Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

Over at Facebook I have many different types of friends (like 2200 friends) and of course they have friends who represent many perspectives. Today on a friend’s wall posting about wearing purple in support of LGBT youth two straight folks raised objectives revealing that they felt “bullied” into showing support of gay kids. In frustration one of them said, “We need to have a Heterosexual Pride Parade.” The other agreedMr. & Mrs. Salt & Pepper.

Now I know a lot of straight people. Some of my best friends are heterosexual. In fact, I come from a distinctly heterosexual family that I love. I know that some straight folks feel put upon by all of the recent news about gay. lesbian and transgender suicides and bullying. “Why do we have to hear about THEM all the time?” Hmmmm. Welcome to my world where I constantly have to go out of my way to hear about anything other than straight lives.

Lately I have been thinking of the subtle powerful force of heterosexism, like high blood pressure, I consider it the “silent killer” insistent and constant in its messaging that heterosexuality is NORMAL, the idealized norm, what everyone is expected to be, an identity that is celebrated, rewarded and represented to the exclusion of all others.

Like a low-grade fever or undetected high blood pressure, non-straight, non-gender normative people live with a steady barrage of pro-heterosexual messages mixed in with anti-LGBT messages. Even in US states where they offer “gay marriage” everyone knows it is not the same as a straight marriage because of the federal protections granted to heterosexual couples and denied to all others. But beyond the legal protections or lack of protections in the household, on the job and elsewhere, we get a deluge of pro-straight messages in pop songs, commercials, movies, religious ceremonies, proms–shoot even salt and pepper shakers! I know that there is a growing movement to include LGBT lives and voices in the media and on the agenda of the board of education, but it’s spotty at best and is often drowned out by the heterosexism that exists in almost every encounter silly and sublime.

Here’s an example of straight pride & privilege.

Marueen says, “My husband Bill & I got together w/ our two daughters & their husbands to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and Cindy & Todd’s first baby. At church the pastor said a blessing over the family & we recommitted our vows.”

And everyone says, “Oh, that is so nice.” And it is and there are gifts and cards and photos and public sharing on Facebook and beyond revealing pride and affirmation and celebration of Bill & Maureen’s successful heterosexuality.

Of course most don’t think of Maureen & Bill expressing “Heterosexual Pride.”

It’s just “normal.”

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Michelle at Quasifictional has a post up about gender and some of what she has learned in the recent past since getting turned onto the Trans-ponder podcast hosted by Mila and Jayna (you girls rock, and your podcast never disappoints!)

Michelle includes fascinating links about gynecomastia, a condition of enlarged male breasts, including the story of a Christian man with the condition who has struggled to know how to respond. Really great stuff, thought provoking and mind expanding. (She even refers to Inga Muscio, my shero)

Yesterday I spent the day in NYC and got to talk to several people about my Transfigurations play and the shift that I have taken to move away from my role in telling my own story as a former ex-gay to focus more on gender issues. There’s been great injustice against trans people among LGB folks and lots of misinformation.

After two days of wet and cold weather, I have put on my PJs and crawled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a new book, Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story. The prose is weak but the story is strong so far.

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Thanks to Noa Resare, I began to use Google Reader for the first time. What a great way to keep track of news’ stories and my favorite blogs. I can use it on my phone as well off-line on my laptop. So here is a little round-up of some of the things happening in the blog world.

Myths over the “Gay Plague”
Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin published some articles about MRSA, the staph infection that was in the news this past week. Lots of hype and misinformation going around about this, and some anti-gay folks locked onto the story and gleefully announced a new gay disease. Seems it is not so new and not a gay thing at all. The media now has begun to set the record straight. Check out Mainstream Media Retreats From MRSA Hysteria–Where are LaBarbera’s and Barber’s apologies? and Testing The Premise: Is MRSA The New Gay Plague? Not according to the medical literature.

Quaker Response to violence in Kenya

Peggy Senger Parsons, who has done work with victims of trauma in Eastern Africa, has published some blog entries about the recent violence in Kenya and the Quaker response. Peggy quotes from and links to a beautiful and powerful pastoral letter out of Friends Church in Kenya. She also shares an e-mail from a trauma counselor in Burundi she helped train and his efforts to reach out to and train Kenyans in trauma work.

The Kinder Gentler Marriage Equality Debate
Bruce Garrett quotes an article about the gay marriage debate in Vermont. They have had civil union for awhile now, but the discussion has now opened to consider actual marriage (like real grown-up straight people get to do). Seems this time around the discussion is tamer. A similar debate is happening in Sweden where they also had something less than marriage for same-sex couples. And all these years I heard anti-gay preachers talking about gay marriage in Sweden (along with drunken orgies, anti-god citizens and the decline of civilization as we know it. Having been to Sweden three times now, I have learned a different story).

Joe G is less sucky
Joe G admits that his podcast is getting “less sucky,” so check out Bored Beyond Belief episode #15 (but according to Joe, avoid the first few). In episode 15 Joe terrorizes his family with a serious thoughtful question, and we learn that his family members are much funnier than Joe himself (but Joe sounds sexier).

Mila and Jayna go under the knife

Also, episode 29 and episode 30 of Trans-Ponder Podcast are excellent. Mila and Jayna have gone to Boston for some important surgeries and talk pre- and post-surgery. Great conversation about growing up trans and trying to figure that all out and about the Orchi surgery. They don’t have the shows listed yet on their episode page, but you can get them through iTunes.

Ex-Gay Survivor speaks out some more

Finally, Eric Leocadio shared two more videos produced by Box Turtle Bulletin and Beyond Ex-Gay. In one Eric talks about the isolation and exclusion he experienced in the church and among church friends (and also mentions flirting with veganism after an awesome meal we shared in LA.) In the second one he talks about the Side X (or ex-gay) culture.

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Blogger Peter Varvel muses over at his blog Plastic Bubble World about his experience as a gay man growing up in an anti-gay Protestant church,

How lucky am I that I wasn’t raised Catholic? I had enough guilt as it was, having been raised Protestant, especially when it came to my sexuality. So, whenever I was sexually active, both guilt and my imagination fueled my paranoia.

What if the guy I was having sex with was actually a vampire? What if while he was, um, “goin’ downtown to pleasure me,” he sprouted fangs and decided to slake his sudden thirst for blood, right in the middle of it all?

I have never gotten through an entire Anne Rice novel. But I have always thought that the Christianity and homosexuality conflict would make a good background for a vampire story.

Someone who spent time in an ex-gay support group, Varvel expresses some of what he got from the teachings he sat under,

In real life, it would be too simple to say that ex-gay ministry teaches self-hate. It doesn’t fit into that convenient of a nutshell, at least not with the support group that I had been involved in. But I’ll confess that my time with them helped to influence the view of myself as something a bit monstrous, like the poor, deformed Phantom of the Opera, a soul not quite guaranteed salvation.

I don’t miss ex-gay ministry. I’m glad that I checked it out, and that I made an honest effort toward achieving their goals. But I’m also glad that I’m past that part of my life, years past the self-pity of that time, and that I have been able to reach a point of being at peace with–and acceptance of–myself.

Read all of Varvel’s piece Gay Vampires for Jesus (or, Sympathy for the Evil) and check out the dramatic image he provides along side his writing.

Like many of the ex-gay survivors who have written for Beyond Ex-Gay (bXg), Peter Varvel has a much more balanced view of the movement than most gay activist and ex-gay promoters. He admits that they don’t overtly teach self-hate.

It is easy to vilify ex-gay providers and say they are just money-grubby, anti-gay ministers of hate. This is not true. Many of them were kind people who unwittingly shoot out poison darts. Fortunately we can move past the negative messaging and live centered, peaceful, confident lives as lesbian, transgender, bisexual and gay people.

Check out the newest narrative over at bXg where Seth Guyettes shares The Ex-Gay Movement and The Negative Impact it Had on My Life.

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A Blogger is Born!

Yes, a new baby blogger, and turns out I am partly responsible. Sweet. Concerned Citizen writes,

Hello there! I see you’ve found your way to my blog. In the coming weeks and months, I hope to inform the public as to my thoughts on current issues as well as give advice to that same public, telling them how they can get involved and affecting change on this wonderful planet of ours. I was inspired to make this blog by my good friend, Peterson Toscano. Peterson is an activist playwright and one-man show. He has his own blog, viewable here. He held a discussion group over the weekend on the subject of activism and how to get involved in your community. One of the mentioned methods was blogging, so here I am, making a blog.

So please encourage this new blogger and read the great post about Zimbabwe and post a welcoming comment.
The Musings of a Worried Mind

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Phew, so nice to blog about everyday things and not one of those L O N G and serious blog entries. I arrived in Rochester, NY yesterday and tonight did a talk, Homo No Mo? A Provocative Evening with Peterson Toscano. I did excerpts from Homo No Mo and Queer 101, (the scene with Chad & Federico Garcia Lorca) and then a little bit from Transfigurations.

The amazing thing about the presentation is that it was only confirmed late yesterday afternoon, and through the wonder of social networking via Facebook, loads of people got invited and a good number turned out. Alex at Pride Network and Nils of the Eco House (who I know from New England Quakers) organized the event. So yes, Facebook is awesome.

I stayed in Eco House, a cooperative living arrangement where they do loads of things to live in such a way to decrease their environmental footprint. They hang their clothes to dry (dryers use tons of energy), they buy local produce, maintain a vegetarian household (then went vegan while I was here–thanks!), they share one car among seven people, they each have bikes including a house bike (yes, I rode a bike around town), and they don’t flush the toilet when one only pees (which I also practice at home–if it’s yellow, let it mellow. if it’s brown, flush it down. But at home it is easier when it is only my urine in the bowl).

Tonight Nils and Gena and I biked down to to Equal Grounds, a queer run cafe/bookstore/gourmet chololate shop below where Alex and Eric live, both from the Pride Network. We all talked about so many things. This is what I love about what I do. It is like being in an advance, independent study graduate course. Eric, from Portland, told me he is studying something like Eco Psychology (I know he called it something different). We talked about E.O. Wilson, the TED talks, the pros and cons of having an LGBT Resource Center with paid staff, the phenomenon of cross-dressing straight frat boys, the demographics of MySpace and Facebook users, Ferdinand the Bull (read by Nils–see the 1938 Disney cartoon here) and the coolness of Portland, OR.

Okay in other news some glad some very sad…

  • Barack Obama got caught up in the ex-gay debate.
  • Dumbledore is gay (and I have my suspicions about Professor Mcgonagall)
  • The US House of Representatives have postponed their vote of the Equal Non-Discrimination Act.
  • USA Today featured the story of transgender Methodist Pastor Drew Phoenix.
  • Doris Lessing FINALLY wins the Nobel Prize for Literature and talks about the state of feminism.
  • Blogger Disputed Mutability is with child and still maintains life as a blogger (kinda, and she has loads of material to share, and I will get to hang out with her soon).
  • Steve Schalchlin muses about the science behind Musical Healing, (not to be confused with sexual healing).
  • Alex Resare has a new blog address.
  • Bruce Garrett is trapped in his new car and refuses to get out.
  • And here is the sad one, blogger Darian Aaron, shares the shocking story of his friend, fellow-writer Ramone Johnson, who became the target of a homophobic physical assault in NYC. Ramone writes about his experience here.

Ramone, contributer of About.com’s Gay Life column shares,

As I write this I don’t know what hurts worse: My stomach or my eye or the fact that a gay bar kicked me out and refused to help me. I’ve spent the past five years trying to empower gay men, hoping with all my heart that we can one day roam the streets without being afraid, and here I sit at my computer, hurting physically and psychologically. If we can’t protect ourselves who will?

Perhaps we need some legal protection. President Bush? You out there? No need to veto all the good laws.

Tomorrow I fly off to Columbus, OH where I will see my buddy, Bobby Painter, in the lead role of Joseph spinning around in his Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (aka Princess Dress!)

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How They Found Me

I sometimes feel tickled (and sometimes shocked) when I look the stats for my blogs and see the keywords people plug in that eventually gets them to me. Interestingly enough, everyday someone finds me with a search for pitt bulls. I write about ex-gay stuff everyday but I have the pitt bulls to thank for the traffic.

Here is a list of the most recent keywords that got people to this blog and where they come from.

  • pitt bull (hungary)
  • clips video how hewes (unknown)
  • christian autumn poems (pittsburgh, pa)
  • gay scotland pics (vancouver, british columbia)
  • john smid love in action (albany, ny)
  • black pitt bulls (jersey city, nj)
  • beastiality nova scotia (halifax, nova scotia–better warn the neighbors)

Although the traffic is much much less for the Spanish blog Adriana and I maintain, nearly all of the visitors come from a web search. (I only had the seven above for A Musing, which averages 200 unique visits daily, while Dos Equis has 65 key word searches for the past two days and about that many visitors) As I have written before, some of their key words sound like secret confessions of desperate people.

  • hijo homosexual (gay son)
  • como identificar un gay (how to spot a gay–this one comes up often in many different forms)
  • mi pareja dice que no me ama (my spouse says s/he doesn’t love me)
  • mi hija es lesbiana (my daughter is lesbian)
  • cambio de homosexual a heterosexual (gay to straight change)
  • mi esposo es gay (my husband is gay)
  • como vivir con un hijo gay (how to live with a gay son)
  • divorcio por que el marido es homosexual (divorce because my husband is gay)
  • como vivir con un marido homosexual (how to live with a gay husband)
  • padres con hijos gays (parents with gay children)
  • como ayudar a mi hija lesbiana (how to help my lesbian daughter)

And it goes on and on and on.

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