see which side of history Gov. Brewer will take.

The conservative governor is already feeling pressure from the business community to veto the bill passed late Thursday. A prominent Phoenix group believes it would be another black eye for the state that saw a national backlash over its 2010 immigration crackdown law, SB1070. Opponents also pointed out that the legislation would serve as a major distraction as Arizona prepares to host the Super Bowl next year.

I don’t have any strong political comments here. I have always believed that ALL politicians will do what’s in their own best interest. But if Gov. Brewer does not veto the bill and a law like this that discriminates against gays and their families (that’s right, families are part of this, too…I don’t know one straight person with a gay family member who doesn’t feel strongly about this) is enforced, I think those who refuse gays based on religious beliefs should be forced, legally, to post a large sign in their window stating this up front. In other words, I want to know where these religious business owners stand without question. The straight members in my family and my straight friends also want to know where these religious business owners stand so they know, and so they don’t have to patronize them. If this is what they want, turn them into public examples.

As public opinion begins to shift almost everywhere, it’s interesting to see something like this happen. I guess some people didn’t learn from the civil rights movement, and they don’t know how poorly they are going to look fifty years from now.

What’s even more interesting is that I don’t know one single gay business owner who would discriminate against anyone based on that person’s religious beliefs. Maybe there are some. But I’ve never met one.

You can read more here.

Changing AIDS History

I have always believed that we’ve never really been given all the facts about AIDS. I remember reading about a group in Beverly Hills, CA, that worked hard to disabuse many concepts about AIDS during the 1980’s and was constantly silenced…or ignored completely. And this next article I’m linking to talks about how drugs like Bactrim were allegedly kept from the public at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Bactrim is the most effective anti-biotic used to fight off PCP, a deadly pneumonia that is usually what winds up killing those with AIDS.

I point to Dr. Fauci in particular, because he was, and remains today, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the head of the federal government’s AIDS research program. In 1987, pioneering AIDS activist Michael Callen begged Fauci for help in promoting the use of Bactrim as PCP prophylaxis and issuing interim guidelines urging physicians to prophylax those patients deemed at high risk for PCP.

The article gets complicated at times, but it’s worth reading if you don’t know anything about AIDS and you’re curious.

Here’s the link.

Free Gay Excerpt; Google Prostests Russian Gay Law

Google Protests Russian Gay Law

In a cyber show of support to the LGBTI community, and in protest to the anti-gay laws in Russia, Google has put up an image in the colors of the rainbow on their homepage. I think this once again shows how online companies and people who are more tech oriented tend to show more support for political and social issues like this. I’m sure somewhere else, someone, is protesting, too. But it’s this kind of online support now that gains in popularity and informs people who otherwise might not know what’s even happening in Russia right now.

Google has made clear its stance on the Russian anti-gay law marring the Sochi Olympic Games by giving its search page a rainbow makeover — and a link to the part of the Olympic charter that bans “discrimination of any kind.”
The law, which prohibits “homosexual propaganda,” among other things, has drawn criticism from human rights groups, gay-friendly businesses, and governments…

That term…gay-friendly…really irritates me. NBC should stop using it. This isn’t about whether or not you are “gay-friendly.” This is about human rights. Period. I don’t want to be friends with everyone on earth. I just want my basic rights. And no one has to like me to let me have my rights.

You can read more here.

Free Gay Excerpt: Things His Wife Never Did

I have a very recent short story out in a book by publisher Bruno Gmunder titled, Straight No More. It’s not exactly M/M romance, at least not like my novels. But I do think it falls in between the lines and anyone interested in reading M/M romance might find an anthology like this interesting…mainly because M/M romance in some ways came from books like this a long time ago. Yes, it even pre-dates Brokeback Mountain. And many authors like me, both male and female, have been submitting to anthologies like this for many years.

You can read more about the anthology in this post I wrote, with Amazon links. And below is an excerpt from my story. I will also be publishing this alone after a year has passed as a .99 e-book. I agreed to a one year exclusive at the time of publication and I always honor those things. Bruno Gmunder is a great German publisher and I love working with them. Even more than I love self-publishing. It’s not always about the money for career writers.

Keep in mind this is a raw version.

From: Things His Wife Never Did

While Landon was in his bedroom getting ready for his date with a new guy he’d recently met, his best friend who lived across the hall walked into his apartment without knocking and asked, “Hey, buddy, can I borrow a bottle of vodka. We’re having Sidney’s mom and dad over for dinner tonight and I just realized we have no vodka.”

            Landon glanced into a full length mirror and adjusted the new pair of low-rise skinny jeans he’d purchased for this date. They hugged his slim hips and made his butt round exactly the way he’d been hoping they would. He smiled at his own image and said, “Sure. Take what you need. But why on earth didn’t you buy vodka if you knew your in-laws were coming to dinner.” Although Landon’s best friend, Carl, was happily married, Landon knew these dinners with Sidney’s mom and dad tended to freak Carl out. And that’s because Sidney’s mom and dad tended to be judgmental and they still hadn’t accepted the fact that their son was gay and married to another man.

            From the kitchen, Carl said, “The vodka isn’t for them. They don’t drink anything but tea and fucking milk. The fucking vodka is for me. If I don’t slip some booze into mycup of tea I’ll lose my mind.”

            Landon smiled and checked his skin tight black V-neck sweater. It hugged his torso and made all those long arduous workouts doing bench presses worthwhile. Then he checked his short dark brown hair and adjusted the little turned up wave above his forehead that was always so tricky to get just right. Before he turned to leave the bedroom, he glanced into the mirror one last time and removed the black leather choker he’d placed around his neck. He’d always been a huge fan of the campy old saying, “A lady should remove one thing before she leaves the house.” In this case, he chose to remove the black choker. He thought it made him look too cheap. As it was his clothes were tighter than usual that night, and he hadn’t bothered to wear any underwear.

            When he walked into the large open concept living area of his apartment, he found Carl sitting at a bar stool near the kitchen area sipping vodka right from the bottle. He sent him a glance and asked, “Aren’t they going to miss you over there?” He wanted Carl to leave before his date arrived. He had his reasons. This wasn’t a typical date for Landon.

            Carl laughed and said, “They won’t even know I’m gone, trust me. Sidney’s parents only focus on Sidney when they come over, and they pretend I’m nothing more than a roommate from college. I’ve been sucking their son’s dick for the last ten years and they treat me like I’m the hired help. Let me tell you, that can’t get to a person after a while.”

            Landon smiled and crossed to a closet near the front door to get a black leather jacket. It was mid-May in New York, but much cooler than normal and he wasn’t certain where he was going to end up that night. He didn’t respond to Carl because he didn’t want to encourage a deep discussion about Sidney’s mom and dad. He knew Carl would start talking…rambling…about them and never stop.

            Carl took another vituperative swig of vodka and put the top back on the bottle. He placed it in a white plastic bag to conceal it form his in-laws and crossed to the middle of the living room area, while Landon put on the jacket and looked into a small mirror next to the closet door. “Where are you going tonight?” Carl asked. He spoke with a tone that suggested intrigue. He seemed to be lingering longer than he should have.

            Landon smiled and said, “I have a date. Well, sort of a date. I’m sure yet.”

            “Oh,” Carl said. “I didn’t know you were seeing anyone new. You never mentioned anyone new to me.” Carl and Sidney had been together for ten years and they’d reached that point of married life where things had settled down to a nice even routine. Even though Carl considered himself happily married, Landon knew he tended to enjoy Landon’s stories about single gay life as if he missed being single himself sometimes.

            “I only met him yesterday,” Landon said, crossing to the table near the front door to pick up his keys and his wallet. “I stopped into that garage on 31st Street because I heard a strange noise in my car and he checked it out for me.” Landon did the opposite of many people he knew: instead of living in New Jersey and commuting to Manhattan, he lived in Manhattan and commuted to his corporate sales job in northwest New Jersey. This is why he kept a car in Manhattan and paid a steep monthly fee to a garage around the corner. The black Jeep Wrangler he drove also came in handy during the summer on long weekend excursions to Provincetown.

            “A mechanic?” Carl said, leaning forward with his lips parted. “You’re going out with a gay mechanic?”

            He said this as if he were saying a dirty word. Landon flung him a backward glance and said, “Yes. I’m going out with a mechanic. But I’m not certain he’s gay. I’m not even sure it’s a date.” He didn’t want to discuss this with Carl, so he tried to change the subject. “What are you serving for dinner tonight?”

            “Fuck dinner,” Carl said. He followed Landon to the kitchen where Landon opened a drawer to get a small pack of breath mints. “I want to know more about this so-called date with a mechanic you just met who isn’t even gay.”

            Landon popped a breath mint into his mouth and offered Carl one. When Carl refused it, he shoved the mints into his jacket pocket and said, “I didn’t say he wasn’t gay. I said I wasn’t certain he was gay. There’s a difference.” This didn’t even sound rational to him, but he didn’t know how else to explain it.

            “If he’s not gay then why did he ask you out on a date?” Carl asked. His face had twisted a little by then, and his head had tilted to the left.

            “He didn’t ask me,” Landon said. “I asked him out. Well, I didn’t really ask him out on a date exactly. I asked him if he wanted to check out that new movie with Bradley Cooper. And he said yes before I even knew what had happened.”

            While Landon had been explaining, Carl had plopped down on the sofa. “I’m not sure I understand. You stop into a garage to have your car checked and you wind up asking the mechanic out to a movie…the straight mechanic. Why can’t my life be as interesting as yours?”

            “It’s wasn’t that simple,” Landon said. He picked up his phone to make sure the battery was fully charged. “We started talking. He just moved to Manhattan and he’s recently divorced. He’s from Brooklyn and his ex-wife and two kids still live there. He joked around about not knowing anyone in Manhattan and I suggested we check out this new Bradley Cooper movie tonight. I was only trying to be nice. I didn’t even think he heard me. So it’s not really a date.”

            Carl didn’t seem convinced with this truncated version of the story. He rubbed his jaw and sent Landon an amused look. “Then why are your pants so tight I can see the outline of your dick?”

            “You cannot,” Landon said, glancing down between his legs. They were tighter than usual, but not obscene. He was glad he’d removed the black choker.

            Carl stood from the sofa and smiled. “I’m curious about one thing,” he said. “Why on earth would you ask a total stranger out to a movie without even knowing if he’s gay or not?”

            Before Landon could answer him, the door opened and a tall man in his late twenties with wide shoulders walked into the living room area. Carl had left the door ajar, and the man knocked on the open door gently and smiled.

            “Oh, now I see why,” Carl said. He gazed across the room at the mechanic and smiled so wide Landon could see his back teeth. “There’s no need to explain anything else to me, Landon.”

            The mechanic in the doorway seemed genuinely perplexed. “I hope I’m not too early,” he said. “I would have knocked but the door was open.”

            Landon smiled. “No, man. You’re fine. Come in and I’ll introduce you to my neighbor form across the hall.”

            As the mechanic stepped into the living room area, Carl seemed to follow each step he took. And Landon knew why his friend couldn’t stop looking. Landon’s new date stood over six feet tall, had a stocky muscular body, and a strong square jawline. On top of all that, he had the thick neck of a professional football player and deep throaty voice to match. His hands were larger than most men, his biceps popped through his jacket whenever he moved his arms. And he had that rare shade of sandy ash blond hair that matched his eyebrows and the hair on his forearms. He even walked like a football player, with long strides and heavy steps.

            “This is Carl Luft,” Landon said, gesturing to Carl. Then he smiled at Carl. “And this is Frank Bertoli. Carl lives across the hall with his husband of ten years.”

            When Carl extended his arm to shake Frank’s big strong hand, Landon turned away for a second and smiled. It almost looked as though Carl swooned and curtsied. He took Frank’s hand, shook it gently, and gazed into his deep blue eyes. “It’s nice to meet you, Frank.”

            For the first time in the five years Landon had known Carl, he’d never seen him at a loss for words. But that night he just stood there gaping at Frank’s handsome face without saying anything. For a moment, Landon worried Carl might drool. If Frank noticed anything unusual he didn’t let on. But Landon had a feeling Frank was one of those guys who didn’t realize the power of his own good looks, which would have made it impossible for him to grasp the magnitude of Carl’s obnoxious stares. And if Frank did realize Carl’s reaction to his good looks, he didn’t seem to care all that much.

You’ll Cry; Disregard That, I S*&k…; Gay Attacks in Russia

You’ll Cry

An Irish female impersonator recently made a speech on homophobia that’s about as emotional as these things get. Panti Bliss puts all this into perspective by questioning why there’s even a discussion about what rights gay people deserve and don’t deserve…as if this shouldn’t actually be a discussion at all.

“Sometimes I hate myself. I f*cking hate myself, because I check myself when I stand at pedestrian crossings.”

“And sometimes, I hate you for doing that to me.”

Watch the video here. It takes a hard heart not to be moved by this one.

Disregard That I, S*%k…

Up until recently I had never heard the online expression, “Disregard That, I Suck Cocks.” It’s not what you’d think it is. It’s actually a phrase/expression used on web sites where people post comments with usernames, but don’t need passwords. Someone can post something serious with a username, and then someone else can come along and use the same username and write “Disregard That, I Suck Cocks,” which sabotages the original comment and really pisses people off.

Obviously, the first post is someone trying to be serious. Someone else came in and simply entered “Jill” in the name field and made it look as if Jill enjoys sucking cocks.

It’s not the same as a sockpuppet. The two people commenting are not the same person. In this case, unlike with sockpuppets, two different people post with the same name instead of the same person posting with two or more different names.

You can read more here. And with a simple search you’ll see this happens quit a lot. I’ve actually never seen it before.

 Gay Attacks in Russia

This is something you won’t hear on the six o’clock news while they are talking about all the fun and games portended for the Winter Olympics in homophobic Russia. Ever since the anti-gay laws were implemented in Russia, gay hate crimes have been on the rise.

People think that an LGBT person is not a human being but a simply a toy they can play with,” said Gleb Latnik, an LGBT activist in Pervouralsk. “If such a person is walking on the street they think, ‘Why not punch him?’”

I have no reason to believe this isn’t true and that it’s not happening. And I can’t help wondering why gays like Greg Louganis and Johnny Weir aren’t calling for a complete boycott like most of us.

You can read more here, and view some serious videos of gays being treated like dirt. I’m starting to think we should send Louganis and Weir over there alone for a couple of weeks without security and without the safety net of those gays who live privileged lives. Frankly, I would like to see how long they would last.

Chris Pine on Russia; Marriage in Oklahoma; Randi Zuckerberg’s Web Site;

Chris Pine on Russia,_2013.jpg

I’ve posted about Chris Pine here before. He recently made his own comments about what’s happening to the LGBTI community in Russia, all comments worthy of repeating more than once.

Chris Pine says the U.S. should have done more in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics to protest Russia’s anti-gay legislation, which he calls “clearly awful, archaic, hostile nonsense.”

“I think we should do more than just send gay Olympians there,” the 33-year-old actor said in an interview while promoting his film “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.” ”What’s happening there in terms of gay rights or the lack of it is extraordinary and awful.”

Bravo! I’ve been saying basically the same thing since we all first learned about Russia’s anti-gay laws. We simply have not done enough and the way we pander to this brand of hate absolutely amazes me.

You can read more here.

Marriage in Oklahoma

In what seems to be something similar to what happened in Utah recently, a federal judge has struck down the gay marriage ban in Oklahoma. With this came a warning to gay couples in Oklahoma, though. Those for the ban on gay marriage will appeal which will cause more legal issues until it’s all settled.

The decision drew criticism from the governor, attorney general and other elected officials in this state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt. A state lawmaker who once said gay people posed a greater threat to the nation than terrorism blasted rulings from “activist judges.”

Kern said the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause because it precludes same-sex couples from receiving an Oklahoma marriage license. In his 68-page ruling, Kern frequently referenced U.S. Supreme Court decisions issued last summer on gay marriage. He also took a shot at Oklahoma’s high divorce rate, noting that “excluding same-sex couples from marriage has done little to keep Oklahoma families together thus far.”

I can’t even begin to imagine what that state lawmaker means by terrorism. You can read more here.

Randi Zuckerberg’s Web Site

Her web site is called Dot Complicated. For those who don’t know, Randi Zuckerberg is the sister of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Back around BEA time of the year, I posted about Randi Zuckerberg’s children’s books and how she’s working to keep children protected from certain aspects of the Internet. And while I’m by no means an obvious fan of any form of censorship, I do believe that what kids see anywhere should be treated with care.

In any event, Zuckerberg’s web site seems to be progressing and I just wanted to follow up on it. I wish I were hearing more about it, but it’s still new and there’s still time.

Dot Complicated is an online community aimed at “untangling” our wired, wonderful lives, created by Randi Zuckerberg. Technology has changed virtually every part of our lives: how we interact with friends and family, how we raise our children, how we announce major life news, how we find love, and how we manage our careers.

For our society, it’s like the wild, wild west – social norms and etiquette are changing constantly as we get used to life with smartphones, 24/7 access to one another, and more emails than one person could ever humanly respond to.

I only hope it continues to grow. You can read more here.