Obama signs What makes a hate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell group? by Arthur Breur (Hint: Breaking a commandment, repeal repeatedly and unrepentantly) President Barack Obama signed the law repealing the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ban on open gays Dec. 22. “Yes, we did,” Obama said. “You know, I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day. … I couldn’t be prouder.” “No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military—regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance—because they happen to be gay,” the president said. “No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love.”
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The out-of-state organizations that brought about the unprecedented ouster of three of Iowa’s Supreme Court Justices have put up a fuss about being labeled “Hate Groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, launching an effort they have called “Start Debating, Stop Hating.” The new website, StartDebatingStopHating.com, launched by the Family Research Council, starts with this oddly ironic statement: “The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.
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Sanctity and Insanity
What’s Inside: Section 1: News & Politics
by David Ruhe, Senior Pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, Des Moines, IA I am truly honored to be here today. Your reputation precedes you. The secret is out that the First Friday Breakfast Club is about more than breakfast: that you are a community of support and transformation that makes Des Moines a better place. Thank you for inviting me. I am flattered to think that somebody thought I might have something to say to so broad an audience. Often the perception of preachers can be summed up in Mark Twain’s quip: “What did the preacher talk about?” “Sin.” “What did he have to say?” “He seemed to be against it.” It was also kind of Jonathan Wilson to invite me in July, and so to permit me the illusion that you were not desperately scraping the bottom of the barrel for a program today. When that call came I thought I might talk to you about Christmas; and I even prepared that talk. But it came to feel pretty bland and safe to me, so I decided to talk instead about marriage, marriage equality, inappropriate certitude and sanctity. My title is “Sanctity and Insanity.” I hope to strike a confessional note here, and to admit that part of the furor surrounding marriage equality stems from the misguided attempt on the part of Christians to fight out our doctrinal divisions in the legislature and the courts. Because the church doesn’t have its act together, innocent people, particularly LGBT persons, suffer. What is properly a theological conversation cannot find resolution; and so some in the Christian community are trying to legislate, and adjudicate, sanctity. That’s insanity.
Natalie Portman and Black Swan cast talk ballet thriller—and that girl-on-girl sex scene TTstory page 12
In the interests of full disclosure I should tell you a bit about my background and convictions. I am the Senior Minister at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. This Sunday will mark the 17th anniversary of my election to that office. I got them to promise I could keep at it until I get the hang of it, which has proven to mean job security for me. Plymouth has been an Open and Affirming congregation since 1993, which means that we have formally and publicly declared ourselves to be open to and affirming of all God’s children, regardless of sexual orientation. This action was taken while my predecessor, Jim Gilliom, was in his final months at Plymouth; the search committee for his successor would not even have considered me as a candidate had I not been wholeheartedly in accord. This Open and Affirming declaration is now seen as one of the most important things Plymouth Church has ever done. We understand it to be consonant with other socially controversial but morally obvious stands on issues like the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement. Our denomination, the United Church of Christ, fancies itself as having been “early to truth-telling” on divisive issues; if that is so we are “early” only by the standards of the church as a whole, which is a notorious defender and apologist of the status quo. Too often in the church we are eager to settle for peace without justice, and so end up with neither. Be that as it may, the UCC ordained the first openly
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From the Editor: “Protecting Our Interests / Volume 25” 3 Iowa News 4 US News 5 World News 6 Inside Out: “...Both Still Fruit” by Ellen Krug 7 “Deficit and Debt” by Tony E. Hansen 7 Creeps of the Week 8 Minor Details: “When Can a Speaker of the House Cry?” 9
Section 2: Fun Guide
Entertainment Picks for January Deep Inside Hollywood “Dirty Dancing” (Black Swan) by Chris Azzopardi Partying Hard: Please “Don’t Join My Gym” The Outfield Recurring Events, Statewide Hear Me Out (Music Reviews): Best of 2010 Our first Chicago-style pizza The Gay Wedding Planner: “Engagements & Flowers” Cocktail Chatter:Vodka Stinger / The Bellini / Grappa Out of Town: St. Petersburg’s Renaissance Book Worm Sez: Stuff That Makes a Gay Heart Weep Comics and Crossword Puzzle
Section 3: Community
11 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 23 25 26 26
Snap Shot: The Library at The CENTER 29 First Friday Breakfast Club: Dr. David Ruhe 29 Queeries: LGBT Etiquette by Steven Petrow 30 A Happy New Year at The CENTER by Beau Fodor 30 Positive Iowans Taking Charge: Peer-to-Peer Support 30 “How Ya’ Doin’?” by Jonathan Wilson 31 Editing ACCESSline 1996-2008: A 13-Year Experience 32 Business Directory 36-37 In Memoriam: John Karn; Wesley Richardson 38
ACCESSline Page 2
Section 1: News & Politics
PUBLICATION INFORMATION Copyright © 2011 ACCESSline P.O. Box 2666 Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2666 (319) 550-0957 www.ACCESSlineIOWA.com editor@ACCESSlineIOWA.com ACCESSline is a monthly publication by Breur Media Corporation. The paper was founded in 1986 by the non-profit organization ACCESS (A Concerned Community for Education, Safer-sex and Support) in Northeast Iowa.
Arthur Breur, Editor in Chief Q Syndicate Rex Wockner News Service Contributors: Bruce Carr; Joshua Dagon; Beau Fodor; Tony E. Hansen; Ellen Krug; Bob Minor; Jonathan Wilson
All rights reserved. Original material printed in ACCESSline (with the exception of information from other sources) may be “lifted” for use in other publications so long as proper credit is given. Publication of the name, photograph or likeness of any person, business or organization in ACCESSline is not to be construed as any indication of sexual orientation. Opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ACCESSline, ACCESS or the gay and lesbian community. Letters to the editor may be published. We cannot be responsible for errors in advertising copy. We welcome the submission of original materials, including line drawings and cartoons, news stories, poems, essays. They should be clearly labeled with author/artist name, address, and phone number. We reserve the right to edit letters and other material for reasons of profanity, space, or clarity. Materials will not be returned. A writer’s guide is available for those wishing to submit original work. Advertising rates and deadlines are available at ACCESSlineIOWA.com. All ads must be approved by ACCESSline’s editorial board.
Section 1: News & Politics
ACCESSline Page 3
From the Editor: Protecting Our Interests On January 1, 2011, Iowa’s LGBT+ a couple of drinks there, even just once or community woke up with one less cultural twice a month. Even if you don’t particularly treasure. With the close of Hamburger Mary’s like the choice of bars in your town all that in Cedar Rapids, the state of Iowa is that much much, you will probably agree: having any bar poorer this year. where you can openly kiss or dance or hold Due to unsteady business and the hands with your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/ general state of the economy, the fun and husband/lover is much better than having no campy restaurant closed its doors after such bar in town. nearly three years in business. Plan a trip to eat at Schera’s RestauI am very strong on responsibility, rant and Bar in the little town of Elkader in and I believe we have a responsibility to northeast Iowa. It’s owned by a wondersupport the things we treasure, and make ful couple who are proving every day that no mistake: Hamburger Mary’s was a local diversity makes Iowa a stronger and better treasure. We, as a community, can say, “Oh, place. Or eat at Paradise Pizza Café in West well, the economy is Des Moines, or any other really terrible right now, “If you liked it then you should place you know that is so it is no surprise that have put a ring on it.” LGBT owned, operated, some places are going or just friendly. to close.” OR we can — Lyric from the song “Single Ladies” Do you appreciate composed by Christopher Stewart, that there are “open and say, “There are enough Terius Nash, Thaddis Harrell and affirming” churches in of us around to throw Beyoncé Knowles our support behind the your community? Then businesses we love—or attend the church that the businesses we just like knowing are you feel most comfortable at—and be sure there!—and keep our local LGBT-owned and to put some money in the offering when LGBT-friendly businesses thriving. you do. If you feel personally turned off by Christian churches because of the frequent I insist… bad behavior of some congregations and So let me not just encourage you, but preachers, then try a Unitarian Universalist insist that you make an effort this year to Church; they are about as open-minded as a patronize your local LGBT+ businesses and church can be—a real breath of fresh air. charities. If you like knowing that there are Do you like having a Pride celebration such local Iowa businesses—whether they be in your town? Then plan on going—and a bar, church, restaurant, store, artist, profes- marching!—and then shop at the street fair. sional, whatever—then support them. You don’t need to spend any more money than you Minding our businesses… already would. Just spend your money on the And for the businesses out there, buy a businesses you want to keep around. booth space in your local Pride street fair. If So for example, do you buy coffee in your town has a local business network, join downtown Des Moines? Visit Ritual Café or it and attend various events. Des Moines has Zanzibar instead of always going to Starbucks Out Networking every 2nd Wednesday of the or Friedrich’s. The chains will survive just month. Iowa City has Connections, which has fine while we give a boost to our local small monthly business forums on the 1st Tuesday community businesses. of every month. Council Bluffs and Omaha Or maybe you are thinking about getting have the “GO GLBT Network”. Participate and someone a gift from Spencer Gifts? Consider network with other Iowa LGBT businesses. buying at Liberty Gifts in Des Moines, or The We are stronger if we stand together! First Avenue Wine House in Cedar Rapids Finally—to be blatantly self-serving—do (go figure: they have a great collection of you like that Iowa has a 25-year-old newspagay-themed cards, as well as many that are per working to serve the entire state of Iowa? just delightfully campy). Then advertise in ACCESSline, or subscribe, or suggest a location where ACCESSline could Go ahead, be social… be distributed in your town. (I became editor You may not be a regular bar patron, of ACCESSline because I felt it was another but if you like knowing that there is a “gay” one of our local treasures that might be lost, bar nearby, make a point to go out and have so I can claim one very personal win on the
ACCESSline Wants To Hear From You! Send in photos and reports of your events... especially benefits and conferences. Please send us information on any of the following: • Corrections to articles • Stories of LGBT or HIV+ interest, both in and outside of Iowa • Letters to the editor • Editorials or opinion pieces • Engagement and wedding ceremony announcements or photos • Questions on any topic we print • Photos and writeups about shows, events, pageants, and fundraisers Please email us at Editor@ACCESSlineIOWA.com. You may also contact us at our regular address: ACCESSline PO Box 2666 Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2666
ACCESSline reserves the right to print letters to the editor and other feedback at the editor’s discretion.
“saving our local treasures” front.) So stand up for the business or organization you want to keep alive in Iowa, and do so by spending your money there. Otherwise you might wake up tomorrow and find it is another lost treasure.
My New Year’s Resolutions
ACCESSline is turning 25 this year. This fact amazes me, nearly as much as it amazes how many people in our communities I speak to who have lived here for years—some even all their lives!—yet who have never even heard of ACCESSline! My first resolution is to work diligently to resolve that frustration, and to make ACCESSline a source of pride for all LGBT+ Iowans. I took over publishing ACCESSline from John Wilson and Paul Danielsen at the beginning of 2009 (see their remembrances of their notable strides on page 32). Since that time the paper has mostly been one-person show. (The paper has the benefit of syndicated content and some remarkable monthly columnists: novelists Joshua Dagon and Brett Edward Stout; the gay wedding planner, Beau Fodor; and the very talented Ellen Krug. And we have had many other contributors—more than I can list here without offending the ones I would forget! So everyone who has sent an article, a letter, or a photograph has my sincere thanks.) This year my resolution is to turn ACCESSline into a self-reliant business that can continue without interruption. Bonnie Hodson is rocking our ad sales manager position and Angela Geno-Stumme is our new managing editor. This core team is here to ensure that Iowa’s LGBT+ newspaper continues to be a valuable resource to all of Iowa’s LGBT+ communities for years to come.
Subscribe to ACCESSline
Thank you for reading ACCESSline, Iowa’s only statewide, monthly LGBT newspaper. Our goal continues to be to keep the community informed about gay organizations, events, HIV/AIDS news, politics, national and international news, and other critical issues. Don’t miss it! $36 for 12 issues. Subscribe at: ACCESSlineIOWA.com or… Send this completed form with check or money order for $36 for a one year subscription (12 issues) or RENEW for $30. Send to: ACCESSline, PO Box 2666, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2666 and we’ll send you ACCESSline in a plain brown envelope!
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ACCESSline Page 4
Section 1: News & Politics
Hamburger Mary’s Cedar Rapids closes December 31, 2010 was the last day that anyone could order a “Buffy Burger” or a “Barbra-Q Burger” in Iowa. After nearly three years of service, owners Rhonda and Stacy Winistorfer closed the restaurant, citing the poor economy and regularly unsteady business. The restaurant opened its doors on February 9, 2008, and held a grand opening on February 22, 2008. For two years in a row, Hamburger Mary’s won 1st Place for Best Burger in KCRG TV9’s A-List competition across eastern Iowa, beating out even the iconic Hamburg Inn in Iowa City.
2011 Matthew Shepard Scholarship applications now available
Applications are now available for Iowa’s 2011 Matthew Shepard Scholarship Program honoring openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iowa high school seniors at eychanerfoundation.org. Gold Eagle Awards are valued at $40,000 over four years and pay full tuition, books and fees at one of Iowa’s three state universities: Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa or the University of Iowa. Silver Eagle Awards are an initial award of $500 that grow to a value of $9,000 and may be used at any college or university in the United States. Applications are due March 31, 2011. All scholarships are renewable annually for up to four years upon evidence of academic achievement and continued service to the LGBT Community. To date, the Matthew Shepard Scholarship Program has committed over one million dollars in honoring one hundred and five Iowans from across the state. Scholarships are presented in each student’s high school awards assembly, and at a statewide awards dinner in Des Moines on June 3, 2011. Iowa’s Matthew Shepard Scholarship Program is named in the memory of Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming was brutally murdered ten years ago, because he was gay.
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FALSE WITNESS “The group, which was once known for combating racial bigotry, is now attacking several groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. “How does the SPLC attack? By labeling its opponents “hate groups.” No discussion. No consideration of the issues. No engagement. No debate!” The statement is ironic because the Family Research Council (and the American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, the National Organization for Marriage, the Liberty Counsel and “other pro-family organizations”) all started practicing character assassination decades ago by telling lies and calling names—which are
The Scholarship Program is underwritten and awarded by the Rich Eychaner Charitable Foundation. Additional information is available at: eychanerfoundation.org. Tickets for the awards dinner go on sale March 1, 2011.
Steve King backs newly designated hate groups
US Representative for Iowa’s 5th Congressional District, Steve King, signed an open letter in support of numerous newly designated anti-gay hate groups. The letter was in response to several high-profile national Christian “family” organizations being labeled “Hate Groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. “We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family. We support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.” It should be noted that neither free speech nor religious liberty are affected by the SPLC’s “Hate Group” designation. The organization labels an organization a hate group when that organization repeatedly publishes false information aimed at a marginalizing a minority group. The false statements which led to the above listed organizations being labeled “Hate Groups” include the falsehood that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles, the scientifically disproven idea that children are harmed by being raised by samesex couples, and the outrageous claims that the German Nazi party was run by homosexuals or used homosexuals as their most
Lt. Governor Announces One Iowa to Receive Final ‘One Iowa Award’
DES MOINES, Dec. 29, 2010 – Lt. Governor Patty Judge today announced that the seventh and final recipient of the One Iowa Award will be One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. (This state-
exactly the behaviors that got them landed on the SPLC’s list of hate groups. Furthermore, the SPLC has provided extensive documentation of the precise lies, distortions, and name-calling that these groups have perpetrated. These instances are not just statements of Christian belief, but are presented as “scientific fact” by the groups, which—combined with using terms like “sexual predators” and “perverts” to describe homosexuals as a group—is why they received the “hate group” designation. For example, some of the “facts” that are cited by FRC and other hate groups have been provided by discredited researchers such as Paul Cameron and his “Family Research Institute.” The “research” performed by this organization is unscientific from the start, notably—because their
wide diversity award is unrelated to the grassroots organization.) “I created the One Iowa Award to highlight individuals and organizations that are helping to eliminate intolerance and prejudice in our society, and bring our state together,” Lt. Governor Judge said. “Few groups are doing that work as effectively as One Iowa. For more than five years, this group has made tremendous strides in making our state a more welcoming and inviting place for all, including LGBT Iowans. They have been a great partner in the Culver/Judge Administration’s efforts to make our state a better place for everyone, and I am proud to honor their work with the final One Iowa Award.” Since it was created in 2005, One Iowa has grown into the state’s leading advocate for LGBT IowSince it was created in 2005, One Iowa has grown into the state’s leading advocate for LGBT Iowans. With 30,000 members, One Iowa has proven itself effective not only in achieving common-sense public policy changes, but also in changing the hearts and minds of Iowans. The organization helped create a climate that saw forward progress in the march for LGBT rights in recent years, including the passage of an expanded civil rights code to include LGBT Iowans and safe schools legislation establishing anti-bullying policies in schools. Since the Supreme Court’s unanimous Varnum ruling establishing marriage equality in Iowa in April 2009, One Iowa has been leading the charge to educate Iowans about the about the positive impact LGBT families have on our communities and our state, as well as working with the Iowa Legislature to keep discrimination out of our constitution. “It is truly an honor for One Iowa to receive this award,” said Carolyn Jenison,
stated goal presumes that certain things are a threat to the “traditional family” (itself an unscientific concept), and their goal is to merely prove that threat, rather than to research objectively: The Family Research Institute was founded in 1982 with one overriding mission: to generate empirical research on issues that threaten the traditional family, particularly homosexuality, AIDS, sexual social policy, and drug abuse. Other false information is provided by socially conservative organizations that sound like larger mainstream groups, such as the “American College of Pediatricians.” SPLC reports: “Some anti-gay ideologues cite the American College of Pediatricians’ [emphasis added] opposition to samesex parenting as if the organization were a legitimate professional body. In fact, the
Executive Director of One Iowa. “For far too long, LGBT Iowans have been denied full equality in our state. However, in recent years, we have seen the tide turn as the hearts and minds of Iowans have changed, and our communities have become more welcoming and accepting of LGBT Iowans, their loved ones, and their children. I want to thank Lt. Governor Judge, Governor Culver, our friends in the Legislature, and our allies across their state for their tireless efforts on behalf of the LGBT community. We look forward to continuing this work until we have broken down the barriers in our state, and secured the bright, welcoming future we all know is possible.” When Governor Culver and Lt. Governor Judge took office, they laid out their vision for the future of this state: “One Iowa, One Unlimited Future.” This phrase represents their firm belief that the only way for Iowa to succeed is if everyone comes together to work for the common good. For this vision to become a reality, it requires the participation of every Iowan, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. This work has already begun in towns and cities across the state, and to help highlight the efforts of those individuals and organizations that are making the Culver/Judge Administration’s goal come true, the Lt. Governor created the One Iowa Award. Previous recipients include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity of Des Moines; Sanford Community Center of Sioux City; Diversity Focus of Cedar Rapids, I’ll Make Me A World In Iowa of Des Moines; Iowa Asian Alliance of Des Moines; and Dr. Michele Devlin and Dr. Mark Gray of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. One Iowa will be seventh and final recipient of Lt. Governor Patty Judge’s One Iowa Award. so-called college is a tiny breakaway faction of the similarly named, 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics [emphasis added] that requires, as a condition of membership, that joiners ‘hold true to the group’s core beliefs … [including] that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.’ The group’s 2010 publication Facts About Youth was described by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association as non-factual.” To back up its position, the SPLC published a list of commonly used anti-gay myths (printed in its entirety on page 39). So even in disputing their listing as “hate groups,” these organizations are breaking the 9th Commandment and bearing false witness, repeatedly and unrepentantly.
Section 1: News & Politics
ACCESSline Page 5
US NEWS news analysis by Rex Wockner Obama signs DADT repeal
President Barack Obama signed the law repealing the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ban on open gays Dec. 22. “Yes, we did,” Obama said. “You know, I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day. … I couldn’t be prouder.” “No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military— regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance—because they happen to be gay,” the president said. “No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love.” “I have spoken to every one of the service chiefs and they are all committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently,” Obama assured the hundreds of attendees at the ceremony. “We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done.” “I want to speak directly to the gay men and women currently serving in our military,” the president continued. “For a long time your service has demanded a particular kind of sacrifice. You’ve been asked to carry the added burden of secrecy and isolation. And all the while, you’ve put your lives on the line for the freedoms and privileges of citizenship that are not fully granted to you. … There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country; their service has been obscured in history. It’s been lost to prejudices that have waned in our own lifetimes. But at every turn, every crossroads in our past, we know gay Americans fought just as hard, gave just as much to protect this nation and the ideals for which it stands. There can be little doubt there were gay soldiers who fought for American independence, who consecrated the ground at Gettysburg, who manned the trenches along the Western Front, who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima. Their names are etched into the walls of our memorials. Their headstones dot the grounds at Arlington. And so, as the first generation to serve openly in our armed forces, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models to all who come after.” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal passed the
President Barack Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 during a ceremony at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C., Dec. 22, 2010. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy Senate 65-31 and the House of Representatives 250-175. Obama’s signature does not, however, end the policy just yet—and gay servicemembers have been advised by military officials and activist groups to stay in the closet. That’s because the law’s language requires Obama, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to now “certify” that the military is ready for the change and that the repeal will not harm military readiness or effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting or member retention. It’s unknown how long that will take. Obama told The Advocate that “my strong sense is this is a matter of months … this is not something that they’re going to be slow-walking.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Department of Defense will proceed “carefully and methodically, but purposefully.” “I will approach this process deliberately and will make such certification only after careful consultation with the military service chiefs and our combatant commanders and when I am satisfied that those conditions have been met for all the services, commands and units,” Gates said. “In the meantime, the current law and policy (the ban on coming out) will remain in effect.” Once the certification is issued, the law requires a further 60-day gap before the
repeal takes effect. It is unclear if the military will continue to pursue DADT discharges in the interim, but many observers consider it unlikely. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis called on the government to officially suspend discharges effective immediately, but there is no indication it plans to do so. “In signing this bill today, President Obama delivered on a defining civil rights measure for our country and for gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers who have been silenced for far too long,” Sarvis said. “Clearly, this is President Obama’s Lyndon Johnson moment in history.” Servicemembers United Executive Director Alexander Nicholson said: “Today, an historic wrong was finally made right. Today, the long and painful struggle of one million LGBT veterans was finally vindicated. Today, 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans currently serving in uniform will sleep easier knowing that the odious Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law is a thing of the past.”
UN General Assembly overturns anti-gay vote
The United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 21 overturned its recent vote that
removed a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution against extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges member states to protect the right to life of all people and calls on governments to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the document included sexual orientation in a list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based. In November, a General Assembly committee composed of all U.N. member nations removed the gay reference in a vote of 79 to 70 with 17 abstentions and 26 absences. That led to an intense campaign, headed by the United States, to reinsert the reference. The reinsertion vote was 93 to 55 with 27 abstentions and 17 absences. Then, the vote to pass the full resolution with the gay language back in place was 122 to 1 with 62 abstentions. The document is believed to be the only UN resolution ever to reference “sexual orientation.” Most opposition to acknowledging anti-gay killings came from Arab, Islamic and African nations, whose representatives complained that they don’t know what “sexual orientation” means or that sexual behavior is an inappropriate basis upon which to grant official recognition or human rights protections. Notably, South Africa and Rwanda reversed their previous votes against gay inclusion. “Countries that tried to roll back crucial protections for gay and lesbian people have been defeated,” said Boris Dittrich, acting director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program. “The resolution does justice to gays, lesbians and transgender people in countries where they are targeted for assaults and killings simply because they love someone of the same sex or because they are transgender.” The office of President Barack Obama’s press secretary issued a statement that said: “President Obama applauds those countries that supported the amendment offered by the United States to ensure that ‘sexual orientation’ remains covered by the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary execution. Killing people because of their sexual orientation cannot be rational-
TTUS NEWS continued page 38
“I want to speak directly to the gay men and women currently serving in our military. For a long time your service has demanded a particular kind of sacrifice. You’ve been asked to carry the added burden of secrecy and isolation. And all the while, you’ve put your lives on the line for the freedoms and privileges of citizenship that are not fully granted to you. … “There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country; their service has been obscured in history. It’s been lost to prejudices that have waned in our own lifetimes. But at every turn, every crossroads in our past, we know gay Americans fought just as hard, gave just as much to protect this nation and the ideals for which it stands. “There can be little doubt there were gay soldiers who fought for American independence, who consecrated the ground at Gettysburg, who manned the trenches along the Western Front, who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima. Their names are etched into the walls of our memorials. Their headstones dot the grounds at Arlington. “And so, as the first generation to serve openly in our armed forces, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models to all who come after.” — President Barack Obama, December 22, 2010, upon signing into law the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
ACCESSline Page 6
Section 1: News & Politics
World News news analysis by Rex Wockner 24 hours the existence of all LGBT people or sympathizers known to them. “The European Parliament is united against this draconian piece of legislation: left, right, center, everyone agrees that LGBT people must not be criminalized,” said Raül Romeva i Rueda, co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights. Nikolai Alekseev, courtesy GayRussia.ru
Moscow blocks gay rally
Brazil creates national council to protect LGBTs
Moscow City Hall banned a gay rally that was planned for Dec. 17. Members of the Russian LGBT Network wanted to gather in front of the headquarters of the former KGB to demand that Russia legally rehabilitate people who were convicted under the former Soviet Union’s law that banned gay sex. The old law, Criminal Code Article 121, was enacted in 1933 and repealed in 1993. Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Moscow’s yearly bans on public gay-pride events. In a group of cases brought by Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev, the court determined that the city’s pride bans violate guarantees of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the areas of freedom of assembly and association, right to an effective remedy and prohibition of discrimination. Russia was ordered to pay Alekseev 12,000 euros ($15,928) in damages and 17,510 euros in costs and expenses. The ruling has not yet come into final force.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Human Rights Secretary Paulo Vannuchi signed a decree Dec. 9 creating the National LGBT Council. The document says the council’s purpose is to “formulate and propose guidelines for government actions, at the national level, aimed at combating discrimination and promoting and defending the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals.” The body is composed of employees from 15 government ministries and representatives of 15 nongovernmental organizations. “The creation of the council is something ABGLT has been pressuring for and is a victory for civil society and the Lula government,” said Toni Reis, president of the Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Association. “It shows respect for the deliberations of the 1st National LGBT Conference, held in June 2008, and will be a means of ensuring social watch over the implementation of the 166 actions contained in the National Plan to Promote LGBT Citizenship and Human Rights.”
Commons, Conservative Nigel Evans, came out Dec. 19. He said he was “tired of living a lie” and was worried about threats from a Labour MP to out him. A day later, Evans, 53, attended the launch of a new group for gay MPs called ParliaOut. Evans represents the Lancashire constituency of Ribble Valley and becomes the 22nd openly gay member of the current House of Commons.
The head of the Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Association was honored Dec. 13 with the National Human Rights Prize. Toni Reis received the bronze statuette from Culture Minister Juca Ferreira at a ceremony in Brasilia, the nation’s capital. He also received personal congratulations from Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula
British House of Commons Brazilian gay leader deputy speaker comes out wins National A deputy speaker of Britain’s House of Human Rights Prize
Euro Parliament again denounces Ugandan anti-gay bill
The European Parliament on Dec. 16 again denounced the pending “AntiHomosexuality Bill” poised to pass Uganda’s Parliament. The legislation would imprison for life anyone convicted of “the offense of homosexuality,” punish “aggravated homosexuality” (repeat offenses or having gay sex while being HIV-positive) with the death penalty, forbid “promotion of homosexuality” and incarcerate gay-rights defenders, and jail individuals in positions of authority for up to three years if they fail to report within
da Silva and Human Rights Secretary Paulo Vannuchi. The prize is the nation’s highest decoration for individuals and organizations working in the human rights field.
Groundbreaking report looks at LGBT Cambodians
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a groundbreaking report Dec. 9 titled “Coming Out in the Kingdom: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Cambodia.” It says that LGBT Cambodians face unique challenges, including ostracism from their families and communities that often leads to economic hardship as well as discrimination by employers and authorities. The report argues that the concept of homosexuality as understood in “the West” may not directly transfer to Cambodia. “The Cambodian understanding of sexuality is derived from concepts of gender, character and personality,” it says. “The focus on these character traits and outwardly visible characteristics instead of sexual orientation means that many Cambodians who are homosexual do not identify themselves as such.” Buddhism, the report says, generally tolerates homosexuality. “Homosexuality, whilst seen as an oddity, does not attract the kind of aggressive reaction as can be seen in Christian or Muslim cultures,” it states. “Buddhism itself places no value on marriage or procreation. Marriage and procreation are considered positive if they bring about love and respect, but may be deemed negative if pain or strife is caused. However, in Cambodia, cultural, social and economic pressures override Buddhist teachings on marriage—family values are incredibly important and pressure is strong for sons and daughters to marry and have children.” “Sexual behavior amongst male youths may be seen as harmless experimentation, since women are expected to remain ‘pure’ until marriage,” the report continues. “Youthful indiscretions may be forgotten or may continue unnoticed. However, eventually men are expected to marry and father children. Given traditional gender roles,
women have less ability to pursue same-sex relationships than homosexual males, either privately or publicly.” “The risk of ostracism from a close family network and economic difficulties posed by living outside the family network may mean that LGBT persons do not live the lives they wish to or have to conduct homosexual relationships in secret,” the researchers conclude. Nonetheless, an LGBT community is emerging in the nation. A pride celebration, which includes workshops, movies, art exhibits and social gatherings, launched in 2003. Four hundred people attended the culmination of the events in 2009. Pride organizers have formed an organization called RoCK to support LGBT people and raise awareness among non-gay Cambodians. A gay “scene” has developed in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. And “the Internet has allowed gay Cambodian people to connect to other gay people, thus raising awareness of a wider, global LGBT community and the possibilities of participating in this,” the report said. The research, funded by the Swedish Association for Sexual Education, can be downloaded in English and Khmer at www. cchrcambodia.org.
Malta fights trans marriage
Malta’s attorney general is appealing a ruling that transgender woman Joanne Cassar must be allowed to marry her boyfriend. The constitutional arm of the First Hall of the Civil Court had ruled that European Law and European Court of Human Rights decisions establish the right of postoperative transgender people to enter into an opposite-sex marriage as a member of their new sex. Cassar is no longer engaged but will continue to pursue the case.
Chilean court to rule on same-sex marriage
Following a referral from the Santiago Court of Appeals, Chile’s Constitutional Court will take up a same-sex marriage case this week. The court will consider a protection demand from MOVILH, the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement, and three same-sex couples who want the nation’s opposite-sex definition of marriage struck down on constitutional grounds. The plaintiffs also seek to negate a law that blocks recognition of same-sex marriages entered into abroad. MOVILH President Rolando Jiménez called the case a historic before-and-after moment for Chile’s LGBT movement. All three plaintiff couples seek to marry in Chile. In addition, one couple seek recognition of their legal Canadian marriage, and another seek recognition of their legal Argentine marriage. The couples attempted to marry in Chile but were turned away by civil registry officials.
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Inside Out: Apples to Oranges but Both Still Fruit by Ellen Krug Let’s talk about how being transgendered (“T”) is different from “simply” being gay (“G”). I initially came out as G, only to find that really, I’m T (duh), so I figure that I have some perspective on the two subjects. But before I venture into this minefield any farther, a word of caution is in order: much of what follows is generalities (or, yes, stereotypes), so don’t get hot and bothered (and to you male-to-female T folk, don’t get your panties in a bunch) if you think I have something wrong or if I’ve painted with too broad a brush. The letters in the Lesbian-GayBisexual-Trans alphabet represent people outside “mainstream society”—whatever the hell that is. Let’s face it, none of us is straight people, and that is a good thing. However, you Ls and Gs are quickly becoming assimilated into the larger culture. Take contemporary television shows and movies: L and G characters are becoming ho hum, just part of the larger landscape. Hell, Kurt in “Glee” is downright adorable, giving many straight boys a reason to wonder and many straight girls reason to hope. We’ve come a hell of a long way since Queer as Folk. I wish I could say the same for the Ts. Yes, James Franco recently dressed in drag for a magazine cover and yes, some television shows and movies (most notably TransAmerica) contain T characters. And, of course, we always have Rue Paul. But being a drag queen or a cross-dresser is far different from being T—sort of like how a bicycle is different from a Cadillac. We are light years
from viewing Ts as nothing unusual. Much of that distance is due to the fact that surgery is part of our landscape. While girls kissing girls (and sometimes boys kissing boys) is no longer the object of ridicule in mainstream culture and media, the same is not true for Ts. Many people just don’t understand why someone would want to trade in his penis for a vagina or remove her breasts for a flat chest. It is too weird for them, too far out there. Another difference is fashion, or more accurately, being fashionable. Let’s face it, the Gs know how to do it. They know what shirts match which pants, which accessories go with what, and oh, do they know shoes. Contrast this with many male-to-female Ts who don’t have the first clue about women’s fashions, let alone make up and hair. Unlike genetic females, we did not get the benefit of teenage years where girlfriends, sisters, and mothers told us how to dress and how to properly apply eye shadow or use a curling iron. My first venture into public as a woman required three make-up books, three showers (to correct the make-up mistakes), and a horrible looking skirt. The experience garnered a really poor compliment about “looking good but why didn’t you wear a wig if you’re going to get all dressed up?” You Gs just don’t have to deal with this stuff. Be happy for that. The Ls are a different story but I have a word limit here, so I better move on. More differences: Ts have to change their names after they come out, Gs and Ls don’t . Once Ts have new names, they have to change—oh let’s see—their driver’s licenses,
Budget deficits have been a primary issue in my policy interests since before I could vote. By ignoring the budget deficits, we cripple future ability to handle crisis, run public services, and risk economic insecurity. The recent efforts at defining a deficit reduction plan have been encouraging to say the least. These present themselves as wide alternatives to the current gluttonous spending in Washington, and they address important elements that drive the cost of our government. Incidentally, they align with some of my recommendations from a piece that I wrote a few years ago (2008). While they identify three factors (e.g. health care costs, defense spending, and tax reform), there essentially is another factor in energy costs: First, we should review the aspects of spending that need to change since that is grossly over revenues paying for them. The most encouraging aspect of the commissions is the recognition that all aspects of government spending have to be considered in these proposals rather than focus upon the 25% of the budget titled so-called discretionary spending. We cannot seriously address budget issues if we are only focused upon a minority of those costs to run our government (as has been the call of several political campaigns). Thus, we have to address defense, stimulus and so-called entitlement spending. For decades, the defense has been given a
blank check to run our nation’s military while economy both under Bush and Obama. This they buy expensive toys with hammers that follows the Keynesian theory that governcost hundreds of dollars (with no plausible ments can raise spending in bad times to explanation for the huge oversights). In addi- offset market inequalities, but that same tion, we are managing two costly wars that theory requires governments to reign in pull over $1.5 trillion out of our economy. spending when the economy recovers (that For the first time in our did not happen). So in republic’s history, we are Incidentally, the Soviet addition to spending fighting a war without we have poured Union was also trying to gaps, additional taxes to fund massive amounts of the war. Reagan used manage a particular war in debt to help “stimulate” the theory the military Afghanistan while building the economy without buildup would push the plan to pay that military systems to defend any Soviets into an arms race money back. that they could not afford. again the United States, Social insurance, Incidentally, the Soviet and thus, bankrupted their usually called “entitleUnion was also trying (e.g. Medicare, economies while trying to arm ment” to manage a particular Medicaid, and Social war in Afghanistan themselves without taking care Security) is a political while building military of domestic needs. Does this hot potato especially systems to defend again Americans expect sound too tragic for the United since the United States, and to use the money thus, bankrupted their States? for retirement, but economies while trying these are tremendously to arm themselves without taking care of important to consider since the outlays are domestic needs. Does this sound too tragic almost half the entire budget, baby boomers for the United States? The answer is that we will be retiring in the next decade, and these face similar issues if we do not turn around depend highly upon the cost of health care. our spending. Since health care has quadrupled in Stimulus spending is supposed to help price over the past decade alone, legislation prevent the negative swings of the economy, needs to stop the cost growth. As well, since but we have spent large sums to stimulate the the balance of outlays to income will have to
Can I think of anyone who, sight unseen, I’d be willing to trade places with. Is there anyone whose place I’d be willing to take, swapping my “stuff” for their undisclosed current and future “stuff.”
passports, social security cards, mortgages, life insurance (I’m still working on that one), their credit cards, their AARP cards. Almost all of these changes entail providing a court order---an embarrassing document---which details that you once were a boy and now are a girl. I know, what is the embarrassment about giving this to a perfect stranger? Well, try it and see whether it feels uncomfortable or not. But here is the biggest difference between us. Ts cannot escape their history. Thank god I have children (hey, that’s no longer a difference between Ts and Gs or Ls, thankfully), but I’m a Dad, when to the world I should be a Mom. Despite our rehearsing in the car, my youngest still calls me “Dad” in front of the server at our favorite restaurant. I have hundreds of pictures of me as a boy, many with my daughters when they were younger, pictures I cherish. I can imagine the situation where someone dating me finds him or herself in my condo looking at one of those pictures at the same time my daughter yells, “Dad!” Can you imagine that scene? It will take a person with remarkable fortitude (and great love) to put this history in the right perspective. (I’m beginning to wonder if that person even exists, but that’s for another column another day.) There are some Ts who “go stealth”— who literally try to erase their prior history by burning pictures, diplomas, and other artifacts of another life, another gender. That just is not for me. For sure, I want to be known as a woman first, no question about it. After all, that is what I am: a woman. I did not come this far to be known as anything else. Still I am not stupid, and reality is that my history is my history. It is rich in people and experiences and frankly, I would not change a thing. I just wish I knew a bit more about hair.
Ellen Krug is a writer, lawyer, human. She was a trial attorney for 28 years before realizing there is more to life. She is now on sabbatical to write a book, and if that does not work out, to wait tables. She is parent to two adult children and hoping for the best, despite the odds. She can be reached at EllenKrug75@gmail.com. In the end, there are some significant differences between the (L+G+B) and (T) communities. However—and this is a huge caveat—we all share key things in common. The first is that we simply want to love and be loved. The other is that we are humans just trying to be ourselves. All of us have struggled and fought to get to a place where we can say, “I am ME,” and “I am loved for being ME.” Above all else, these are the things that forever bind us. As they should. Happy New Year my L, G, B, and T brothers and sisters!
Deficit Commissions and Debt Independence by Tony E. Hansen
be maintained for SSA solvency with more people retiring, the deficit commissions are wise to look at increasing the retirement age. Otherwise, baby-boomers will exhaust the funds before Generation X has a chance at them (without additional revenues appropriated from Congress or reductions elsewhere). The other devices that the commissions offered were revisions in the tax code. This recommendation is a solid idea that should be fully vetted. The tax code is supposed to be a progressive set where people in higher brackets pay more in proportion than lower brackets, but with numerous deductions, the revenue estimations are porous at best. By closing loopholes (the really only service special interests) and simplifying the code, we can in fact lower rates and increase revenues for the government according to Alan Gamer of the Federal Reserve of KC in 2005 (among others). If you earn income or profit, you pay a certain rate in proportion. The one area that needs careful consideration is small business as people pay themselves from the profit of the firm where business income and personal income may cause cases of double taxation. The other element that drives the budget is long-term energy security since our whole economy (e.g. heating, transportation, and plastics) currently is based upon petroleum
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Creep of the Week by D’Anne Witkowski William Donohue
places—friends who will soon hold the Smithsonian’s purse strings. “If they’ve got If there’s one thing that makes America money to squander like this, of a crucifix uncomfortable, it’s art. Because art is gay being eaten by ants, of Ellen DeGeneres in a very literal, serious, and horrible way. grabbing her breasts, men in chains, naked And it must be stopped. Especially if Jesus brothers kissing, then I think we should look is involved. at their budget,” Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston Which is why, on November 30, the day told FOX News. And yes, there is a photo of before World AIDS Day, a short video segment Ellen grabbing at her hoots. Who knows? by David Wojnarowicz, a gay artist who died Maybe she’s got ants in her bra. of AIDS in 1992, was yanked from an exhibit Soon to be House Majority Leader Eric at the Smithsonian Cantor told FOX that it Institution in Washing“It is a sad commentary was an “outrageous use ton D.C. The exhibit, of taxpayer money and “Hide/Seek: Difference on the judgment exercised by an obvious attempt to and Desire in American Smithsonian officials…” offend Christians during Portraiture,” is touted the Christmas season.” as “the first major museum exhibition to Cantor is right. “Hide/Seek” is obviously focus on sexual difference in the making of just part of the War on Christmas. Thank modern American portraiture,” which means, Jesus the Republicans are going to be back of course, H-O-M-O. in charge and we can start focusing on some Wojnarowicz’s piece, titled Fire In My real issues for a change. Belly, contains a brief segment of a Hummel figurine-looking Jesus on the cross with live ants skittering all over it. Clearly, as far as Catholic League President Bill Donohue saw By the time you read this, no doubt “don’t it, Wojnarowicz meant to offend Christians, ask, don’t tell” will be but a sad blip in our especially Catholics, even though Donohue is nation’s long and storied anti-gay history. No to Catholics what Fred Phelps is to Baptists. doubt Congress will have repealed this arcane Donohue is ardently anti-gay and believes and idiotic measure that keeps gays and lesbians that homosexuality and pedophilia are irre- out of the army and forces gays and lesbians in vocably linked. This is a guy who, while on the army deep into the closet. CNN in March, called the Catholic sex abuse Wait, what’s that you say? Congress hasn’t scandal “a homosexual crisis” and said, “They done a damn thing? How can that be? The can’t keep their hands off the boys. Don’t majority of the country supports repeal, even you get it?” Republicans! Repealing DADT is a no-brainer. In his November 30 press release, That is, unless Congress recently received a Donohue misrepresented Wojnarowicz’s letter urging them to keep DADT in place. A video as showing “large ants eating away letter signed by, oh, I don’t know, 40 million at Jesus on a crucifix.” There is no eating anti-gay constituents—or at least the leaders of happening. The figure is some kind of glazed nearly 90 anti-gay groups and organizations who ceramic. Not exactly the kind of thing you see claim to represent 40 million members. ants carrying away from a picnic. A letter from the so-called Freedom FederaThere is one thing that Donohue and I tion, a group made up of many Creep alumni like agree on, however. “It is a sad commentary Tony Perkins, Lou Sheldon, and Don Wildmon, on the judgment exercised by Smithsonian was sent to Congress on December 2, 2010 officials that it took a pressure group like the urging them to ditch any plans they might have Catholic League to send them a wake-up call,” to overturn DADT. he said. That Wojnarowicz’s work was pulled “We ask that you delay consideration of from display is, indeed, “a sad commentary the bill until January when the new Congress on the judgment exercised by Smithsonian convenes,” the letter reads. Gosh, why ever officials.” would the Freedom Federation want Congress to “The decision wasn’t caving in,” the wait until January? I don’t know. Total mystery. museum’s director, Martin E. Sullivan, told (Hint: Republican majority). The Washington Post. “We don’t want to shy The Freedom Federation, a veritable who’s away from anything that is controversial, but who of the blogosphere, argues that letting gay we want to focus on the museum’s and this and lesbian soldiers serve openly “would change show’s strengths.” our military in ways we cannot yet measure or But as Frank Rich pointed out in The understand.” New York Times, Dude, you totally caved. And Really, FF? You can’t “measure or caved for a guy whose opinion isn’t worth the understand” what it’s like to be around a gay kilowatt hours it took to post his press release person, even one with a gun? This isn’t exactly to his bullshit organization’s website. uncharted territory here. The United Kingdom, “I regret that some reports about the France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Spain, and a exhibit have created an impression that the good number of other countries let gays serve video is intentionally sacrilegious,” Sullivan and none of their forces shriveled up and died said. “In fact, the artist’s intention was to once homos were allowed in. depict the suffering of an AIDS victim. It was But the FF folks want to see more proof, not the museum’s intention to offend.” evidentially borrowing their talking points from This explanation did little to quell the John McCain. “It is a serious risk to national anti-gay fire in Donohue’s belly. That a figu- security to repeal DADT without first investigatrine of Jesus was used to “depict the suffer- ing thoroughly—in public hearings—the effect ing of an AIDS victim” probably just made it of the proposed repeal,” the letter reads. “Our worse. So after they pulled the video Donohue troops are in harm’s way in Afghanistan, Iraq is still calling for a cut in federal funds for the and elsewhere. This is no time to experiment museum. Never mind that the “Hide/Seek” with social engineering of the military.” exhibit is privately funded. Social engineering? To let people who And Donohue has friends in high are already serving our country come out of
the closet if they wished is hardly social engineering. The letter reads, “It is conceivable that chaplains will be forbidden to preach or speak about their denomination’s position on homosexuality.” If you’ll recall, the military just released the results of a questionnaire they gave to thousands of service members and their families. The results were that most of the folks in the military were fine with repealing DADT. Well, the Freedom Federation knows why: service members were bullied into it by the big bad gay supporters. “We are deeply concerned about the methodology of the DOD report and survey. In view of … Admiral Mullen’s and Secretary of Defense Gates’ unseemly cheerleading on this issue, we believe it behooves the next Congress to investigate whether proponents of repeal tried to create a climate of not-so-subtle intimidation in the Pentagon.” That’s right. FF wants an investigation launched into whether Mullen and Gates’ were strong-arming support for the gays. This would mean, of course, more delay. “The rush to repeal DADT by January of 2011 is a slap in the face of the American people who are tired of bully politics,” the letter reads, seemingly oblivious to the irony of sending this message while gay and lesbian service members continue to get thrown out of the armed forces just for being gay. “Moreover, the consequences of repealing DADT will no doubt result in service members leaving the military or refusing to join,” the letter continues. “We cannot afford attrition or demoralization of our military.” Yes, because it would be so demoralizing to have to look at a homo. Honestly, if military people are going to truly quit or leave in droves, then maybe gay people are not the ones with the problem.
“I understand your point of view. I understand the point of view by the majority of the media,” he said. “But the fact is, this was a political promise made by an inexperienced president or candidate for presidency of the United States.” In other words, it’s all Obama’s fault. He’s too young to know what a good idea it is to discriminate against homos in the military. Why, when McCain was Obama’s age he had to walk 15 miles in the snow uphill both ways in order to make a campaign promise like that. “The military is at its highest point in recruitment and retention and professionalism and capability,” McCain continued. “So to somehow allege that this policy has been damaging the military is simply false.” Tell that to the thousands of gays and lesbians who have been booted out of the military since “don’t ask, don’t tell” was enacted. According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, that number is upwards of 14,000. You may recall that in 2002, amid a severe shortage of Arabic-speaking translators, the Army fired six linguists trained in Arabic simply because they were gay. Apparently McCain sees this as some kind of success. “The fact is that this system is working,” he told Crowley. McCain repeatedly stressed that he wanted to know what the effect will be of letting gays serve openly - and that’s the operative word, “openly.” Because gays already serve in the military, they just have the weight of a government-mandated closet on their backs threatening to tumble open and ruin their careers at any moment. “I believe we need to assess the effect on the morale and battle effectiveness of those young Marines and Army people I met at forward-operating bases that are putting their lives on the line every day,” he said. Never mind that some of these “young Marines and I wish I still had my dog-eared and Army people” are probably gay. tattered copy of Conduct Unbecoming so McCain said he has had “a number of” I could send it to John military folks come up McCain. Not that he’d We’ve been kicking service to him and say, “Look, bother to read it. The fight together, we members out simply because, we U.S. military’s vicious sleep together, we eat anti-gay history with say, he’s a soldier who doesn’t together.” His choice of its witch-hunts and get turned on by big jugs, or anecdotes illustrates outright persecution of of the main concerns she’s a soldier who does. That’s one gay service members of homophobes: that probably isn’t of much the policy McCain has been so homosexuality is containterest to McCain. Espe- rabidly defending? gious, and the best way cially since “don’t ask, to guard against it is to don’t tell” solved everything. Don’t you dare make sure you never know when and if it’s try to tell him anything different. around you and to punish gays and lesbians During a November 28, 2010 appear- who dare make such an enormous sacrifice ance on “State of the Union” with host Candy to serve the country. Crowley, McCain actually had the audacity to claim that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is an effective policy that doesn’t harm anyone, gay or straight, and that the call for its repeal is “Today is a very sad day,” sighed a just politics. doddering and out-of-touch John McCain on “There was no uprising in the military,” the day “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was he said. “There were no problems in the finally repealed by Congress. military with ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’” Oh, shut up, McCain. Your completely “If you were gay it was a problem,” indefensible and fear-mongering position Crowley interjected. lost. Suck it. “No it wasn’t,” McCain snapped. “It’s “I hope that when we pass this legislacalled ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ okay? If you don’t tion that we will understand that we are ask them, you don’t ask somebody, and they doing great damage,” McCain said before don’t tell.” the vote. Got that? It works. End of story. The only thing that the DADT repeal is Crowley tried to ask McCain something going to do great damage to is McCain’s repuelse, but he cut her off. TTCREEPS continued page 10
John McCain (12/13/2010)
John McCain (1/3/2011)
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Minor Details: When Can a Speaker of the House Cry? by Bob Minor Some are calling right-wing Ohio Republican John Boehner “The Weeper of the House,” as he strengthens his control over the US House of Representative’s agenda. New Speaker Boehner openly tears-up when he talks of his own working class background and his personal success in achieving “the American Dream.” Speculators say he’s mentally unstable or that this reflects trouble with alcoholism. I wouldn’t be surprised if both were true. But there’s a larger issue too. John Boehner has to navigate its waters as carefully as any other male. What he’s doing when he sobs in public is pushing the boundaries of an exacting and complicated code of masculinity regarding the expression of emotions other than anger and “righteous” indignation. How can a man get away with this without being put down as weak, feminine, or gay? Imagine the chorus of criticism if Nancy Pelosi reacted with tears. There’d be little pity. Her ability to lead would be suspect. She’d be labeled a hysterical woman unable to control her feelings. We’d hear putdowns in terms of uncontrollable monthly cycles and the spread of fear that we don’t want her as our leader in times of military crisis. In the short-lived TV series, “Commander in Chief,” its woman President of the United States had to prove otherwise. In every crisis situation, particularly numerous military ones, she had to be tough-as-nails and militaristic. This was no time to make her a follower of Gandhi or have her demonstrate how non-warrior solutions work better. While real-life Nancy Pelosi or fictional President McKenzie Allen, show ability, power, and leadership over men, there’s little way either can get kudos for any of this. The more of these they appear to have than the men around them, the more they’re known
as “man-haters,” “bitches,” or succubi. Imagine as well how openly gay Democrat Barney Frank would be criticized if he cried as often as Boehner in public. Frank must keep a stiff upper-lip and use his quick wit as a sharp weapon to best those who criticize him. Yet when the calm and reasoned Edmond Muskie broke down and cried while defending his wife during the 1972 presidential campaign after the Manchester Union-Leader smeared her, it shattered his reputation as a logical man. Counter-punching by claiming that the “tears” were actually melted snowflakes, didn’t restore his acceptable manly image and became fodder for his enemies. This is because the dominant masculine code about expressions of feelings, which keeps men from being put down as less than manly, is strictly defined. Most men thereby know that they’re not supposed to cry in public. They monitor themselves in fear of showing their deficiencies in mastering the code no matter how hurt they really feel. They don’t want to be seen as somehow emotionally out of control in the way women are supposed to be. Real men also aren’t supposed to talk about this code or spend much time analyzing it. They’re just supposed to internalize it, walk its narrow line, and enforce it on others, fearing the consequences of slipping. The code does allow men to cry when they have proven they have power over other men as determined by the dominant cultural system. Beat other men first; cry later. Notice that in some sports there’s a similar permission for a man to smack another on the butt. It’s appropriate because that man has shown his superiority over another—such as after a great play or slamdunk. Winning, according to this conditioned
code, means defeating another man. Teamwork means a group of men bonding together by beating, defeating, or killing another group of men. So these butt-smackers have recently proven they’re real men. It’s also appropriate for men to cry when they’ve shown their superiority by winning. But crying when they’ve lost is unmanly. Thus, Boehner can pull off his crying as long as he comes across as a winner, as long as he shows that he is powerful over others. Effective criticism of his emotions will stick only as he looks like a loser when compared to other men. And here we see implications of the code for President Obama—who knows this. As in control of his emotions in public as any President and even criticized for it, he’s aware of how deviations by an African-American from such rational calmness will be taken. There’s a “catch-22” here. A Black male with presidential powers already threatens the power rules of racism. His story of living “the American Dream” is a similar threat to the powers that be, whereas Boehner’s story affirms them. Obama has little leeway to show emotions since that threatens the dominance that whiteness is supposed to have. And even coolness in the midst of crisis gets interpreted as being uppity, the accusation that resulted in lynchings of African-American males in America for over a hundred years. Forget a show of anger, because that raises white fears of angry Black men. And Republicans knew how to play on those fears during the last presidential campaign by replaying over and over a snippet of a sermon reflecting standard liberation theology by Jeremiah Wright that said little different than many white fundamentalist preachers about God’s judgment of American morality. But a man of color crying is only acceptable if it comes out of an appropri-
Robert N. Minor, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, is author of When Religion Is an Addiction; Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to Be Human and Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society. Contact him at www.FairnessProject.org. ate lack of power in the system or from the entertainment industry. Emotional people of color along with flamboyant males have long provided entertainment for white folks after all. This all fits the American manhood code that ought to be abandoned for the sake of men’s health. Boehner is a straight, upper-class, able-bodied white male with political power. He fits all the historical demographics for dominance in America. He can cry as long as he symbolizes all the classist, sexist, racist, and heterosexist attributes that allow a man to show emotion and he uses his privilege to convince voters that he remembers what it was like to be one of the poor, unfortunate, pitiful majority with little power.
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tation. He’s staked his claim to the wrong side of history. As DADT’s staunchest defender in the face of possible repeal, he’s made himself the George Wallace of this issue. What’s especially unseemly is McCain’s complete about-face. While today he stands with the anti-gay right-wingers he’s so capriciously aligned himself with, three years ago he was Mr. “DADT repeal is fine with me so long as the top brass are cool with it.” “I listen to people like General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and literally every military leader that I know. And they testified before Congress that they felt the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy was the most appropriate way to conduct ourselves in the military,” McCain said in 2006. “But the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.” But of course, as soon as “the leadership of the military” was cool with it, McCain was not. McCain went out of his way to insist that DADT was “effective” policy and that only military folks who agreed with him were worth listening to. “They’re saying if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it,” McCain said. “I understand the other side’s argument because of their socialpolitical agenda, but to somehow allege that it has harmed our military isn’t justified by the facts.” What exactly does McCain mean when
production. We got a glimpse of this when gas prices shot up in 2008 and some consider the underlying reason for invading Iraq was to maintain oil supplies. Without a serious attempt to change that foundation, we risk the stability of our future when the oil production changes. We may find pockets at times, but oil supply is limited. We simply cannot ignore that fact whether we are looking at 50 years or later because the progress of future generations will depend upon our willingness to consider the inevitable. Higher gasoline taxes can help to lower consumption and to encourage investment in alternative energy before we have no choice or before oil becomes too costly to use. There was hope for things move when a bunch of new representatives where elected to bring the budget under control, but that was shattered when they voted down the needed revenues the next month. Further, if we mean to reduce spending, all spending has to be considered (e.g. tax subsidies to companies, defense, social insurance and pork) and we have to simplify the tax code. Doing nothing leaves us vulnerable to financial shocks, future economic instability and foreign rejection of our debts. Few disagree that continued excessive spending or lack of tax reform will further erode confidence in American economic stability. Discipline towards spending and deficits will help the country find prosperity, but politicians would have to grow a spine. Reference: Hansen, T E. (2008, Feb 25). Policy Topic: Balancing a Budget. Walden University. Retrieved from: http://www.iowapolicyresearch.org
he calls DADT “effective policy?” Effective at what? Ruining people’s lives? Punishing members of the military who are doing a job the vast majority of Americans are too chickens--t to do? Coddling members of the military who think that gay people are too “icky” to work alongside? And how does kicking trained personnel out not harm the military? In 2007 McCain said, “We have the besttrained, most professional, best-equipped, most efficient, most wonderful military in the history of this country. There just aren’t enough of them.” Did he mean there just aren’t enough straight ones? It takes a lot of time and money to turn a new recruit into a fully trained member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. And yet we’ve been kicking service members
out simply because, say, he’s a soldier who doesn’t get turned on by big jugs, or she’s a soldier who does. That’s the policy McCain has been so rabidly defending? As Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlogGay wrote, “They’re on the front lines, putting their lives on the front lines for the rest of us.” By saying that repealing DADT is simply another notch in the belt of some “socialpolitical agenda” McCain is essentially saying to the thousands of gay and lesbian service members who have lost their careers under DADT, “You’re worthless.” In the end it’s McCain himself who is worthless. A man who once seemed to have a shred of integrity but who now barely clings to a shred of dignity after he’s sold out his career trying to appease the anti-gay right. It looks like that isn’t exactly “effective policy.”
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WORLD NEWS The lawsuit claims that Chile’s ban on same-sex marriage and its refusal to recognize foreign same-sex marriages infringe a constitutional promise that all people “are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and a constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the law in the exercise of rights,” among other violations. Should the Constitutional Court rule against same-sex marriage, activists plan to appeal to the Supreme Court and, if necessary, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Irish civil-partnership law comes into force
Ireland’s new same-sex civil-partnership law took effect Jan. 1. Couples can unite before a registrar after giving three months’ notice of their intention to tie the knot. Civil partners receive marriage rights and obligations in matters such as taxes, pensions, property, tenancy, inheritance, alimony, immigration and social benefits. To end a partnership, a couple will go before a court and prove they’ve not lived together for two of the last three years. The law also recognizes foreign samesex unions and provides some rights for unregistered couples who have lived together for at least five years. Justice Minister Dermot Ahern called
the law “one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation to be enacted since independence.” “Persons in committed gay relationships who wish to share duties and responsibilities now have the choice to register their partnership and become part of a legal regime that fully protects them in the course of that partnership and, if necessary, on its termination,” he said. “The new law recognizes and supports diversity.” An informational booklet on the registration process is available at www. groireland.ie.
UK to expunge gay sex ‘crimes’
The United Kingdom is preparing legislation to expunge the “crimes” of adult men who were prosecuted for having consensual sex with adult men in earlier eras. The slate will be wiped clean for men whose partners were at least 16 years old. At present, such “crimes” must be disclosed when applying for certain jobs or volunteer positions. England and Wales decriminalized gay sex in 1967 for people over age 21, lowered the age to 18 in 1994 and lowered it to 16, the age that applies to heterosexual sex, in 2000. Scotland and Northern Ireland decriminalized gay sex in the early 1980s. The subsequent age reductions applied to all four UK political entities. Assistance: Bill Kelley
ACCESSline’s fun guide
Our Picks for January
1/4/2011 North Iowa Community Auditorium: MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT 1/6-1/7 The Englert, Iowa City: MY FAIR LADY IN CONCERT 1/14, 1/16 Theatre Cedar Rapids: TOSCA 1/14-1/23 Playcrafters Barn Theater, Moline IL: LEND ME A TENOR a comedy by Ken Ludwig 1/21 Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, Fairfield: LET’S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL (Broadway Show Stoppers & Pop Hits of 1950s-70s) 1/22 Sinclair Auditorium, Cedar Rapids: Orchestra Iowa, MUSSORGSKY, SHOSTAKOVICH AND TCHAIKOVSKY 1/25 7pm First Unitarian Church, Des Moines: StageWest’s StripTease (play reading) THE LAST OF THE BOYS by Steven Dietz 1/25-1/27 Gallagher Bluedorn, Cedar Falls: BLUE MAN GROUP 1/26 Civic Center of Greater Des Moines: PILOBOLUS 1/27-2/13 Orpheum, Omaha NE: MARY POPPINS 1/28-2/12 Theatre Cedar Rapids: CRIMES OF THE HEART 1/28-2/13 Des Moines Community Playhouse: STILL LIFE 1/30 Orpheum, Sioux City: RIVERDANCE: FAREWELL PERFORMANCE 1/31 Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, Fairfield: MEREDITH WILSON’S THE MUSIC MAN 2/4-2/5 The Englert, Iowa City: THE SECOND CITY “FAIR & UNBALANCED” 2/1 Adler Theatre, Davenport: RIVERDANCE: FAREWELL PERFORMANCE
Oh, there's nothing halfway about the Iowa way to treat you, when we treat you, which we may not do at all. There's an Iowa kind of special chip-on-theshoulder attitude we've never been without (that we recall). We can be cold as our falling thermometers in December if you ask about our weather in July. And we're so by God stubborn we could stand touchin' noses for a week at a time and never see eye-to-eye. But what the heck, you're welcome, Join us at the picnic. You can eat your fill of all the food you bring yourself. You really ought to give Iowa a try. ... But we’ll give you our shirt and a back to go with it if your crops should happen to die. So, what the heck, you’re welcome, Glad to have you with us. (Even though we may not ever mention it again.) You really ought to give Iowa a try! — Lyrics from the musical number “Iowa Stubborn” from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man,” which was inspired by his boyhood in Mason City, Iowa.
Deep Inside Hollywood by Romeo San Vicente Gus Van Sant to Boss around Kelsey Grammer Gus Van Sant’s career can be divided into high-profile successes like Milk and Good Will Hunting on one side and arthouse hits like Elephant and Paranoid Park on the other. And his new project will tip the scale to the seriously mainstream side: a TV series starring Kelsey Grammer for Starz and Lionsgate Television. Van Sant will direct the pilot for Boss, penned by Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia and already picked up for eight episodes. It will feature Grammer as a Chicago mayor (great casting, too—who’s got a more authoritarian politician’s voice?) with a secret degenerative mental illness. The King Lear-like story of power and politics will be Grammer’s first time on a cable series, not counting those promo spots for the fizzling Tea Party cable channel RightNetwork he did earlier this year while simultaneously starring on Broadway in La Cage Aux Folles. We can just pretend that never happened.
Tarnation director’s long-awaited new (untitled) movie
Indie film audiences who still remember being blown away by Jonathan Cauoette’s 2003 debut Tarnation– that audacious, zero-budget, intimately moving portrait of his struggle growing up with a mentally ill mother—have been waiting patiently for the day when he’d get behind the camera again. He has, of course, by taking on cool-director duties for the All Tomorrow’s Parties concert film and debuting a new short at the New York Film Festival (a weird little piece that juxtaposed footage of his grandfather and Chloe Sevigny). But his next feature, one he describes as a collection of interconnected short films, is underway and still in production. The movie will return to the subject of his mother but will also feature fictional elements, possibly placing both her and Cauoette in imaginary circumstances. Eager fans of this talented man, keep the faith. These things take time.
Daniel Day-Lewis drinks Lincoln’s milkshake
Maybe you heard somewhere—OK, yes, you heard it here—that Liam Neeson was the man stepping into Abraham Lincoln’s tall hat and odd, mustache-less beard for Steven Spielberg’s agonizingly slow-moving Lincoln. But things change. People move on. They have creative differences. Their schedules get too busy. They want to star in Taken 2 instead. Whatever. And that’s when you have to go find a new actor. Taking Neeson’s place in the film, already written by gay Pulitzer/Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, will be equally tall actor Daniel Day-Lewis. And now finally American moviegoers will learn who Abe Lincoln was. If you think that was a joke, just go to any mall and ask a random stranger to explain the man’s job
and what he did in history. It’ll make you sad for the rest of the day. They say this movie is coming Christmas of 2012. We’ll see.
The Reichen movie wants you… meaning Chace Crawford
Reichen Lehmkuhl. Photo: Logo As a veteran Air Force pilot, author, Lance Bass dater, winner of The Amazing Race and current most-recognized face of Logo’s hit trainwreck The A List: New York, Reichen Lehmkuhl finally realized that his calling in life is not to star in off-off-Broadway productions of My Big Gay Wedding (nor is it recording pop songs, as A List viewers can attest). It’s fighting against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And what better way to light another flame that holds the culture’s feet to the fire than with a movie version of his 2006 memoir Here’s What We’ll Say: Growing Up, Coming out and The U.S. Air Force. There’s already a screenplay and a producer, now the project needs a director and star. Lehmkuhl has expressed a desire to see Taylor Lautner or Chace Crawford take on the role, and either of those young men would give it the A-list face it needs. But whatever happens, make sure that if a theme song needs singing, give that job to anybody but Reichen. Please.
Robert Downey Jr. gets next to the Normal guys
At this point in his career, all Robert Downey Jr. wants to do is sing. Good thing he’s already terrific at that or his next planned project might not turn out so well. As it is he has teamed up with Warner Bros., Tom Kitt, and Brian Yorkey. Those last two names are the composer and lyricist of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical Next to Normal, and they’re working on a musical comedy feature for Downey. The plot, as it is now, seems very much like that of the hit indie musical Camp, with Downey to star as a down-and-out Broadway songwriter who winds up teaching at a musical theater camp for kids. It also bears a passing resemblance to the premise of a certain Fox TV series that a few people seem to enjoy. Whatever
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the fun guide
Dirty Dancing: Natalie Portman and Black Swan cast talk ballet thriller—and that girl-on-girl sex scene by Chris Azzopardi
Natalie Portman. Photo: Niko Tavernise Natalie Portman flaps her arms and moves as gracefully as a bird in the twisted psychosexual thriller Black Swan, but the comparisons don’t stop there. The actress ate like one, too. To transform into mentally unstable ballet dancer Nina Sayers, a darkly disturbing role that’s already giving Portman major Oscar pull, the 29-year-old had to train intensely—for nearly eight hours a day she exercised, toned and practiced—and
eat lots of carrots and almonds. Then, as soon as production wrapped, she stuffed her face with pasta… for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “The physical discipline really helped for the emotional side of the character,” Portman says, a sweet laugh escaping her as she discusses the film during a press day at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theatre. “That’s a ballet dancer’s life—you don’t drink, you don’t go out with your friends, you don’t have much food. You are constantly putting your body through extreme pain, and you get that understanding of the self-flagellation of a ballet dancer.” But simply twirling around in pointe shoes, in Nina’s case anyway, is only the half of it. Pressure to be the best, to succeed in every way for everyone—herself, her mother (Barbara Hershey) and her instructor (Vincent Cassel)—mounts in mental madness, as Black Swan becomes less about dance than the psychosis of performing it. New dancer Lily (Mila Kunis), who impresses with her dark Black Swan personification, only adds to the fire burning inside Nina, throwing her into a charged competition that’s as destructive as the dance form itself. “It’s really just a retelling of Swan Lake,” says director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), “but it definitely shows the challenges and the darkness and the reality of how hard it is to be a ballet dancer.” Hype, however, isn’t over how much
weight Portman and co-star Kunis (That ’70s Show) shed to play rivals—about 20 pounds each—or that it took a grueling year for Portman to move as skillfully as she does onscreen. All anyone’s talked about is how they get it on (intensely), how far they go (pretty far), and how much of Portman you see (sorry, zilch). Recently, Portman told V Magazine, “It’s not raunchy—it’s extreme.” At the November premiere in New York, she also insisted that shooting sex is hard whomever it’s with: “It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, a male, a female,” she told The Huffington Post from the red carpet. “You’re with 100-something crew members, lighting you, repositioning you; there’s no comfort whatsoever.” It was just as awkward for Kunis, who spoke about the scene at the Pantages Theatre: “Whether you have a same-sex scene or a scene with the opposite sex, it’s a sex scene nonetheless,” says the actress, who suggestively bedded another woman— but not so graphically—in 2007’s After Sex. “Doing something like this with Darren was very safe and as comfortable as it could be. I never had a fear of being exploited.” The steamy scene, a switch from Portman’s usually prim-and-proper image (there’s a reason we fell madly in love with her in Garden State), is pivotal in creating Nina, whose newfound liberation after years of repression leads to a raging sexual awakening. She masturbates, vomits, hallucinates and anxiously scratches herself until she bleeds. The Harvard-educated actress— who says, “This was actually a case where something I learned in school did turn into something practical” —has a name for it: “religious obsession-compulsion.” And then there’s Nina’s smother-mother. Think Mommie Dearest, but with Hershey in Faye Dunaway’s place. “It was really exciting to come in and do this insular, claustrophobic, intense relationship,” says the Beaches actress. “(Portman and I) got to a feeling of ritual. And I tried to copy her eyebrows as much as I could. We were very aware of the symbiotic everydayness of living together forever, and that was fun. We didn’t talk about it too much, but we knew it.” How they reached that unique bond was the product of Aronofsky’s genius suggestion: Exchange letters in character, as mother and daughter. Portman starts, “Barbara wrote gorgeous letters that were really in character that really gave a sense—” “Of our history,” Barbara adds. “To
Barbara Hershey and Natalie Portman. Photo: Niko Tavernise suggest that was just amazing preparation and it gave me the door to my character, which was great.” Singularly, as Nina, Portman was made for this role. Until age 12, she was a dancer and dreamed of growing up to be one. “I always idealized it, as most young girls do, as the most beautiful art,” Portman says. “I always wanted to do a film related to that. So when Darren had this incredible idea that wasn’t just related to the dance world but also had this really complicated character—two characters, really—it was just something completely exciting.” Really tough, too. Training aside, it’s one of the actress’ most complicated characters, a role that summons an extensive out-ofbody performance that only someone with Portman’s range could pull off. And she has before, effortlessly slipping into the erratic seductress role in Closer, as a stripper, and in period pieces like The Other Boleyn Girl. In January, she’ll star alongside Ashton Kutcher in the sex farce No Strings Attached. Aronofsky was sold far sooner, though, with one of the actress’ first films, starring a then-13year-old Portman as a precocious sidekick to a hit man in The Professional. “One of the reasons I think Darren and I had such telepathy during this was because he’s as disciplined and focused as could possibly be, and that’s what I try to be,” Portman muses, mulling over her Black Swan character. “And I’m not a perfectionist but I’m definitely… I think I like discipline.” Laughing, she insists: “I’m obedient!” Big shock.
“Every time you do any love scene, it’s just awkward, it is. But it’s never uncomfortable after you do it the first or second time... We never discussed it. It was like the pink elephant in the room that was never touched upon until it was the day to shoot. Then we just did it really quickly and called it a day.” — Actress Mila Kunis discussing the lesbian sex scene she performs with Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”.
the fun guide
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Partying Hard: Please Don’t Join My Gym by Joshua Dagon Well, kids, it’s the start of a brand new year, and that means a lot of things. It means I can now go and purchase that new computer printer I need because, since the Christmas buying frenzy is over, the price will be marked down to roughly the cost of an electric stapler. The start of the new year also means that my gym will be filled with guys who’ve sworn to finally lose that extra bit of gut they’ve put on since Thanksgiving. They’re easy to spot, those guys. If you see someone working their gluts on a machine designed to develop triceps, that’s one of ‘em. The month of January has always been important to the health and fitness industry. People, it seems, enjoy setting goals for themselves, dates on which they plan to start dieting or exercising regularly. The first of January has always been a popular choice, for some reason. Evidently, hopping right out of bed to do some push-ups while still vomiting champagne is the sign of a real man. As I’ve discussed many times before, it’s vital that gay men maintain a healthy diet and a spectacularly muscular physique, otherwise you will not be allowed to vote or go to college. So, sticking to your resolution to finally obtain that Muscle Magazine Cover Model look you’ve always wanted is an excellent way to begin the New Year. Just don’t do it at my gym. Seriously, guys. Please don’t come and join my gym. Every single January it’s the same story. I park my car, put my stuff into my locker, go out to the weight floor, and then nearly pass out from laughing. Every new year I see gangs of grown men attempting to
lift weights the size of tractor wheels. They lay there on the flat bench, the bar loaded with enough iron to construct a tool shed, and strain every fiber in their body as though their goal is to shoot all their shoulder ligaments into the cardio room. At the same time, their closest pal is standing just behind them wearing lycra bicycle shorts too tight for Elle MacPherson saying, “It’s all you, man! You got it, dude!” No. Clearly, he doesn’t have it. What he has is a severely torn trapezius and a dislocated cervical disk. Of course it’s a good idea to exercise regularly, but there’s a right way and there’s an idiotic way. Here’s my advice on the very best way to get started: Read a book. Yes, guys, just because you have testosterone in your body doesn’t magically make you capable of effectively toning and sculpting muscle. Go to a bookstore, or go on-line, and find a beginner’s guild to bodybuilding. Personally, I pick up at least two new volumes every year; physical fitness is a science, which means that the understanding of the human body and the manner in which it reacts to exercise changes all the time. No one does sit-ups anymore. Well—at least no one who wants to preserve the health of their lumbar tissue does sit-ups anymore. I cannot stress enough the importance of purchasing a book on the proper way to exercise. Sure, fitness trainers can be helpful, but they can also be expensive. Whatever you do, though, do NOT simply copy what you see some random moron doing. I have personally watched a man contort his entire body on a bicep curl machine in an attempt
“Given the generational transition that has taken place in our nation, I feel that this policy is outdated and repeal is inevitable. However, I remain convinced that the timing of this change is wrong, and making such a shift in policy at a time when we have troops deployed in active combat areas does not take into consideration the seriousness of the situation on the ground. But, the vote this morning to invoke cloture on this bill indicated that the broader Senate was prepared to move forward with a change, and despite my concerns over timing, my conclusion is that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is the right thing to do.” — Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) on his surprise vote in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Decemeber 29, 2010. “I think there are a lot of things that people of all political stripes tolerate from their politicians, but endorsing immorality and allowing military recruits to be preyed on by homosexuals is not one that I will tolerate.” — Mecklenburg County (NC) Commissioner, Bill James, on Senator Burr’s vote to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
to lift the amount of weight he apparently felt would justify his masculinity. I stood there like a statue, staring in awe, sure that at any moment the man’s rotator cuffs were going to explode like pomegranates in a microwave. Miraculously, the gentlemen finished his set without requiring any emergency orthopedic procedures. Right away, however, a second man sat down on the very same machine and proceeded to precisely duplicate the absurd manner in which the first man had attempted to destroy his bones and connective tissue. By this time, a small group of us had gathered to watch. We passed around some popcorn, eyes wide with anticipation, placing bets on which rep would be the fatal movement, and deciding who would best be able to brief the paramedic team. Here’s another rule of mine: Don’t do anything at the gym that you could do at home. Boys, I’m not kidding. If I walk out of the locker room and see you performing some kind of deep knee bending type walk across the gym floor, I’m likely to rupture intercostals while I lay on the ground and laugh until I pass out. Sure, maybe some thirty-dollar-per-hour fitness trainer taught you that particular routine, and maybe it’s somewhat effective, but guys, it’s also hysterical. The next time you’re squatting your way around the stationary bikes huffing like a buffalo in labor, look around for your trainer. You’ll spot him right away. He’s the teenager with the camcorder pointed right at you while he high-fives the protein-smoothie girl. Yeah, go ahead and do the deep squat walk—or whatever it’s called—if you think it helps you. Just do it at home. Please, please,
Novelist Joshua Dagon is the author of Into the Mouth of the Wolf, The Fallen, and Demon Tears. For more information, please go to www.joshuadagon.com. To contact Mr. Dagon, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
do it at home. The same rule applies to crunches. Why on God’s great earth would a person pay their hard earned money for the privilege of performing crunches on some sweat-soaked mat while the rest of the gym members stare at you? Even if you’re doing the crunches correctly, all anyone is thinking is, “Doesn’t that dork have a floor at home?” All of us want to feel attractive and desirable and, yes, muscles on gay men act like peacock feathers. So, by all means, work hard and stay strong, but stay away from my gym. I had to learn the hard way; it’s just as easy to get a hernia from laughing.
the fun guide
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The Outfield by Dan Woog Looking back at 2010
Here are a few Outfield stories from 2010 we had no space for—but that merit a big ol’ LGBT shout-out.
Queers4Gears.com “Gay” and “NASCAR” are rarely used in the same sentence. But if we truly are everywhere, that includes stock-car speedways. And Michael Myers makes sure we connect with each other, above the roar of race cars. Queers4Gears.com is a website for gay NASCAR fans—though all are welcome. It features photos, race reports, even discount ticket deals. It’s been named one of NASCAR’s top 50 blogs. “NASCAR fans have been more accepting of (Myers) being gay than gay people have been accepting of his being a NASCAR fan,” the site says of the 37-yearold founder. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Myers “acknowledges that gay male race fans are attracted to stock car drivers the way straight female race fans are.” However, he adds, it’s really just about the races. “I’m not there to ask drivers what they think about gay marriage,” he says. “I’m there to ask them about racing.”
Billy Van Raaphorst
Another oxymoron could be “gay professional baseball umpire.” But when a manager attacked an out ump with antigay language, it was the manager who suffered most. The Golden Baseball League incident began in July, when Billy Van Raaphorst ejected Edmonton Capitals manager Brent Bowers for repeatedly objecting to a call. Bowers raced over, called Van Raaphorst a “f------g faggot,” and asked, “Do you take it up the f------g ass?” (Just to make sure there was no mistake, Bowers bent over and grabbed his ankles.) The tirade continued, with the manager saying, “I ought to kick your ass, you faggot.” The league suspended Bowers for two games. Van Raaphorst’s fellow umpires thought the punishment was insufficient and threatened to walk out. The league then suspended Bowers for the rest of the season—and fined him $5,000. The Capitals’ owner—who also owns the National Hockey League Edmonton Oilers—supported Van Raaphorst and the league against its now-former manager. Then—recognizing a “golden” opportunity when they saw it—the owners announced plans to provide diversity
training for all its baseball and hockey staffs.
In more gays-and-baseball news, a group of gay men and lesbians got fed up watching the St. Louis Cardinals’ heteroonly “Kiss Cam.” That’s the traditional shot shown on an enormous scoreboard of a man and woman passionately smooching. A cute little heart is superimposed on the shot, and cute little music plays. Big deal, huh? To David Whitley—a columnist for MLB.Fanhouse.com, a national website— it was. “I can’t help sympathizing with that father who’ll be sitting next to his son or daughter at Busch Stadium,” the not-veryempathic dad/fan/writer wrote. “Daddy, why are those two men kissing?” he imagined a child saying. “Umm, err, hey isn’t that Albert Pujols coming to bat?” he figured would be the only possible reply. “I’m not ready to discuss same-sex relationships with my three-year-old,” he wrote. “I don’t think she’s ready, either.” Using that logic, he would have to discuss opposite-sex relationships every time the “Kiss Cam” showed two straight people making out. Scrambling to avoid charges of homophobia, he added: “If my daughter grows up and falls happily in love with another woman, I’ll proudly walk her down the aisle.” Chances are, though, he’d first have to get over his daughter’s fear that he wouldn’t, in fact, be proud—based on his reaction, years earlier, when daughter and dad watched two women doing the exact same thing straight people do every day, at every ballpark in America.
Finally, from the Stand-Up-AndCheer Department:
For the fifth consecutive year, the Gene and John Athletic Fund of Stonewall has awarded a scholarship to an outstanding gay athlete. 2010’s recipient was Jessica Leigh Weather. At the University of Florida, Jessica studied six languages. A runner, she has completed two marathons, three halfmarathons and a half-Ironman triathlon. She’s a swimmer too, with a 12.5-mile swim around Key West and 8-mile swim through Boston Harbor and a relay swim of the English Channel to her credit. She hopes to compete in the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland. Jessica is currently enrolled in Duke University’s Physician Assistant Program. Her goal is to specialize in pediatrics. “My knowledge of the mental and physical benefits of athletics, along with my first-hand understanding of the spectrum of sexuality, will make me a unique asset to the field for the next generation of youth, both straight and LGBT.” Including those who aspire to be NASCAR drivers, baseball umpires, or kiss their same-sex partner in public.
Glenn Burke’s story
“Glenn was comfortable with who he was. Baseball was not comfortable with
who he was.” That encapsulates the life and career of Glenn Burke, Major League Baseball’s first openly gay player. And it is a measure of the sports world’s continuing discomfort with homosexuality that it has taken three decades for his compelling tale to be told. Out. The Glenn Burke Story premiered last month in San Francisco. The one-hour documentary played to a sold-out audience at the Castro Theatre—Burke’s old backyard. It described his rise, from multi-sport star at Berkeley High School to his heralded signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers as “the next Willie Mays.” And then his fall. In 1978—one year after starting in the World Series—Burke was traded to the Oakland Athletics. By 1980 he was out of baseball. Despite being loved and admired for both his athletic skills and great clubhouse personality, it is widely believed that Burke’s tacit acknowledgement of his sexuality led to the quick end of a promising career. The documentary details his public announcement of his homosexuality in 1982 (on the Today show with Bryant Gumbel), to a life filled with drugs and prison, through a period of homelessness and his AIDS diagnosis in 1994. Burke succumbed to the disease—but his story ends with support from the A’s and some former teammates. The documentary pulls no punches. Claudell Washington recalls Oakland manager Billy Martin introducing Burke to his new teammates: “This is Glenn Burke and he’s a faggot.” A high school classmate says that Dodger executives offered Burke $75,000 to get married. His response: “I guess you mean to a woman?” Former sportswriter Lyle Spencer remembers Burke’s popularity. When he was traded, several Dodgers cried. And Pamela Pitts, Oakland’s director of baseball administration, says Burke was amazed his former team would reach out to a man with AIDS. “I can’t believe someone wants to help me,” he said. It is a sad testament to his life that Pitts had to say this about his death: “I do believe he was in a much better place. His demons were gone.”
Glenn Burke After the premiere, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area hosted a town hall meeting in the theater. Bay Area professional athletes, journalists and sports executives discussed the film and whether the sports climate has changed in the three decades since Burke played. San Jose Sharks hockey broadcaster Drew Remenda took his 14-year-old son to the screening. The boy could not understand why anyone cared about sexuality, but Remenda took a more nuanced view. With Americans still battling over issues like gay marriage and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Remenda said, “I don’t know how far we’ve come.” Gay athletes, he said, are still “fearful” about coming out. Remenda described the movie as “a great story of courage” about Glenn—but a story of cowardice about society. San Francisco Giants president and chief operating officer Larry Baer countered that “there is enlightenment in sports.” He pointed to his team’s promotion of the AIDS-awareness “Until There’s a Cure” Day as far back in the early 1990s. Giants manager Dusty Baker took a lead role in the event. The Giants stood up—as Burke did—for “what’s right,” Baer said. Discussing any potential problems his team would face today from advertisers if a Giant came out, Baer replied: “The answer should be, ‘Too bad.’ At the end of the day, we have to do what’s right.” Of course, he
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the fun guide
ACCESSline’s STATEWIDE Recurring Events List The following list is provided by—and corrected by—ACCESSline readers like you. If you would like to add an event, or if you notice a mistake in this list, please email editor@ ACCESSlineIOWA.com.
Interest Group Abbreviations:
L: Lesbian G: Gay B: Bisexual T: Transgender D: Drag +: HIV-related M: General Men’s Interest W: General Women’s Interest A: General Interest K: Kids and Family
Every Sunday, GLBT AA, 5-6 PM, at First Baptist Church at 500 N. Clinton St., Iowa City. For more info about Intergroup and Alcoholics Anonymous call the 24-Hour Answering Service at or visit the AA-IC website: http://aa-ic.org/. [ LGBTMWA] Every Sunday, L WORD LIVES: L NIGHT, 7PM, at the Firewater Saloon, 347 South Gilbert St., Iowa City, 319-321-5895. The night will start with Season 1, Episode 1 of the L Word... because a good thing should never die. FoLLowing the L Word wiLL be a Drag King show at 9:30 p.m. No cover. Tel, 319-321-5895. [ L B T W D ] Every Sunday, THE QUIRE: EASTERN IOWA’S GLBT CHORUS REHEARSALS, 6-8:30 PM, at Zion Lutheran Church, 310 N. Johnson St., Iowa City. Membership is open to all GLBT folks, as well as allies who support the community. There are no auditions; you only need to be willing to attend rehearsals regularly and learn your music. The Quire prepares two full concerts each year in the winter and spring, and occasionally performs shorter programs at events in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area. The Quire is a member of Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA), and has developed a reputation for excellence and variety in its concert programs. For more info, visit http://www.thequire.org/. [ L G B T M W A] Every Sunday, QUEER GUERRILLA BRUNCH, Locations around Iowa City to be announced each week. LGBTQIs & Allies gather for Sunday brunch to celebrate community and create visibility. Sign up for future brunches on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group. php?gid=120517046371 [ L G B T M W A ] Every Sunday, RAINBOW AND ALLIED YOUTH, 8:00pm-11:00pm, The Center, 1300 Locust, Des Moines, IA 50309. Social group for Queer youth 25 years and under [ L G B T ] Every Wednesday, LEZ TALK (LIVE TALK SHOW), 9pm, Des Moines Social Club, 1408 Locust St, Des Moines, IA . New talk show in the Capital City, Des Moines, IA. This show is hosted by Lezzies and made for ALL people. We have successfully secured a slot (we said slot) at the DMSC Wednesdays 9pm! Talk about must see TV! [ L G B T + A ]
1st 2nd Monday of the Month, IOWA PFLAG NORTH IOWA CHAPTER MEETING, 7 PM, at First Presbyterian Church, 100 S. Pierce St., Mason City. Meetings are held the First and Second Monday (alternating) of the month. For more info, call 641-583-2848. [ L G B T M W AK] 1st Monday of the Month, IOWA PFLAG QUAD CITIES CHAPTER MEETING, 6:30 PM, at Eldridge United Methodist Church, 604 S. 2nd St., Eldridge. For more info, call 563-285-4173. [LGBTMWAK] 4th Monday of the Month, IOWA PFLAG WAUKON/NORTHEAST CHAPTER MEETING, 7 PM, First Lutheran Church, 604 West Broadway Street , Decorah, IA 52101. in the Fellowship Hall at First Lutheran Church, Decorah. 604 West Broadway Street. (563) 382-2638 [ L G B TMWA] Every Monday, DES MOINES GAY MEN’S CHORUS REHEARSALS, 7pm-9:30pm, Plymouth
Congregational Church, 4126 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, IA . For more information about singing with the Chorus, contact Rebecca Gruber at 515-865-9557. The Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. [ G M A ] Every Monday Wednesday Thursday Saturday, GLBT ONLY AA MEETINGS IN DES MOINES, 6 PM - SAT 5 PM, at 945 19th St. (east side of building, south door). [ L G B T M W A ]
2nd Tuesday of the Month, IOWA PFLAG AMES CHAPTER MEETING, 7 PM, Youth and Shelter Services Offices, 420 Kellogg Ave., 1st Floor, Ames, IA 50010. Meets in the Paul Room of Youth and Shelter Services at 420 Kellogg Avenue, Ames. For more info, call 515-2913607. [ L G B T M W A K ] 2nd Tuesday of the Month, CEDAR RAPIDS UNITY BOARD MEETING, 6:30-8 PM, Cedar Rapids, IA . at 6300 Rockwell Dr, Cedar Rapids. Meetings are open to the general public. For more info, call 319-366-2055 or visit: http:// www.crglrc.org [ L G B T M W A ] 2nd Tuesday of the Month, SPIRITUAL SEEKERS, 7-8:30 PM, Iowa City, IA. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St, Iowa City. Spiritual Seekers is a group for people of all faiths, or of little faith, who wish to make deeper connections between their sexual identities and the spiritual dimension in their lives. Meetings include discussion of specialized topics, telling of pieces of our faith journeys, and occasional prayer and meditation. (On the 4th Tuesday of each month, the group gathers at a local restaurant for food and fellowship.) For more info, contact Tom Stevenson: tbstevenson@ mchsi.com or 319.354.1784. [ L G B T M W A ] Every Tuesday, OUT (OUR UNITED TRUTH): A GLBT SUPPORT GROUP, 7-8:30 PM, Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist, 600 3rd Avenue Southeast, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401. For more info, call 563-359-0816. [ L G B T M WA] Every Tuesday, ACE INCLUSIVE BALLROOM, 7-8:30 PM, Old Brick, 26 East Market Street, Iowa City, IA 52245. All skill levels are welcome. American social dance, Latin, a mix of dance from the last 100 years. For more info, contact Mark McCusker at firstname.lastname@example.org, 319-621-8530 or Nora Garda at 319-400-4695, or visit http://iowadancefest.blogspot.com/. [ LGBTMWA] Every Tuesday, ARGENTINE TANGO, 7:309:30 PM, Iowacity/Johnson Co Senior Center, 28 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA 52240. Practice and open dance. A donation of $1-2 per person is requested for use of the Senior Center. For more info, contact Karen Jackson at 319-4471445 or e-mail email@example.com. [ L G B TMWA] Every Tuesday, KARAOKE IDOL, 9 PM, Studio 13, 13 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA 52240. Drink specials and great competition! Visit www.sthirteen.com. [ L G B T M W A ] Every Tuesday, ACE HAS FACE THE MUSIC & DANCE, 7-9pm, 26 E Market St, Iowa City, IA 52245. All skill levels are welcome. Tango, Waltz, Disco, Country, American social dance, Latin, a mix from the last 100 years. Join on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group. php?gid=372454708295. For more info, contact ACE experiment at 319-853-8223. [ L G B T M WA] First and Third Tuesday, YOUTH FOR EQUALITY, 4-6pm, The CENTER, 1300 W Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309. A service and action group for youth who identify as LGBTQI and their allies. Open to all students in grades 5 through 12. [ L G B T M W A ] Second Tuesday of the Month, PITCH HIV+ PEER-TO-PEER SUPPORT GROUP, 6-8pm, The CENTER, 1300 Locust St, Des Moines, IA . Contact John at 515.284.3358 with questions. [+]
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OUTFIELD acknowledged, things might be easier in San Francisco than other cities. Four-time Super Bowl champion Bill Romanowski said that nearly every day in the San Francisco 49ers locker room, he hears gay slurs. “It’s not right,” he noted. “But it just is.” Asked whether having an openly gay athlete would divide a team, Romanowski said “probably.” But, he added, far smaller issues divide teams too. “That’s reality,” he explained. The 49ers’ trainer was openly gay, Romanowski said. “That opened my eyes. He was a phenomenal trainer—and a really good man.” Fourteen-year NFL fullback Lorenzo Neal said flat out: “People will feel uncomfortable” with a gay teammate. “We’re humans. We can’t control other people’s emotions.”
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HOLLYWOOD its antecedents, this sounds like just the right costume for Iron Man to try on next, doesn’t it?
Becoming Chaz and bikini kill docs coming right up
ACCESSline Page 15 But Bay Area sports columnist Ray Ratto thinks things will be fine—if the openly gay athlete is “an indispensible player.” That, he said, would force teammates to realize that their feelings of discomfort were less important than the opportunity to win big with a gay guy. Jackie Robinson’s teammates didn’t like him at first, Ratto said, “but they came around when they realized he’d help them make money.” Robinson was, of course, the first black Major League Baseball player. His team was the Brooklyn Dodgers. They moved to Los Angeles in 1958—where, 20 years later, they cast aside the man who eventually became the first openly gay baseball player. Dan Woog is a journalist, educator, soccer coach, gay activist, and author of the “Jocks” series of books on gay male athletes. Visit his website at www.danwoog.com. He can be reached care of this publication or at OutField@qsyndicate.com.
Bravo needs an A List and they’re going to get one From The Bottom To The Top. Seriously, that is the working title of the new Bravo reality show. Guess what it’s about? If you said, “Lots of gay guys working hard to be as bitchy and horrible and reductive as those people on Logo’s The A List,” then you’d be correct. It seems that while everyone’s favorite gay network (that would be the one with Andy Cohen) was busy with all the housewives, Logo scooped them with buzz and ratings for their own all-gay variant. Not to be outdone, Bravo is now on the trail of fabulously unpleasant gays to cast for a show that will finally re-teach America to dislike homosexuality once and for all. Did you hear that, men? It’s time to go get paid to misbehave for the cameras! First group cast gets to record their own dance single. As for that title, chalk it up to Bravo always keeping it classy.
Chloe Sevigny, Eliza Dushku, Margaret Cho join RuPaul’s Race Reichen Lehmkuhl. Photo: Logo A tale of two documentaries, one financing and one finished: In the starting gate is a film about the already-remarkable career of third-wave feminist pioneer Kathleen Hanna, founder of the band Bikini Kill and early proponent of the Riot Grrrl movement in the early 1990s. Sini Anderson (cofounder of the lesbian/feminist collective Sister Spit) is the woman raising funds and footage for The Kathleen Hanna Project aka Who Told You Christmas Wasn’t Cool? that will chronicle Hanna’s life from its roots in Oregon to New York, where she lives and works now. And due to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in late July is Becoming Chaz from Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Obviously, that one is about the current life of Chaz Bono—son of Sonny and Cher, born biologically female as Chastity—and his ongoing public transition to maleness. It may or may not wind up in theaters but it’ll definitely hit cable sometime later in 2011. And it’s got to be more interesting than Burlesque, right?
If RuPaul’s Drag Race were a cooking show with Emeril, he would say it just got kicked up a notch. Check out this list of celebrity judges for the third season coming Jan. 24, 2011: Wayne Brady, Margaret Cho, Eliza Dushku, Carmen Electra, Fantasia, LaToya Jackson, Sharon Osbourne, Susan Powter, Rita Rudner, Mike Ruiz, Chloe Sevigny, Cheryl Tiegs, Lily Tomlin, Aisha Tyler, Bruce Vilance, Jody Watley, Johnny Weir and Vanessa Williams. Whoever’s in charge of filling those seats is working 10 times as hard as the people on that singing competition show who spent last summer slowly trying to find replacements for Simon, Ellen and Kara. So season three is officially going to be interesting now. But with this much star power behind the judging table, at what point will the audience be paying attention to the actual drag queens? Romeo San Vicente is concerned about how that treacherous Austin keeps meddling in Reichen and Rodiney’s relationship. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.
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Hear Me Out: Best of 2010 by Chris Azzopardi way in, it would’ve been. But the airiness of Ezra Koenig’s voice floated to the clouds and the songs were some of the most smiley sounds to fall on ears.
fully conceived canon of Janelle Monáe’s futuristic world, a mind-blowing saga stretched over 70 crazy minutes. Taking off from 2007’s debut EP about a robot-led land, it turns the Kansas-born ingénue’s easy “soul” tag on its head, spins it around, and makes musical gumbo out of it. What a mess you’d think, what with all the influences (from James Brown to Michael Jackson, and then pastoral folk and crazy theatrics), but it’s uniquely spellbinding—like nothing, and everything, before it.
an Elton piano solo on “All of the Lights,” which boasts an impressive guest list) and electro-dance of extreme grandeur. Songs are big as his ego, but just try turning away.
10. Melissa Etheridge, Fearless Love Hearing the musician return to her zenith and kill songs with raging burn was a rush like no other. She blows the spiraling top off the title track, spilling desperation into a Kings of Leon-like arena rock tune, and sticks it to her home state on the rip-roaring fireball “Miss California.” She doesn’t always bite down hard, though: Her narrative about family and illusions on “Gently We Row” is as beautiful as her own fearless love.
7. Sia, We Are Born The singing Aussie, especially known for bummed-out numbers that hurt like hell, danced her way out of downers with this jiggy shake-up splashed in rainbow colors. A nod to her adoration for the ’80s era, even covering—and one-upping—Madonna’s “Oh Father,” Sia’s messages of optimism and survival were also intrinsically hers despite dollops of toy pianos, chimes and child chirps (see standouts “The Fight” and “Never Gonna Leave Me”). A new Sia was born, indeed, and cooler. Than. Ever.
9. Elton John and Leon Russell, The Union Two music greats got together and created, well, more greatness. Theirs is a Union, but so much more: a rare act of appreciation—the album came to be because of John’s fandom for Russell, a soul veteran— deeply felt in their exchanges about war, morality and expensive shoes. It crosses genres, from gospel (“Hey Ahab”) to piano rock (“Monkey Suit”), with hat-tips to the ’70s era that both were born out of. Oh, and did we mention that it’s John’s best album in, like, forever?
4. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs Never one to disappoint, the Montreal supergroup tempered their tiptoe-to-takeoff bombast, stepping back from bloated epics to deliver this resonating rock opus. Impressive again is how transcendent their sound is, especially with the majestic “Sprawl II” and lines like, “Let’s go for a drive and see the town tonight/There’s nothing to do but I don’t mind when I’m with you.” It plays out like the fleeting years of life—except in life, you can’t go back. The Suburbs at least takes you there.
6. Taylor Swift, Speak Now No one hates Taylor Swift as much as they might say they do. It’s why the Southern sugarplum’s as big as she is, something her third album—as she expands past her limited pop-by-numbers palette—strongly justifies. Love is, as expected from a boy-crazy 21-yearold, what brings out the best in her songwriting (which, here, she exercises in full) with “Back to December” and “The Story of Us,” all about the tickles and tortures of relationships that Swift’s so good at exposing. Speak now, later, whenever—just keep doing it, Taylor.
8. Vampire Weekend, Contra The shameless sophomore album from the indie hipsters came out earlier in the year, so by now, in this breakneck music industry, it should be long forgotten. Had it not been for how the N.Y. quartet expertly merges classical components with dainty pop melodies, making feathers of harmony that ease their
2. Jónsi, Go
5. Janelle Monáe, The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) Retro and funk collide in this wonder-
Hope got a new name this year: Jónsi Birgisson, lead singer of Iceland’s Sigur Rós who, for the first time, went solo. Going at it alone, with support from his boyfriend Alex Somers and conductor Nico Muhly, proved revolutionary as he gave the vox behind some of the most soulful classic-rock restored life—working his soaring instrument into kaleidoscopic bursts of orchestral whimsicality. From the ecstatic “Animal Arithmetic” to the consuming swell of “Grow Till Tall,” Jónsi was the sun, singing.
1. Robyn, Body Talk
3. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Hated like few others, the rapper’s narcissism often gets in the way of his crafty, boundary-breaking work. This time, it was the reason for it, as he probed his own reckless psyche for a thrilling, demented, self-deprecating, even vulnerable genre buster that stretched hip-hop beyond its roots and into classic rock (uh-huh: That’s
Her body talked, but did you listen? The irresistible (and overlooked) Robin Miriam Carlsson—flooding the club scene with her genius trilogy, which culminated in a 15-track masterpiece of shoulda-beenhits—wised-up a genre that’s otherwise become insipidly dumb. “Dancing on My Own” was moving in every sense, and the hearty “Hang With Me” and “Call Your Girlfriend” only confirmed what a refreshing, distinct diva of dance-pop this delicious Swede is. Innovative, transparent, entrancing, geeky and adorable—Robyn’s a firecracker that just kept popping. Chris Azzopardi can be reached online at at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“For many years we have talked about fulfilling one of our greatest wishes by becoming parents. And now this wish has been granted to us, we feel so blessed and lucky.” — Sir Elton John to Us Magazine, Monday December 27, 2010, in an interview with his partner, David Furnish, regarding their newborn son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, born to a surrogate mother on December 25, 2010.
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Our first Chicago-style pizza by Arthur Breur & Brian Trimpe On the return leg of our holiday vacation last month, my husband Brian and I purchased the magazine “Popular Plates: Pizza” and both read it, cover to cover. (This was easy to do since our plane was missing a part and sat empty for three hours before we finally departed. Inside this wonderful publication were delicious looking photos of every kind of pizza you can imagine—and some you probably never imagined!—plus descriptions of various ingredients and pizza-making techniques. Best of all, it contained dozens of recipes for crusts and sauces. Even waiting in an airport, we were in heaven scouring through the culinary possibilities. Brian is a brilliant cook, and we have dined on home-made pizzas for most of our fourteen and a half years together. We are fond of thin crusts, but also loved getting a great Chicago pizza at Pizzaria Due on our last visit to the Windy City. Interestingly, though, we had never made a Chicago-style pizza at home. New Years Eve we corrected that oversight. Following are the crust recipe straight from the magazine, and the recipe for our first Chicago pizza filling. This was an excellent pizza (if we do say so ourselves), and was honestly quite easy to make—though plan a little time for the making and kneading the crust, and allowing it to rise. The trick with a Chicago pizza is making sure the ingredients are not too moist, so be careful if you improvise on ingredients! We also recommend a nine- or ten-inch springform pan, rather than the deep dish pan: it makes serving the slices of pizza much easier!
Chicago deep-dish crust
(From “Popular Plates: Pizza – Across the Country with Roadfood’s Jane & Michael Stern” by Source Interlink Media) To make this crust right, you need a deep-dish pan that is 2 to 3 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches across. • 1 package yeast • 2/3 cup warm water • 1 teaspoon sugar • 2 cups all-purpose flour • 1/3 cup cornmeal • 1 teaspoon salt • 1/4 cup olive oil
cooks. When the sausage is evenly brown, carefully drain the meat into a colander to remove excess moisture. 2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt (to draw out the moisture) and cook until the onion softens and becomes translucent. 3. Add the garlic and pine nuts and stir. 4. Create a space in the middle of the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook for about a minute then stir into the onion mixture. Pour in red wine, stir. Add oregano and pepper flakes. Let reduce until starts to thicken. 5. Add chopped tomatoes. Stir and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kosher salt to taste.
Assembling the pizza 1. Combine the yeast with about a third of the warm water. When it begins to foam, add the remaining water, sugar, flour, cornmeal, salt, and all but a tablespoon of the oil. Stir until blended, then turn the mixture out onto a well-floured surface. Knead 10 minutes until the dough is silky and smooth. Use the remaining oil to oil a bowl, roll the dough around in it, cover it and let it rise in a warm place 2 to 3 hours. 2. Generously oil the deep-dish pan. 3. Punch the dough down and knead it 2 to 3 minutes. Press it into the prepared pan. Let it rise again about 15 minutes, then push it down again, ensuring that the dough reaches up the sides of the pan.
Our first Chicago-style pizza filling
If you don’t want to make a sauce from scratch, just use a jar of your favorite marinara sauce. (We recommend Trader Joe’s brand, now that it is available in West Des Moines—or Madison, WI.) Tools needed: skillet or frying pan, saucepan, 9-inch springform pan (or deep-dish pan). • ½ lb pork sausage • ½ lb sweet Italian sausage • 1 25oz box Pomi chopped tomatoes (substitute 1 28oz can copped tomatoes) • ½ can tomato paste with Italian herbs • 1 onion, finely chopped • 1 tbsp minced garlic (or 1-2 cloves freshly chopped garlic)
• 1 tsp oregano, dried (substitute Italian seasoning blend or dried basil) • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste) • pinch kosher salt • ½ cup red wine • ¼ cup pine nuts (optional) • 1 tbsp butter • 1 tbsp olive oil • 15 slices of pre-sliced low-moisture mozzarella or provolone (do not use FRESH mozzarella as it can be too moist and will soften the crust) sub 12oz shredded cheese • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese • Optional: Top with 1-2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, basil, or arugula. 1. Cook the sausage in a skillet or frypan over medium heat, breaking it up as it
1. Put 2-3 layers of cheese slices on the bottom of the crust; add the sausage, then the sauce on the top. Lightly sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 2. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 30 minutes (or until crust is golden brown). 3. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes. 4. Top with freshly chopped parsley, basil, or arugula (optional). 5. Slice with a large knife—no pizza roller here!—and serve. (If using a springform pan, remove the metal outer ring before serving.) 6. Optional: take a photo of the pizza and post it on Facebook to amaze your friends and family!
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The Gay Wedding Planner: Engagements & Flowers by Beau Fodor Since there are no gay-marriage proposal cultural traditions I could establish for you quite yet, my personal opinion is to “just ask”—however YOU choose to!
Engagements, or betrothal, rings date back to the ancient days of marriage by purchase when gold rings were circulated as currency. The groom-to-be would offer his bride-to-be a gold ring both as his partial payment and as a symbol of his intentions. Brides-to-be in these earlier times wore woven bands made of rush (a flexible marsh plant with hollow stems), and replaced them each year. Roman brides-to-be wore rings made of iron to symbolize the permanent, unending nature of marriage. During Medieval times, grooms-to-be placed the ring on three of the bride’s fingers in turn to represent the Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The gimmal ring originated during the Elizabethan period and is a set of three interlocking rings. During the engagement, the bride-to-be, groom to-be, and their witness each wore one of the rings until the wedding day when the three pieces were united as a single ring for the bride. The type and style of ring GAY couples use when formalizing their commitment to each other is dependent on several factors, including, of course, budget. A consideration when deciding whether or not to add an engagement ring to the equation is what sort of message you are trying to send to the
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SANCTITY gay pastor in America, the Reverend Bill Johnson, in 1972. And our General Synod in 1985 called for all our congregations to become Open and Affirming. In 2005 the General Synod of our United Church of Christ overwhelmingly passed a resolution entitled “Equal Marriage Rights for All.” That resolution received immediate affirmation at Plymouth, where we had already been conducting same-gender ceremonies for members for many years. This past year Plymouth Church passed a formal declaration in favor of marriage equality. The vote was unanimous; the only discussion was whether a separate resolution on marriage was required, since we thought we were already on record about it.
community about your relationship. Engagement rings are also a good idea as they serve as a sign of your current commitment, your dedication to each other and silently announce the upcoming wedding. The combination of a wedding and engagement ring, particularly in lesbian engagements, is a statement of the well thought out and dedicated approach the couple has taken in getting married. (Culturally, women in our country generally grow up with the idea of getting an engagement ring and a wedding ring.) And, of course, many people would not object to being given another ring from their loving partner.
Wedding Flowers 101
When choosing the flowers for your wedding, you’ll certainly want to think about the color, size, and shape of different flowers, but it’s also nice to think of their significance. In Victorian times, hundreds of flowers, plants, and herbs were assigned meanings. People selected them to communicate matters of the heart. For the flowers in your events, consider the ones that best express the feelings you share to make the arrangements more special. Here I’ve listed individual flowers and their meanings to help you decide. • Baby’s breath = Everlasting love • Bachelor’s button = Celibacy, delicacy • Calla lily = Magnificent beauty • Carnation (pink) = Woman’s love • Carnation = Pure love • Cornflower = Delicacy These positions grow from some theological affirmations. We believe in the centrality of the love of God and neighbor, as Jesus taught. We seek to love God with all our heart and soul, strength and mind and our neighbors as ourselves—to love God with our whole being. This means that every activity of human life is to be brought under the rule of love, including sexuality. Ideally sexuality is a medium for the expression of love. Of course there is a recreational quality to sex. But you can also use an iPad for a paperweight: it accomplishes the task, but when it’s holding down paper it is hardly fulfilling its deeper reason for being. Within the context of a committed, loving relationship, sexual love can take on the character of a sacrament: the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality. So this requires sexuality, as with all the
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Crocus = Cheerfulness Daisy = Innocence Dogwood = Duration Fern = Magic Forget-me-not = Remember me Freesia = Innocence Fuchsia = Confiding love Geranium = True friendship Hellebore = Calming Hyacinth = Sport and play Iris = I have a message for you Ivy = Friendship Jasmine (pink) = I attach myself to you Jasmine (white) = Amiability Lady’s mantle = Comfort Lilac = First emotions of love Lily-of-the-valley = Return of happiness Mint = Virtue Myrtle = Love Oak leaf = Bravery Orchid = You’re in my thoughts Peony = Bashful Peppermint = Warmth of feeling Primrose = Youth Ranunculus = Radiant with charms Rose (white) = I am worthy of you Rose = Love Rosemary = Remembrance Snowdrop = Hope Sweet pea = Delicate pleasures Sweet violet = Modesty Sweet William = Sensitivity Tulip (pink) = Caring Tulip (variegated) = Beautiful eyes Tulip = Declaration of love Violet (blue) = Faithfulness
rest of life, to be brought under the ruling discipline of a loving commitment. That’s why I believe in marriage! So that’s where I’m coming from in this conversation. Much more could be said regarding how one regards scripture and so forth; but that conversation feels like an old one to me. Now to restate my thesis: LGBT folk are getting caught in the crossfire of sanctity wars among Christians. The public dialogue is harsher, shriller, and more emotional than it needs to be because the church is duking out its doctrine in the public arena. This is not to underestimate the virulent nature of homophobia even when it’s not supported by religious rhetoric. We see homophobia everywhere, and clearly it finds expression in the public conversation. Political opportunism enters in, as well: if you want to find yourself in a majority, join in oppressing a minority. That’s an old formula. I don’t deny these factors at all.
Beau Fodor is an Iowa wedding planner who focuses specifically on weddings for the LGBT community. He is also the host of the new docu-reality show “BRIDES & GROOMS”, which is co-produced by Pilgrim Films and Coolfire Media, and will be premiering this winter on cable television. Beau can be reached through iowasgayweddingplanner.com or gayweddingswithpanache.com. Last but not least, contemplate the fragrances of your blooms... especially if there’s an allergy-related issue, and take consideration of where flowers will be placed; especially centerpieces, as fragrances can conflict with foods.
But the misguided urge to legislate sanctity makes it all worse. I am reminded of three sayings about church. Paschal said, “Men never do evil so cheerfully or so thoroughly as when they do it in the name of God.” Churches tend to be populated by what Mark Twain called, “Good people in the worst sense of the word.” And finally Otis Young, one of my colleagues in ministry in the United Church of Christ coined what he modestly called “Young’s Law”: “Church fights are so nasty because the stakes are so low.” Think about it: generally when we disagree in the church we simply undergo ecclesiastical mitosis: we divide ourselves into what we take to be little pockets of purity around whatever issue caused the rift. We move down the block and form a new church with people who agree with us. In this regard, you can tell that the sacraments are important to us because we’re always fight-
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Cocktail Chatter by Ed Sikov A Really Big Surprise: The Boilermaker
“Who is Lady Gaga?” I asked in imperfect innocence, thus driving the table of six to a jolting silence. They gaped at me. “What?” I shouted. Heads swiveled around the restaurant. I quickly regretted the stupid (and loud) joke. The maitre d’ came over. “I’m not well,” I explained, then beelined for the men’s room, attempted to take three Advil without water, gagged and threw up, washed out my mouth, sampled the free facial moisturizer (wouldn’t you?) and returned. “Let’s change the subject,” I said as I plunked myself back into my chair. “We already have, doll,” said Craig. “I’ve invited a guest—lucky number seven.” “But there’s no room!” I complained. Dan elbowed me so hard in the ribs that I coughed. “Garcon!” Craig shouted, though we were at an Austrian restaurant. The blond youth who sings “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” in Cabaret rushed over. “May I help you, sir?” “That’s Madame, sonny,” Craig replied. “Set another place—for my new boyfriend!” Craig was now the object of the group gape. “Tell!” Paolo demanded. “Yeah, dude!” Sammy said. “Is he a chub, too?” Jack Fogg shot Sammy a withering look, but Sammy was undeterred. “You’re way fat, dude. That’s cool. I just want to know if he’s chubby, too.” “Where is that Nazi Breck Girl when you need her?” I snarled. I felt an inexplicable anxiety on top of the residual Gaga humiliation and reverted to my Western Pennsylvania roots: I needed a shot and a beer. Two shots and a beer, actually: a double Absolut Peppar and a Hefeweisen, a yeasty German brew. (That’s why I love New York. Order that combo in my embarrassingly named hometown— Beaver Falls—and you might get hurled out of the bar or worse. In Snatchville, a shot and a beer means rotgut whiskey and Pittsburgh’s own, terrible Iron City.) We scooted closer to make room— except for Craig, who sat regally still, smirking. I asked the waiter, “Could I have a—” “I’ll take your drink orders in a minute, sir,” the Aryan prototype sassed. “My name is Rolf—I’ll be your server tonight.” “Gevalt,” I snorted.
“Hey!” Dan said. “That’s Kyle at the front door. What a coincid—” “Ohmygod!” I gasped. “Jesus fucking Christ!” Sammy blurted. Dan, Paolo and Jack Fogg simply stared in wonderment as the adorable puppy Kyle strode to the table and sat down next to Craig. He blushed, shrugged and then kissed Craig on the lips. The rest of us were too stunned—and in my case, too psychotically jealous—to speak. “You all know Kyle,” Craig pointlessly announced. “Turns out he likes chubby daddies.” Kyle demurely looked at his fingernails. “Who knew?” I said as a montage providing vivid, horrifying answers to the question “who does what to whom?” in various lurid and upsetting ways looped through my brain. The next thing I knew, I was standing up and screaming across the room, “Rolf! Getten zie assen uber hier, schnell! Ich needen ein drink!”
The Boilermaker It’s just a shot of liquor with a beer chaser. Back home, you get cheap whiskey and local swill. In more cosmopolitan locales (Calgary, Oklahoma City, Denver), you can fearlessly order a shot of Jameson, Chivas, or even Absolut. I like a double shot of Peppar and a tasty beer: try a local microbrewery’s offering (think globally, drink locally), a great American mass-market brand like Sam Adams, or an equally fine and widely available import like Stella Artois or Molson.
Kahlua, Cream & Fiasco: The White Russian My cold lasted another week, so forget about literary reticence. Let the gross descriptions fly: Snot spewed out of my nose like raw scrambled eggs, only darker, more translucent, and graced by tiny bloblets of blood. My lungs hacked up a hocker so gray it could have come out of an old coal miner. When I wasn’t wiping smears of sputum off my hands, sheets and nearby skin mags, I contemplated my recent poor behavior. Dan was right: I’d become “an old-fashioned a--hole.” Dan was nothing but affectionate with me, even after I
spat goose-shit-green mucous onto his pillow while he slept. He deserved better from me. So did my friends. When I stopped being viral, I invited Craig and Kyle to dinner. Surprisingly, Craig didn’t hang up on me when I called. “I’m sorry…” I began. He cut me off: “Listen, dollface—I’ll forgive you anything as long as you keep your tongue off my boyfriend.” “Right-O!” I sang out, anxiety turning me strangely into Terry-Thomas in some British war comedy. “How about dinner here on Saturday? It’s Chicken Cacciatore and an after-dinner drink that doesn’t suck.” All was well. Dinner was a disaster. Dan was late, so I had to wield the vacuum cleaner and a can of Pledge and set the table while trying to make what turned out to be an absurdly complicated “hunter’s style” chicken with only half the ingredients the recipe called for. (I hadn’t bothered with a shopping list. “Calling Dr. Freud! STAT!”) The result was a greasy, taste-free horror—no wild mushrooms, no fresh sage or thyme, clumpy years-old garlic salt instead of garlic… “Hunter’s style?” What were they hunting—something out of Oliver Twist? Having tasted the cacciatore, I downed some Tormore Single Malt and became morose. But when Dan waltzed in mere minutes before Craig and Kyle were supposed to show up, my irrepressible life force returned. I became hostile. Craig and Kyle thus entered during the second act of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, with me playing
both George and Martha. I behaved terribly; Dan was rightly embarrassed. I might have summoned enough dignity not to spend the whole evening staring at the gap between Kyle’s bottom shirt button and his belt, a space out of which a perfect tuft of soft hair emerged. Craig noticed, much to his glee and my continuing disgrace. But dessert was fabulous! The White Russian is one of my favorite cream-based cocktails because of its subtlety, simplicity and relative lack of sweetness. It’s got a little Kahlua for a café au lait effect, vodka for some kick and thick, chilled heavy cream for the mouth-to-belly bliss that only cold dairy fat can provide. Still, two rounds of White Russians wasn’t enough to make up for hurling lettuce fragments and bacon chunks in Craig’s face after discovering that puppy Kyle had been gobbled up by Jabba the Hut. Am I still bitter? You bet your elephantine ass I am.
The White Russian
• 1 part Absolut • 1/2 part coffee liqueur • 1 part chilled heavy cream 1. Put some ice in a shaker and add all the ingredients; put the cap on and swirl it around a bit rather than shake it. (After all, you’re not trying to make liquor butter.) 2. Pour through strainer into a good-looking glass and serve. Ed Sikov is the author of Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis and other books about films and filmmakers.
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Out of Town: St. Petersburg’s Renaissance by Andrew Collins Although Florida’s fourth-largest city has seen a minimal increase in population over the past 30 years, this sunny metropolis on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico has changed a great deal demographically. Once unflatteringly dubbed “God’s Waiting Room” for its predominant retirement-age population, the city and surrounding beach towns have become dramatically more youthful and vibrant of late, and this extends to the region’s gay community, which has grown significantly. St. Petersburg now hosts the state’s largest gay pride march (in late June), and the region is home to dozens of LGBT-owned businesses. Greater St. Petersburg is made up of numerous distinct neighborhoods and municipalities, from downtown—which fringes Tampa Bay—to the many beach towns that extend south to north some 50 miles from Fort De Soto State Park (which regularly notches awards for having one of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in the country) to Clearwater, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs. Much of the region’s emerging gay scene is focused on downtown, a historic mid-city neighborhood called Kenwood, and the small town of Gulfport, which lies just across lovely Boca Ciega Bay from St. Pete Beach and the Gulf of Mexico. All of these areas have been integral in St. Petersburg’s steady renaissance, increased hipster appeal and continued popularity with LGBT visitors. Downtown St. Petersburg is home to several noteworthy hotels as well as a bumper crop of trendy restaurants and boutiques, many of these located in the upscale, open-air BayWalk shopping center. What’s particularly special about downtown is the wealth of internationally renowned arts and cultural attractions. The one receiving the most attention right now is the iconic Salvador Dali Museum, which has been a fixture in St. Petersburg since the early 1980s but is slated to reopen in a dramatic new waterfront space on the south edge of downtown in January 2011—right beside the impressive Mahaffey Theater performing arts complex. Another must is the acclaimed Museum of Fine Arts, which has a sterling permanent collection and also mounts important traveling shows. Steps away is the striking Chihuly Collection, opened in summer 2010 and containing works by seminal glass artist Dale Chihuly. Both attractions are along leafy Beach and Bay Shore drives, which straddle a lush park and overlook Tampa Bay. From here it’s a short stroll along 2nd Avenue out to St. Petersburg Pier, which is presently anchored by a kitschy-looking inverted-pyramid with touristy shops and an aquarium (it’s currently slated to be razed and replaced with a new building in a few years). Head just a couple of miles west of downtown to reach the Grand Central District, the commercial center of historic Kenwood and home to the highest concentration of gayowned businesses in the city, not to mention dozens of impressively restored Craftsman bungalows. About four miles southwest, funky and historic Gulfport is notable for its offbeat cafes and galleries, and for hosting a popular Art Walk the first Friday and third Saturday of each month. Continue west across the Highway 682 causeway to reach the string of barrier
Downtown St. Petersburg's beautiful waterfront, with the elegant (and very pink) Renaissance Vinoy Resort in the background. Photo by Andrew Collins islands that hold the region’s beach communities—turn left (south) to reach pristine Fort De Soto State Park and the charming town of Pass-A-Grille, or turn right (north) to visit St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and Madeira Beach. In Treasure Island, you’ll find the most gay-identified of the region’s beaches, the so-called “Bedrocks Beach.” It’s a little tricky to find—when you cross the bridge from St. Pete Beach onto Treasure Island, turn left at the 7-Eleven onto West Gulf Boulevard and follow it south for a mile to the parking area just north of the Mansions by the Sea condo tower. Follow the boardwalk over the short span of dunes, and you’ll typically find plenty of gays and lesbians tanning their hides along the beautiful beachfront. Head a bit north up the coast and you’ll come to the resort city of Clearwater, which has a lively, somewhat up-market beachfront separated from downtown by a picturesque harbor. And still a bit farther north is the funky little town of Dunedin, which has a charming, gay-friendly cluster of shops, boutiques and restaurants along its historic downtown Main Street. St. Petersburg has seen an influx of notable restaurants in recent years. One of the city’s classics is Marchand’s Bar & Grill (MarchandsBarAndGrill.com), a refined venue inside the historic Renaissance Vinoy Resort—for a special occasion, this is one of the top spots in town, whether for dinner or Sunday brunch. Overlooking the marina at the foot of the pier, Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro (ChefJasonEsposito.com) pulls in a festive happy-hour crowd, serves mouthwatering haddock po’boys, and provides lovely views of the waterfront. A relative newcomer, Cassis (CassisAB. com) serves reliably good French bistro fare in an urbane setting—choose a table on the sidewalk when the weather is nice. A few blocks north, Hooker Tea Company (HookerTea.com) is a cheery option for gelato, pastries and toothsome breakfast fare. Drop by slick and arty Kahwa Coffee (KahwaCoffee.com) for first-rate espresso and drip coffee. Bella Brava (BellaBrava. com) and Ceviche Tapas Bar (Ceviche.com) are two additional downtown notables, each cultivating a fairly trendy crowd. And the
see-and-be-seen Independent (IndependentBeer.com) attracts a stylish, arty crowd for hard-to-find imported beers, fine wines by the glass and live music. In Gulfport, head to Habana Cafe (HabanaCafe-USA.com) for authentic Cuban fare (including delicious drunken shrimp with garlic and mojo sauce); and La Fogata Churrascaria (LaFogataOnline.com) for well-prepared seafood, steaks, tapas and elegant cocktails. MadFish (MadFishOnline. com) is a slick spot set inside a shimmering stainless-steel diner in St. Pete Beach—the kitchen here turns out creative contemporary fare. At nearby Wildwood BBQ & Burger (bit. ly/fTUM0t) you can feast on tasty comfort food—note the impressive list of small-batch bourbons. Tiny downtown Dunedin has several good restaurants, including Pan y Vino (PanYVino.com), for brick-oven pizzas and a nice selection of wines by the glass; and the gay-popular Mexican restaurant Casa Tina (CasaTinas.com). St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District has a few good restaurants, one of which, the stylish Queen’s Head (TheQueensHeadBar.com), is also one of the city’s top LGBT nightlife options. Sip cocktails in one of the outdoor cabanas or inside the slick bar and dining area, where you might enjoy a
dinner of pan-roasted skate with trufflemash carrots, beetroot-vanilla chutney and lemon oil. A few blocks away is arguably the most gay bar in the city, Georgie’s Alibi (GeorgiesAlibi.com), which pulls in a youthful, see-and-be-seen crowd. Other good bets along the Grand Central corridor include Gemini Lounge (myspace. com/gemini_lounge), which books fun live bands; Detour, a laid-back watering hole; quirky Lucky Star Lounge (myspace.com/ luckystarlounge28), which is tucked behind a liquor store; and Beak’s Old Florida, an inviting tavern and grill that has a popular following with straights and gays. You’ll find a few other neighborhood bars around the city, such as Haymarket Pub, a low-keyed dive bar on the north side of the city—it’s next door to the Hideaway, which bills itself the longest-running lesbian bar in the United States. Gulfport gay lounges include the Oar House Bar and Pepperz Lounge, both of which are a bit down at the heels. You may have a better experience strolling along the community’s main drag, Beach Boulevard, and stopping by any of the many gay-friendly bars and eateries—Peg’s (PegsCantina.com) is a particular standout, known for terrific hand-crafted ales with a kitchen serving fresh and well-prepared in Mexican food. In downtown Clearwater, the convivial Pro Shop Pub (ProShopPub.us) is one of the oldest gay bars in the state and has a popular following at happy hour. Just north in downtown Dunedin, the Kelly’s/Blur (KellysChicaBoom.com) complex comprises an LGBT-friendly nightclub, showbar, martini lounge and casual American restaurant. St. Petersburg is home to one of the largest gay resorts in the country, the Flamingo (FlamingoFLA.com), which in addition to being a popular LGBT nightlife venue has a large central pool, a good restaurant and 130 simply but pleasantly furnished—and reasonably priced—hotel rooms. The city’s grandest and most famous hotel is the swell-elegant Renaissance Vinoy Resort (Marriott.com), which has long been a friend to the gay community. This pink palace overlooks the downtown waterfront, comprising both a historic main building, which opened in 1927, and a newer wing with roomier accommodations but a stillclassic color scheme and design. Amenities include an impressive health club and spa,
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Book Worm Sez by Terri Schlichenmeyer
Stuff That Makes a Gay Heart Weep
A Definitive Guide to the Loud and Proud Dislikes of Millions by Freeman Hall 216 pages ©2010, Adams Mediax $13.95 / $15.99 Canada It’s enough to make you scream. Seriously, how many fashion faux-pas do you have to see before everyone understands that Plumber’s Butt and muffin tops are not acceptable? Don’t those people look in mirrors before they leave the house? Do you need to rent a plane and sky-write it: “Wear
Across 1 Supporters in the bedroom 6 Bump off 10 Like someone blown away 15 Scroll at Beth Chayim Chadashim 16 Giggling Muppet 17 Capone rival 18 Capital of Ghana 19 Groups of games, to Mauresmo 20 Jodie Foster’s ___ Room 21 Common insult 24 Carol, for example 25 Boy who shoots off arrows 26 Sault ___ Marie 29 Granny 31 Diana, to the Greeks 36 Running into overtime 38 Dottermans of Antonia’s Line 40 Rivera portrayer, in Frida 41 Start of a family response to the insult 45 Upright shaft 46 It’ll float your boat 47 Teen outbreak 48 Grabs greedily 50 Stole at the Oscars, e.g. 53 Boating pronoun 54 Stadium level 56 You might get dates from it 58 End of the response 66 Last letter from Socrates 67 Pita sandwich 68 Gertrude’s partner 69 Type of pole 70 Bus. school course 71 Cole Porter’s “___ I Kissed My Baby Goodbye” 72 Broadway whisper 73 ___ ex machina 74 Hot to trot
pants that fit”? It’s enough to make you want to break down in public, which you hate. But that’s not the only thing that you hate. There are dozens more, as you’ll see in “Stuff That Makes a Gay Heart Weep: A Definitive Guide to the Loud & Proud Dislikes of Millions” by Freeman Hall. So somebody gives you a bottle of cheap booze or wine. Or that box that made an interesting sound when you shook it turned out to be a stupid gay T-shirt. Or you got tacky home décor for Christmas. You know—the kinds of things that make you want to simply crawl into a fetal position until it all goes away? That’s what you’ll find in this book. Don’t you just hate it when your gaydar is
broken? Or you miss “Real Housewives” one too many times—or the Oscars? Or, OMG, you get a Facebook gift (what’s the use of that??) or a lame status alert. OMG, it just makes you reach for the tissue. Now that you think of it, so does the overuse of “OMG”. And fashion? Don’t even start. Bad weaves, flip-flops with socks, sideways baseball caps, crocheted ponchos, fanny packs, people who wear scarves in the summer. And Capri pants. Who ever said they look good on anybody? You can feel your eyes filling up now… Justin Bieber. Now he really makes you want to bawl your eyes out. So does Richard Simmons and a certain Mama Grizzly with
Q-PUZZLE: “Comeback for Coming Out”
Down 1 Deer, or without a dear 2 Nuts
3 Curve and others 4 Fruit desserts 5 Stone of _If These Walls Could Talk 2_
lipstick. The Kardshians—sniff. Guidos and Guidettes—sniff. And that Angelina Jolie and Hugh Jackman are NOT gay? Waterworks, simply waterworks. Virtual pets? Really? Like they’re better than a real cat or dog? And who puts a Snuggie on their dog – or worse – a costume on any day except Halloween? Speaking of which, don’t you hate when people go out for Halloween but don’t wear a costume? Careful. You feel a crying jag coming on… And if this book doesn’t make you weep from laughter, there’s something wrong. “Stuff That Makes a Gay Heart Weep” is absolutely hilarious. With his signature snarky sense of humor and his feel for the absurd, author Freeman Hall pokes fun at kitschy, faddish, everyday things, places, and people that practically beg to be ridiculed. In this book, there are over two hundred entries that are so hilariously, awfully tragic that you don’t have to be gay to want to break down in tears, even if you’re a guilty party. And once you’re done reading, you almost have to come up with your own Stuff List. Wrap yourself in your Snuggie because, OMG, you need a good laugh out loud. “Stuff That Makes a Gay Heart Weep” is an absolute scream.
6 Edith Head, e.g. 7 He did Jackie’s clothes 8 Cho’s “___ One That I Want” 9 “Our” to Pasolini 10 Fake 11 He took on a pair of bears 12 Composer Thomas 13 Play a mean sax 14 Env. fattener 22 Latina writer Castillo 23 Singer with an accent? 26 You don’t want to get pink ones 27 Bring to the auto repair 28 ___ Gay 30 “Uh-oh!” to Shelley 32 Lanchester of _Bride of Frankenstein_ 33 David’s _Baywatch_ role 34 Nuts 35 Pop singer Leo 37 Chug-a-lug 39 One way to cook fruit 42 Some heteros change it at the altar 43 Ancient Celt 44 Moby Dick stickers 49 Classified, informally 51 “That was good, honey!” 52 Tickle pink 55 Auto pioneer Henry 57 Sasha Obama’s big sister 58 “___ light?” 59 Tori who sang “I am not from your tribe” 60 Legendary Himalayan 61 Dated 62 Drop ___ (moon) 63 Rhames of _Holiday Heart_ 64 Homo leader? 65 Not e’en once
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QUAD CITIES: MASSAGE
CEDAR RAPIDS: WINE & GIFTS
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ST. PETE golf at the resort’s private course a couple of miles away, and excellent dining at three different restaurants. There are also several excellent, midpriced chain properties downtown, including the Courtyard Marriott (Marriott.com), the Hampton Inn and Suites (StPeteHamptonSuites.com) and the hip, lime-hued Hotel Indigo (HotelIndigo.com)—all are just a few minutes’ walk from Tampa Bay and major museums. You’ll also find few gay-friendly and very charming B&Bs in the Old Northeast Historic District, which flanks downtown and is a pleasant walk from shops and restaurants. Among these, the gay-owned Dickens House (DickensHouse.com) is a stunning example of Arts and Crafts architecture with plush, beautifully furnished accommodations. Also consider the Mansion House B&B (MansionBAndB.com), with its glorious full-size pool; and the Beach Drive Inn (BeachDriveInn.com), which is across from the famed Renaissance Vinoy Hotel. The well-priced and popular clothingoptional GayStPete House (GayStPeteHouse. com) is an excellent base for proximity to the bars and restaurants of the Grand Central District, and in Gulfport, consider the marvelous Sea Breeze Manor Bed & Breakfast (SeaBreezeManor.com), a historic Tudor-style 1920s house that overlooks Boca Ciega Bay and has spacious, warmly appointed rooms. Across the bay in St. Pete Beach you’ll find the area’s other famous grande dame, the Loews Don Cesar Resort (LoewsHotels. com), an opulent, pink wedding-cake of a hotel that’s hosted countless celebrities and appeared in such prominent films as Health and Once Upon a Time in America. Nearby, the circa-1957 Postcard Inn on the Beach (PostCardInn.com) is a sleek, surfer-chic boutique hotel on the water that’s steadily developed a gay following—book a poolside cabana room for optimum swank factor. For easy access to Clearwater and a location in the heart of charming downtown Dunedin, look no further than the stylish Meranova Guest Inn (Meranova.com), which has eight tastefully furnished rooms, each with private entrances. Andrew Collins covers gay travel for the New York Times-owned website About.com and is the author of Fodor’s Gay Guide to the USA. He can be reached care of this publication or at OutofTown@qsyndicate.com.
“Evangelical Christians seem sincere in their desire to help build healthy, lasting marriages. Well, if that’s their goal, encouraging gay men to enter into straight marriages is a peculiar strategy. Every straight marriage that includes a gay husband is one Web-browser-history check away from an ugly divorce.” — Dan Savage, New York Times Op/Ed, “Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ex-Gay Cowboys” published February 10, 2006
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1st Wednesday of the Month, CEDAR RAPIDS CHARTER CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN BUSINESS WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION, For more info, visit charter-chapter.tripod.com. [ L W ] 1st Wednesday of the Month, WOMEN’S SACRED CIRCLE, 6:30-8 PM, Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, 120 E. Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, IA 52233. This group is for women who are interested in gathering for spiritual growth. The direction and activities of the group are determined by participants. $5 per session. For more info, visit www.prairiewoods. org. [ L W ] 1st Wednesday of the Month, CONNECTIONS’ RAINBOW READING GROUP, 7 PM, Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room B, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA 52240. For more info, contact Todd at: email@example.com. [ L G B TMWA] 2nd Wednesday of the Month, STONEWALL DEMOCRATS, THE GLBT CAUCUS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, 6:30-8 PM, For more info, contact Harvey Ross at linnstonewall@ gmail.com or call 319-389-0093. [ L G B T M W A] 2nd Wednesday of the Month, WOMEN FOR PEACE KNITTERS, 7-9 PM, Hiawatha, IA. at Prairiewoods, 120 E. Boyson Rd., Hiawatha. Knitting, crocheting, and discussion. For more info, call 319-377-3252 or go to www. womenforpeace-iowa.org. All ages and levels of needlework skills welcome. Come knit for charities. [ L W ] Every Wednesday, HOT MESS EXPRESS, 8:00pm, Des Moines Social Club, 1408 Locust St., Des Moines, IA . The hottest most messiest citizens of Des Moines providing a comedic look at the hottest most messiest current events around the world. Featuring: Paul Selberg, Rachel C. Johnson, Kelley Robinson & Tyler Reedy [ L G B T A ] Every Wednesday, U OF I GAY LESBIAN BISEXUAL TRANSGENDER AND ALLIES UNION MEETINGS, 7-9 PM, Iowa City, IA. at the Penn State Room #337 of the Iowa Memorial Union, U. of Iowa campus, Iowa City. For more info, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~glbtau/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. These meetings are open to the public. [ L G B T M W A ] First and Third Wednesday of the Month, PITCH HIV+ PEER-TO-PEER SUPPORT GROUP, Friends and Children’s Council, 500 E 4th St, Ste 414, Waterloo, IA . RSVP to tamih@ pitchiowa.org (requested but not required). (First meeting will be January 19, 2011 from 5:30-7:30pm at the CASS office, 2101 Kimball Ave, Ste 401, Waterloo.) [ + ] Second Wednesday, OUT NETWORKING, 5:30, Des Moines Social Club, 1408 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309. A social, business, and philanthropic networking organization for anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning or supportive. The group presents year-round events focused on business, culture, community, and philanthropic subjects. [ L G B T A ]
1st 3rd Thursday, EVENINGS FOR SPIRIT, 6:30-8:30 PM, West Branch, IA . at SpiritHill Retreat, 604 Cedar Valley Road, West Branch. First, third, and fifth Thursdays of each month. Women gather at SpiritHill (or other locations) to share our spiritual experiences, visions and longings. The evenings include time for sharing and time for silence. Laughter, tears and singing are often shared as well. No specific spiritual practice is followed. This event is always open to newcomers. For more info, call 319-643-2613, or e-mail email@example.com. Calling in advance is highly recommended to confirm the location for the specific month of interest. [ L W] 2nd Thursday of the Month, OPEN MIC WITH MARY MCADAMS, 7-9 PM, Des Moines, IA . at Ritual Café, on 13th St. between Locust and Grand, downtown Des Moines. Visit www. ritualcafe.com. For more info, e-mail mary@
marymcadams.com. [ L G B T M W A ] 2nd Thursday of the Month, IOWA PFLAG OMAHA/COUNCIL BLUFFS CHAPTER MEETING, 7 PM (6:30 PM social time), Omaha, IA . at Mead Hall, First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass St., Omaha. For more info, call 402291-6781. [ L G B T M W A K ] 3rd Thursday of the Month, OPEN MIC HOSTED BY KIMBERLI, 7-10 PM, Cedar Rapids, IA . at the Blue Strawberry Coffee Company (now open after the flood), 118 2nd St. SE, Downtown Cedar Rapids. Signup at 6:30 p.m. or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org the week prior to the open mic. [ L G B T M W A] 3rd Thursday of the Month, LGBTQI YOUTH MOVIE NIGHT AT THE CENTER, 6:30-10pm, The CENTER, 1300 Locust, Des Moines, IA . This is part of the LGBTQI youth program, anyone 24 years old and younger is welcome. Come down spend the evening with your friends and make some new ones. 515-243-0313 [ L G B T + ] 3rd Thursday of the Month, IOWA PFLAG DUBUQUE/TRI-STATE CHAPTER MEETING, 7 PM, Dubuque, IA . at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1276 White St., Dubuque. For more info, call 563-582-9388. [ L G B T M W A K ] 3rd Thursday of the Month, CONNECTIONS GAME NIGHT, 7-9 PM, Iowa City, IA . at Donnelly’s Pub, 110 E. College St., in downtown Iowa City. [ L G B T M W A ] 4th Thursday of the Month, PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK (PWN), For more info, visit www.pwn.org, e-mail email@example.com, or call Shelley Woods at 319-981-9887. [ L W ] 4th Thursday of the Month, THE GLBT READING GROUP, 7:30 PM, Cedar Rapids, IA . Red Cross Building at 6300 Rockwell Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids. The group is open to new members; contact crglbtreadinggroup@yahoo. com for further info. [ L G B T M W A ] Every Thursday and Friday, SHANNON JANSSEN, 6-10 PM, Cedar Rapids, IA . Dawn’s Hide and Bead Away, 220 E. Washington St., Iowa City. Shannon performs a variety of music including original songs on the Grand Piano in the hotel’s beautiful atrium. No reservations required. [ L G B T M W A ] Last Thursday of the Month, DRAG KING SHOW, 9:00pm-2pm, Studio 13, 13 S. Linn St, Iowa City, IA 52240. The show starts EARLY at 9pm, so all you fans under 21 (meaning 19 & 20) can come for a jam packed hour of show! Your kings will also have another photo signing with awesome king swag! Plus, a SECOND mini show after the signing!!! $3 Bomb shots, $2 Calls and Domestics, and $1 Wells and shots! Cover is only $3! [ L G B T D ]
1st Friday of the Month, FAIRFIELD ART WALK, For more info, visit www. FairfieldArtWalk.com. [ L G B T M W A ] 1st Friday of the Month, GUERRILLA QUEER BAR MEETUP!, Tired of the same old bars? Crave the idea of bringing your queer and straight friends together in a fun, new environment? We’re descending upon an unsuspecting straight bar and turning it into a gay bar for the night. To join in: join our Facebook group, Google group or Twitter feed. You’ll receive an email the morning of each event with the name of a classically hetero bar and the meeting time. Call your friends, have them call their friends, show up at the bar and watch as it becomes the new “it” gay bar for one night only. Visit http:// groups.google.com/group/iowa-city-guerrillaqueer-bar. [ L G B T M W A ] 1st Friday of the Month, FIRST FRIDAY BREAKFAST CLUB, Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Avenue, Des Moines, IA 95030. The First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) is an educational, non-profit corporation for gay men who gather on the first Friday of every month to provide mutual support, to be educated on community affairs, and to further educate community opinion leaders with more positive images of gay men. It is the largest breakfast club in the state of Iowa. Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Avenue, Des Moines, IA 95030. Contact Jonathan Wilson at (515) 288-2500 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org [ G B ] 1st Friday of the Month, DAWN’S COFFEE HOUSE, 5-8 PM, Iowa City, IA . Dawn’s Hide and
JANUARY 2011 Bead Away, 220 E. Washington St., Iowa City. First Friday of every month between February 6 and December 4. Music and light snacks are provided. Proceeds from the door are split between the non-profit of the month and the store (to cover the cost of snacks). Any other donations received go 100% to the non-profit. $3 cover. For more info, phone 319-338-1566. [ LGBTMWA] 2nd and 4th Friday, DRUMMING CIRCLE, 7 PM, Cedar Rapids, IA . Unity Center of Cedar Rapids, 3791 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids. Every 2nd and 4th Friday of the each month. For more info, call 319-431-7550. [ G M ] 3rd Friday of the Month, OLD-TIME DANCE FOR ALL, 8 PM, Iowa City, IA . A Barn Dance 12 miles east of Iowa City at Scattergood Friends School. A Barn Dance 12 miles east of Iowa City at Scattergood Friends School. Admission is $5.00 per person. Singles and couples, beginners and veterans welcome. The music is live, and all dances are taught and called (that is, prompted while the music is playing). Note: (1) same-sex couples are common at these dances, (2) they’re no-alcohol, no-smoking events, (3) every dance is taught, so beginners are welcome, and (4) people can attend alone or with a partner. People of a variety of ages show up, and the atmosphere is friendly and inclusive. For more info, phone 319-643-7600 or e-mail email@example.com. [ L G B T M W A]
Saturday 4th Saturday of the Month, LESBIAN BOOK CLUB, 7 PM, Davenport, IA . is reading books by or about lesbians. Non-lesbians are welcome to attend. All meetings are held at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3707 Eastern Ave., Davenport. For more info, call 563-3590816. [ L ] 4th Saturday of the Month, TANGOVIA, 7:30 PM, Iowa City, IA . join area tango dancers at the Wesley Center, 120 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Enjoy a candlelit evening of dance, hors d’oeuvres, and conversation in a relaxed atmosphere. Cost is $5. Partner not necessary. Beginners welcome to come at 7 p.m. for an introductory lesson. For more info, call Gail at 319-325-9630, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.tangovia.com. [ L G B T M W A D ] Every Saturday, WOMEN FOR PEACE IOWA, Noon to 1PM, Collins Rd NE & 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402. hosting Weekly Street Corner Vigils for peace, rain or shine. Meet at the corner of 1st Ave. and Collins Rd. SE (in front of Granite City Brewery), Cedar Rapids. Show your support for our troops by calling for their return from Iraq. For more info, e-mail email@example.com. [ L G B T M W A K D ] Every Saturday, BAILE LATINO: SALSA, CHA-CHA, MERENGUE AND BACHATA LESSONS, 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM, Cedar Rapids, IA . taught by Gloria Zmolek, at CSPS, 1103 3rd St. SE, Cedar Rapids. No experience or partner necessary. All ages welcome. No signup required. $5 per person requested. For more info, contact Gloria at 319-365-9611 or visit www.crsalsa.org. [ L G B T M W A K D ]
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Snap Shot: The Library First Friday Breakfast Club: at The CENTER by Charles Timberlake Dr. David Ruhe by Bruce Carr The CENTER in Des Moines has a library to serve the specific needs of the LGBT community. Although it is only one and a half years old, the library has grown rapidly and already has over 2,000 items. Of particular interest to the LGBT community are books—both fiction and nonfiction—on LGBT subjects or by LGBT authors. These include novels, short stories, and poetry. A wide variety of nonfiction books include both new and classic LGBT titles. In addition, videos— both DVDs and VHS cassettes—are available of TV series, documentaries, and informational programs of interest to the community. Rounding out the LGBT collection are periodicals such as The Advocate, Out, and ACCESSline which include recent issues and, frequently, back runs of several years. In addition to LGBT materials, there is a significant collection of general interest books, both fiction and nonfiction. Popular movies, TV shows, nonfiction DVDs, videocassettes, compact discs, and tapes are available, also. Finally, the library has a small collection of books and videos for children and teenagers. The library has been created out of materials generously donated by members of the local LGBT community and from a collection at Iowa State University. For ease of access, the library is divided into two major areas: LGBT materials and generalinterest materials. In each area, nonfiction materials are organized by the familiar Dewey Decimal System; fiction books are arranged by author; and videos, CDs, and tapes are shelved by title. Library materials may be borrowed for free. The library has a large table and chairs for readers, and The CENTER provides additional comfortable chairs and sofas. DVD and VHS players and TV sets are also available to watch your favor or “new” flick. The CENTER and library are open Monday through Saturday from 12 noon to 6pm and Wednesday 12 noon to 8pm. The CENTER is always seeking donations for the library. Persons wishing to donate books, videos, magazines, and other
materials may bring them to The Center when it is open. We offer a Literary group the first and third Wednesday of each month. The meeting starts at 6pm. If you would like more information about the library, The CENTER, or the literary group you can reach us by phone at 515-243-0313, email at thecenterdm@ gmail.com, on the web at www.equalityiowa.org, on Facebook at The CENTER.
Dr. David Ruhe (left), senior minister of Plymouth Church in Des Moines, with Rick Miller, a member of both the Plymouth congregation and the First Friday Breakfast Club.
About Charles Timberlake The library at The CENTER is overseen by Charles Timberlake, who is a retired librarian. A former resident of Des Moines, Charles returned to the city over two years ago. He stopped by The CENTER about a year ago to try to connect with other LGBT people in Des Moines. During that visit, The CENTER Director, Sandy Vopalka, showed Charles the spacious facility. When he saw the library, which had books and other materials on shelves in no particular order, he knew that he had found a volunteer project that fit both his interests and abilities. His future plans for the library include an online catalog and the addition of more books and videos to the LGBT collection.
Our speaker on December 3 was Dr. David Ruhe, senior minister of Plymouth Church in Des Moines, who gave us a compelling homily on the issue of same-gender marriage. He was, to be sure, “preaching to the choir,” but his message was less about sexuality and more about the absurdity of politicians wrangling over messy churchdoctrinal issues. “Sanctity cannot be legislated,” he said. Churches exist, he implied, to argue over what is sacred and how people should go about being or becoming sacred. Churches have risen, fallen, divided, prayed, wrestled, and come to blows over these issues; it’s what
they do. Ruhe gave the example of baptism: who is to be sanctified by this rite, and how and when? Children, adults, sprinkled, dunked, privately or in public? But we do not allow the state to have a say in any of this. Some of us even call this the “separation of church and state.” Similarly with marriage, Ruhe said. Who may enter this particular condition of sanctity, and how may they do so? We may differ individually on the answers to these questions, but they are theological questions and not political ones. Sanctity cannot be legislated.
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Section 3: Community
Queeries LGBT Etiquette by Steven Petrow A Happy New Year at Too affectionate The CENTER! by Beau Fodor at the mall? Q: Do you think there was anything improper about the lesbian couple I read about recently who held hands in a public mall, kissed each other lightly, and then found themselves asked by a security officer to leave the premises? A: I read about this story too, and no, they weren’t doing anything wrong. I actually had a difficult time believing the entire scenario: Just as they were being sweet with each other, the guard puts a halt to their business, and orders them to leave. So, too, did her supervisor, even when the couple pointed out that they were being singled out; of course, straight couples cuddle in public all the time without any sort of disruption. The rules about showing affection publicly are the same for gay men and lesbians as they are for straight people: Handholding, eye gazing, and light kissing are perfectly fine in public; groping, tongue kissing, and touching below the waist are not. If there are any distinctions to be made, they’re not based on sexual orientation, but according to venue or situation. What you do in a nightclub or bar is different than at a family dinner or—the mall. But the next chapter is also key: Management at the mall was quick to apologize, if only because of the tremendous Facebook outcry, which was obviously bad for business. In the apology, also on Facebook, the PR team insisted that its mall is a “friendly shopping center that welcomes the entire community,” concluding with this statement: “(We’re) committed to maintaining an open and welcoming environment for everyone.” All’s well that ends well? Yes, in this case. But if this incident had not occurred in such a progressive city—which has a lot disposable LGBT money that can be spent elsewhere—it’s easy to imagine a different outcome. Either way, it’s worth remembering that LGBT people exercise their political will not only at the ballot box, but also in the dollars and cents we spend every day.
Turning heads at the holiday office bash
Q: Even though I’m completely out at my office, I always turn heads when I dance with a gent at the company bash. Sometimes there’s even some giggling from my coworkers. What tips do you have when it comes to attending a workplace holiday party with a partner or date? A: First, I’d make sure that your date is cool about being part of your continuing coming out journey. There’s a public dimension to attending a work function as a couple and not everyone is comfortable with the kind of attention a same-sex couple may attract. Assuming the answer’s yes, also keep in mind that it’s one thing for your straight coworkers to know that you’re gay; it’s another to see you slow dance, tête-à-tête, with your same-sex sweetie. But honestly, that’s their problem, not yours. As long as you keep your PDA in check—which is a good idea for anyone at a work function, you’re on the right side of the line. And the more times you and other gay colleagues take to the dance floor, the less
novel and giggle-producing such moments will be. In fact, if you have other lesbian or gay colleagues lean on them to join you. One final note: In most states, you can be fired simply for being gay or lesbian. Anyone considering coming out at a workplace holiday bash is wise to make sure that yours is a gay-friendly company and that you’re not putting your livelihood at risk by outing yourself by bringing a same-sex date.
Invite for the holidays?
Q: How serious should my son and his boyfriend be before we include the newcomer in our holiday celebrations? A: Do the same as you would with your straight kids and their boyfriends or girlfriends—or follow this rule if you have none: When it seems as though the couple is serious and becoming part of your family, be proactive and extend an invitation for two. On the other hand, the entire responsibility for this important holiday detail shouldn’t rest with you. Your son could make your job easier by calling or sending an e-mail saying something like, “Hey Mom, I’m really hoping that James can join us in our family celebration this year.” Bingo! Asking to bring home your significant other is a sign that the relationship is getting serious. It doesn’t sound like it happened that way with you, but never mind. If you need to know, go ahead and ask. If you both like the idea of the boyfriend joining in, then you’re on to your next challenge: whether to include the boyfriend on your holiday shopping list. The answer is yes—don’t get him anything too pricey, but do pick up a small gift.
Q: I read recently that when the pope was visiting Spain—denouncing gay marriage—a large contingent of LGBT people staged a kiss-in. What do you think of this behavior? Is it a free-for-all or are there any “rules?” A: I think it is wrong for the pontiff to condemn same-sex marriage. Is that the behavior you are asking about? As for kissins, they are a well-honed political tactic in the LGBT rights movement that, while intended to disrupt the status quo, are not aimed at curbing free speech or breaking any laws. Kiss-ins rank high, along with other forms of civil disobedience and political protest, as a means of affecting social change—or simply to draw attention to an issue. But good behavior at a kiss-in also includes these basic rules: • You’re there for a reason: The reason is not to hook-up; you’re making a political statement. • Follow the leader: Break only one rule at a time. Don’t go rogue on your comrades, (i.e. no name-calling, clashing with police). • Be clean and kissable: Bring your breath mints; you may be kissing a lot of strangers. Don’t hog the best kissers. If everyone else is moving on to a new partner, it’s time to let go. Steven Petrow is a regular contributor to 365gay.com, GayWeddings.com and the author of the forthcoming, “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners” (www. gaymanners.com). Send him your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re making BIG changes at the LGBTQ Center in Des Moines as the New Year begins and hope you’ll be a part of it!!! We’ve re-evaluated the needs and services The CENTER provides, sending out a call for a new Executive Director, since Sandy Vopalka will be stepping down on February 1st, 2011 to facilitate the new “SAGE” group for older LGBTQI adults. Last month we re-formed a brand-new Board of Directors ( bringing in more diverse and “pioneering” Board members), working with the David Bohnett Foundation for a new computer and media center, redecorated and refurbished six offices and community spaces, doubled our grant applications, and are now re-focusing on Youth and Senior on-site programming. We are also home to many LGBTQ groups and two businesses: Equality Iowa, Gay Weddings with Panache, the Iowa Corn Haulers, Transformations, P-PLAG, P.I.T.C.H., Sunday Night Youth Group and The Dykes of the Round Table. All of these groups hold monthly meetings and parties at The CENTER. We are also now in the process of forming an “Advisory Board” (re: Community Committee) and asking you to put in your “two-cents” worth—or, even better, to be a part of this new group. Help us be the
Celebrating the holidays at The CENTER. best and most supportive we can be to our community—locally and even state-wide, via the “satellite centers” coming soon in Iowa City, Mason City, and Dubuque. In moving forward, we need to respect the past, but look to the future, bringing in new energies. And make the changes necessary to be the best we can be in Iowa. Here at the new LGBTQ CENTER, we hope our mission, values, and impact resonate with you. We are at the beginning of a fabulous new and long journey, and need your support. So, if you have any ideas, thoughts, questions, or input, and would like to be part of one of the BEST LGBTQ centers in our great nation, please visit our website at www. equalityiowa.org or e-mail us at email@example.com. This is YOUR LGBTQ CENTER. Be a part of it!
Positive Iowans Taking Charge (PITCH) Peer-to-Peer Support Groups for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
We’re starting peer led support groups in four areas of the state. I think the timing is right, most of us haven’t had one for a few years. With many more people being newly diagnosed and the rest of us living longer and healthier than before. We need to be there for one another, to help reduce the isolation, loneliness and stigma that can affect us all after a positive diagnosis. Happy New Year to everyone infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. May we all be blessed with GREAT Health, love, happiness, positive thinking, and desire to help someone else in their journey, which often brings support in our own. Thank you all and be safe. — Tami Haught, PITCH President
Peer Support group will meet at The CENTER, 1300 Locust St. the 2nd Tuesday monthly from 6-8pm. Contact John at 515.284.3358 with questions.
First meeting will be January 19, 2011 from 5:30-7:30pm at the CASS office, 2101 Kimball Ave, Ste 401, Waterloo. PITCH will host future meetings at the Friends and Children’s Council (fccouncil.net) at 500 E 4th St, Ste 414, Waterloo, which will meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays monthly. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org (requested but not required).
Cedar Rapids 1st support scheduled for January 25, 2011 (4th Tuesday monthly) at 7pm at Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist, 600 3rd Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids (6th Street entrance, free evening on-street parking, adjacent parking lot available). Contact Jeff at 319.540.5413 with questions.
First meeting will be January 11, 2011 from 5:30-8pm at the Johnson County Public Health & Human Services Bldg, 856 S Dubuque St, Iowa City (free parking). Please RSVP to email@example.com (requested, but not required) or call 319.688.5890. To locate each of our future meetings and exact dates, times and locations (as they are subject to change up to 48 hours prior), please use the following sources: • www.pitchiowa.org • Become a Facebook friend: PiTCH (Positive Iowans Taking Charge) • Subscribe to Yahoo group: http//groups. yahco.com/group/Pitchlowa • Contact Tami (PITCH President) at 641.715.4182 or firstname.lastname@example.org PITCH (Positive Iowans Taking Charge) is a non-profit organization with a clear mission: To create an atmosphere where HIV+ people can unite and assist other HIV+ people for better health and wellness. PITCH wants to be a source of encouragement, provide educational opportunities, camaraderie, and a sense of community to all Iowans living with HIV/AIDS.
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How Ya’ Doin? by Jonathan Wilson How ya’ doin? We hear that almost every day. No one who asks it really wants to know. The truth is that we all have our issues, whether they’re physical ailments, psychological challenges, relationship problems, financial reversals, job frustrations, interactions with family and friends, or—and most likely—a fluctuating combination of those and other things that we deal with day in and day out. Still, when asked, I answer and answer honestly, despite the particulars, and without sharing the particulars. I say I’m doing fine. And it’s the truth—so far— because I don’t answer based on more or less difficult things I’m having to deal with in one aspect of my life or another. No. I answer using my personal litmus test: Can I think of anyone who, sight unseen, I’d be willing to trade places with. Is there anyone whose place I’d be willing to take, swapping my “stuff” for their undisclosed current and future “stuff.” Yes, there are people who are younger than I am, who are more attractive than I am, who are smarter than I am, who are in better physical shape than I am, who have more money than I do, and who are in uniquely enviable positions of influence and leadership. There are people who, today, are healthier than I am and who have a longer life expectancy. Believe me, I have and continue to have my challenges. You name the category. In one of life’s dimensions or another, it’s easy enough to find folks who, on the surface, appear to have it better than I do. But, we have one thing in common: we’re all going to die. My litmus test is therefore designed to check in with myself and evaluate whether I’d rather deal with my fluctuating issues between now and then, or someone else’s undisclosed problems that are confronting them now or will be in their future. Now, if you decide to try using my litmus test—no charge for its use, by the way—don’t cheat. You can’t pick one favorable characteristic from one acquaintance, and another one you’d like to have from a different person. You’re not assembling the perfect person with no problems now or forever. That person doesn’t exist. For the test to be valid, you have to be okay with accepting the whole
package from just one other human being— with no prior disclosure, no questions asked, and no returns. Don’t get me wrong. There could come a day when I’d make the trade. There could come a day when my burdens are simply so great and my life is such a struggle that I will be able to look around me and find more and more people with whom, sight unseen, I’d be willing to trade places. When that day comes, and I’m asked, “How ya’ doin?” I’ll be answering, “Not well.” Hopefully, I’ll still have the circumspection— and good grace—even then, not to bore people with the particulars. I don’t know exactly when that day will be except that it will definitely be the day I can no longer wipe myself. I’ve teased my partner, saying that he should do that for me now and then just to get in practice for the day when I actually need the help. Truth be known, I don’t want that help now or ever from him or anyone else. Hmmmm. I think I’m about to write an article on euthanasia. So, “How ya’ doin?”
Can I think of anyone who, sight unseen, I’d be willing to trade places with. Is there anyone whose place I’d be willing to take, swapping my “stuff” for their undisclosed current and future “stuff.”
Case in Point…
Speaking of people who would appear to have it all, consider Elizabeth Edwards. A very few years ago, she was an attractive woman, was married to an attractive, wealthy man (thanks partly to expensive haircuts, I guess, for the attractive part), had a nice looking family and was—depending on just a few lucky breaks—someone very close to becoming the First Lady of the United States someday. And what befell her: a couple of failed political campaigns, a child lost in a car accident, cancer, an unfaithful spouse, becoming stepmother to a bastard, and premature death—all in high profile public view. Given what life ended up handing her, it makes my point about whether and with whom to trade places. A considerable number of us who are older than she have now lived longer. Coupled with relatively good health, on any given day, that’s winning. And wouldn’t you know it: the Reverend [sic] Fred Phelps decides to show up at her
funeral to protest and to declare that she’s in Hell. As if what she lived through weren’t enough hell. If I go relatively soon, she and I could share the distinction of a Phelps appearance perhaps. If it happens, be sure to turn it into a fund raiser for the FFBC scholarship fund. It’s certainly possible that God could send me to hell, with Elizabeth and a bunch of other really fun folks, but if Fred isn’t there, it won’t be all bad. Now there’s a real dilemma for God.
Can’t Say I Blame Her…
Tipper Gore came to our house once when her husband was a candidate for President. She was there for a fund raiser and an opportunity to meet and greet members of the GLBT community in Central Iowa. It was fascinating to deal with the Secret Service people who wanted to identify where she would be prior to her actual appearance, and wanted it to be somewhere with access to a windowless closet large enough to use as a “safe” place. As it just so happened, I had a closet I wasn’t using. It was suitable for their purposes even though I hadn’t found it all that safe. Knowing that such a special guest would be using the master bath (and closet, potentially), we cleaned in there to a fare-thee-well, and we set up a vase with a rose bud, along with a crystal goblet and her choice of bottled water or a carafe of expensive white wine. She showed up, was her usual charming, disarming self, and went on her way without any security challenges.
Jonathan Wilson is an attorney at the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, and chairs the First Friday Breakfast Club (ffbciowa.org), an educational, non-profit corporation for gay men in Iowa who gather on the first Friday of every month to provide mutual support, to be educated on community affairs, and to further educate community opinion leaders with more positive images of gay men. It is the largest breakfast club in the state of Iowa. He can be contacted at JonathanWilson@ DavisBrownLaw.com or 515-288-2500. While she was there, by the way, she chose the wine over the bottled water, in order to fortify her for meeting and greeting our local GLBT community. Can’t say I blame her. I still have the crystal goblet she used, with her lipstick print still showing. Its appreciating value is the proverbial Plan B to pay for my retirement someday.
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Section 3: Community
Editing ACCESSline 1996-2008: A 13-Year Experience by John T. Wilson and Paul L. Danielsen We took over publishing ACCESSline with the MARCH/APRIL 1996 issue. ACCESSline was no new effort for us. We’d been involved with the paper since the summer of 1988. In the early days, we all gathered monthly to assemble the separate pages of ACCESSline. Then, with the editorial leadership of Carolyn Mashek and Terri Sarver (Terri has since passed away), ACCESSline was printed in a tabloid format on regular newsprint. For us, our editing and managing ACCESSline began when Terri and Carolyn moved out of state. The choice was to either assume the publishing of ACCESSline or let it vanish. We decided to do what we could to keep the paper being published. The idea of being “Editor” and “Business Manager” fascinated us. It was a challenging extension of my writing and publishing academic articles in Science Education Journals. Assuming the responsibility of ACCESSline was a decision that lasted for 13 years. Paul was an excellent business manager and we were able to keep the paper costs out of the red without having fund-raising garage sales. Many people living in rural Iowa were supportive of the paper as it provided information about “being gay” and “gay events.” We became one of their only sources of information about the gay community in Iowa. People who were very closeted also became avid readers of ACCESSline.
Editing ACCESSline My term as editor was blessed with a printer in Oelwein that printed the paper in tabloid format. No more single Xeroxed pages assembled by hand. This switch to professional tabloid style newspaper was made by the previous editor, Carolyn and Terri. The Oelwein crew was also tolerant and helpful of us as somewhat inexperienced publishers. For a few years, we had to paste up each page on special cardboard which the printer then photographed and made their print plates. However, soon after, we then learned to take computer digital images of each page to the printer, which saved time and added clarity, especially to photos. Looking back at my first few issues, I found that my very first page back in 1996 featured three parallel articles and opinions about same-sex (“gay”) marriage. The major title of the three articles was “Gay Marriage Unlikely in Iowa.” Here in 2011, gay marriage is finally legal in Iowa and also in a few other states, but for how long with the newly elected politicians? As in the past, the politics of “being gay” and “gay rights” still hit a sour note with many conservative, pseudoreligious leaders, who blame their negative attitude on various biblical passages. (Yet they continue to ignore other passages about certain men and their three or four wives!) They also chose to ignore the legal rights and protections afforded a married couple. Time hasn’t changed their attitude or education
very much. Becoming editor of ACCESSline, I also developed a deeper interest in the various gay social events and special drag shows, fundraisers, and, of course, attempts to educate people about AIDS. One of the top fundraisers was and continues is the annual Imperial Court of Iowa Coronation where they install a new Empress and Emperor of Iowa each year. They continue then to travel around Iowa entertaining people at various bars and pubs, sharing information about AIDS and what it is to be gay. Another group working on social attitudes toward gay people has been the annual CAAP (Community Aids Assistance Project) picnic and show. Funds were raised to financially assist those with AIDS, helping to cover expenses not covered by other sources. During the 13 years as editor, many drag queens offered top entertainment in various bars around Iowa. It became important to cover these various social events, which were important in the gay community, but often overlooked. Many of their moneys raised through their tips went to assist people with AIDS. On the top of my list of Drag Queens would be Ruby James Knight, Courtney Michaels, Saundra Truit, Pretty Bell, Dena Cass, Channel Cavallier, and many others.
As part of rounding out the focus of ACCESSline, and attempting to make it more
of a true newspaper, we added comics, political cartoons, tasty recipes, and of course, “Ask Auntie Emm,” an advice column. The name, Auntie Emm, was lifted from the Wizard of Oz, remembering Judy Garland calling out in the movie for “Auntie Emm ... Auntie Emm.” In ACCESSline, Auntie Emm offered advice on many problems perplexing gay couples, gay people with parent problems, advise to roommates, and even some to teachers with gay students in their classes.
Here’s one request from a frustrated 40-year-old: One evening I wanted to meet someone for a serious date. So, I went to the local gay bar. I’m a good looking 40-year-old gay man, but no one at the bar even said hello! And one from a fed-up party goer: If I get invited to one more party pushing things to buy I think I’m going to scream! I like partying with my gay friends, but would like to gracefully
TT13 YEARS continued page 35
JANUARY 2011 SScontinued from page 29
FFBC Ruhe spent some time praising and thanking the people of Plymouth Church for already completing the intensive theological work of becoming an Open and Affirming Congregation in 1993, the year before he was called to minister here. The phrase “Open and Affirming” designates congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the United Church of Christ which welcome persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities into their full life and ministry. He also cited the Resolution which his congregation adopted at the beginning of this year, in response to the issue of Varnum vs Brien then before the Iowa Supreme Court. Here is an extract from that inspired and inspiring document: WHEREAS the United Church of Christ was the first American denomination to ordain an African American minister (1785) and the first female pastor (1853), and WHEREAS in 1972 the United Church of Christ became the first denomination in America to ordain an openly gay man, and WHEREAS in 1985 the General Synod of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution that called on congregations to declare themselves open to and affirming of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the full life and ministry of the church, and WHEREAS Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines became an Open and Affirming congregation in 1993, and has been recognizing commitment ceremonies of same sex couples since that time, and WHEREAS, in 2005 the General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted the reso-
Section 3: Community lution “Equal Marriage Rights for All” calling upon all settings of the United Church of Christ to engage in “serious, respectful, and prayerful discussion of the covenantal relationship of marriage and equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender,” and WHEREAS civil marriage carries with it significant access to institutional support, rights and benefits; and WHEREAS equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender is an issue deserving of serious, faithful discussion by people of faith, taking into consideration the long, complex history of marriage and family life, layered as it is with cultural practices, economic realities, political dynamics, religious history and biblical interpretation; THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that Plymouth Church affirms equal access to the basic rights, institutional protections and quality of life conferred by the recognition of marriage; and LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the officers, ministers and members of Plymouth Church are called upon to communicate this resolution to appropriate local, state and national legislators, urging them to support equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender.
About Dr. David Ruhe David Ruhe was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in suburban Chicago. He graduated from Grinnell College as a philosophy major, then earned a master of divinity degree from Yale and a doctor of ministry degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. He served two Congregational churches in
Connecticut—the first as director of Christian education and the second as associate minister for Christian education—and then moved to Omaha to work as associate minister at First Central Congregational Church, where one year later he was named senior minister. After serving in Omaha for 16 years, David became senior minister at Plymouth in 1994. He is married to Priscilla, a family practice physician, and they have two sons, Jonathan and Paul. He may be reached at 515.255.3149 x 17 or by email at druhe@ plymouthchurch.com.
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SANCTITY ing over them and founding new churches around them. Baptism is an outstanding example. What are the questions about baptism? Who? What? Where? When? Why? We disagree about all of them. Who is eligible? Standards vary. What does one do in baptism? Some of us sprinkle and some of us dunk (“aspersion” and “immersion” are the polite theological terms.) Where should one be baptized? Some groups favor “living” water—a river or lake. Some churches have heated baptisteries, some have portable fonts, sometimes in the front of the sanctuary and sometimes at the entrance. When should one be baptized? As an infant? Upon adult profession of faith? That’s a big point of contention. And why do we baptize? What is happening? Is a person’s standing with God changed in some way through baptism? Is one who has been baptized somehow acceptable to God in a way that one who has not been baptized is not? You don’t have to be an expert in church doctrine to realize that there are differences in belief and practice. Some churches acknowledge the validity of a variety of practices and forms; others think they’re the only ones who do it right. But here’s the key point: we don’t expect the state to legislate or adjudicate when it comes to baptism. We don’t tie legal rights to religious rites. We don’t discriminate against those who have or have not been baptized this way, that way, any way or no way. We leave it to the churches to work this out. And the churches, whether they like it or not, understand that there will be a variety of practices, and if they want to preserve the sanctity of baptism—to protect their peculiar set of beliefs and practices around the sacrament—they do that in church. Church is the setting of sanctity. People have very strong
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“…if anyone reading this believes that gay men can actually become ex-gay men, I have just one question for you: Would you want your daughter to marry one?” — Dan Savage, New York Times Op/Ed, “Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ex-Gay Cowboys” published February 10, 2006 feelings about these things and they are free to affiliate with those who do it “right”; but they can’t compromise or impinge on another community’s right to do it differently. But in the case of marriage, you have church-going people calling on the state to resolve what is essentially a theological dispute. They are trying to enforce a particular view they have of the sanctity of marriage as a religious sacrament, as though their religious practice were somehow endangered by extending the legal protections of marriage to same-gender couples. That’s insanity. Some months ago a number of us Iowa clergy signed a public petition in favor of marriage equality. We were then summarily attacked in the media (and through e-mail) and accused of being “un-Christian.” Now that was unpleasant; but at least it was the right argument: an argument regarding the sanctity of marriage as viewed from within the Christian Church. If somehow we could manage to let the Christians fight among themselves, we would diminish the likelihood of innocent people getting caught in the middle. People of faith are commonly afflicted with what I call “inappropriate certitude.” We are “sure” about things that are essentially matters of faith but feel the need to regard them as matters of fact. I may be “sure” that my wife loves me; but it is a fact that this will fall when I drop it. Our ardent insistence on the universal truth of our particular religious assertions, reminds me of the custodian who found a sermon manuscript that had been left on the pulpit. As he went to pick it up he noticed a note hand-written in the margin: “Weak point: pound pulpit and scream like hell!” We think our theology can be validated by turning it into legislation. Bad idea. But equal justice before the law is a good idea… for all people. Let’s keep church doctrine out of it.
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Section 3: Community
JANUARY 2011 SScontinued from page 32
13 YEARS avoid having to buy expensive stuff I don’t need or can afford. And then, there’s the frustrated lesbian: Every time I spent the night with my new lesbian friend, all she talks about are her other encounters. How do I tell her that I really don’t want to know all that?
Another addition to ACCESSline came in the form of a recipe column, Chef DiJon. It tapped the various talents of the many great cooks in the gay community. The
Section 3: Community requirement was their recipes were simple to fix, often by modifying a mix, and that the recipe had strong nutritional value. One frequent writer for this column was the past editor, Carolyn, an excellent cook in her own right! Included were recipes such as Chocolate Croissants, Snowy Night Cherry Cobbler, Baked Potatoes Parmesan, and Steak Diane. Politics was as important topic then as it is today. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” began under the Clinton Administration, as did many other political, gay related issues. My editorial board approved using political cartoons by Paul Berge, available from the gay newspaper syndicate, “Q Syndicate”. ACCESSline continues to use these cartoons. Below are two from the January/February issue, 2004. Q Syndicate also provided several comic strips, including “A couple of Guys”, “Bitter Girl,” and “Dykes to Watch Out For” by Alison Bechdel. We also were among the first to publish “Kyle’s Bed and Breakfast,” by Greg Fox.
We also started the printing Rex Wockner’s National and International News columns in ACCESSline, which are still included today. And, thanks to the folks at the Black Hawk County Health Department, we were able to publish a column, “Health and HIV/AIDS Briefs.”
Retirement from ACCESSline
After 13 years with John as Editor and Paul as Business Manager, it came time to step down and find a new editor. The search was very fortunate. We found an editor who was experienced in printing, publishing, graphic design, and web sites, Mr. Arthur Breur. He not only had the computer skills to produce the paper, he also already had the needed computers and computer programs. He immediately increased the publication rate to a monthly newspaper and has done an excellent joy rounding up inspired writers for ACCESSline! While we miss the excitement writing
ACCESSline Page 35 and publishing ACCESSline after 13 years, it is very encouraging to see that the newspaper is still doing very well under its very capable new editor.
Thoughts about the future
Reflecting on the years as Editor, several questions remain for thought and possible writing in the future: Why do so many young people in the gay community not seem to read much (like ACCESSline) unless it is a “text” on their cell phone? What really will be the long term success rate for “gay marriage” when the success rate for “straight marriage” is slipping so rapidly? With the recent discarding of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” regulations, will society in general also become more accepting of gay people … many of whom may be neighbors and members of their churches?
“ ‘Gay activist’ is a term evangelicals apply to any homosexual who isn't a gay doormat.” — Dan Savage, New York Times Op/Ed, “Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ex-Gay Cowboys” published February 10, 2006
ACCESSline Page 36 DIRECTORY NOTICE The ACCESSline community directory is updated each issue. LISTINGS ARE FREE but are limited by space. Free online listings are available at www.ACCESSlineIOWA.com. Information about new listings must contain a phone number for publication and a contact (e-mail address, land address, or website) for our records. For more information or to provide corrections, please contact Editor@ACCESSlineIOWA.com or call (319) 550-0957.
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund 1133 15th Street NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20005 www.victoryfund.org. 202-VICTORY [842-8679] Human Rights Campaign National political organization, lobbies congress for lesbian & gay issues, political training state and local www.hrc.org 1-800-777-HRCF Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund I I E. Adams, Suite 1008, Chicago, IL 60603 www.lambdalegal.org 312-663-4413 Fax: 312-663-4307 National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) 1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Ste 600, Washington, DC, 20005 www.ngltf.org / taskforce.org National Organization for Women (NOW) 733 15th ST NW, 2nd Floor Washington, DC 20005 www.now.org 202-628-8669 PFLAG National Offices 1133 15th Street NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20005 email@example.com - www.pflag.org 202-467-8180 The Trevor Lifeline The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Each year, our lifeline fields more than 30,000 calls from LGBTQ youth as well as their families, friends and educators. (866) 4-U-TREVOR - (866) 488-7386 Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year All calls are toll-free and confidential
STATE ORGANIZATIONS Equality Iowa P.O. Box 18, Indianola, IA 50125 www.equalityiowa.org 515-537-3126 Faithful Voices Interfaith Alliance of Iowa’s marriage equality project. www.faithfulvoices.org Imperial Court of Iowa Non-profit fundraising & social, statewide organization with members from across the State of Iowa. PO Box 1491, Des Moines, IA 50306-1491 www.imperialcourtofiowa.org Iowa Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) Janis Bowden, President, IA NOW firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 41114, Des Moines, IA 503111 Iowa Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) 921 Diagonal Rd, Malcom, IA 50157 email@example.com 641-990-1411 Iowa PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gay) State Council PO Box 18, Indianola, IA 50125 http://community.pflag.org/Page. aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2 515-537-3126 or 641-583-2024 Iowa Pride Network 777 Third Street, Suite 312, Des Moines, Iowa 50309 Pridenetwork.org Executive Director: 515-471-8062 Outreach Coordinator: 515-471-8063 LGBT Youth in Iowa Schools Task Force PO Box 1997, Des Moines, 50306 515-243-1221 One Iowa 500 East Locust St, Ste 300 Des Moines, IA 50309 515-288-4019 Fax: 515-244-5846 www.OneIowa.org Stonewall Democrats of Iowa 5 Creekside Ct Mason City, IA 50401 Contact: Harvey Ross HRoss007@aol.com 319-362-3099
Section 3: Community Ames First United Methodist Church 516 Kellogg Ave, Ames, IA 50010 Contemporary worship Sat. 5:30; Sun at 8:30 and 11:00am. www.acswebnetworks.com/firstunitedmcames/ 515-232-2750 Living with HIV Program 126 S. Kellogg, Suite 1 Ask for Janelle (Coordinator) 515-956-3312 ext 106 or I -800-890-8230 ISU LGBTA Alliance GLBT Support, Activism, Social Events, Newsletter L East Student Office Space 2229 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014-7163 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.alliance.stuorg.iastate.edu 515-344-4478 Lord of Life Lutheran 2126 Gable Lane, Ames 50014 Services Sundays at 9:00a.m.; Wed. 7:00pm. 515-233-2350 PFLAG Ames Youth and Shelter Services Offices 2328 Bristol Drive, Ames, IA 5001 2nd Tuesday, 7pm www.pflagames.org 515-291-3607 Romantics Pleasure Palace 117 Kellogg Street, Ames, IA 50010-3315 http://www.romantixonline.com 515-232-7717 United Church of Christ-Congregational 6th & Kellogg, Ames, 50010 Sunday Continental Breakfast, 9:00am; Sunday School, 9:30am; Worship 10:45am. email@example.com. 515-232-9323 Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames 1015 Hyland Ave. Services: 9am and 11am, Sunday www.uufames.org firstname.lastname@example.org 515-292-5960 Unity Church of Ames 226 9th St. Sunday service and Sunday school 10:30am. Wednesday mediation 6:30pm, . www.websyt/unity/ames Daily dial-a-blessing 515-233-1613
Arnolds Park, Okoboji, Spencer, Spirit Lake The Royal Wedding Chapel 504 Church Street, Royal, IA 51357 712-933-2223 www.TheRoyalWeddingChapel.com Wilson Resource Center An Iowa Great Lakes area gay-owned nonprofit community based organization. PO Box 486, 597 W. Okoboji Rd., Arnolds Park IA 51331-0486 F.JosephWilson@aol.com. www.wilsonresource.org 712-332-5043
BURLINGTON Arrowhead Motel 2520 Mount Pleasant St Burlington, IA 52601-2118 319-752-6353 www.arrowheadia.com HIV/AIDS Screening @ Des Moines County Health Department in Burlington 522 N 3rd By appointment between 8:00am to 4:30 319-753-8217 Confidential RISQUES IV (adult store) 421 Dry Creek Ave, West Burlington, IA 52601 (319) 753-5455 Sun - Wed 8am-Midnight Thurs - Sat Open 24 Hours www.LoversPlayground.com Steve’s Place 852 Washington St, Burlington 319-754-5868 Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Services start at 10:30 am 625 N 6th St, Burlington, IA 52601-5032 (319) 753-1895 - www.uuburlington.org
Cedar Falls - Waterloo Adult Cinema 315 E 4th St Waterloo, IA 50703-4703 (319) 234-7459 Black Hawk Co. Health Department Free HIV testing (donations accepted); MW, 1:00pm to 3:00pm; Thurs, 1:00pm to 4:45pm 1407 Independence Ave. (5th fl) Waterloo 50703 319-291 -2413 Cedar AIDS Support System (CASS) Service, support groups & trained volunteers for persons with HIV/AIDS in Waterloo/CF call Elizabeth or Karla, 319-272-AIDS(2437). email@example.com
Cedar Valley Counseling Services Promoting personal growth and development in a strengths-based environment Joan E. Farstad, MA, Director. 319-240-4615 www.cvcounseling.com firstname.lastname@example.org. Cedar Valley Episcopal Campus Ministry. In Lutheran Center 2616 College St, Cedar Falls, IA 319-415-5747 email@example.com www.episcopalcampus.org Community AIDS Assistance Project (CAAP) Funding for special personal needs, community projects, and small grants that are AIDS related. PO Box 36, Waterloo, IA 50704 LGBTA Support Group at Hawkeye Community College Call Carol at 319-296-4014 for time & location of meeting firstname.lastname@example.org Iowa Legal Aid Free civil legal service available to low income persons who qualify under income/asset guidelines. 607 Sycamore, #206, Waterloo, IA 50703 1-800-772-0039 or 319-235-7008 Kings & Queens Tap 304 W. 4th St, Waterloo, IA www.//myspace.com/kingsandqueensspace 319-232-3001 Romantix Waterloo (Adult Emporium) 1507 La Porte Rd, Waterloo, IA 50702 319-234-9340 http://www.romantixonline.com/ Stellas Guesthouse 324 Summit Ave, Waterloo, IA Private B&B, Overnight accommodations for adults only. 319-232-2122 St. Lukes Episcopal Church 2410 Melrose Dr, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 www.st-lukes-episcopal.org Services: Sunday 8:00 & 10:15, Thurs 11:30 319-277-8520 St. Timothys United Methodist Church 3220 Terrace Drive, Cedar Falls, 50613 sttims-umc.org, 319-266-0464, info@sttimsumc-org, Contact Rev. Linda Butler “... welcome of all persons, including those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.” Together For Youth 233 Vold Dr, Waterloo, IA 50703 www.TogetherForYouth.net 319-274-6768 UNI-LGBTA Alliance-Student Organization 244A Bartlet Hall, University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls 50613 email@example.com 319-222-0003 United Church of Christ Cedar Falls 9204 University Avenue, Cedar Falls 319-366-9686 Unitarian Universalist Society of Black Hawk County 3912 Cedar Heights Dr, Cedar Falls, IA 319-266-5640
Cedar Rapids/marion Adult Shop 630 66th Ave SW, 319-362-4939 Adult Shop North 5539 Crane Lane, 319-294-5360 Cedar Rapids Unity (Formerly GLRC of Cedar Rapids) Support, social activities. firstname.lastname@example.org, cedarrapidsunity.org or write to PO Box 1643 Cedar Rapids 52406-1643 Call and leave a message—all calls will be returned. 319-366-2055 Christ Episcopal Church “We have a place for you.” 220 40th Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 319-363-2029 www.ChristEpiscopal.org Club Basix Open 5pm to 2am M-F, Sat & Sun 3pm-2am 3916 1st Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids 319-363-3194 Coe Alliance Education, activism & fun for GLBTQ and straight students, staff and people from the community. Coe College 1220 First Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 For information contact: email@example.com or Erica Geers, faculty advisor at 319-861-6025 Community Health Free Clinic 947 14th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 319-363-0416 www.communityhfc.org Free Medical Services provided for the uninsured and underserved patients of Cedar Rapids, Marion and the surrounding areas in Eastern Iowa. CSPS Legion Arts Contemporary Arts Center 1103 3rd St. SE firstname.lastname@example.org 319-364-1580
Faith UMC 1000 30th Street NE, Cedar Rapids, 52402 Pastor Kathy Moore Sunday services at 11:00am. www.crfaithumc.org 319-363-8454 Foundation 2 Crisis Counseling 24-hour telephone crisis counseling. email@example.com or www.f2online.org 1540 2nd Ave. SE Cedar Rapids, IA 319-362-2174 or 800-332-4224 Linn County Public Health 501 13th NW Free confidential HIV testing, 319-892-6000 Linn County Stonewall Democrats 2nd Wednesday of every month, 6:30-8 p.m. The LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party, meets at Hamburger Mary’s, 222 Glenbrook Dr. SE, behind 2nd Wind off of 1st Ave SE in Cedar Rapids. For more info, contact linnstonewall@ gmail.com Rapid AIDS Grant Wood Area Red Cross 3600 Rockwell Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, 52410 319-393-9579. People’s Church Unitarian Universalist A welcoming congregation. 600 Third Avenue SE 11am Sunday. 319-362-9827 PFLAG CR, Linn Co and Beyond Meets at People’s Church (in Cherry Room) 600 3rd ST, Cedar Rapids Iowa 52401 Contact Person: Diane Peterson Phone: 319-362-9827 6:30pm on the 4th Thursdays except months like November. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org for alternate dates.) Stonewall Democrats of Linn County Contact Roy Porterfield email@example.com 319-362-5281 Tri-ess, Iota Kappa Phi Chapter P.O. Box 8605, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52408 We are a transgendered organization supporting crossdressers, their families, and friends. www.yahoo.com/group/Tri-essIotaKappaPhi www.tri-ess.org, 319-390-6376 E-mail: Georgia firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: Judy email@example.com Unity Center of Cedar Rapids “A center of positive, practical Christianity.” 3791 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids www.unitycr.org - (319) 393-5422
CLINTON Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clinton 309 30th Avenue North, Clinton, IA 52732 (563) 242-4972 - uuclinton.org Sunday services at 10:30 (year-round) Where YOUR spiritual and ethical journey is welcome! Rev. Ruby Nancy, minister
Council Bluffs, Omaha (Ne) AIDS Interfaith Network 100 N. 62nd, Omaha, NE Call Br. Wm. Woeger 402-558-3100 Broadway Joe’s 3400 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51501 712-256-2243 Citizens For Equal Protection 1105 Howard St, Suite #2, Omaha, NE 68102 www.cfep-ne.org - firstname.lastname@example.org 402-398-3027 Council Bluffs NOW Write PO Box 3325, Omaha, NE 68103-0325 DC’s Saloon 610 S. 14th St., Omaha, NE Open everyday 2pm-1am, western/levi/leather. 402-344-3103 Diamond Bar 712 S. 16th St., Omaha, NE 10am - 1am, M-Sa, closed Sun 402-342-9595 Front Runners/Front Walkers Walking/jogging club. P.O. Box 4583, Omaha, NE 68104 402-496-3658. Gilligan’s Pub and Grill 1407 Harney, Omaha, NE Everyday 4pm-1am Friday and Sat. After hours 12-4am 402-449-9147 GLBT Rainbow Outreach Omaha Serving GLBT community in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Excellent message and info. Also office for Imperial court of Nebraska. 1719 Leavenworth St, Omaha, NE www.rocc.org - 402-341-0330 Heartland Gay Rodeo Association (HGRA) (Midwest Division of the International Gay Rodeo Association) PO Box 3354, Omaha, NE 68103 www.hgra.net - 402-203-4680 HGRA serves both Iowa and Nebraska Imperial Court of Nebraska P.O. Box 3772, Omaha, NE 68103 402-556-9907
JANUARY 2011 L.E.O. (Leather Engineers of Omaha) Educational-social group for Gay Men with interest in Leather Lifestyle. Meets 2nd Saturday at Gilligan’s Pub at 7:00pm. L.E.O. PO Box 8101 Omaha, NE 68108. The Max 1417 Jackson at 15th, Omaha, NE 68102 6 bars in 1 - 402-346-4110 MCC Omaha 819 South 22nd, Omaha, NE 68103 Sun 9 & 11 am Wednesday “ReCharge” Worship, Wed 7pm 402-345-2563 PFLAG Omaha Mead Hall, First United Methodist Church 7020 Cass St. (Omaha) 2nd Thursday, 7, 6:30 Social time 402-291-6781 River City Mixed Chorus Gay/lesbian chorus PO Box 3267 Omaha, NE 68103 Call Stan Brown, marketing 402-341-7464. Romantix Council Bluffs (North) (Adult Emporium) 3216 1st Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501-3353 http://www.romantixonline.com 515-955-9756 Tri-ess Chapter, Kappa Phi Lambda Chapter Omaha, NE 68107 We are a transgendered organization supporting crossdressers, their families, and friends. www.tri-ess.org, 402-960-9696 E-mail: Judy email@example.com Romantix Council Bluffs (South) (Romantix After Dark) 50662 189th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503 http://www.romantixonline.com 712-366-1764 Youth Support Group for GLBT Youth 13-21, meets twice monthly. Omaha, NE - 402-291- 6781
Decorah Decorah Human Rights Commission Contact: City Clerk 400 Clairborne Dr, Decorah 563-382-3651 Meetings: First Tuesdays, 5:30pm Luther College Student Congregation Contact Office for College Ministry 700 College Dr, Decorah, IA 52101 563-387-1040. PFLAG Northeast IA (Waukon/Decorah) First Lutheran Church 604 W Broadway St, Decorah, IA Meetings: 4th Mondays, 7pm-9pm in the Fellowship Hall Call Jean @ 563-535-7680 PRIDE Luther College Diversity Center, 700 College Dr, Decorah, IA 52101 Contact Chris at 563-387-2145 or Melanie at 563-387-1273 Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Meets alternating Sundays at 10:30am, Decorah Senior Center 806 River St Call Bill at 563-382-3458.
Des Moines AIDS Project of Central Iowa Free HIV testing, prevention supplies, care services, food pantry, information. 711 E. 2nd, Des Moines, IA 50309 515-284-0245 Blazing Saddle 416 E 5th St, Des Moines, IA - 515-246-1299 www.theblazingsaddle.com Buddies Corral 418 E 5th St, Des Moines, IA - 515-244-7140 The CENTER 1300 Locust The new LGBT and progressive place to be. firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: The CENTER & Equality Iowa www.equalityiowa.org 515-243-0313 Church of the Holy Spirit-MCC Pastor Pat Esperanza Sunday service 10:30am at the 1st Christian Church 2500 University, Des Moines email@example.com 515-287-9787 Des Moines Diversity Chorus [A gay-friendly mixed chorus] Rehearsals on Mondays at 7 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Beaver Ave. at Franklin St., Des Moines. All are welcome, no auditions. PO Box 65312, West Des moines, IA 50265 Julie Murphy, Artistic Director firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-255-3576, desmoinesdiversitychorus.org Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus 515-953-1540 PO Box 12269, Des Moines, IA 50312 email@example.com, www.dmgmc.org. Family Practice Center Safe, supportive LGBT health care. 200 Army Post Road, Ste 26 www.ppgi.org 515-953-7560
JANUARY 2011 First Friday Breakfast Club Educational breakfast club for gay/bisexual men. Meets first Friday of each month. Contact Jonathan Wilson for meeting topic and place. 515-288-2500 JonathanWilson@DavisBrownLaw.com First Unitarian Church 1800 Bell Avenue Services Sundays at 9:30 & 11am 515-244-8603 The Gallery (adult store) 1000 Cherry St Des Moines, IA 50309-4227 (515) 244-2916 Open 24 Hours www.LoversPlayground.com The Garden 112 SE 4th Des Moines, IA 515-243-3965 Wed-Sun. 8pm-2am www.grdn.com Gay & Lesbian AA & AI-Anonymous Mon. 7 pm; Tues. - Thurs. 6 pm; Sat. 5:30 pm at Drake Ministries in Ed. Bldg. 28th & University Gay and Lesbian Issues Committee 4211 Grand Avenue, Level-3 Des Moines, IA 50312 515-277-1117 Iowa Affirmation Lesbian/Gay United Methodist Thoreau Center, 35th & Kingman Blvd. Write Affirmation PO Box 1726, Des Moines, IA 50309 Java Joe’s Gay friendly 214 4th St. 515-288-5282 Lavender Victory Fund Financial assistance for women in need for medical emergencies. firstname.lastname@example.org Le Boi Bar 508 Indianola Rd, Des Moines, IA Liberty Gifts 333 E. Grand Ave., Loft 105, Des Moines, IA Gay owned specialty clothing, jewelry, home decor. 515-508-0825 Libertygiftsonline.com MINX Show Palace 1510 NE Broadway, Des Moines, IA 50313 Open 9am - 2am, M-Th; 9am - 4am, F-Sat. 10am -9pm Sun. 515-266-2744 National Association of Social Workers (NOW) (Nat’1 Organization of Women in Des Moines) www.meetup.com/locale/us/ia/desmoines North Star Gay Rodeo Association of IGRA, Iowa Division of North Star NSGRA@NSGRA.org or 612-82-RODEO Rainbow Union, Drake University Contact Sara Graham email@example.com Ray Perry Law Firm 515-279-2244 Free Initial Consultation PFLAG Des Moines 515-537-3126 or write 3520 Grand Ave #51, Des Moines, IA 50312 Plymouth Congregational UCC Church and the Plymouth GLBT Community 4126 Ingersoll Ave. 515-255-3149 Services at 5:30pm Sat, 9am & I lam Sunday. www.PlymouthGLBT.com Polk County Health Department Free STD, HIV, and Hepatitis B & C testing. HIV. Rapid testing also offered. 1907 Carpenter, Des Moines, IA 515-286-3798.
Section 3: Community TransformationsIOWA Monthly meetings for the female to male, male to female, transgender community, cross dressers, gender queer, questioning, and their significant others. For location and info, email Jayden at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-779-5187 Trinity United Methodist Church 1548 Eighth Street - 515-288-4056 Services Sundays at 10am Urbandale UCC An open & affirming congregation. 3530 70th St., Urbandale, IA 50322 515-276-0625 Walnut Hills UMC Join us at 8:30 or 10:30am for Sunday worship. Sunday classes and group studies are at 9:30am. 515-270-9226 12321 Hickman Rd, Urbandale, IA 50323 Westminster Presbyterian Church 4114 Allison Ave - www.WestPres.org Sunday services 8:45 and 11am. Of note is their Gay Lesbian Straight Affirmation small group ministry. 515-274-1534 Word of God Ministries Join us at 3:30 for Sunday Worship at 3120 E 24th St, Des Moines, IA 515-276-6614 Women’s Culture Collective (WCC) A lesbian social group. Des Moines, IA - www.iowawcc.org Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure Open daily. Gay-friendly 2723 Ingersoll, Des Moines, IA 515-244-7694
Dubuque Adult Warehouse 975 Jackson St., Dubuque, IA 563-588-9184. Dubuque Friends Worship Group (Quakers) Tired of being rejected by your church? Tired of following church pronouncements that smack of homophobia? Join us at an unprogrammed meeting on Sunday at 10am. Open and Affirming St. Mark’s Community Center 1201 Locust Street, Dubuque, Iowa 52001 563-556-3685 for info and directions Dubuque Pride Monthly social group, meeting for meal and conversation. www.dubuquepride.org Dubuque Regional AIDS Coalition Direct services, education. HIV+/AIDS support group and family/friends support group. Contact Kay Auderer or Connie Sprimont, Mercy Health Center. 563-589-9606. PFLAG Dubuque St. John’s Lutheran Church 1276 White St. 3rd Thursday, 7pm 563-582-9388 Q Bar East 90 Sinsinawa Ave, The Strip, East Dubuque, IL 61025 email@example.com Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Dubuque 1699 Iowa St., Dubuque, IA “The uncommon denomination.” Adult religious education meets Sunday at 9am before general services at 10am. www.uuf-dbq.org. 563-583-9910
Raccoon River Resort Accommodations for men, women, or mixed in campgrounds, lodge, Teepees or Treehouses. Reservations: 515-996-2829 or 515-279-7312
Romantix Fort Dodge (Mini Cinema) 15 N. 5th St, Fort Dodge, IA 50501-3801 http://www.romantixonline.com
Ritual Café On 13th between Grand and Locust. Gay owned great music, awesome food and coffee. 515-288-4872 firstname.lastname@example.org - ritualcafe.com
Saints Ephrem & Macrina Orthodox Mission. Welcoming worship in the Eastern Christian liturgical tradition. Sunday services at 10am. (Affiliated with the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America.) Divine Liturgy is served Sundays during the College academic year 1:30 p.m., Herrick Chapel, Grinnell College Campus 1226 Broad Street, Grinnell, IA 641-236-0936
Romantix North Des Moines Iowa (Bachelor’s Library) 2020 E Euclid Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317 www.romantixonline.com 515-266-7992 Romantix 1401 E Army Post Rd, Des Moines IA 50320 www.romantixonline.com - 515-256-1102 SOFFA Iowa (Significant Others Family Friends and Allies of people who fall under the Gender Variant umbrella) Monthly meetings held at The CENTER, 1300 Locust contact Jaye at: (515)779-5185 email@example.com Spouses of Lesbians & Gays Contact Ruth Schanke, 515-277-3700 St. John’s Lutheran Church 600 6th Ave “A Church for All People.” Services Sat 5pm, Sun 7:45, 8:45 & 11am. See web page for other services. 515-243-7691 - www.StJohnsDSM.org
Stonewall Resource Center Open 4:30pm to 11:30pm, Sun through Thurs and by Appointment. Grinnell College 1210 Park Street PO Box B-1, Grinnell, IA, 50112 firstname.lastname@example.org 641-269-3327
INDIANOLA Crossroads United Church of Christ (UCC) An Open & affirming congregation. Services: Sunday 10:30am, Summer worship: June, July, Aug, @ 9:30 am, worshiping in the Lounge at Smith Chapel, Simpson College, corner of Buxton and Clinton. Mailing address: P.O. Box 811, Indianola, IA 50125 515-961-9370.
Iowa City AA (GLBT) 319-338-9111 Meetings Sundays 5 - 6pm at First Baptist Church, 500 North Clinton Street. For more info, call IC Intergroup Answering Service, Congregational Church UCC An Open and Affirming Congregation Sunday Worship 9:15am (July & August) 30 N. Clinton St. (across from Ul Pentacrest) 319-337-4301 - www.uiccic.org Counseling Clinic 319-354-6238 Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sensitive and supportive counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups. Sliding Fee. 505 E Washington St., Iowa City, IA 52240 Counseling and Health Center 319-337-6998 Client-centered therapy. Les-Bi-Gay-Trans always welcome. 616 Bloomington St, Iowa City, IA Crisis Center 319-351-0140 1121 Gilbert Court, Iowa City, 52240 Emma Goldman Clinic 227 N. Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52245 319-337-2111or 1-800-848-7684. Faith United Church of Christ 1609 De Forest Street, Iowa City, IA Services Sundays at 9:30am 319-338-5238 GLBTAU-U of lA Student support system and resource center, info, activism, events, and other community involvements. 203 IMU, University of IA Iowa City, IA 52242-1317 email@example.com 319-335-3251 (voice mail) Hope United Methodist Church Worship Service at 9:30am. 2929 E. Court St., Iowa City, IA Contact Rev. Sherry Lohman. 319-338-9865 Human Rights Commission (City of Iowa City Human Rights Commission) 319-356-5022; 391-356-5015; 319-356-5014 Fax 319-887-6213 firstname.lastname@example.org ICARE (Iowa Center for AIDS Resources & Education) Practical & emotional support, youth programs, information, referrals and support groups. 3211 E 1st Iowa City, IA 52240-4703 319-338-2135 Iowa City Free Medical Clinic Free & strictly confidential HIV Testing. 2440 Towncrest Dr Iowa City, Call for appointment 319-337-4459 Iowa City NOW PO Box 2944, Iowa City, IA 52244 for information & meeting times/places Iowa Women’s Music Festival P.O. Box 3411, Iowa City, IA 52244 319-335-1486 Men Supporting Men 319-356-6038, Ext 2 HIV prevention program exploring issues that gay/bisexual men deal with on a daily basis. Discussion Groups, Educational Series, Safer Sex Workshops, Book Club. Contact Andy Weigel, email: email@example.com New Song Episcopal Church 912 20th Ave, Coralville, IA Sunday services at 10am. Rev. Elizabeth Coulter, Pastor Rev. John Harper, Associate. 319-351-3577 Pride Committee WRAC 130 N. Madison, Iowa City, IA 52242 Bridget Malone - 319-338-0512 Charles Howes - 319-335-1486. Romantix Iowa City (Pleasure Palace I) 315 Kirkwood Ave, Iowa City, IA 52240-4722 www.romantixonline.com 319-351-9444 Studio 13 13 S. Linn St. (in the Alley) Iowa City, IA Open 7pm ‘til 2am, daily 319-338-7145 Thich Nhat Hanh based “Mindfulness” meditation and study group Iowa City Public Library, Sundays 1 to 2:30pm Usually Room E 319-354-4065 U of I Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Staff & Faculty Association c/o WRAC, 130 N Madison, Iowa City, IA 52242, 19-335-1486 Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City Inclusive and free religious community nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth and fostering ethical and social responsibility. 10 S. Gilbert, Iowa City, IA Sunday services: 9:30am & 11:15am. www.uusic.org 319-337-3443 United Action for Youth (UAY) A GLBTQA youth group providing support and counseling for teenagers and young adults processing sexual identity issues. Meets Mondays 7-9pm at UAY 410 Iowa Ave. Iowa City, IA 319-338-7518 or Teen Line, 319-338-0559.
The Ursine Group Bear Events in the Midwest. PO Box 1143, Iowa City, IA 52244-1143 319-338-5810 Vortex Gifts 211 E. Washington, downtown Iowa City 319-337-3434 Women’s Resource Action Center (WRAC) Leads & collaborates on projects that serve U of l and the greater community, offers social & support services, including LGBT Coming Out Group. University of Iowa 130 N. Madison, Iowa City, IA 52242 319-335-1486
Marshalltown Adult Odyssey (Adult Video Store) 907 Iowa Ave E - 641-752-6550 Domestic Violence Alternatives/ Sexual Assault Center, Inc. 24 hour Crisis Line: 641-753-3513 or (instate only) 800-779-3512
MASON CITY Cerro Gordo County Dept. of Public Health 22 N. Georgia Ave, Ste 300 Mason City, IA 50401. Free confidential AIDS testing. 641-421-9306 PFLAG North Iowa Chapter 641-583-2848 1st Presbyterian Church 100 S. Pierce. 1st/ 2nd Monday (alternating), 7pm
Mount Vernon Alliance Cornell College 810 Commons Cir # 2035 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cornellcollege.edu/alliance Contact person: Glynnis 319-895-5874
NEWTON PFLAG Newton 641-521-7436 UCC Church, 308 E 2nd St N 3rd Thursday, 7pm
Pella Common Ground (Central College) Support group for GLBT students and allies. Contact: Brandyn Woodard, Director of Intercultural Life email@example.com 641-628-5134
Quad Cities AIDS Project Quad Cities Info, education & support. Ste 360 1351 Central Park West Davenport, IA 52804 563-421-4266 Augie’s Tap 313 20th St, Rock Island (IL) Noon - 3am daily. 309-788-7389 Black Hawk College Unity Alliance Serving GLBT community at Black Hawk College. 6600 34th Ave, Rock Island, IL 309-716-0542. Connections Nightclub 563-322-1121 822 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52802 DeLaCerda House 309-786-7386 Provides housing & supportive services, advocacy and referrals for people living with HIV/ AIDS. P.O. Box 4551, Rock Island, Il. 61201 Good Samaritan Free Clinic 602 35th Avenue Moline, IL 309-797-4688 firstname.lastname@example.org - Provides free primary medical care to patients age 16-64 who are working but have no medical insurance. Patients are seen by volunteer physicians, nurss practicioners, and physician assistants. www.GoodSamaritanFreeClinic.org The Hole-In-The-Wall 309-289-2375 A Private Membership Men’s Club Located 3 miles east of Galesburg, IL just north of I-74 at Exit 51 www.HoleInTheWallMensClub.org Holy Spirit Catholic Faith Community Meets one Sunday per month for Mass at 6:30pm at MCC-QC 3019 N. Harrison St, Davenport, IA Mailing: PO Box 192 East Moline, IL 61244 For more info, call 309-278-3359 Mary’s On 2nd 563-884-8014 832 W. 2nd St. Davenport, IA MCC Quad Cities - Svcs Sat 5pm, Sun 11am Bible study Wed 7pm 563-324-8281 3019 N Harrison, Davenport, IA 52803 Men’s Coming Out/Being Out Group Meets 2nd & 4th Thursdays, 7pm. QCAD.OutForGood@GMail.com 309-786-2580 PFLAG Quad Cities 563-285-4173 Eldridge United Methodist Church 604 S.2nd St., Eldridge 1st Monday, 6:30 pm
ACCESSline Page 37 Prism (Augustana College) 309-794-7406 Augustana Gay-Straight Alliance Augustana Library 639 38th St, Rock Island, IL Contact Tom Bengston Quad Citians Affirming Diversity (QCAD) Social & support groups for lesbian, bi, and gay teens, adults, friends & families; newsletter. 309-786-2580 - Community Center located at 1608 2nd Ave, Rock Island. Quad Cities Pride Chorus. At the MCC Church in D’port, 7pm Wed. email@example.com Call Don at 563-324-0215 Rainbow Gifts www.rainbowgifts.net 309-764-0559 T.R. Video Adult books & video 3727 Hickory Grove Rd, Davenport, IA 563-386-7914. Venus News (Adult) 902 W 3rd St, Davenport, IA 563-322-7576
SHENANDOAH PFLAG Shenandoah 712-899-2743
Sioux City Am. Business & Professional Guild. Gay Businessmen. Meets last Sat. of the month; ABPG P. O. BOX 72, Sioux City, 51102 firstname.lastname@example.org Grace United Methodist Church 1735 Morningside Avenue 712-276-3452. Jones Street Station (Bar) 712-258-6922 412 Jones St. Nightly 6:00pm to 2:00am. Mayflower Congregational Church. 1407 West 18th Street Call 712-258-8278. Morningside College Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Alliance 712-274-5208 Contact Professor Gail Dooley, Advisor Morningside College GSA 1501 Morningside Ave. Sioux City, IA 51106-1717 email@example.com PFLAG Siouxland PO Box 1311, Sioux City, IA 51102 siouxlandPFLAG@aol.com Romantix Sioux City 712-277-8566 (Adult Emporium) 511 Pearl St, Sioux City, IA 51101-1217 St. Thomas Episcopal Church Service Sun 10:30am 406 12th St, Waverly, IA Rev Mary Christopher 712-258-0141 Western Iowa Tech. GSA firstname.lastname@example.org for info. Zaner’s Bar 712-277-9575 3103 N Hwy 75, Sioux City, IA 51105 Monthly drag shows & events; hometown bar for Imperial Court of Iowa’s Western Chapter email@example.com
Waverly Cedar Valley Episcopal Campus Ministry. 717 W. Bremer, (St. Andrew’s Episcopal) Waverly, IA www.episcoplcampus.org 319-415-5747 Gay, Lesbian Bisexual Student Alliance Wartburg College, Waverly, IA 50677 Contact Susan Vallem 319-352-8250 St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church 717 W. Bremer We welcome all to worship with us on Sunday at 10:30 am. Bible discussion Wed. 6:45pm Rev. Maureen Doherty, Pastor 319-352-1489
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Section 3: Community
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US NEWS ized by diverse religious values or varying regional perspectives. Killing people because they are gay is not culturally defensible—it is criminal. While today’s adoption of an inclusive resolution is important, so too are the conversations that have now begun in capitals around the world about inclusion, equality and discrimination. Protecting gays and lesbians from state-sponsored discrimination is not a special right, it is a human right. Today’s vote in the United Nations marks an important moment in the struggle for civil and human rights. The time has come for all nations to redouble our efforts to end discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” The United States’ former ambassador to Romania, Michael Guest, who now works with the LGBT-oriented Council for Global Equality, called the U.S. campaign to rescue the gay language “remarkable.” “The United States took a very principled position, and our diplomats worked very hard at the U.N. and in capitals around the world to explain to other countries why this is an important human rights cause,” Guest said. “The State Department and the White House should be commended.” The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said: “We want to celebrate the victory over the forces which tried to push the reference to sexual orientation into oblivion one month ago (and which) still refuse, in theory and in practice, to acknowledge that human rights are truly for all, LGBTI people included, and—what is perhaps worse—grotesquely mask their homophobia and transphobia by referring to the universality of the Human Rights Declaration and indecently try to include under the term ‘sexual orientation’ bestiality and pedophilia.”
Spacey won’t discuss sexual orientation
Actor Kevin Spacey told The Daily Beast on Dec. 15 that he’s not interested in discussing his sexual orientation. “I have not given up my right to privacy,” Spacey said. “People have different reasons for the way they live their lives. You cannot put everyone’s reasons in the same box. It’s just a line I’ve never crossed and never will.” “You have to understand that people who choose not to discuss their personal lives are not living a lie,” he continued. “That is a presumption that people jump to. … I just don’t buy into that the personal can be political. I just think that’s horses--t.”
Activists hope to force teaching of gay history
A bill introduced in the California Legislature by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would require that LGBT people be fairly and accurately included in school teaching material. The measure is sponsored by Equality California and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network. The bill also prohibits the State Board of Education from using instructional material that discriminates on the basis of sexual
John Franklin Karn
John Franklin Karn, 64, of Cedar Rapids, passed away December 13, 2010, at the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics, following complications from open heart surgery. Visitation was held on Saturday, December 18, 2010, at Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services, Cedar Rapids. Memorial Services: 3pm on Saturday, January 8, 2011, at Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist, Cedar Rapids. John is survived by his husband, Tony Browning, of Cedar Rapids; his sister and brother‐in‐law, Pat and Ron Doncavage, of Bloomington, Minnesota; nephews, Todd (Jackie) Doncavage, and their chil-
dren, Evie and Henry; Kent (Heather) Doncavage, and their children, Franklin and Lewis. John is also survived by his step‐ mother, Lois Karn of Spearfish, South Dakota; aunts, uncles, and a number of cousins in various states. John was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Evy Karn of Belfast, New York. John came to Cedar Rapids in 1986, as the first Executive Director of the Science Station, a position he held until 1995, when he joined the private sector until his retirement in 2008. John was an active member in Peoples Church Unitarian Universalists, including serving as Membership Director for several years. John was also active in the community as past President of the Cedar Rapids Gay and Lesbian Resource Center (GLRC) and past executive board member and Treasurer for the Iowa Abortion Aid Fund (IAAF). John was a volunteer with One Iowa in the pursuit of marriage equality. John’s passion was singing and performing in the theatre, having participated in a number of productions at Theatre Cedar Rapids, as well as singing with the choir at Peoples Church and The Quire in Iowa City. His beautiful tenor voice will be missed by many. Instead of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in John’s name to OneIowa: www.oneiowa. org Please sign the online guest book and share a memory about John at www.stewartbaxter.com
Wesley, 61, was born on July 20, 1949 and passed away on December 18, 2010. He was currently in Psychiatry Practice with Everly-Ball Community Mental Health Services and Golden Circle Behavioral Health. He lived in Charleston, WV before moving to Des Moines in 1994. He attended and received the following degrees: BA from University of Charleston; Masters from University Tennessee/Knoxville and Doctor from West VA Osteopathic Medical School. He was a Board Certified in Psychiatry & Family Practice. Wesley was the past President of American College of Neuropsychiatrists. He was dedicated to the Osteopathic Profession and a member of American Osteopathic Association. Wesley is survived by Charley White, his partner for 39 years of Des Moines; mother, Dora; sister, Gerry (William) Kohler; niece, Emily; nephew, William all of Parkersburg, WV. He was preceded in death by his father, John. Burial will be made at the Mills
Cemetery in West Virginia at a later date. Wes may be gone now, but he will not be forgotten. Online condolences may be left at caldwellraddatz.com.
Mark Leno. Photo by Rex Wockner orientation or gender identity. EQCA said that if enacted, the law “would add LGBT to the existing list of underrepresented cultural and ethnic groups (that) are covered by current law related to inclusion in textbooks and other instructional materials in schools.” “LGBT people should not be pushed into the closet when it comes to what students learn about history,” said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. “Educating youth about the contributions of LGBT Californians and our state’s rich diversity will help foster true acceptance of LGBT students and will ultimately create a safe school environment for all students.” GSA Network Executive Director Carolyn Laub added, “LGBT youth are denied a fair education when they are exposed to harmful stereotypes in classroom materials and are excluded from learning about their history.” Leno said that “most textbooks don’t include any historical information about the LGBT movement.” “Our collective silence on this issue perpetuates negative stereotypes of LGBT people and leads to increased bullying of young people,” he said. “We can’t simultaneously tell youth that it’s OK to be yourself and live an honest, open life when we aren’t even teaching students about historical LGBT figures or the LGBT equal rights movement.”
Lesbian becomes Colorado Supreme Court justice
Monica Marquez became the first openly gay or lesbian member of the Colorado Supreme Court when she was sworn in Dec. 10. Her partner, Sheila Barthel, helped her put on her black robe at the ceremony. Marquez, 41, previously served as deputy attorney general. Assistance: Bill Kelley
“Killing people because of their sexual orientation cannot be rationalized by diverse religious values or varying regional perspectives. Killing people because they are gay is not culturally defensible—it is criminal. … The time has come for all nations to redouble our efforts to end discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” — The office of President Barack Obama’s press secretary, December 21, 2010.
Wesley Dale Richardson, D.O. F.A.C.N.
10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked
Evelyn Schlatter & Robert Steinback, SPLC MYTH #1: Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals. THE ARGUMENT: Depicting gay men as a threat to children may be the single most potent weapon for stoking public fears about homosexuality — and for winning elections and referenda, as Anita Bryant found out during her successful 1977 campaign to overturn a Dade County, Fla., ordinance barring discrimination against gay people. Discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, the most ubiquitous purveyor of anti-gay junk science, has been a major promoter of this myth. Despite having been debunked repeatedly and very publicly, Cameron’s work is still widely relied upon by anti-gay organizations, although many no longer quote him by name. Others have cited a group called the American College of Pediatricians to claim, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council did in November 2010, that “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a [molestation] danger to children.” THE FACTS: According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men. Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships. The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests. Some anti-gay ideologues cite the American College of Pediatricians’ opposition to same-sex parenting as if the organization were a legitimate professional body. In fact, the so-called college is a tiny breakaway faction of the similarly named, 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics that requires, as a condition of membership, that joiners “hold true to the group’s core beliefs … [including] that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.” The group’s 2010 publication Facts About Youth was described by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association as non-factual. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, was one of several legitimate researchers who said Facts misrepresented their findings. “It is disturbing to me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against homosexuality,” he wrote. “The information they present is misleading and incorrect.” MYTH #2: Same-sex parents harm children. THE ARGUMENT: Most hard-line antigay organizations are heavily invested, from both a religious and a political standpoint, in promoting the traditional nuclear family as the sole framework for the healthy upbringing of children. They maintain a reflexive belief that same-sex parenting must be harmful to children — although the exact nature of that supposed harm varies widely. THE FACTS: No legitimate research has demonstrated that same-sex couples are any more or any less harmful to children than heterosexual couples. The American Academy of Pediatrics in a 2002 policy statement declared: “A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two gay and/ or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.” That policy statement was reaffirmed in 2009. The American Psychological Association found that “same-sex couples are remarkably
Section 3: Community similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.” Similarly, the Child Welfare League of America’s official position with regard to samesex parents is that “lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are as well-suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts.” MYTH #3: People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents. THE ARGUMENT: Many anti-gay rights proponents claim that homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by some psychological trauma or aberration in childhood. This argument is used to counter the common observation that no one, gay or straight, consciously chooses his or her sexual orientation. Joseph Nicolosi, a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, said in 2009 that “if you traumatize a child in a particular way, you will create a homosexual condition.” He also has repeatedly said, “Fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.” A side effect of this argument is the demonization of parents of homosexuals, who are led to wonder if they failed to protect a child against sexual abuse or failed as role models in some important way. In October 2010, Kansas State University family studies professor Walter Schumm said he was about to release a related study arguing that homosexual couples are more likely than heterosexuals to raise gay or lesbian children. THE FACTS: No scientifically sound study has linked sexual orientation or identity with parental role-modeling or childhood sexual abuse. The American Psychiatric Association noted in a 2000 fact sheet on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues that “no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse.” The fact sheet goes on to say that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual. Similarly, the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization notes on its website that “experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation” and added that it’s unlikely that someone can make another person a homosexual or heterosexual. With regard to Schumm’s study, critics have already said that he appears to have merely aggregated anecdotal data, a biased sample that invalidates his findings. MYTH #4: Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals. THE ARGUMENT: Anti-gay organizations want to promote heterosexuality as the healthier “choice.” Furthermore, the purportedly shorter life spans and poorer physical and mental health of homosexuals are often offered as reasons why gays and lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to adopt or foster children. THE FACTS: This falsehood can be traced directly to the discredited research of Paul Cameron and his Family Research Institute, specifically a 1994 paper he co-wrote entitled, “The Lifespan of Homosexuals.” Using obituaries collected from gay newspapers, he and his two co-authors concluded that gay men died, on average, at 43, compared to an average life expectancy at the time of around 73 for all U.S. men. On the basis of the same obituaries, Cameron also claimed that gay men are 18 times more likely to die in car accidents than heterosexuals, 22 times more likely to die of heart attacks than whites, and 11 times more likely than blacks to die of the same cause. He also concluded that lesbians are 487 times more likely to die of murder, suicide, or accidents than straight women. Remarkably, these claims have become staples of the anti-gay right and have frequently made their way into far more mainstream venues. For example, William Bennett, education secretary under President Reagan, used Cameron’s statistics in a 1997 interview he gave to ABC News’ “This Week.” However, like virtually all of his “research,” Cameron’s methodology is egregiously flawed — most obviously because the sample he selected (the data from the obits) was not remotely statistically representative of the homosexual population as a whole. Even Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has called Cameron’s methods “just ridiculous.” MYTH #5: Homosexuals controlled the Nazi Party and helped to orchestrate the Holocaust. THE ARGUMENT: This claim comes directly from a 1995 book titled The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams. Lively is the virulently anti-gay founder of Abiding Truth Ministries and
Abrams is an organizer of a group called the International Committee for Holocaust Truth, which came together in 1994 and included Lively as a member. The primary argument Lively and Abrams make is that gay people were not victimized by the Holocaust. Rather, Hitler deliberately sought gay men for his inner circle because their “unusual brutality” would help him run the party and mastermind the Holocaust. In fact, “the Nazi party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history,” the book claims. “While we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism,” Lively and Abrams add. “To the myth of the ‘pink triangle’ — the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted — we must respond with the reality of the ‘pink swastika.’” These claims have been picked up by a number of anti-gay groups and individuals, including Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, as proof that homosexuals are violent and sick. The book has also attracted an audience among anti-gay church leaders in Eastern Europe and among Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America. THE FACTS: The Pink Swastika has been roundly discredited by legitimate historians and other scholars. Christine Mueller, professor of history at Reed College, did a line-by-line refutation of an earlier (1994) Abrams article on the topic and of the broader claim that the Nazi Party was “entirely controlled” by gay men. Historian Jon David Wynecken at Grove City College also refuted the book, pointing out that Lively and Abrams did no primary research of their own, instead using out-of-context citations of some legitimate sources while ignoring information from those same sources that ran counter to their thesis. The myth that the Nazis condoned homosexuality sprang up in the 1930s, started by socialist opponents of the Nazis as a slander against Nazi leaders. Credible historians believe that only one of the half-dozen leaders in Hitler’s inner circle, Ernst Röhm, was gay. (Röhm was murdered on Hitler’s orders in 1934.) The Nazis considered homosexuality one aspect of the “degeneracy” they were trying to eradicate. When the National Socialist Party came to power in 1933, it quickly strengthened Germany’s existing penalties against homosexuality. Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s security chief, announced that homosexuality was to be “eliminated” in Germany, along with miscegenation among the races. Historians estimate that between 50,000 and 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality (or suspicion of it) under the Nazi regime. These men were routinely sent to concentration camps and many thousands died there. In 1942, the Nazis instituted the death penalty for homosexuals. Offenders in the German military were routinely shot. Himmler put it like this: “We must exterminate these people root and branch. … We can’t permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be completely eliminated.” MYTH #6: Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia. THE ARGUMENT: Anti-gay activists, who have long opposed adding LGBT people to those protected by hate crime legislation, have repeatedly claimed that such laws would lead to the jailing of religious figures who preach against homosexuality — part of a bid to gain the backing of the broader religious community for their position. Janet Porter of Faith2Action was one of many who asserted that the federal Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act — signed into law by President Obama in October 2009 — would “jail pastors” because it “criminalizes speech against the homosexual agenda.” In a related assertion, anti-gay activists claimed the law would lead to the legalization of psychosexual disorders (paraphilias) like bestiality and pedophilia. Bob Unruh, a conservative Christian journalist who left The Associated Press in 2006 for the right-wing, conspiracist news site WorldNetDaily, said shortly before the federal law was passed that it would legalize “all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or ‘paraphilias’ listed by the American Psychiatric Association.” This claim was repeated by many anti-gay organizations, including the Illinois Family Institute. THE FACTS: The claim that hate crime laws could result in the imprisonment of those who “oppose the homosexual lifestyle” is false. The Constitution provides robust protections of free speech, and case law makes it clear that even a preacher who suggested that homosexuals should be killed would be protected. Neither do hate crime laws — which provide for enhanced penalties when persons are victimized because of their “sexual orientation” (among other factors) — “protect pedophiles,” as Janet Porter and many others have claimed. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation
refers to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality — not paraphilias such as pedophilia. Paraphilias, as defined by the American Psychiatric Assocation, are disorders characterized by sexual urges or behaviors directed at nonhuman objects or non-consenting persons like children, or that involve the suffering or humiliation of one’s partner. Even if pedophiles, for example, were protected under a hate crime law — and such a law has not been suggested or contemplated anywhere — that would not legalize or “protect” pedophilia. Pedophilia is illegal sexual activity, and a law that more severely punished people who attacked pedophiles would not change that. MYTH #7: Allowing homosexuals to serve openly would damage the armed forces. THE ARGUMENT: Anti-gay groups are adamantly opposed to allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, not only because of their purported fear that combat readiness will be undermined, but because the military has long been considered the purest meritocracy in America (the armed forces were successfully racially integrated long before American civilian society, for example). If gays can serve honorably and effectively in this meritocracy, that would suggest that there is no rational basis for discriminating against them in any way. THE FACTS: Homosexuals now serve in the U.S. armed forces, though under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy instituted in 1993, they cannot serve openly. At the same time, gays and lesbians serve openly in the armed forces of 25 countries, including Britain, Israel, South Africa, Canada and Australia, according to a report released by the Palm Center, a policy think tank at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The Palm Center report concluded that lifting bans against openly gay service personnel in these countries “ha[s] had no negative impact on morale, recruitment, retention, readiness or overall combat effectiveness.” Successful transitions to new policies were attributed to clear signals of leadership support and a focus on a uniform code of behavior without regard to sexual orientation. A 2008 Military Times poll of active-duty military personnel, often cited by anti-gay activists, found that 10% of respondents said they would not re-enlist if the DADT policy were repealed. That would mean some 228,000 people might leave the military in that instance. But a 2009 review of that poll by the Palm Center suggested a wide disparity between what soldiers said they would do and their actual actions. It noted, for example, that far more than 10% of West Point officers in the 1970s said they would leave the service if women were admitted to the academy. “But when the integration became a reality,” the report said, “there was no mass exodus; the opinions turned out to be just opinions.” Similarly, a 1985 survey of 6,500 male Canadian service members and a 1996 survey of 13,500 British service members each revealed that nearly two-thirds expressed strong reservations about serving with gays. Yet when those countries lifted bans on gays serving openly, virtually no one left the service for that reason. “None of the dire predictions of doom came true,” the Palm Center report said. MYTH #8: Homosexuals are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol. THE ARGUMENT: Anti-gay groups want not only to depict sexual orientation as something that can be changed but also to show that heterosexuality is the most desirable “choice” — even if religious arguments are set aside. The most frequently used secular argument made by anti-gay groups in that regard is that homosexuality is inherently unhealthy, both mentally and physically. As a result, most anti-gay rights groups reject the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Some of these groups, including the particularly hard-line Traditional Values Coalition, claim that “homosexual activists” managed to infiltrate the APA in order to sway its decision. THE FACTS: All major professional mental health organizations are on record as stating that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. It is true that LGBT people suffer higher rates of anxiety, depression, and depressionrelated illnesses and behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse than the general population. But studies done during the past 15 years have determined that it is the stress of being a member of a minority group in an often-hostile society — and not LGBT identity itself — that accounts for the higher levels of mental illness and drug use. Richard J. Wolitski, an expert on minority status and public health issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, put it like this in 2008: “Economic disadvantage, stigma, and discrimination … increase stress and diminish the ability of individuals [in minority groups] to
ACCESSline Page 39 cope with stress, which in turn contribute to poor physical and mental health.” MYTH #9: No one is born a homosexual. THE ARGUMENT: Anti-gay activists keenly oppose the granting of “special” civil rights protections to homosexuals similar to those afforded black Americans and other minorities. But if people are born gay — in the same way people have no choice as to whether they are black or white — discrimination against homosexuals would be vastly more difficult to justify. Thus, anti-gay forces insist that sexual orientation is a behavior that can be changed, not an immutable characteristic. THE FACTS : Modern science cannot state conclusively what causes sexual orientation, but a great many studies suggest that it is the result of biological and environmental forces, not a personal “choice.” One of the more recent is a 2008 Swedish study of twins (the world’s largest twin study) that appeared in The Archives of Sexual Behavior and concluded that “[h]omosexual behaviour is largely shaped by genetics and random environmental factors.” Dr. Qazi Rahman, study co-author and a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, said: “This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single ‘gay gene’ or a single environmental variable which could be used to ‘select out’ homosexuality — the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here — heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.” The American Psychological Association (APA) acknowledges that despite much research into the possible genetic, hormonal, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no evidence has emerged that would allow scientists to pinpoint the precise causes of sexual orientation. Still, the APA concludes that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” In October 2010, Kansas State University family studies professor Walter Schumm said he was about to release a study showing that gay parents produced far more gay children than heterosexual parents. He told a reporter that he was “trying to prove [homosexuality is] not 100% genetic.” But critics suggested that his data did not prove that, and, in any event, virtually no scientists have suggested that homosexuality is caused only by genes. MYTH #10: Gay people can choose to leave homosexuality. THE ARGUMENT: If people are not born gay, as anti-gay activists claim, then it should be possible for individuals to abandon homosexuality. This view is buttressed among religiously motivated anti-gay activists by the idea that homosexual practice is a sin and humans have the free will needed to reject sinful urges. A number of “ex-gay” religious ministries have sprung up in recent years with the aim of teaching homosexuals to become heterosexuals, and these have become prime purveyors of the claim that gays and lesbians, with the aid of mental therapy and Christian teachings, can “come out of homosexuality.” Exodus International, the largest of these ministries, plainly states, “You don’t have to be gay!” Another, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, describes itself as “a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality.” THE FACTS: “Reparative” or sexual reorientation therapy — the pseudo-scientific foundation of the ex-gay movement — has been rejected by all the established and reputable American medical, psychological, psychiatric, and professional counseling organizations. In 2009, for instance, the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution, accompanied by a 138-page report, that repudiated ex-gay therapy. The report concluded that compelling evidence suggested that cases of individuals going from gay to straight were “rare” and that “many individuals continued to experience same-sex sexual attractions” after reparative therapy. The APA resolution added that “there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation” and asked “mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation.” The resolution also affirmed that same-sex sexual and romantic feelings are normal. Some of the most striking, if anecdotal, evidence of the ineffectiveness of sexual reorientation therapy has been the numerous failures of some of its most ardent advocates. For example, the founder of Exodus International, Michael Bussee, left the organization in 1979 with a fellow male ex-gay counselor because the two had fallen in love. Alan Chambers, current president of Exodus, said in 2007 that with years of therapy, he’s mostly conquered his attraction to men, but then admitted, “By no means would we ever say that change can be sudden or complete.”