Dear Dr. Fred:
A life-long friend of mine (40+ years) retired a year ago when he was offered a buy-out by his company. He got a nice sum, a pension and has a well-off family so while he occasionally complains he "needs the money" he has not worked in a year and would never need to again financially. He does occupy some of his free time doing great volunteer work, writing some magazine pieces and tending his garden, etc. But there's a problem I am having.
My friend, I'll call him Jordan, has almost every waking hour free and he texts, calls and instant messages me incessantly, often getting disgusted when I am busy or otherwise occupied. I have not retired, own a small business and have the day-to-day things / always have had to attend to — especially during the business day.
I have tried explaining calmly and he always apologizes, but two days later he's back with 35 texts and asking why I am not replying when I am in a business lunch or at a meeting which I've told him about earlier and put on my online calendar for him to see.
I have yelled, screamed, texted "NOT NOW IAM WORKING!!!" in caps all to little avail. Jordan has bothered me at work, at the license branch and even during sex! Jordan always says he's sorry' after I remind him I work, and he always says he's my friend forever, but lately I wish I could tell him loudly he won't be if he doesn't get a grip on the fact I am still working and need to actually have some peace to make money and live with my partners since I do not get a pension and that I enjoy my job so have few plans to call it quits this year or next.
I have tried literally every tactic — from rude to sweet and in person, in texts and by phone — but he never "gets it'' for more than 48 hours. Short of changing my phone number, putting his texts and messages on ignore and leaving Facebook or really being a butt, do you have any suggestions?
I love him as a beastie and in some ways am envious and wish I could retire, but I like what I do, don't have his financial security and all my other friends seem to understand. I need help or else a 40+ year relationship is gonna be kaput!
Gay Fresno is looking for volunteers to participate in such areas as...
Seek out and encourage writers and journalists to contribute to the site. Proof read and approve submissions. Seek out new and interesting articles of interest to the LGBT community.
Seeking assistance with distributing business cards and brochures. Items will promote our organization. This will mainly occur in the tower district, but also other local book stores, etc. Literature to distribute can be picked up and the time frame is flexible.
Assistance needed with expanding our online outreach via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
Our goal is to continue to expend our reach outside of the Fresno/Clovis area to other communities in the Central Valley. This opportunity would include working on helping us more closely interact with our "friends" on social networks to become involved and to expand the existing networks.
Seeking assistance with making telephone calls and sending emails to potential advertisers.
Soliciting companies from our visitors/readers and making phone calls to build an LGBT friendly community directory.Add a comment Add a comment
I’m straight, and I want to talk about NOH8. And how it affects me.
When I first moved to Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, and opened Weddings in Vieques, people cautioned me that I should not plan gay weddings. Let me be clear – this is a gay-friendly island (lots of gay-owned businesses, gay residents, etc.) – so I was baffled. At the time, gay marriage wasn’t legal anywhere in the United States yet (legislation was flying but nothing was settled), so I felt no reason to not offer gay wedding planning services in addition to everything else we do. Fine, call them commitment ceremonies if you prefer. Whatever.
There was a minister-in-a-can working the island at the time who cautioned me that IF anyone on this predominantly Catholic island found out we were performing commitment ceremonies, we would be harassed, threatened, and even – swear to God she said this – somebody would poison our dog. What??? Fortunately, she’s no longer a part of the wedding industry here because she obviously was clueless and biased about performing gay weddings. We don’t need anybody like that on Vieques.
Now Weddings in Vieques has been executing flawless gay and straight weddings for almost seven years. Our staff is mostly straight and we love our gay clients because, usually, they’re a lot of fun. The Catholics on the island aren’t protesting and if anybody has a problem with it, I supposed they should have spoken up by now. We featured a gay wedding on TLC’s “Wedding Island” performed here on Vieques and all I got from that was great feedback about the open attitudes on the island. I did a wedding for gay active duty military police in uniform on one of our beaches. The municipality of the island supports our business and television show, we pay our taxes, and I have never had an unkind word said to me by any Puerto Rican about whether or not we do gay weddings.
Dwayne and Rodney Byrum were married on 12-12-12 on TLC’s
“Wedding Island” by Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques
I’ve had a blog here on Purple Unions for several years, and while I try to blog about mostly “gay” topics, I share anything that will be useful to brides and grooms regardless of sexual preference. We’ve maintained excellent relationships with the vast majority of our gay clients and they give me half of my blog ideas. I claimed the self-appointed title of “Queen of Gay Wediquette” a long time ago because no other reputable wedding planner was willing to step up to the plate and advise these lesbian brides and gay grooms about how to navigate the sometimes tricky waters of a gay wedding festivities. So I volunteered because I have to do it on a regular basis. That makes me an authority if there’s nobody else who has done it more and wants to weigh in. I’m all up for learning something new.
End of day – gay couples often need more advice about how to handle the finer points of getting the ceremony to flow smoothly, etc. so that it doesn’t look like the hokey pokey up on the altar. I’m happy to provide it – especially to my clients. They have other questions about how to handle “traditions” in a way where they won’t offend anyone but don’t feel cheated. I help navigate those waters too. My job is to plan the perfect wedding for every client, and if that means helping you figure out what to do about being gay and still having all the bells and whistles the way you want them, I’m up for it.
So I’ve gotta admit I was blown away this week by a Twitter attack from a website the purports to be a LGBT wedding directory. I’ll spare you the gory details but suffice to say we randomly tweeted my Pridezillas blog to them thinking their followers might be interested, and the owner responded with a long-winded, many message discourse that would have been far more appropriate sent by direct message, or hey, wait – maybe via email if you’re interested in doing business with us. Somebody tweeting you a gay-relevant blog doesn’t mean we WANT anything from you. We just thought you might be interested. If you’re not, skip it. That’s what I do with junk I don’t want. But this person took the receipt of blog tweets as an indicator that I wanted to build a relationship. Okay, no problemo. But wouldn’t you send me a private message or an email? It’s not like my contact info is hard to find – I’m everywhere.
I had the misfortune of downloading the new iPhone update (against my will) the same day and instead of “replying” to this person’s tweets, I hit retweet instead on the first two messages. I felt stupid, but I realized the conversation wouldn’t make sense to anybody unless I RTd the other three messages she sent – so I did. Wow. Huge mistake. I received a public nasty-gram from her asking me why I was retweeting. Rather than explain the error had been hers initially (who talks biz via Tweet – we’re not Real Housewives), I simply apologized – via tweet – and that started a huge nasty Twitter war where this woman who claims to be a NOH8 advocate spent literally hours attacking me, totally unprovoked. She accused me of not doing my own tweeting. She attacked my weight, my professionalism, and my commitment to gay marriage equality. Apparently my company isn’t gay enough and my views aren’t gay enough to satisfy her. Really? REALLY?
Now we all know I won that argument the minute she attacked my weight – if you have to talk about appearance, you don’t have anything else bad to say about me. But it didn’t save me trauma of reading through tons of horrifically mean tweets that I can only assume some of her followers were reading too. Then to add icing to the cake, she proceeded to email websites on our island about me, mistakenly assuming that I own all the websites on Vieques Island. I don’t – I own mine. The webmasters kindly forwarded her messages to me. Thanks guys!
This person accused me of not supporting gay rights and marriage equality, she said I’m not a real writer (cited Huffington Post as example of something that isn’t considered “published” – I refrained from replying I’m a former Wall Street Journal columnist too because I was done with the war by then) and repeatedly bragged she has five degrees. Felicidades.
The nastygrams really angered some of my dedicated former clients (the Weddings in Vieques gay mafia… not limited to alumni, just fyi if you want to join) and some very REAL wedding clients of mine started tweeting her back correcting her false statements and citing #NOH8. Her response was to literally start threatening me, repeatedly. I wasn’t participating, just sitting back and watching the war unfold… but she continued to threaten me in response to other people defending me as a NOH8 advocate… and I quote here:
@SandyMalone_ and if you FUCK with me I will CRUSH you. Maybe not tonight. Maybe not this year. But I don’t forget. So? Best to you. BYE!
When a long-time gay friend and client who I actually performed the marriage of on “Wedding Island” (see pic above – Twitter @Dwayne420) fought back and pointed out that I have a long history (well before wedding planning) of supporting gay rights, she got gross and accused him of having a “creepy” relationship with me. Wow. Somebody is off her rocker. But the really sad thing is that she has a NOH8 picture up as her profile photo on Twitter. She’s gotta be one of the biggest, nastiest, haters I’ve ever met. I woke up to more crazy-ass tweets from her than you can even imagine… oh, and the emails she’d sent to all our local websites. Sigh.
So who is this person? I’ve never heard of her, and she doesn’t know me or she wouldn’t have said the untrue things she said (she made herself look stupid – my bios are available in a number of places). The gay mafia started digging since I was in the middle of a bride’s arrival on the island. Turns out, little Miss Nasty is a straight married woman who runs a mostly paid-advertising, gay wedding directory and her husband appears to be a wedding DJ. No, seriously. But because she’s got this website up that says she’s gay friendly, she’s got about 20,000 followers who read the stuff she writes. And she doesn’t write much – she mostly reposts news. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But she decided to trash me because we tweeted a blog to her that we thought her followers (assuming they’re real) might have an interest in. She took that to be an invitation to do business and build a relationship and because I didn’t respond quickly, she freaked. Big time. Reality check, I’m in the middle of a stretch of three weddings… even if she’d emailed me, I’d have had to get back to her next week unless her hair is on fire and she’s standing on my front porch. Priorities. Clients first. But I digress.
I love the NOH8 message. I love the whole NOH8 campaign. But I’m pretty sure that the architects of NOH8 meant for it to go both ways. And they certainly didn’t mean for vendors who serve the gay community to start bashing each other and using NOH8 as a weapon. I’m disgusted. If you are somebody who plans gay and straight weddings, or purports to be a directory of those vendors, you should practice what you preach with the NOH8 message. That means don’t be a mean, hateful person towards any sexual preference – gay, lesbian, straight, bi, trans or whatever. It would be hateful to tell a gay man who watches football he wasn’t “gay enough” or to call a straight man who wears pink he dresses like a “fag,” right? So how can anybody who says she is a LGBT supporter and vendor directory decide to start publicly attacking somebody else for being… I don’t even know how to characterize what she called me – not gay friendly enough? Poorly gay educated? Fat and on TV – comments about my weight are true and yes, I have a television show. But it was rude and completely irrelevant to her insane attack anyway. There’s that NOH8 logo staring at me from these totally malicious, hateful tweets. So nice to wake up to.
A word to the wise: Don’t believe that every vendor out there claiming to be LGBT is really a staunch supporter of gay rights, or even a real business directory or vendor. Do your homework. It didn’t take us long to figure out that “Sybil”, as one of my alum clients following the tweets nicknamed her when she was psycho-tweeting all night long, is nobody but a hater with a fake profile pic of NOH8. She’s not the only one out there. I always warn clients to avoid anybody to claims to be all things to all people – do your homework, check with references and don’t believe everything (or most of) what you read on social media or even company websites til you verify the source. I let my feelings get hurt, or my “knickers in a bunch,” for my British fans, for literally no reason at all. Lesson learned.Add a comment Add a comment
Let this sink in: We're nearly 14 years into the 21st century. 2004 will soon be TEN years in the past. Hell, 2024 is *only* ten years away. Seriously, where has the time gone?
Twenty-thirteen flew by. It seems like yesterday House Republicans were throwing a bitch-fit about the Affordable Care Act and shutting down the government. It's hard to believe that Congress' most unproductive year - complete with sequestration and record-breaking obstructionism - is about to end. And how could anyone forget Miley's twerking and her gang of merry, drugged-out teddy bears (no, really, how can we forget? I'm willing to pay)?
This year was a roller coaster and all of us were forced to ride it. However, it wasn't all stupid political games and tawdry pop culture moments. This year also saw the continued, exponential rise of clean energy and transportation across the globe, a sign that governments and their citizens are beginning to take the threat of climate change seriously. Pope Francis, leader of the almost-always-conservative Roman Catholic Church, spoke out against runaway capitalism and inequality in the world, inspiring billions of Catholics and n0n-Catholics alike (myself included) and enraging perpetually-enraged wingnuts like Rush Limbaugh.
Gay rights surged...and by "surged" I mean "there's no stopping it now." The number of countries where same-sex couples are treated as equal citizens increased to 15. I expect that number to increase to at least 18 by this time next year; Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States have what can be thought of as checker-board equality - legal in some jurisdictions but not in others. After seeing how fast equality and acceptance of sexual diversity have increased in the Western world, it is inevitable that they will become non-issues. In the U.S., the number of states with marriage equality doubled, from nine in January to 18 as of December 31st.
The discriminatory and culturally irrelevant Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) essentially died in June after the Supreme Court struck down its key provision - that the federal government could not and would not recognize same-sex marriages as legally equal to heterosexual marriages. Proposition 8, originally struck down in 2010 and appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, was finally pulled off life support and allowed to die. Equality and justice for all are alive and well in its place.
My personal life also saw some incredible changes. Not only did I graduate with a B.A. in Communication from California State University, Fresno, but I also got an internship in Washington, D.C. with The American Prospect. In one week, I will move across the country and begin the next chapter of my life, initially as an editorial intern for an excellent publication. I still have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming, that I am really about to take a big step toward my dream life.
I met some pretty incredible people (you know who you are) and strengthened relationships with others (you also know who you are). One of my main motivations in life is to create and cultivate intimacy. It drives me, both to sanity and insanity. Aside from my wellbeing and career aspirations, I live for the incredible people in my life and the one-of-a-kind connections we have. As funny as it may sound coming from a 24-year-old, the older I get, the more I realize how vitally important these relationships are and how petty and stupid all the "drama" is. When I'm old and grey (and still looking fabulous), I want to look back and have little regret. I want to be able cry tears of happiness and joy after thinking about the good life I led.
In all seriousness, I expect to live to see and experience January 1, 2100. As a sci-fi-loving geek and someone living in an age of incredible medical/genetic breakthroughs, living to be 111 and even beyond really isn't that far-fetched. However, even such a long human life doesn't register on the timeline of the universe (more of a mindf*** - there may be multiple universes).
As a member of an advanced primate species, living on a planet that orbits the habitable zone of an average star in an average galaxy, my existence is pretty insignificant. However, I have the privilege of being self-aware and social. I'm just "star stuff," as Carl Sagan famously said. The elements that make up my body were made in the hearts of ancient stars. This star stuff is able to reflect and ponder his own existence and place in the universe. That is absolutely incredible. I fully recognize that the meaning I draw from my minor existence comes, in large part, from the deep-rooted, interpersonal connections I have been fortunate enough to forge.
I've got one chance - ONE chance - to shine bright and enjoy my time in the sun. Life is full of meaning and I love interacting with it on a daily basis. It doesn't matter what I achieve or how successful I become - I can't make it without other people. So, bring on 2014. I'm ready to keep loving and caring, living (to the best of my ability) and experiencing every part of this life that I can.Add a comment Add a comment
We know, you are busy and couldn't possibly watch a 15 minute YouTube clip. But, we promise, it is totally worth it! Children are our future.
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I am coming out of the closet. I am an Orthodox rabbi and an advocate for gay marriage.
The history of the theological issue is complicated, but the moral issue is increasingly clear. Faith leaders must stand as public allies; private support is no longer enough. Fifteen states and counting have formally approved marriage equality. It’s time that traditional faith leaders stand for gay rights, including the right to marriage.
As an Orthodox Jew, I believe the Bible was given by G-d, that Jewish law is binding, and that change in our religious practice cannot happen impetuously. It also means that I take the pervasive biblical call for justice very seriously. I am pro-gay-rights because I am an Orthodox rabbi, not in spite of it.
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A US congresswoman from California is re-introducing a proposed ban on reparative or conversion therapy for gay youth.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Wednesday reintroduced a resolution asking the U.S. House of Representatives to encourage states to take steps to prevent minors from being harmed by controversial and discredited gay-to-straight conversion therapy. When first introduced last year, the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution was the first federal action taken to end the discredited sexual orientation change therapy — often referred to as “reparative therapy.” The practice is now banned in California and New Jersey.
A number of other states are also considering such bans. It also looks like an initiative to repeal California’s transgender kids rights bill may fail to make the ballot. Are we making progress on more than just the marriage equality front?
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Why Do Gay Couples Have to Struggle with How to Handle Tradition - Tips from the "Queen of Gay Wediquette"
It’s stressful enough planning a wedding if you’re straight, but gay couples face all sorts of unusual dilemmas about how to handle what’s considered normal or traditional at most weddings. Today’s blog on Pridezillas.com offers some tips to gay and lesbian couples planning their weddings on how to navigate those roadblocks without too much drama! Check it out here to see what the self-appointed “Queen of Gay Wediquette” advises you to do!
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!
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Any day now, the New Mexico Supreme Court may grant same-sex couples the right to get married.
At this point, such a ruling may not seem like such a big deal. Prior to last year’s elections, gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states. Now, they have it in 16.
“This year represented the true tipping point,” says Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. “We’ve reached a moment in history where it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to go back.”
This has been “the gayest year in gay history,” in the words of Fred Sainz, vice president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, and not only because individual states and the U.S. Supreme Court have extended greater protections to gay couples.
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An important message from the ladies of Xotica for World AIDS Day.
With the still growing epidemic of HIV amongst the MSM community it was important to us to share a message this World AIDS Day.
This is your life...
Take control of it.
Negative or Positive.
Know your STATUS
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A number of experts in law and state politics have written to emphasize the enormous slog that lies ahead for proponents of marriage equality. As a lawyer who knows a bit about politics I share their concerns. But employing my economics “hat” I wish to offer this encouragement – we have passed the tipping point in economics that ensures eventual success in securing marriage equality throughout the United States.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have reached the decision to allow full marriage equality for same-sex couples. As the chart I prepared shows, those jurisdictions represent nearly 38% of the total U.S. population and over 43% of total GDP. Marriage equality is now a normal aspect of life for an enormous share of our total U.S. population.
The demographic trends that favor the future expansion of marriage equality are well-known, but I write to emphasize the role that economics will play in brining marriage equality even to the states that most vociferously oppose equality. Economics and demographics both play a major role in shaping destiny, and they will combine to push in the direction of marriage equality. For all the talk about small businesses, the high-paying jobs that even Texas covets are disproportionately in big business and the elite professions. The elite professionals already locate overwhelmingly in states that provide marriage equality.
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The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage is seeing a huge wave of red ink this year.
NOM has published its 2012 tax form and as you can see above, they finished 2012 over $2.7M in the red. Brian Brown took to their blog last night to blast complaints. “NOM fully complies with federal law regarding the public availability of our Form 990 tax return. Our 2012 Form 990 was mailed to the IRS on November 15th as required by law. It is available for public inspection on the NOM website. This frivolous complaint by the HRC is extremely ironic given the fact that HRC published on its website the private information from NOM’s 2008 Form 990, which is a felony under federal law and which is the subject of current Congressional investigations. NOM has also filed a federal lawsuit against the IRS to find out who in the IRS illegally released to the HRC our confidential donor information.”
Could it be that NOM’s rich friends are unhappy with the organizations lack of recent success?
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It’s okay to be gay. No really, in the 21st century, as we move forward, it’s more okay to be gay every day… and more and more men and women are coming out of the closet, announcing their sexual orientation, and now getting LEGALLY married to members of the same sex. Even the US military is finally starting to do the right thing (yeah, it’s still messed up – but it’s improving every day compared to what soldiers of even five years ago had to put up with on a daily basis). I firmly believe that we will see marriage equality in my lifetime and I’m 40. That’s saying something.
So now, as a professional wedding planner, I have to ask a very difficult and controversial question – and I really want to know the answer – why are so many gay men continuing to marry straight women in big white weddings with the promise of a lifetime together when half the guests at the wedding know that the groom would rather be marrying his best man?
Let me back up a little to put things in context – I had a rainbow collection as a child before rainbows meant anything other than leprechauns and pots of gold. I grew up in Washington, DC, in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was first becoming okay to be gay in public. I took the Metro home from my prep school through Dupont Circle most days, and I assure you gay was EVERYWHERE back then (though more men than women seemed to be representing). Homosexuality has always been there – this is nothing new. Throughout history, there have been famous leaders worldwide whose sexuality is extensively questioned in our history books even though almost all of them were married to women and had families (who knew what the gossip was about them when they were alive). But only in the past 30 years (and really more in the last 10) have gay men and women been able to be open about their orientation and still hold their rank in business and society without being ostracized completely. For the military, things are still in the process of changing. But they are changing. Big time.
With a whole world of opportunity opening up for people of all sexual orientations, with so many states legalizing gay marriage and benefits FINALLY being extended to those partners the way they should have been all along, why are so many gay men continuing the ruse and marrying straight women? Maybe some of them are bisexual and their wives are okay with it – and if that’s the case, more power to that couple – but I’m here to tell you that I have planned quite a few weddings over the past few years that seriously made me wonder what the heck was going on. I am absolutely positively certain that not all of these beautiful girls with hopeful smiles, tripping down the aisle in bridal white, clearly understand that they aren’t really their groom’s first choice for a life partner. They might be his favorite girl, but she isn’t who he wishes he was marrying forever. And most of those marriage don’t last. It’s a fact. Add a comment Add a comment
In 1990, 75 percent of Americans believed homosexual sex was immoral, and gay marriage was illegal in literally every jurisdiction in the world. Not quite 25 years later, a majority of Americans support gay marriage, and among young people support is as high as 70 percent. That is a breathtaking transformation; if you’d told LGBT organizations and advocates a quarter century ago that they were on the verge of a public relations coup of this magnitude, almost none of them would have believed it. Even now, it’s hard to credit. How on earth did it happen?
Leigh Moscowitz’s new book, The Battle Over Marriage: Gay Rights Activism Through the Media doesn’t set out to answer that question, but it does hint at one possibility: that the public relations revolution was achieved, in part, through the tremendous savviness and hard work of gay rights activists.
In the 1990s and early 2000s antipathy to LGBT people in the media was intense, and appeared in ways both overt and subtle. Even when the topic was gay marriage or gays in the military, gay life was exoticized: Images accompanying LGBT news items often showed “seedy gay bars or seminaked parade revelers,” in the words of an Advocate article Moscowitz quotes. News networks often framed debates in terms of God vs. gays, with gay activists on one side and anti-homosexual religious leaders, with all the respectability that religion lends, on the other.
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A Democratic Representative from Minnesota has introduced a bill in the house to protect benefits for LGBT veterans.
House Representative Tim Walz has introduced the Protecting the Freedoms and Benefits for All Veterans Act, which could revolutionize the way LGBT veterans and their families are treated as well as the benefits they receive during and post-service. Currently, LGBT veterans are at risk of being denied survivor and spousal benefits, as well as flag burial honors. The new legislation would guarantee that all veterans and their spouses, regardless of state residence or sexual orientation, would be given equal treatment for equal service. “When someone puts their life on the line to protect our freedom at home, they deserve to enjoy the same freedom and earned benefits as anyone else who has done so, no matter who they love or where they reside,” Walz said.
Of course, a bill introduced by a democrat that has to do with LGBT issues likely doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell in the current House of Representatives. But we’re thrilled he’s trying…Add a comment Add a comment
With marriage equality now coming to Illinois and Hawaii, nearly 40% of the country lives in a marriage equality state. But just how federal and state governments will navigate the still-unsettled reality (and consequences) of marriage equality remains an open question.
Although Windsor invalidated Section 3 of DOMA, it left Section 2 in place, which allows states to refuse to recognize same gender marriages performed in other states. Marriages are not judgments or orders, and are therefore not entitled to equality under constitutional principles of full faith and credit among the states. This has the potential to impact benefits, parental rights, divorce, and other issues for same-sex couples depending on where they marry and where they live.
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Join Trans-E-Motion at this years Transgender Day of Remembrance, Wednesday November 20th at 6pm. The Holistic Center, 4879 E Kings Canyon, Fresno.
Gay Fresno is proud to sponsor this event and hope to see you there.
Five years ago last week, on Election Day 2008, California’s electorate passed Prop 8, marking perhaps the most notable low point in the marriage equality movement as a minority was stripped of a previously recognized constitutional right. As of this week five years ago, only two states – Massachusetts and Connecticut – fully recognized the marriages of same-sex couples.
How far we’ve come since then. And how fast.
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HBO will premiere its much-anticipated gay-themed series Looking on January 19 at 10:30 PM.
On Sunday, the network released a teaser clip from the upcoming series.
In Looking, a trio of friends – Murray Bartlett (Guiding Light), Jonathan Groff (Glee, Boss) and newcomer Frankie J. Alvarez (Smash) – grapple with gay life in San Francisco, America's most gay-friendly city.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
A coalition of conservative groups called Privacy for all Students submitted 620,000 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2014 ballot, said Frank Schubert, the political strategist handling the signature gathering effort. To qualify, at least 505,000 valid signatures must be submitted. To verify the signatures, each of California’s 58 counties will first check that the overall count is correct, then conduct a random sampling to make sure they are legitimate. After that, it is likely the state would order a full review.
It’s absolutely sickening to see these people going after transgender kids, some of the most vulnerable in our society. Of course, there may not be enough valid signatures to get on the ballot. But if there are, we need to do everything we can to protect these kids.
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Now that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has passed the US Senate, we have a few follow-ups for you.
First off, Mormons helped pass ENDA in the Senate.
The New York Times reports:
Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who at 79 is one of the Senate’s longest-serving members, became the first Republican to signal he would reverse his opposition as the bill faced a crucial vote in committee. He voted against a similar bill the last time it came up in the Senate — 17 years ago — but changed his mind earlier this year after Gordon H. Smith, a fellow Mormon and former Republican senator, convinced him there was nothing in it that violated church doctrine. “The church does want to be helpful where we can be, without violating our own conscience,” Mr. Smith, a former bishop, said in an interview. And as the bill approached a vital vote earlier this week, Senator Dean Heller, the Nevada Republican who has taught Sunday school at his Mormon church, provided the crucial 60th vote to break a filibuster. In the end, all but two of the Senate’s seven Mormons voted yes.
This newfound support for LGBT rights pointedly does NOT extend to marriage equality.
Openly gay House representative Jared Polis believes the bill would pass the House, if Boehner would bring it to a vote.
The Washington Blade reports:
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who’s gay and co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, predicted during an interview with the Washington Blade Friday that ENDA would pass the House and said the next step for the bill is to pressure Republican leaders to bring it to the floor. He added that a number of undeclared Republicans have privately told him they’d vote “yes.” “The next step is, of course, to continue to apply pressure to the speaker and the majority leader to bring it to the floor, where I’m confident it has enough support to pass,” Polis said. “The best way to do that is to demonstrate it has that support and continuing to add co-sponsors, particularly more Republican co-sponsors to ENDA so that we can have a stronger case to make that we need to bring it before the House to the floor for a vote.”
President Obama is thinking along similar lines.
On Top Magazine reports:
“Today’s victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago.”
“Now it’s up to the House of Representatives,” the president added. “This bill has the overwhelming support of the American people, including a majority of Republican voters, as well as many corporations, small businesses and faith communities. They recognize that our country will be more just and more prosperous when we harness the God-given talents of every individual.”
What do you guys think about the current version of ENDA? On the one hand, it is transgender inclusive, and would offer protections not available before to LGBT workers. OTOH, its religious exemptions are overly broad, and could lead to problems down the road. Where do you stand?Add a comment Add a comment
Dear Dr. Fred:
My partner and I have been socializing a lot lately with another gay couple we met while on vacation last year. I'll refer to them here as “Tom and Larry. " These guys are what some of us like to call members of the "A-Gay List," a real class act, if you know what I mean — handsome, highly educated, intelligent, great conversationalists, well-read and well-travelled. I could go on, but you get my drift. We meet them for dinner or brunch at a local restaurant or exchange dinner parties at our houses several times a month. We’ve also made plans to vacation with them next year and have already booked some pretty pricey airfare and a cruise.
Here’s our problem. Recently over cocktails at our house, Tom said they’d wanted to share something deeply personal and private about themselves with us for a long time. They went on to confide that they were in a group that practiced witchcraft, or “Wicca," to be exact. They described Wiccan beliefs and philosophies in great detail and even what went on at the group’s gatherings. They seemed relieved to be able to talk openly about all of this and admitted how unusual and nice it was for them to be able to share this with us, because none of their other friends seemed open enough to handle it. I reassured them that we’d heard about such things, and that we have a very’ “live and let live"philosophy, so we would never judge them negatively.
After a while the conversation turned to other matters, and eventually the evening came to an amicable close, although on leaving, they did express that they felt uneasy about having possibly freaked us out" with their disclosure. But again, we reassured them to the contrary, and all ended well, or so we thought.
The problem is that ever since that night, this couple has been avoiding us. Whenever we call or text them about getting together, they always have other plans. When we ran into them at a coffee house the other night, they looked like they couldn't wait to get away from us. They made some lame excuse about having theatre tickets, though it was way too late in the evening for plays to be going on.
So here's our dilemma. We really like this couple, and want to continue being friends with them. But it appears that their disclosure has somehow changed the friendship — in their eyes, anyway. As for us, after the initial surprise, we thought we’d shown our acceptance of them very well. But could we have somehow made them feel uncomfortable despite what we said? And if so, how do we push the reset button and get things back to a better place with them? Finally, what are we going to do about these expensive plane and cruise tickets if we can't patch things up?
Sid and Andy
Dear Sid and Andy:
As a former professor who taught communication, one of the first things I always covered was the importance of non-verbal communication. Most communications experts agree that up to 83 percent of what we convey when talking with others is through "meta-communication," i.e. the message within a message.
Meta-communication is transmitted by our body language, posture, facial expression, eye contact, voice inflection, breathing, pacing and spatial relationships (how near or far we are from the person with whom we’re interacting). So, yes, it’s entirely possible that despite your best efforts to appear accepting, your meta-communication may have conveyed some discomfort with your friends' disclosure.
I’m reminded of an interaction I had with a client many years ago. I was interviewing the man in a first session, when he volunteered that he had AIDS. I turned to my desk to pick up a legal pad to start taking notes. However, his perception was that when I turned away from him I was “rejecting him because he had AIDS." Fortunately, we were able to work this wrinkle out. But it was a priceless lesson for me about the power of meta-messages.
Similarly, your friends are sensitive about this aspect of their lives and yearning to share it with others who can affirm it. Whatever your intentions, it appeal's they perceived some judgment in your response, just as my client did.
So, how to salvage things now? To remove the potential for further non-verbal miscommunications, try sending them a friendship card. In it, enclose a heartfelt message about how much you value this relationship and how much you’re looking forward to vacationing together. Invite the couple over for dinner and share something you two have done that might be considered a bit of a “walk on the wild side.” (I don’t know many gay men who haven’t got a story or two in that department.).
If none of the above works, I'd still go on the cruise together. Who knows what opportunities for sorting things out might come up when you're all stuck together on a boat somewhere on the ocean?
Author's Post-script: While many people do see Wicca as “white witchcraft,” more liberal theologians recognize it as a legitimate religion, and it is practiced widely across the world, with many gay followers.
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