Saturday, August 26, 2006
Truth Wins Out (TWO) brought together a coalition of church and advocacy groups today to counter
an "ex-gay"conference in Carrollton, Texas. As Living Hope/Lasting Change participants entered Vista Ridge Baptist Church, the demonstrators held up gay affirming signs to show these victims that they can be loved and accepted for who they truly are.
"This symposium is a masquerade of the misguided that shatters families, ruins lives and can lead to suicide," said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen. "Living Hope should stop using distorted images of gay life, outdated science and slanderous stereotypes to scare people into attending its conference. We also reject the false message that gays and lesbians cannot be people of faith."
Joining Besen at the demonstration were notable leaders such as: Rev. Colleen Darraugh, MCC of Greater Dallas; Rev. Ken Ehrke, Agape MCC, Fort Worth; Brother Curtis Smith, Pastoral Leader, Trinity MCC, Arlington; Daniel Gonzales, contributing author, Ex-Gay Watch; and Fort Worth Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
"The Metropolitan Community Churches have been incredible allies in educating America about the 'ex-gay' myth," said Besen. "MCC pastors are the ones who often have to pick up the pieces when lives are shattered by 'ex-gay', ministries. Truth Wins Out is grateful for the help of MCC and its continued commitment to helping people escape the ex-gay trap and go on to lead spiritually and emotionally healthy lives."
The protest was attended by an estimated twenty demonstrators who braved nearly 100 degree heat. Living Hope is part of Exodus International, a group of recloseted homosexuals that purports to pray away the gay. Some of their methods include exorcisms, lipstick seminars for lesbians and repossessing men's Calvin Klein underwear because it is deemed "too gay."
Two of Exodus' co-founders, Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, left the group to marry each other. In 2000, Exodus Board Chair, John Paulk, was photographed by TWO's Besen in a gay bar in Washington, DC. So-called "conversion therapy" is rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization. At the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in New Orleans this month, the APA released the following statement:
"For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA's concern about the position's espoused by the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish."
TWO is a non-profit think tank and educational organization that counters right wing disinformation campaigns, debunks the ex-gay myth, and provides accurate information about the lives of GLBT people. Besen, the group's founder and Executive Director, is the author of "Anything But Straight: Unmasking The Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth."
August 26, 2006
We always knew that U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris was anti-democratic, but we now also know she is a demented theocrat who has gone off the deep end. Speaking to the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention, Harris all but endorsed a Christian version of the Taliban in America
Harris said that God did not intend for the United States to be a "nation of secular laws" and that a failure to elect Christians to political office will allow lawmaking bodies to "legislate sin.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, said she was "disgusted" by the comments "and deeply disappointed in Rep. Harris personally." Harris, Wasserman Schultz said, "clearly shows that she does not deserve to be a representative...."
State Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, demanded an apology, saying the statements were "outrageous, even by her standards."
"What is going through this woman's mind?" said Slosberg who, like Wasserman Schultz, is Jewish. "We do not live in a theocracy."
The criticism was not limited to Democrats.
Ruby Brooks, a veteran Tampa Bay Republican activist, said Harris' remarks "were offensive to me as a Christian and a Republican."
"To me, it's the height of hubris," said Brooks, a former Largo Republican Club president and former member of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee.
Harris said her religious beliefs "animate" everything she does, including her votes in Congress. She then warned voters that if they do not send Christians to office, they risk creating a government that is doomed to fail.
"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," she told interviewers, citing abortion and gay marriage as two examples of that sin.
"Whenever we legislate sin," she said, "and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don't know better, we are leading them astray and it's wrong. . . ."
Harris also said the separation of church and state is a "lie we have been told" to keep religious people out of politics.
In reality, she said, "we have to have the faithful in government" because that is God's will. Separating religion and politics is "so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers," she said. (If this is a the case, God can't stand Harris who is tanking in the polls and can't even gain support of the very Bush family she helped propel into the presidency.)
"And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women," then "we're going to have a nation of secular laws. That's not what our founding fathers intended and that's [sic] certainly isn't what God intended.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
(Weekly Column) - Click here to listen to Wayne's column
The world of men can be divided into two groups: Those who feel empty after the completion of a one night stand and those who roll over and go to bed feeling completely satisfied. This emotional divide among males is equally as dramatic as the more publicized difference in sexual orientation between gay and straight men. Yet, this phenomenon is rarely talked about as the conventional wisdom wrongly concludes that "men are pigs."
The gulf between the men who oink and boink and those who bed and wed is worth exploring. It seems to me that these men have little in common, as pigs are from Pluto and mensches are from Mars.This split in the way men think about sex is best illustrated in listening to the two groups discuss former President Bill Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.
The mensches scratch their heads and ask, "How on earth could he do that? How can a man cheat on his wife and squander his presidency for a moment of joy with a chubby intern?"
While the pigs were disappointed with Clinton, on a fundamental level they understood his actions. "He was alone in the Oval Office, he was probably under a lot of stress, Monica walked in, and things just sort of happened," they reason. What flummoxes the pigs, more than Clinton's behavior, is the mensches' genuine bewilderment of how a man might jeopardize power over a fleeting moment of sexual gratification.
This battle of the male brain is now playing itself out in gay society after paparazzi ambushed pop star George Michael coming out of the bushes following a sexcapade with a pot-bellied peasant.
Michael, for his part, implied that his behavior was a result of entrenched gay customs. "Are you gay?" he asked the paparazzi, "No? Then f*** off. This is my culture."
This may have been true in the 1970's, when gay culture had been set up to accommodate married men on the sly. During this period, bathhouses were hugely popular and the gay bars had blackened out windows, creating a virtual cocktail-serving closet. Many of the patrons had to have sex inside the bar because they could not go home where an unsuspecting wife and kids waited.
Of course, there was a portion of men who did have options (such as Michael does today) but just enjoyed unfettered promiscuity for the thrill. However, the ability of people to come out combined with the fear of contracting HIV has sharply curtailed the carnal carnival the gay subculture once represented. Bawdy bathhouses have largely been replaced by couples shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
The whole notion that gay men are more libidinous than straight men is a canard pushed by right wing fanatics in an effort to deny homosexuals basic rights. Indeed, one of the most guarded secrets of gay life is that a good portion of homosexuals are as undersexed as their straight counterparts.
Some of these lonely people keep long hours at the office and don't have time to pursue partners. Others are shy and have great difficulty meeting people. Many men - gay and straight - simply have low sex drives and hardly desire gratuitous encounters.From my observation, a surprisingly large portion of men find the notion of hooking up with strangers totally unappealing. It is not looks nor variety, but intimacy that is the greatest turn on.
Of course, for hyper-aggressive men who fancy uninhibited sexual exploration, it is easier being gay because you can always find another man looking for the same thing. But, instead of being blamed for a lack of self-control, the gay community should get a medal for restraint.
Heck, if straight men could have sex in public restrooms with women, would we ever again be able to use the facilities for legitimate purposes? If straight men could easily pick up women for sex in parks after midnight, would the grounds be so trodden that ants would become an endangered species? Yeah, gay men have access to sex if they want it bad enough and are willing to take risks, like Michael, but the majority consistently chooses not to recklessly cruise.
George Michael may "want his sex" but his placing the blame on the GLBT culture no longer reflects modern reality. Given a full range of choices, including marriage, GLBT life increasingly looks as diverse as mainstream culture with monogamously oriented men finally having the option to choose monogamy.
Led by talk show host Joe Scarborough and columnist George Will, conservative opinion makers are dumping on George Bush
. Sounding increasingly like Michael Moore, they are even questionaing Bush's IQ.
For 10 minutes, Scarborough grilled his guests about whether "George Bush's mental weakness is damaging America" under the caption, "IS BUSH AN 'IDIOT'?"
Scarborough, a former Republican congressman turned MSNBC political pundit seemed to agree that Bush is a buffoon. While other presidents have been called stupid, Scarborough said: "I think George Bush is in a league by himself. I don't think he has the intellectual depth as these other people."
Monday, August 21, 2006
A female Sunday School teacher of 54 years was canned
at The First Baptist Church for committing the Sin of - being a woman and speaking. Her demise occured after the church adopted a fundamentalist literal interpretation of the Bible.
On Aug. 9, Mary Lambert recieved a letter explaining that the church no longer had a use for women outside of making cupcakes and babies. Well, it didn't actully say that
, but it might as well have. The letter did quote the first epistle to Timothy: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."
This disgrace is the result of unchecked fundamentalism run amock. They single out gay people now because it is politically possible. However, let this be a lesson that the extreme right has a broader agenda that includes oppressing the majority of Americans and imposing theocracy.
Today's New York Times
had a disturbing story about how Sen. John McCain was positioning himself as the frontrunner in the 2008 presidential campaign. His strategy is to incorporate Bush's team, as well as kiss up to the religious right, by bringing on board yahoos, such as Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana.
However, what really disturbed me was that the article revealed that Dick Cheney aide, Mary Matalin, has lined up behind Virginia Sen. George Allen's bid for the presidency. Mary is supposed to be pro-gay, yet she backs one of the most vociferously anti-gay candidates in the Senate. Allen, who is fond of confederate flags, showed his true colors
last week when he made a racial slur, calling an Indian man at his campaign event "Macaca." Who is Matalin going to embrace next, Mel Gibson?
I hope Matalin reconsiders and finds a new candidate that reflects her supposedly mainstream values. If anything, she has shown why the Republican party must be abandoned by thinking GLBT people: Even our friends in the GOP help elect horrible candidates that would make our lives living hell.