gay rights

A Few Thoughts On the 2016 Election and the Future For LGBT People

A Few Thoughts On the 2016 Election and the Future For LGBT People

As most people who’ve read this blog know, I’ve never been too political about anything in a general sense. I will get into issues like marriage equality because I believe in them. I believe in equality for everyone. In a general sense, however, I don’t preach politics to anyone because I don’t think I’m qualified to do that. I also respect all opinions, not just my own. And from what I’ve seen this week on social media from all sides, I truly believe it’s time to start healing from this past election and it’s time to move forward. As Secretary Clinton said in her well-executed concession speech, there’s a lot of work still to be done.

With that said, I also believe it’s important for the LGBT community…and everyone else who falls under that umbrella…to work together in order to maintain everything we’ve already worked so hard to obtain. Obviously, I’m not coming from a place of privilege, and most of the people reading this aren’t either. I don’t use politics and I don’t exploit your emotions (or your disappointment in this election) to get you to read another one of my books. I give you all more credit than that. I’ve seen a few authors do that this week, and frankly it bothers me to see them use good people that way. It’s shabby and it’s a different kind of porn. And I know a lot of you are scared and worried about what’s going to happen in the future. That’s reasonable and understandable. We’re all a little worried. As an openly gay man I’ve felt that way many times in my life.

I don’t want this to be a long post, but I do want to get one main point across for ALL the people who have been let down this week by this election. If you look back at LGBT history, and the gay liberation movement…a time that was long before authors who care more about selling their books than they do about people…you’ll see that every single LGBT battle was fought for, and won, by LGBT people who came together and worked hard. Harvey Milk didn’t depend on politicians, he became one. These battles, including same sex marriage, were not won thanks to any individual politician. They were won thanks to the strength and the spirited activists who were passionate about them.

I think that’s going to continue, and we’re going to keep moving forward. The LGBT community is not the same as it was 8 years ago. We’re stronger and we’re more powerful. We also have more allies. Look at it this way. After years of fighting, we took same sex marriage to the highest court and we won. It started out small, and went state by state, but we got there. Don’t forget that more LGBT people are coming out than ever before. I don’t think we’ve even begun to guess how many there are. And we can still continue to move forward and grow even stronger, one step at a time, the same way we always have.

I’m not going to go into dramatic seclusion or go off on personal hiatus because of this election. I don’t need to get my thoughts together. My thoughts are together. I’m going to keep moving forward the same way I always have. I’m going to keep encouraging, especially the closeted people who send me private e-mails. I’m going to keep challenging articles and bloggers I read and link to on this blog that I think are full of crap. Even though I have no idea what to expect in the next four years at this moment, I do know I’m not ready to step back for anyone. And neither should you.   

Free Gay Excerpt: The Scottish Duke; Five More Things About Gay Sex; Gay Rights, Global Scale

Free Gay Excerpt: The Scottish Duke

I’m posting a quick excerpt today from the most recently pubbed book in The Rainbow Detective series, The Scottish Duke. 

Here’s the blurb, and here’s a link to Amazon. I’ve already posted more links to places like Smashwords, here. 

In this installment of The Rainbow Detective Agency, Blair and Proctor’s passionate relationship has moved forward to the point where they begin a small family and don’t even realize it. And that’s because they’re busy trying to solve the case of a well-known gay romance author, E. Q. Montana, who was so obsessed with Proctor he lined the walls of his unkempt West Hollywood apartment with Proctor’s photos. 

But E. Q. Montana wasn’t just any best-selling gay romance author. E. Q. had a few deep dark secrets and enemies of his own that Proctor and Blair have to figure out, one of which has to do with The Scottish Duke of Huntley. It’s a peculiar case of dangerous literary subterfuge, with sudden twists and vicious, ambitious authors, that has them both stumped emotionally and intellectually, and in the end Proctor’s worst nightmare comes true.

I promise, no spoilers.You can scroll down to the bottom of this post for the excerpt.

Five More Things About Gay Sex

Supposedly, here are five more things about gay sex “you didn’t know.” No need to get your smelling salts with this one. It’s another Queerty advertorial, but it’s funny…I think.

Here’s one “fun filled fact you didn’t know.” 

Gentlemen prefer kissing (and BJs) to anal sex

Researchers at George Mason University and Indiana University conducted a sex study with nearly 25,000 gay and bisexual men. Participants were asked about their most recent same-sex encounters. 75 percent reported giving oral sex compared to 74 percent who reported receiving oral sex. 74.8 percent reported kissing on the mouth. But only about 35 percent reported having full-blown anal intercourse. The takeaway from the study? Apparently the question, “Are you a top or a bottom?” only matters one-third of the time.

Someone should tell this to all the guys I dated when I was single. That wasn’t my personal experience. The moment they pin you down, you know exactly what they want, and they are eager to get it.

Here’s the link. As usual, with anything printed by Queerty, you’ll want to read the comments with this one. And I’m not knocking Queerty. It’s free content.

Gay Rights, Global Scale

I always think it’s important to know…and care…about LGBTI people in other parts of the world. Mainly because so many don’t have the rights we have here in the US. It’s the only thing I ever get political about.

Here’s an article that talks about the best and worst places for gay rights, on a global scale.

Where are LGBT rights improving?

Parts of Latin America remain the standard for equality for LGBT rights. Argentina‘s Gender Identity Law 2012 allowed the change of gender on birth certificates for transgender people. It also legalised same-sex marriage in 2010, giving same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples, including the right to adopt children. Uruguay and Mexico City also allow equal marriage and adoption, and last week Colombia recognised its first legal same-sex civil union (not “marriage”).

And it’s still a concern here in the US, too. I had a conversation with someone recently about the Republican debates. Granted, this is someone older and not as informed because he doesn’t have access to Internet news, so I did make an allowance for that. When I stated that I wasn’t fond of a few Republican candidates because of their stand on gay marriage, he said, “You can’t base your vote on one issue.” Clearly, he didn’t get it and I didn’t bother to explain. That one issue, however, is what I base my votes on these days because that one issue is one of the most fundamental aspects of my life.


You can read more here.

The Scottish Duke…

Here’s the excerpt. It’s hard to post anything longer because I would be giving out spoilers. With a book like this a lot matters in that department. This comes from the middle of the book and I don’t think it gives away too much. But if you’re worried, you might want to skip it. And, Constance, of course, is a large Bengal cat, and Snowden is a new puppy that I introduced in this book.



When they pulled up to the house, Blair climbed out of the car without waiting for Proctor to invite him inside. Proctor didn’t say anything that night. It was almost ten o’clock, they hadn’t eaten anything all day, and Proctor was planning to make salad. Although he loved pizza, and he joked about eating pizza on Twitter with his fans, he didn’t have it often. He was model who always focused on his body and his weight. And although eating pizza and doughnuts tempted him every day of his life, he knew that it was salad that would keep him in skinny jeans and skimpy tight swim trunks.

He also knew Blair wouldn’t complain. He’d eat anything as long as he didn’t have to cook it himself. Blair seemed to have this attitude toward food in general that always amazed Proctor. Blair ate to live. He didn’t live to eat. It wasn’t even something he focused on consciously. If there was a lot of food around Blair would eat it. If there wasn’t, he didn’t seem to mind. 

Proctor unlocked the front door and he entered first, with Blair in tow. Before Proctor even switched on the hallway lights he looked down and saw Snowden at his feet, wagging his little tail. Then he heard a growl and saw Constance sitting on the bottom step.

Proctor turned to Blair and said, “Why isn’t Snowden in his crate in the kitchen?” Constance had free run of the entire house, but he knew Jane would never have allowed a small puppy to roam freely that way.

Blair seemed to sense something unusual, so he headed toward the living room and flipped on the main light switch.

Proctor picked Snowden up and glanced into his living room. He gasped and said, “What happened?” The tables were turned sideways, chairs and cushions rested upside down all over the place, and one of his best crystal lamps had been shattered into a million little pieces.

Blair put his arm around Proctor and said, “Either you’ve been burglarized or we missed the earthquake.”

Proctor held Snowden tighter. His first thought was relief, knowing that Constance and Snowden were safe. Then he looked at his crystal lamp again and sighed. “Why would anyone do this to me?” He had an alarm system, but Jane rarely activated it at the end of the day because she naturally assumed that Proctor would be home by seven o’clock. He preferred not dealing with alarms and code numbers. Now he was sorry he’d been so lazy about it.

Before Blair could answer him, a nasal voice spoke from a dark section on the other side of the living room. “Where’s The Scottish Duke of Huntley?”

Blair blinked. “The Duke of what the fuck, man?”

The Scottish Duke of Huntley,” said the nasal voice, again. “I want to know where he is this minute. I know you’ve got him here and I’m not leaving without him. Release him to me this instant.”

As a short, thin man stepped out of the shadows on the far side of the room, Proctor saw he was pointing a handgun at them. The guy had short red hair, with tight kinky curls, and a long thin neck. Proctor held Snowden tightly to his chest and said, “I don’t know anything about this Scottish Duke. Who are you and what do you want?”

Blair stared at the gun and said, “Just stay calm, man. We don’t know anything about a Scottish Duke. You’ve mistaken us for someone else. I think the people across the street are Scottish, you should check that out.”

Proctor’s first thought was the man pointing the gun at them was unhinged and possibly dangerous. He obviously had an unrealistic delusion that Blair and Proctor had kidnapped The Scottish Duke of Huntley and they were hiding him somewhere in the house. Proctor had a great uncle once who thought he was Napoleon. He decided the only way to keep this man calm was to placate him and ask more questions. “I’m sorry, but we don’t have the Scottish Duke. We’ve never even seen him. What does he look like? Why would you think we kidnapped him?”

Cher on Russia; Russia Scorns Gay Parents; Village People Cowboy Marries

Cher on Russia

With so many disillusioning things happening in PA this week regarding same sex marriage, when I read this piece about Cher turning down an invitation to perform at the Russian Olympics I had to admit that it felt nice to see that some people are still willing to challenge unfair laws…on principle, not black and white laws. She also clearly knows hate from personal experience.

“I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show,” she told Canadian newsmagazine Maclean’s. “I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there.

He said the Russian people don’t feel the way the government does.”
In the wide-ranging interview, she discussed how the treatment she and former husband Sonny Bono received made her empathize with other outsiders, and she also noted her support for her transgender son, Chaz Bono.

“People hated Sonny and I in the early days because we looked and acted so different,” she said. “Sonny was always getting into fights — people would called him ‘fag’ and he’d get his nose broken — only because we were dressing different. And these were our street clothes!”

You can read more here. 

Russia Scorns Gay Parents

Speaking of Russia, now there’s a Russian lawmaker who wants to take away children from LGBT parents for some of the most ridiculous reasons I think I have ever heard.

Last week, Russian lawmaker and nationalist party leader Alexei Zhuravlev proposed legislation that would allow the government to remove all children from all LGBT parents and from same-sex couples. In his bill, State Duma Deputy Zhuravlev compared homosexuality to child abuse, drug abuse, and alcoholism. Zhuravlev this week shared with Russian reporter Olga Pavlikova his stunning views on gay people and on “allowing” them to raise children.

This article only devolves into something much worse than what’s above. If this is the mind set that President Obama has to deal with during foreign affairs, God bless the President for having the patience to deal with them. I wouldn’t be able to do that. You can read more here.

Village People Cowboy Marries

In much lighter news, Randy Jones who was the cowboy in the Village People from 1970’s disco fame is marrying his longtime partner. I was only a child at the time, but I recall being fascinated with the cowboy and the construction worker.

This is not going to be just any old event either.

Day one will reportedly include “a public proposal” with Randy “[popping] the question in front of friends and family in Columbus Circle.” Day two will feature the wedding ceremony at New York City Hall “in front of their mothers.” Directly after, there will be a party at a “trendy rooftop bar” with “special guest host Warrington Gillette — who the couple credits as “Jason” from ‘Friday the 13th Part 2.'” Finally, on day three, there will be a “post-wedding banquet” in Little Italy.

You can read more here.


Is Stoli Vodka Boycott Misguided? Obama Admin Vetoes Apple Ban

Is Stoli Vodka Boycott Misguided?

They’ve been pouring bottles of Stoli Vodka down drains and into streets all weekend in cities all over America. I saw them do this at a local gay bar in Philadelphia on local TV news. But according to this article, Stoli Vodka is distilled in Latvia and owned by a company in Luxembourg. Where this gets complicated is that it is controlled by a Russian billionaire living in exile because he’s allegedly opposed to the way gays are being treated in Russia. And, according to this article, Latvia is not part of Russia and it belongs the European Union.

Latvia’s leading gay rights group, Mozaika, has been leading the campaign to get well-intentioned Western comrades to cease boycotting Stolichnaya, arguing that it will only hurt Latvians who are committed to diversity and tolerance.

I was informed of this a while ago, and I think I posted about it. I despise what Russia is doing to gays right now, but I haven’t poured any Stoli down the drain yet because I’ve been so unsure about the facts. 

Maybe we should check the facts out a little better with this one? Unless, of course, I missed something.

Obama Admin Vetoes Apple Ban

The most significant thing about this is that it’s the first time since 1987 that a presidential administration has done anything like this.

I’m sure Samsung is not too thrilled right now, because the ITC issued the ban on older Apple devices (iPhone 3, iPad 2) in a finding the said Apple had infringed on a Samsung patent. Then this happened today:

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman made the decision to veto the ban on the Apple devices, citing concerns about patent holders gaining “undue leverage.” He said Samsung could continue to pursue its patent rights through the courts.
 
It’s all very complicated, and not worth getting into in depth. I just found the historical significance interesting.
 
 
 
 

Mariela Castro Gay Activist Visits Liberty Bell

When Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro, gay activist, and sexologist, visited the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia it garnered quite a bit of local attention. She came to Philadelphia as a guest of the Equality Forum, which held its annual conference here.

Ms. Castro, 50, has emerged as an international leader in the field of gay and transgender rights. As the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, she is believed to have influenced the government’s decision to pay for reassignment surgery for transgender people. She is scheduled to receive an award from the Equality Forum on Saturday.

You can read more about the visit here, and a few more things about the opposition she’s been receiving and what her ultimate goals are.

This is her wiki page if you’re interested in learning more about her in detail.

Her group campaigns for effective AIDS prevention as well as recognition and acceptance of LGBT human rights. In 2005 she proposed a project to allow transgender people to receive sex reassignment surgery and change their legal gender. The measure became law in June 2008 which allows sex change surgery for Cubans without charge.

Until I heard she was coming, I had no ideal Cuba was doing this for transgender people. That part of her visit was not mentioned on any of the local news programs I saw.

Photo attribution.   

Evolution of Gay Rights Through Magazine Covers

When I saw an article about the evolution of gay rights through magazine covers, I thought I’d share. It’s interesting to reflect on how much has changed in the last fifty or so years, and to also see it in such an organized, uncomplicated way. At the time, I don’t think anyone thought he or she was doing anything this significant, or working in a step by step process that would take this long.

You can measure how quickly public opinion on gay rights has changed by looking at poll numbers, or you can see it on the covers of national general interest magazines. As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over California’s gay marriage-banning Prop 8, we wondered whether the justices, whose average age is 67, would vote in a way that reflects current public opinion. They should be especially aware of how quickly our views of gay people have changed in their lifetimes. In the 1960s — when Anton Scalia was a young lawyer in Cleveland and John Roberts was a grade-schooler in Indiana — gay people were primarily portrayed as weird and alien.

I’ve written a lot of posts on the topic of gay marriage, and last year I finally understood what President Obama was talking about when he said he believes gay marriage should be legal, but it’s ultimately up to the states…and that it’s ultimately up to the people to decide this. I’m not saying I’ve always liked it, but I do understand it. In the past week or so, we’ve seen how public opinion has changed as opposed to five years ago…or even one year ago. As hard as it has always been for me to grasp that concept of acceptance, I finally *got* it when the President spoke about gay marriage during an interview with MTV. And when you look back at the way events have unfolded, it’s interesting to watch the evolution of the process.

You can check out the article here, where there are photos that show magazine covers that have focused on gay rights through the years. And though no one is certain on how SCOTUS will rule this June with regard to the hearings this past week, I do think we’ve reached a point where gay marriage will continue to move forward.