Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thank you Mr. Lopez - Great Video

Thank you to Taylor Siluwe (The Gayte Keeper) for sharing this video with me. This is pretty powerful, or atleast it was for me. And if doesn't move you a little then there is something wrong with you. We will NEVER see anything like this in the U.S. Just goes to show you that we're not as progessive as we think we are.

Miami Sizzle Brings the Heat

One of my favorite bloggers, Lonnell of 3LWTV really captured the jump off of Miami Sizzle on his latest video post at his site. Looks like the kids were in the house in Florida for Memorial Day weekend. Now I've done black Pride in Hotlanta, L.A. and D.C., but I've yet to make it down to Miami. And when you get to the other side of 30 (atleast it's this way for me) getting to all the Prides just isn't as necessary as it used to be. A girl gets married and gets up there in age and all I'm thinking about on a holiday weekend is getting some sleep. But when I see videos like this I start to reminisce. It makes me want to jump on plane and punk with kids just one mo' time. But then I see the sofa and think I'm just gonna go and lay it down for a bit. But Lonnell thank you for keeping us filled in on the goings down from Miami.

DC Black Pride - What Does Pride Me to You?

Justin B. Smith of Justin's HIV Journal just did a great report from DC's Black Pride. Though I love me some Black Pride and I understand why it's important to our community, I just don't feel the need to do the Pride scene like I used to. Age tends to slow a girl down. But I'm always interested in how the festivals went. How was turn out? Who performed? Did the kids show out? You know - I need to know the degaga.

So I went browsing thru YouTube to see if anyone had posted from Memorial Day weekend the goings down from the capital. Justin did a terrific job interviewing some of those in attendance and getting feedback as to why they thought Black Pride was important. Get into the video below.

Maya Angelou Lobbying for Gay Marriage

Ms. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou, one of my favorite poets/ authors in the world, is lobbying New York Senators on behalf of the LGBT community. Maya is a resident of Harlem and has placed three phone calls this week to senators asking for their support of same-sex marriage. According to the 81 year old, allowing gay and lesbian couples the right to marry is only a matter of fairness. Kudos to Maya. I knew I loved her for a reason.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Whoop That Trick - Get 'Em

This reporter, her name is Brenda Lee, showed up at Air Force One wanting to give President Obama a letter. The letter was apparently her plea for our leader to uphold the traditional version of marriage between man and woman and to not allow same-sex unions. Since the President was not there upon her arrival she asked a member of secret service if he would give the letter to the President. He refused and told Ms. Lee she could see the White House staff for that. She decided she would wait. That's when things got interesting. She was asked to leave. She wouldn't. So the agents promptly did what needed to be done. They dragged her ass away kicking and screaming. Oh well . . .

Desmond Tutu - Gay Ally

While speaking at the Church of Scottland General Assembly on Tuesday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu received a standing ovation for his speech in support of gay clergy. He called on his church to be welcoming of all, inspite of sexuality. Tutu has never been shy about condemning his own church for any type of homophobic behaviour. He is quick to question why his church would be concerned about gay issues when there are pressing issues like hunger, poverty and disease.

According to Tutu, "In this family there are no outsiders. All, all, are insiders. All are children of our heavenly father: the rich, the poor, the lame, the blind, the clever, the not so clever, the white, the black, the red, the yellow. All, all, all. The Palestinians, the Israelis, Al Quaeda, Bin Laden, George Bush. I will draw all into this embrace of love. All. Lesbians, gays, so called straights. All, all, all. We are family. We are sister and brothers."

Though it looked like the Anglican church was headed in the right direction with the appointment of an openly gay minister last weekend, the church came right behind this decision and passed a two-year ban on new appointments of gay ministers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Arizona Reponds to Prop 8 Decision

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of California rendered it's decision regarding the constitutionality of Prop 8. The decision came as a mighty blow to the LGBT community as they decided that Prop 8 is constitutional. This means that same-sex couples will not be permitted to marry in the state of California. The court did however decide that the 18,000 couples that married prior to the ban will continue to be recognized. Though this is good news for the 18,000; the impact this has on the over community has been devastating.

In most cities yesterday people took to the streets shouting there disappointment. Phoenix was no exception. There were several couples on site that made the journey to California to conduct there weddings. I think there was a consensus to there feelings, though they were relieved that there unions are still recognized, they're still very discouraged by the events of the day. Basically the rights of the few have been stripped away by the majority and that just isn't right.

It was amazing to see people gathered for this cause. Protestors carried banners and posters. Couples held hands. People chanted and marched. The energy of the crowd was amazing and enthusiastic. But today is a new day and I'm left wondering what's going to happen next. I don't think I have the patience to see this fight carried out on a state by state basis. We will NEVER see marriage equality that way. We need a repeal of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) that was promised us. But I'm getting more and more afraid that our President has no plans on making this happen.

If you like to see more pics from the event go here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sexual Molestion and the Black Community

Sadly enough molestation is a reality for many people I know. I don't feel comfortable saying that it happens to many African-Americans, but I do personally know many Black folks that have this as part of stories. Male and female. Straight and gay. I unfortunately have been told by many that they have family members that sexually molested them.

There are some people that use this as an excuse for the sexual orientation. I love Rahsaan Patterson's music soooo much and I admire that he came out as homosexual a couple of years ago. But I was disappointed to hear him say that the reason he is now gay is because he was molested as a kid. It is sad and unfortunate and inappropriate. But I don't think it will make you gay if you are indeed straight.

But the personal testimony coming from YouBoiNewNue in the video below was just too powerful for me to sleep on. He is speaking from his heart. And he's not passing blame or showing shame, he's just speaking his truth. And for real, there is a balm that comes from speaking your truth.

This inappropriate behaviour was never part of my story and I fortunate in saying that. My family was very loving and supportive across the board. Mom, dad, uncles, aunts, grantmothers. All loving. None acting a fool - not toward me anyway. And I thankful for this fact as I watch the video below.

Ursula Burns Named New CEO of Xerox

Though I love being an advocate for the LGBT community, my bread and butter is Xerox Corporation. I joined the Xerox family in 1997 and I've been very happy with the company. But I began to glow just a bit more yesterday when I received the email that our current CEO, Anne Mulcany, will be resigning from her position and the current president of the company, Ursula Burns will become the CEO effective July 1. That's not to say I'm happy that Anne is leaving. Mulcany has done a fabulous job running the company. I honestly believe she is the person that saved us from bankruptcy or from being acquired by one of our competitors. But I'm just extremely excited to learn that a sistah will be running the company.

I know the short hair in the photo may fool you, but don't get it twisted, Ursula is very much heterosexual. She is happily married with two kids. This transition will make Xerox the largest company ran by an African-American woman. Do yo thang Ursula. I'm not a hater. I get elated when I learn that black folks are doing powerful, influential positive things. I'm sure she will do an amazing job in her new position.

Teena Marie Interview with The Advocate

Teena Marie, one of my favorite artists in the world, just completed an interview with The Advocate where she talked about being embraced by black audiences, her gay & lesbian following, and Rick James. Not long ago I did my list of the Blue Eyed Soul’s Top Ten Females and there should be no surprise that Teena topped the list.

This year marks 30 years for Teena in the music industry. And she will celebrate by dropping a CD on June 9 titled Congo Squared. I can't wait. I've been impressed by everything Teena's ever done. She has been pioneer in the industry for all three decades.

My favorite question from the interview - You are also loved by the gay and lesbian community. When did you first realize you had a gay following? And Teena's answer - I'm just happy that I have any following! [Laughs] I don't think I necessarily think about which following or that following. It's really obvious to me when people come up to me that they just love the music. Gay people love to dance, sing -- they're just like everybody else as far as emotions.

I have to say to Teena, I'm just a sucka for your love. When your new CD comes out trust that I'll be one of the first to have it. Please continue to make great music.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michael Steele & Gay Marriage Financial Drain

New head of the GOP, Michael Steele has made the statement that gay marriage is a bad thing because it will hurt small businessses. His argument which is totally a product of his ever growing imagination is squashed once we learn the true impact of gay marriage on an economy.

Five years after Massachusetts permitted same sex-marriage, a study now shows that these unions have contributed $111 million to the state's economy. I'm sorry but how is that hurting small businesses. Most businesses that profit from weddings are small businesses. So Michael Steele, what are you talking about? But I'm not really surprised, this isn't the first comment Steele has made that left me scratching my head.

Seriously Disappointed with Barack

I'm trying to be optimistic. I still want to be a supporter. We have our first African-American President and I want to be hopeful that he will do something to fulfill the promises he made during his campaign. He seemed like he would be a terrific ally for the LGBT community. He promised to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And though we know a repeal of the policy can only be done through Congress, Pres. Obama does have the executive power to end the firing of gay and lesbian soldiers until the policy is reviewed and more decisions can be made. But so far Obama has done nothing. He has said nothing. And there is no indication that he has plans on doing anything.

The talking heads from his administration that speak on his behalf say that Barack Obama is still concerned about this issue. But I'm growing sick of rhetoric. I feel like a traitor to the race for speaking out about this, but once I heard the story below I felt like I couldn't hold my tongue any more. Something needs to be done. This man, Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, has spent 18 years fighting for his country. And now, two years shy of retirement, he is being forced out based on a policy that should be removed. And Barack has the power to do something about this but he refuses too. And for that I am livid. I am pissed. I just have this feeling in my gut like I've been lied to by someone I trusted and admired. I feel betrayed.

President Barack Obama, if you are the advocate for the LGBT community that you claim to be then I need to see some action. Yes I know you have a lot on your plate. I get that - I really do. But it is not asking too much to draft an order stating no more individuals will be dismissed from the military based on the policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. You don't even have to draft the order, have someone from you administration draft it and just sign the damn thing.

Stories like the one below are an insult to LGBT community. But it also serves as a sign of President Obama's apathy. To not do anything when something like this happens is a statement that he doesn't care. For that I am hurt. I have to say the love I felt for him is slowly fading. But I will hold on to my Audacity of Hope and hope that he will soon do the right thing. But as each week passes my glimmer of hope fades even more.

Please watch the story below. If this doesn't move you to call on the President to take some action, then nothing will.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Octavia St. Laurent - You Will Be Missed

I just learned that several days ago (May 17) we lost another legend in our community. Octavia St. Laurent passed away and no details of how have been released yet. Octavia was showcased in the fabulous documentary Paris Is Burning, she's been featured on the Maury Povich Show, and most recently she was seen again on the new ballroom documenary How Do I Look.

I learned this news from Ms. Monica Roberts over at the Bilerico Project. Unfortunately, Octavia's death probably won't make mainstream news. But the reality is Monica was an inspirtation to thousands of kids. She was a tremendous influence to many and her light will continue to shine even after her death.

Though she came to be known to most through Paris is Burning as Octavia St. Laurent. Her name would evolve to Heavenly Angel Octavia Saint Laurent Manolo Blahnik and finally she would settle on Octavia Saint Laurent Mizrahi. All that knew Octavia spoke about how sweet and how genuine a person she was. She will forever be an icon in the ballroom scene.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Remembering Theo Kirkland

This weekend Washington will recognize and honor and remember one of it's own heroes. Theodore Kirkland passed away in February of this year, but the legacy he left on the city will never be forgotten. He activism was without limits a he has left his footprints all over DC. Theo was co-founder of several DC organizations including Black Pride, Best Friends and GLF/ DC.

Though I may never have known Theo, I can tell you that he left an impression on me. Having attended several black pride celebrations around the country I can honestly say that DC is one of my favorites. So to one of the organizers of this phenomenal event I say thank you. Thank you Theo for creating a venue where LGBT African-Americans can gather and fellowship and party and unite in solidarity. I also say thank you to Theo for being an advocate on LGBT issues.

With DCs Black Pride Celebration coming up, I'm hoping many of those in attendance will take a moment to recognize this terrific man for contributions he gave our community.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

MotherLover - LMFAO

I use to be hooked on some Saturday Night Live but then it just stopped being funny. I hear the new cast is good but I haven't checked them out yet. But someone told me to go check out the MotherLover video Justin Timberlake just helped with. Looks like SNL may be on and popping once again.

Happy Birthday Jackson

Or should I say Ms. Jackson (cause I'm nasty). You know back in the day, back before I acknowledged to anyone that I was a young homosexual, I had this thing for Janet. I had Janet posters on every wall. I knew the words to every damn song on the Control album and the Rhythm Nation album. Let me watch a video once and suddenly I was in my room practicing the choreography - and I won't tell you how many times I busted my ass doing that infamous Pleasure Principle chair routine. Janet was, is now, and always will be an icon for me.

Today is Janet's birthday. I could not let this day go by without saying Happy Birthday to the girl I had a gay guy crush on back in the day. Where ever you are today Janet, I hope you are doing the damn thang.
I wanted to find a hot Janet video to post and I found this hotness from DJ FranKey on YouTube. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Gospel According to B. Scott

I have been a fan of B. Scott for a long time now and I am constantly checking into his LoveBScott.com site to find out the latest and greatest in the world of B. In B. Scott's latest video post he addresses straight men (like Bow Wow) that have issues with gay men. He is so right on point about this. Real men who are comfortable with their sexuality don't have issues with gay men. But don't listen to me, please take a few minutes and get into the video below. He articulates his point so well.

Love B. Scott. Why yes, I do. And if you don't after watching the video below then there's something wrong with you. I'm sorry but he speaks the truth. This is the word and it is good. B Scott said it, I believe it and that settles it.

Six Down, 44 More To Go

The governor of New Hampshire has announced that he will sign legislation extending full marraiage rights to gay and lesbian couples in his state. Once done, his will become the sixth state in the union to recognize same sex marriages. The momentum is building and I just have a feeling there are more states on the horizon.

Legislation recognizing same sex marriage has already passed in the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives. Governor John Lynch (and let me just point out that I'm just very uncomfortable with his last name) has stated that he would like to see some change in language to the bill before he puts his name on it. He wants the legislation to include some type of protection for religious institutions. If a church chooses not to perform a gay wedding, he does not want people to be able to legally go after that church. I'm happy that the governor is now taking this action because initially he was not planning on signing the bill at all.

Now that the governor is on board with same sex marriage, the Christian right is now launching a campaign aimed at swaying back to his original stand of leaving marriage between a man and a woman. It's about as convincing as the "There's A Storm Coming" campaign we saw a couple of months ago. I'm hoping Gov. Lynch isn't fooled by these tactics, but you can check out there video below.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New York Racial Divide on Same-Sex Marriage

According to a poll released today by Quinnipiac University (and remember I don't always believe polls) there is a definite racial divide regarding same-sex marriage in New York. The state of New York is right on the brink of recognizing marriages for the LGBT community with a governor that endorses gay marriage and legislation already passing in the NY House of Representatives. The legislation could also be successful in the state senate which has a Democratic majority and some Republicans in favor of recognizing the unions. The only obstacle could be the Majority Leader Malcolm Smith.

According to the Quinnipiac study, New York state voters are split 46%-46% on the right of same-sex couples to marry, with African-American voters opposed 57%-35% and white voters in favor 47%-45%. Hispanics are split 45%-48%. These numbers have me very uneasy. If they are true then I'm pressed to ask the question why are so many black folks opposed to same-sex marriage? Why would a group familiar with oppression seek to oppress others? As I viewed the protest in Washington DC that opposed same-sex marriage(you can view it here) I noticed this was organized by and filled with all black folks. I just don't understand the hatred coming from African-Americans against the LGBT community.

I am a member of both communities and I can not deny one for the other. I embrace all of who I am. Black and gay. But it does anger me to know that others in my community look at me as less than or unequal to. I know there is ignorance in all communities, but if this poll holds true then there is an elevated degree of ignorance on this issue in the black community and that doesn't sit right with me. We were blamed for the passing of Prop 8 in California. Should New York not be successful in passing same-sex marriage looks like the African-American community will bear the blame for that too.

Another LGBT Victory - This Time in Florida

The state of Florida, which has banned child adoptions by same-sex couples, must now recognize same-sex couples that adopt out of state and relocate to Florida. This victory was spearheaded by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and is a tremendous step in the right direction for Florida. The decision which was made yesterday will not go into effect for another 30 days. It could however be delayed is those that oppose same-sex adoptions petition to succesfully have the case heard at the Florida Supreme Court. Shannon Price Minter, legal director for NcLR, believes the supreme court will opt not to hear the case.

This is a significant victory for us in Floida, but it's also important to point out that Florida itself still will not permit second parent same-sex couple adoptions. Yes they will now recognize that happened out of state, but don't think that you can do it in Florida. The ACLU has been successful in ending this ban in trial court and now they must present their case to the Florida Court of Appeals. Good luck to the ACLU and all LGBT couples trying to adopt in the Golden State.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More from Wanda Sykes

I had to post this. It's Wanda's entire bit from last Saturday's White House Correspondent's Association Dinner.

Barack Obama - He's Funny Too!

AfterEltons Hot 100 Lists

The guys over at AfterEllen do their Hot 100 list every year and each year before I was always a bit disappointed because there were so few men of color included. Well this year they decided to shake things up a little. Not only do they have there general Hot 100 list, they also have the lists Hot 100 Out Gay Men, Hot 100 Men of Color, and Hot 100 Men Over 40.

You know you can't make everyone happy, so there were some people upset that they made a list exclusively for men of color. Well like my Mama alwasy says, "Fuck 'Em." I'm thrilled about each of the news lists they created. I do however question some of the names that made the top 10 in the Men of Color list. Denzel Washington and Blair Underwood were both on the list. Now don't get it twisted - yes these are some very sexy men. But there is a new wave of hotness that has come rolling in that should have trumped these mature icons. I ain't hating, I'm just questioning. But I'm still very happy the list was done.

Check out the Hot 100 list here.
Check ouf the Hot 100 Men of Color here.
Check out the Hot 100 Men Over 40 here.
Check out the Hot 100 Out Gay Men here.

And let me know what you think. Who should be in the top ten for men of color.

Former Army Sec. Clifford Alexander on DADT

Thank you to MSNBC for conducting this interview with former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander. Alexander is asking Obama to bring an end to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Please watch.

Why Gay Marriage Won't Happen in New York

From the outside it looks like the state of New York is getting set to become the next state to recognize same-sex marriage. The governor of the state is vocal about his support. The house of representatives has passed legislation granting marriage rights to same-gender couples. And now the vote goes to the state senate which has a Democratic majority and even has some Republicans on board that support the legislation. Things look good - from the outside.

But there is one big obstacle that may keep same sex marriage from happening. The Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith may not even put this legislation up for a vote. He has stated that without 32 votes, "I'm not bringing the bill to the floor." Thing is - he doesn't know how many votes it has and he's not interested in learning how many votes it has. According to the guys over at Queerty, Malcolm Smith's actions are based on a promise he made to anti-gay Senator Ruben Diaz. Diaz would not endorse Smith for majority leader unless he promised not to introduce gay marriage legislation. Diaz and a group of Hispanic religious leaders will be holding an anti-gay marriage rally outside of the governors office this Saturday.

I don't care about what promises he made, Malcolm Smith needs to stop playing with the rights of the LGBT community. Hopefully his constituents will call him on this. And if he chooses to continue with this form of political bullying, let's make sure he's not around for another term to do it again. If you would like to contact Senator Smith you can find his contact info here.

Jada Pinkett Smith - Call Me Gay, It's Okay

The rumors about Will and Jada have been around for many, many years (I've mentioned them on my site before). But according to Jada, she doesn't mind the gossip. "You want people to talk about you, because once they stop talking about you that’s when you’re really in trouble! I’m happy to have people talk about all the craziness they want to talk about, whether it’s things like every year we’re getting divorced or we’re an open family or Will’s gay, or I’m gay. … When Will asked me to get married, I said, ‘Understand this, there will be no divorce. So, you might be in one bedroom and I might be in another, but we’re gonna be under the same roof and we’re gonna be married."

Well you go Jada. Ms. Smith will be starring in a new series on TNT that debuts in June. I've always been a fan of both Will and Jada. And yes I do wonder about their relationship - mostly because I'm waiting for opportunity to hook up with Will presents itself. I can't help it, the man does look good. But until that day comes I can only sit and dream. Please check out a trailer of Hawthorne here.

Life Plus 60

Allen Andrade, the man found guilty of the murder of Angie Zapata, was sentenced on Monday to life plus sixty years. He was convicted of killing Zapata with a fire extinguisher. His "habitual" crime record allowed the judge to be harsher in his sentencing.

This crime which was tried as hate crime was just another example of the trans-violence and transphobia that surfaces at an all to common rate. Following a sexual encounter and after learning that Zapata had male genetalia, Andrade snapped and proceeded to beat Zapata with the first available weapon he could find, a fire extinguisher.

Let's be real - there are some beautiful transgender individuals walking this planet and some of them will never be clocked. They live their life stealth or undetectable. So the reality is that there may be some men that have sex with a transgender person unknowingly. But if a person should find out the reaction should never be violence, especially violence to the point of death. And I'm not saying its okay to go into sexual relations with a person under false pretenses. I'm just saying it's never okay to beat or kill someone following a freak out. My heart still goes out to the family of Zapata and kudos to the judge for the sentencing.

Outing and NPR

The movie Outrage has a circle of controversy that just won't go away. The controversy is about the movies goal of outing closeted gay politicians that try to suppress gay rights. Politicians like Sen. Larry Craig of the famous airport bathroom scandal or Florida governor Charlie Crist who now plans to run for Senator. These and other individuals in the film have promoted an anti-gay agenda but they secretly have sex with men.

When it came time for NPR to do a review of the film, the film critic Nathan Lee chose to edit the names of the politicians out of his review. An NPR superior claimed that it was done to protect the privacy of public figures. But the article then points out that this is the same organization that following the coming out of Wanda Sykes asked if Queen Latifah would follow suit.

I'm an not an advocate of outing people. As a general rule I think that people will come out when and if they're comfortable. I'm okay with people being in the closet as long as they don't try to harm the rest of us that are out. For those gay politicians that chose to live in the closet but try to deny me rights, I feel they should be outed. Don't just tell the truth - tell the whole truth. Put them on blast and hold them accountable for the harm they are doing.

As for NPR - who do they think they are. It's okay to out Queen Latifah but it's not okay to out these mostly white male politicians. What's the deal? I appreciate Michelle Garcia for writing the article and putting NPR on blast. They needed to be called on there action also.

Monday, May 11, 2009

4 Teens Rape Classmate - Will Be Tried As Adults

On April 30 in Tampa, the 4 teenagers pictured above did the unthinkable. They raped a 13 year old classmate. They are being charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment for taking their classmate against his will and sexually violating him with a hockey stick and a broom. The student didn't tell anyone about the harassment he had been receiving for months. That all changed when he was fed up and had an altercation with one of his bullies at a flag football game. His coach sensing something was wrong did some investigating to determnine what was happening. The suspects are all ages 14 & 15 but the Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi has stated that they will be tried as adults.

Wanda Sykes Addresses First Lady and President

This is just funny. Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner. No one is safe. Not Michelle Obama. Not John McCain. And certainly not Rush Limbaugh.

Friday, May 8, 2009

When The Principal is the Bully

Last night I attended a forum that addressed rights for LGBT students. Justice For All: Creating Safe Schools for all Students was jointly organized by the ACLU, GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), HRC and Equality Arizona. The mission of the forum was to educate students, parents and school faculty about the rights of LGBT students.

Chris Quintanilla was one of the main reasons this forum was held. In February of this year, Chris wore a terricloth wristband to school that said "Rainbows are Gay." At one point the principal approached Chris and asked if he could see his bracelet. He looked at it and then walked away. Several days later Chris' mom Natali received a phone call from the school informing her that Chris would no longer be allowed to wear the bracelet like that. The principal stated that he could turn it inside out and wear it or not wear it at all - those were his options. Natali asked why he could not wear the bracelet and she was told because some of the teachers found it offensive and because it was disruptive.

Natali Quintanialla felt uncomfortable about this and knew that Chris' rights were be infringed upon. So she contacted the ACLU and got them involved. The ACLU contacted the principal and informed them of Chris' constitutional rights. He is guranteed freedeom of speech and expression. The school rescinded the ban and Chris is now allowed to wear his wristband.

Okay - kudos to the mom for standing up for her son. The easy thing to do would have been to cower away from any controversy. She could have simply complied with the demands of the principal. But she stood up for her son and did the right thing. Natali Quintanilla - you inspire me.

Murder-Suicide Claims Lives in Atlanta

Police have ruled the "suspicious fire" which they though took the lives of two lesbians was actually a murder suicide. The two women, Naumbyia T. German, 26 (right), and Kiona Lively, 27, were married in a civil union in Toronto, Canada in March of 2007. Firefighters that arrived at the scene found the first body shortly after extinquishing the flames so they called in the police. Upon arrival the police department found the second body.

The bodies were sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Crime lab for testing. Neither the police department nor the fire department would initially comment on the cause of the fire. Police Capt. Scott Brunson stated he would not release additional details, including the cause of death, until crime lab reports were returned. Today the death was reported as a murder-suicide. Lively shot German several times before setting German's body and the house on fire, said Statesboro Police Chief Stan York.

Russell Simmons Open Letter to Gov. Patterson

Russell Simons, the godfather of Hip Hop, the creator of Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Slam, and owner of Phat Farm Clothing has written an open letter to Governor David Patterson of New York. In the letter, Simmons praises Gov. Patterson for the great work he's doing towards same-sex marriage and asks him to step up in other areas.

In the letter he states, "as your friend and supporter, we know you can do much more, if you forget about what the poll numbers say and let your heart lead. You have recently done this in showing support for the legalization of gay marriage. History will show you are right and will we support you on this issue. Mr. Governor, we want to go to work for you and we will, but we will not be easy on you, because we know your potential. When you were unexpectedly put into the role of Chief Executive of New York State, you were handed a plate full of problems. Although your first year was a bumpy ride, we are beginning to see your great leadership and vision shine through and take over. I encourage you to keep leading with your heart, and address issues like the promotion of good diet, well-being and education for youth, as well creating new jobs (hopefully green jobs) for our workers and making sure that every person in our state can afford health care. As the first African-American Governor of New York, you have already made history. We now want to help you create a legacy.

Go head Russell. I'm loving you for this. It's great to see you (a pillar in the hip-hop community) being vocal about your support of same-sex marriaige. We do have people in hip-hop on our side and I think you are a big reason for that. And to Governor Patterson, thank you for being the advocate that you are. Russell is right. In time, history is going to show that you were right. You can read the entire letter here.

RuPaul's Drag Race - Season 2

There IS going to be a second season of RuPaul's drag race. I'm so excited I could just spit. Logo has posted an application for those queens that think they are fierce enough to capture the title. For those that may be interested, you can apply here.

I can't lie. I was totally hooked on the first season. The shows plot was so simple that it worked. It was basically a cross between America's Next Top Model and Project Runway. Each week the contestants were vying to become America's next drag superstar. There were various challenges they had to complete. And each week there was a bottom two. At that point the girls had to 'lip sync for your life." And there was a warning from Ru, "don't fuck it up." Child it was fabulous. And I believe the right girl won season one. Ms. Bebe Zahara Benet worked nerves week after week until she walked away victorious. I'm looking forward to seeing what season two brings us. I'm sure Ru will add a few twists to keep us on our toes.

I also have to tell you - if you haven't heard Ru's latest album Champion, girl you are missing out. She's letting us have it. I'm sorry but by next year phrases like "you jealous of by boogie" and "it's some tranny chasers up in here" are gonna be common place. If you don't have it then go get it.

Gay Marriage and Pageants Continues

Just as we were getting over the drama of Ms. California and her controversial comments regarding gay marriage in the Ms. USA pageant, along comes another pageant contestant that gets a similar question. In the Ms. Botswana contest, Sumaiyah Marope was asked if she would advocate for same-sex marriage.

Her answer was basically the same as Ms. California's. “It is an unnatural act,” Marope proclaimed. “God made us men and women [... ] It is only proper for men to have relationships with women as God created us.” The response to her answer however was vastly different. Whereas Carrie Prejean (Ms. California) received boos from the audience and went on to lose the competition. Marope received thunderous applausse from the audience and went on to win the title Ms. Botswana. The prize for winning Ms. Botswana garnered her a US $700 bracelet from rapper Russell Simmons, a brand new Mercedes Benz, and an academic scholarship.

Mike Epps Apology to the LGBT Community

Clay Cane, blogger and interviewer for BET, recently sat down and chatted with Mike Epps. During the interview he called Mike on his homophobic behaviour last year. Clay's question to Mike, "You got into some controversy last year; a lot of the blogs were blowing you up, when you called a cameraman fag. Some claimed you were homophobic or didn't like gay people. What's your reaction to that?
Mike's reponse was, "I don't know where that came from. Nothing towards the community -- none of that. I might've just said it out of anger; it ain't nothing
personally against the community."

I have mixed emotions about this apology. It does seem unsympathetic in print. But you can't guage people's true reactions from reading there words. Maybe Clay went right into another question. Maybe the responses have been edited. I don't know. I know Mike Epps is hilarious and I want to continue to support him but I can't support a homophobe. So for now he will stay on my good side but I will be watching him with a raised eyebrow.

Finally Seeing Justice Three Years Later

The family of Gregory Beauchamp who was murdered in 2003 may finally be seeing the justice they want. According to the guys over at Queerty, a man has now been brought up on charges and the incident will be considered a hate crime. What is interesting is that the man being brought up on charges is already in prison. The crime happened on New Year's eve 2002 in Cincinnati. A witness reported that someone yelled anti-gay slurs at three men wearing dreses and then opened fire on them. Gregory (in the picture to the right) was 21 years old when he was killed. It was his murdered that led the Cincinnati Ciy Council to expand hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation.

Amnesty International on the Senegal Nine

Senegal has decided to release nine individuals that were locked up and sentenced to eight years in prison because of their homosexuality. In Senegal, men that have sex with men face up to five years in prison and a $3,000 fine. I'm sure the decision to release the men came only after the international debate that was triggered after this happened.

But now that the men have been freed they are under constant harassment and threats from their communities. There names have been published in papers around the country and the men have been forced into hiding for fear of their lives. According to an associate of the men, Dauda Diouf, the men are now in a safe place. The also stated that the men are not interested in fleeing the country. They would like to return safely to their families.

Amnesty International is calling for a repeal of the laws the men were sentenced under. And they're demanding an investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment from the Senegal police while the men were in custody.

Marion Barry on GayWatch - Too Funny!

I'm totally in love with The Daily Show because Jon Stewart has a way of always getting things right. Please check out his GayWatch and please watch all the way til the end because his point about Marion Barry is just soooooo accurate.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Gaywatch - Marion Barry
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Barack Obama's Gay Silence

CNN is questioning Barack Obama's decision to remain quiet regarding LGBT issues. During his campaigning days he seemed like he would be a tremendous advocate for our community. But now that he is in the White House he seems to be avoiding gay issues. No action has been taken regarding Don't Ask, Don't Tell and nothing has been done about the Defense of Marriage Act.

Now while CNN is questioning his silence on LGBT policy, I must point out that the LGBT community is still a big fan of Barack. He has appointed several LGBT people into some powerful and influential positions. There are two openly lesbian judges that are being considered for the Supreme Court seat that will be filled soon. And according to a poll that judged his first 100 days in office, gays and lesbians think he is doing a great job.

I know Barack has a lot on his plate with the economic climate were in, with the Swine flu panic, and with American idol winding down to the final three. But it is time for him to step up and follow through with some of the promises he made before he took the office. I'm not giving up on him yet - and I don't see me ever giving up on him. He's the rock Obama. But he can do more.

Watch the CNN video below:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

McDonalds & The Big Payback

Following anti-gay harassment and namecalling from McDonald's employees in Louisville, KY, the restaurant has agreed to pay a settlement to the individuals involved and to fund diversity training for managers at 30 different Kentucky locations. This stemmed from a visit to a McDonald's in 2008 by Ryan Marlatt, Teddy Eggers, and three friends. After placing an order and paying for their food an employee of the store called them "faggot", "cocksucker" and "bitch." They immediately asked for a refund but the supervisor refused.

They tried to contact the general manager of the location were unsuccessful in getting a response. So they organized a protest and members of the LGBT community came out in support. The store has now offered $2000 to each person that was there in July and will give diversity training to Kentucky managers as a result.

Marlatt said "McDonald's could have saved itself a lot of embarrassment if they'd just done the right thing from the start and done something about this, but it's great that so many people stood up for us and came forward to say [that] treating people the way we were treated is wrong. We just hope the trainings keep McDonald's from letting this happen to any of their customers from now on."

DC Mayor Signs Marriage Recognition Bill

Today the mayor of Washington D.C. Adrian Fenty, signed the bill that allows DC to recognize same-sex marriages that were performed out of state. The life of the bill now rests in the hands of the US Congress which has power of the legislation of the district. However, according to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Congress isn't going to do anything to interfere with the bill. Basically this means that the bill is now law. Washington D.C. will now recognize all marriages performed in the 5 states where the unions are legal. And PS - ain't the mayor hot in the photo above.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

5 States Down - 45 to Go

Yesterday, Maine became the 5th state in the U.S. to recognize same-sex marriage. I just have to scream - WAY TO GO MAINE! In spite of the disappointing CNN poll I just learned about yesterday which stated that the majority of the country is opposed to same-sex marriage, it's thrilling to learn that some states are continuing to do the right thing. I also hear the we are just a bit closer to New Hampshire recognizing LGBT marriage. The New Hampshire Senate has approved legislation that will allow for same-sex and now we await a vote today to find out where the House of Representatives stands.

Also yesterday, Washington DC approved a measure that require recognition of the unions of LGBT couples that transfer to the district. I'm continuously reminded of a song by India Arie - "Headed In The Right Direction."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LGBT Youth Forum in Tempe

A forum to address the rights of LGBT youth is scheduled for this Thursady at Westside Community Center in Tempe. The forum is being sponsored by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and the ACLU. The forum is being held to make all LGBT students aware of their rights in schools. It is also urging all school boards to develop anti-bullying policies to protect LGBT students from unlawful conduct including harassment and intimidation.

I personally am excited about this forum and I'm glad to GLSEN and the ACLU put together such an event. We should all know about the two 11 year olds that killed themselves 10 days apart because of anti-gay bullying. But there are actions being done not just by peers but also by school facutly that needs to be addressed. Last week a school in Mississippi put out flyers for the prom with the statement "opposite sex couples only" on it. And here in the Valley, a 14 year old student was told by his principal that he could not wear his rainbow bracelet to school. Yes these issues are discouraging and disappointing, but they're also illegal and students need to be aware of their rights.

So if you're available then I encourage you to come down and raise your voice on this issue. Often times our youth maybe too afraid or too embarassed to address an issue on their own. Sometimes they need an ally or an advocate to take a stand for them. So please put some time aside and make yourself available for this important night.

Who's Supporting Same Sex Marriage?

I have to report this but I feel like I need to preference it with this statement - I hardly ever believe polls. Polls can be skewed to say whatever the poller wants them to say. And even polls that are from reputable organizations like CNN or Gallup they still don't always reflect the truth (just look at how often they were wrong in our last presidential election).

According to a new poll by CNN, the majority of American don't support same sex marriage. Fifty-four percent of people polled in the CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll say marriages between gays and lesbians should not be recognized as valid. The poll also goes on to say that there is a vast generational difference between supporters and non-supporters.

According to the poll results "among those 18 to 34 years old, 58 percent said same-sex marriages should be legal. That number drops to 42 percent among respondents aged 35 to 49, and to 41 percent for those aged 50 to 64. Only 24 percent of Americans 65 and older support recognizing same-sex marriages, according to the poll."

The poll also reported that it's not surprising that the first states to approve same-sex marriage are mostly New England states. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says, "a majority of people who live in the Northeast say they approve of same-sex marriage. Solid majorities in the South, Midwest and West all oppose gay marriage."

I have to say this again - I don't always pay attention to polls because who's to say if they're corrector not. But I am a huge follower of CNN and I believe they would be a group that tries for fair and accurate reporting. So what if this is true? What if the majority of Americans oppose same sex marriage? Does mean that we shouldn't go forward with our mission for marriage equality? No it doesn't. This poll doesn't change a thing. The leadership of this country needs to be doing the right thing not the popular thing. Should we have waited for the majority of Americans to approve abolishing slavery? Should women's suffrage been pushed back until it had the popular vote? There comes a time when things have to be done because they are the right thing. Not because it makes you look good. Not because it's what everyone else is thinking. Do it because it's the right thing to do!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Must Watch Movie - Strange Fruit

While learning about the new hate crimes legislation that just passed in the US House of Representatives, learn more here, I was reminded so much of the movie Strange Fruit. Strange Fruit was one of those rare finds that I'd never heard of until I was directed to it by Amazon. In the new hate crimes bill there is an allusion to local law enforcement being unwilling or unable to prosecute crimes against the LGBT community. It is the unwilling part that made me think of this movie. In it a black gay man is murdered and local police officers just don't care.

The movie is by no means new but when I mention it to friends, no one seems to have heard of it. So I encourage all of you within the sound of my voice to get it and watch it. Here is the product description from Amazon:

Set in contemporary rural Louisiana, "Strange Fruit" explores the tribulations of William Boyals, a successful New York lawyer and gay African-American who comes home to the life from which he escaped to investigate the lynching of his also-gay childhood friend, Kelvin. Amidst the sultry beauty of the bayou, William is forced to wade through a bog of conspiracy involving an insidious network of local law and a dangerously entrenched subculture. At the same time, he finds himself having to confront the reasons he left in the first place. The harder he looks, the deeper he gets, until the veil is pulled back to reveal a quagmire of racism and homophobia that threatens his life.

The movie garnered some very bad comments and reviews on Amazon but I needed to see it for myself. And guess what - don't believe the lies they're throwing at you. This is a really good movie. Great prodution and great acting. Now I'll be the first to admit that the ending was somewhat bizarre; but I can say that about nearly every Spike Lee movie I've ever seen. Check out the trailer below.

New Hate Crime Legislation Passes the House

Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow the Justice Department to prosecute crimes committed against LGBT people that result in death or serious injury. What I love about this legislation is that it will give the US Justice Department the authority to take the lead in a case where they feel that local authorities are unwilling or unable to prosecute. Should the bill pass the House and be signed into law by President Obama it will create grants to train law enforcement officials, combat hate crimes committed by juveniles and investigate bias-motivated violence.

I'm very proud of the fact that the representative that introduced this legislation was an African-American. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) seen in the above right picture, introduced the hate crimes bill earlier this month. It's great to see some of our black leadership stepping up and doing positive things for the LGBT community

But the introduction of legislation was not welcomed with open arms. It's interesting to learn some of the responses that came as the bill was debated. Some references to LGBT murders (like Angie Zapata and Matthew Shepard) were mentioned as a reason why legislation like this is needed. And then hatred and ignorance reared it's ugly head.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) in her arguments against made this statement about Matthew Shepard. "We know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. This — the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills." Did that really happen? Did she call the murder of Matthew Shephard "a hoax?"
We can only wait to see what happens. I'm proud to say that I live in a city that has a very progressive police force. I know several lesbian officers and some gays officers. And we have a person that serves in the capacity of liason to the LGBT community. But unfortunately, most rural areas and some major cities can not say the same. So I'm hoping we see this law come into effect.

Tyra Mail Says - That Man is Crazy

You know I like me some crazys because they sometimes make the best lovers. And they're always so grateful (LOL). But sometimes stalkers can take it just a bit too far. Just ask Tyra Banks. Yesterday (Thursday) in a Manhattan court, 39 year old Brady Barnes was found guilty of stalking Ms. Banks. Barnes' attorney who called him an "inspired fan, not a stalker" was unsuccessful in clearing him of the charges.

Tyra appeared in court on Wednesday to testify against Barnes. Barnes was a drifter that had relocated from Geargia to California. While in L.A., he would send Tyra packages to her studio in New York with disturbing notes like, "when I see you I love you." He was placed on a do not admit list by the staffers of the Tyra Banks show. But he appeared at the studio on March 18 following a two day bus ride cross country to get closer to Tyra. Tyra testified in court on Wedneday stating "I fear for my safety" but she did not return on Thursday when the verdice was delivered.