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Closet Talk: Dr. Michael T. Schmitt – Same-Sex Marriage’s Threat to Heterosexual Identity

November 11, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkI was first introduced to Dr. Michael T. Schmitt’s work by way of jaysays.com’s resident scientist, Jude.  After seeing his video presentation, I knew I had to have him on the show.  Dr. Schmitt, along with Dr. Justin Lehmiller and Dr. Allison Walsh, published the article, “The Role of Heterosexual Identity Threat in Differential Support for Same-Sex ‘Civil Unions’ versus ‘Marriages'” in the journal Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

During the show, I found myself attempting not to use the words that came to mind; words like, heterosexual supremacist, egotist, snob, etc.  After the show, I found myself thinking: “Well, if it’s a cat, call it a cat.”

Essentially, the experiments determined that the majority’s desire to remain superior to the minority results in a broader support of “civil unions” instead of “marriage”.  This determination can be exampled in current events with the defeat of a marriage equality law in Maine and the passage of a “domestic partnership” law in Washington state.  In this case, there’s no reason to take my word for it, instead, Dr. Schmitt explains it nicely:

As mentioned, Dr. Schmitt is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University.  SFU, like many educational institutions, is suffering from under funding.  Find out how you can help at savesfu.org.

Closet Talk: Ami and Ruby – Are We Married?

October 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkAmi and Ruby were married in a ceremony that was not recognized by their state; however, once marriage was allowed in California, and knowing that Proposition 8 was looming, the couple headed south and tied the knot. Now, they are trekking around the country through many states that don’t recognize their marriage with the goal of visiting all states that do (including the District of Columbia).

Ami and ruby shared some stories from the road and it was a great pleasure to have them tell these stories. You can hear what they had to say using the player below:

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Coming Out Day is For Everyone

October 07, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Headline, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationOctober 11th is Coming Out Day. I can’t help but wonder what it is that prompts a gay person to come out. Especially in a place like a workplace, where your very livelihood is at stake. As a straight person, I can only imagine and I would never have the audacity to say this is something I know or feel. In last week’s Closet Talk interview with Jen Dugan, of the 1st Annual Nationwide You Are Loved Chalk Messages Project, Jen told her own coming out story and how surprised she was at the support. Many individuals told her that had they known, they would have supported her. She used the words “It goes unsaid.”

I wrote those words down. I know that for me and many straight friends, support goes unsaid. So why does it go unsaid and how can we say it? Perhaps more importantly, I would love to hear from LGBT folks what clues you look for to know that it is safe to come out to someone? A recent study showed that only 27% of LGBT people are completely out at work, even in companies with anti-discrimination policies.

Back on topic. We straight people, who support equality, have been trained not to ask; not by don’t ask, don’t tell.  We feel like it is a matter of respecting someone’s privacy.  You worry that all we will see is your sexual orientation or gender identity. We worry that you will think that is all we see.

So what are some ways that you can show your own values? If you think of it this way, it’s easier to see what you can do. Because then you are just being yourself.

If you hear remarks that are negative toward LGBT people, speak up. It could be in private or during the conversation. It can be as simple as “I didn’t think that was nice/funny/appropriate.” If it’s a good person that you feel is just naive, do it privately and let them know you are sure they are not the kind of person who would want to hurt someone. I grew up in an environment where people told racist and ethnic based jokes. I didn’t realize how hurtful those comments could be until someone told me.

If you have gay family or friends, talk about them in the same ways that you would a straight friend or couple. You don’t have to focus on the gay part. Focus on who they are as people. Most of the gay friends I have feel like being gay is not the most important thing that you should know about them.

Never hear anything negative and you don’t have gay friends? Do you like a gay musician or actor? Did you like Will and Grace?  Glee?  Modern Family? Do you go to a gay-affirming church? All of these will reveal something about your values.

I have an HRC equality sign visible in my cubicle. LGBT people recognize it immediately, yet most straight people are not familiar with it. When people ask me, I tell them what it means. I find that if I let someone know my values, they either show their support or simply move on. No one has picked a fight with me yet.

Last, but not least, if you are LGBT, just be yourself. You don’t need to be an activist. In fact, just being yourself is the best thing that you can do for yourself and the LGBT movement. Because when others see you as a real person who just happens to be gay, that is when they are the most supportive. 83% of people who know a gay person as family or friend are supportive of equal rights. There is  a message in that statistic for straight people who don’t know anyone gay.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: 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.

Closet Talk: Candace Metzler and ENDA

September 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkCandice Metzler lost her job after beginning her transition from man to woman. Her employer was initially fine with the transition, but after clients began taking their business elsewhere after learning of Candice’s transition, the struggling company felt it had no choice but to let Candice go.

Unemployment didn’t take long to scar Candice’s life, leaving her homeless and forcing her to rely on the friends that remained in her life after her coming out.

Candice tells her story in this episode of Closet Talk and explains how employment discrimination impacted her and her family. Although her story is full of tragedy, it is a story is of hope and determination.

Recently, Candice organized a community forum on workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender employees. and continues to work toward the passage of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

2010/2012, The National Equality March & LGBT Priorities.

September 02, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

NEmThe National Equality March is scheduled for October 11-12, 2009 in D.C. I’ve avoided writing about the issue of whether or not the equality march is “good” or “bad” for the community because, on September 9th, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time, I will be a guest on Sisters Talk Radio discussing that very issue.

However, time is running out to plan for the march.  We must act now and unite every LGBT activist, blogger and party of interest in declaring their full support of the National Equality March.  We must begin promoting it as if it were the death of a pop icon.  But why?

While California activists are arguing over whether a ballot initiative to overturn Proposition 8 should happen in 2010 or 2012, activists in other states are dealing with something very different – sometimes, literally life or death.

There is still reason to be concerned about having our heads bashed.  Take the case of Steven Harmon of Portage, Michigan as an example.  The 15 year old was recently attacked and beaten by two other teenagers apparently because Harmon had “come out” as gay the week before.  While beating him, the teens repeatedly called him “faggot” and other derogatory anti-gay terms.

Many of us will be dead tomorrow because some yahoo decided it was o.k. to murder a queer.  One of far too many recent examples of this occurred in Northwest Washington only about a week ago and resulted in the death of Nana Boo, a transgender male to female.

Many of us may not have a job tomorrow because our employer decided they don’t like queers.   Tonight on Closet Talk I will be talking with Candice Metzler.  Candice lost her job due to her transition and was unable to find employment.  Ultimately, she found herself homeless.

While many are debating whether or not to proceed with at 2010 ballot initiative and whether or not to support the National Equality March, here in my neck of the woods, we’re still trying to figure out how to keep kids from hanging themselves from the rafters because they are demonized for being “gay.”

We need a national front to help change the lives of the future generations of our people.  If you still don’t support the National Equality March, try walking a mile in a gay or transgender kid’s shoes in Jonesboro, Arkansas where social and legal changes to LGBT equality will likely never occur without involvement from our national government.  After that, you may be singing a different tune.

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.

Closet Talk: David Mailloux and the Great Nationwide Kiss In

August 06, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Headline

Closet TalkAs you’ve likely heard by now, members of the LGBT community have been experiencing more and more acts of harassment for public displays of affection which have heretofore been allowed only if the couple is heterosexual.  In El Paso, two men were told that, “faggot stuff” wasn’t allowed after they exchanged a kiss standing in line at Chico’s Tacos.  In Salt Lake City, two young men were forcibly detained by security after giving each other a kiss on a prominent and high traffic promenade because of a kiss.  In San Antonio, two women were asked to leave Rolling Oaks Mall after allegedly kissing in public.  Even more recently, two men at Inferno, a wine bar in SAN FRANCISCO, were allegedly forced out onto the street and called derogatory names by the owner after exchanging a hug and a kiss at the bar.

Fellow blogger, David Badash, had enough and proposed a kiss in on his blog.  He was quickly joined by David Mailloux, of dym-sum.com, and Willow Witte of Join the Impact.

David Mailloux, National Coordinator for the Great Nationwide Kiss In, joined me last night on Closet Talk, relaying his personal coming out story and discussing the events leading up to the Great Nationwide Kiss In.  It was a pleasure to have such a wonderfully kind and devoted member of our community on the show:

To find out about events in your area, please visit The Great Nationwide Kiss In on facebook.

Closet Talk: Jay’s Story | I’ve Been To Paradise

July 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkTonight, Closet Talk flipped on its head with guest host, Tammy Defoe of tamfastic.com taking the reigns and interviewing me.  Before the show, Tammy and I talked and I asked her to come up with questions about my coming out and my life.  What I wasn’t prepared for was her asking me about was my death – or the possibility of it.

Listen as I falter a bit when asked about the possibility of my demise at the hands of those that oppose LGBT equality and realize the effect that the possibility has on those I love:

Closet Talk: Out Music Award Nominee | Angela “Oxygen” Edge

July 08, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkAngela “Oxygen” Edge is a brilliant singer/songwriter and performer.  She had two coming out experiences with her family, the first when she was dragged out, but denied it.  The second, by the media when she was going on tour with SONiA and Disappear Fear.

Listen as she speaks her truth about Go Screw Warren, coming out, her conservative upbringing and her compassionate understanding of her parents’ confusion and concerns in this episode of Closet Talk.

Angela, I’m truly your number 1 fan.

Closet Talk: The Science of Sexuality.

June 25, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkOn last night’s Closet Talk, jaysays.com contributor and all around brilliant biologist, Jude, joined me to discuss the change of heart by the American Psychiatric Association (“APA”) as to the “Gay Gene.”  Many conservative sites have been reporting that the APA says there is no gay gene, but that’s not right – they aren’t saying there is no gay gene, only that no evidence is pointing to a single factor or factors contributing to one being “gay” or not.

Take about 30 minutes out of your life to listen to the show and learn about the nuances of genetics, what the APA really meant and what, if any, biological factors influence sexual orientation (and left handedness).