Thursday, March 31, 2011

Here We Are Now, Legalize Us


The Washington State legislature has voted to recognize all valid out-of-state same-sex marriages. According to the Associated Press:

"On a 28-19 vote, the Senate cleared the last hurdle for the bill.  Under the measure, gay marriages performed elsewhere would be recognized as domestic partnerships here, as well as domestic partnerships performed in other states.

Currently, five states, the District of Columbia and Canada allow same-sex marriages. Washington becomes the fourth state to approve a similar bill, following Rhode Island, New York and Maryland. The measure enjoyed wide support among Democrats. It passed the House 58-39, mostly on party-line votes."

Side note: Five points to anyone who can guess where the inspiration for this post's title came from! Good luck!

H/t Rod 2.0

Random Jam Of The Day: Madonna "Get Together"



A little predictable that my jam would be a Madonna track, but so what lol. This song (in fact the whole Confessions On A Dancefloor album) instantly transports me back to freshman year in college. Good times Listen below:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Magazine For LGBT Military Members Announced


An adovcacy group is announcing a magazine made for and by gay military members. Outserve, an underground organization made up of active U.S. service members who are lesbian, gay, bi or transgender, produces the publication, which may soon be displayed at military stations around the world.

"Our first objective with the magazine is to let all the gay, lesbian, bi, and trans members currently serving know that they are not alone," an active-duty officer who goes by the pseudonym JD Smith said in a statement. "Visibility is key," Smith said, who added that OutServe hopes to have its next version available in print at "some larger military bases."


The magazine is currently available for download online. The magazine will also contain features on how the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell " will be implemented, as well as pertinent information for LGBT military members.

"We also want to communicate to all troops that there are capable gay military members serving honorably, and that accepting that and moving on will make our military stronger," said Smith.

Read the full article HERE.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mollie, I'm On Ganga Girl!



If you recall my "O Ms. Celie" post a few months back, then you are already well aware that Whoopi isn't adverse to popping a pill (or two) when faced with a nerve-wracking situation such as flying. It turns out being nominated for an Oscar is also a panic-inducing event for Whoopi. Enough so that she needed to spark up before accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress in Ghost. A career highlight in more ways than one. According to CNN.com:

"Smoking cigarettes and pot every now and then are my habits. And so I thought, I've got to relax. So I smoked this wonderful joint that was the last of my home grown," she says in the video.

In fact, Goldberg was so high that she was worried about making it to the podium when presenter Denzel Washington announced that she had won an Oscar for Ghost.

"When he said my name and I popped up, I thought, Oh f-! ...OK, up the stairs ... around to the podium … there's millions of people, pick up the statue, get the statue," she says in the clip.

Goldberg's mother later called and asked if she had smoked prior to the event. "Your eyes were just glistening," she told her daughter.

Mama knows child! You can watch Whoopi talk about her Oscar night misadventures in a 1992 recording session clip obtained by TMZ here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Are We The Boys We Want? A Masculine Guy's Perspective



Recently a few blogs have been discussing the video/poem posted by Yolo Akili entitled Are we the kind of boys we want? In between spoken word rhymes black gay men talk about what they look for in a man and answer whether or not they would date themselves.

So would I date me if I saw me walking down the street? And started to cry each time we meet (oops that's Dionne Warrick). Anyway, I'm not sure if I would. On the one hand, I'm 5'10 with a medium build (damn am I on Adam for Adam?) and a handsome guy if I do say so myself, so I'd definitely catch my eye on a physical level. I'm creative, smart, very giving, easy going and have a wicked sense of humor. But on the other hand, I can be moody at times and very reserved emotionally. Plus my intellectual curiosity can sometimes get the best of me, and I can be over analytical about things and get lost in my own head. I think I would need someone who is earthy, more outwardly emotional and straight forward to balance me out. So...I'd love to be close friends with me, but I'd don't think I'd date me.

With that said, this emphasis (or let's be real) obsession with masculinity in the black gay community is problematic. So many guys are in search of the straight-acting gay holy grail, that they're willing to dismiss anyone who doesn't fit that criteria, no matter how good they may be. And what the hell does straight-acting even mean really? My dad is one of the most masculine men I know, but he watches soap operas (The Bold And The Beautiful to be exact). One of my roommates in college was straight but was a theater and dance major. Another straight guy I know hardly ever drinks hard liquor but loves daiquiris instead, while another guy loves Patti Labelle, but he is straight (hard to believe but it's true:). My point being, straight men don't always "act straight" so why should we as gay men expect that of each other?

While I personally feel I sway between the masculine and feminine, my overall aura/energy is more masculine, so I do feel qualified to speak more from that perspective. I can say from personal experience that masculine guys do feel pressure from fem guys to be the "man" in the relationship. I've had men expect me to always pay their way when going out(and their bills-so didn't happen!) and go to work everyday while they play the woman's role. I don't get why we would want to imitate straight couples, when clearly isn't working for them! Even in my current relationship, there was pressure at beginning for me to be more aggressive, to take charge and play more of the alpha male role. But I made it clear that that's never been who I am. I can be aggressive when it comes to pursuing things I want, but being some controlling, wannabe homothug is so not the business.

I like to lift weights. But I also love to read books. I like Ice Cube, Naughty By Nature, Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Slipknot and loads of other hip hop and hard rock. But I also love Madonna, Janet, Mary, Beyonce, Diana, Whitney and the rest of the diva brigade. I like Entourage, Menace To Society, Goodfellas, Diehard, American Pie, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Friday, Family Guy and any other assortment of gangster, gross out and/or action flicks. But I can laugh my ass off at and appreciate films like Paris Is Burning, Changeling, Mean Girls, Bring It On, The Notebook, Waiting To Exhale  and Clueless.

I'm not some rough piece of trade that doesn't know that two plus two equals four. And I'm not a super femme queen who's sole purpose is to get their life in the club every weekend. I'm a whole human being, and so are other black gay men, be they more naturally masculine or feminine in nature. True, in any relationship each person is inevitably going to fall into some traditional roles. You may have an eye for interior design that your man doesn't. Or you may be more mechanical than he is, so you fix things around the house. But to resign ourselves to these cartoonish hypermasculine and hyperfeminine roles will only lead to disaster.

What's important in any relationship, be it gay or straight, is that the individuals in it are not trying to fulfill some fantasy for the other person, but are being loved and appreciated for who they are. On a side note, it would be interesting to find out if this same thing goes on in the lesbian community (i.e. an obsession with femininity). It probably doesn't, since women are allowed to cross gender norms in their appearance and personal interests in a way men aren't, regardless of their orientation.

Anyway, watch the video below, and tell me what you think.

New Music: Lady Gaga "Born This Way (The Country Road Version)"


Take a listen to the country road version of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." It's a stylistic departure that surprisingly works, ditching the disco stomp of the original for a bluesy, country rock throw down that retains the song's sassy edge. A good creative curve ball on what could've otherwise been a hot mess.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random Thought: Forgiveness


If forgiveness is really not for the other person but really for you (i.e so you can let go of the negative feelings you have toward that person and not become consumed by bitterness, rage, hurt etc.) doesn't that make it a selfish act? Yes it could also affect the other person if they are still a part of you life, but if they've long since vanished after inflicting pain upon you, isn't forgiveness purely for your own benefit? Should we change Alexander Pope's saying to "To err is human. To forgive is self-serving?" Discuss.

R.I.P Elizabeth Taylor



The legendary Elizabeth Taylor died this morning of congestive heart failure. She was 79.

Truth be told, I've never been into Elizabeth Taylor.  Let's be honest, most people in my generation know her best for those White Diamonds commercials that still air occasionally, and less for roles like Cleopatra and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf. But I recognize a true Hollywood icon when I see one.

Moreover, she was one of the first major celebrities (even before my Grand Diva Madonna) to speak out forcefully about the AIDS crisis. She founded the American Foundation For Aids Research (Amfar) after the death of close friend Rock Hudson in 1985, and received a special Academy award for her tireless efforts in 1993.

 As of 2000, she'd raised $120 million for both Amfar and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.'I am on a crusade against Aids and I'll battle forever even after a cure is found,' she once said.

Rest in peace Liz.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'll Smite You Like Ryu!

The pastor captured in the video below seems to lay hands on people in his own special. So special that someone hilariously decided to add Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter sounds to the mix. Watch below:

Malaysia Bans Pro-Gay Lady Gaga Lyrics



Seems like Malaysia isn't feeling the pro-gay Gaga love. The conservative, Muslim majority country has taken issue with some of the singer's lyrics in her hit "Born This Way," to the point of censoring some of the lines. According to Popeater.com:


"Radio stations in Malaysia have made the decision to censor the track, replacing lyrics like "no matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life" with garbled sounds.

A statement from Malaysia's largest private station, AMP Radio Networks, defended the call, saying, "The particular lyrics in 'Born This Way' may be considered as offensive when viewed against Malaysia's social and religious observances." It continued, "The issue of being gay, lesbian or [bisexual] is still considered as a 'taboo' by general Malaysians" -- as well as the government, which can impose fines on broadcasters for infringing on the ban. "

Pang Khee Teik, co-founder of Sexuality Independence, an anti-sexual discrimination group in Malaysia, didn't agree with the decision, and believes such actions by the media fuel ignorance and hate. "We just want the same thing as everyone else: to love, be loved and have our songs played on the radio," he said.

Lady Gaga isn't the first artist to feel the wrath of Malaysia's censorship. Fellow diva Rihanna agreed to change her costumes to fit the country's strict performance guidlines when she performed there in 2009, while Beyonce pulled the plug on her 2007 performance when groups threantened to protest the show. And last year a Muslim group protested openly gay singer Adam Lambert's performance even after he agreed to follow performance guidelines.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Wanna Pray The Gay Away?" There's An App For That!


And I'm not kidding. Exodus International, an "ex-gay" organization that believes LGBT people can change their sexual orientation, has created an i-Phone application that, according to its website, is " "designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders." Exodus' website also says their app has been given a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning it contains no "objectionable content."

But we all know better. Exodus International, like many "ex-gay ministries," holds out the empty promise  that you can be "repaired (repaired from what exactly? Being happy and well adjusted?)" or healed from your abominable condition with just enough prayer and scripture. Oh, and playing sports to butch you up if you're a big queen and makeup tips if you're a stud. All the while telling you that accepting your natural orientation will "make your heart sick" and is at best, counterfeit.

Nevermind the fact that reparative therapy has been dismissed by pretty every professional medical organization, including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association

Truth Wins Out has started a petition on Change.org to remove the "ex-gay app" from iTunes. You can add your name to the petition here.

Ex-NFL Player Wade Davis Comes Out


Via Son Of Baldwin:

Former NFL player Wade Davis, who played with the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and eventually the Washington Redskins from 2000 to 2004, has come out as gay. Davis' public announcement coincides with his participation in the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network's "Changing The Game" program, which is designed to fight against homophobia in K thru 12 athletics by starting a dialogue about the issue.

In a video Davis explains the pressure he felt to hide his sexuality while in the NFL, and to avoid those who were suspected of being gay or bisexual as well. He also encourages young LGBT athletes to be proud of who they are. Watch the clip below:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Student Kicked Out Of Dorm For Being Gay


How's this for an introduction into "the real world?" Jesse Cruz, a junior at Seton Hall in New Jersey, is suing the university for emotional and psychological trauma after he says was unfairly evicted because he is gay. According to New Jersey paper The Record:

Jesse Cruz, a junior studying public relations, said he registered for a dorm room last August, paid close to $4,000 for a full semester of housing, and was assigned to a double room at Xavier Hall.

His roommate, however, complained that he did not want to share a room with Cruz, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in federal court in Newark.

The school’s policy is that any student who is not happy with their living arrangement for any reason can ask to be moved on “Room Change Day,” and school officials will find them another room. In Cruz’s case, however, school officials moved Cruz to a room in another dormitory building instead of moving the other student, Cruz’s attorney, Rosemarie Arnold said Tuesday.

 A lawyer for the university disagreed with Cruz's allegations though, writing "the University has never taken any action against Mr. Cruz based on his sexual preference." Since the incident occurred, Cruz has moved back into his dorm room and has not had any problems with his new roommate. Read the whole story here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rapper Nate Dogg Dead At 41


Rapper/singer Nate Dogg is dead at the age of 41. Born Nathaniel D. Hale, he was an integral part of the west coast rap scene, collaborating on tracks like Warren G's "Regulate" and Dr. Dre's "Next Episode," as well as hits by rappers like Westside Connection 50 Cent, Eminem and Fabolous.

Close friend and collaborator Snoop Dogg confirmed the news, tweeting "RIP NATE DOGG," and later tweeted: "We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met."

Hale had been battling health complications after suffering two strokes in recent years.  Watch a few of Nate Dogg's greatest collaborations below:







Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh Snap! A Response To The ULCA Chick's Racist Asian Rant

Look at this hilarious response to the UCLA valley girl's incredibly racist rant against Asians and improper library decorum. Which in her whacked out mind only occurs among Asians (particularly the Chinese-which weren't even harmed in the tsunami! Like oh my god, get your nationalities right!)

A Penny Saved....

Is a credit card bill paid! Watch this news report of a man who tries to pay his $6,500 Chase credit card bill entirely in pennies. As Bea Arthur once said "These are desperate times Rose!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

For The Christians, Wiccans, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Shakers and Quakers...


I know that there are many reasons for both non-belief and belief in a God, Allah, Krishna and other supernatural deities. Currently I do attend church sporadically and occasionally watch a sermon on TV, but my Christian status is, how should I say, currently under harsh review (see God, The Mountain Climber and Faith for more details). But this is a random question that I've been stewing over, which has been made all the more pertinent by the horrific situation in Japan and the unbelievably moronic "God Is Good" video by some wacky fundamentalist chick about the tragedy:



Why do you believe/don't believe in God? For those who are theists (a.k.a believers), why/how do you continue to believe in spite of the vast amount of suffering and evil in the world? Despite stories in the bible that detail God commanding the Israelites to slaughter tribes of women and children, and laws saying women who are raped have to marry thier rapists? For atheist/agnostics: At what point did you realize did you come to the realization  that you no longer believe? And have you made your non-belief known? What are your reasons for not believing?

The are no wrong answers. Just keep it civil.

Update: The video is hoax posted by a confessed atheist troll. But the question still stands.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hate Crime Survivor Speaks Out


Twenty-three-year old Justin Aslena was savagely attacked when he went into a Detriot convenience store to buy some cigarettes. Another customer started yelling anti-gay slurs and then punched Aslena in the face twice, shattering his eye.

To add insult to injury, no one in the store--not the other customers, or the store clerk--did anything to help him. In fact the clerk told him to leave! After he was attacked! Un-fucking-believable!

As a victim of gay-bashing myself, I know first-hand how bewildering and devastating it is to suffer an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by someone who really doesn't know you over something that has nothing to do with them. And to witness others watching and even laughing as the carnage unfolds. Mr. Aslena was brave enough to post a video on YouTube detailing his attack. Pass it along to whoever you can or post it on your blog. This story needs to been seen and heard.

Into The Heart Of Ignorance


I saw this over on Son Of Baldwin and had to post it. In his video for "F*ck A Book," comedian Aries Spears hilariously swekers the arrogantly ignorant, money-over-bitches, materialistic gettin'-money-by-any means philosophy that is all too pervasive in much of modern day hip hop. And like all good parodies, its humor is only dampened by the fact that it seems tragically all too real.

While I do feel "party" music is just as necessary to hip hop and other musical genres as more introspective/intellectual stuff (you can't fight the power 24/7), it is the lack of creativity and innovation that bothers me. Naughty By Nature, Biggie, Missy, Wyclef, Outkast and others have all created what could be labeled as "ignant party music," but still managed to embue their songs with some measure of artistic ingenuity, be it the flow, the production or the visuals, something that many "ringtone anthems" lack.

Watch below:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recommended Reading: A History Of God



For those interested in the history of the Big 3 (otherwise known as Christianity, Judaism and Islam) and how they evolved through the centuries, Karen Armstrong's A History Of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is a great read.

Armstrong, a journalist and former nun, is very knowledgeable about her subject, giving a thorough analysis of the cultural, political and societal influences that lead to the creation of the three major religions, as well as how they interacted with and influenced each other.

While A History Of God is extremely interesting, it is not light reading. Unless you've already been acquainted with religious study, it will take more than a quick glance to understand some of the terminology and concepts. But Armstrong does a good job of making complex ideas understandable and engaging. While there's a lot you can take from the book, the three main ideas I gleaned from it were:

  1. Religion is less divine revelation and more practical application. In other words, people will only believe in and hold on to a certain image/version of God as long as it works for them. If it ceases to be effective, then it is cast aside. The reinvention of God as taken place throughout history over and over again, as changes in society, political upheaval, cultural norms and scientific/technological advancement cause people to reassess God.
  2. The idea of a personal, anthropomorphic God that exists in a separate reality is dangerous (no surprise there:), because it allows us to attach our own prejudices and fears to it. "God, "simply becomes a bigger version of ourselves, which can lead to such atrocities as the genocides detailed in the bible, the Crusades, The Holocaust, slavery etc. 
  3. God works better when he is viewed as an imaginative symbol of an indescribable reality, a reality that is a subjective experience for each individual achieved through meditation, quiet concentration or other techniques for getting in touch with one's "inner self."
Whether you're religious or non-religious, A History Of God is an informative, insightful book.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo Supports Marriage Equality


Via Rod 2.0

So often we hear (or think/assume) of athletes as being homophobic or ignorant when it comes to sexuality. Thankfully Ravens linebacker Brend Ayanbadejo (along with the supersexy Will Demps and Charles Barkley) is not one of those athletes.

Ayanbadejo has been a supporter of marriage equality for years. In 2009 he wrote an piece for the Huffington Post that pointed out the transparent hypocrisy of anti-gay opponents: "If Britney Spears can party it up in Vegas with one of her boys and get married on a whim and annul her marriage the next day, why can’t a loving same sex couple tie the knot?"

Now he's lent his voice to the marriage debate in Maryland, taping a spot as part of Equality Maryland's campaign in an effort to urge others to support equality.
 
"Having the freedom to marry means committed couples and their children will have the same crucial protections under the law as other families. Churches can always have their beliefs, but government is supposed to treat everybody the same, and that’s equal. America is supposed to be the land of the free but in order for this to be true for all of us, then we must have the ability to marry whom we love regardless of their gender."


Fine, articulate and gay-friendly? Glad he's on our side. Watch the video below:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby I'm A Creep


I promise this is the last music mashup for a minute. Well I sorta promise lol, because when I happened upon this is was too good not to post. Same instructions as the last two times: if you mute TLC's video for "Creep" and play Brandy's "Baby" the girls' routine(and the overall tone of the video) seem to go together. Probably because both tracks have the same mid-tempo groove and laid-back, mid-90's feel. Try it out below:



Sunday, March 6, 2011

Breaking Down Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"


Having trouble understanding all of the Metropolis-meets-Sin City-meets-Superman imagery in Lady Gaga's latest epic video for "Born This Way?"  Or do you just think the Strange-inspired birth scene is a little icky?

Freelance writer Aylin Zafar has a very interesting and in-depth take on the whole spectacle, and analysis the clip and all its references, from start to finish. For example, Zafar explains the pink inverted triangle and unicorn at the opening of the video:

Our journey into Lady Gaga's space-age utopia opens with some telling, very Gaga imagery set against the opening music from Vertigo, scored by Bernard Herrmann. The film was directed by the master of psychological thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock, who is one of the singer's noted inspirations. The clip opens with an inverted pink triangle, a symbol for gay rights, but originally used as badge required to be worn by homosexual men in Nazi concentration camps. In case you've been living under a rock, "BTW" is about gender equality and gay rights, so no surprise here.



Within the triangle, we see a city skyline (a heavy nod to Metropolis, but more on that later) and...a unicorn. Whee! The unicorn matters for several reasons: not just campy and fun, the unicorn serves as a metaphor for strength in the Hebrew Bible—depicted as "powerful, fierce, wild"—which is what Gaga is championing here. Perhaps even more interesting is the unicorn's medieval significance: The creature was popularized during that time through a story about a unicorn who was tamed by a virgin maiden; the unicorn became a symbol for the relationship between Virgin Mary and Christ—pure love and immaculate conception. And, wouldn't you know it, Lady Gaga describes the process of recording "Born this Way" to Vogue in their latest issue, saying: "the gates just opened, and the songs kept coming. It was like an immaculate conception."

Read the full piece here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Black Ministers Apologize To LGBT Community


There's a headline you don't see everyday. According SGLUniverse, several Washington D.C. ministers met with LGBT folks to apologize for the treatment they faced at the hands of the church.

Hosted by Pastor Anthony E. Moore and Carolina Missionary Baptist Church on Feb. 19th, the community, local churches and members of the LGBT community were asked to come together for "an opportunity for people to express their thoughts and feelings" on the topic of homosexuality and the church. The dialogue was not to include a dialogue on the theological position on homosexuality. Instead the focus was on the church, the place that is supposed to be a house of love, "was often the most uncaring and unsafe place for these individuals when they were at their most vulnerable."



Pastor Keith Battle, attended on behalf of Zion Church, and pastors from other sponsoring churches included Pilgrim Baptist Church in D.C. and New Vision Church in Bowie, Md.


Pastor Moore offered his apology "pledging to continue the dialogue and to make concerted efforts to make his ministry more inclusive of members of the LGBT community."

A sign of a larger movement or change taking place in the black religious community? Let's hope so. Read the full piece at The Root.
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