Recently in Queerness Category

Prop 8: The Musical

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All the cool blogs are embedding this video, so I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon too.

I heard that the South Park dudes are planning a Broadway musical on gay Mormons and marriage, but until that comes out next spring, this can whet your appetite

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

I've been to a couple of rallies protesting the passage of Prop 8 lately, and I have realized that I HATE signs that read something like "I'm straight but I don't hate" or Straight but not Narrow." Can't you just carry a sign arguing for gay and queer rights? Or even a sign like this? Do you have to somehow announce your A) straightness and B) broadmindedness in a way that suggests you're actually really afraid someone might think you're (gasp!) gay?

Second, I always feel vaguely disreputable and uncomfortable when people argue for the validity of gay rights on the grounds that sexual orientation is not a choice. This doesn't mean I reject the compelling scientific and personal evidence supporting the claim that sexual orientation is not a choice. I believe it's not a choice. I just think it should be respected as a choice, because even if orientation isn't a choice, deciding to pursue a relationship with someone of the same sex IS a choice--a completely legitimate choice, as far as I'm concerned.

I don't see why someone shouldn't be able to CHOOSE a same-sex partner, for any reason whatsoever. I think doing so should be about the same as becoming a poet or a vegan or a tuba player: OK, not choices most people make, but entirely respectable nonetheless.

Why I Love Keith Olbermann

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Keith Olbermann is often considered a partisan hack, because he mercilessly mocks stupid conservatives like Bill O'Reilly. And recently Ben Affleck did a bang-up job of doing a send-up of him on Saturday Night Live, and made him look ridiculous. But I dig him. He's tall, and has that prematurely gray thing working for him in really attractive ways. And, every so often, he says something like this, about why our country needs to embrace gay marriage:

Please Congratulate Me Now

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So, there have been several reasons I haven't blogged all that much lately, or have posted really short entries when I do blog. One is that I'm as obsessed as anyone else about the election, and I've been doing things I don't normally do, like watching debates and volunteering at a political campaign. (I refuse to go door-to-door, even for Obama, having already done that for the Mormons, so they've mostly stuck me with data entry. Fun. Not. But it's for a good cause.) Another is that I moved 2,000 miles across the country. (One of these days, I'll write about that.)

And another is that I've been working on a book.

And guess what: I just finished it--or at least, I finished a respectable draft, just now. It's 1:48 right now; I wrote the last sentence at 1:43.

Now I get to go back and revise and polish it, all 278 pages, which I don't mind because revising is my favorite part of writing, believe it or not. And my agent has to sell it, which could be tough--I'm sure the general financial crisis has hurt publishing as well. But it feels really cool that I had a goal and I accomplished it, and I also like this book. I hope an editor at some big publishing house will like it too. Who knows? Maybe it will sell well enough that someone might be willing to publish the two that are languishing in folders on my computer, folders I haven't touched in months.

The book, by the way, is the story of my relationships with gay men--in particular, it's the story of how I ended up being the witness at the gay wedding of my ex-fiance.

I hope you'll be hearing a lot more about this in the future.

Underestimating Conservatives

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In 2003, as preparations for the inevitable war intensified, I decided to do something I’d never done before: I decided to march in a protest. Marching and chanting aren’t really my style; I prefer to protest by writing. But this was important, and I wanted to do something extra. So I made arrangements to head to Phoenix for the long weekend of Presidents’ Day.

When my mother asked me about my plans for the long weekend, I told her I was going to visit friends. I didn’t tell her why I had asked these friends if I could stay with them for a few days, because I knew it would upset her. I did tell the friends about my plans.

These were people I’d known since I was an undergrad. At one time H, the husband, had been more liberal than I was. But he got more conservative as he aged, while I got more progressive. By 2003, he’d given up driving small fuel efficient cars and drove a giant truck on his hour-long commute to the prestigious hospital where he worked as a doctor. He and his family made no effort to conserve water, even though they lived in a particularly water-deprived region of the Phoenix area. And he supported the war--although more cautiously than a lot of people. But he still thought it was the right thing to do.

The night after the protest, H, his wife and I went to dinner. He told a story about going home teaching to some inactive guy. The man wasn’t there when the home teachers arrived, but the guy’s roommate was. He was pleasant to the home teachers, but said there was no reason for them to come back, because the guy had realized that he wasn’t welcome at the Mormon church. One of the home teachers kept saying, “That doesn’t sound right. We welcome everyone. Our doors are always open. We invite people back, and we mean it.”

The clueless home teacher’s partner was writhing in embarrassment, and tried his best to cut the visit short. In the car, he said to his hapless companion, “Didn’t you realize?! The guy is gay! That was his partner we were talking to! He can’t come to church because he’s gay!”

Sponge + Starfish = Scallop?

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I've been a little behind in my Spongebob SquarePants viewing.... OK, years behind. I have not managed to keep up with every last episode, though I watch it when I can: at the chiropractor's, the dentist, my sister's house. Recently, while hanging with my nieces and nephews, I saw an interesting episode called Rock-a-bye Bivalve, in which Spongebob and Patrick adopt a parentless baby scallop.

When Patrick and Spongebob first become parents, everything is great. They enjoy spending time with the little scallop, and take it out to play. They're so caught up in the joy of parenthood that they don't even realize how jarring they are to others. Out on a bike with their scallop one day, they pass a mommy and daddy fish pushing a baby fish in a stroller. The fish look at Patrick and Spongebob, and over their heads, in a bubble, in pictograms, you see the confused question, "Square yellow sponge + starfish = scallop?"

God Fought the Law, and the Law Won

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I’ve been thinking, ever since I wrote a response to that dreadfully illogical, dishonest, hypocritical document published by the church to explain its opposition to gay marriage, about struggles framed as a battle between the forces of god and the forces of who or whatever.

The thing is, god so often loses.

Several apt examples drawn from Mormon history:

If trends like this continue in the business world (and let's pray they do), eventually the religious world will follow, and realize that you won't be successful in the world at large if you're homophobic.

Church Fears Another Marriage Showdown

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In a comment on my recent summary of Sunstone, Chris Bigelow asked me to respond to this document from the COJCOLDS, justifying its attack on gay marriage. So I’ve done just that.

The document begins

Marriage is sacred, ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. After Creating Adam and Eve, the Lord God pronounced them husband and wife, of which Adam said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Jesus Christ cited Adam’s declaration when he affirmed the divine origins of the marriage covenant: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.”

First of all, I must point out that the story of Adam and Eve is a myth, that it begins with existent human institutions and argues backwards to explain their creation.

Given the fact that the church cites as a historical fact a made-up story used to explain the origins of the world, it's hard to take any of their arguments seriously.

It's also hard to respect any of their arguments, given the way they cherry-pick their scriptures: after all, Jesus also said that in the next life, people are neither married nor given in marriage (Matthew 22:30). And he also questioned the primacy of biological family relationships (Mark 3:33).

The document goes on to state, “In 1995, ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ declared the following unchanging truths regarding marriage,” before listing a bunch of entirely subjective opinions regarding marriage, as a way to threaten and bully people who advocate for greater equality and justice for all human beings. The Proclamation makes many assumptions and assertions about how this or that must be the case because it supports this or that in the Mormon "Plan of Salvation." However, the plan of salvation is bullshit and has neither basis in fact nor any logic except that of a narcissistic fear of change. It allows human beings the comforting but false belief that the next life will be an extension of this one, and that personalities and relationships will make the transition to the next life intact.

The document further states,

Movies About Men, For Women

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In his comment to my entry about why I like the sex scene in Latter Days, MohoHawaii noted that he "always thought that there should be a larger market for romance stories that cross the gender divide. The straight female audience is largely untapped as consumers of male-male love stories. This is a potentially huge market, since there are 10 to 20 times as many straight women as there are gay men."

For whatever reason, I've been an enthusiastic part of that market since even before I officially reached adulthood. One of my very first entries on this blog was about my movie-watching habits in the 1980s. I decided as a college freshman that I'd see pretty much any movie back for a "revival" (which was important back in the days before you could easily rent or buy a copy of a movie, making revival houses unnecessary) or anything that was a "classic." This decision was facilitated by the fact that UA's student union had a HUGE movie theater in it, and it showed only second-run movies or revivals, for a mere buck-fifty. As I've mentioned, the first movie I went to see there was A Clockwork Orange, which I walked out of; the second movie I went to see was La Cage aux Folles, which I loved and my roommate hated.

I made a habit of dragging roommates to movies I really wanted to see, which is how, as a junior, I persuaded my 17-year-old sister (yes, I roomed with my sister--I actually roomed with all three of my sisters at one point or another) to see both Risky Business (had that dreadful R-rating, though in the early 80s ratings weren't quite such a big deal in the church) and Another Country, which was rated a mere PG but was all about homosexuality at some British public school.

I'm not sure how many teenage Mormon females would be so enthusiastic about a mannered art film exploring the difficulties of conducting a gay love affair at boys' boarding school, difficulties exacerbated because one boy had just hung himself after being caught en flagrante by a headmaster. But my sister and I LOVED it. And really, it's not so very remarkable that we loved it, because it was an interesting script and beautifully cast, emphasis on beautiful: it featured the very young Colin Firth, Rupert Everett and Cary Elwes in their earliest starring roles.

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