Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ricky Martin New Single:The Best Thing About Me

Ricky Martin is getting ready to release a new single entitled The Best Thing About Me Is You. It features Joss Stone on the English version (the Spanish version features Natalia Jimenez). Don't get too excited, he has dedicated this song to me. I know, I know, I know what you're thinking - "but Ricky Martin doesn't even know you." That's okay - he's been singing sweet nothings to me for years even though he is unaware of my existance. And if all his previous songs were dedicated to me then why should this one be any different.

Ricky Martin came out of the closet last March, although in my mind we've been sleeping together for about five years now. He's now stated that his creativity has been really unleashed since coming out and he is preparing for a new album that should be released in early 2011. He has leaked a snippet of the new single and the artwork that will accompany it upon release.

I'm really pleased to hear this. I was under the impression that his coming out signaled the end of his recording career. I know he came out following his becoming a parent. Similar to Clay Aiken, he felt there was no way he could be a parent if he were not true to himself and to those around him. So he had to admit to the world that he is gay. For this I say kudos.

I'm excited that I have more Ricky Martin music to look forward to. And it makes me a bit more happy to be looking forward to an album by an out Ricky Martin. Please get into a sampe of the song here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The President's message to LGBT Youth

The President recently created his own video to be added to the It Gets Better campaign. I still love the fact that we have a Black president. I also still love the fact that we have a president that claims to be an ally of the LGBT community. However, I feel that his actions need to start aligning themselves a bit more with his statements. By creating this video he is doing just that. BUT, I feel with the recent action to appeal the recent decision that ended Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I again have to ask myself "Whose side you really on?" I'm so confused.
His message of LGBT youth can be found below.
Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives. As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. It’s something that just shouldn’t happen in this country.

We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage – that it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if you’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.

I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong. It’s tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart – I know can just wear on you. And when you’re teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself – for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.

But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them, don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.

The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.
It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes – that we never lose sight of what binds us together.

As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That’s the freedom that enriches all of us. That’s what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

End of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Last week a federal judge out of California demanded the end of all military dischrages based on a person's sexual orientation. This basically means that we are now seeing an end of the twelve year Don't Ask, Don't Tell era. Soldiers and soldierettes, at least for a moment, no longer have to worry about investigations regarding their sexuality or discharges for being gay following years of devoted and loyal, hard work. This is great news isn't it? You would think. I thought it was great news until I learned that the Obama administration now says that the decision to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell should come from Congress.

Am I hearing this correctly? The President has always labeled himself an ally of the LGBT community (although many argue that he has not done anything to help our cause on the most important issues). Now that something has been done by this judge from California, will the President leave it alone and let the decision stand. Or will there be a push to get Congress to do more.

This judge has done more for the LGBT community with the stroke of a pen than President has done during his entire two year tenure. And it's saddening when I think that Barack had the power to do this himself. The president has (had) the power to sign an executive order that could have ended all military discharges that fell under DADT and he never did it.

I read somewhere [sorry this is from recollection and I can't site the article] that someone in Iraq was asked what this would mean for soldiers currently serving in the war. His response was basically that he didn't think anyone overseas knew about the decision. And even if they did, there were priorities like fighting the war and staying alive that trumped any decision to now come out while serving.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Moorehouse and Men in Dresses

Last fall, Moorehouse College found itself in a bit of controversy when it announced a new dress code. The all-male institution of higher learning modified its dress code to prohibit its men from wearing female garments and make-up. Recently, Vibe magazine sat down to talk with one the Moorehouse men that triggered this dress code alteration.

Diamond Martin Pulin was a member of a group of students that called themselves the "Plastics." The Moorehouse Vice President of Student Services actually came out and made a statement specifically about the policy change and the group of men it was targeting. “We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men.”

Since the whirlwind of hysteria surrounding the dresscode change, Pulin has since left Moorehouse and become a student of American InterContinenal University where is fashion marketing and design. According to him, "Moorehouse wasn't ready for me. “I’m about freedom of expression. I’m about being whomever you truly are inside. I came to Morehouse because of all the historical leaders that attended and impacted the world so heavily. You know, I really wanted to follow in their footsteps. I don’t think Morehouse believes that someone like me—someone who wears heels and dresses—can uphold that reputation. But they’re wrong.”
Personally I'm torn on this decision by Moorehouse. I do understand students wanting to express their creative side and they may not want to conform to generic, mundane [straight] standards forced upon them by a dress code that some may consider oppresive. However, Moorehouse is a school with a rich history of developing leaders that traces it's long history of success back to 1867. And though their policy may offend some, it is a policy that is reflected in most corporate offices. So is it wrong to demand its students to adhere to standards they will have to comply with when they enter the business world?

Please get into the full Vibe article here. And please give me your feedback. Is Moorehouse right or wrong in with their dress code?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Phoenix Pride Presents: Out Day at the Zoo

Today's Out Day at the Zoo was phenomenal. Phoenix Pride hosted an essay contest and received hundreds of submissions but only six individuals were honored with the opportunity to share their coming out stories. Also, celebrities ANT (Celebrity Fit Club and Last Comic Standing) and Heather Matarazzo (The Princess Diaries and The L Word) were present and they shared their coming out stories.

The entire day was an emotional one. Prior to attending the Out Day event, I was joined at the zoo by my sister & brother-in-law and my niece. Lisa, David and I walked around the Phoenix Zoo while little Olivia oowed and awwed at the giraffes, the pink flamingos and the elephants. I haven't seen my niece in several weeks so it was a thrill to be able to spend a little time with them. We parted ways as I headed in to hear coming out stories and they took Olivia off to play in the pool. I'll tell you why I mention this later.

Coming out stories (well atleast the ones I heard today) are powerful, empowering and inspiring. I heard the story of a lady whose mom took her own life because she could not bear the thought of raising a same-gender loving child. I heard the story of transgender individual whose already difficult struggle of self-acceptance was manifested into a whirlwind of craziness. Her decision to transition genders was disclosed to all of her family without her permission by her vindictive ex-wife. I heard the story of a gender fluid individual that struggled with self identifying and shared that coming out will be a lifetime endeavor for her.

In the midst of the stories of isolation and disappointment, there were also the stories from our youth that give me hope. There was the story from young Donald Smith who was encouraged to come out thanks to having an out and proud gay mayor. He now serves his community by mentoring others. I also heard the story of a high school kid that is so comfortable with his sexuality that he doesn't care about acceptance from his peers. As we are just on the eve of a crisis of LGBT teen suicides, it was encouraging to hear stories like these.

I have to thank ANT and Heather, our on hand celebrities for being out and proud and sharing their stories. ANT said it best, "Our visibility is our greatest strength. If we are not seen we are insignificant. If we are seen we are significant." It is easier for people to hate what they do not know. So I applaud celebrities that come out of the celluloid closet and live their truth. Those that come out know that it could put their careers in jeopardy but they do so because living an authentic life is better than living a life full of lies.

At the end of the day I had to reflect on my journey since coming out. I have family that accepts me and loves me for who I am - gay and all. When I came out to my mom she told me, "if you're happy then I'm happy for you." I reflected on trek around the zoo earlier today with niece Olivia who loves her gay uncles. I love the fact that she is growing up in an environment where she is learning to love and accept and not hate and prejudge. I reflected on my own personal journey of self acceptance and I relish in the fact that the out person I am today is so much happier than the closeted person I was years ago.
I'm out in every aspect of my life - on the job, to my family, and to my church (when I do go). I'm here to tell you that being out is a wonderful thing. And I'm speaking from experience. Out is freedom. And that's what I want for all my LGBT brothers and sisters. So here's to freedom. For those that have not gotten there yet, I wish you well on your journey. Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day and if you have not taken that step yet this may be your chance. Take that step.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Fave Song: Waiting All My Life

I am really really LOVING this song. Thank you to LOLDarian.com for bringing it to our attention. We need to hear messages like this more often in our music . . .

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Mr Gay AZ U S of A: George "Geo" Johnson

It's official - we now have a Mr. Gay Arizona US of A. Last night at BS West five individuals competed for the honor. But the person walking away the victor was George Johnson, known to many of his friends simply as Geo. The competition was fierce and all of the contestants brought their "A" game. There were three categories: interview, club wear and talent. The only two categories available for the public to view were the later two.

The night was filled with entertainment from some of the greatest drag performers in town. There were many familiar faces in the crowd cheering on their favorite contestants. But at the end of the night there could only be one winner. As the judges began to announce the winners of each category a hush fell on the room. "The winner of the interview competition - contestant number two, George." Applause filled the place. Then came "and the winner of the club wear competition, contestant number two, George." Thought he would not take the talent segment, most of the room knew just after these first two announcements that he had already captured the title.

Congratulations to our first ever Mr. Gay Arizona US of A. I know that you will represent us well at the national competition.
In a surprise announcement last night from the current Mr. Gay US of A (Simba) who was in town to oversee the competition, because of the level of talent he witnessed, Arizona will be the first state to send three contestants to the national competition. So congratulations to all three contestants that will be representing Arizona.
Though he did not take the talent segment I still think his talent number may have been a favorite of many in the room. Take a look at the picture above and you be the judge. The number was well choreographed and it showcased the awesome figures of George and his backup dancers. It was sensual and exciting and it had a whole lot of people up on their feet screaming for more.

AIDS Walk 2010

Did you know that although Black folks make up only 12% of the US population, we are half of all new HIV infections. Something about that just ain't right. How is it possible that black folks (straight and gay) can be such a small part of the country but such a large part of HIV? Something needs to be done about that.

Sunday morning Phoenix came together to once again take steps (literally) to eradicate HIV. The AIDS walk was attended by thousands. Some that walked are living with the virus. Some that walked did so in support of lost loved ones. Everyone that walked have been affected by this disease.

I have lost family (my uncle) and countless friends to this disease. It breaks my heart everytime some tells me they have been infected. Because of my volunteer efforts in the field of HIV/AIDS people oftentimes disclose their status to me. Trust me, I know it is an honor for someone to have enough trust and respect in me to share this and I will never betray that trust. And though I know that HIV is not the life threatening disease it once was, it does still yield health complications, emotional and mental health concerns and an unwavering social stigma that won't go away. So my heart still goes out to the newly infected and I want them to know that 1) it gets easier and 2) you've still go a friend in me.

The Phoenix AIDS was (as it usually is) a powerful and spiritual experience. I always leave it empowered and encouraged. Though we have not found a cure yet, AIDS Walk has pledged to be here every year until there is one. Here's hoping we see the end of AIDS Walk very soon. Please check out my video of the event below . . .

Wisdom From The West

Saturday evening I was thrilled to be able to attend a lecture by the phenomenally brilliant Dr. Cornel West. His visit to Phoenix was strictly to address SB 1070, the Arizona Immigration Law that has the entire country focused on our state. In a standing room only auditorium at North High School, Dr. West spoke on how important it is for everyone to stand in solidarity with our Latino brothers and sisters in ending this dispicable law. He also assured the progressive constituents of Arizona that inspite of the image the media is painting, we are in the right and we have many allies around the country cheering for us and ready to come to Arizona and stand with us in this fight.

Dr. West's ability to inspire an audience while simultaneously infusing references to George Clinton and the P Funk, Sly and the Family Stone, and other R&B greats is amazing. At the end of his lecture as everyone stood to their feet in applause I wasn't sure if I should take my notes and exit or light a blunt and pass it. The man just has a way with words.

Considering my feelings towards Arizona as of late, this was inspirational news for me, a guy that is growing sick of living here. When I hear things like 70% of the state is in favor of the immigration law or that governor Jan Brewer is the likely person to win November's election, it makes me want to pack my bags and get the hell up out of here. Did his words make me change my mind and want to stay . . . well no, they didn't have that kind of power. But none the less, they were still inspiring.

One of the most amazing parts of the evening for me happened almost at the conclusion of the event. Each member of the panel gave their closing statements and Mr. West was the last to speak. He spoke of the importance of all communities of color to come together to fight for inclusion and equality. He then opened his comment to include the LGBT community. He spoke of the homophobia of this country that has recently caused several teenagers to take their own lives. After hearing that I knew I had to go and meet him when this was over. I felt compelled to thank him as a member of the same-gender loving community for that sentiment. He said this in a room full of black and brown people that needed to hear this.

Dr. West once said, "You can't lead the people if you don't love the people. And you can't save the people if you don't serve the people." Cornell is a man that loves the people (all people) and serves the people. He and the panel of individuals that spoke Saturday did a phenomenal job debunking all the lies were hearing from the media. I have a feeling this will not be our last time seeing him. He promised he would return with others to help us carry out this fight.

Rainbow Festival Was A Blast

In spite of the god awful Phoenix heat, I still managed to throughly enjoy myself at this weekend's Rainbow Festival. It was the perfect way to roll in LGBT history month. There are some friends that I have that only get to see twice a year (once at Pride and then again Rainbow Fest). Please enjoy some of the pics from the day . . .

Saturday, October 2, 2010

LGBT History Month Jump's Off

October is LGBT History Month and for Phoenix, AZ it started with a bang. This weekend the city will be hosting it's annual Rainbow Festival, a two day celebration downtown marked with vendors, entertainment, and lots of gay folks (it's like a mini Pride). Well, as a jump off to the weekend, The Men of Libra hosted a party at the new Club Sutra.

I'm not generally a club person. Don't get it twisted, I can head bang with the best of them, but as you age your priorities seem to change and my need to hang out til the weeeee hours of the morning just doesn't appeal to me anymore. But in honor of the Rainbow Fest and LGBT History Month (and since Kevin of the Men of Libra is a very close friend of mine) I decided to brave the night and get this month started right.

Needless to say the night did not disappoint. The bar gave me the three things I needed in order to call it a good night - great drinks, good music and hot boys. Club Sutra (formerly Incognito) has a great vibe about it. It was all about dancing and having a good time, no inflated egos or wannabe socialites to destroy the energy of the place. And though I don't venture into the night life of Phoenix often, Sutra makes me want to increase my frequency just a little.

I'm looking forward to what the festivities of today will bring. My stint at Rainbow Fest will end early because I need to go see Cornel West speak at North High School. Though I love my partying, opportunities to see someone of the caliber of Mr. West don't come around that often.

So I'm off. Let's see what the day has in store . . . Oh by the way, click here to see more pics from last night and Happy LGBT History Month.