lgbt

Write with your voice, not another's

When I read this article on the University Times, I shouted, booed, and cheered at my computer.  I am not going to respond to it directly or to almost anything said in it.  I just want to share my thoughts on the subject since it's something I have thought a lot about.

As a gender queer gay writer, my biggest fear when I got started was that I would be called or classified as a gay writer.  Needless to say, all of my fears came true while the Fate's Harrow serial was coming out.  I was cast off to the LGBT panels, and seemingly all of my fears came true... or did they.

I embraced the categorization, and my next two books, and found an audience that I didn't expect.  Admittedly, it wasn't a large audience, but it is so supportive.  Now, I have to ask myself, what was I afraid of?

Closeted Writer or Honest Stories

The real choice I faced in my writing was whether to be honest about the types of characters I wanted to write about or to stay in a closet of my own making and tell stories I thought other people wanted to read about.  While the latter may be a better strategy for my business, it was a betrayal of everything in me to write.

Not all of my characters are gay or gender queer, but that is my voice as a writer.  It is how I see the world and understand it.  To write any other way would be dishonest to my experience of life.

I am not saying this to judge other writers for their choices.  I understand what a personal decision this is, but if you are struggling with this question, I hope my experience helps you.

Write in your voice, not someone else's

Whatever state you are in, write in your unique voice.  That voice is flavored by your gender, sexuality, beliefs, and experiences.  Your voice isn't the same as your favorite writers', and that is a beautiful thing.

No one talks like you.  No one sees the world like you.  No one imagines the things you imagine.  If you are a writer, it is your duty to tell your own stories in your own voice which will always be colored by your own experiences.

Embrace your uniqueness and don't compare you work to the work of others.  If you were meant to write their book, you would have, and it would sound nothing like their book does.

Be strong in your own stories, and be open to the worlds bursting forth from within you.  They are your challenge alone.  

We won our #dignity and #freedom as #LGBT in America

I am still in shock. My body is shaking, unsure whether I should laugh or cry, dance or scream. Maybe there is a way to do it all at the same time. 

Honestly, I never thought this day would come.  I remember how I felt the day my state banned my rights by constitutional amendment. It hurt, but I knew that my state and country default to hate and denial of dignity. We have never been good at respecting basic human rights.  

I want to feel like this is a victory, because it is, but I still don't feel like I am awake.  Reality has merged with my dreams in a way that I can't believe happened.

This feeling, smiling while on the verge of tears, is one of the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced.  Today, I am finally a full citizen in my country.

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” Kennedy wrote in the 34-page opinion. “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.
Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of Gay Marriage - US News

The tide of progress marches forward, and our understanding of liberty and oppression grow over time.  As science continues to offer us a better understanding of the world as it is, we see the foolishness of past generations in the clear light of wisdom.  All humans are equal.  All humans.

It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality … Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.
Justice Kennedy, “The Ideals Of Love,” And Other Key Quotes From The Huge Supreme Court Victory / Queerty

To read the court calling the discrimination I have lived with my entire life "unjustified infringement" is one of those moments beyond words.  I have been married to the person I love for almost two decades.  Married in the eyes of God, but not in the state I live in.  To be told that our relationship was a danger to the country hurt.  Now, we can start planning a wedding...

These words now cover my community too:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
— Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

It is hard to express my joy.  I am sure this post makes me sound like a rambling idiot, but I had to say something, and I had to say it now.  I am an equal citizen in my country.  After 37 years of second class citizenship, I am now equal. We are now equal.

Don't you know it's gonna be alright

A friend of my shared a story today about a Transgender Kid who left a suicide note on Tumblr asking for the world to change (read it here).

Stories like this trash my spirit. I only hope that we are moving forward in some ways...

What we need more than anything is a cultural revolution that reconnects us to compassion and hope and breaks the chains cynicism, nihilism, and isolationism have wrapped around our necks. Only when we learn to stand up will things change.

One moment, I need a musical break, sing a long if you know it, if not, it has the words.

For years, decades, centuries, people have tried to change the world, and as Joseph Campbell said:

When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

Every time I quote that, my friends sigh, and tell me that I just don't get it.  We talk for a couple hours until we finally get back around the point.  We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves.

This is one of the most troubling aspects of modern social movements, our solution is always to pass a law, change a law, or enforce a law.  If history has taught us anything, we have to see that law is only a minor part of the change we need.

Yes, anti-discrimination laws are important, and so are hate crime laws.  They won't accomplish anything if we don't take wise action to change ourselves in such a way that it encourages others to take on the same change.

All of this starts with compassion.  Compassion is simply living by the gold and silver rules:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
— The Golden Rule
Do not do unto other as you would not have them do unto you.
— The Silver Rule

When we act according to these simple rules of compassion that every culture on earth has come to over time, we start building the world that we want to see.  We only have control over our actions.  We have to take responsibility for our own actions.

How can we expect others to treat us with respect if we will not grant them the same courtesy?  How can we expect society to celebrate difference if we demand conformity?  The path forward it to demonstrate through our lives, our jobs, our entertainment, and our businesses that diversity and compassion make us stronger.  If we do not demonstrate the basic interconnectedness of all people, places, and things, we have no hope that others will see it.

In every encounter, be kind, be compassionate, and celebrate the differences between people.  Only through living a life that makes others envious of our joy, hope, and prosperity will others start looking for ways they can have the same thing.

Become a beacon for compassion.  Live compassion in all your words, thoughts, and deeds, and you will be the change that we need.  When others ask you why your life is so different, tell them, but make they want to ask.

One by one, we will realize that we are all interconnected, and that our actions effect everyone and everything.  Eventually, this will change the world.

Foo Fighters smack down the Haters

**The Videos in this post are Not Safe for Work**

There are people in this world who have absolutely no sense of humor.  I don't even want to say their name, but a certain group of ultra-right wing homophobes became upset when the Foo Fighters, a band with a brilliant sense of humor, released their video for Hot Bun.

The homoerotic trucker pastiche enraged these, well out of generosity, I will call them people (link), and they announced they were going to picket an upcoming Foo Fighter's concert.

So, How did the Foo Fighter's respond?

That's right, they pulled up in front of the protesters dressed in their costumes from the Hot Buns video on the bed of a truck performing a country parody of Keep it Clean that can be heard at the beginning of the video.

Brilliant! Love it.  This is the way to fight hate.  The best part of the video is watching the people who came to protesting them break out in laughter and bop along to the song.

Rise Against the Hate

I really needed a song like this when I was in High School:

I have been on the fence about Rise against.  I like some of their songs, but this one pushed me over the edge.  I was bullied for being gay in High School by a large "christian" group that I refuse to speak the name of, I don't want to give griefers publicity.  They used to throw things at me, call me anti-christ, and harass me.

I understand the pain, but it really does get better.  Keep your chin up, and fight back.  Life is worth it.

Missouri House declares state sovereignty, dark ages follow

A woman makes her support of her marriage, and...
Image via Wikipedia

Isn't this how the Civil War started?

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House members have given preliminary approval to a constitutional amendment that asserts the state's right to reject federal actions.

The measure says that Missouri will not enforce or recognize various federal policies. Those policies would cover subjects such as hate crimes, gun control and allowing civil unions or same sex marriage (KFVS12).

So the right of someone to beat up or kill a Faggot, keep us from having equal rights, and ready access to guns are so important that they have to be enshrined in the state constitution... and why are they mixed together like that... that doesn't make me feel very good...

Since the Nullification Crisis of the early 1800s, the US has recognized the supremacy of federal law over state law.  This is one cycle from the past we can skip... ugh

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Glee: Sue's Corner: Sneaky Gays

I can't wait for Glee to come back on April 13th. We are planning a premiere party here. What better way to get ready for Glee than a new Sue's Corner:

I never thought I would ever say this, but I agree with Sue Sylvester, but I do.

Be out and proud!  People need to know that we are living among them.  The more used to us they are, the harder it will be for them to hate us.  Let your light shine, and never forget to be who you are.

John Barrowman worries Fox will de-Queer Capt. Jack

SCI FI Wire has a story about John Barrowman's concerns that Fox will make Captain Jack straight in the American Torchwood, we actually have two bigger concerns:

Jack is Bi

Russell T Davies always said that Jack was bisexual.  (remember his daughter and grandson)  What is more likely is that Fox will trumpet his bisexuality and say he is just interested in a particular girl.  That way they can have their cake and eat it too... or should that be Π.

Fox does not have a good track record with GLBT characters.

24 with Aliens

Fox likes comfortable patterns.  The biggest threat facing an American Torchwood is that it will be little more than 24 with aliens.

Hopefully, Davies will have some pull with them and keep the series on track, but my hopes are not all that high.  Fox loves to muck up scifi shows and break fans hearts.  Fan tears are their crack.  Be wary of Torchwood until we have proof they didn't naff it up.

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Enter the Gayngels

I wish I were gayer so my rants could be this funny!  Maybe my gold star gets in the way.

I am getting increasingly outraged by the appearances of the Gayngels on TV and especially in film.  If this trend continues, hopefully they will bring Paul Lynde back from the dead.  Uncle Arthur will save us all!

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WFT: Gene Simmons to Adam Lambert "shut up about sexual preferences"?

WTF Gene, I mean WTF!  In another spot:

Adam should have won. On the other hand he should have kept his mouth shut about his sexual preferences. I don't really care what he wants to do and neither does America. But this kid's got talent, Adam Lambert can go on. As long as he's quiet about whatever else he prefers to do indoors. I personally don't care, I mean if you love farm animals, that's fine, but I don't wanna read a magazine about that (AfterElton).

gene.pngI am a huge Kiss fan.  My sister became a fan when Rock and Roll over came out, and I grew up with their music.  It has been the sound track of my life.  I own all their albums, most of their DVDs and have seen them in concert a couple times.  When I was 16, my sister took me to see Kiss as my first concert.

Now, I have to admit that I have never been the biggest fan of Gene Simmons.  He has suffered from foot in mouth disease for decades, and he has one of those personalities that has always made me roll my eyes.

This is blatant hypocrisy!  Gene's entire career is based around him talking about his sexuality, sexual preferences, and sexual activity.  Gene is the man who said, "If it's not about sex, its not rock and roll."  How dare he of all people say that anyone should shut up about their sexuality!

Adam has talent.

Gene's view of Show Business

I don't think this quote is necessarily homophobic.  Gene is first and foremost a business man.  I assume that he looks at Adam's decision to come out as one that will hurt his ability to sell records.

As someone who has made a career off singing about his love of women, I can understand that.  Personally, I would love  a gay rock star who isn't afraid of wither his sexuality or an electric guitar.

Boo Gene.  At least Paul Stanley is the one who is doing the majority of the work on the new Kiss album.

Acceptability/Assimilation Will not Keep Us Safe

Within fandom, as with the mainstream culture, assimilation into an ‘acceptable person’ is not a way to be safe. For years I have participated in the panels and sundry other discussions about whether GLBT fans should blend into the background, or whether we should be more vocal, and make our presence known and felt. It was a struggle at first, but eventually we came to believe the price of silence too high for us to pay.

In other words, those who were naturally straight-acting, were encouraged not to change their persona at fan events, and those of us who were a bit more obvious in our sexual orientation and gender identity were encouraged to be ourselves. The only exception we stressed was for cosplay (dressing in costume and pretending you are what you are dressed as).

While we always used common sense, we found it was best to be open and upfront about our orientation and identity. The vast majority of negative experiences I have had at fan events were when someone found out I am gay, and felt like I had hidden it from them.

I am very inappropriate

the flag of the Klingons
Image via Wikipedia

I am more inappropriate and direct with people then the average person, and will often introduce myself: “Hello, I am Eric, and I am a gay man, may I presume you are heterosexual.”

It usually gets a laugh, and will often open the door for people to understand the awkward position GLBT people are placed in by society. If we are not open about our identity or orientation, it is assumed we were hiding it.

You don’t have to be as upfront as I am, but be careful not to lead people into believing you are covering it up. This self-serving sense of betrayal is often used as a thin veil to excuse a person’s homophobia. “Well, I just don’t know who you are anymore.” Whoever you are, always be yourself, be open, and be honest.

Klingon Drag Queen

Last year, our first klingon drag queen attended Shore Leave. She was stunning and took the time to make each piece of the costume by hand to express her gender identity and passion for klingons. Unfortunately, she also experienced an inordinate amount of sneers and cat calls as she went through the convention.

Our group also features a number of male-to-female transgenders who often come in costume. They have not faced some of the same hurdles the rest of the community have. When I talked to one who asked to remain anonymous, she told me that her biggest problem at the conventions were that people assumed she merely wore a costume.

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Captain Robert and Public displays of Affection

Captain Robert from Abney Park is a little defensive in his latest post about disruptive behavior during rehearsal.  His language is a little gruff:

A little Whiskey or a little rum…okay, A LOT if Whiskey…and they are all over each other. In front of the rest of the band, in front of fans, in front of my kids.

It started as ass grabbing, arms around each others shoulder, dancing, pretending it was a joke…but as the months went on it turned into more. Mooney eyes, pretend kisses leading into real kisses, leading into full on tongue swapping! IN THE MIDDLE OF FUCKING SONGS! And the worst thing is, when they do it, their guitars rub together, and that messes up there playing, and then we got to start the songs all over again (Captain Robert)!

I don't know Robert personally, though I wish I did.  It would be easier to wrap my head around this.

Some people don't like public displays of affection

I know many of these people, and in fact I have been married to one for 12 years.

I am a little concerned that Robert could be labeled as homophobic for his rant.  Honestly, it doesn't take much these days to earn the label.  I have even been accused of Homophobia, and I am gay!

My impression of Robert

From reading his blog, listening to his music, and watching his videos, I tend to believe Robert is a dedicated and passionate about the future of Abney Park, and anything he sees as a threat to that would engender his rage.

His band mates not focusing on rehearsal is just the sort of thing I can see him flying off the handle about.

Leave the children out of it

I wish Robert would have left his children out of this.

I have mixed feelings about the effect on children of seeing grown people making out, but invoking the kids doesn't help his argument.

Personally, I would rather my kids (if I had any) see a public display of affection than to see me (I don't know if Robert was drinking or not) and my friends imbibing copious amounts of whiskey and rum.  I wish the kids had not been mentioned.

The other sides of the story

I really wish we had the other side of the story.  The nature of Robert's actions will be under a cloud of suspicion until we know the opinions of the other people in the room.

I hope Robert is right that this is not homophobia, but honestly, we cannot know one way or the other until we hear from the others.

Coming Out in Fandom

My personal experience in fandom is a mixed one. I was raised in a conservative, Baptist home. When I was ten, I realized I was gay. I hated myself, and never felt like I fit in anywhere, until I attended my first convention.

My first convention

shoreleave.gifI was a geek in school, and we hadn't lived in Maryland for every long.  One day, my friend Suzie invited me to go to a convention with her.

It wasn't easy.  My mother wasn't keen on me going out for a day trip to a convention north of Baltimore with people she didn't know very well.  I begged and pleaded, and though I don't remember them, I am sure I threw in some hissy fits and tantrums just to get the point across.

When we arrived, I felt like I entered the promised land.  Thousands of people who all loved the same things I did.  I didn't have to lie about anything.

For the first time, I felt like I found a place I belonged. If you have never been to a convention or participated in a fan club, they are amazing things. At a convention, you know that you are a de facto friend with most of the people there. Our mutual love for the same franchises, movies, and books ties us together in a way that is hard to explain. I have made connections with people that have lasted for years.

Coming out

My convention friends were the first people to know that I was gay.  I was open and honest.  Something about being surrounded by so many like minded people empowered me.

I was very lucky.  I never faced or felt any kind of discrimination at the conventions until many years later.  When I first entered fandom, IDIC was not a slogan or piece of jewelry.  It was a philosophy people took to heart.

Conventions are some of the few places that we can be ourselves... or are they?

Are all conventions safe?

It depends from convention to convention, but in general, speculative fiction fans are more open minded then the general population, except in periods of mass popularity for speculative fiction, or when a convention slips into the mainstream.

Popularity often brings more closed-minded people into fandom because they liked the special effects in movie x and have not been exposed to the ethos of open-mindedness which usually pervades fandom.

For me, conventions were a sanctuary from the homophobic world, until I started writing.

The Young (gay) X-men, who will die first?

Youngx-MenMarvel released the Young X-men with two, count them two gay characters: Anole and a newish character, Jonas Greymalkin.

Jonas Greymalkin, a character whose history was revealed with a story in X-Men: Manifest Destiny #3. It turns out that Greymalkin is over 200 years old and his powers were activated soon after his father realized that Jonas was gay. Furious, Jonas was beaten unconscious by his father and buried alive. Fortunately for Jonas, his powers (which include invulnerability) work best in darkness and, therefore, were well suited to surviving being buried alive. Jonas spent the last 200 years in a state of suspended animation, a time that ended when Jonas' grave was disturbed and he was thrown back into the modern world (After Elton).

Given the history of GLBT characters in speculative fiction, I have to ask the question: "Which one will die first?"

My money is on Anole because Jonas is invulnerable, but who knows, maybe he will be buried alive again. I hate to be a downer, but that is usually what happens to GLBT characters, and Marvel has done a good job keeping the streak going.

Day without a Gay

DaywithoutagayThere is a movement to get all GLBT people to take December 10th off, and spend it volunteering in a way to make an impact against the hate and homophobia that swept the elections.

The worldwide media attention surrounding our massive grassweb efforts for gay rights has been tremendous. Join the Impact was a HUGE success and will continue to thrive because of our efforts.

We've reacted to anti-gay ballot initiatives in California, Arizona Florida, and Arkansas with anger, with resolve, and with courage. NOW, it's time to show America and the world how we love.

Gay people and our allies are compassionate, sensitive, caring, mobilized, and programmed for success. A day without gays would be tragic because it would be a day without love.

On December 10, 2008 the gay community will take a historic stance against hatred by donating love to a variety of different causes.

On December 10, you are encouraged not to call in sick to work. You are encouraged to call in "gay"--and donate your time to service!

December 10, 2008 is International Human Rights Day. CLICK HERE to join us, and search or add to the list of human rights organizations that need our help RIGHT NOW (Day without a Gay).

Hmmm... It is an interesting idea, but I don't think it is the best idea to call in. Maybe just take the day off if you want to be involved.

For me, I think it would be best if I should up for work, and posted about equal rights that day. Spread the word. Besides, I know my readers are allies or in the community.

How do you think we should protest and raise awareness?

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Were the World Mine

From what I have heard in the trailer, I am not sure if I am quite ready to move "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" to the side in favor of "Were the World Mine," but the premise is interesting and sure to be controversial with the right wing if they catch wind of it, but the trailer has my attention, and I am eager to see the flick.

"Were the World Mine" is a modern retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream, following the adventures of High Schooler Timothy, a gay kid cast in a school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as Puck. Somehow, he finds a love potion and runs around the city making everyone fall in love with a person of their same gender. To top it all off, it is a musical.

Since the movie has been compared with Hedwig by the critics, I can only hope it does take a serious look at the question of sexual orientation, and doesn't just use it as a point of tension for the sake of drama. It is hard to read that from the trailer, but I have my fingers crossed.

The movie is already in limited release, and it is available to save to your queue on Netflix. (I already did)

For more information, see their site.

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