piasharn: (Flying Spaghetti Monster)
While I'm jubilant over Obama's victory, there were some sorrowful outcomes of this election.

California, Arizona, and Florida all had propositions on the ballot to ban same-sex marriage. Arkansas was voting on an initiative that would bar same-sex couples from adopting. All of them have appeared to pass.

There is still hope for California, though. There are still three to four million ballots that have not been counted. With the results so close (52% to 48%) these votes may be enough to tip the scales. It's a slim hope, I know, but there is still a chance that we can pull through.

For that matter, we don't know exactly what will happen to the same-sex marriages that occurred before this election. There's a chance that the people who are already married will remain married, even if no new same-sex marriages will be allowed.

There is also a chance that this may be overturned for legal reasons. We still have options. There are things we can do.

Also, remember that eight years ago, 61% of Californians voted against same-sex marriage. This time, only 52% have done so. Think about that for a minute. Add to that the fact that the younger generations are much more GLBT friendly, so as more young people come of age, we'll have the majority on our side.

This isn't over yet, people.
piasharn: (Flying Spaghetti Monster)
While I'm jubilant over Obama's victory, there were some sorrowful outcomes of this election.

California, Arizona, and Florida all had propositions on the ballot to ban same-sex marriage. Arkansas was voting on an initiative that would bar same-sex couples from adopting. All of them have appeared to pass.

There is still hope for California, though. There are still three to four million ballots that have not been counted. With the results so close (52% to 48%) these votes may be enough to tip the scales. It's a slim hope, I know, but there is still a chance that we can pull through.

For that matter, we don't know exactly what will happen to the same-sex marriages that occurred before this election. There's a chance that the people who are already married will remain married, even if no new same-sex marriages will be allowed.

There is also a chance that this may be overturned for legal reasons. We still have options. There are things we can do.

Also, remember that eight years ago, 61% of Californians voted against same-sex marriage. This time, only 52% have done so. Think about that for a minute. Add to that the fact that the younger generations are much more GLBT friendly, so as more young people come of age, we'll have the majority on our side.

This isn't over yet, people.

Not a Joke

Oct. 21st, 2008 11:49 pm
piasharn: (WTF?)
I previously mentioned California's Prop 8 which, if it is passed in November, would ban same-sex marriage. Well, Arizona and Florida have similar measures on their ballots as well.

Florida International University will be having a debate on the subject in the near future. Apparently, they tried to get someone from the "Yes on 2" group to argue against same-sex marriage, but they declined the offer. Guess who FIU found instead?

None other than the Westboro Baptist Church. Yes, the one lead by the notorious Fred Phelps. The church behind the God Hates Fags website. The one that is absolutely obsessed with homosexuality and blames gays for every bad thing that happens in the world.

These are the people that are so batshit insane that even other anti-GLBT people and organizations steer clear for fear of being associated with them.

Part of me is wincing at FIU's decision, because these people really don't need (or deserve) more attention. They are unable to participate in an respectable debate, and they shouldn't be treated as a serious organization.

Part of me is happy, because the WBC members are so crazy that it might make Florida residents vote against the same-sex marriage ban after listening to them. People who are undecided on the issue may take one look and run as fast as they can to the the pro-GLBT side.

And part of me wants to kick back, grab a beer and some popcorn, and enjoy the show.
piasharn: (No on Prop 8)
I haven't had my television hooked up since I moved to California 17 months ago. What with the election coming up, I'm rather glad that I'm not subjected to a painful amount of political ads. Watching the debates is bad enough at times.

Speaking of which, did anyone else have the urge to beat McCain senseless for repeatedly using the term "pro-abortion" in the last debate? I'm glad that Obama rightfully pointed out that no one is "pro-abortion". Of course, that didn't stop McCain from tossing out the term a few more times.

Still, politics makes me want to bang my head repeatedly against a hard surface. The spin, the slander, the mud slinging, the half-truths, and the outright lies all make me want to scream very, very loudly.

The state of California has several propositions on the ballot this November. As you may have guessed, I am highly against Prop 8, which would amend the state constitution to make marriage the union of a man and a woman only. The same-sex marriages that have occurred since the Supreme Court's ruling back in May would be nullified.

The people in favor of this have been driving me insane. I don't know if they're ignorant or liars or both, but their main arguments are a load of bullshit.

Don't mind me; I simply need to vent. )

I've been told that the Supreme Court's decision is nothing more than judicial activism that overturns the will of the people. It's funny how people seem to forget the purpose of the judicial branch in cases like this. Besides, it's not like this is the first time this has happened.

And don't get me started on Prop 4, which would require parental notification for underage girls seeking abortions. Actually, there's an excellent article on the subject over at Alas, A Blog, complete with a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style senario of what an underage girl would be subjected to if the law passes.

ETA: Colin Powell endorses Obama. Wohoo!

If that wasn't cool enough, he pointed out that even if Obama was a Muslim, it should make no difference.

THANK YOU!
piasharn: (One of Those Days (artwork by mnemosyne))
Some things never change. A recent article by Orson Scott Card claims that the government does not have the right to redefine marriage. He also believes that the decisions in MA and CA to legalize same-sex marriage represent "the end of democracy in America."

I wonder, if Proposition 8 (which would amend the CA state constitution to define marriage as only being between a man and a woman) is voted down in November by the people, will he still be making that claim?

These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.


Yes, CA did vote against same-sex marriage eight years ago. However, there are a couple of points that need to be made. The first is that the attitudes of the people can and do change. Just because the people voted one way in the past does not mean that they would do so now.

Since this entry turned out to be longer than I had planned, the rest is behind the cut. )

To sum things up for those who don't feel like reading the article or my rant on it, Card's beliefs seem to be as follows:

MARRIGE = 1 MAN + 1 WOMAN ADN THATZ TEH ONLY DEFINISHUN TAHT HAZ EVUR EXISTD!! TEH GOVRERMET CANT CHANGE IT!!! IF IT DUZ THEN THEY WILL ABDUCT UR KIDZ AND TEACH TEHM THAT ITZ OK 2 B GHAY!!!1! OH NOES!!!1one!!

All right, so he didn't actually write it in lolspeak. A pity, it might have made more sense if he had.

ETA: Didn't come across this response to Card's article until after I had written mine. This one's better written and brings up some interesting points that I missed.

^_^

May. 16th, 2008 07:37 pm
piasharn: (Peace by Brom)
Two things happened yesterday that were cause for celebration.

The first is personal. 15 May marked the one year anniversary of when I moved to California. My parents and I arrived at about 5:30 am, and by 5:30 pm, I had found an appartment and was moved in by the next day.

In all honesty, I can't believe that it's been a year already. The time has just flown by.

The second cause for joy is something that more people can celebrate. Yesterday morning, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

Now, I know that not everyone will be happy about this, but I'm ecstatic. I did a Happy Dance around the apartment when I heard the good news, although I had to ignore the WTF? looks that the cats were giving me.
piasharn: (Harry and Hedwig)
I'm posting my opinions on the whole "Dumbledore is gay" shenanigans that have been going on. I would have written it sooner, but... y'know. Raging wildfires and all that fun stuff going on out here has kind of had me distracted.

As a forewarning, this is a rant. Not against JKR, but rather some of the reactions I've seen among members of the fandom. And in case it wasn't obvious, these are just my opinions. Feel free to disagree and/or think that I am a complete and utter moron. Click here for the rant. )

I'll admit, I'm happy about this announcement. I'd rather have her reveal a character to be gay after the series is done than to have absolutely no gay characters at all. (Or, worse yet, to have an anti-GLBT author.) Would I have been happier if it was revealed within the context of the books? Sure. Could she have made it a bit more clear, so that those who knew what to look for would have realized what Dumbledore was? Perhaps.

However, what's done is done. And it really doesn't seem worth it to get all riled up over a series of books in which I had absolutely no control. So I'm going to take the good and leave the bad.

Besides, it amuses me to no end that the slashers were right... at least about Dumbledore/Grindewald. Hell, that's more than the Harry/Hermione fans can say! ^_- (And the fandom always seemed to take the H/Hr fans a lot more seriously than it did the slash fans.)

Finally, in case you haven't read it, there's a great interview between The Leaky Cauldron and Sean Lund of GLAAD available here that I would recommend.
piasharn: (Utena and Anthy Again)
(Via [livejournal.com profile] aigooshesays and [livejournal.com profile] violet_quill)

Recent interview with J. K. Rowling reveals a new tidbit about Albus Dumbledore: he was gay and in love with Grindewald.

My favorite bit of the interview is when Jo says, "Just imagine the fan fiction now."

My dear, the slashers are way ahead of you.

(I's just realized that I have neither a "SQUEE!" icon nor a GLBT-Pride one. So I went with one with a homoerotic one instead.)
piasharn: (Luna Lovegood)
Gah, I can't believe that I almost forgot! It's National Coming Out Day! Admittedly, I haven't gone through the final phase of coming out; phase One is coming out to yourself, phase two is coming out to family and close friends, and phase three is coming out to the general population.

No, I don't think that being openly gay on a blog counts as completing phase three. My (former) coworkers and classmates didn't know. (Well, for all I know, they may have suspected. That's not the same thing, though.) I was tempted to on occasions. As a gay-rights activist, I know that coming out is one of the best things that you can do. The more people come out, the more straight people become conscious that GLBT people are normal, just like them. It also makes heterosexuals more aware of what GLBT people go through.

However, due to some of the viewpoints expressed by some of the people I worked and studied with, I wasn't comfortable with the idea of being out to them. Oh, I know there were people who would have been fine with it. I also knew that there were people who wouldn't, though, and I just didn't feel up to dealing with their reactions. I had enough problems with people knowing that I am agnostic and socially liberal.

Anyhow, in honor of this day, I decided to post links to some of my favorite GLBT websites. Click here to view them. )

Whoa... two posts in one day! I think I need to sit down for a bit...
piasharn: (Utena and Anthy)
If a middle-aged man pursues an under-aged girl, he is called a pedophile. Some people see his pedophilia as a unique sexual orientation separate from heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or asexuality. Even those who consider the man to be a heterosexual do not claim that his sexual orientation was the cause of his pedophilia.

However, what happens if this hypothetical man goes after an under-aged boy instead? According to organizations such as Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and other conservative Christian organizations,in this situation, the man is a homosexual, and his paedophilic proclivities are a direct result of his sexual orientation.

Don't'cha just love double standards?

While the whole Mark Foley scandal has been amusing in some ways - watching the "good, moral, family values" crowd falling over themselves in an effort to blame this on the Democrats, liberals, gays, even trying to claim it was Clinton's fault somehow - it's also another way for the aforementioned crowd to once again tote the line that homosexuality and pedophilia are one in the same, and that gay people prey on innocent children.

Now then, a lot of research has actually been done on this supposed link between homosexuality and pedophilia. There are still holes, of course. Simply determining the percentage of the population that is homosexual can be problematic. They have to be confident enough to be out of the closet, for starters. And where does one place, for example, men who regularly have sex with other men but who self-identify as heterosexual? How does one figure in the instances of child molestation and abuse that are not reported?

Despite these handicaps, a lot of headway has been made on the subject. Enough for scholars to state that there is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.

It's one thing to just state, "I'm right, they're wrong, and that's all there is to it." It's another to actually sit down at the library and pick apart every argument and source cited by these anti-GLBT organizations. I've got a decent amount of research material on hand to make a start at it, but this guy blows me out of the water.

This is the kind of post I wish I could write. Organized, eloquent, detailed, professional. Everything properly quoted and cited. No claim left unexamined. No snark or overt sarcasm. (Much as they're fun to read, they do make piece seem less mature. They may also turn away someone who does not have a strong opinion on the matter.)

The above link leads to a shorter essay that tackles a recent statement by Tony Perkins (of the Family Research Council) on the supposed homosexuality-pedophilia link. For a longer, more in-depth look at the subject, the same author has compiled Are Gays A Threat To Our Children? that is definitely worth a read.

And if you want a good laugh, be sure to download a copy of The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing the Myths
piasharn: (Flying Spaghetti Monster)
Lt. Laurel Hester is a former police officer and 23 year veteran of the prosecutor's office who lives in Ocean County, New Jersey. She is dying of cancer, and wishes to leave her pension benefits to her significant other. Without it, her partner could lose their house.

The problem is that Hester's partner is another woman.

Hester has been fighting the courts for months. She appealed directly to the Freeholders to no avail. When she could no longer go to the meetings due to her failing health, she sent a tape pleading with them to understand the situation she is in. Although deeply moved by the video, the Freeholders stated that they had no intention of changing the law before Hester's death.

Today, all of that changed.

After begging and scraping for rights that married couples take for granted, receiving national media attention, and with the help Mark A. Seda, a Jackson Township Committeeman (and a Republican to boot... perhaps there is hope), Hester will have her wishes carried out.

From the press release:

      Like many other people around the world, I've been learning a great deal recently about the issue of Domestic Partner rights that has placed Ocean County front and center on the world's stage through the incredibly courageous story of Ocean County's own hometown hero, Lt. Laurel Hester of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

      From what I can see, I'm only one of millions who's been touched in a very big way by Lt. Hester's story. Her dignity and the incredible bravery she's displayed at the end of her life in wanting to change the world has inspired me to realize that as an elected official I should be standing by her side.


You can find a full transcript, plus more information on the story, at this site.
piasharn: (Huey Freeman)
I saw Brokeback Mountain this evening.

...wow.

Anyone who tells you that this is a bad movie, that it doesn't deserve the praise and awards, that it advocates infidelity or adultery does not know what they are talking about.

Nor can I see how anyone could believe that it trying to lure people into being gay themselves. (You would have to be masochistic to want to go through what these characters experience.) This is not a happy movie, people. It is, however, a very poignant and moving one. It is intense not in the sense of that it keeps you on the edge of your seat, but rather through the emotions that lie beneath the words.

And it's a story that desperately needs to be told.
piasharn: (Default)
I know, I'm a bit late in jumping on this bandwagon, but this article is just begging to be made fun of. Besides, finals are coming up next week, and this works well as a stress-reducer.

There is a lot of critical buzz preceding the upcoming Ang Lee film Brokeback Mountain (known alternately in most circles as The Gay Cowboy Movie). By now, predicting this movie will dot critics' year-end best in film lists is like predicting Tom Cruise will say something loony in the next six months. No, the real speculation on Brokeback Mountain is how it will be received by audiences.

I'm predicting it will not do very well, relatively speaking. It will likely make more at the box office (and on DVD and in the foreign market) than it cost, but regardless of how they spin it, I'm guessing American audiences will stay away in droves. Why?

The "yuck" factor.

For all of our modern cultural "enlightenment," and despite the pervasiveness of gay characters and stories all over American media, and regardless of the success of shows like "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye," by and large Americans -- blue state, red state, Christian and non -- innately find homosexuality repulsive.


Someone needs to introduce this guy to slash and yaoi. Or at least point out all the girl-on-girl themed porn in this country that indicates at least some attraction to homoeroticism. Then again, in this guy's world, "homosexual" seems to apply exclusively to gay men and not gay women. (Oh, wait... I forgot. Lesbians don't really exist. They're just experimenting or waiting for Mr. Right to come along.)

It's part of our makeup. It's biological, it's conscience-born, it's part of the imago dei. It's part of a "moral aesthetic" most everyone bears latent. To be blunt, we know anal sex is gross, and we especially know anal sex between men is repulsive. Even for most of those who have no basis for which to call it a sin find the act itself "gross."

Of course, this obviously has nothing to do with cultural influences. That's why all societies that have ever existed have been unanimous in their disgust of homosexuality - especially the male/male variety. Just look at the ancient Greeks, Romans, Japanese, and Native Americans for perfect examples of how people everywhere despise gayness.

And anal sex is always icky. That's why you will never, ever find straight pornography that features it. Only icky gay people think anal sex is fun. Certainly not good, wholesome, Christian Americans.

It must be biology in action! No one could ever think that two men having sex is erotic.

Brokeback Mountain may win awards, but it will not have an audience who is not attending either out of perverse curiosity or some sense of liberal duty. The young ladies who are fans of Gyllenhaal and Ledger do not want to see them making out.

Of course they don't. That would be yucky.
piasharn: (Beth Oblong)
On the state of marriage in Massachusetts (emphasis mine):

      ...some 6,600 same-sex couples have married over the past year with nary a sign of adverse effects. The sanctity of heterosexual marriages has not been destroyed. Public morals have not gone into a tailspin. Legislators who supported gay marriage in last year's vote have been re-elected. Gay couples, many of whom had been living together monogamously for years, have rejoiced at official recognition of their commitment.

      As a Republican leader explained in justifying his vote switch: "Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry who could not before."
      (article)


Gee. Go figure.

Good News

Sep. 7th, 2005 05:13 pm
piasharn: (Delirium)
A bill in California that will legalize same-sex marriages has passed and been sent on to the Govenator. He hasn't come out with an official stance (unless one counts his rather confusing statement that "Gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.") although he seems to be hinting that he will veto.

I'm debating with myself over writing to him in support of the bill. After all, I am not currently a resident of CA, so I don't know how seriously he would take my point of view. However, I am a) a native of the state, and b) will be a resident in less than a year. Eh, what the hell. It can't hurt, right?

In any case, the fact that this bill has gotten this far is still a cause for celebration. Two states down, 48 to go! (Well, 47.5, since Vermont has the civil union thing going on.) Woohoo!

Good News

Aug. 2nd, 2005 07:42 pm
piasharn: (Default)
Remember Zach? The 16 year-old boy in Tennessee who was sent to a reparative therapy camp against his will?

Thanks to the national attention his case garnered from his blog post, he's been released. PFLAG has released a statement concerning not only this case, but the dangers surrounding reparative therapy in general.

Immediately before entering the program, Zach wrote, "I’ve been through hell. I’ve been emotionally torn apart for three days" and "Honestly how could you support a program like this? If I do come out straight I’ll be so mentally unstable and depressed it won’t matter."

Zach's fears were well-founded. According to the AMA (American Medical Association) and APA (American Psychiatric Association), "reparative therapy" does not work. But the dangers of these programs are real. At a minimum, those in "reparative therapy" must cope with the emotional damage of being relentlessly badgered with fear tactics and being told to change who they are. At worse they are at risk for self-destructive behavior including suicide."


Zach's story is far from unique, and Love in Action is certainly not the only "ex-gay" program out there. However, I hope that the national attention this situation drew will help open people's eyes. Once enough people are aware of the problem, we will be able to change things for the better.
piasharn: (hair)
"We embrace freedom and equality in theory, we must also embrace
them in fact"

--Prime Minister Paul Martin

If you haven't already heard, Canada's Federal Government voted in favor of same-sex marriages. Mr. Martin made a wonderful speech, which you can read a transcript of here if you wish.

This makes me very, very happy. So does the fact that Spain may also be legalizing same-sex marriages in the near future. Now if certain citizens of the U.S. could just pull their heads out of their asses and realize that legalized same-sex marriage will not send the country spiraling into the firey depths of hell, I'd be even happier.

We'll get there. Eventually.

Holy Fuck

Jun. 13th, 2005 02:02 pm
piasharn: (Beth Oblong)
Via Ex-Gay Watch. A 16 year-old boy in Bartlett, Tennessee named Zach recently came out of the closet to his parents. Their reaction was to send him to Love in Action, a live-in program designed to change homosexuals to heterosexuals. Zach is being forced into this program against his will.

Of course, no evidence exists that proves that reparative therapy actually works. In fact, given the high rates of depression and suicide attempts by those who have been through it, the process does more harm than good. If a consenting adult chooses to enter into such a program, that is their decision to make. However, forcing an unwilling adolescent into this is horrible, and is just inviting psychological damage.

In a blog entry, Zach posted some rules of the program he would soon be sent to. These had been sent to his parents via email, and were not intended to be known by participants in the program.

- Participants are not allowed to speak to anyone (even parents) for the first two days.
- Kids are not allowed to keep a journal or diary.
- They are not allowed to discuss the program and what goes on in it with anyone, not even family.
- They are allowed no physical contact with another person except for handshakes and pats on the shoulder, and only when approved.
- The are only allowed to listen to approved, Christian music. Bach and Beethoven are not considered Christian, and are therefor forbidden.
- They are not allowed to speak after 9 p.m. for any reason.
- They may be placed in a state of isolation in which they have no contact with anyone.
- Permission is needed to watch television, go online, read books, and make/receive phone calls from friends and family.
- Entering non-Christian book stores, music stores, and any restaurant that serves alcohol is forbidden.

Director John Smid has been reported as saying, "I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery." Please note that this is just hearsay from an ex-ex-gay person that hasn't been confirmed. Smid has denied ever saying this, although I admit that that doesn't convince me. And if he did say this (or something very similar) then I am very, very afraid for Zach and the other kids forced through this program.

In another disturbing bit of information, only two (!) staff members at Love in Action have college degrees in a field related to counseling. Truth be told, this doesn't seem to be all that unusual in reparative therapy programs.

Also, Mike Ditto makes a list of Love in Action rules and how they resemble cult rules.

You know, I hear people bash liberals and hippies all the time. After hearing stories like this, though, I would never give up my old-hippie parents for anything. They're not perfect, but at least they love and accept me for who I am. Coming out of the closet didn't change our relationship at all.

So I don't care what anyone else thinks. Thank the gods for hippies. And I pray that these kids emerge from this hate, fear, and ignorance filled program with their souls intact.
piasharn: (Tibetan Prayer Flag)
While the outcome of the election was disappointing, it was not unexpected. Yes, I was dearly hoping that Bush would get voted out, but I was also aware that it would be a very close race. What did surprise me was what issues nudged the votes in his favour.

This election was not won on foreign policy, the economy, homeland security, or the war in Iraq. This election was won primarily on "moral values"... namely, abortion and same-sex marriage (SSM).

Eleven states had anti-SSM propositions on the ballot that day. Every single one passed, including Michigan. While I am unsure about the details concerning the laws in other states, the passing of Proposition Two in Michigan is highly disheartening. I think that a lot of people voted for in under the mistaken impression that they were protecting marriage. I have a feeling that a lot of them did not realize that we already have laws that define marriage as only being a male-female union. I don't think that they knew that this proposition killed most, if not all, of the domestic partner benefits that we had managed to acquire.

However, despite all this, there is good news. In Massachusetts, all of the members of congress who opposed SSM were voted out. All of them. This means that, barring a constitutional amendment on a federal level (and I see little chance of that passing), SSM legislation is not in danger of being overturned there. After a while, the hubbub surrounding it will settle down. People will see that legalizing SSM will not cause the divorce rate to skyrocket or the sky to fall down atop of us. People will get used to the idea, and thus not have such a knee-jerk negative reaction when the issue is broached in the future.

Yes, we came on too fast and too strong with this. Yes, a backlash of this sort was to be expected. However, a lot of good also came from this. Massachusetts legalizing SSM was a big accomplishment, but that's not the whole of it.

I saw an amazing amount of support for gay rights in general. I saw people come out of the woodwork to support us, and I'm not talking about fellow GLBT people. I'm talking about straight people who didn't have to stand up with us. I'm referring to people who have gay friends, but never really thought about getting involved because gay rights are for gay people. I'm looking at the people who don't know any GLBT people, but stood up for us anyway, because they saw an injustice being perpetuated and did not want it to continue.

And because it needs to be said: thank you. Thank you to every heterosexual who stood along side us and raised your voice. You didn't have to do this. Your lives are not directly affected by our rights, or lack thereof. But you did it anyway, and I cannot fully express the gratitude that I feel.

For social change to occur, two things must happen. First, the minority group must stand up for themselves and push for equal rights. Second, members of the majority must give a compassionate pull to help them along. We cannot do this without you. Thanks to you, we have hope.

Thank you.
piasharn: (Default)
Marriage Amendment Fails

Thank you.

July 2012

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