I almost lost my lunch when I heard that an Alabama woman bid $63,500 to have lunch with Sarah Palin. I kept thinking of how a contribution of this size would help Truth Wins Out fight the "ex-gay" industry for nearly a year. It would greatly assist us in our efforts to monitor these groups, conduct crucial research, help people come out of the closet and investigate "ex-gay" boot camps that abuse GLBT youth.
So, I was thinking, why not have our supporters bid to have lunch with me?
Okay, I can't see Russia from my office. Sarah probably looks better in a beauty pageant swimsuit. And, no, I don't have fabulous clothes swiped on the Republican National Committee's credit card. Wayne Besen Photo
But, if you ask, I can tell you what newspapers and magazines I read! And, if you dine with me, we won't have to talk about death panels, I won't flirtatiously wink at everyone and you won't have to suffer through a bowl of moose stew. Most importantly, you will never hear the word "maverick". Also, unlike Palin, I don't chew with my mouth full. Okay, I made up the last part - although Levi Johnston is likely to back me up.
Seriously, if each person on this list contributes $25 today, we will exceed the obscene price paid to eat with Sarah "Barracuda" Palin. For those affected by these difficult times, a tax-deductible gift of $5 or $10 would help us enormously.
Finally, I will dine with the highest bidder when he or she comes to New York City. If the bid exceeds $10,000, I will even fly to you! If you match the contribution to Palin, I will throw in breakfast, coffee and dinner. Don't even think about dessert, I have a boyfriend. (If someone matches the Palin gift, we could make international news and get out our important life-saving message.)
I look forward to your contribution to help an inspiring cause. Let the bidding begin!
Wayne Besen Founder & Executive Director Truth Wins Out www.TruthWinsOut.org 33 West 19th Street, Fourth Floor NY, NY 10019
Fresh off its wing nut wingding on the National Mall, the far-out fringe held its "Values Voter" summit in Washington last week. The highlight was jilted former Miss California, Carrie Prejean, starting a brand new religion -- "MEvangelical Christianity". In her remarkably self-centered, narcissistic speech, she cast herself as a martyr on a mission and repeatedly had to remind the audience that she wasn't as stuck up as she appeared on stage.
Prejean's introspective idolatry was almost outdone by Michael Schwartz, the chief of staff for Sen. Tom Coburn. For those who do not remember, Coburn is the Oklahoma Republican who once criticized the movie Schindler's List for its nudity. Thank God for our watchdog, Senator Coburn, or lusting after malnourished and gaunt holocaust victims might have caught on.
With a mentor like Coburn, it was only natural for Schwartz to become an expert on pornography, and we were fortunate to have him share his wisdom at a Values Voter discussion on "The New Masculinity".
On the cusp of insulting gay people, Schwartz told the rabid right crowd that he was about to get "politically incorrect." Why bother with a disclaimer, as if gay bashing is actually controversial at such rallies? If he really wanted to shock the crowd, he would have introduced "Schwartz' List" -- naming all the social conservatives caught in tawdry sex scandals. But, alas he only had an hour, clearly not enough time for this endeavor.
Schwartz called pornography a "blight" and a "disease". Although he failed to point out it disproportionally afflicts Republicans, with "Red States" having the highest rates of pornography subscriptions. The porno politico then agreed with an "ex-gay" friend of his that said, "'All pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.' Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he's going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I'm pretty sure he'll lose interest. That's the last thing he wants.' You know, that's a, that's a good comment. It's a good point and it's a good thing to teach young people."
So, straight porn will turn you gay and holocaust nudity is erotic. Just plain, homespun common sense.
Now that the loons have finally left DC, there is the question of whether the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community should march on Washington. The main event is scheduled for October 11th and it is highly anticipated by a new breed of Internet-age activists.
There is, however, opposition from many local GLBT organizations and movement activists who believe that resources spent in Washington would be put to better use fighting battles in the states.
I am highly sympathetic to statewide leaders who have performed heroic work, even though they lack crucial resources. And they are correct that the GLBT movement needs to continue fighting and educating at the local level. This will not only bring us victory in the states, but will change the facts on the ground in congressional districts, increasing the chance Congress will vote for equality.
Still, I agree with Equality Across America organizer Cleve Jones and long-time activist David Mixner that now is the time to go to Washington. No matter how much state organizers would prefer we march on state capitols, it is not the same. A rally in sleepy towns like Tallahassee or Albany changes your afternoon plans, while a trip to DC changes your life.
Detractors of the big march say that not enough organizing has been done to lobby members of Congress. But, what exactly would these citizen-lobbyists say that has not already been said by Human Rights Campaign lobbyists 1,000 times before? Besides, those who come to DC can always lobby the Representative in their district when they return home.
The march is really about inspiring a new generation. One of the highlights of my young activism career was attending the 1993 March on Washington. It moved me to a lifetime of advocacy and I believe that today's youth deserve the same opportunity I got to come to DC and be counted.
Let's not be jaded and forget how mesmerizing it was to step on the lawn and witness a sea of homosexuals and their allies campaigning for equal rights. I think those who oppose the march should close their eyes and relive the experience.
This march will likely be smaller than those in the past due to the economic recession. It will likely not spur an overnight legislative victory. But, it will invigorate and initiate a fire inside thousands of activists that will burn long after the last candle is blown out on the National Mall. And, as a bonus, compared to the crazies who marched last week, a gay pride march will finally seem positively boring.
Contact: Lisa Darden, Hope Unlimited Productions (HUP)Talent and Booking Phone: 240-446-1554 E-Mail: ask4Darden@gmail.com
National 'Pray Away The Gay?' Speaking Tour Kicks Off at The University of Vermont Activist and Author Wayne Besen Available for Dynamic, Multi-Media Presentation on the 'Ex-Gay' Industry
NEW YORK -- Author and activist Wayne Besen will kick-off a national 2009-10 speaking tour in Burlington, Sept. 24, at the University of Vermont. The multi-media presentation, "Pray Away the Gay?", offers a unique, innovative and entertaining look behind the mask of so-called ex-gay programs. Besen is the founder of the non-profit organization Truth Wins Out and author of two books including the critically acclaimed, "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth". He is also known for photographing ex-gay poster boy John Paulk in a gay bar in Washington, DC.
"My goal is to educate people on this important topic in an exciting and memorable way," said Besen, who has spoken at more than 100 leading universities, community organizations, business groups and religious institutions. "This new show is packed with powerful information, yet is very funny. The best entertainment allows people to learn and laugh at the same time."
During his hour and a half show, Besen takes the audience on a whirlwind tour of ex-gay ministry and therapy programs. Audiences will learn the history of these groups, the bizarre techniques they use and the political players that finance their efforts.
In 2006, Besen was recognized in the Advocate Magazine's "People of the Year" issue for his work with Truth Wins Out. Besen has appeared as a guest on leading news and political talk shows including: the NBC Nightly News, CNN's Talk Back Live and The Point, Fox's O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes, MSNBC News and Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour nal, USA Today, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone and the Advocate Magazine.
Besen also has a weekly column that is published in the Falls Church News Press and more than a dozen GLBT publications. Prior to founding Truth Wins Out, Besen served as a spokesperson for five years with the Human Rights Campaign. He also worked in corporate communications for Edelman Public Relations and as a press secretary on a U.S. Senate race in Maine.
Besen can be booked for additional tour dates by contacting Lisa Darden at Hope Unlimited Productions (HUP) Talent and Booking, firstname.lastname@example.org.