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Archive for August, 2009

See, He’s as Immoral As We Are! Outing Politicians.

August 31, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

bauerHere we go again – as discussed on Joe. My. God, South Carolina’s anti-gay Lt. Governor Andre Bauer has been outed as a gay.  While I often feel a certain level of vindication when anti-gay politicians are outed, and even give a little squeal of joy occasionally, the fact remains that it sets a dangerous precedent.  Essentially, by outing these people, we aren’t saying that “gay is ok” but instead saying that the person is “just as immoral as we are.”

Take a look at some of the comments being made on blogs about the outing and you quickly see that many go immediately toward the “they aren’t as moral as they think they are” soundtrack:

this is hilarious. now the south carolina republican party has to choose between impeaching/forcing mark sanford out of office and raising a closet case to governor…or supporting his attempt to hold on to power, exposing them as moral hypocrites…HA! [emphasis added]

Or how about this one:

Closeted antigay men are making this s— all too easy these past few years.  Don’t accuse a group of people of being immoral when you have no morals yourself.

Now the real immorality and what people are likely talking about is the fact that these people are “hypocrites” – or rather, hypocrisy is the immoral act being committed.  The hypocrisy being that they live as straight men, but seek out gay relationships on the down-low while fighting for discriminatory legislation.  Unfortunately, that’s not the impression given.  The result? Those who are undecided about equality for LGBT people hear us calling ourselves immoral… just like that closeted Lt. Governor.

Another interesting thought revolves around out lesbian Mary Cheney donating $1,000.00 to a politician that does not support marriage equality.  Many LGBT activists and bloggers are criticising Ms. Cheney for her actions, particularly since she is married to someone of the same sex – another form of hypocrisy.  However, why is it that no one is calling out those that actually had relationships with Andre Bauer?  Were they not also contributing to discrimination of our people?  Are they not as guilty as Mary Cheney for supporting anti-LGBT equality?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the best way to get these closeted politicians to speak out is to stop giving them man-love people – we need a sex boycott.

Out-of-State Applicants Account for Nearly Half of All Iowa Same Sex Marriages

August 31, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

IowaFlagYou may remember a short time ago, the U.S. Senate attached Hate Crimes legislation to a tourism promotion bill – prior to moving it over to the defense spending bill.  At that time, I wrote an article asking what sexual orientation/hate crimes and tourism have in common.  Well, now we have our answer.

Let’s face it, Iowa isn’t exactly the tourism capital of the United States.  In fact, it’s likely one of the last places mentioned when you ask someone where they would like to spend their summer vacation.  But now that same-sex marriage is recognized in Iowa, nearly half of all same-sex marriage licenses issued in the state between April and July 2009 have been to people who don’t live there.

Of the 676 same-sex couples [applying for marriage licenses], 312 couples weren’t from Iowa. They were from neighboring states. [via Iowa gay marriage drawing out-of-state couples – Kansas City Star.]

So, to the representatives of the states that want to boost tourism, instead of allowing gambling, building a brothel or launching a multi-million dollar marketing campaign this year, perhaps a little civil equality will do you well.

Closet Talk: TransIssues with Allyson Robinson, Associate Director of Diversity, HRC

August 31, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkEven a summary of Allyson Robinson’s life and work within the LGBT community would fill a book. Allyson is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, a pastor with a Masters in divinity, the Associate Director of Diversity for HRC, a wife and a mother. Just in case I forget to mention it later, Allyson is also transgender – and she blogs! In this episode of Closet Talk, we discussed Allyson’s life before coming out/transitioning and her life now.

Interestingly, Allyson is also legally married to a woman, something we further discuss on the show.  Their marriage, while illegal for most same-sex couples, is recognized by the United States government because Allyson was married prior to her transition.  Listen to the show to learn more about this “loop-hole” in the law.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Dear Dr. Phil

August 28, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

Gay EducationRecently, we were asked by our friends over at Queers United to help spread the word in asking people to write to Dr. Phil and demand accurate and positive information regarding LGBT individuals. I can’t read Dr. Phil’s mind nor can I read the minds of those at Queers United, but I can read my own as well as the scientific and psychological literature on this topic. The word is that the Dr. Phil show is planning two new episodes, “Teen Experimenting With Bisexuality?” and “Struggling With Sexual Identity?”

So what does “Geekgirl,” the mom and molecular biologist, have to say about this?

Dr. Phil, the well-known talk show host with a degree in psychology, has done shows in the past on topics such as transgendered children and same-sex marriage. Both shows included “experts” from both “sides” of the topic. I put experts in quotes because the experts on one side just happened to be from Focus on the Family. It seems to me that when real people with real lives are at stake, that isn’t the time to bring out the political debate. It’s the time to bring out the scientific facts and most current psychological research.

I want Dr. Phil to talk about the struggles of real LGBT people. LGBT teens struggle greatly with their identity, some may not be sure but many are sure. Their real struggle is dealing with bullying and teasing, fear of rejection from family and friends, discrimination and marginalization. Most of my gay friends, and I have gay friends that range from 20 to 60, tried to be straight. Some tried so hard they were married for many years.

As far as teens experimenting with bisexuality, there has certainly been news coverage of this.  Dr. Phil is a little behind the New York Times, which discussed the increase in bisexual experimentation in same-sex high schools. We all know the song “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It.”  So are we on the brink of moral decay and the collapse of civilization because small numbers of teens have found it trendy to experiment sexually with someone of the same gender?

Here are a few  news flashes. First, experimenting with someone of the same sex is not new. I’m 54. Without going into details, I went to high school too. Trust me, half the kids in my graduating class were not virgins. Who doesn’t know stories of boys engaging in, ahem, circle jerks?

But what are the real facts regarding experimenting with bisexuality? Surprisingly, I found only one scientific study on this subject. (That doesn’t mean this is the only one. It just means, this is all I found in Science Direct, a database with a large number of psychology publications.)  In the year 2007, an article entitled “Correlates of early overt and covert sexual behaviors in heterosexual women” was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior; Volume 36 pgs. 724-40. The researchers, Bickham PJ, et al; were from the Department of Psychology at Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia. They found that in a survey of 417 heterosexual women, 25% of the women had either sexually experimented with other women or masturbated using images of females by the time that they were 18.

But I did hit a mother load of teens experimenting with the opposite gender.  In 2005, researchers from Bowling Green University in Ohio studied adolescent sexual activity with respect to non-romantic partners; published in Social Science Research 34 (2005) 384–407. In a nutshell, the researchers already knew that the majority of teens have sex from prior publications. Majority means over 50% had engaged in heterosexual behaviors. The researchers wanted to know how many of these relationships were of a romantic nature versus a casual encounter.

Analyses of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth indicate that almost one-quarter (23%) of adolescent girls retrospectively reported their first sexual experience with someone whom they just met, with individuals with whom they were ‘‘just friends’’ or had gone out with ‘‘once in a while’’ (Elo et al., 1999; Manning et al., 2000).

That’s right. 23% of adolescent girls had sex with someone they had just met, were just friends with or went out with once in a while. If they are willing to have casual sex, you can bet that they routinely have sex with the boys that they are dating. These were heterosexual encounters. Casual sex.

As a mom, a biologist and an LGBT advocate, I don’t see where gender fits into the picture. Adolescents have always experimented with sex. Here is what I think matters and what I will be writing to Dr. Phil.

Let’s teach our teens, all teens – straight or LGBT, the facts about sex. The biology of sex, preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, different sexual behaviors and the associated risks. Let’s also teach them that sexual behavior has an emotional and psychological side. Casual and anonymous sex can do both physical and psychological damage. Let’s teach them facts will help them make good decisions. Understanding the complexity of sexuality, being certain that they will “still be respected in the morning”, being honest with themselves and their partners about their feelings – or lack of feelings –  will help them not be emotionally hurt or betrayed.

Let’s also teach our children that sexual orientation is not a choice, it a variation found naturally in nature. LGBT people are not impaired. It is society that causes stress for LGBT people, not their biology. Bullying and teasing are not ok.

Dr. Phil, do you know that one in three teen girls in the United States is estimated to get pregnant at least once before age 20? This is from the website 4parents.gov. The end result is either an abortion or becoming a parent at a very young age. Neither is good for a teenager. I can’t quite imagine that Dr. Phil would put a “pro-teen pregnancy” expert on his show.

Dr. Phil, do a show on these topics. Tackle something important, not something just for the sake of sensationalism.

A Note from Jay:  While some may believe that religious ideology is more accurate than science, there is no place for such rhetoric in psychology.  It is imperative that the show provide inclusive research and scientific data rather than fear and politics, while confronting the psychology of sexual experimentation and the struggles of LGBT people.  It is indisputable that if society was not pressuring LGBT people to be “straight” and marginalizing our community, many of the struggles over sexual orientation would not exist.  Groups like Focus on the Family are the leaders in causing this social disconnect and, ultimately, the deaths, damage and “self-loathing” within our community.

Please take a moment to visit Queers United for additional information on the inaccurate and hateful psychology previously used on the Dr. Phil show.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Geekgirl (Jude) is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (August 19, 2009 – August 25, 2009)

August 28, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsTrial Date Set for Fed Lawsuit Against CA Same-Sex Marriage Ban (August 19, 2009)

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker announced that the trial will begin January 11, 2010 in the federal lawsuit against California’s same-sex marriage ban.  Judge Walker ordered the depositions and the discovery process to start right away.  The Judge indicated that he was surprised Governor Schwarzenegger has taken such a passive role in the case.

Lesbian Couple Embraces Then Asked to Leave Restaurant in MD (August 19, 2009)

They noticed a heterosexual couple  kissing in another booth of the family restaurant – so they embraced each other – but did not kiss.  Aiyi’hah Ford and her partner Torian Brown were then asked to leave the restaurant in Silver Spring.  They returned with some supporters hoping for an apology – but the manager would not apologize.   Once they stepped outside the waitress followed them and apologized, then advised them that this sort of thing happens a lot at the restaurant.

LGBT Tenants in New York Mistreated by Co-Op Board (August 20, 2009)

A group of tenants who live at the Kew Gardens apartments have made complaints to the Co-Op Board regarding a leaking terrace that has caused damage to apartments connected to and below the area.  The apartments which were damaged are occupied by gay and lesbian tenants.  After filing the complaints, the tenants began receiving homophobic threats.

Late Lesbian Writer to be Honored in Ohio (August 20, 2009)

Writers have been honored previously in the state of Ohio – but never with their sexual orientation noted on the marker.  The marker, honoring Natalie Barney, might be the first with that distinction.  Natalie Barney was born in Ohio and was the author of lesbian and feminist themed stories.  She passed away in 1972.  The vote on the honor is scheduled for August 26, 2009.

West Hollywood Park Will Have Plaque Honoring Same-Sex Marriages (August 21, 2009)

The City Council of West Hollywood has decided to unveil a bronze marker at West Hollywood Park to honor Same-Sex Marriages.  The plaque will be unveiled on September 8, 2009 and bear a quote from Nelson Mandela: “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me.  The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”

Lesbian Families Gain in Parental Rights in Tasmania (August 21, 2009)

A bill which would give parental rights to both mothers in a lesbian family has passed the Lower House in Tasmania and is on it’s way to the Legislative Council.  The Gay and Lesbian rights group in Tasmania has praised this step forward.

Mayor in Massachusetts Will Marry her Partner (August 21, 2009)

Denise Simmons is known as the first black lesbian mayor in the United States. She was elected as mayor of Cambridge in 2008 and has served on the city council since 2001.  Ms Simmons will marry Mattie B. Hayes on Sunday August 30, 2009.

Copenhagen Might Change Wording of Civil Unions  Slightly (August 25, 2009)

Copenhagen already has Civil Unions for LGBT couples.  Currently when a couple enters a Civil Union, the presiding official pronounces the couple as Registered Partners.  A majority of the Copenhagen City Councilors are in favor of a proposal to change just one aspect of the current Civil Union which would allow LGBT couples to be declared Married.

Tucson Man Convicted in Attack on Transgender Woman (August 25, 2009)

Janey Kay is a Vietnam veteran who completed gender reassignment surgery early last year.  While at a a dog-racing track, Janey Kay was approached by Richard Ray Young and asked if she was a “Drag Queen.”  Ms. Kay answered no then Mr. Young began verbally and physically assaulting her.  Before police arrived Mr. Young broke away from security staffers and assaulted Ms. Kay once again.  Richard Ray Young was convicted of assault and disorderly conduct for the attack.  Mr. Young has said he is gay.
mjmj: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

Unifying the Queer Community: Trans-Inclusion

August 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

transgenderJust because those of us who blog like to think we know everything, doesn’t mean we do – so here’s your chance to help me learn a thing or two.  My guest this week on Closet Talk will be Allyson Robinson, Association Director of Diversity for HRC.  We will be discussion Allyson’s transition process and I’ll be getting a lot of questions about the transcommunity answered for myself.  I do hope that by becoming more educated about issues outside of the “G” in LGBTQ, I can become fully inclusive in my activism and at jaysays.com.

In preparing for the show, I’ve been considering how to be more “transinclusive” at jaysays.com.  Perhaps, in the near future, a contributor from the transcommunity will be added to the site in order to fill the hole here.  In the meantime, it’s all on this gay boy from a red state to try to figure out.

So, to you dear reader, how do you feel we (the LGBTQ bloggers of the world) can be more transinclusive?  What sorts of questions do you have about the transcommunity?  You may submit your thoughts via the comments to this post or, if you feel more comfortable for privacy’s sake, you may use the contact page.  Either way, please share your thoughts – seems I’m running out of my own!

WI Attorney General Won’t Do What Obama Adminstration Must – Defend the Law

August 22, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

ObamaThe Wisconsin Attorney General, J. B. Van Hollen, has stated that he will not defend the legislatures domestic partnership law in filings seeking to overturn it.  The republican Attorney General feels the legislation, which provides hospital visitation and inheritance protections to same-sex couples, is a violation of the Wisconsin Constitution which holds that no relationship between same-sex couples can be recognized in Wisconsin which is “similar to” marriage.

I’ve often argued that language such as that in Wisconsin’s Constitution is overly broad and can result in the denial of benefits under estate law and medical decision.  For more on that, please read this post and this post.  But that isn’t the issue here.

The problem is that the Wisconsin Attorney General is violating his responsibility to defend the legislation enacted by the legislature against legal challenges and; thus, he should be fired.

Or…

Perhaps the real issue is that the Obama Administration, in spite of its claims that it must defend such legislation, doesn’t really have to do so.  If the Wisconsin attorney general can choose not to defend the state in lawsuits filed against it, shouldn’t the Obama Administration be able to make that same choice?

But instead the Obama Administration has chosen to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a piece of legislation Obama himself has called unconstitutional.  Why?  They claim it is because the Administration (by way of the U.S. Attorney General’s office) must defend enacted legislation from legal challenges.

See:  National Briefing – Midwest – Wisconsin – Attorney General Rebuffs Gay Rights Law – NYTimes.com.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (August 13, 2009 – August 19, 2009)

August 21, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsUtah Newspaper Rejects Gay Wedding Announcement (August 13, 2009)

Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones live in San Francisco and were married June 17, 2008.  Mr. Jones is originally from Utah and wanted the announcement printed in his hometown paper – prior to a family party there.  The clerk at The Spectrum initially accepted the announcement information along with payment – then later the announcement was declined.  The Spectrum had been on GLAAD’s list of inclusive newspapers – and GLAAD did try to help but without success.  The announcement has since been published in The Salt Lake Tribune – another local paper.

Tennessee Schools Agree to Remove Anti-LGBT Filter (August 14, 2009)

In April 2009 the ACLU sent a letter to the Nashville school district.  The district had set up filters on school computers – blocking access to LGBT friendly websites.  Students were having to out themselves to their teachers to try to gain access.  The ACLU filed a federal suit against the schools.  Now the schools have agreed to remove the filters blocking the sites – and a judge has dismissed the lawsuit.  If the agreement is not followed – the ACLU will return to court.

Great Nationwide Kiss-In – Dozens Gather in Utah (August 15, 2009)

Same Sex couples exchanged a simple kiss or even just a hug – and they were detained by the police.  This happened in Utah, and in two locations in Texas.  The idea for the Kiss-In started in the blog of a concerned LGBT activist – and then grew into events in more than 50 cities across the US.  One of the events was held at Liberty Square amphitheater in Utah – where dozens of couples and individuals gathered for a kiss.  Another Kiss-In is being planned for next year – hopefully in even more cities.

Montreal LGBT Pride Celebrates Pending Action on Plan (August 16, 2009)

Quebec has had a wide-ranging action plan pending – and now the plan against Homophobia is expected to happen this fall.  The announcement that Quebec will have a policy against Homophobia – came in time for celebration at the Pride Fest.  There will still be work involved in applying the law – but the LGBT community expects the new plan will greatly help the fight against anti-LGBT discrimination.  A report from the Quebec human rights commission was partly involved in the framework of the plan.

Obama – Makes Statement re: DOMA in Court Brief (August 17, 2009)

President Obama has made statements to the public about DOMA – including one made in response to the case of Smelt v. United States of America.  The case involves Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer – a Gay couple who were married during 2008 in California.  President Obama and his senior advisers stated in a court brief that DOMA is discriminatory – but that it should be repealed by Congress.  This brief is an attempt to dismiss Smelt V. United States.

New York Man Receives Maximum Sentence for Transgender Hate Crime (August 19, 2009)

Last month Dwight DeLee was found guilty of manslaughter for shooting Lateisha Green – the charge included Anti-Gay bias.  Mr. DeLee is just the second person in this country to be legally convicted for killing a Transgender person.  Ms Green had gone to a party with her brother – and they were sitting in their car outside – when Mr. DeLee came up to the car and shot her.  He has been sentenced to the maximum of 25 years in prison.

DoJ Has Added Liaison to LGBT Community (August 19, 2009)

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has hired Matt Nosanchuk – who advised Obama on LGBT issues during the presidential campaign.  Mr. Nosanchuk has worked for the DoJ in Policy Development – and worked on judiciary and civil rights issues for Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla).  He will have a variety of cases as a senior lawyer – and will spend the rest of his time reaching out to constituencies on Capitol Hill as well as the LGBT community.

Sect in Australia Apologizes to Transgender & Intersex People (August 19, 2009)

Three daily newspapers in Tasmania published the apology – as a result of a conciliation agreement.  In 2006 members of the religious sect – Exclusive Brethren – published a state election advertisement attacking Transgender and Intersex people.  As a result of the advertisement – Martine Delaney filed a complaint with the state’s anti-discrimination tribunal.  Those who issued the apology were members of the Exclusive Brethren – along with a shell company (TradTas) which paid for the ads.

LGBT Youth Center in NY Named for Bea Arthur (August 19, 2009)

One of the stars of Golden Girls – Bea Arthur – was a generous benefactor to the Ali Forney Center.  Four years ago she went to New York for a benefit performance for the center – which raised $40,000.  The charity currently has four residential shelters for LGBT youth.  Recently it received funding from the Oak Foundation to buy housing sites – and the first site will be named – the Bea Arthur Residence for LGBT Youth.
mjpngwnz: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

The Words of Nelson Mandela Chosen for WeHo Gay Marriage Plaque

August 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

mandelaA bronze plaque memorializing what might have been and what should have been, same-sex marriage right, is being placed in California’s West Hollywood.  The City Council will unveil the plaque at its September 8th meeting and place it at Hollywood Park off North San Vicente Boulevard.

The plaque will bear an interesting quote from an even more interesting person, former South African president, Nelson Mandela:

I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

via West Hollywood to install plaque honoring gay marriages — latimes.com.

South Africa has recognized same-sex marriage since November, 2006 after the Constitutional Court held that banning the marriages “represented a harsh if oblique statement by the law that same-sex couples are outsiders, and that their need for affirmation and protection of their intimate relations as human beings is somehow less than that of heterosexual couples.”

The repeal of the ban on same-sex marriage came only about 10 years after the institution of South Africa’s post-apartheid Constitution, held as one of the most liberal in the world.

Being Gay in the WASP’s Nest – A Covert Minority View

August 19, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

waspAt some point I have to face it, no matter how hard it is for me to accept.  I can deny it all I want and make jokes with my friends about the fact that I’m not a white man, but I am – even though I think I’d make a good Latino (well, except I don’t like guacamole).  Having spent my entire life as a white man and often being perceived to be your standard WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant), there are certain privileges that have been bestowed upon me.  I will never truly understand what it would have been like to have grown up a black woman.  All I can do in that regard is try to understand and try to put myself in their shoes.  It’s the best I know to do.

Though I’ll never know what it’s like to be a black woman, I’ll also never know what it’s like to actually be a WASP, particularly a heterosexual one.  In spite of the fact that observers may think the person they see before them is a member of the majority, I know that I’m not.  That shadow looms over me in most every situation.  I find myself wondering whether or not someone will attack me or treat me differently once they find out I’m a queer.  I find myself anticipating the gay jokes, the snide remarks or the outright repugnant label of “fag.”

Because of this, I sometimes want to introduce myself to newcomers by stating, “My name is Jay and I’m a queer.”  That would get it out of the way and I’d no longer be concerned, right? Then I try to put myself in that black woman’s shoes.  She doesn’t have a choice in the matter – people know right away she’s a black woman and I think how lucky she is not to have to wait to find out her fate in these matters.  She’ll be able to know her friends from her enemies right away.  She won’t have to be worried about the outcome any longer.  But if that were the case for me, maybe I wouldn’t get to see for myself how people really feel.

In order to truly appreciate being a covert minority, a bit of my family story is necessary.  I’m lucky to have a very unique group of siblings (a biker, a red-neck and me, the queen).  It’s given me ample time to learn the politics behind their group of friends.  The bikers, with there “I don’t give a damn, let’s ride” attitude and the rednecks with the “I’m macho and have boots” sort of life, generally speaking of course.

One night, after going out with friends, I called up my redneck brother and asked if he’d like to meet for a late-night weekend breakfast.  He agreed and said he was inviting some of his friends to join us.  My best friend, a short but very feisty lesbian, tagged along with me.  Apparently though, my brother invited the entire redneck bar to come. I sat, cornered in a booth next to my best friend and a herd of cowboy hats and tight jeans, watching as several drunk cow-folk laughed and joked about things foreign to me.

Eventually, it happened.  A good friend of my brother decides to tell a story about some “faggot” at the bar, apparently unaware that his friend’s brother, sitting only feet away, was [and is] a “faggot.”  Being a covert minority, these sorts of things happen a lot so I responded in my typical way, silent observation.  I like to know what is going to be said before I speak up.  As he continued my brother intervened and asked, “Jay, do you want to tell him or should I?”

I turned to his friend and said, “I’m one of those faggots and my friend here is a dyke.”  He responded simply by saying “ok” and continuing his story.  At that very moment, he became irrelevant to me and I began gauging the faces of those surrounding us.  For the most part, no eyes met mine.  They remained diverted by feigned interest in the story about the “faggot.”  One young lady was different though.  She watched me as closely as I watched her as he progressed with his story.  We had a brilliant, but silent conversation.  I watched as she toyed with the idea of saying something, but what?  I answered with a smile, and her eyes glistened with tears.

That was one of the many moments I wished I would have introduced myself as a queer.  Perhaps that’s the answer to why we have to “announce” our sexual orientation – we just can’t stand the anticipation.

I’d rather be black than gay because when you’re black you don’t have to tell your mother.  – Charles Pierce, 1980

At some point I have to face it, no matter how hard it is for me to accept.  I can deny it all I want and make jokes with my friends about the fact that I’m not a white man, but I am – even though I think I’d make a good Latino (well, except I don’t like guacamole).  Having spent my entire life as a white man and often being perceived to be your standard WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant), there are certain privileges that have been bestowed upon me.