Saturday, May 30, 2009

Breaking Down Anti-Marriage Arguments

If you're the type to get tongue tied in a gay marriage agrument with somone, study this clip by Rob Tisani. He pretty much outlines and precedes to lay waste to every argument anti-marriage activists throw out.

When Divas Collide!

Ever wondered what Patti and Tina, Mariah and Janet, or Beyonce and Rihanna would say if they really spoke their minds? Then get into the videos below, they are hilarious.

P.S. There are also more many more on Youtube.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beware the Google Scam!

I usually don't fall for these online get rich quick scams, but hey, I'm human (not to mention broke!). For those who are unaware there's some company going around offering you the chance to make hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars a day if you order Easy Google Profit kit and create websites that include Google advertisements. What makes this scam more believeable is a news article that pops up detailing the wonders of Easy Google Profit, including quotes and testimonials.

DON"T FALL FOR IT! The fine print, which I neglected to read, says that the company is unaffiliated with Google. They also didn't mention that if you don't cancel within 7 days you will be charged a fee of about $70 monthly, which I learned from customer complaint messages boards I visited after second thoughts started to creep in. But I really knew I'd been had when I tried to call back the number that the "representative" called me from and I got a "this number is not available or has been disconnected" phrase. The only legal way to make money off ads from Google is Adsense, which is completely free to sign up for. And trust, Google is not about to allow any and everybody to make thousands of dollars of day off advertising! (I should've seen the red lights, I know lol *smh:). Lucklily I was able to go to bank today and get my debit card canceled, so those lowdown bastards can't take me for anymore than the $1.97 I was initially charged.

Anyways the moral of the story is this: If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Eye Candy: Flo Rida

I just loooooooooooooooove a big, thick and tall man, or as one of my friends says, 'them big meal men." And Flo Rida definitely fits the bill. Get into the pics below if you don't believe lol:):

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ten Things To Know About Me....

I was tagged by Toddy to reveal 10 things about myself. Like to hear 'em, hear it goes:

1. I played alto saxophone in the school band from 6th to 9th grade, until my high school band teacher destroyed my love of band and I stopped (that could probably be a post by itself lol:).

2. During my freshman year of high school, I joined the Marine JROTC so I wouldn't have to take P.E.

3. Related to #2, I also have a fetish for the Marines lol. In my senior year I actually invited a Marine recruiter who spoke to my class to my house to tell me more about joining the few and proud because he was so Phine! Lol, probably one of my gayest moments.

4. I always tear up at the end of The Color Purple. I don't why, but it's something so joyous and simple about Celie and her sister reuniting and playing the same game they did as children as the credits role.

5. I can recite any line from any episode of The Golden Girls. Seriously.

6. Both my ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend are singers. Both of their mothers are also gay/bisexual.

7. I once flipped off my high school French teacher (of course her back was turned lol). I would never do that under normal circumstance, but that woman not only played favorites with her students, which I hate, she was stoned cold crazy. She used class time to talk about karma and the Bible, and actually got fired after it was discovered she was living in the school. When they cleaned out her desk they found a bible, a bottle of wine, and some shotgun shells. You be the judge.

8. When I was little I wrote a series of short horror stories entitled Beast Feast, which were modeled after the Goosebumps books. Some of the stories included The Videogame of Doom and The Hand from Hell (or something like that lol:).

9. Animals bring out the geek in me. I'll watch practically any program about almost any type of animal. Jackals, lions, ants, spiders, alligators, it doesn't matter.

10. I used to collect pogs. For those who don't know, pogs are milkcaps,which can be played for with another pog collector by slamming a stack of pogs with a slammer, and collecting the pogs that land face up. However, I never played for pogs because I wanted to perserve my precious milkcaps, lol.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Breaking My Spiritual Silence: My Relationship With Religion

The idea of God scared me as a child. At least the idea of an all-knowing, omnipresent one did. Being told that God was watching my every action, listening to every word I spoke and knowing every idea that entered my head was simultaneously comforting and disturbing, as I was also informed the Almighty was keeping a record of both my good and bad deeds, a list of pros and cons about my existence that would ultimately be judged to determine whether I spent eternity in peaceful paradise or a burning hell. Like most Southern black families, church was a weekly, required ritual at my house. By the time I was 8 or 9 I could recite all books of the Bible in order from memory, knew the biblical stories by heart, and was baptized (on Mother's Day no less). I always tried to stay awake during the sermons, no matter how long, and listen to the testimonies, no matter how long, because I knew God was watching I didn't want the crime of being bored in church added to my sin list.

Even as a kid, I always had questions about Christianity, from asking why the dinosaurs I'd been taught about in school weren't mentioned in the Bible, or since the devil was a fallen angel who sinned against God, could other heavenly creatures or believers, once they reach heaven, sin again? Or if God really wanted everyone to believe in him and not doubt, why wouldn't he just reveal himself and say "Hey everyone, it's God! I'm real! I exist!" and be done with it. Or what about the all the people who lived their whole lives and never heard about God? Did they just Pass, Go and collect $200 straight to heaven for their ignorance? It didn't seem right.

To these questions my parents, often my mother, would attempt to cite scripture or engage me, but these discussions would usually end with the classic and endlessly frustrating lines "We don't know for sure," "It'll all make sense when we get to heaven," or some variation. With that I would usually nod my head affirmatively, knowing somehow all my skepticism and questions would be answered by God in a X-files style revelation once I got to heaven.

As I entered my teens however, and the sexual feelings I had tried to suppress and deny became stronger and more pronounced, my world, as I knew it, was thrown into crisis. While I hadn't sat through too many Adam and Eve-not-Adam-and-Steve-style sermons, I'd seen and heard enough at school, home and church to know that if I was going to survive, I need to conceal my true self. Like all other questions I had in life, the Bible seemed like that obvious source for an answer. I looked up and read the scriptures condemning homosexuality and gay sex(Lawd knows I heard them enough to have them on speed dial in my mind) and followed my Sunday school teacher's advice to pray and ask God to take away whatever was sinful out of me.

All the while through junior high and high school I heard the whispers and rumors about my sexuality; one month I was banging one of the girls in the school band, the next my best friend and I were "gay together." I wasn't about to give them any truth to gossip about, so I stayed far and away from any of the obviously gay boys at school and never attempted fooling around with another guy.

I constructed a perfect, almost asexual facade, the sweet, polite Kevin who never rebelled, never talked back to his parents, and played piano for his mother's Sunday school. Friends, family, and even my music teacher pressed me about my lack of interest in girls, to which I quickly responded by going out on dates with girls I felt nothing for, or at least not enough to to claim a real attraction. All the while my faith was floundering. My prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears, and feelings of depression, guilt, and self-loathing that I'd managed to hold back for years seemed to flood my psyche. Everywhere I turned, from my church to the music that I listened to my friends to my family and school, I was confronted with constant negativity and hostility about gay people. I took all those stereotypes and swallowed them whole, believing everything I was taught about myself. The harder I tried to fit in, the more I seemed to stand out. I withdrew further, writing angry journal entries about my spiritual turmoil and shutting off my emotions so I wouldn't have to deal with what was going on in my life. God seemed to be on vacation, so I checked out as well.

By senior year it all became too much, so I took refuge in numbing myself with a daily dosage of marijuana. My friends had already been smoking, so, not wanting to appear as more an outsider than I already felt I was, I joined in with a vengeance. I'd smoke a few blunts everyday after school, and blew through at least 10-15 blunts during the weekend. Of course this increased the personal problems, as it became another skeleton in my closet, creating a guilt-ridden cycle. I'd feel like a failure because my sexuality wasn't changing, so I'd smoke to escape the pain. Then I'd felt like shit for smoking and lying to my parents about where I was all hours of the night, every night. Run-ins with the law, including being caught up in a police raid, didn't stop me. I'd tried at least five or six times to quit, but a few days or weeks later I'd be in somone's backseat sparking up. Which of course also made me feel like a failure. My plan was to go through life emotionless, and simply do what everyone else wanted me to do-- go to college, get a degree, marry a woman, pop out a few kids, and drop dead. And to toke until I choke so I wouldn't feel a damn thing through all of it.

Ironically, the beginnings of my spiritual rebirth happened courtesy of the Anti-Christ Superstar himself, Marilyn Manson, as I've blogged about previously. While I didn't realize it at the time, Manson's music and his attitude towards organized religion reawakened those seeds of doubt, skepticism, and questioning that had lain dormant since my obsessions with "fixing" my gayness became the defining focus of my life. I looked at the Bible, God and the concepts of religion and faith with fresh, critical eyes, and began reading gay blogs, books and essays by Michael Eric Dyson, Cornel West, and Horace L. Griffin, which took a more nuanced, less literal view of religious belief and homosexuality. I allowed myself to think of my homosexuality as a positive thing, allowed myself to see there is more than one way to look at the world, to become friends with and not fear others who identify as Wiccan, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist or any other religious belief and saw that being non-religious and being a moral human being are not mutually exclusive concepts.

I also realized that God wasn't on vacation or deaf. He was inside me the entire time. I just had to have the courage to stop living for others' approval and be my authentic self, which includes being gay. It's a life lesson I'm still learning to put into practice daily. As for my religious beliefs now, I definitely don't take everything in the Bible literally. I have a hard time believing Jonah lived in the belly of a whale, or that a 900-year old man (i.e. Noah) collected every single species of every single animal on the planet.

In addition the stories of the Israelites slaughtering women, men and children seem contradictory with the image of a peaceful, loving God, as well the idea of a virgin giving birth to a baby that's also supposed to be the same person as his father, whose in heaven, don't sit that well with me. Lastly, I see living, breath examples of people accomplishing things in their life, like losing weight or getting married, having successful careers or making it through hard times without calling on Jesus. And as far as morality, I would still not lie, steal or kill even if the Bible didn't say so. Sometimes I think the god in many religions is there as a symbol to help us focus less on material things and greedy self-interest and more on serving others.

However, I still go to church and pray, play piano for local churches and sing in a community choir. At times this contradictory stance gives me pause: I wonder what my life would be like if I never heard the words Jesus, bible, God, and sin. What kind of person would I be? How sooner would I have accepted my sexuality? To be honest I'm really sure what my religious beliefs are at this point. I'm definitely not a fundamentalist Christian, but I'm not a militant atheist either. I guess the difference now is that I'm allowing myself to entertain these thoughts, to see that spirituality/personal belief is a continuous evolution, not an open-and-shut case. And it's not that scary after all.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eye Candy:Hosea Chanchez

Yes Pooch Hall is cute, but whenever Hosea Chanchez, aka Malik Wright from The Game, comes on screen I can't help but stare. Sorry I couldn't find more shirtless pics, but you I know tried my best, LOL!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Throwback Mix: 90's Mariah

Don't get me wrong, MiMi has made some hot tracks in the 2000s, and I loved The Emancipation of Mimi, but few could match her string of hits in the nineties. Vision of Love, Emotions, Dreamlover, Honey, and one my personal favorites, Fantasy. Relive some of Mariah's magic moments by getting into the clips below:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Five Down, 45 To Go

Same-sex marriage became legal in Maine today after Gov. John Baldacci signed a bill after it passed through the state legislature(damn does that sentence remind of the Bill song from School House Rock? Lol) anyways, the governor had this to say on his decision to sign the bill:

"I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage," said Baldacci, a Democrat.

But he raised the possibility that the residents of the state would overturn the law, saying, "Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people."

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian rights organization, praised Maine's new law.

"This law is simply about making sure that loving, committed couples, and their families, receive equal rights and responsibilities. This is a step that will strengthen Maine families," Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

New Hampshire lawmakers are currently considering a similar bill, but have not reach a decision yet. Maine now joins Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts as states that marry gay couples. Hopefully this wave of equality will flow down South.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Message From Morehouse

In recent years the name Morehouse has become synonymous with homophobia due to incidents such as one in 2002 where a student Gregory Loyd was beaten with a baseball bat by Aaron Price because he mistakenly looked at him shower, thinking it was his roommate.

However, a recent speech by Morehouse president Robert M. Franklin challenged the men of Morehouse to achieve excellence and embrace diversity. While the whole speech, detailed in an op-ed by Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King, is great, this point really stood out:

"Straight men," Franklin said, "should learn more about the outlooks and contributions of gay men. Read a book by a gay author. Have an intelligent conversation with a gay neighbor." Franklin reminded the Morehouse students: "At a time when it was truly scandalous to have homosexual friends or associates, Dr. King looked to Bayard Rustin, a black gay man, as a trusted adviser. And, Malcolm X regarded James Baldwin, a black gay man, as a brilliant chronicler of the black experience."

You can read the rest of the speech here.

h/t Son of Baldwin

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Who Knew?

That John Legend was so in shape. Dayuum, lol! Thankfully visual proof of this discovery was taken by the papaparazzi as Mr. Legend was walking his dog. Get into the pics below:

You can view more here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Is Gay Marriage New?

Opponents of gay marriage often say to allow gays to marry would be redefining marriage(as if it hasn't been redefined before), and engaging in a radical social experiment. However, if they were look back through history, they would find, as my mother often says that there is nothing new under the sun. While these marriages were sometimes more about inheritance and maintaining the family name than love or sexual orientation, they prove that same-sex marriage is not a new invention. Time for a history lesson kiddies:)

Let's start in Africa--oh yes all you Afrocentrists who'd swear on Marcus Garvey's grave that gay folks never existed in Africa--you are wrong. According to this excerpt from Stephen O. Murrary's book Boy-wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities(which I still need to read lol:):

Woman-woman marriage has been documented in more than 30 African populations, including the Yoruba and Ibo of West Africa, the Nuer of Sudan, the Lovedu, Zulu and Sotho of South Africa, and the Kikuyu and Nandi of East Africa. Typically, such arrangements involved two women undergoing formal marriage rites; the requisite bride price is paid by one party as in a heterosexual marriage. The woman who pays the bride price for the other woman becomes the sociological 'husband'. The couple may have children with the help of a 'sperm donor', who is a male kinsman or friend of the female husband, or a man of the wife's own choosing, depending on the customs of the community. The female husband is the sociological father of any resulting offspring. The children belong to her lineage, not to their biological father's.

Formalized, socially-recognized relations between two men also exist in Africa. Among the Zande (located in southwestern Sudan, northeastern Congo, and the Central African Republic), a male warrior could marry a teenage boy by paying bridewealth to the boy's parents. The man addressed the boy-wife's parents as his in-laws, and performed services for them as befitted a son-in-law. Unlike women-women marriages, man-boy marriages end when the boy comes of age. The former boy-wife can now take his own boy wives, and his former husband can marry another boy-wife.

Native Americans also recognized gays and lesbians in their tribes as two-spirit people, and thought of them as being gifted with supernatural powers and shamanistic abilities. They also supported alternate gender roles for both men and women. Among the Mohave, "men have married alyha (biological males who are officially initiated into a 'female' gender role) and women have married hwame (the female equivalent of alyha)."

Records in ancient China detail committment ceremonies between women in "A Record of China's Customs: Guangdong." If a woman was interested in another woman, she would prepare gifts such as peanut candy, a date, or other gifts for her crush. If the other woman accepted the gifts she also accepted the proposal. A contract ceremony followed by a celebration with friends and plenty of drink happened afterwards. The new couple would then "become like each other's shadows in sitting, lying down, rising, and living." However if one of the women broke the contract she would subjected to a "hundred humiliation." (You know some folks don't take breakups well, lol).

Same-sex marriages among men were also recognized in the neighboring city of Fujian:

The Fujianese take male-on-male passion very seriously. Men from all strata of society form partnerships within their own social classes. The older man is the "sworn older brother", and the younger man is the "sworn younger brother". When the "older brother" goes to the home of his "younger brother", the parents of the "younger brother" treat him like a son-in-law. From henceforth, any living costs or heterosexual marriage expenses of the "younger brother" will be paid by the "older brother". Those who love each other ... also sleep together as spouses.
Similar to the Zande model in Central Africa, Fujian boy-marriages involved a man paying bridewealth to a teenage boy's parents, and the union typically ended when the boy came of age, though there were exceptions. Sometimes same-sex couples adopted and raised children.

In Europe historical evidence such as legal documents and gravesites also give evidence same-sex unions existed in medieval France. During this time people often signed documents, called affrèrement, translated as brotherment, which had many similarities to marriage contracts. While these affrèrements were used for families in transfering property and inhieritance, they were also used for non-relatives as well. According to Allen A. Tulchin, historian at Shippensburg University in Pennyslvania:

The effects of entering into an affrèrement were profound. As Tulchin explains: “All of their goods usually became the joint property of both parties, and each commonly became the other’s legal heir. They also frequently testified that they entered into the contract because of their affection for one another. As with all contracts, affrèrements had to be sworn before a notary and required witnesses, commonly the friends of the affrèrés.”

Tulchin argues that in cases where the affrèrés were single unrelated men, these contracts provide “considerable evidence that the affrèrés were using affrèrements to formalize same-sex loving relationships. . . . I suspect that some of these relationships were sexual, while others may not have been. It is impossible to prove either way and probably also somewhat irrelevant to understanding their way of thinking. They loved each other, and the community accepted that. What followed did not produce any documents.”

He concludes: “The very existence of affrèrements shows that there was a radical shift in attitudes between the sixteenth century and the rise of modern antihomosexual legislation in the twentieth.”

All of this is not to say that we should follow all the traditions (i.e. humiliating someone if they want out of a marriage or shacking up with teenage boys) of same-sex unions throughout history, but it is to explain the fact that same-sex marriage is not some new master plan of "the gay agenda" or a sign of the apocalypse, as some folks want to believe. Every culture and society throughout history has had to deal with this issue one way or another, and has responded either negatively or positively.

However, in more recent times countries like Canada, Sweden, South Africa, Norway, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands, as well U.S. states Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts, have legalized gay marriage, and the world has not blown to bits. Straight folks are still shacking up, hooking up, getting hitched, and breaking up. So I guess my question to gay marriage opponents is since the idea of same-sex marriage is nothing new, has been proven not to be disastrous in other countries, does not pose a threat to straight folks or the nuclear family, and is going to be treated as a separate, civil, legal ceremony: WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?

*Sorry for the long post. I guess I was in a journalistic mood lol:).
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