The Best Damn Newsletter in New Jersey! ®
CHALLENGE The Newsletter of the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County – Serving New Jersey’s GLBTI Communities Since 1972
Volume 37, Issue 8, October 2011
by Mickey Suiter I’ve been intrigued by the recent legal wrangling between the defense and prosecution in the case of Tyler Clementi’s roommate. If you haven’t been following it, the issue has been whether or not the defense has a right to know the name of the man who was with Tyler in his dorm room and who was also secretly spied upon via webcam. The defense claims that he is an important witness, that no one else could know how much Tyler knew about what his roommate was doing and how he reacted to it. The prosecution says that the unknown man has a right to privacy and shouldn’t be outed. While I am not in favor of outing people, except maybe for right-wing anti-gay politicians who secretly are gay, I think I side with the defense on this issue. I’m not saying that this man’s name and face should be aired in the media, just that the defense certainly has the right to interview an important witness. But the situation has got me thinking about our community’s peculiar institution, the closet, once again. The general feeling in the LGBT community, as far as I can tell, is that no one should have to come out, that it is a personal decision. That makes us very different from most minorities who see "passing" in a negative light. The idea of pretending to not be Jewish, or not be African American, is offensive to those who choose not to, or are unable to, pass. One reason for that is that people in those communities grow up in their respective community. They are out the moment they are born. If they decide to "pass" as adults, it is a rejection of their friends and families. We’re in the opposite situation, where we are born into the majority and at some point in our adolescence or early adulthood realize we don’t quite belong there. Then we’re torn. Being honest and coming out could then be seen as a rejection of our families and friends. And while staying in the closet might be a rejection of the LGBT community, those people are for the most part strangers, not a group we have always been part of. Also, one reason we have more empathy for those in the closet is that, in addition to us all starting out there, the overwhelming majority of us have had the option of staying there. Only a comparative handful of us are unable to pass for straight. In the African American community, for example, it’s the opposite, with only a handful able to pass. Decades ago, I had a fantasy where no one could hide in the closet. One morning all lesbian, gay, and bisexual people
would wake up purple, a different shade depending on where on the Kinsey scale one fell. Myself, I’d be the color of eggplant. (I know, this wouldn’t work for those whose skin pigment is already dark, but bear with me — it’s a fantasy, after all.) Can you imagine a world where everyone, gay or straight, could identify every single LGBT person in their life? Where even Ahmadinejad would have to admit there actually are gay people in Iran? I would imagine our society and our politics would change rather rapidly. There would be other positive results of this. Whatever else we think of staying in the closet, it takes a psychological toll on us. We’re always aware and working at it. It would be nice to be able to just relax and be who we are. And, if we did run into problems, we would be able to easily see who was out there in the same situation, who might be able to help, or at least understand. That’s just a fantasy of course. We’re not all going to come out at once. But over the past couple of decades, LGBT people have been coming out at an everincreasing rate. Who knows what the next ten or twenty years will bring? The closet may become an anachronism. People will just grow up and naturally be whoever they are. As we keep moving in the right direction, that's a fantasy that has a good chance of becoming reality. (Editor's note: as of press time, the judge in the Tyler Clementi case has ruled in favor of the defense regarding the name of the other man in the room.)
Inside Challenge Challenge Information.... ................................ page 2 GAAMC Events.............................................. page 2 The Bulletin Board......................................... page 3 This Month's Contributors................................ page 3 Gleanings: Queer news from around the world .... page 4 Shopped for a Cause .......................................page 5 Poem: Images .............................................. page 5 Getting Personal............................................ page 5 Dancing to Architecture music reviews............... page 6 Calendar ..................................................... page 7 The Masks We Wear ...................................... page 10 To the Rescue: A Boxer Love Story.................... page 12 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked, part 4................. page 13 GAAMC Information...................................... page 14
Page 2 CHALLENGE October 2011 CHALLENGE Volume 37, Number 8 October 2011 ISSN 0277-1675 Staff
GAAMC Events Every Monday OpenTalk Discussion Group: A regular weekly discussion group, open to all. Moderators: Gordon (October 3); Sherri (October 3 and 31); Elias (October 10 and 17); Kerry (October 24). 7:00, Library
Editor .....................Allen Neuner Assistant Editor ............. Bill Stella Advertising Manager ............. open Circulation Manager ............. open List Manager ................ Sue Harris
Circles Discussion Group: A five-week structured discussion group, moderated by Gordon. Dates this month: October 10, 17, and 24. 7:00, Terrace Room (See "Bulletin Board", page 3.)
October 3 – Extended Open Talk / Taste of Circles: GAAMC members have long been asking for a semi-regular evening of extended discussion. Tonight, the discussion is the program, facilitated by Sherri Rase! An added bonus of the evening is that Gordon Sauer, head of Discussion Resources for GAAMC, will provide a teaser for his upcoming Circles group.
The deadline for all articles, inserts, and advertisements is the fifteenth of the previous month. All submissions must be provided as electronic files. E-mail submissions to Challenge @ GAAMC.org. Ad Rates Single issue: Full page, $125.00; Half page, $85.00; Quarter page, $45.00; Business card, $25.00. For multi-issue rates, contact the Editor at Challenge @ GAAMC.org. GAAMC members may place one free classified ad per month, of no more than 200 characters in length. Change of Address Please let us know your new address! All address changes should be sent to the List Manager at ChangeAddress @ GAAMC.org. Challenge is © 2011-2012 by the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation. All rights reserved. All articles reflect the views of the original contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of GAAMC, its officers, or executive board. All copyrights revert to the original contributors upon publication. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the contributor. All articles, contributions, and advertisements are printed at the discretion of the Editor and/or GAAMC Executive Board.
October 10 – Pride Guide Live! Ever wonder about those who advertise in the premier guide to everything of LGBTI interest in the entire state of New Jersey? GAAMC's mini gay expo will take place tonight from 7 pm to 10 pm. Come by to meet gay and gay-friendly business leaders; health, legal, and financial professionals; spiritual communities; and other LGBTI and LGBTI-supportive organizations! NOTE: Pride Guide Live is sponsored tonight by Pride Guide — FREE ADMISSION! October 17 – Vote Your Issues: GAAMC’s annual campaign to rock the LGBTI vote features you! Are you voting in the November election? Are you registered (this will be the last day you can send in your application to become a voter in NJ)? Why are you voting for the particular candidate in your district? Get your “purple” up and tell us how you rock the LGBTI vote in your town! October 24 – GAAMC’s own Andy Skurna hosts a new program about safe computing, including an explanation of the newest generation of cyber threats and the differences between viruses, trojans, root kits and other forms of “malware.” If you have a question you’d like answered, email it to Treasurer @ GAAMC.org and he’ll do his best to cover your topic. October 31 - GAAMC's Hallowe'en Social! Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, faeries, pagans and more, as well as those who love us, will be on hand to celebrate one of the most amazing holidays of the year. This will be a pot luck social, similar to Thanksgiving, so start thinking now about what spookily special dishes you would like to share with your GAAMC family! Coming Next Month! November 7 – The GAAMC Film Festival brings you a charming tale of love gone right, then wrong, then right, then wrong, then right in Wild About Harry. This darling of the independent film circuit features Tate Donovan as a newly sorta-out gay father of two teenage girls as they all come of age in the immediate post-Stonewall period of 1973. Bring a hanky…some of what goes on in the film still happens today! NOTE: Film Festival nights start at 7:00, with a discussion group immediately following the film. November 14 – We've got something special planned! Tell you what: Check out GAAMC.org for information on tonight's program and other future events! [Note: All programs and discussion groups are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, remember GAAMC.org has all the latest.]
October 2011 CHALLENGE Page 3
The Bulletin Board RU Pride, the GLBT group of Rutgers-Newark, invites all interested GLBT undergrads to the eighth annual Out for Undergraduate Business Conference (OUBC) September 30th thru October 1st in New York. Registration is $60; scholarships are available. For more information, send an e-mail to rupridenewark @ gmail.com. Paper Mill Playhouse has announced its upcoming Lavender Night series of events. Each event combines, for one low price, a ticket to a production at the playhouse with a pre-show cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception! Mark your calendars now for these upcoming shows: Disney's Newsies, the Musical, October 2nd; White Christmas, December 4th; Boeing Boeing, February 5th; Damn Yankees, March 25th; and Once on This Island, June 10th. For more information, contact Derek Alfano at DAlfano @ PaperMill.org. Hudson Pride Connections Center will start October with a bang! Their LGBT Festival and Parade, postponed due to Hurricane Irene, roars back to Jersey City on October 9th. And for those of you who can't wait that long, they present three performances of A Night at the Paradise Burlesque! This all-star revue is comes to the Center in Jersey City, with proceeds benefiting HPCC. Performances are Friday, October 7th, at 8:30, and Saturday, October 8th, at 8 and 10:30. For more information, go to CateringCowboy.com and click on " Pa r l o u r Pr o d u c t i o n s " . T t o o r d e r t i c k e t s , g o t o BrownPaperTickets.com, enter event number 193445. The George Street Playhouse hosts a Marriage Equality Party on October 20th, for the benefit of Garden State Equality! Your $50 ticket gets you a pre-show dinner with complimentary wine bar, a ticket for the new hit comedy It Shoulda Been You starring Tyne Daly and directed by David Hyde Pierce, and "wedding-themed goodies". To order tickets, or for more information, contact the playhouse at 732-856-2985 or at www.gsponline.org; when ordering, mention the coupon code "PRIDE". What do you get when you combine music, comedy, LGBT resources, food, drinks, and all the facilities a state of the art gym has to offer? You get Clubfest, hosted by the Pride Center of New Jersey! It all takes place starting 8 pm on October 22nd at The Club in Woodbridge! For more info or to order tickets, go to www.pridecenter.org. SAGE: Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders hosts a Women's "Fall Frolic" on Sunday, October 23rd, in New York City. The event kicks off at 3:30 with dance lessons in the salsa and the hustle, followed by a dance party featuring DJ NancyB and terrific raffle prizes! They'll even make it easy for you to find a dance partner! For more information or to purchase tickets, contact SAGE at 212-741-2247 or www.sageusa.org/womensdance. Activities, tours, hikes, picnics, trips, dinners, socials… It’s all on GayOutdoors.org (GO), an online national web-based organization for guys to plan events and participate in those scheduled gatherings. Online membership is free, but there is an annual fee to have access to post or host events. In the NJ/PA/NY area, GAAMC board member Ed Schell has posted plans for the following: October, a vineyard tour and wine tasting; November, a bolder field crossing hike at Hickory Run Park; and December, a holiday tour and lunch at Peddler’s Village. Any questions regarding the locally hosted events can be directed to Ed at sche357 @ aol.com.
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation invites you all to its Gala and Silent Auction on November 12th at 7:00 pm! This black tie optional event includes cocktails, a silent auction, dinner, and dancing. The place is the Maritime Parc at Liberty State Park in Jersey City! For more information, or to purchase tables, tickets, and advertising in the Gala Journal, contact Patrick Bocco, Director of Fundraising, at 732-246-0204, or online at pbocco @ hyacinth.org. NJ Buddies, in association with Outreach Angels, hosts a bus trip to Atlantic City on Sunday, November 13th! Your $33 ticket gets you not only the bus ride but also a continental breakfast and casino voucher! The bus leaves the A&P/K-Mart parking lot in Lodi at 9:00 a.m. (Casino and voucher amount to be announced on the bus.) All tickets must be paid for no later than November 1st. For more information, contact Brenda at 201-7971269. Outreach Angels is a non-profit volunteer group supplying basic needs to New Jersey residents living with HIV/AIDS. Donations are tax-deductible. Our Youth, the Jersey City-based organization which helps GLBT and straight youths from the ages of 15 to 21 in the New York/New Jersey area, is preparing a series of events to commemorate World AIDS Day this December. A World AIDS Day concert on December 1st, and a black tie gala on December 3rd is planned. More information at OurYouthNJ.org.
This Month's Contributors Jes Brosnan is a British Literature and Speech teacher at Parsippany Hills High School. She is the adviser for the school's Gay Straight Alliance which is in its first year of existence. Her passions include watching marathons of The Real Housewives, drinking good red wine, and taking her son Patrick to the zoo, though not necessarily in that order or at the same time. (pg. 10) Tim Horn, a resident of Asbury Park, is President and Editor-in-Chief of AIDSmeds.com, an online educational portal for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. He is also a volunteer for New Jersey Boxer Rescue (NJBoxerRescue.com), a 501(c)3 with 85 volunteers all over the state who work to rescue and re-home boxers. Tim and his partner, Peter, are the proud fathers of three rescued boxers — Buster, Lucky, and Yoda — and the boss of the pack, a onetime stray American Shorthaired cat named Feral Fawcett. (pg. 12) Tony Puma: A career in sales/marketing/advertising and public relations influences his poetry style: less abstract and more tothe-point. Degrees from New York University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. A member of various poetry groups including Italian-American Writers Association, Red Wheel Barrow Poets, Paulinskill Poetry Project, Poets House (NYC), South Mountain Poets, and Hudson Valley Poets-on- the-Loose. A view of life through the prism of poetry; seeing, hearing, and feeling, trying to capture emotions and relate them via words. (pg. 5) Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback are researchers and authors in the field of sexuality and civil rights whose articles have frequently appeared in Intelligence Report, the newsletter of the Southern Poverty Law Center. (pg. 13) Andy Skurna is the Treasurer of GAAMC and also serves as chairman of the Fundraising Committee. (pg.5) Bill Realman Stella writes Dancing To Architecture because writing about music is like dancing to architecture. He hosted the eclectic pop music show Highest Common Denominator on radio for six years (after twenty years of producing it in his mind) and will host it again. Bill began collecting music at age 4 when for each song he'd hear on the radio he'd ask his mom, "Do they have a record?" A record good enough to play on the radio remains a small miracle to this day. Bill will write, DJ, or promote for you. Requests, comments and suggestions welcome at bearealman @ gmail.com or visit http://HowToFindTheBestMusic.blogspot.com . (pg. 6, 11)
Page 4 CHALLENGE October 2011
Queer news from around the world President Barack Obama made an explicit appeal for gay rights in remarks at the United Nations. Obama told the leaders of UN member countries, "[N]o country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere." His call to protect the civil rights of gays and lesbians came in a section of his speech about empowering the world's citizens. (Washington Blade) Babs Casbar Siperstein, a leader in the fight for transgender rights, has been elected to the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Ms. Siperstein, a resident of Edison, New Jersey, became the first out trans person on the DNC in 2009. She was a Democratic donor for the past decade, a delegate to the 2004 national convention, and was vice-chair of the DNC's eastern regional caucus. (Advocate.com) Wisconsin Representative Tammy Baldwin (D) announced she is a candidate for the US Senate, pledging to fight for Wisconsin's middle-class families. Baldwin would be the first openly LGBT American to serve in the Senate. "I've been honest about my sexual orientation my entire adult life," Baldwin said, adding that she believes the election will be about the people of Wisconsin, not her personal life. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Iowa Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal (D) has stated he will once again block attempts to pass a constitutional amendment to end marriage equality in Iowa, despite the risk to his political career. "I'm not going to put discrimination into the state's constitution," Gronstal said. Anti-gay activists have vowed to defeat him in his bid for reelection. (Houston Chronicle) A $2.2 million federal grant given to the Iowa Family Policy Center, meant to be used for marriage counseling, was partially spent on the group's efforts to prevent marriage equality in the state. According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the grant helped pay for rent, telecommunications expenses and salaries of five employees. The grant's budget was approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. (Houston Chronicle) The repeal of the federal law that mandated the "don't ask, don't tell" policy went into effect September 20th, ending the military's longstanding ban on openly gay and lesbian troops. Celebrations marked the event in communities across the U.S. "Emotionally and politically it's a big change for everybody. But on the ground, the way we live our lives, we're all just going to move on," said Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, who co-founded the group OutServe under the pseudonym J.D. Smith. Hundreds of U.S. military personnel discharged under the policy have indicated they'd like to return to military service when the ban on openly gay troops ends this month, though military officials say they won't get preferential treatment. (New York Times) Lawyers for the Log Cabin Republicans say a pending federal court case over the constitutionality of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy should go forward even though the mili-
tary's ban on openly gay troops is set to end in several weeks. Dan Woods, an attorney representing Log Cabin, told a court this week that while the policy will end under President Barack Obama, future presidents could seek to reinstate it absent a final ruling on whether it is constitutional. (Metro Weekly, DC) The trial of former Army Lt. Dan Choi for failure to obey a lawful order by a police officer was halted when the federal prosecutor told the court she intended to file a writ of mandamus (or writ of prohibition) against Judge John Facciola. Facciola allowed Choi's defense team to investigate and pursue a defense of vindictive prosecution for actions related to Choi's First Amendment rights. That allows Choi's lawyers to ask for more documents and evidence to determine if and why higher-level officials advised their subordinates to try Choi in federal court rather than DC court. (Metro Weekly, DC) An off-duty District of Columbia police officer has been arrested after allegedly firing his service weapon at a group of transgender women during an altercation. One person sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Area groups including the D.C. Trans Coalition and Transgender Health Empowerment say they're fed up with police treatment of the transgender community. (Washington Blade) New York City's health department has reported about one in five transgender women in New York City have had potentially life-threatening silicone injections in a bid to look more feminine. Transwomen who turn to so-called pumpers for the illegal injections either don't have medical insurance or sufficient funds to cover the cosmetic surgery's cost, which can reach $70,000. "Pumpers are preying on desperate people who are poor," said Pauline Park, president of Queens Pride House. "They're basically killing people and profiting from it." (New York Times) The Social Security Administration has decided to end a policy of alerting employers when gender markers on employees' W-2 forms do not match their Social Security records. More than 700,000 of the letters were sent in 2010, endangering transgender workers and risking their jobs. The White House said it welcomed the move. (Metro Weekly, Washington, DC) Australia will allow its transgender citizens to choose either a male or female gender designation on passports, as long as a doctor agrees, and intersex individuals will be allowed to choose "X" for indeterminate, under new guidelines issued this week. "This amendment makes life easier and significantly reduces the administrative burden for sex and gender diverse people who want a passport that reflects their gender and physical appearance," said Kevin Rudd, Australia's foreign minister. (CBS News) Michigan state Representative Tom Hooker (R) wants to make sure that state taxpayers do not foot the bill for gender assignment surgeries prisoners need as part of their treatment. Hooker admits he knows of no prisoner who has had gender reassignment surgery, but explained, “It’s definitely something we want to prevent.” Equality Michigan, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, quickly condemned Hooker’s proposal. A similar Wisconsin bill was struck down as unconstitutional. (MichiganMessenger.com) (Continued on page 9)
October 2011 CHALLENGE Page 5
Shopped for a Cause by Andy Skurna
I am a SHOPPER! I take bargain hunting to an art form…almost a vocation. When I pull up to my local Macy’s armed with a shopping list, my Shop For A Cause (SFAC) shopping pass, and my Macy’s Red Star Rewards credit card — look out! This year was no exception. Save for my addiction to sports shirts, I don’t usually shop for things I don’t need. That would be foolish and wasteful. But I had plenty of notice when SFAC was taking place, and was even granted a make-up date when hurricane Irene dampened the shopping spirit. I was looking to purchase a new mattress pad and a set of sheets, and I could use some fresh towels. Being a picky gay man, I was looking for quality — none of that icky poly-cotton blend stuff for me! (Mixed fabrics are one Leviticus abomination I can say “Amen” to. But I digress.)
With the stealth of a jaguar I pounced on my prey, leaving other bargain hunters stunned by my swift, precise skills. Seriously, I had one of the sales counters mounded to the point they had to move customers to another register. (Hey, is it my fault they don’t have shopping carts?) The mattress pad I selected online was sold out, but I was able to find a much better quality choice that was marked down by 50%. My SFAC pass lowered the price an additional 25% (net discount 62.5%.) I found the sheet set I had selected online in the exact size and color I wanted. Lucky me, it was already marked down by 60% (even more than their website indicated). My SFAC pass lowered the price another 25%, bringing the net discount to 70%. Now my adrenaline was pumping and I was out to bag a really big score. We all know how expensive towels can be, right? Well, not this day — nay, nay. I found several high quality options from the Martha Stewart collection already marked down by as much as 65%. Even these items received the SFAC treatment, lowering my price to a staggering 74% off regular prices for bath towels and nearly 78% off on washcloths.
Overall, the “regular” prices would have totaled $237. Because I shopped during a national sale, and was not too proud to check out the items I’ll share with you the details on clearance, my pre-SFAC subGAAMC has had the good fortune of participating in of my hunt so that next year, total was $99.19. My Shop For Macy’s Shop For A Cause events since they began. when we participate in SFAC, A Cause shopping pass saved me Our participation has helped us raise much needed an additional $24.79, plus an you’ll have some tips and tricks funds, which in turn support our programs and allow to help you bag the big one! extra $1.74 in NJ sales tax — us to keep from raising the prices on door admissions about $26.50. However, had I First, I studied the terrain and and membership dues. So as GAAMC’s treasurer and not had the SFAC event as my a member of the Fundraising Committee, I say, my prey by checking out reason to shop that day, I Macys.com to see what was on "Thank you, Macy’s!" — Andy Skurna probably would have purchased sale and what was marked those same items on some down for clearance. Since I other day, for only 20% or 25% off regular prices. As I see knew what I was looking for, that took only a few minutes. it, my $5 investment saved me at least an additional $100 Then, armed to the max, I set out on safari. to $125. Upon arriving at Macy’s I parked near the entrance, with the trunk facing the building in case I needed to offload my big game. The doors magically parted as I approached, thanks to the Anonymous Gentleman who held them for me. (He could probably see the killer instinct in my eyes.) With the focus of a shark I locked onto some blood red price tags.
When the woman checking out next to me heard my sales associate say that my total was $79.61 as she handed me four giant shopping bags, her jaw dropped and she asked, “How did you do that?” Tipping my pith helmet, I replied, “Macy’s Shop For A Cause, that’s how.”
by Tony Puma
Seeking employment in the field of development/ fund-raising, emphasis on event planning. Experienced professional looking for work in New Jersey or Manhattan. Contact Allen at 908-252-9303.
I walk a fog-shrouded street. A train screams in fright misty eyes spy down from street light. Subway grumbles beneath. A car bleats a forlorn ‘A’, buildings sweating grey. As I taste the humid heat, a damp cat darts out of the alley, anxious foot-steps behind me. © T. Puma / 2011
To rent: First floor of furnished Dover house: bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath, laundry. Driveway. $1200/month +utilities. Call Sue at 908-581-0098. For sale: Large selection of male porn video tapes (VHS format), individually or lots. For more information, please contact James at (973) 482-0632. For Sale: contents of home. Items include LR, DR, and BR furniture, traditional style armoire, 4 bookcases, kitchen supplies, microwave, 2 year old fridge, more. October 7 & 8; call 973-627-1534 for address and hours.
Page 6 CHALLENGE October 2011
Dancing To Architecture™
Music Reviews & News With A Queer Ear by Bill Realman Stella This month: As many recent albums as will fit, including a lightning round at the end.
Q WILD FLAG ~ WILD FLAG Starting in 1999 I learned to stop being an old fart about women who rock. Punk Rock women were the best teachers. They blew the cobwebs off my ears. So many great female Punk Rock bands — often lesbian — pushed away my ingrained notions of "a woman's place," of talent and ability. By 2005 Sleater-Kinney's The Woods claimed my favorite album of the year spot — and the best Rock album of the decade. After a 2006 tour that promoted The Woods to a career-high success, Sleater-Kinney split up to pursue new interests. At last comes a successor: Wild Flag. They're an all-star team: SleaterKinney's lead guitarist and co-songwriter Carrie Brownstein and master drummer Janet Weiss, plus Helium's guitarist/songwriter Mary Timony and keyboardist Rebecca Cole from The Minders. The album opens with "Romance" and a guitar/keyboard riff that sure says "Hello! Listen to me!" (It may be the best ring tone ever.) A taut, antsy group vocal pulls elements together into a sing-along chorus which comes around again as a hand-clapping, crowdunifying, fist-pumping high. Sample lyrics: "We dance to free ourselves from the room", "Sound is the blood between me and you." It transports band and fans together to a whole new place. Other high points: How "Glass Tambourine" finds a happy place between Golden Earring's "Radar Love" pop and a bluesy bar band; tensions built and exploded on "Boom"; "Electric Band"'s Arena Rock declarations; the contrast between the swampy guitar and the crooned "ooo"s on "Future Crimes." Be bold: Grab hold and fly your own WILD FLAG
WU LYF: World Unite - Lucifer Youth Foundation ~ Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
their name when it's fully unpacked, it feels all right to collapse it all into the sounds "woo life" for a convenient shorthand. They have great rock and roll style. Powerful, energetic, noisy — and it's about something, it's about its point of view. Unlike so much contemporary rock and roll, it doesn't opt for a well-worn path. It punches with both fists. Hell, it also kickboxes with both feet and body slams its opponent onto the mat. Take "Dirt." "Dirt" is the best new Rock & Roll recording of 2011. And that video! In the first two seconds alone, dozens of images flash by, too strong to be subliminal, too fast to be certain what you've witnessed. Brilliant. If I hadn't lived through several decades of posing realitychecks against my gut instincts, I'd just go hyper and state without qualification: This song, this band, will be huge. This space would just be filled with over-the-top raves. I could hype it as "The best Rock album since T…" or "The best new band since N…" But that would be unfair to them — and to you. Forget that, and just listen to WU LYF, to the entire album Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, but especially to "Dirt". Truth to tell, I don't imagine "Dirt" will burn up the charts — not this year, not unless some promotional force, like its use in a soundtrack, supercharges its slow underground spread over the past few months. It's easier to surmise what songs will be pop hits. As I type, the biggest-selling CD (Remember those?) in the land is Tony Bennett's Duets II, largely on the strength of the phenomenal chemistry on a brand new recording of "The Lady Is A Tramp" with Lady Gaga. Only days after it was recorded, those listening to a certain radio show learned about the pairing; I burst into gleeful laughter when I heard. The anticipation paid off: It's adorable, it's high-spirited, it's a confirmation of Gaga's real singing talents and Bennett's still-potent abilities at 85. But no matter who's singing with him or how hard it swings, it's not Rock and Roll. Let's take a moment to remember "You don't know what you got till it's gone," to ask not for mere nostalgic revivals of Rock styles, but to ask what new energy is injecting itself into Rock and instilling it anew with its potency. Recently R.E.M. announced its break-up. Few bands have the opportunities R.E.M. had, but they exemplify those that moved from cult band to sold-out arena successes only after a decade of growth and struggle in the trenches. One imagines and hopes for a similar future for WU LYF. Based on their aspirational sound and attitude, and great self-promotions, WU LYF have everything they need at the start of a big career.
One word: Phenomenal. Some more words: This could be big. Please experience the music and watch the video for "Dirt" from Go Tell Fire To The Mountain before Now they need fans. Now they need you. r e a d i n g a n y f u r t h e r, i f y o u c a n . ( Tr y http://youtu.be/-l5tM_Za1cE) Listen to the Next Wave crashing to shore. If you hunger "You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more striking and immediate sound this year; church- (Plenty of live for a taste of performance groundbreaking recorded drums, raspy almost-intelligible lyrics..." - Listenbeforeyoubuy.net videos of WU Ro c k , a f t e r LY F a r e a t listening to and YouTube, and watching that, the band has there's only one its own chanFirst Thought: nels at DAMN. I'm at a youtube.com loss for words. /user/trublu loveu and at Then read this review from the Vimeo at start again for vimeo.com Thoughts 2 & 3. /user2932218 ) "WU LYF". Despite the unwieldiness of
(Continued on page 11)
October 2011 CHALLENGE Page 7
October 2011 Calendar
Recurring Contact Information
* Hackensack Peer Support Groups: 800-508-7577; www.njbuddies.org † Pride Center, Highland Park: 732-846-2232; www.pridecenter.org ‡ Hudson Pride Connections Center: 201-963-4779; HudsonPride.org λ LGBT Center Rainbow Lounge, Princeton: www.princeton.edu/lgbt ♦ Jersey Shore Q-Spot, Asbury Park: www.jsqspot.org Monday – Friday 9:00 am to 11:00 am - The Daily Grind, Princetonλ 9:00 am to 1:00 pm - HIV testing, Asbury Park; 800-947-0020 10:00 am to 5:00 pm - HiTOPS Health Center, Princeton; www.hitops.org; 609-683-5155 x 211 Every Monday 10:30 am - The Wellness Community, Newark; 973-565-0300; info @ hyacinth.org 7:00 pm - GAAMC, Morristown (See page 2) 7:00 pm - Bowling, Union; merenl @ comcast.net 7:30 pm - S.E.L.F. HIV Men’s support group, Hackensack* 7:30 pm - New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus choir practice, Princeton; 609-396-7774; www.njgmc.org 7:30 pm - Overeaters Anonymous, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Stitch n B*tch, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Bowling, Green Brook; qcrollers @ aol.com Every Tuesday 12:30 pm - The Wellness Community, Newark; 973-565-0300; info @ hyacinth.org 4:00 pm - Treatment Adherence Support Group, Jersey City; 201-432-1134; info @ hyacinth.org 6:00 pm - Transview, Jersey City‡ 7:30 pm - Tuesday Night Lesbian Connection, Bound Brook; 908-791-3764 7:30 pm - Men’s HIV support group, Asbury Park; 732-775-5084; apstillpoz @ yahoo.com 7:30 pm - Positive Yoga, Hackensack* 8:45 pm - Bowling, Belleville; 973-256-5936; NJGLB @ aol.com 9:00 pm - Bowling, Jersey City; 201-933-6028; JoeyNJ @ aol.com 9:15 pm - Bowling, Edison; 732-548-4550; cnjgbl @ yahoo.com
Every Wednesday 10:30 am - The Wellness Community, Jersey City; 201-432-1134; info @ hyacinth.org 2:00 pm - "Generation Q", WRSU 88.7 FM; wrsu.org 6:00 pm - Positive People peer support group, Hackensack* 7:30 pm - Men’s Living Out group, Highland Park; njwarrior @ aol.com† 7:30 pm - Gay Men’s Coming Out group, Highland Park; pdumpert @ gmail.com† Every Thursday 11:30 am - Living Beyond, Jersey City‡ 6:00 pm - Our Youth weekly support group, Jersey City; www.myspacenj.org 6:30 pm - Double Jeopardy peer support group, Hackensack* 7:00 pm - Sexual Assault Survivor Support, Princeton; www.hitops.org 7:00 pm - Weigh-Lez, Asbury Park♦ 7:30 pm - Rainbows on Cleveland Street, Orange; 973-256-5936; rbowsoncleveland @ aol.com 7:30 pm - Writers group, Highland Park† Every Friday 3:00 pm - Youth Connect, Jersey City‡ 3:00 pm - C.R.A.V.E., Jersey City‡ Every Sunday 10:45 am - MCC of Christ the Liberator, Highland Park; mccliberator @ excite.com† Noon - St. Francis of Assisi Church, Glen Ridge; 973-731-7765; stfrancisnj.org 2:30 pm - Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church, Newark; 973-621-2100 5:30 pm - Central Jersey Rainbows Bowling League, Bradley Beach; CJRBowling @ gmail.com
01 Sat Noon - JC Artist Studio Tour, Jersey City‡ 2:30 pm - First and Third for GLBTI youth, Princeton; 609-683-5155; www.HiTOPS.org
7:30 pm - LGBT Fellowship, Belleville; 973-751-0616
02 Sun Noon - JC Artist Studio Tour, Jersey City‡ 12:30 pm - Women Over 50 Softball Game, South River♦ 4:00 pm - Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-509-0118; Dignitymetronj @ msn.com 6:30 pm - Gay Men’s Opera Club; 732-249-9034; hagol @ msn.com
06 Thu Noon - Discussion, "New Queer Latino Writing", Princetonλ 7:00 pm - Discussion, "Sonia Sotomayor: An American Life After Multiculturalism", Princetonλ 7:30 pm - Coffee Night, Edison; njlgh.onefireplace.com 7:30 pm - Gay Educators Group, Highland Park†
03 Mon 7:00 pm - Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer, New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; slirzero @ umdnj.edu 7:00 pm - Lesbian Hot Topics, Asbury Park♦ 8:00 pm - Young Men's Social Network, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Young Women's Social Network, Highland Park†
07 Fri 4:30 pm - Under the Rainbow, Highland Park† 6:30 pm - "Marriage Is So Gay!" celebration, Ramapo College, Ramapo 7:00 pm - Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 7:30 pm - Chillfest Film Festival, Outrage, Jersey City‡ 7:30 pm - Karaoke Party, Highland Park† 8:30 pm - A Night at the Paradise Burlesque, Jersey City‡ (See Bulletin Board, pg. 3)
04 Tue 6:00 pm - Gay Pride Business Network, New Brunswick; www.gpbn.net 7:00 pm - ComeOUT & Play, Highland Park† 7:00 pm - GLBT of Hunterdon County of NJ, Clinton; www.glbtofhunterdoncountyofnj.com matthewl @ student.fdu.edu
05 Wed 7:30 pm - Gay Dad’s discussion group, Highland Park†
08 Sat 1:00 pm - Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 7:00 pm - Movie Social, Highland Park†
Page 8 CHALLENGE October 2011 08 Sat 7:30 pm - Dignity New Brunswick gay Catholic liturgy; 732968-9263; dignitynb @ earthlink.net 8:00 pm - A Night at the Paradise Burlesque, Jersey City‡ (See Bulletin Board, pg. 3) 10:30 pm - A Night at the Paradise Burlesque, Jersey City‡ (see Bulletin Board, pg. 3) 09 Sun 11:00 am - Hudson Pride Festival & Parade, Jersey City‡ (See Bulletin Board, pg. 3) 11:00 am - Sukkah-Building brunch; njlgh.onefireplace.com 2:00 pm - House party, Elmwood Park; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 6:00 pm - Gay Men’s Classical Song Club, Kingston; pbrown02 @ worldnet.att.net 10 Mon 6:30 pm - HIV Testing, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Morris County, Mendham; 973-727-5288; pflag.morris @ verizon.net 7:30 pm - PFLAG, Princeton; 609-663-5155; www.pflagprinceton.org 7:30 pm - So You Think You Can't Write!, Highland Park† 8:30 pm - Highland Park Democratic Committee, Highland Park† 11 Tue 7:30 pm - Bisexual Social Support Group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PCNJ Board of Trustees meeting, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Yoga for Men, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - AVER-American Vets for Equal Rights, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Awareness Week keynote address, Princetonλ 8:00 pm - Men's Social Night, Highland Park† 12 Wed 6:00 pm - Gay Pride Business Network, Asbury Park; www.gpbn.net 6:00 pm - Queering the Color Line family dinner, Princetonλ 6:30 pm - North Jersey Prime Timers' monthly meetup, Little Falls; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 9:00 pm - Dine with Pride, Metuchen ; jennifer.horsey @ cit.com 13 Thu Noon - Booked for Lunch, Highland Park† 6:30 pm - Volunteer orientation, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm - Qspot Book Club, Point Pleasant♦ 7:30 pm - PFLAG of North Jersey, South Orange; 908-789-7489; pflagwaver @ aol.com 7:30 pm - Alternate Thursdays, Montclair; kjdinkin @ comcast.net 7:30 pm - AVER-Veterans and Friends Group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Gay Educators Group, Highland Park† 14 Fri 7:30 pm - United People Positive, Highland Park† 15 Sat 2:30 pm - First and Third for GLBTI youth, Princeton; 609-683-5155; www.HiTOPS.org 7:00 pm - Rainbow Bowling, Bradley Beach; 732-774-4540 7:00 pm - NJ Gay Film Society & Potluck Dinner Club, location TBA; gayfilms @ bigfoot.com 7:00 pm - Games Night + Dessert, Highland Park† 16 Sun 1:00 pm - Oktoberfest "Wurst" brunch, Asbury Park♦ 4:00 pm - Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-509-0118; Dignitymetronj @ msn.com 4:00 pm - TrueSelves trans support group, Highland Park† 4:30 pm - Torah Queeries, Highland Park† 17 Mon 7:00 pm - Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer,
New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; slirzero @ umdnj.edu 7:00 pm - Lesbian Hot Topics, Asbury Park♦ 7:30 pm - LGBT Activist Forum, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Young Men's Social Network, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Young Women's Social Network, Highland Park† 18 Tue 4:30 pm - Q'nnect launch dinner, Princetonλ 7:00 pm - ComeOUT & Play, Highland Park† 7:00 pm - Pride Center Players, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Lesbian Alliance of Princeton; 609-924-8174; Loisj @ msn.com 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Hunterdon County, Flemington; 908-752-1370; pflaghc @ yahoo.com 8:00 pm - PFLAG of Bergen County, Paramus; 201-287-0318; www.bergenpflag.org 8:00 pm - NJ Women, Secaucus; info @ njwomen.org 19 Wed 7:00 pm - TGLCA monthly meeting, Trenton; tglca.com 7:30 pm - United in Grace discussion/support group, Jersey City; 201-946-0650; greg.perez @ comcast.net 8:00 pm - Havurah board meeting, Edison; njlgh.onefireplace.com 20 Thu 6:30 pm - Pride planning meeting, Jersey City‡ 6:30 pm - Hibachi dinner, Florham Park; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 7:00 pm - GAAMC board meeting, Morristown; All GAAMC members are invited to attend. 7:00 pm - GLSEN Training, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - NJ Women Coming Out Support Group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Northwest NJ, Sparta; 973-729-9909 21 Fri 7:00 pm - Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 7:00 pm - NJ Furries Art Workshop, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Support Group for Parents of LGBTIQ Youth/Young Adults, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Dignity New Brunswick social; 732-968-9263; dignitynb @ earthlink.net 8:00 pm - Out of the Box open mic night, Highland Park (sign-up begins 7:30); outoftheboxinfo @ mac.com 22 Sat 1:00 pm - Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 2:00 pm - Youth Support Group, Highland Park† 7:00 pm - Gay Bowling, Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park; 732-776-6160 7:30 pm - Men's Potluck Dinner, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Clubfest, Woodbridge (See Bulletin Board, pg. 3) 24 Mon 6:00 pm - Pride dinner, Princetonλ 26 Wed 6:00 pm - Gay Pride Business Network, Asbury Park; www.gpbn.net 7:30 pm - To Kill a Mockingbird, Madison; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 28 Fri 1:00 pm - Women With Voices, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm - Rock Hero, Highland Park† 29 Sat 7:00 pm - Masquerade Party, Jersey City‡ 31 Mon 8:30 pm - Meditation Group, Highland Park†
October 2011 CHALLENGE Page 9
(Continued from page 4) Arthur Evans, author and activist, died at the age of 68 in San Francisco from a massive heart attack. Evans was involved with a number of gay and progressive groups, including the Freethinkers Society, the Gay Activists Alliance, the Gay Liberation Front, Bay Area Gay Liberation, the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club, and precursor groups to Act Up/SF. Evans also took part in anti-war protests in 1968 at Columbia University and at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. As a writer, Evans' best-known works were the scholarly books Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978) and Critique of Patriarchal Reason (1997) and the play The God of Ecstasy, based on Euripides' The Bacchae. (The Petrelis Files, mpetrelis.blogspot.com) Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Ware has ruled that the footage of a live video feed of the federal trial over the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 last year can be made public. Lawyers representing the winning side in the case say video tapes of the trial should be released to the public. Those who support Prop 8, which ended marriage equality in California, contend Judge Vaughn Walker promised that video of the testimony would not be made public. Attorneys for those opposed to their release plan to appeal the decision. (San Francisco Chronicle; Reuters) The California state Legislature passed an anti-bullying measure named for Seth Walsh, a California teen who hung himself after enduring anti-gay bullying at school. The bill was signed by Governor Jerry Brown (D). The bill was sponsored by openly gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D), who praised his fellow lawmakers. (Bakersfield Californian) A mistrial has been declared in a case involving a teenager who shot his classmate in a California school in 2008, as jurors were unable to reach a verdict. Brandon McInerny was 14 when he killed Larry King, an openly gay teen who, according to defense attorneys, habitually tried to make classmates uncomfortable and had provoked McInerny the day before the murder by asking, "What's up, baby?" (Los Angeles Times) Tarrant County College in Texas is being sued for turning away a qualified teaching candidate because administrators perceived her to be a lesbian. Jacqueline Gill, hired as a temporary instructor in August 2009, was falsely accused of flirting with girls during class by a student. The college, English department chair Eric Devlin, and division dean of humanities Antonio Howell are claimed to have violated the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause by refusing to interview her for a permanent position. (Advocate.com) A gay Illinois couple who was refused accommodation by two bed and breakfast establishments while searching for a venue to celebrate their legal union has decided to sue the businesses for violating the state's Human Rights Act. Lawyers for the owners say they're protected under a different state law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Legal experts say it's unclear which law trumps the other. (Chicago Tribune) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Arizona cannot rescind benefits for domestic partners and children of state employees. The Court stated, "The state is correct in asserting that state employees and their families are not constitutionally entitled to health benefits. But when a state chooses to provide such benefits, it may not do so in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner that adversely affects
particular groups that may be unpopular." The judges also said that Arizona can't try to get around this by saying that it is denying benefits to all domestic partners, heterosexual and gay, noting that while heterosexual domestic partners can save their benefits by getting married, "The Arizona Constitution … prohibits same-sex couples from doing so." (Arizona Republic) Michigan's House of Representatives approved a measure that would forbid public employers in the state from offering domestic partner benefits to their workers. Proponents said the law would enforce the will of the state's voters, who in 2004 approved an amendment to the Michigan constitution banning marriage equality. LGBT advocates called the effort "punishing." (MichiganMessenger.com) The Judiciary Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed legislation that would end marriage equality in New Hampshire and replace it with civil unions. The full House will not be able to vote on the measure until next year. Representative Gregory Sorg (R) said that while the effects of allowing gays and lesbians to marry may not be apparent now, ill effects could manifest themselves for generations to come. (The Union-Leader, Manchester, NH) The North Carolina Legislature has passed a bill that would ask voters to decide next May whether the state constitution should be amended to forbid same-sex couples from marrying. Proponents said the process would allow voters to have the final say on the issue, but LGBT advocates countered that it is never proper to allow the majority to vote on the civil rights of a minority group. (The News & Record, Greensboro) Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud issued sharply worded statements after GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he would reinstate "don't ask, don't tell." Santorum, speaking at a debate among several GOP presidential hopefuls, was responding to a question from Stephen Hill, a gay soldier stationed in Iraq, who asked whether candidates would "circumvent the progress" made by gay and lesbian troops. Some in the debate audience booed Hill after he asked his question via video. (TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com) Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has become the first Republican co-sponsor of a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. "Her support reminds us that the march to repeal the discriminatory DOMA is not a partisan issue. ... [T]he drive to end DOMA is — and must be — a collective, nonpartisan effort that unites Americans behind a simple push for equality," said Representative Jerrold Nadler (DNY), the original sponsor of the legislation known as the Respect for Marriage Act. (Advocate.com) The United Kingdom's coalition government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron (Conservative), will work to legalize marriage for same-sex couples by 2015. Currently, gays and lesbians can enter into "civil partnerships," and houses of worship are forbidden from holding same-sex ceremonies. (Daily Mail, London, UK) Britain's Liberal Democratic Party has chosen Brian Paddick, a gay man, to stand as their party's choice for mayor of London. Paddick once served as the Metropolitan Police's deputy assistant commissioner. He will face Ken Livingstone of the Labor Party, and current Mayor Boris Johnson, a Conservative. (PinkPaper.com)
Page 10 CHALLENGE October 2011
The Masks We Wear by Jes Brosnan
We’re smack-dab in the middle of the season that encourages us to hide our true identity and adopt an alterego. We employ the use of scissors, glue, thread — and if all else fails, our credit card — in the quest for costumed perfection. We can choose to make ourselves “manlier” (Superman), riskier (Lady Gaga), or sexier (sexy maid, sexy pirate, sexy gerbil. You get the picture.) Whatever the costume, we feel no sense of shame, not even as a sexy gerbil, because we picked the costume ourselves. Our disguise is our own creation, based on the things that we want. It's something we're all too willing to do, some of us even logging hours of "constructive" time towards, well, constructing our perfect version of self. However, in the real world the masks we wear reflect what we think society expects of us. My mother wore a mask for the first fourteen years of my life. She and my father were both brought up in Catholic households in the middle of a town that was stuck in a 1950s time warp. There were distinctly separate roles that my mother and father played in the house. Dad didn’t cook, didn’t do the laundry and didn’t show emotion (other than being pissed, entitled, miffed or a mixture of all three). Those were the woman’s jobs, all of which Mom completed with perfection. However I always knew that there was a flaw in her performance, a rip in the fabric of her costume of modern housewife. Where was her desire to wear a dress, gossip with the other mothers in the neighborhood about asinine topics, and wear the wretched electric blue eyeshadow of the 80s with a complete lack of shame? It seemed odd to me that I had my own makeup kit (hello fluorescent pink lipstick!) but Mom had none. Two bottles, one containing perfume and the other nail polish, were clearly on display on her dresser, but neither were used — I could tell by the way the perfume level always stayed the same until I stole a spray or how the polish began to separate in its old age. It was for display. An attitude of “See, I am what a woman should be. I have the stuff to prove it.” These things were accoutrements to her costume of a “real woman.” However this mask pulled a disappearing act during my freshman year of high school. That was the year that Mom moved out of the house and later came out as a lesbian. For some reason the nail polish and perfume didn’t survive the move to her new condo. She finally broke free of the “expected” and didn’t need to disguise herself anymore. Now I needed a mask. Cue my costume: uber-Catholic girl who is completely disgusted by the concept of homosexuality. None of this was true of course. I didn’t particularly like going to church, nor did I find anything wrong with homosexuality. However my teen peers weren’t so open-minded and I suddenly found myself the target of their ridicule. So I marched into my church and volunteered to do readings at Sunday masses. This would be a very public declaration of my anti-gayness without me having to say that I wasn’t actually opposed to being gay. It seemed to work. Each Sunday I would walk up the aisle of the church at my designated time, bow ceremoniously at the foot of the altar, and start the ascent to the pulpit rising high above the congregation. My
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placement in regard to the rest of the church was also a part of my costume. They had no choice but to look up instead of down at me. However all disguises that are worn too long cease to fit. The nail polish separates and is “lost” in the move to a new life or, in my case, the pedestal where I stood ceased to support my actual beliefs. Civil unions and gay marriage had just been presented on the floor of Vermont’s legislature and every Sunday turned into an opportunity for the priest to sing the praises of marriage “as God intended.” I sat below the priest and listened to him week after week denounce my mother without actually mentioning her by name. Eventually, I found that I began to trudge up to the altar each week instead of walking towards it with purpose. The mask had outlived its original purpose; I left behind my childhood church and my willingness to fashion my belief system around the standards of others. People might argue that my mask was less risky to take off than my mother’s. Taking mine off didn’t open me up to hatred, just taunting. However nothing is gained from minimizing the struggles of others. Recognizing that all of us struggle with the need to masquerade as “the norm” is a step in the direction of recognizing our common humanity, regardless of sexual orientation. I’d like to tell you that in honor of the importance of self-confidence, I’ll be dressing up as myself this Halloween, but I’m not. I’m going as Cleopatra. What? It’s better than a sexy gerbil.
October 2011 CHALLENGE Page 11
Dancing To Architecture™ (Continued from page 6)
Joy Kills Sorrow ~ This Unknown Science
This Unknown Science is utterly alchemical. A spell spun by untethered mandolins and banjos? Absurd. But on this, the second album by Joy Kills Sorrow, the alchemical is real. These musicians have hit upon an unknown, a gestalt of collaboration that skips over the mundane to a heightened existence. Only fair to credit Emma Beaton: cello,concert bass drum, backing vocals; Jacob Jolliff: mandolin, mandola; Matt Arcara: guitars; Wes Corbett: banjos, concert bass drum, backing vocals; and, first among equals, Bridget Kearney: bass, piano, organ and lead vocals, as well as composer or co-composer on all songs but one. Yes, all are very skillful instrumentalists, and write inspired songs with lyrical magic. All instruments contribute to the arrangements. All that is true. But one is free to delight beyond the factual in this unpredictable experience. Every song has its own awesome characteristics; a few examples: "Reservations" has surprising chordal harmonies at many turns. One might not notice the subtle tempo shifts on "Wouldn't Have Noticed." "Eli" buzzes with the energy of life, the pure connection between living beings. "One More Night" — catchy as herpes as it is — must be bound to be a soulful hit record for some pop-singer. And, by being unlike anything else on the album, "Somewhere Over The Atlantic" leaves me breathless, as it leaves almost everything that ties the band to Bluegrass aside but the instruments, employed in a gorgeous, sparse manner to evoke the fatalistic acceptance of the song. JKS employs "dissonance" so beautifully it makes me cry. They already have the attention of contemporary Folk and Bluegrass aficionados, but take it from me, someone with a limited patience for any one form: Whatever genre you prefer, This Unknown Science is a very special album for music lovers, period.
Q Melissa Ferrick ~ Still Right Here
Acoustic guitar avalanches aren't unknown to Ferrick's followers. Neither is propulsive percussion. But Still Right Here has a vibrancy and an intensity even Ferrick has rarely demonstrated on a recording before. About this set Ferrick says, "I really tried to sing my ass off. I wanted it to sound like it was all happening in the room at the same time." I've been at her shows, and Still Right Here does capture their excitement. Vocals are brighter than ever, too. "Headphones On" roars with a fiery intensity for a selfmedicating quality. Powers that be should require it be sold with every iPod. Heck, why most everyone doesn't already have Ferrick songs in their collections is beyond my ken. Released on Rachel Sage's MPress Records, Still Right Here is as solid a set as NOTHING YOU HAVEN'T BEEN THROUGH YOURSELF. Ferrick has IT'S JUST LIFE. LIFE HURTS. AND YOU CAN'T FIX ME. ever released. I'M THE ONE THAT'S GOTTA LIVE WITH ME. Pick up your SO I'M DISAPPEARING INTO SYNCOPATED BEATS AND own copy. You MY TROUBLES DISSIPATE AND I START TO FEEL RELIEF. deserve it. GIVE ME TEARS STREAMING DOWN MY FACE And so does GIVE ME SOUND RATTLING MY TEETH. GIVE ME SOUND TO ERASE MY DEFEAT. she. I PUT MY HEADPHONES ON — AND I FEEL MY FEET. ~MELISSA FERRICK, "HEADPHONES ON"
The Handcuffs ~ Waiting For The Robot
Chloe Orwell and Brad Elvis seamlessly lock onto each other like a married couple who know each other's dark secrets. If they're hitched, they ain't telling. The Handcuffs draw from all of Glam Rock. "Come On Venus" evokes T-Rex so well it's uncomfortably close to stealing. "Dirty Glitter" could be a Gary Glitter Bside. Is that a Runaways riff there, or Slade? Is that a Mick Ronsonproduced Bowie homage? Is "Eight Down" lifted from Mott The Hoople? And after the shift to the decadent side of Blondie, did it really dovetail into a Black Sabbath-cum-acid-rock coda? Man, for a band that wears their influences on their sleeves, they sure know how to reconstitute the original materials for maximum freshness and fun. Orwell's "vocal stylings ooze sex and scorch. She can slide from a corduroy growl to a shimmering silky sigh in a Detroit second." Elvis "is a four-handed drummer whose manic-panic style paints a 747 jet rhythm" on everything Handcuffian. "Vinyl Isabella," an almost-homage to Jayne County, name-checks "queers" and "gay boys": "Isabella wears his high heels high / She tells the truth in between the white lies / He'll go along if you pay her fare / The belle of the balls with the bombshell hair / Isabella gets the straight boys uptight … / She makes the straight boys uptight / … Vinyl Isabella's gonna steal my man" (and, the BEST rhyme:) "Loves all the mirrors and cameras / all the queers and fanszas." That's right, Miss Thing! On "Everybody Waves Hello", Chloe repeats "Everybody / had a good time / for the first time / in a long long time" for a long, long time. But it got me thinking: It has been a long time. Too long. Who'd have thought putting on Handcuffs would make the years melt away?
The Order of Good Cheer ~ Tanto Monta - Monta Tanto
Track 2 from this hetero band's 2010 album is "BE MY CUB" — surprisingly good, as if it was made for tender/drunken singing on Bear Night at your local bar. Find the band and the recording on Facebook.
Q Catie Curtis ~ Stretch Limousine On Fire
As if taking to heart some fair-weather friend's criticism — "Don't take yourself so seriously!" — one can hear Curtis reminding herself to lighten up at Stretch Limo's every turn. We start the ride on fare that's lighter but more raw than Curtis' audience is accustomed. Her singing voice has seen better days but she hasn't quite re-invented her style enough to re-balance her voice to have the impact it once had. Mary Chapin Carpenter sings welcome harmonies on "Let It Last". "Shadowbird" moves in vocal hops and dusky approaches. The album's second half spans a lifetime, introduced by "River Wide," the bright jewel among Stretch Limo's riches. Its beautiful melody is as expansive as its title river is wide. The lyrics find Curtis musing poetically, a philosophical pause in midstream. It's Curtis at her most succinct and well-honed. Both "I Do" and "Wedding Band" are marriage-minded. And after she dies, Curtis wills "Seeds and Tears" to her beloved. Curtis' band features Out musician Julie Wolf (Ani DiFranco, Ferron) on keyboards. DON'T PUT FLOWERS ON ME, DEAR. TEND YOUR LIFE OF SEEDS AND TEARS. SOMEWHERE BEYOND WHAT WE CAN DREAM OF THERE IS A PLACE WE'LL MEET, MY LOVE. ALL OUR TEARS FALL LIKE RAIN ON SEEDS. ~CATIE CURTIS, "SEEDS AND TEARS" Dancing To Architecture™ contents ©2011 Bill Stella. ©, ® & ™ items included in the column for review purposes are ©, ® & ™ their respective owners.
Page 12 CHALLENGE October 2011
To the Rescue: A Boxer Love Story By Tim Horn
A bit too feckless and uninspired to go through the motions of adopting and raising a child, yet undeniably paternal and suckers for cuteness, I’m resigned to the fact that my partner and I are — and forever will be — dog people. In fact, we’re probably two of those dog people. If we’re not hogging bandwidth with photos of our three boxers, we’re talking about them incessantly at dinner parties, planning canine-accommodating vacations, and — you may have already figured out where this is going — encouraging others to adopt a boxer of their own. Not just any boxer, but a boxer in one of New Jersey’s shelters or rescue organizations. I volunteer for New Jersey Boxer Rescue (NJBR), a not-forprofit organization currently fostering more than a dozen dogs in need of “forever homes” — boxers that have been abandoned, surrendered, found, neglected, or abused and want nothing more than to be given stability, structure, shelter, food…and, yes, a whole lot of love.
All About the Breed Every time I hear boxers introduced in the Working Group lineup at dog shows, I shake my head in bemusement. I mean, I get it — they’re an offshoot of central European bullenbeissers, dogs utilized by hunters to secure a tenacious hold on large game, and served as police and military dogs in the 1800s. But in our household? They may give a half-hearted chase to a squirrel, but that’s about it.
The majority of boxers brought into NJBR have been surrendered to us by owners who find themselves unable to provide their dogs with the care they need. Sometimes it’s a family with a major shift in priorities, like caring for young children or a divorce, and sometimes it’s because of financial hardship. For the most part, they are responsible dog owners who have cared for otherwise healthy, trained, and socialized boxers, and simply want to do right by their pets. There are heartbreaking situations as well. Consider Lexi, an eight-year-old boxer that spent three years either tethered to a tree or locked in the basement. When she came into the Rescue, she was malnourished and very sick. Six weeks later, we found a home for her — but not before providing life-saving treatment, a diet that enabled her to gain 12 pounds, and tender loving care from a foster family. We also take in boxers collared as strays or surrendered to shelters. In fact, NJBR was founded, in part, to respond to the unique needs of these boxers — a breed that can easily become overwhelmed and stressed out in hectic shelter environments. Then there are the statistics we’re working against: Boxers and boxer mixes are among the 3 to 4 million animals euthanized by shelters each year in the United States.
Consider a Rescued Boxer So, why consider a boxer from NJBR, an organization that has re-homed more than 800 boxers since 2003? Because you both deserve it. (Continued on next page)
This is not to say that the boxer lineage is lost. As a breed, they carry a distinct combination of traits — keen hearing, vigilance, and a strong ability to differentiate between friends and intruders — that make them ideal protectors and steadfastly loyal to their owners. They are, in fact perfect people dogs. Boxers are playful, exuberant, inquisitive, attentive, demonstrative, devoted and outgoing, meaning they are ideal for people who are active and enjoy interacting with their dogs. You’d be hard pressed to find another breed with such human characteristics — the furrowing of the forehead, the soulful eyes and facial expressions that can only be described as empathic. All three of our dogs interact with each other and thrive during long walks through our neighborhood and runs on the beach. They’re also 60-pound lapdogs and arguably at their happiest when pressed up against a human. They can be stubborn, but are responsive to commands, especially with consistent training involving positive reinforcement. As for life expectancy, ten years is the average, though two of my previous boxers lived to 13 and 16. They’re also easy to groom; occasional brushings, nail trimming and teeth cleaning are all that’s necessary.
Why We Rescue A common misperception is that boxers end up in shelters and rescues because of past misdeeds and unyielding behavioral problems. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Rocky, one of several dogs in need of new homes through New Jersey Boxer Rescue. Learn more at NJBoxerRescue.com.
October 2011 CHALLENGE Page 13
10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked
By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback Myth #4: Heterosexuals Live Longer (Fourth in a series of ten)
Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement more than 30 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize homosexuals — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gays and lesbians to “recruit” in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that homosexuality is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gays molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at homosexuals, who are more targeted for such attacks than any other minority in America. What follows [is one of] 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.
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 antigay 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.” (Reprinted, with permission, from Intelligence Report, Winter 2010, produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center. www.SPLCenter.org)
To the Rescue: A Boxer Love Story (Continued from previous page)
True, most of our dogs in need of homes are adults, but as far as many adopters are concerned this is a plus. First, you’re not starting from scratch — puppies, as cute as they are, don’t stay tiny for long and come into the world completely untrained and unsocialized. And when you consider that our adult boxers are oversized puppies, but housebroken and at least partially trained, you can quickly establish a routine and focus on the best aspects of dog ownership. Fewer vet fees may also be appealing. All of our dogs have had physical examinations, been spayed or neutered, tested for heartworm, treated for existing health problems, and are up to date on their vaccinations. Like all rescues, we rely on donations and adoption fees to cover these costs, which were in the ballpark of $70,000 for all of our dogs over the past couple of years.
Also consider that the emotional bond with an adult boxer is easily established. Dogs that have been neglected or abandoned tend to be exceptionally affectionate. Remember, dogs are pack animals and they very much take to heart the way they’re treated by their human companions. Once a dog is placed in a home where it feels safe, secure, and loved, the desire to please their owners is solidified. Still not ready to take the adoption plunge? Think about becoming a greatly needed foster "parent", whereby NJBR assumes responsibility for a rescued dog placed in your care — all of the benefits, few of the drawbacks — until a forever home can be found. Visit us at NJBoxerRescue.com to learn more. Do it for the dogs — do it for yourself.
Page 14 CHALLENGE October 2011
GAY ACTIVIST ALLIANCE IN MORRIS COUNTY
Officers President — Mickey Suiter President @ GAAMC.org VP Community Services — (Open) Info @ GAAMC.org VP Operations — (Open) Secretary — Gordon Sauer Secretary @ GAAMC.org Treasurer — Andy Skurna Treasurer @ GAAMC.org Trustees Kerry Dinkin, Claire Pompei, Mitch Rubin, Ed Schell, Bill Realman Stella, Alexa Vasios Trustees Emeriti Sue Harris, Sherri Rase, Robin Schneider, Mark Wydner Committee Chairs Activism — Gordon Sauer Activism @ GAAMC.org Archives — Mickey Suiter Archives @ GAAMC.org Discussion Group Resources — Gordon Sauer Discussions @ GAAMC.org Fundraising — Andy Skurna Fundraising @ GAAMC.org Information — Mitch Rubin FreeLibrary @ GAAMC.org Member Services / Front Desk — Allen Neuner Membership — Andy Skurna Memberships @ GAAMC.org Pride Guide — Andy Skurna PrideGuide @ GAAMC.org Programs — Sherri Rase Programs @ GAAMC.org Public Relations — Sherri Rase Info @ GAAMC.org Socials — Charlie Murphy Socials @ GAAMC.org Speakers Bureau — Chris Selitto SpeakersBureau @ GAAMC.org Volunteerism — Sherri Rase Volunteer @ GAAMC.org Webmaster (incl. Facebook, Issuu, Yahoo!) — Andy Skurna Webmaster @ GAAMC.org
How to reach GAAMC Mail: PO Box 137, Convent Station, NJ 07961 Telephone: 973-285-1595 E-Mail: Info @ gaamc.org Home page: GAAMC.org Mail List: http://groups.yahoo.com/subscribe/gaamc Facebook: www.facebook.com/gaamc Challenge online edition: issuu.com/gaamc GAAMC, the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County, has served New Jersey’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed community since 1972. GAAMC is a not-forprofit volunteer-run organization that provides social, educational, and outreach programs. GAAMC also offers opportunities for individuals to become politically active on issues related to the GLBTI community. Our intent is to maintain a positive, healthy, respectful, and supportive environment in a safe space. Meetings are held every Monday evening at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ (near the Morris Museum). Discussion groups usually meet from 7:00 to 8:00. The evening's program usually starts at 8:00 pm. Refreshments are available. For program information, call our information line or check our homepage (see below). Members and non-members are always welcome. Annual membership dues are: Regular: $40/single, $70/ couple; Students/Seniors: $30/single, $60/couple. We always appreciate members who want to help out GAAMC. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Sherri Rase, at Volunteer @ GAAMC.org.
PREVIEWS OF COMIN G ATTRACTION S!
October 10th Pride Guide Live!
October 17th Vote Your Issues
October 24th Safe Computing
See "GAAMC Events", page 2, for more details!