Friday, August 31, 2012

KNOW Your LGBT History - William 'Billy' Haines and Jimmy Shields

We all know about the openly gay actors of today like Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons, Chris Colfer, etc.

But what about the openly gay actors who came before them? Yes, there were some openly gay actors - AND directors - in Hollywood at a time in which the lgbtq community wasn't as out of the closet as we are now.

Today, I want to focus on William "Billy" Haines, who gave up his career instead of staying in the closet, and the love of his life, Jimmy Shields:

Charles William "Billy" Haines was an American film actor and interior designer. He was a star of the silent era until the 1930s, when Haines' career was cut short by MGM Studios due to his refusal to deny his homosexuality. Haines never returned to film and instead started a successful interior design business with his life partner and was supported by friends in Hollywood.

Haines and his partner, Jimmy Shields, began a successful dual career as interior designers and antique dealers. Among their early clients were friends such as Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson, Carole Lombard, Marion Davies and George Cukor. Their lives were disrupted in 1936 when members of the Ku Klux Klan dragged the two men from their home and beat them, because a neighbor had accused the two of propositioning his son. Crawford, along with other stars such as Claudette Colbert, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Kay Francis, and Charles Boyer urged the men to report this to the police. Marion Davies asked her lover William Randolph Hearst to use his influence to ensure the neighbors were prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but ultimately Haines and Shields chose not to report the incident.

The couple finally settled into the Hollywood community in Brentwood, and their business prospered until their retirement in the early 1970s, except for a brief interruption when Haines served in World War II. Their long list of clients included Betsy Bloomingdale, Ronald and Nancy Reagan when Reagan was governor of California, and Walter and Leonore Annenberg with their 240-acre (0.97 km2) estate "Sunnylands."

Haines and Shields remained together until Haines' death. Joan Crawford described them as "the happiest married couple in Hollywood."

Haines died from lung cancer in Santa Monica, California at the age of 73, a week short of his 74th birthday, which was on the new year of 1974. Soon afterward, Shields, who suffered from what many believe to be Alzheimer's Disease, put on Haines' pajamas, took an overdose of pills, and crawled into their bed to die. They were interred side by side in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery.

It's been said that Shields left a short suicide note. It read:

"It's no good without Billy."

So the next time someone tells you about how gays and lesbians don't believe in the concept of  love, remember Billy and Jimmy.

Past Know Your LGBT History posts:

Religous right - the 49ers are wrong for helping bullied gay children

 Editor's note - The midday news briefs will be preempted because I have a doctor's appointment. I'm going to see if I can get some of those meds that Clint Eastwood was obviously on last night.

Recently, the San Francisco 49ers made a video speaking out against the bullying of gay teens.

You just KNEW someone from the religious right was going to speak negatively about it:

Larry Jacobs, managing director of the World Congress of Families, tells OneNewsNow why he has a problem with this.

"The problem with the 'It Gets Better' campaign is that it, again, is special rights -- singling out a particular group that is no more harmed than any other groups, and really singling them out for special attention and special rights, special things that should also be shared with lots of other people that are being bullied," he contends. "It really is, again, another example of money and resources being given to a special class, a group of people, and discriminating against many others who are being bullied."

Jacobs seems to want folks to engage in a game of pitting categories of bullied youths against one another.  I refuse to be defensive. In making the video, the 49ers weren't placing gay teens above any other bullied group.

That's like saying when you give money to fight breast cancer, you are saying that people suffering from other forms of cancer don't matter. It's an argument that doesn't wash.

The way I see it is this -  the bullying of children for any reason is a problem and whatever anyone can do to combat this problem - however large or small - should  be applauded, encouraged, and complimented.

That being said, if Jacobs feels that attention should be paid to other victims of bullying, then perhaps he get his organization to do something on their behalf.

That is if he can pull himself away from attacking the 49ers and bullied gay youth.

BTW here is the video that Jacobs is speaking of:

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hate group spokesman claims gays are responsible for Hurricane Issac

Don't be shocked by this courtesy of Right-Wing Watch:

American Family Association's Buster Wilson, who is the general manager of their radio network, is blaming Hurricane Isaac on the city of New Orleans for hosting Southern Decadence, the annual LGBT festival. Wilson joins other pastors in linking the festival to natural disasters which hit New Orleans in the past:

It shouldn't suprise anyone that the American Family Association has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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'Anti-gay group to feature Victoria Jackson in women's conference' and other Thursday midday news briefs

Liberty Counsel's Celebrity Headliner: Victoria Jackson - The anti-gay Liberty Counsel will hold a women's conference featuring this woman:


It shows you what the Liberty Counsel truly thinks of women.

In other news: 

 FRC now praying for SPLC, critics' repentance - The Family Research Council prays, not for forgiveness for bearing false witness against the gay community, but for those who call the group out on its lies.  

Anti-Gay Republican Platform Was Retaliation For Log Cabin Republicans’ Presence - Not surprising. When you challenge lies, the liars always retaliate.  

STUDY: Hearing ‘That’s So Gay’ Causes Negative Health Effects - Negative health effects that religious right will no doubt exploit while omitting where they spring from.

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How the Family Research Council distorts social science to defend DOMA

Editor's note - With the talk in the media about the Family Research Council's "hate group" designation, it is important that the gay community makes the case as to how FRC distorts social science to create anti-gay propaganda. With that in mind, I am repeating a post from a year ago because it is still relevant. The information is still on the FRC webpage.

On its Defend DOMA web page, the Family Research Council has a link, Ten Arguments From Social Science Against Same Sex Marriage which supposedly speaks against gay marriage but contains a number of misdirections.

In the piece, Family Research Council is basing the argument against gay marriage on the claim that "children need both a mother and a father."

FRC makes the claim that lesbians household "raising children without a father" is wrong because according to them:

Among other things, we know that fathers excel in reducing antisocial behavior and delinquency in boys and sexual activity in girls.

And gay households "raising children without a mother" is wrong because:

fathers exercise a unique social and biological influence on their children. For instance, a recent study of father absence on girls found that girls who grew up apart from their biological father were much more likely to experience early puberty and a teen pregnancy than girls who spent their entire childhood in an intact family.

However, very little (if any at all) of the literature/studies FRC cites to make these conclusions have anything to do with same-sex households.

When the organization does address the studies involving same-sex households, it throws out an insulting addendum:

A number of leading professional associations have asserted that there are "no differences" between children raised by homosexuals and those raised by heterosexuals. But the research in this area is quite preliminary; most of the studies are done by advocates and most suffer from serious methodological problems. Sociologist Steven Nock of the University of Virginia, who is agnostic on the issue of same-sex civil marriage, offered this review of the literature on gay parenting as an expert witness for a Canadian court considering legalization of same-sex civil marriage:

Through this analysis I draw my conclusions that 1) all of the articles I reviewed contained at least one fatal flaw of design or execution; and 2) not a single one of those studies was conducted according to general accepted standards of scientific research.

This is not exactly the kind of social scientific evidence you would want to launch a major family experiment.

There is a huge problem with FRC citing Nock's testimony. He gave it in 2001. Since that time, there have been numerous other studies , as well as personal stories from children in same-sex households which back up the conclusion that same-sex households are a perfectly fine place to raise children.

Also, Nock's testimony was rejected by other researchers. (*see below)

But keep in mind the phrase by FRC when criticizing studies involving same-sex households -  most of the studies are done by advocates and most suffer from serious methodological problems.

If these studies is biased and have no credibility, then why do FRC have no problem citing them when attacking same-sex households:

Judith Stacey-- a sociologist and an advocate for same-sex civil marriage--reviewed the literature on child outcomes and found the following: "lesbian parenting may free daughters and sons from a broad but uneven range of traditional gender prescriptions." Her conclusion here is based on studies that show that sons of lesbians are less masculine and that daughters of lesbians are more masculine.

She also found that a "significantly greater proportion of young adult children raised by lesbian mothers than those raised by heterosexual mothers ... reported having a homoerotic relationship." Stacey also observes that children of lesbians are more likely to report homoerotic attractions.

Her review must be viewed judiciously, given the methodological flaws detailed by Professor Nock in the literature as a whole. Nevertheless, theses studies give some credence to conservative concerns about the effects of homosexual parenting.

FRC's audacity is incredible here. The organization is saying "Stacey is biased for same-sex marriage, so we cannot totally believe what she says. However, we will believe the part which puts gay marriage in a negative light."

The gymnastics behind this logic is astounding, especially when one takes into account that this is a distortion of Stacey's study. She has gone on record on more than one occasion complaining about how organizations like FRC cherry-pick her work.  

And on that same note, FRC also cited the work of Yale Child Study Center psychiatrist Kyle Pruett to make the case against gay marriage in the piece, even though Pruett has also complained  about how his work was being "cherry picked"  by religious right groups and spokespeople.

FRC is equally dishonest when it makes the claim that gay men will not be faithful in marriages.

One recent study of civil unions and marriages in Vermont suggests this is a very real concern. More than 79 percent of heterosexual married men and women, along with lesbians in civil unions, reported that they strongly valued sexual fidelity. Only about 50 percent of gay men in civil unions valued sexual fidelity.

According to its footnotes, FRC received this information from two sources. One was:

Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solomon, Civil Unions in the State of Vermont: A Report on the First Year. University of Vermont Department of Psychology, 2003.

Of course this leads one to ask if this study looked at civil unions in Vermont during the first year, then are the more recent updates.

The second source is more intriguing:

David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison, The Male Couple (Prentice Hall, 1984) 252.

Gay marriage wasn't legal in 1984.

The spin from the Family Research Council and those who support them, as they trot out this mess, is that they are defending Christian beliefs and morality.

That's an incorrect spin.

The Family Research Council is using lies and distortions to defend what they call Christian beliefs. And I make that distinction because true Christian beliefs don't need to be defended through the spreading of propaganda and the distortion of legitimate science.

Jesus said that "I am the way, the truth, and the light." He did not say "feel free to lie with impunity as long as you are doing it in defense of my kingdom."

When FRC and other so-called pro-family groups engage in these tactics, they hurt the integrity of Christianity. They are sending a message that underneath it all, Christianity is a lie.

They send the message that Christian is fiction, because it if it were real, those who practice it wouldn't need to play such games as manipulating science or scaring heterosexuals into thinking that lgbts are seeking to take away their children.

Organizations like FRC probably have the lgbt community beat on so many levels such as planning, organization, and monetary resources.

But when it come to truth, when it come to basic honesty, the Family Research Council and all of the other groups who wrap themselves up in the flag of morality are sorely lacking.

And those are the value which they should consider central to their message. But they don't. Instead, they reduce Christianity from a religion of hope and love to a cynical way of gaining political power.

Bottom line - the way things are going, Jesus may have to come back, die on the cross, raise Himself from the dead an immeasurable amount times to stem the damage that FRC and other like-minded groups do in His name.

*There is a huge irony in the fact that FRC used both Steven Nock's 2001 testimony and Judith Stacey's work to demonize same-sex families because Stacey published a scathing affadavit  which criticized Nock's testimony. In part it reads:

Professor Nock is a survey researcher and demographer, which represents a specific methodology and a sub-field of inquiry within sociological research. When Professor Nock provides his lengthy description of research methodology, he adopts the extreme, untenable position that the genre of large-scale survey research that he generally conducts is the only acceptable research method in all of the social science disciplines and subfields.

Professor Nock inappropriately applies this model of research, which is only one model within his own particular sub-field of sociology – demography – to an entirely different discipline, child development, which is a branch of developmental psychology. This is a research specialty and sub-discipline in which Professor Nock has no expertise. The body of research with which he takes issue in his affidavit was conducted primarily, if not exclusively, by psychologists with expertise in the field of child development. None of the studies that Professor Nock is evaluating were conducted by sociologists or by demographers.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why GoProud sells out the gay community

Many of us gay activist don't particularly care for the gay Republican organization GoProud.

Many of us, me included, view it as a fake group of posers wanting attention while ignoring the real problems in the gay community; a collection of vapid folks from the most fevered imaginations of Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber and willing to kiss Tony Perkins' butt if it will get them some attention.

But for those who will accuse those of us who despise GoProud of being prejudiced against them simply for being Republican, check out this quote from The Washington Post. It comes from one of their supporters who attended their annual "Homocon" nonsense. "Homocon" is when GoProud members together and invites a conservative who will attack them for not knowing their place.

“I understand I’m going to be subject to certain limitations,” said Robert Stevens, sporting a Romney/Ryan button late Tuesday night. “I understand I won’t have equal rights. But I also want to be filthy rich, and I think the Republican ticket can get me there.”

In other words - treat me like a second-class citizen. Demonize me and tell folks lies about me molesting children. Spread stories accusing me of wanting to "convert" children and destroy society. Make it difficult for me to have a normal life complete with a loving family.

Just as long as you make sure I get lots of money.

If GoProud took steps to attempt to change the homophobia of the Republican Party, I would at least respect them. Instead the leaders go on and on about the "gay left."

A little advice, guys. The "gay left" aren't the ones giving you hell.

Check out the faces attached to the asses you attempting hard to kiss.

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'NOM's diaper pastor vs. President Obama' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

NOM’s new ad pimps NC anti-gay pastor Wooden urging blacks to vote against Obama - Personally, for all the talk SOME PEOPLE say about African-Americans being homophobic, I don't see this working. 

Let me put it another way.

Patrick Wooden, the "diaper pastor:"

vs. President Obama:

No contest. African-Americans are not monolithic and don't count on us staying home this election day. And if you think that we will turn on marriage equality (particularly when health care is in the balance), then let me have a little of what you are smoking.

 In other news:

 Preserve Marriage Washington’s Missing Campaign Finance Numbers - Speaking of NOM, looks like the group is hiding money again.

 Five Minnesota Anti-Gay Activists' Greatest Hits #glaadCAP - GLAAD highlights the worse of the five Minnesota anti-gay activists. Get your barf bag handy.

 California Assembly Advances Bill Limiting Ex-Gay Therapy To Minors - The religious right is sure to go batshit over this one. Good. 

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Keeping the Family Research Council's 'hate group's status in the public eye

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center recently appeared on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss SPLC's labeling of the Family Research Council as a hate group.

Naturally, O'Reilly defended FRC, but I think Potok handled himself well here:

Folks wanting to gag at O'Reilly's blatant nonsense should suppress their urge to hurl. Remember this - as long as we are at least discussing what the Family Research Council does, then it's a good thing. If the organization is expecting a public outcry of pity over its "hate group" status, then it guessed wrong.

The only bad thing would be for SPLC to retreat on its position.

And that's not about to happen soon.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Family Research Council makes BIG mistake in cherry-picking my words

Dear  Family Research Council,

I was rather touched when I found out that you devoted a column on your site to me. I was really touched by you mentioning me in the headline - Homosexual Activist: “Hate Group” Charge Doesn’t Require “Hate."

I was floored by the acknowledgement of my work to unmask your lies when you said the following:

One homosexual blogger (and regular critic of FRC) did a detailed critique of the FRC Issue Brief.

But what I was especially honored by was the way you cherry-picked a sentence out of my post to take my words out of context.

After all, you have spent so many years distorting and cherry-picking other work that if you hadn't done the same to me, I would have felt left out. I am honored to now be in the company of such luminaries as Robert Garafalo.

Remember him? In 1998,  you distorted his work to make a false claim about supposed negative behaviors amongst gay youth. When told of his complaint, a former employee of yours, Robert Knight, called Garafalo a "thrall of political correctness."

I wouldn't be bringing that up except for the fact that over a decade later, you all are still distorting his work in a piece which continues to be on the FRC site (Getting It Straight, pg. 88).

But I digress. The sentence you cherry-picked from my work - “Now whether or not FRC hates gays is irrelevant.” - was in answer to an annoying ramble your writer went on, spouting the usual talking points on how the Family Research Council does not hate the gay community, but apparently you hate the supposedly negative behavior of homosexuality and that your attacks on the gay community is out of love.

I have one question.

How is it that you assessed that homosexuality is a so-called negative behavior? No one on your staff has ever done any studies on the matter. To my knowledge, there are no researchers, scientists, or physicians of any type on the FRC staff. All you employ are spokes models, scandal-plagued retirees and ethically-challenged pastors.

On what ground do you stand on to claim that there is a link between homosexuality and pedophilia when the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America, all say that the homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked?

How is it can you call homosexuality a dangerous lifestyle when medical professionals have pointed out that it is the homophobia which gays have to deal with which causes things like drug abuse and depression (and that is something you should know because more than once, you have cherry-picked work from these sources).

But again, I digress. Let's talk about hatred. My point in that post which you so incredibly got inaccurate was in the long run, your motivation for lying and demonizing the gay is more irrelevant than the fact that you offer very little defense of your lies.

Writer finds heavy anti-gay animosity while undercover at NOM conference

Carlos Maza went undercover at a NOM conference.

Carlos Maza of  site Equality Matters (i.e. Media Matters) did something incredible.

He went undercover at a National Organization for Marriage conference which, was according to him, was "meant to prepare college students to defend "natural marriage" on their campuses by introducing them to a number of prominent anti-gay speakers and activists."

Maza said he wanted to see whether or not NOM's plans for halting marriage equality was not built on an idea of animosity towards the gay community. He also wanted to see what NOM officials were saying about the gay community when the media was not present.

Since its founding in 2007, NOM has loudly proclaimed that its "battle is not with an orientation"; that, despite opposing gay marriage, the organization isn't motivated by animosity towards gay and lesbian people. This distinction - "we're not anti-gay, just anti-gay marriage" - has allowed NOM to differentiate itself from organizations that have been labeled "hate groups" for peddling known falsehoods about LGBT people. But, I wanted to see it for myself. Attending ITAF would give me an opportunity to find out what NOM was really saying about LGBT people when it wasn't mincing words for mainstream media outlets.

To say that what Maza found wasn't pretty is a severe understatement. According to Maza, the organization is heavily pushing the idea that gay relationships are unstable:
The first seminar of the morning was given by Bill Duncan, director of the anti-equality Marriage Law Foundation. His talk - "Marriage and the Law" - attempted to establish a legal case for barring same-sex couples from marrying. The speech was basically a rehashing of NOM's list of pre-approved marriage talking points; marriage is about procreation, marriage equality would redefine the institution of marriage for everyone, mothers and fathers aren't optional, etc. It was also a perfect example of the kind of 'protect marriage' rhetoric NOM prefers to use when it's in the public eye. Duncan's comments were anti- equality, sure, but none of what he said was particularly anti-gay.  
Next up was Dr. Jenet Erickson, an assistant professor at BYU's School of Family Life. Her seminar, titled "Marriage: The Indispensable Social Institution," focused on the relationship between marriage and parenting by attempting to make the case that married, heterosexual couples offer the best environment for raising children. She called same-sex relationships "inherently unstable," suggesting that gay partners eventually get bored of each other as a result of having the same gender.

At the end of her speech, Erickson was asked how she would counter stories of well-adjusted children raised by same-sex parents. She responded by asserting that the majority of same-sex couples are "dysfunctional" and "erratic," citing a widely discredited gay parenting study conducted by UT Austin associate professor Mark Regnerus

Anti-gay activist blasts NOM's Brian Brown for debate with Dan Savage

Editor's note - It's a two post day today. After reading this piece on Peter LaBarbera calling out Brian Brown for his debate with Dan Savage, pan down below to read Family Research Council anti-gay pamphlet filled with cherry-picked science.

Apparently, the gay community are not the only ones who think that NOM president Brian Brown lost the debate with Dan Savage.

What does it say for Brown when someone like "Porno Pete" LaBarbera blasts him "helping Dan Savage."

Hat tip to Goodasyou.

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Family Research Council anti-gay pamphlet filled with cherry-picked science

Editor's note - This is the second post of my two-post Tuesday morning. After reading this one, check out Anti-gay activist blasts NOM's Brian Brown for debate with Dan Savage. 

In the argument on whether or not the Family Research Council is a hate group, people neglect to look closely at the information put out by the organization pertaining to the gay community. A quick look at a pamphlet by FRC is more than enough to call out the organization on the charge of it being a hate group.

From time to time, religious right groups will publish "studies" or "resource guides" which they claim give the true picture of homosexuality. These guides are meant to be referred to by individuals who want  reasons to oppose lgbt progress, be it in schools or society in general.

A perfect example of one of these "research guides" is an interesting piece of work on webpage of the Family Research Council entitled The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.

According to its author Peter Sprigg:

The homosexual movement is built, not on facts or research, but on mythology. Unfortunately, these myths have come to be widely accepted in society—particularly in schools, universities and the media. It is our hope that by understanding what these key myths are—and then reading a brief summary of the evidence against them—the reader will be empowered to challenge these myths when he or she encounters them.

According to Sprigg, these "myths" include the following:

  • People are born gay.
  • Sexual orientation can never change.
  •  Homosexuals do not experience a higher level of psychological disorders than heterosexuals.
  • Homosexuals are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.

Sprigg isn't necessarily unbiased when it comes to the lgbt community. At one time he said that "homosexual behavior" should be declared illegal. Another time before that, he publicly said that lgbts should be exported out of the United States.

However, even excluding  Sprigg's dubious comments, there is enough problems with Ten Myths to question its credibility.

At first glance, Ten Myths looks legitimate. However, a more intensive look reveals it to be a mishmash of inaccurate theories, cherry-picked work, and studies taken out of context created to justify homophobia

The following are just a few of the problems with Ten Myths:

1. Ten Myths repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.

2. Ten Myths utilizes the work of  the organization National Association for  Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH  a discredited “ex-gay” fringe organization that peddles fraudulent “cures” for homosexuality.

According to Truth Wins Out, several NARTH members have been embroiled in controversies including:

Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, a member of NARTH’ “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a piece on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery

NARTH psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, another member of its “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children.

Also, according to Truth Wins Out:

NARTH’ co-founder, Joesph Nicolosi encourages male clients to become more masculine by drinking Gatorade and referring to friends as “dude”. NARTH therapists have been known to practice rubber band therapy, where a gay client is made to wear a rubber band and snap it on his wrist when sexually stimulated. It is a mild form of aversion therapy meant to “snap” the client out of the moment of attraction. NARTH members have also been known to practice “touch therapy”, where a client sits in the therapist’ lap for up to an hour, while the therapist caresses him.

Earlier this year, another member of NARTH, George Rekers, resigned from the organization after caught coming from a vacation overseas with a "rentboy."

3. Ten Myths cites Ex-gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation by Stanton L. Jones and Mark A Yarhouse as proof that people can change their sexual orientation. However in 2009, the American Psychological Association repudiated this study for bad methodology. Furthermore, Ten Myths does not address the conclusion by the APA last year that programs created to change a person's several orientation does not work.

4. Ten Myths pushes the inaccuracy that a man who molests a boy is automatically gay even though the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America, all say that the homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked

5. But the most egregious inaccuracy in Ten Myths - and also something that says a lot about the mindset of its author, Peter Sprigg - is the following passage:

Even the pro-homosexual Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) acknowledges:

• “Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population . . .”
• “Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”
• “ . . . [G]ay men have higher rates of alcohol dependence and abuse . . . .”
• “ . . . [G]ay men use tobacco at much higher rates than straight men . . . .”
• “Problems with body image are more common among gay men . . . and gay men are much more likely to experience an eating disorder . . . .”

The GLMA also confirms that:

• “ . . . [L]esbians may use tobacco and smoking products more often than heterosexual women use them.”
• “Alcohol use and abuse may be higher among lesbians.”
• “ . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.”

Homosexual activists generally attempt to explain these problems as results of “homophobic discrimination.” However, there is a serious problem with that theory—there is no empirical evidence that such psychological problems are greater in areas where disapproval of homosexuality is more intense.

So Sprigg's point is that the lgbt orientation itself is indicative of negative behaviors (i.e. drug and alcohol abuse) and not the homophobia that lgbts face.

But strange enough, the source which he cites - the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association - says that homophobia is the reason for many of these health problems. Sprigg deliberately omits information pointing this out:


“Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”


Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns.


“ . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.


Research indicates that lesbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women. This may be due to added stressors in lesbian lives from discrimination. Lesbians need support from each other and from health care providers to find healthy releases, quality recreation, stress reduction, and coping techniques. 

So basically The Top Ten Myths of Homosexuality is a fraud.  And the mythology that Sprigg spoke of has nothing to do with lgbts but with the mindset of anyone who takes his paper seriously and sees it for more than what it is - blatant homophobia wrapped up in phony science.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Republican party platform draft supports African countries which persecute gays

Noxolo Nkosana was viciously attacked and raped in South Africa because she is a lesbian. So why are the Republican party defending African counties which allow this madness? (Picture courtesy of BBC)

According to Think Progress, in a draft of its platform, the Republican party is taking a stand on the point of the persecution of gays on the African continent.

But it's for the countries persecuting gays:

Recently, the Republican National Convention accidentally leaked a draft of the party’s foreign policy platform. The subsection on foreign aid contained a rather peculiar criticism of President Obama’s policy in the area:
The effectiveness of our foreign aid has been limited by the cultural agenda of the current Administration, attempting to impose on foreign countries, especially the peoples of Africa, legalized abortion and the homosexual rights agenda. At the same time, faith-based groups — the sector that has had the best track record in promoting lasting development — have been excluded from grants because they will not conform to the administration’s social agenda. We will reverse this tragic course, encourage more involvement by the most effective aid organizations, and trust developing peoples to build their future from the ground up.

Think Progress points out the truth of the matter:

 . . . while it’s true that the Obama campaign has worked to protect gay rights internationally, foreign aid dollars aren’t going to marriage equality campaigns — U.S. money is being used to finance legal and journalistic efforts to protect LGBT Africans from being murdered or jailed for their sexual orientation, a point the President made clear in an official memo on the topic:
I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation…Agencies engaged abroad are directed to strengthen existing efforts to effectively combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct and to expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct.

Think Progress is also quick to the point out that the claim that the Obama Administration imposing "legalized abortion" is wrong.

However, I am struck by how the Republican party is standing up for the perpetrators of anti-gay persecution. In speaking against the Obama Administration on this, the GOP is giving tacit support the wholesale persecution of gays in African countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa. The video below features how lesbians in that country are victims of an awful practice called "corrective rape."

Whether you believe homosexuality is a sin or not, I think we should all agree that those who call themselves Christians should not lend any support - no matter how large or how small - to this mess.

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'SF 49ers join the 'It Gets Better' campaign' and other Monday midday news briefs

San Francisco 49ers Join 'It Gets Better' Campaign In Support Of LGBT Youth:

Kudos to the 49ers! 

In other news:

NOM placing anti-Obama ads on North Carolina R&Urban Gospel stations - In case you didn't know, NOM continues to play the African-American vs. gay strategy.

 AFA Joins Call To Blacklist TWO’s Wayne Besen From FOX News; Fundies Launch New Petition - Fascinating. They want Besen off of television but their dumb boycott has only served to give him more attention. Give 'em hell, Wayne! 

 Biden: ‘We Owe’ The LGBT Community For Its Courage And Sacrifice - You had better know it! 

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When children are exploited to harm marriage equality . . .

From the folks in Minnesota attempting to pass that dreadful anti-marriage equality amendment comes the following video which has nothing to do with marriage equality.

According to Kalley Yanta, the woman in the video:

"The overwhelming body of scientific evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that children do best when they are raised by their married mother and father. In fact when their parents are married to each other children are more likely to enjoy better relationships with their parents and greater family stability, they enjoy better physical health and experience fewer mental health and emotional problems."

That's all very well but I have a couple of questions.

1. Did these studies compare same-sex families to heterosexual families? Probably not.

2. How will allowing same-sex couples to marry cause any problems with children being raised by their married parents?

3. What about children who are adopted or in foster care? What about children raised by single parents or grandparents? Or children raised by relatives?  Or children already being raised by same-sex couples?

Here, I think, is the problem with these organizations exploiting children to speak against marriage equality. They claim to care about children but leave a bunch out of the equation because these children don't measure up to their "Ozzie and Harriet" fantasy.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Know Your LGBT History - The Dynamic Superiors

The one thing I love about learning gay history is finding out about hidden figures, such as the Dynamic Superiors - one of the first soul groups with an openly gay lead singer:

The Dynamic Superiors
Joining forces in Washington, DC, in 1963, Tony Washington, George Spann, George Wesley Peterbank Jnr., Michael McCalpin and Maurice Washington had to wait a decade to win a recording contract. Motown Records president Ewart Abner saw them performing at a talent show in Atlanta, Georgia, and signed them to the label in 1974. They were teamed with the Ashford And Simpson writing and production team, and their debut album was a collection of romantic soul ballads that produced two hits, "Shoe Shoe Shine" and "Leave It Alone'. Their second album, Pure Pleasure, added a disco feel to the Superiors" sound, and spawned two further chart entries. In 1977, the group enjoyed some success with a disco rearrangement of the Martha And The Vandellas' hit, "Nowhere To Run", but they subsequently left Motown, and attempts to secure a major label recording contract elsewhere proved unsuccessful.

Two years later they got their big break when they were discovered Motown executive Ewart Abner at a 1972 dj convention in Atlanta and signed to the label. It apparently took Motown management awhile to figure out how to deal with the group, eventually teaming them with the writing and production team of Nikolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. To Motown's credit the label made no attempt to hide lead singer Tony Washington's openly gay lifestyle – a fact underscored by one quick look at "The Dynamic Superiors" cover art. Not that it mattered … Washington may have worn false eye lashes, rouge, lipstick, and occasionally performed in drag, but he had a killer voice. On tracks like 'Shoe Shine Shine' and 'Star of My Life' he was more than capable of hitting high notes a-la Russell Tompkins Jr.. At the other end of the spectrum Washington's falsetto was nicely offset by tenors Peterbark Jr and Spann.

According to Wikipedia, Washington passed away from AIDS. However,  the group is still going strong. Check out their webpage.

Past Know Your LGBT History posts:

'Religious right attacks GLSEN because of 'phased out' material' and other Friday midday news briefs

Focus On The Family Accuses GLSEN Of Promoting ‘Sexual Anarchy’ And ‘Sexual Chaos’ - The religious right is attacking the GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network) again. This time it's Focus on the Family attacking the organization with a phased out book. Almost every time a religious right group attacks GLSEN, the religious right group winds up slinking back with its tail between its legs. The last time, it was the Family Research Council. I guess Focus on the Family wants a turn on the Wheel of Embarrassment.

Video: WND's Mitchell links gays, 'the left' to violence; encourages conservatives to obtain concealed weapons - Oh great. World Net Daily's Molotov Mitchell has crawled out of his hole. For those who are not aware of this guy, Mitchell once cited Martin Luther King, Jr. in a defense of that Ugandan law which would put gays to death. That should give you a good impression of this guy.

  Candidate said he spent long time contemplating issue before changing his opinion - A Pennsylvania candidate for Congress finally support marriage equality.

 Rev. Irene Monroe: Nothing new in GOP’s anti-woman, anti-gay platform - Every four years, it's the same thing. 

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AFA and FRC - enough religious right lies to shake a stick at

This morning, I am overwhelmed with religious right lies. Last night, I was contemplating what to write and was struck by the enormity of what I had to choose, so I am going to hit it with briefs:

AFA claims that its boycott of Home Depot is working

Yesterday, I got an email from the American Family Association which claimed that its boycott of Home Depot is working. AFA, you remember, is angry that Home Depot supports the gay community and maintains a presence at pride parades.

According to AFA:

AFA was recently contacted by a Home Depot employee who says the boycott of Home Depot is being effective. "We have customers who come into our store and confront our store managers over the HD's support of Gay pride. The AFA is having an effect on HD."

She also shared that many employees disagree with the company's pro-gay-marriage stand. In June, a "Gay Pride Month" poster was put up in her breakroom. "HD is as committed as ever to the changing of laws in favor of same sex marriage.They had absolutely no empathy for those employees who voiced offense with the display. This was mandated by corporate directive. Therefore the display was torn down at least 2 times."

An anonymous employee? Sure. And I am Paris Hilton with a good tan and a stunning personal trainer.

The Family Research Council gets a bit of help that it doesn't need

The Family Research Council got some positive pushback a few days ago against the Southern Poverty Law Center.

An editorial in Investor's Daily Business (IBD) defended FRC from charges that it is a hate group. However, unlike those who have said that the lies FRC says about the gay community isn't enough to label it a hate group, IBD stopped a bit lower:

On Tuesday, the Human Rights Campaign put on its blog a piece titled, "Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group's Annual Conference," referring to the FRC.

It said that the "FRC has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's a group that has advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality, called for LGBT people to be exported from the U.S., and has pushed dangerous lies trying to link being gay to pedophilia."

The FRC has done none of those things but that didn't stop the Daily Kos from vilifying the FRC for its support of Chick-fil-A . . .

You read this right. According to the IBD, the Family Research Council never advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality:

According to the IBD, the Family Research Council never called for gays to be exported out of the United States:

And according to the IBD, the Family Research Council never pushed dangerous lies trying to link being gay to pedophilia:

"We believe the evidence shows … that relative to the size of their population, homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexual men."
— Peter Sprigg, "Debating Homosexuality: Understanding Two Views." 2011.

“Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
— Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies, and Frank York, 1999

“One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets' of a new sexual order.”
-1999 FRC pamphlet, Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex with Boys.

“[T]he evidence indicates that disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners.”
— Timothy Dailey, senior research fellow, “Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse,” 2002

“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
— FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC website, 2010

If IBD is making this claim about FRC when the opposite is true, that would mean that the editorial it wrote was shoddy because the author obviously didn't spend enough time on getting the facts rather than pushing a false line that FRC is a victim.

You tell me.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

NOM's Brian Brown's tries to pass himself off as the victim of Dan Savage

I am just FLOORED by Brian Brown's comments regarding his recent debate with gay activist Dan Savage.

Brown wrote a long-winded rambling piece which did nothing to recap the debate, but rather attempted to paint himself as David after he slew Goliath. Is this callous or what:

One thing is very clear to me after the time we spent together: Dan Savage believes that gay people are "a tiny defenseless minority," as he said during the debate.

He made this claim while defending the public tongue-lashing of Christian students that brought us together. He doesn't seem to realize that his position as a 47 year old adult—one with the power of fame, celebrity and access to not only the White House, but also MTV—requires a new mentality.

With power comes responsibility, including the responsibility to show how you intend to use your newfound power.

A grown man does not accept an invitation to speak to middle- and high-school students and proceed to insult their faith, and to call them names when they show their objection in the only polite way possible, by politely leaving.

Dan has apologized for the latter, but not the former. As I told him face to face: "To have a bunch of high school students and attack their religious beliefs is not appropriate, it doesn't show respect."
He appears unable to process this point of view.

He has become a hero to a lot of gay people not only for the good he's done (like telling gay kids their lives are precious—don't commit suicide!), but in some cases because Dan Savage is willing to insult and demean those with whom he disagrees.

I don't remember Savage demeaning Brown during the debate.

Needless to say Brown goes on like this - i.e.congratulating himself  and spotlighting the very few comments declaring him as the victor.

Naturally Brown omits the simple fact that the vast majority of comments on the youtube site of the debate points out that Savage basically handed him his ass.

And of course, Brown also omits the most telling moment of the debate when he totally undermined the argument for passing laws against marriage equality. You know the statement he made:

However, try as he might to come off as a winner, I think Brown knows that he laid a giant egg in the debate. Savage came to him with facts and when hit with these facts, Brown at times retreated to the standard talking points:

"We who believe in traditional marriage will be thought of as bigots."

"There is something special and unique about marriage as the joining of the two halves of humanity."

However, check out this passage from Brown's:

Let me pose a question to the Dan Savages of the world. Once gay people were a powerless and defenseless minority. Now, you have organized, protested, and become powerful through the use of democratic freedoms and intellectual debate, a powerful cultural force in our time. What use do you intend to make of your power?

The jury is out, as they say, on just how much power we as a community actually do have. But I am rather fond of what Brown said. Try as he might to pretend that he owns the high road, Brown sounds like he can't help but to respect us.

And it's not the respect that comes from us subjugating ourselves to him or those that believe as he does.

It's respect that from us taking him and others to task for their disrespect of us and our families.

So to answer your question Brian, I think that we intend to garner more of that respect. 

Because it's not about making folks like you like us or "tolerate" us.

It's about acquiring the things that belong to us. And these are the things that every human being deserves - respect and the freedom to live our lives by our standards and not by some one else's religious beliefs or  fevered imaginations of what we do in bed.

Vermont inn pays BIG TIME for anti-gay discrimination

The religious right will go crazy over this one, but who cares what they think. Personal religious beliefs is no excuse for a secular business to discriminate.

From blogger VTDigger:

A lesbian couple who sued a Vermont inn last year after they were turned away because of their sexual orientation won a settlement today.

The Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville acknowledged it had broken the law and agreed to pay $30,000 in fines and damages.

Kate Baker and Ming-Lein Linsley were outraged when they found out Linsley’s mother, who was organizing the reception for the New York couple’s destination wedding in Vermont, was turned away by the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville.

Together with the Vermont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the couple filed suit against the inn last July. In October, the Vermont Human Rights Commission joined in the lawsuit. The commission is the state body responsible for enforcing human rights laws.

Today, the parties settled the dispute, closing an unpleasant chapter for both the inn and the couple. According to the settlement, the Wildflower Inn was acting in good faith and in compliance with a 2005 decision by the Vermont Human Rights Commission that said that while no public establishment may refuse to serve a customer based on sexual orientation, the inn could advise potential customers of the owners’ Catholic beliefs. Based on that decision, the Wildflower Inn’s stated policy was to ignore all calls and emails from same-sex couples hoping to host a wedding or reception at the inn. If confronted, their policy was to advise the couple that the owners did not believe in same-sex marriage, but would host the reception if they really wanted to.
 . . .  Dan Barrett, an attorney for ACLU-Vermont, said the settlement asserted that the 2005 decision was no longer valid. “What this settlement makes clear is that you can’t discourage and get away with it. Discouragement or any unequal treatment of LGBT customers is [legally] the same as an outright refusal,” he said.
 . . . The Wildflower Inn must now pay a civil penalty of $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission and establish a $20,000 charitable trust for the Linsleys. Some of the money will go towards the legal costs the couple incurred over the past year while the vast majority will go to charities of their choosing.
Read here for more details.

Hat tip to Joe.My.God.

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'Religious right groups want gay activist taken off the air' and other Thursday midday news briefs

Sally Kern, Matt Barber, Peter Labarbera, others sign letter demanding Fox News stop booking Wayne Besen - This is rich! Some major religious right groups and spokespeople are exploiting the FRC shooting to get Fox News to stop booking Wayne Besen. Dag, I am jealous!

 A 'Blacklist' is in the Eye of the Beholder - And a quick reminder of why the call against Besen is hypocritical.

 Anti-gay Organizations Exploit and Fundraise in Wake of Attack - We shouldn't be surprised by this, but it helps to point it out.  

Why FRC’s New “Religious Hostility” Report Is A Joke - Generally this is a joke because it comes from the Family Research Council, a group not known for being truthful. Equality Matters points out specific reasons.

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Religious right spokesman continues fascination with perverting marriage equality

The Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber is giving 'Porno Pete' LaBarbera a run for his money when it comes to perverting marriage equality and the gay community in general as paens of sexual hedonism.

According to Right-Wing Watch:

Matt Barber declared that gay activists don't actually want marriage equality but rather are interested in "deconstructing the Judeo-Christian notion of marriage as marriage has always been."  In fact, Barber claimed, the institution of marriage has always been about restricting which sorts of relationships are legitimate, which is why "people can't marry children, people can't marry close relatives, people can't marry their favorite pet."  Barber then warned that if "we're going to break the institution of marriage and radically redefine it" then "polygamy is inevitable if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land and we can no longer have prohibitions on incestuous marriage.

Related post - If Matt Barber hates gay sex so much, then why does he keep talking about it?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NOM's Brian Brown becomes accidental ally for marriage equality through a slip of the tongue

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, didn't mean for it to happen.

He probably didn't think it would happen when he agreed to debate noted gay activist Dan Savage.

And he probably isn't aware that it did happen, but he will soon be.

Through a statement he made in the debate - held in Savage's home - Brown has become an "accidental ally" for the cause of marriage equality.

During the debate (starting at 47:40) the moderator pointedly asked Brown if he was in favor of making divorce illegal.

Brown said the following:

"Because you believe something is wrong doesn't mean you make it illegal"

Savage, aware of Brown's faux pas, immediately asked him why doesn't he think the same way regarding marriage equality. Brown's answer was poor:

"Gay marriage cannot exist. There cannot be a marriage between two men or two women."

Brown then went into a bizarre tangent about cats and dogs.

But those who viewed the debate - supporting and opposing marriage equality - noted just how big the mistake Brown made by his statement.

Jeremy Hooper from the blog Goodasyou created the following:

And the Facebook page, I bet this turkey can get more fans than NOM, created the following graphic:

Who would have thought that from a quick slip of the tongue, Brown undermines the entire argument for passing laws against gay marriage and becomes the gay community's unwitting ally in the cause for marriage equality.

How quick will it be before he and NOM scramble to correct the public image damage of this one?

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Writer upset after having to answer for defense of anti-gay hate group

Dana Milbank is not a happy camper.

A week after the defending the Family Research Council from the claim (from the Southern Poverty Law Center) that it is a hate group, he sat down with Michelangelo Signorile to discuss his piece.

In a spirited interview, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank defended his stance that the antigay Family Research Council should not be listed as a “hate group” by the venerated civil rights group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, because they wear suits and “don’t wear white sheets,” and some of their founders and officials are “respected” individuals. 

Milbank was invited on my SiriusXM show to discuss the column he wrote last week which has generated much controversy on social media. In the comments section on the Washington Post’s web site and on Twitter and Facebook, many criticized Milbank’s defense of the FRC as a “Washington think tank” which thus shouldn’t be called a hate group, and his calling the Human Rights Campaign and the SPLC “reckless” for terming the FRC a hate group. The controversy reached a point where Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jonathan Diehl sent a tweet out defending Milbank, but that only inflamed the controversy as Dielhl referred to "idiotic' emails he had received on the topic.

Apparently Signorile took Milbank to task big time because the columnist complained later to The Advocate magazine. According to Signorile:

After the interview, Milbank told The Advocate that the interview was “an ambush and unfair,” and made the same comment in a email he sent to another SiriusXM host which he cc’d me. That is patently untrue: Milbank was not asked to come on the show under any false pretenses. He was invited on the show to discuss the controversial column he’d written, and he accepted the invitation.

What do you think? Did Signorile ambush Milbank or is Milbank being too sensitive?

Check out the interview here and then tell me what you think.

Editor's note - Personally speaking, what I think of Milbank's piece and then his appearance on Signorile's show can't be repeated because I am trying not to "lose my religion."

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'Dan Savage vs. NOM's Brian Brown - the debate' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Finally, the debate we all have been waiting for. Dan Savage vs. NOM's Brian Brown. If you have time,
check it out:


In other news:

Two columns taking those to task those who minimize the Family Research Council's hate group status:

 Calling out hate when we see it 

  Op-ed: Violence Makes It Harder to Sort the Good from the Hateful

 While I despise the circumstances which led to this discussion (i.e. last week's shooting), I think it is good that we are having a discussion because finally, the ways the Family Research Council demonizes the gay community is seeing some mainstream light.

 In further news:

Barber: Polygamy and Incest are 'Inevitable' if Gay Marriage is Legalized - But if you look in the Bible, polygamy and incest came BEFORE gay marriage.

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