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Posts Tagged ‘lesbian’

Good queer news out of Kansas! The city commission of Manhattan, KS (aka The Little Apple) voted in favor of extending its anti-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation AND gender identity. In other words they have moved to protect people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual . My friend Jonathan Mertz wrote to tell me the good news,

Last night the Manhattan city commission voted 3-2 to add sexual orientation AND gender identity to the city’s human rights ordinance! Yes, a 5-0 vote would have been better, but we’ll take it.

We are particularly proud because Manhattan is the first city in Kansas to include gender identity as a protected class. I should say proud to be the first, embarrassed that we are the first. The good news we may not be the last.

Earlier today on the Queer and Queerer podcast, Zack Ford and I shared how trangender people have often been excluded in the “gay rights” struggle. In 2007 the gay backers of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, stripped gender identity and expression from the bill even after promises to keep it in.

In our program we reference blogger, LGBT activist, Navy veteran, and transgender woman, Autumn Sandeen, and her work towards the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She points out that the way has been opened for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to serve openly in the military, but not yet transgender people. Autumn advocates non-violent action to shame LGB(t) organizations into putting  money and action behind the lip service they play to the transgender community.

What is heartening about this LGBT rights victory in Manhattan, KS is that the backers of the ordinance remained committed to the inclusion of transgender people even though that meant they had to work harder to get it passed. Jonathan goes on to explain,

I’m chair of the board of the Flint Hills Human Rights Project, the group that lead the charge to get the ordinance passed. One of our first questions we considered was “Would we support an ordinance that just included sexual orientation?” The board was unanimous that we would only support an ordinance that included sexual orientation and gender identity. It did make it more of a challenge, but it passed!

The Topeka Capitol-Journey has a short piece about the ordinance. Warning: Some of the comments are cruel and stupid. If you are up for it, add some light and insight. Better yet, share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and your blog. It’s good news.

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I don’t often get heated in media appearances, but when faced with the outrageous, one needs to express outrage. Last night I appeared as one of several guests on Wellness for the REAL World with Dr. Veronica Anderson, an Internet program on Blog Talk Radio. It aired live, and is available on demand here. The topic? When a Straight Couple finds out One is Gay. Here’s the show description:

Former Forbes Magazine writer Kiri Blakeley, author of Can’t Think Straight: A Memoir of Mixed-Up Love, drolly details the emotional fallout after her fiancée announced he was gay. Not wanting to deceive her any longer after a 10-year relationship, he tearfully admitted he’d been questioning his sexuality for the past two years. Dr. Veronica discusses the stages of her emotional journey, and other guests share their own stories when a straight couple discovers one partner is gay. Do they inevitably split? Or do some decide love really does conquer all, and they stay together despite a need for separate sex lives? Other guests include Bonnie Kaye, host of BTR’s Straight Wives, Peterson Toscano, who spent 17 years and $30,000 trying to become straight, and Arthur Goldberg, who runs a service that helps gays become straight.

Kiri Blakeley talked about her 10 year relationship with a man who ultimately came out gay. Bonnie Kaye, who discovered her husband was gay, has also written about that experience. On the show Bonnie spoke pointed out the unnecessary pain and suffering many couples face because of an unworkable marriage pressed on them by homophobia and the imbalanced value society places on heterosexual marriage. Similar to my own story, Joseph Knudson also shared about living as a gay man in a straight relationship.

Arthur Goldberg, co-director of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality) and a supporter of other anti-gay* groups like People Can Change, also appeared. And this is when I felt outrage. Goldberg was a last minute addition to the program. The producer told me that they wanted to get all sides of the story. That may sound reasonable particularly if the topic is a political issue with opposing opinions, but in the case of gay-to-straight conversion, having guests who represent “both sides of the issue” creates a false dichotomy as if we are looking at two equal sides of an issues.  In this case the sides are reason and madnesshealth and harmsound medical practice versus quakery performed by unlicensed and untrained religiously motivated bigots.

Imagine this scenario. A local school has been rocked with an epidemic of drug abuse resulting in the hospitalization of students because of unknown dangerous chemicals added to the drugs. Parents suffer as their children live at risk of exposure to drug dealers selling a potentially life-threatening substance. A local TV chat program decides to air an episode to highlight the issue. They bring in parents, children directly affected, and a teacher. Then to show all sides of the issue–they also bring on one of the drug dealers to talk about how happy his customers are with his product and allude to studies that suggest that his drugs help people. I don’t think so. For the health and well being of the community and the listeners, a drug dealer selling dangerously laced drugs does not get a public platform to push his junk.

See this is not about “airing all sides.” It is about responsible and accurate reporting. Theories and treatments that suggest it is wrong to be gay and that some sort of “cure” is possible put people at risk of real harm. As the program last night highlighted, one of the risks comes to straight people, particularly women, who marry gay men trying to be straight. The harms to bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and gender non-conforming individuals are great. For this reason the American Psychological Association and ever major medical association have denounced ex-gay treatments.

Arthur Goldberg

After hearing Kiri, Bonnie, and me speak about the real suffering we experienced, the devastating situations we endured, Arthur Goldberg made no reference to any of it. He simply launched into a string of misinformation about supposed studies that prove “thousands of people” have changed their sexual orientation. To add insult to injury, one of the co-hosts asked Goldberg to share in greater detail his faulty theories and practices. After which Arthur Goldberg disingenuously tried to convince the hosts (and perhaps himself) that he was not anti-gay, that he took a neutral stance on the issue all the while explaining that gays are gay because of emotional misshaping.

Broken by ex-gay survivor Jason T. Ingram

Exodus International, the large anti-gay organization just put out a video commercial advertising their Love One Out conference, an event that serves to reinforce the harmful notion to parents and pastors that it is wrong to be gay (or bi, lesbian, or trans) and that gay people can and should change. As Evan Hurst has pointed out, the Exodus ad offers up images of sad homosexuals looking forlorn and tragic. The message they attempt to portray is that being gay sucks. But juxtaposed to the sad queers  they display images of happy homosexuals like Neil Patrick Harris with his partner and their children, and out and proud gay Christian singer Ray Boltz. Exodus undermines its own message. In fact, the message they are inadvertently communicating is that being ex-gay sucks. Trying to suppress your gay side, living to please others, engaging in an inauthentic life filled with self-loathing and violence towards one’s desires result in pain and suffering.

Like Arthur Goldberg in last night’s program, Exodus and its leader, Alan Chambers, have never directly addressed the suffering of the majority of their former clients who experienced harm at the hands of ex-gay ministers and reparative therapists. Even by Exodus’ own rosy estimation, at least 70% of people who go through the doors of their ministries come out gay. The treatment fails.

But what happens to these people? Does Exodus know? Do they care? They do know because we have communicated to them directly and on-line (see Beyond Ex-Gay) about the devastating results of  their “care.” Former Exodus leaders have publicly renounced the work of Exodus and offered apologies.

Renewed by Jason T. Ingram

Many of us have suffered for years needing expensive therapy to undo the faulty treatment we received at the hands of misinformed ministers and counselors. Wasted years, wasted dollars, lost opportunities. Most of us have worked through the pain and confusion and ultimately came out and reclaimed our lives. But it takes work and sadly there are also many casualties that experience the negative psychological, emotional, and spiritual affects of Chamber’s and Goldberg’s teaching for the rest of their lives. With work, proper care, and a willingness to embrace reality, we grow healthy, well-adjusted, and yes, happy–content in being authentic.

Dr. Veronica Anderson and her co-host, Russell Cook failed by bringing Arthur Goldberg onto a program ironically called, Wellness for the REAL World. Fortunately the other guest spoke with clarity, knowledge, and truth. I guess one might say that by hearing the madness of Arthur Goldberg, listeners will only get more convinced that ex-gay treatment is a bad idea. Perhaps, but Goldberg, like Chambers and other dishonest propagandists for the anti-gay religious movement, expertly weave in falsehoods into every sentence. They have been proven unreliable witnesses who do not deserve invitations to public platforms. They have their blogs and conferences to share their message to those with itching ears to hear it. I say leave the rest of us out of it.

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*  “anti-gay” because ex-gay is a misnomer. Really groups like Exodus, JONAH, NARTH, Living Waters, etc seek to annihilate gayness in individuals and in some cases in society by supporting anti-gay legislation. As someone who lived 17 years in that “ex-gay” world and in religious groups that feared gay rights, I understand that the basis of much of the ex-gay theories and practices are really anti-gay.

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Who Made You The Drag Queen of the Gay Agenda?

Alright, so we admit we have an agenda, but what is it? Lots of people, like straight pastors and well-funded Glb(t) political operatives, think they know. Zack and Peterson try to suss out who sets the agenda and what it happens to be today. What are the bars by which we measure the success of the LGBTQ movement? We also talk about folks who are trying to bridge gaps, but might just be helping to maintain them. From Egypt to Hollywood to Washington, D.C., we look at who is shaping the agenda and chime in with our hopes and concerns.

Episode 38 of Queer and Queerer

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo preaching

Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin preaching

Ahmed Saad's Book

» This week’s erotic poem: “A Glimpse,” by Walt Whitman.

» HRC’s Trans Job Campaign in Massachusetts

» Egyptian “Gay Rights Activist,” or Ex-Gay Proponent?

» Discussion about Andrew Marin:

Belmont May Change Actions Toward Gay Groups

FriendlyAtheist: “I’m Sorry” Is Not Enough for the Gay Community

» The Second LGBT General Assembly (Facebook Event) – (Saturday, January 20)

» Creating Change in Minneapolis! It’s not too late to register! – (February 2-6)

» A Night with Robyn Ochs at Bucknell University – (Tuesday, February 15)

» See Peterson at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX (February 28-March 1)

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

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Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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BOO! What’s funny is before recording, Peterson was going to use a funny Halloweeny voice and Zack wasn’t, but the opposite ended up happening!

We sacrifice watching an episode of Glee to bring you this spooky episode, featuring the terrors of Judge Judy, Hare Krishnas, and peanut butter! Most of the episode is dedicated to discussing the true terror that is the Christian “Hell House.”

Take a listen as Zack goes straight and Peterson goes all Stockholm syndrome in our special Halloween/Day of the Dead episode! Have a safe and happy holiday everyone, and don’t forget to find Zack at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear this weekend in DC!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week’s spooky delicious episode

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

Patty Hearst on the Run

» Extra Listening: This American Life‘s report on Hell House.

»Peterson’s post about his run in with Patty Hearst when she was a fugitive.

» Zack’s reaction to the new Clint Eastwood/Matt Damon film, Hereafter.

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It’s Spirit Day! Zack and Peterson are here to have an important conversation about a challenging topic. What is heterosexual privilege? We throw around the terminology a lot, but what does it really mean? Today we try to help our audience understand exactly what it is and why we need our allies to be more aware of it. We know that 38 minutes is not enough to understand the nuances of this issue, so we hope you’ll join in the conversation on the blog posting or on Facebook! Also, don’t forget to submit your answers to The Heterosexual Questionnaire. Click below to access the questions. Enjoy!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week’s episode

Download Right-click and save as to download.

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» The Heterosexual Questionnaire. (Remember, this is for self-avowed heterosexuals only.)

» The list of heterosexual privileges we read from. Here’s another.

» Curious about cisgender privilege? Here’s a list. Here’s another.

» Peterson’s Post on “Straight Pride.”

» Shannon’s Post on engaging in action for Spirit Day.

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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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It’s National Coming Out Week, so Zack, Peterson, and guest Marvin Bloom are here to share some coming out stories. Enjoy three unique stories about coming out that don’t quite fit the usual narrative. We also discuss the upcoming NARTH conference in Philadelphia and efforts from Soulforce, Beyond Ex-Gay, and Truth Wins Out to respond to their bunk “science.” Join us in Philadelphia the first weekend in November! Oh, and you get to see what the Queer and Queerer madlib was all about. Thanks for your contributions!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!


Listen to this week’s episode:

Listen to this week’s episode

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Register now for the Soulforce symposium.

» Check out the Lift My Luggage protest!

» Read the APA’s report on reparative therapy.

» Make sure to listen the The Lesbian Mafia and The Flatus Show!

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