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2 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY OWNERS AND PUBLISHERS Michael Daniels & Chris Hayes EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / ART DIRECTOR Chris Hayes email@example.com
NETWORK COLUMBUS - NOVEMBER 12: Liquid opened its doors to the November meeting of Network Columbus, and dozens of movers and shakers poured in to quaff a few drinks, rub elbows, and hear from representatives of the Columbus Police Department. See you on December 10 at Sage American Bistro! Photos by Robert Trautman
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR / PHOTOS Robert Trautman firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING EDITOR Adam Leddy email@example.com COVER IMAGE: ROBERT TRAUTMAN CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mette Bach, Danielle Buckius, Wayne R Besen, Chris Crain, Jennifer Vanasco, Tom Moon, Regina Sewell, Leslie Robinson, Gregg Shapiro, Mick Weems, Julianne French, TF Barton, Romeo San Vicente, Jeff Fertig, Simon Sheppard, Tristan Taormino, Dan Savage, Felice Newman, Tim Curran, Chris Hughes, Stephen J Fallon, J. Eric Peters, Brent Wilder, Jacob Anderson-Minshall, Cheri Meyers
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PROTEST - NOVEMBER 15: GLBT people took their beef to the streets on a cold and rainy Saturday, rallying against anti-gay sentiment in general and the odious Prop 8 in specific. Here's to hoping the rally is more than a one-off outpouring of anger, and that we can sustain our moral outrage for when we need it here in Ohio. Photos by Marcus Morris
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NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008 VOLUME 13 NUMBER 27
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
SNAPSHOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .........2 ABOUT TOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....3,30 CITIZEN CRAIN / POLL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .........4 COMMUNITY CORNER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .........6 COMMENTARY / GENERAL GAYETY . . . . . . . . . . .........8 SPORTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......10 BODY AND SOUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......11 OUT BUSINESS NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......13 FEATURE: WORLD AIDS DAY . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . .15-20 DEEP INSIDE HOLLYWOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......22 ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......22 SHOPPING GUIDE: GAHANNA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......24 BOOKMARKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......25 INTERVIEW: LABELLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......26 CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......27 SEX TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......28 SAVAGE LOVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......29 THE LAST WORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......31 SCOPES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......31 NEXT WEEK: GLITTER & BE GAY!
OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 3
ABOUT TOWN FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28 MAKING YULE COOL Holiday Hoopla XVII @ Shadowbox Cabaret, Easton Towne Center, 614.416.7625, shadowboxcabaret.com: The annual holiday rite is full of original sketch comedy that pokes fun at our undying will to make the holidays perfect. Featuring rockin’ seasonal tunes from house band BillWho?. Complete with return acts from the hilarious send-up “The Santa Babies” and disgruntled reindeer Dasher, Hoopla rings in the holidays with wit and style. Thru Jan 3. Tue-Fri 7:30p, Sat 7:30p & 10:30p, Sun 3p & 7:30p; $20-$30. HE COULD DRINK HIS OWN WEIGHT IN EGG NOG Capote Holiday Classics @ Studio One Theatre, 77 S High St, 614.469.2939, ticketmaster.com: Two heartwarming classic Truman Capote stories, A Christmas Memory and The Thanksgiving Visitor. Thru Dec 21. Wed 11a, Thur-Sat 8p, Sun 2p; $25-$40. AIN’T THIS THE DICKENS? A Christmas Carol @ The Ohio Theatre, 39 E State St, 614.469.0939, ticketmaster.com: The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s search for the true spirit of Christmas celebrates its 30th anniversary in Columbus when CAPA presents Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Fri 7:30p, Sat-Sun 2p & 7:30p; $22-$32. ARE THOSE REAL? Holiday Tree Sale Fundraiser Opening Day @ Columbus Compact Corporation, 1209 E Main St, 614.251.0926: CCC is sponsoring its first annual tree sale fundraiser. Thru Dec 22. M-F 3p-8p, Sat 12p-9p, Sun 12p-7p. Opening day 11a-9p; free. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29 QUEENS FOR COMIC Freaky Saturday @ Axis, 775 N High St, 614.291.4008, columbusnightlife.com: COMIC presents Freaky Saturday with Miss COMIC 2008 Katrina Monsoon. Featuring Maria Garrison, Beverly Ford, Phonda Cox, Sarena Snatchasaurus, Candi Panties, Bobbie Jo Wilkes and more! Expect Traut front and center. Doors 7p, show 8p; Tables $35, $5. NOW THAT THEY CLOSED THE OTHER FULL MONTY… The Full Monty @ Emerald City Players, 6799 Dublin Center Road, Dublin, 614.470.1525, www.emeraldcityplayers.com: The endearing tale of six unemployed steelworkers who let it all hang out to make ends meet. Thru Dec 6. Fri-Sat 8p; $13-$15. GA-HO-HO-HANNA Gahanna’s Holiday Lights! Parade & Festival @ Holiday House at the Sanctuary, 82 N High St, 614.478.0878, http://gahannaholidaylights.com: See pg 24 for more details. 8a; free. SPLURGE ON SOME DOILIES Scott Antique Market @ The Bricker Building, Celeste Center, 717 E 17th Ave, www.scottantiquemarket.com: A vast shopping area with hundreds of wonderful antiques. Sat 9a-6p, Sun 10a-4p; free.
by Adam Leddy
products, and delectable desserts. Great gifts for your cat-loving and meditative friends! 1p-7p; free. MONDAY, DECEMBER 1 REMEMBER World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil @ Columbus Topiary Garden, 480 E Town St, 800.332.AIDS, www.catf.net/WorldAIDSDay: Honor the friends we’ve lost. You may volunteer to read names at the vigil by calling 614.340.6750. 5p-7p; free. CELEBRATE World AIDS Day Community Celebration @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, 501 E Broad St, 800.332.AIDS, www.catf.net/WorldAIDSDay: Celebrate the living and mark the 20th annual World AIDS Day. 7:30p-9p; free. OUR VERY OWN ROCKEFELLER CENTER Statehouse Tree Lighting @ The Ohio Statehouse, 77 S High St, www.ohiostatehouse.org: Good times with Ted & Frances See pg 30 for info. 5:30p; free. A LEGENDARY ARTIST Derek @ The Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N High St, 614.292.3535, wexarts.org: Since his death in 1994 from AIDS-related illness, British visual artist Derek Jarman continues to grow as an inspiring icon for what truly independent filmmaking might look like. Screened in conjunction with World AIDS Day. 7p; free. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2 BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SEE TOO MANY TREE LIGHTINGS City Hall Tree Lighting Ceremony @ City Hall, Broad & Front, 614.645.7996, www.columbusrecparks.com: A 35’ spruce will become the centerpiece of the downtown holiday scene. See pg 30 for info. 5p; free. OPEN MIC NIGHT Public Meeting: I-70/71 Project @ Dodge Park, 667 Sullivant Ave, D06.PIO@dot.state.oh.us: How will the proposed Interstate 70/71 project affect your city park? Ask ODOT at this public forum. 3p-7p; free. POETRY AND SODOMY Before Night Falls @ Landmark Gateway Theatre, 1550 N High St, 614.340.6753, email@example.com: Please join the Columbus AIDS Task for Before Night Falls. The film examines the life of gay Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. Proceeds benefit CATF. Reception 5:30p-6:45p, film 7p9p; $25 reception, $6-$10 film. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3 THE BATON SOUNDS FUN OSU Symphony Orchestra @ Weigel Hall Auditorium, 1886 College Rd, 614.292.0789, www.osu.edu/events: The Ohio State University Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Marshall Haddock, presents Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, and more. 8p; $6.
40 PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE TALENTED THAN YOU Too Much Photography gallery opening @ MadLab Theatre, 105 N Grant Ave, 614.221.5418, www.madlab.net: TMP is MadLab’s ever popular, every style, floor to ceiling photography show. The walls are adorned with unique photographic works from over 40 artists. On view thru Dec 20. 5p-7p; free.
A LOCAL LEGEND HOSTS FGP Friends of Goodale Park Annual Holiday Gala @ 773 Dennison Ave, friendsofgoodalepark.org: This year’s gala will be at Jeff Smith’s home, the centuryold stone mansion at the corner of Buttles and Dennison. Plenty of great food & drink by our fabulous and Short North establishments, with background music on the grand piano. 6p-9p; $35.
ZENCAT GALLERY HOLIDAY OASIS ZenCat Gallery Show @ ZenGenius Gallery, 44 E Prescott, 614.220.9040, http://zengenius.com: ZCG is a new online art gallery featuring cat-themed and Zen style works. Join us for our debut local show featuring an array of art mediums, signature ZenCat
I’M A CHOCOHOLIC Chocolate, Dance & Conversation @ Sullivant Hall Theatre, 1813 N High St, 614.292.7977, http://dance.osu.edu: A casual evening of dance, with treats from Columbus bakeries before, during, and after the performances. Wed-Thu, 8p; $5-$10. NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
4 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY
The Reader Poll
CITIZEN CRAIN by Chris Crain
Last week we asked:
Let’s answer Prop 8 with our own Proposition 9: A federal civil unions law for all fifty states. With the click of a mouse and boots on the street, hundreds of thousands of newly minted activists across the country last weekend declared independence from the top-down, black-tie, thiscutesy-logo-brought-to-you-by movement for gay civil rights. It took the political perfect storm: the “Yes We Can” spirit behind Barack Obama’s election, running smack up against the “Oh No You Don’t” passage of Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California. The result was Stonewall 2.0. No corporate sponsors, no tony Washington, DC, offices, and not a single poll or focus group. Just tech-savvy young activists pulling off day after day of street protests in California, followed by a massive mobilization on Nov. 15, a national day of protest in big cities and small towns across these United States. In handmade signs pre-approved by no one, gay and straight alike made their case for equality, and rejected en masse the inane “strategery” of avoiding words like “marriage,” “discrimination” and “gay” because they don’t poll well: “No More Mrs. Nice Gay” “OMG CA, WTF?” “Keep your church out of our state.” “Would you rather I married your daughter?” “You get married in your church, I’ll get married in mine.” “Hey California, Jim Crow called. He wants his Proposition 8 back.” These protesters weren’t buying the nambypamby “gay agenda” that our so-called leaders have already agreed to behind closed doors in Washington. Those Beltway-based Democrats have collected our checks and counted our votes for a decade with promises to pass hate crime and employment non-discrimination laws. Belatedly keeping their word is a beginning, not the end. “The Gay Agenda: #1. Equality. #2. See item 1.”
What does that mean, exactly? Repealing Proposition 8, of course, but that’s not even an option until 2010, at the earliest, and may well be taken care of by the legal eagles already challenging the ballot measure in the courts. Even if Prop 8 is reversed, we are only back to where we were on Nov. 3, leaving the vast majority of same-sex couples across America with little or no recognition for their relationships or prospects for same. That’s why a growing number of us have our own modest marriage proposal. Call it Proposition 9, or Prop -8, if you’d like. It would instantly confer more than 1,100 rights and benefits to same-sex couples in every city, state and small town in the US, and it’s already supported by two-thirds of Americans. What is it? A federal civil unions law. What would it do? A federal civil unions law would say that all the rights and benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples under federal law would be extended to same-sex couples whose relationships are recognized under state law. What kind of rights are we talking about? Hundreds and hundreds, according to the GAO, including benefits like equal access to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, veterans and disability survivor benefits; access to health insurance, rental and other housing insurance, education grants and programs, first-time home buyer credits, property transfer rights, consumer credit protections, domestic violence protection, and a wide range of tax benefits and protections. It also includes immigration and asylum rights, which means no more “love exiles”: LGBT Americans forced to make a heartbreaking “Sophie’s Choice” between remaining in the US and staying with the non-American partner they love. Who would it include? Everybody! It doesn’t matter where you live. There are no residency requirements for lesbian and gay couples to marry in Massachusetts or Connecticut, enter into civil
unions in Vermont, New Hampshire and New Jersey, or domestic partnerships in California, Hawaii, Washington or Oregon. For the price of a round-trip ticket to any of these places, a same-sex couple can solemnize their relationship under state law and receive the same recognition under federal law as a heterosexual married couple. What about the Defense of Marriage Act? What about it? A federal civil unions law does not run afoul of foul-smelling DOMA, and does not require its full or even half-repeal. DOMA says only that the U.S. government can’t use “marriage” or “spouse” for gay relationships, and one state can’t be forced to recognize another state’s gay marriages. A federal civil unions law does neither. What would the public say? A federal civil unions law does what the people say they want, since for years surveys say two-thirds favor gay couples having the rights and benefits of marriage, just not the “M-word” itself. Even a majority of delegates to the Republican National Convention this year told pollsters they support civil unions for same-sex couples. What would Obama say? The president-elect and his running mate don’t support gay marriage, but both have been on record for months supporting fair and equal treatment of gay couples under federal law. Even Sarah Palin didn’t object when Joe Biden in effect promised federal civil union protection in the vice presidential debate. “Look,” Biden said, “in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple.” Say it’s so, Joe. The Prop 8 protesters couldn’t have put it better.
Do you think people with HIV should be prosecuted for not disclosing their status to sexual partners?
YES 49% Other 34% NO 17% NEXT WEEK’S QUESTION: If you put up a Christmas tree, do you use a live or artificial tree?
Chris Crain is former editor of the Washington Blade and five other gay publications and now edits GayNewsWatch.com. He can be reached via his blog at www.citizencrain.com.
Log on to: www.outlookweekly.net to take this week’s poll.
NOV 2 ’04
NOV 24 ’08
IRAQI CIVILIAN DEAD
DAYS ‘TIL OBAMA INAUGURATION 1,540
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
: LO S ANGELES
80,995 $3,225,827,275,686 (1,483)
OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 5
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
6 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY
Amendment 2: A Futile Effort to Delay the Inevitable by Howard L. Simon The vote approving Amendment 2 - the socalled marriage-protection amendment - was a devastating but temporary setback for the cause of equal treatment for all. Florida voters denied legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples. Arizona and California also voted to ban same-sex marriage in their state constitutions. Despite the propaganda, gay marriage was not on the ballot. What Floridians approved was a prohibition of the legal recognition of anything “that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof.” It will take years of lawsuits and countless lawyers to sort out the intended and unintended consequences of the measure. The forces behind Amendment 2 have said that their mission is accomplished: marriage has been protected. But none of the economic and social pressures on marriage that have resulted in the terribly high national divorce rate have been addressed. That would have been an honest attempt to “protect marriage.” It remains a mystery how the institution of marriage is “protected” by denying a group of people the ability to enjoy its benefits. Despite its passage, Amendment 2 does not bar health or other benefits that same-sex couples currently receive from public or private employers. Neither does the amendment prohibit hospital visitation, medical decision-making, or the right to make funeral arrangements for a deceased loved one. Should other zealots target these benefits, or should any government agency decide - wrongly - that Amendment 2 prohibits these benefits, we will move this battle from the voting booth to the courtroom. In America, change that matters always faces resistance. The path is never smooth or easy. America is in the middle of a civil rights revolution that is different from, but shares some similarities with, earlier struggles to make the Constitution’s prom-
ise of equality a reality for women, for racial minorities, for people with disabilities - for everyone. It is important to appreciate how far we have come, and how quickly. Thanks to even a very conservative US Supreme Court, it is no longer a crime to be gay in America. Within 17 years (from Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986 to Lawrence v. Texas in 2003), the Supreme Court reversed itself and declared that states could not criminalize sexual intimacy among same-sex couples. The world is changing. The forces behind Amendment 2 can delay the inevitable, but they cannot stop it. Soon, same-sex marriage will be legal and ordinary. It is already happening: Ontario, several northern Europe countries, Spain, South Africa, Massachusetts, and Connecticut allow same-sex marriage. New York and Rhode Island recognize such marriages that are conferred elsewhere. Bigotry and prejudice frequently ride in on a horse of high-sounding moral principles. Sometimes even the best leaders can convince themselves that their support for a mean-spirited proposal is based on something other than bigotry and prejudice or animus. Religious leaders who sold Amendment 2 as “biblically based” public policy need to rethink whether that washes in America. In this nation the most religiously diverse on Earth - the laws must reflect the fact that we live in different religious traditions, with different interpretations of the Bible. One day, we will look back on the idea that government could have the power to dictate whom adults can marry with as much bewilderment and embarrassment as we now, shamefully, wonder how we allowed government the power to ban interracial marriage. The US Supreme Court ended the legal basis for that prejudice in the landmark 1967 ACLU case of Loving v. Virginia. Howard L. Simon of Miami is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
Majority Tyranny v. Minority Rights by Malcolm Lazin A great paradox of the 2008 election, in which the first African-American was elected president, is that three states passed referenda to amend their respective state constitutions to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. Arkansas passed a referendum to preclude unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children. Eighteen states allow their constitutions to be amended through ballot initiatives without consent by the legislative and/or executive branches. The remaining states enable the amendment of their constitutions by the public after legislative and/or executive action. Some states require majority approval and others mandate voter approval ranging from 60% to two-thirds approval. The same-sex ballot initiatives exemplify the danger posed to all citizens by the stripping away of fundamental rights from marginalized citizens, and the importance of the judiciary in protecting civil liberties. Barack Obama was born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961. In 1961, 16 states had laws that made miscegenation a crime and branded the offspring of black and white couples as “bastards.” In 1967, the US Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that miscegenation laws were unconstitutional because NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
they violated the due process clause and equal protection of the 14th Amendment. Given the prevalence of racial animosity in 1961, had racists tried to amend state constitutions to prohibit miscegenation, those ballot initiatives might have passed overwhelmingly in many states. During World War II, had xenophobes tried to amend state constitutions to restrict the civil liberties of Japanese Americans, they likely would have succeeded. State amendments to limit civil liberties could have been readily enacted against Irish, Chinese, and Jewish immigrants, among others. A democracy is measured by how it protects religious, political, racial, and other individual differences. The US Supreme Court has addressed these concerns in several decisions, including Loving v. Virginia and Romer v. Evans. In Loving, which overturned Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, Chief Justice Warren, writing for a unanimous court, ruled that marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man” and that to deny this fundamental freedom on the basis of race deprives citizens of liberty without due process of law. In 1992, Romer v. Evans arose from a Colorado ballot initiative that prevented any municipality from protecting homosexual citizens from discrimination. The initiative passed with 53.4% approval. Amendment 2 was spearheaded by Colorado for
GENERAL GAYETY SIGNS OF THE TIMES
by Leslie Robinson
After California voters passed the odious Proposition 8, gays took to the streets to protest. In the process America's gay community not only helped itself, it helped me. No need for me to make the funnies this time around. I couldn't do one giggle better than the protesters who carried signs turning anger into amusement. Rallies took place in a few states shortly after Election Day, and then occurred nationwide on Nov. 15. Join the Impact, which instigated the Nov. 15 fandango, has lots of photos on its Web site apparently taken across the entire feisty period. One guy holds a sign reading WOULD YOU RATHER I MARRIED YOUR DAUGHTER? I hope that sign made the evening news and discomfited assorted fathers. Propped in front of a young, pink-clad girl sleeping on the sidewalk, a sign says MOMMY & MAMA, PLEASE MAKE THE SCARY BIGOTS GO AWAY! Sweetie, the monsters under your bed your mothers can handle. The ones in the voting booths are a trickier business. I'm fond of SORRY, WERE MY CIVIL RIGHTS GETTING IN THE WAY OF YOUR BIGOTRY? Ditto for PROP 8, CHANGE WE CAN BE EMBARASSED BY! In one picture a bunch of folks pose with yellow signs that use the word equality in some way. But one of the signs reads EQAULITY. Perhaps she's after equality for dyslexics. Gay anger comes through via A RECENT CALI. VOTE SHOWS THAT THERE'S A 52.5% CHANCE YOU'RE AN IDIOT. Speaking of anger, check out the signs aimed at the groups that fought tooth and nail for Prop 8; these likely make LGBT leaders currently worried about scapegoating unhappy. One is a clear dart at Mormons: KEEP YOUR MAGIC UNDIES OFF MY CIVIL RIGHTS. Also, YOU HAVE TWO WIVES. I WANT ONE HUSBAND. Another sign features an outline of the state of California and the words WELCOME TO UTAH. Catholics don't escape. A sign says YOU GET MARRIED IN YOUR CHURCH, I'LL GET MARRIED IN
MINE! Under those words someone drew a priest's collar and clerical attire. Where the head of this Catholic authority figure should be sit two male wedding toppers. You wound us, instead of beating you up we’ll go all creative on your ass. This sign captures the frustration over AfricanAmerican support for Prop 8 and still manages to be funny: I HELPED ELECT THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY MARRIAGE BAN. Some signs draw that contentious parallel between black civil rights and gay civil rights, like HEY CALIFORNIA, JIM CROW CALLED. HE WANTS HIS PROPOSITION 8 BACK!!! Join the Impact's site also includes pages of downloadable protest signs. My favorites include NO MORE MR. NICE GAY and LET ELLEN DEGENERES KEEP HER TOASTER. A site called The Frisky has great photos from the Nov. 15 protest in New York City. One fellow holds a sign over his head that reads DON'T TELL ME I CAN'T REGISTER AT BARNEYS. Could that be any more New York? Aggressive and funny. Likewise for HATE MAKES YOU FAT. JUST LOOK AT ARKANSAS. Touché to the state that now won't let gays adopt. Another guy's sign says I'M HERE TO MEET MY HUSBAND. That's very East Coast too—the man is multi-tasking. In Orlando, someone drew Sarah Palin and the words I CAN SEE GAY MARRIAGE FROM MY HOUSE! Seattle offers JESUS HAD TWO DADS, and, in a reference to Palin's pregnant daughter, MARRIAGE IS A SACRED INSTITUTION BETWEEN TWO UNWILLING TEENAGERS. It's a tough decision, but I've decided on my favorite sign, which comes out of Los Angeles: WE CAN'T ALL MARRY LIZA MINNELLI!! How true. Not that we haven't tried.
Family Values, who claimed that anti-discrimination protections for homosexuals in Aspen, Boulder, and Denver were special rights that needed to be constitutionally banned. The Colorado Supreme Court overturned the amendment as a violation of equal protection. The court ruled that the measure was subject to strict scrutiny and that the state had failed to prove a compelling state interest in favor of the ban. Colorado appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court. In 1996, in a 6-3 decision, Justices Stevens, O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsberg, and Beyer affirmed the Colorado Supreme Court decision. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion held that the discrimination in Amendment 2 neither met the strict scrutiny test nor the lower rational relationship to a legitimate state interest test. “It is not within our constitutional tradition,” Kennedy wrote, “to enact laws of this sort.” He found that laws of this kind “raise the inevitable inference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected” and was born of a “desire to harm” homosexuals. California voters approved Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, with a 52% majority. Proposition 8 was principally funded by out-of-state interests, notably the Mormon Church. The proposition did not require consent by the legislative or ex-
ecutive branches. In fact, the California legislature had twice passed bills providing for same-sex marriage. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the measures because he believed the issue should be decided by the California Supreme Court. In 2008, the California Supreme Court decided that the prohibition of same-sex marriage violated the state constitution and was subject to strict scrutiny. Governor Schwarzenegger and other prominent state Republicans were among in-state opponents to Proposition 8. While the defeats in California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas are setbacks; there is momentum for full equality, including same-sex marriage, for gay men and lesbians. In 2000, 61% of Californians voted against same-sex marriage; in 2008, the percentage had shrunk to 52%. Lambda Legal, the ACLU and others are planning to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Ultimately the California Supreme Court decision could reach the US Supreme Court. Five of the six Supreme Court justices who concurred in Romer v. Evans remain on the court. We pray for their continued wisdom.
Not once has Leslie Robinson married Liza Minnelli. E-mail Leslie at LesRobinsn@aol.com.
Malcolm Lazin is executive director of the Equality Forum, a national and international gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization with an educational focus.
OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 7
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
8 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY
COMMUNITY CORNER Though Veterans’ Day was Nov 11, this was the first opportunity we had to pay tribute to our vets. This community corner is dedicated to all our men & women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. Many thanks to you from your friends at Outlook.
BRAVER Serves GLBT Veterans An Interview With Robert Stout, Interim Chapter President Of Buckeye Region Of American Veterans For Equal Rights
Remembering the War to End All Wars by Mike Ferner At the stroke of the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the roaring guns fell silent. Our holiday that marks the end of “The Great War” is now called Veterans’ Day, yet it’s worth taking a moment to recollect when it was called Armistice Day and meant more than midnight madness sales at department stores. Thirty million soldiers were killed or wounded and another 7 million were taken captive in that war. Never before had people witnessed such industrialized slaughter. Congress responded to a universal hope among Americans that such a war would never happen again by passing a resolution calling for “exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding…inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” Later, Congress added that November 11 was to be “a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.” While it is a good thing to honor the country’s military service veterans, the original intent of Armistice Day - promoting peace - has gotten lost over the years. One veterans’ organization is trying to recreate that original intent. Its name, appropriately enough, is Veterans For Peace. Of the many veterans’ organizations in the US, Veterans For Peace (VFP) exists specifically to carry out the original purpose of Armistice Day. With 120 chapters across the
country, the St. Louis-based organization has as its chief goal “to abolish war as an instrument of national policy.” Founded in 1985 at the height of the Reagan administration’s support for the “contras” in Nicaragua and death squads elsewhere in Central America, VFP includes men and women veterans of all eras and wars - cold or hot - from World War II through the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the things of which the organization is most proud is helping form Iraq Veterans Against the War in the summer of 2004, but Elliott Adams, VFP’s president and a former paratrooper who served in Vietnam, will quickly tell you they are not interested in repeating that accomplishment. “I’ll be happy if this generation of veterans is the last,” he says. Having seen the reality of war and understanding its true cost, VFP members will tell you that war is not the answer. However, coming to that conclusion is as much a spiritual journey as a political one, they acknowledge, because making peace in your heart can sometimes be as difficult as making peace in the world. One of the simple truths on which Veterans For Peace is founded states, “Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop.” With a weary nod of the head the doughboys of WWI, shivering in the soggy, rotten trenches of Europe in November 1918, would surely have agreed. Ferner is a National Board Member of Veterans For Peace and author of Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq.
Openly Gay On The Uss Kansas City by Robaire Wilson I’m a gay military veteran who’s been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for eighteen years. I spent six years in the navy as an openly gay military man. I was a ship’s barber aboard the USS Kansas City as it traveled the seas promoting freedom during the Gulf War and Operation Southern Watch. During my two enlistments I travelled to Somalia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Dubai, Jebel Ali, UAE, British Columbia, Mexico, and the Philippines. I’m black and openly gay and never encountered the slightest discrimination aboard the ship. I grew up in Crane, Texas, and never encountered racism. Apparently everyone knew I was gay, too, judging by my parents’ total lack of surprise when I came out to them at 23. I’ve only come out to my mother, father, and older bother. The rest of my family knows, but they don’t talk about it. My family is very proud of me and what I’ve done with my life. I’m the middle child of a nominally Southern Baptist Texas family. My grandfather served in the army in World War I. I was in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, played high school football, and was into cars and music. I always knew I was gay. After high school, I earned money for colNOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
lege by working in the oil fields. I studied design and fashion merchandising in Dallas at Wades School of Design. I wanted to see the world, however, and like many young men I wanted to get a bit further away from home. I joined the navy in 1989 and served six years through two enlistments until 1995. During the early 1990s, it helped that there was an expectation in the military that President Clinton would issue an executive order allowing gay and lesbian patriots to serve openly. It did not happen, but in many commands there had been a preparedness to enable those who did their jobs well to be able to serve without discrimination. Like many other service members, I benefitted from that brief bubble in time when some commanders demonstrated that they could make it happen without difficulty. When the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law was passed, my shipmates told me, “Watson, we don’t have to ask and we don’t have to tell.” I had a group of gay friends on the USS Kansas City. We were the gay version of Sex in the City aboard the ship. All of my shipmates and ship personnel knew about me and my friends. Not all stories about being gay in the military are horror stories.
Adam Leddy: What are some of the challenges facing gay veterans? Robert Stout: Acceptance is always the biggest challenge facing any veteran when they leave the military, regardless of sexual orientation. Learning to accept the changes in your personal life and even in the culture when you return to civilian life is hard, but trying to overcome that while looking for acceptance for yourself is a daunting task. AL: Are gay veterans in central Ohio faced with a special set of challenges? RS: Here in Ohio our LGBT veterans face obstacles that can feel overwhelming. Think of the difficulty of being not only a member of a community that is banned from marriage, but also one where it is almost impossible to find employment. Ohio has always had a proud tradition of supporting our armed forces and being progressive in the area of civil rights. Until now, that is. In the last few years we have seen not only the creation of a second-class citizenry in our state, but also public disregard for the sacrifice of our service members. AL: How does BRAVER hope to address those challenges? RS: BRAVER’s mission is simple, really. To support and defend the constitutions of the United States and the state of Ohio, and the ideals they were founded on. Ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is just the start to obtaining equal rights for our service members and veterans. Our goal is to ensure that all veterans are treated with the respect and honor they deserve, no matter who they fall in love with. In that light, BRAVER has begun contacting both LGBT and veterans’ organizations to build a support network for people who fall into both communities. We are hoping that by extending our hand we can help our veterans be proud of their service and their lifestyle. There is always a need for education of the public and our politicians on the struggles faced by LGBT veterans. From the discrimination based on being a veteran or based on sexual orientation, the high unemployment of veterans, or even being able to just be honest with the Veterans Administration - these are all fights BRAVER is planning on taking on. AL: Which “outdated stereotypes,” to quote the organization, does BRAVER hope to address? RS: All of them! BRAVER’s largest obstacle here is addressing the stereotype of sex in the military. Every governmental body that has broached the topic of DADT has brought up sex. Every news article that has LGBT veterans in it has to be halfway devoted to who they slept with. The way the politicians and media act, the only front-line action going on is between the sheets. The straight military personnel’s insistence that the armed forces will become an orgy if we allow openly gay and lesbian men and women in is just absurd and, frankly, disrespectful to the professionalism of both communities. When you combine that with the LGBT community’s disgusting way of ignoring our service members and veterans’ sacrifices only to focus on sex, it creates a very difficult situation. We joined our military to protect and defend our way of life and our nation, not to become someone’s scare tactic, and certainly not to be a fetish. AL: Do you find that LGBT Ohioans are hostile to vets? RS: The LGBT community here in Ohio has an interesting relationship with our veterans. It is almost a love-hate relationship. A part of the community loves them for their courage for entering an environment that is knowingly hostile to the LGBT community, and another part hates them for supporting the government that is propagating the laws that do harm to us. The community here in Ohio
wants to look like they care about veterans and repealing DADT, but they draw the line at actually giving any support. People in both the straight and LGBT communities are willing to spend five dollars for a yellow ribbon magnet but are unwilling to spend forty-two cents to send a letter to a service member over seas. AL: Why do LGBT people continue to serve? How do they reconcile the hostility of military policy against their service? RS: I hear that question a lot. We serve because we know what our country is founded on freedom, equality, and liberty for all men and women. Those who sacrifice their personal lives do so to protect the lives of others. Unlike the people that scream about the evils of homosexuality, we put our personal beliefs and feelings aside to defend the rights of the whole nation. It is that sense of patriotism that has protected the rights we have and will ensure that the struggle for equality will not cease. AL: What advice would you give to GLBT folks currently serving? RS: I know from personal experience that there are times when you feel like you are alone. Times when you think that you have no voice and no way to be proud of both whom you love and the job you love. But you are never alone and you are never without a voice. That is BRAVER’s core task, to remember all those LGBT service members who are serving and give them a voice. We will conquer that battle of DADT and we will see the day when we obtain equal civil rights. I am unsure when it will be, but I am sure that no battle was ever won by retreating halfway through it. To quote the first sentence of the army’s non-commissioned officers’ creed, “No one is more professional than I.” Living those words and showing the military and Congress that we are dedicated to the mission of defending the United States will be what repeals governmental discrimination. AL: What advice would you give to GLBT folks contemplating service? RS: The best advice I could ever give a person who is thinking about military service is to know yourself. Be sure that you are ready to handle the rigors that come with serving our nation. You will face many tests that try your courage, strength, and commitment, but there is no higher test than the one you must ask yourself. There is no more honorable profession than defending the people of the United States. I will always encourage our young men and women to serve. However, like all occupations, there are just some people who are not designed for it. There is no shame it not being able to serve in the military as long as you are honest with yourself. AL: How can people get involved in BRAVER? RS: BRAVER holds meetings the second Tuesday of every month at the Center on High. With winter coming, most of our activities are on hold until warmer weather. We are currently focusing on partnerships with other organizations and governmental bodies. Of course with the current economic situation we are faced with cutting back some of our work. No one is hit harder by this financial slowdown than those who rely on the support of others. But we always remind people that sometimes the little things matter most. Sending a letter to the troops overseas, thanking a veteran at work, and spreading the word about our mission are all easy ways to be involved. We are always looking for new members and people who need help, so please pass the word on that the over 2,600 LGBT veterans in central Ohio do have a voice in BRAVER. If you would like more information about us, please feel free to contact us at 614.572.6130 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://braverweb.tripod.com.
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SPORTS CCV Winter 2009 Season and Sign-Up The Capital City Volleyball (CCV) league, Ohio’s oldest gay volleyball organization, announces plans for its Winter 2009 season. CCV will continue its tradition of friendly, enjoyable, and competitive volleyball beginning with registration and open gyms on Wednesday, December 10 & 17, as well as, Sunday, January 4, 2009. Seasonal league play will begin on Sunday, January 11. Individuals, regardless of level of experience, are encouraged to participate in CCV for the fun and social aspects of the volleyball league. CCV offers five levels of play including A-Division (Advanced/Power), B-Division (Intermediate), C-Division (Recreational), Women’s Competitive and Women’s Recreational. All levels will play each Sunday during the season at the Berliner Sports Complex (1300 Deckenbach Rd) near downtown Columbus. Regardless of skill level, CCV welcomes and embraces individual differences, sexual orientation and lifestyles is encouraged to play, regardless of personal sexual orientation. Registration and fees are due at the open gym no later than Sunday, January 4, 2009 at Berliner Sports Complex. Registration is based on a first-come, first-served basis as spots are limited. Registration and open gym times are as follows;
Fees for a team of up-to eight players in the B & C Division is $450, while the Women’s Divisions are $400. Additional players may be added for an additional $10 per player, not to exceed twelve players total. The A-Division fee is $60 per player, based upon the total number of teams that are formed. Visit www.columbusvolleyball.org/ccv to download registration forms and for further information.
Wednesday, December 10: 6p-8p: Women’s Divisions 8p-10p: A Division Wednesday, December 17: 6-8PM: B Division 8-10PM: C Division 4-6PM: B Division
JOIN NETWORK COLUMBUS AT SAGE AMERICAN BISTRO [2653 N HIGH] FOR OUTLOOK'S HOLIDAY SHINDIGEXTRAVAGANZA DEC 10, 6P-8P
Sunday, January 4: 6-8PM: C Division 12-2PM: Women’s Divisions 2-4PM: A Division
CREW WIN 2008 MLS CUP SUNDAY WITH 3-1 VICTORY OVER NEW YORK Sunday put Columbus on the soccer map permanently when our own Columbus Crew won the 2008 Major Soccer Leagues Cup by beating the New York Red Bulls 3 to 1 in Los Angels. 2008 MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto propelled Black & Gold to victory with three assists On Tuesday, Governor Ted Strickland NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
welcomed the champions to the Ohio Statehouse for a community celebration of the team’s successful season and victory. “The Columbus Crew’s MLS Cup victory marks a significant moment in Ohio sports history,” Strickland said. “On behalf of all Ohioans, I congratulate the players, coaches and fans of the Crew on a dynamic season.”
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BODY & SOUL by Kris Elliott
To Everything There Is a Season
This time of year can bring many challenges above and beyond the usual stressors related to holidays and the winter season. It is a time when some businesses cut back resources and people lose jobs. For those in the GLBT community with distant or unsupportive families of origin, winter holidays can highlight a lack of connection and relationship to family. During the months of November, December, and January, there is a comparatively greater incidence of life-threatening illness and/or death than at any other time. As a result, many are confronted with the loss of a loved one; others must deal with life-changing diagnoses for themselves or people they care about. Finally, some individuals will choose retirement at the end of the year, creating a variety of changes and transitions in daily living. Transitional times can have a profound impact on us physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually. Whenever dramatic change occurs, we can struggle to find the tools to weave our way through the stages of transition. GLBT folk may have reason to feel disconnected from traditional religious or spiritual resources, based on the rejection and judgment associated with many of those institutions. As a result, many of us may feel unprepared to handle the emotional and spiritual aspects of transitioning. Grief, loss, and transition have the potential to be transformative. This unfolding process can be recognized as flowing across four stages, beginning with a sense of powerlessness and shock: “Why me?” “What’s happening to me?” “I didn’t see this coming.” At this stage, we may focus on what is lost or what won’t be the same. There is often a recounting of what we won’t be able to do and our limitations. The questions of “Why?” or “Why this?” may leave us looking for blame or fault, or feeling victimized. Some of us may ponder whether we are being punished by life or a higher power. Before movement through this stage can occur, we find that the tool of acceptance is necessary. It shifts us from questions of “Why?” to statements of, “This is the way it is.” The second stage of unfolding involves owning what is ours. Stepping away from blame, faultfinding, and guilt, we open up to responsibility. In this respect, responsibility can be seen as the ability to creatively respond. Whether seeking information in order to consider all the choices or just saying, “OK, now that I’ve focused on what I can’t do anything about, what am I able to do?”, every step and every action brings us closer to the third stage. Here is where our spiritual paradigm can evolve. It is a place where we can begin to
emerge from our shells and see the rest of the world, as well as begin to redefine ourselves. When our perspective shifts and we can see a bigger picture, that’s when we know we are moving into the third stage. Here is where we take up the role of an active observer or participant and no longer see our losses or transitions in a vacuum. The tools at this point include consciously choosing to align ourselves with divine or greater purpose. We can now recognize our ability to have impact or be influential in a conscious and principled way. The fourth and final stage is characterized by transformation, which enables us to live life in an awakened state of presence. No longer numb or going through the motions, we instead engage in bringing transformation into being. Even those around us feel the influence of our presence. Allowing the flow of spiritual purpose (however it is conceived) to move through us provides grounding and centering, directing our choices and actions. At the beginning of life transitions, there may seem to be only disorientation and loss, but now there is something new, substantial, and infused with energy. We are not only transformed by what we have experienced; we can now transform others. Many people find that while dealing with one transition at a time can be difficult enough, we are often pummeled with multiple events in a short span of time. Whether we are confronting single or multiple transitions, it is possible to get stuck somewhere along the way. Sometimes the tools that seemed readily available are knocked asunder and we find ourselves grasping for them. Help, support, and assistance are available, often from those who have had similar experiences. This can come from a group gathered specifically for this purpose, or from spiritual mentors, friends, family members, or community. All of these resources can be of great assistance in helping us through the rough patches. It is important to keep a balance of both the internal and external. In the larger scheme of things, introspection and meditation are called for, as is reaching out to those who provide support and assistance. Life transitions call for time for oneself as well as connection and involvement with others. Successfully moving through difficult periods of change can provide us with the opportunity to bring a deeper sense of direction, meaning, and purpose to our lives. Kris Elliott, MA, LICDC, is the founder of Waves of Wisdom, a school of interspiritual development, located at 6797 N High St, Ste 305, Worthington, and an associate at CentrePoint Counseling Associates. For class or consultation information, contact Kris at 614.323.7794 or visit www.wavesofwisdom.org.
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OUT BUSINESS NEWS BIG FISH NETWORKING AND NETWORK COLUMBUS PARTNER Partnership Creates Area’s Largest Comprehensive and Free Business Networking System Big Fish Networking, Central Ohio’s premier business networking organization, and Network Columbus, the chamber of commerce for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied businesses, today announced a strategic partnership that will allow members of both organizations the opportunity to reach nearly 20,000 colleagues in the greater Columbus area. The partnership between Big Fish Networking and Network Columbus (through its parent company, Outlook Media) will include reciprocal usage, marketing, and cross-/co-promotion of the organizations’ websites, hosted events, and sponsored special events. The combined reach of this partnership will extend to more than 350 events and activities per year, including social mixers, networking gatherings, tradeshow appearances, seminars, workshops, charity functions, and speaking engagements. “Partnering with Outlook Media is a natural fit,” said Steve Baldzicki, President and Founder of Big Fish Networking. “Having the two largest networking organizations come together can’t be a bad thing. Both organizations strive to have our members become more successful through networking with other people. Partnering with Outlook
Media/Network Columbus just brings more to our members. Together we’ll facilitate community-driven relationships and business building opportunities for our members.” “Working with Big Fish is a perfect example of precisely what we set out to do every day with all of our brands,” said Michael Daniels, coowner of Outlook Media. “We recognize and embrace the value of including all members of the progressive community. Partnering with Big Fish, and benefiting from Steve’s leadership and enthusiasm for community building and business growth, fits perfectly with our philosophy and our members’ needs.” The partnership agreement is effective immediately. Members of both organizations will begin receiving reciprocal information, offers, and invitations.
OUTLOOK MEDIA ANNOUNCES ‘CHARITABLE ADVERTISING’ PROGRAM In celebration of the holidays and its new partnership with Big Fish Networking, Outlook Media announced a charitable advertising program applicable to all advertising agreements signed between Nov 26, 2008 and Dec 19, 2008. Under the program, any advertiser signing an agreement for retailrate print advertising in Outlook Weekly or radio advertising on Radio Outlook has the following options: 1. Take 10% off of the entire contract value, or 2. Pay the full contract value, and Outlook Media will donate 20% of the payment to the 501(c)(3) charity of the advertiser’s choice. “Giving back to the community has always been a big part of our philosophy,” said Michael Daniels, business and advertising director of Outlook Media. “Providing advertisers the chance to save some money, or donate their discount to a charity and have us match it, is our way of celebrating the holidays and honoring the community that has supported Outlook Media for years.” The charitable advertising program is available for new contracts and renewals. First-time advertisers and those who have not historically tapped the GLBT and allies market are especially encouraged to participate. Outlook Weekly is the lifestyle and advocacy publication for Ohio’s queer and urban progressive community. More information and online issues are available at www.outlookweekly.net. Radio Outlook, created and hosted by Outlook Media, is Ohio’s only GLBT-focused talk radio
show. The show airs every Saturday from 8-9:30a on WVKO 1580AM. *The charitable advertising program applies to contracts signed at retail rates between Nov 26 and Dec 19, 2008. Contracts must begin no later than Jan 15, 2009 and end no later than Dec 15, 2009. Charities must provide proof of 501(c)(3) status upon request. Charitable contributions will be distributed by Outlook Media on a quarterly basis after the advertising contract amount has been paid.
NEW ONLINE RESOURCE LINKS DIVERSITYFRIENDLY COMPANIES WITH TOP LGBT TALENT In today’s challenging economic climate and competitive job market, HR professionals and job candidates want effective, timely ways to network. Now the leading LGBT workplace equality organization - Out & Equal Workplace Advocates - has launched www.LGBTCareerLink.com, an online career center linking diversity-friendly companies with LGBT job seekers. As unemployment reaches more than 7% nationwide, online networking methods help identify and secure gainful employment. Workplace equality advocates want to emphasize that even in challenging economic times, diversity and inclusion are a necessity, not a luxury. Whether you’re seeking a job or looking for top talent, the site’s networking feature allows recruiters and the LGBT workforce to meet virtually across the nation and globally. Along with rich professional networking tools, LGBTCareerLink.com offers a jobs board featuring diversity-friendly employers and a career development resource center. In the style of Web 2.0, users are encouraged to create content themselves. “CareerLink is the fastest and most effective way for LGBT candidates to find quality employment,” said Out & Equal executive director Selisse Berry. “Without networking, job hunters usually look for work in ways that are opposite to how most employers prefer to hire.” Membership is free to LGBT and ally job seekers. For employers, LGBTCareerLink.com is a fee-for-service recruiting channel with various pricing levels. Business partners can post up to five pages of branded recruiting materials, including multimedia features. For LGBT Job Seekers: Forget the days of posting to big job boards and getting zero return. Research LGBT-friendly companies and get noticed by large, medium and small businesses that value workplace inclusion. • Review detailed profiles and network with LGBT-friendly companies locally, nationally and worldwide. • Join or start online networks tailored to your interest and needs. • Use sophisticated tools to profile yourself beyond the traditional resume post. • Upload samples of your portfolio, post comments to forums, and engage in informational interviews. • Interact with employment experts through web casts and pod casts. • Access timely news and articles affecting LGBT employees. • Find networking opportunities in your area. For more information, email candidates@LGBTCareersLink.com. For Employers Use highly targeted methods to fill your open positions with qualified candidates without processing thousands of resumes. LGBT CareerLink helps HR professionals meet and exceed corporate goals with an easy-to-use, one-stop career center. • Attract top talent and promote your company as an LGBT-friendly employer. • Web 2.0 tools allow for quick and direct interaction with candidates. • Create an online company profile and use state-of-the-art recruiting tools. • Stay informed about events, conferences, and other recruiting opportunities. For more information, email employers@LGBTCareerLink.com. Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Out & Equal champions safe and equitable workplaces for LGBT people. The organization advocates building and strengthening successful organizations that value all employees, customers, and communities. For more information, visit www.outandequal.org.
BBB PROVIDES CONSUMERS SIX WAYS TO SAVE MONEY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON As the nation collectively tightens its belt this winter, many families are looking for ways to save money without sacrificing any of their holiday cheer. Better Business Bureau is providing advice on how consumers can cut down on spending and reduce household costs without compromising the fun of the holiday season. With major declines across many sectors of the economy, overall household wealth in the U.S. is down nearly $8 trillion in 2008; most of that loss is due to the ailing stock market rather than the decline in the housing market. In addition, the number of unemployed is expected to reach three million before the economy improves. And not surprisingly, most holiday season spending forecasts indicate that many Americans are planning to cut back on various seasonal expenses this year. “Given the daily rollercoaster effect taking place in the US stock market, and with credit card companies lowering maximum credit lines and raising interest rates, the economic future for many households is uncertain heading into the holidays,” said Joan Coughlin, BBB spokesperson. “With the sobering effect of the economy looming over this holiday season, consumers are going to have to be creative with their dollars and be more conscious of their spending in order to avoid a holiday hangover.” The following are six ways BBB is advising consumers to save money this holiday season: Create a budget and stick to it Holiday expenses can add up quickly, and one way to keep the financial damage to a minimum is to create a budget and then track spending. A budget should include the amount the family plans to spend on food, travel, incidentals and even a price limit for each person on the gift list. Creating a budget can be harder than sticking to one, but becoming more conscious of holiday spending habits is an absolute must and greatly diminishes the chances of an unhappy New Year. Reduce energy consumption There are many ways to save money by cutting down on energy costs. During the energy crisis of the late seventies, President Carter famously donned a sweater and asked the public to turn down their thermostats. That advice rings true today, but it doesn’t mean the family has to suffer. BBB recommends turning the thermostat down only a few degrees when the family is home, and turning it down even more when at work or sleeping. Energy-conscious consumers can also reduce costs by driving less and keeping close to home for the holidays, as well as leaving outdoor Christmas lights on for only a few hours every night. Trim the gift-giving list When times are tight, whittling down the shopping list can save a lot of money. Aside from cutting the list down to only the closest of friends and family, some options include only giving gifts to children, setting generally accepted limits on what family and friends can spend, and drawing names for gifts among family. Unfettered giving is fun and spontaneous, but the credit card bill that will come in January can make even the most cheerful of givers grumpy in the New Year. Do it yourself Not only are craft projects a great way to get the family working together, making decorations and gifts is a great way to save money. There are many websites and books dedicated to holiday craft projects. For those who are crafty in the kitchen, holiday goodies such as baked goods and candies are also a much appreciated and inexpensive gift. Forego the little things When it comes to the holidays, the little things add up. Many of these little things can actually be pared down in leaner times. This includes foregoing season’s greetings cards, relying on last year’s decorations and using alternative wrapping paper - such as the Sunday comics or even the retailer’s shopping bag. Be a Savvy Consumer There will no doubt be a record number of sales this year as retail stores compete for shoppers’ dollars in the lean months leading up to celebrations. Not only does this mean savings at the mall, but consumers can also search online retailers for deals and bargains. Before doing business with any online retailer though, BBB advises shoppers to check the company out with BBB first at www.bbb.org. For more trustworthy advice on creating a holiday season budget, shopping safely online, and advice on charitable giving, visit: www.bbb.org.
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FEATURE STORY by Adam Leddy
I was born about four months after the New York Times ran a dry and rather inscrutable piece about the appearance of a rare cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, among gay men in New York and California. Most of the men had had multiple sexual partners and all exhibited depressed immune systems. Eight of forty-one victims were dead less than two years after their initial diagnosis. As I was learning to walk and talk and recite my ABCs, an entire generation of gay men vanished. They died horribly, many of them alone and afraid, disowned by loved ones and mostly ignored by their elected representatives. Gay men and women who were there to bear witness recall burying nearly all of their friends within months. In hindsight, the scale of our loss is unfathomable. All GLBT people should carry a bit of that loss with them. As we progress toward full equality, we owe at least a passing homage to the thousands of brave and talented people we lost in those dark years. For most of my life, my understanding of HIV/AIDS was clinical. Abstract. Something pieced together from sex ed lectures and public service announcements. In college I read And the Band Played On and tried to imagine what it would have been like to be a gay San Franciscan in 1983. I learned about the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP and pictured myself at die-ins on the White House lawn. I thought about survivor’s guilt and even experienced a variant of it, for being born too late. But AIDS was just an intellectual exercise, like trying to imagine you threw the first rock or bottle at the Stonewall riot. No one can hide forever, of course. A few years ago, someone I love deeply tested positive. What I want more than anything is for him to live until there is a cure. My friend con-
tracted the virus through what he refers to as a “bad decision”: unprotected sex with a man who, whether he knew it or not, was positive. Whether he knew it or not. It seems unthinkable that anyone with HIV would knowingly risk the health of a sexual partner. Many, perhaps most, positive people are fierce advocates for safe sex and honesty. Yet not all HIV-positive people disclose their status to their partners, even when engaging in unprotected sex. Just as baffling, legions of gay men actively seek sex partners who are willing to engage in unprotected anal intercourse. Many of these men prefer to be the receptive partner, dramatically increasing their risk of contracting HIV. Twenty-seven years since the outbreak of a rare cancer terrorized forty-one gay men in New York and California, how do we account for any of this? Disclosure and the Rules of Conduct It’s tempting to see the disclosure of HIV status as a cut and dried issue: if you are positive, you are morally obligated to tell your sexual partners so that they can make an informed decision on whether to proceed with intercourse. Many positive and negative people contend that this rule applies even when the positive individual always engages in safe sex. Yet, the counter-argument goes, if HIV-positive people act responsibly, taking great care to reduce the risk of transmission to others, disclosure may not be necessary. Subjecting responsible people to strict rules of conduct may increase the stigma associated with being positive and actually discourage people from disclosing in the long run. While disclosure carries very real risks for the positive person - isolation, rejection, abandonment - research has shown that it also pro-
vides many benefits. People who disclose receive more support and are more likely to access critical services than those who do not. Dr. Julie Serovich, chair of human development and family science in Ohio State’s College of Human Ecology, has found that few positive gay men regret disclosing their status to friends, family, and partners. “I believe for the mental health of men, that they feel better when they are honest and open with their sexual partners,” Serovich says. “To lead an open, honest life is invaluable.” Yet many positive people do harbor justifiable fears that lead them to keep their status secret. As maddening as the dating game can be for all of us, single poz men who are conscientious about the health of others have it even harder. Many gay men rule out sex with a positive person no matter how low-risk the circumstances. Few would argue that poz people are undeserving of healthy sex lives, or that they should only date other positive people. And of course, there are circumstances that render disclosure impossible. “If people feel that their life is in jeopardy, that their partner may become violent, I would encourage them not to disclose,” Dr. Serovich advises. “Instead, seroposition yourself to protect your partner.” In other words, be safe. The editorial team at AIDSmeds.com recommends a few simple guidelines for conscientious poz people who want to be honest with their partners: • Keep what you say as simple and as direct as possible. • If the person you’re disclosing to reacts negatively, remember that’s only one person. Not everyone is going to react the same way. • Remember that you should give the person you’re disclosing your status to some time to
process the information. Whatever their reaction may be at first, negative or positive, be aware that reactions can change in time. • Give yourself credit if you have been practicing safer sex with the sexual partner you’re disclosing your status to. You are already behaving responsibly with that person. It may be that the moral question is not whether to disclose, but whether to respect the health of others. One can make the case that it is theoretically possible to respect the health of others and yet not tell every sexual partner your sero-status, provided that you engage in strictly safe, low-risk sex. Others will contend that since all sex is inherently risky, positive people have no choice but to reveal their status to partners. The debate will continue until there is a vaccine or cure. While the moral question is complex, the legal case for disclosure is clear: in Ohio, if you are HIV-positive, you are required by law to tell a partner before engaging in sexual intercourse. Assault by Exposure The HIV Felonious Assault Law took effect in early 2000. Under it, an HIV-positive person who fails to disclose his or her status before engaging in any sex act with a partner is guilty of a second-degree felony. Courts across the state have handed down convictions under the law, and the trials have attracted considerable media attention: • Peter Ayala of Delaware County was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this month for failing to disclose his sero-status to a woman he dated for nine months. • Former Columbus police officer Richard Thorpe resigned from the force in 2002 after being tried and convicted for failing to inform NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
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FEATURE STORY continued his female lover of eighteen months. • In Pomeroy (Meigs County), Larry Lee Drake was convicted of infecting his partner, Steven Lantz, after a four-month relationship. • In 2003, a Canton man, Morrondo Roberts, was convicted after exposing a female to the virus. Roberts, an employee of Summit County Department of Job and Family Services, was given a four-year sentence. He claimed at the trial that he was gay and did not have sex with women. • Cincinnati has seen a spate of arrests and prosecutions under the assault law. Shortly after the law took effect, Gary Lee Cooper was sentenced to twenty years in prison for the sexual assault and subsequent infection of a thirteen-year-old boy. Sean Stewart was convicted in 2004 of exposing his female lover; she brought charges against Stewart after finding his prescription HIV medications. Last year, an HIV-positive homeless man, Dexter Ford, was given a ten-year sentence after raping a sleepwalking University of Cincinnati student whom he encountered along a highway near her home. Earlier this month, police arrested Claude Zonou for exposing a woman he dated through the spring. Judicial interpretations of the law have evolved over the years. In 2000, the Franklin County Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of Henry Couturier for infecting a teenage girl. The court found that Couturier had not been using his AIDS “as a weapon,” but that he was simply indifferent to the girl’s health. Precedents set since then seem to indicate that such indifference is itself cause for conviction. In at least one case, an arrest made under the law has unjustly ruined a reputation. A female sex partner accused Ravenna resident Spencer Patton of exposing her to the virus. Tests revealed that Patton was HIV-negative, but only after the twenty-year-old spent six days in jail. Patton’s father had died of AIDS in the early nineties. Objections to the law go beyond the possibility of false arrests. Several national and local organizations have expressed concern over the difficulty of proving the accusations that are leveled against perpetrators. “We have programming around how to disclose your status. With every client, we review the felonious assault law and how to have safer sex every six months,” says Peggy Anderson, interim director of Columbus AIDS Task Force. “The problem with the felonious assault law is that it there’s no way to prove [non-disclosure].” Thirty-two states have criminalized the act of transmitting HIV or exposing a sexual partner to the virus through non-disclosure. According to the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, an increasing number of countries are enacting similar laws. Speaking to Maria Cheng of the Associated Press, IPFF HIV adviser Kevin Osborn said, “The criminal law is a blunt instrument. If you put everyone in prison with HIV, then you think you’ve controlled it. But you haven’t dealt with the issues around the intimate behaviors that
spread HIV.” Concerns over criminalization aside, HIVpositive Ohioans who disregard the health of their partners are violating the law. But prevention is a two-way street. We are responsible for our own health and safety. That is a message that must take hold in central Ohio, where the rate of new HIV infections continues to increase. Trouble at Home Dr. Mysheika LeMaile-Williams is the medical director and assistant health commissioner of Columbus Public Health. She directs the city’s sexual health clinic and sees patients at least four hours a week. She is troubled by a steady, years-long increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in Columbus. “We are seeing an increased number of all sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia,” she says. “I would encourage everyone to know their status and get tested. World AIDS Day is a great time to remind everyone to do that.” Dr. LeMaile-Williams describes a “steady, step-wise increase” in gonorrhea and chlamydia over the last five years. “There has been a steady increase in the number of newly-diagnosed HIV cases in Franklin County for four to five years,” she adds. “With syphilis, we’ve bounced around a little bit.” This year’s bounce in syphilis infections has been particularly dramatic. A June 30 provider alert authored by LeMaile-Williams and Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long warned that syphilis cases at that point in the year nearly matched the total number of cases reported in 2007. As for the steady rise in new HIV infections, Dr. LeMaile-Williams sees several factors at play. “The fear is gone,” she says. “When HIV first surfaced, people were much more likely to practice safe sex. Today people are less afraid, particularly people under twenty-five, who weren’t even alive when HIV first hit. “We also see increased drug and alcohol use in the community. When you’re under the influence, you may not remember to use protection, or you may not really think about who you’re engaging in sex with.” Immediately upon diagnosis, the department works to educate patients and prevent the transmission of HIV to others. “We have a team of disease intervention specialists who do a thorough interview with the patient,” says Dr. LeMaile-Williams. “Ninety-eight to ninety-nine percent of the time, we have a successful interview. We explain the disease and treatment, how the patient was probably infected, and the timeframe they were infected.” The department will contact patients’ sex partners anonymously to advise them that they may have been exposed to HIV. Dr. LeMaile-Williams reports that about ninety percent of patients will put the department in touch with partners who are potentially at risk. Of course, that leaves patients who do not take advantage of anonymous disclosure. Why would these patients not inform partners that
GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT HIV/AIDS: TEN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT FROM THE OHIO AIDS COALITION Ensure Effective Treatment for All, no matter who they are or where they live. We now know that provision of antiretrovirals and treatments to prevent and manage opportunistic infections can have a dramatic affect on length and quality of life for people with HIV/AIDS. Not only that, but universal treatment for HIV disease can help reduce transmission of the virus-it can help slowdown the epidemic. If we have the capacity to “give people their lives back,” and it’s within our financial means, then we ought to do it. But Access is More than Doctors and Medsthe potential of effective medications and skilled medical professionals cannot be realized if people with HIV/AIDS need a roof over their heads, food to eat, a reliable ride to the doctor. Committing to effective treatment for all means committing, at the same time, to the support services people need to utilize those treatments. It’s time to Base Prevention on Science, not Ideology. Teaching young adults that they should be sexually abstinent from all sexual activity until marriage-official policy these last eight years has not worked, and should be abandoned. Instead, we should provide evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education, adequately fund family planning services, expand availability of clean syringes for injection drug users, and increase access to condoms and other contraceptive tools that will help individuals reduce their risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Ensuring Human Rights is central to success in the fight against HIV/AIDS-and that means human rights for everybody. Legal discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people endures-for example, in many areas of the country, including here in many parts of Ohio, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they’re gay. As long as people are afraid of losing their jobs, homes, or sense of personal safety, they will be less likely to step forward for the help they need, the help we all believe everyone deserves. Jobs and Economic Development are critical to the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially as people (with good treatment) are living longer, and seeking to return to work, school, and the mainstream of American life. But there’s another reason they’re important: poverty, itself, is a breeding ground for HIV, and regions of the nation (and world) that are poorer are likely to be harder hit by the epidemic.
It’s long past time to Fix the Crisis in Health Care, and guarantee that every American has access to health care coverage without discrimination against those with preexisting conditions. No other single policy change will more dramatically improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. It’s time to affirm as a national priority that health care is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. We need to Make Research Investments in vaccine development and emerging prevention technology (such as microbicides) that show promise for reversing the tide of HIV infection worldwide. Public sector support is crucial, since the market potential is currently unclear. And we need to make those investments with the awareness that such research often takes time, with many successes and failures along the way (that’s the way science, and medicine, progresses).We should Support a Truly Global Response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as a multilateral partnership based on universal access, sound science, and best practices. While the President’s Plan for Emergency AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has made additional resources available for care, treatment, and prevention, it has not been sufficiently multilateral, and has been too hampered by ideological restrictions. We can do more, and do it better. Our political leaders should Act as Models Against Stigma, by visibly reaching out to people with HIV/AIDS and communities disproportionately affected by the disease, and by getting tested for HIV-as some political leaders have already done at the local level here in the US. We and our children pay attention not merely to the words our presidents, governors, mayors, and representatives speak, but to their actions as well-and those actions can either support silence and stigma, or openly confront it. And finally, we should Spread Hope. This is officially the worst epidemic in human history, and even the most optimistic forecasts suggest that we still have a long ways to go. We have to keep the faith that we can make progress, that we can save lives. The alternative is to concede a kind of defeat, and settle into a lingering complacency. We have everything we need to win the fight, ultimately, against HIV/AIDS-we have the collective brains, the resources, the talent. We need to preserve the will to do it.
COLUMBUS WORLD AIDS DAY EVENTS Supporters are encouraged to wear red ribbons. DOWNTOWN Candlelight Vigil Columbus Topiary Garden 480 E Town St 5p-7p You may volunteer to read names at the vigil by calling 614.340.6750.
Community Celebration Broad Street United Methodist Church 501 E Broad St 7:30p-9p SHORT NORTH Businesses will display lit candles during the Holiday Hop. Red ribbons will be distributed in front of Take 2 Apparel, 668 N High St. NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
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HIV INFECTIONS SKYROCKET IN CENTRAL OHIO TEENS, WOMEN & MINORITIES - TEEN SPEAKS AT WORLD AIDS DAY Eighteen-year-old Ashley found out she was HIV-positive this February, when her four-month-old baby daughter got pneumonia and tested positive for HIV. Ashley tested negative for HIV when she gave birth, which means Ashley was infected only recently before delivery. Although Ashley’s baby has a lifetime of health issues ahead of her, Ashley says that today her baby is “so healthy.” As for Ashley, her first priority is her baby’s health. But she is happy to say that she is also very healthy, on medication with an undetectable level of HIV in her body. Ashley is getting a lot of help from the FACES Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She says the staff members there are like family to her. Ashley is young and African American. She is part of the dramatically growing population of Central Ohioans living with HIV and AIDS. The Ohio Department of Health reports that between 2003 and 2006, HIV infection rates among Franklin County teens and young adults (ages 1325) jumped nearly 45 percent. Diagnoses in the African American community rose 22 percent. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than a million Americans are living with HIV and more than a quarter of them don’t even know they’re infected. A group of local HIV/AIDS agencies is working together
to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1st, and Ashley is helping spread the word. Ashley wants to send the message to not be scared to get tested for HIV. And for those who have HIV, don’t give up. Even as a teenager, Ashley’s wisdom and maturity shows in her quote: “Every day is a blessing.” Ashley says she wants to fight, and she’s inspired for her baby’s sake. The Columbus Regional Advisory Group for HIV Prevention and the Central Ohio HIV/AIDS Consortium are planning local events to commemorate World AIDS Day, including a candlelight vigil to read names of those who have passed due to AIDS. Many prominent leaders in the community will be reading names, including Andrea Cambern from 10TV, Colleen Marshall from NBC4, Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard and Rep. Ted Celeste from the Ohio House, Dr. Alvin Jackson from the Ohio Department of Health, Marilyn Brown from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, and Dr. Teresa Long and Dr. Mysheika Lemaile-Williams from Columbus Public Health. Other events are a quilt-making workshop for people to add loved one’s names to the 2008 quilt panel, a luncheon and HIV testing, skating event, and more. For the complete schedule of events, please call 800.332.AIDS or visit www.catf.net/WorldAIDSDay.
VOLUNTEER FOR COLUMBUS AIDS TASK FORCE The need for HIV/AIDS education and support services has never been more urgent. The alarming increase in cases among women, teens, and minorities clearly indicates that we must do more. CATF is dedicated to caring for those living with HIV/AIDS, educating the community about preventing the spread of this disease, and making the fight against ignorance and apathy a health care priority. You can help. Here’s how: 1. View the titles and descriptions below and choose a position that interests you. 2. Email email@example.com or call 614.340.6770 with the following information: • First and last name • Phone number(s) and mailing address where you can be reached • Availability (days, evenings, weekends, flexible, etc) • The position (listed below) in which you are most interested in 3. A representative of the volunteer services program will be in touch with you to discuss your interests and skills. 4. A one-on-one orientation will be arranged which will take place one to four weeks after your initial contact with us. 5. You will then attend our two-day general volunteer training. Since CATF only offers the general volunteer training every few months, you will be able to start volunteering with us after your one-on-one orientation. However, you will be required to attend an upcoming general volunteer training to remain an active volunteer with CATF. CURRENT AVAILABLE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES • Positive Peer Support (Department of Prevention and Education): To help meet the emotional, social, and daily living assistance needs of people newly diagnosed with HIV, regardless of race, genNOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
der, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or location. • Client Services Support Team (Department of Client Services): Assist clients with housekeeping, grocery shopping, moving, caring for their pets, and transportation to medical and other appointments, on an as-needed basis. This work varies and is intermittent. • Special Events Team Member (Advancement/Fundraising Department): While we invite all of our volunteers to staff our special events, we’re also looking for people who want to be part of a core team of event support, assisting with event planning, coordination, and team leadership roles. Be part of this core team that has fun working our many fundraisers and promotional events. This work varies and is intermittent. Most opportunities are weekends and/or evenings, however, some weekday daytime office work is available. • Community HIV Presenter (Department of Prevention and Education): Help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce discrimination against people infected or affected by this disease through community education about risk reduction, current information about HIV and its impact locally as well as globally. You can also help direct people to the many programs and services CATF provides. • Hotline Assistant (Department of Prevention and Education): Help staff the Ohio AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline, providing information and referral services to callers from every county, connecting them with resources relevant to the nature of their concerns, in a professional and confidential setting. If you have any questions, please call Volunteer Services at 614.340.6770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEATURE STORY continued their health may be in danger? “Sometimes it’s beyond me why they wouldn’t,” the doctor admits. “Sometimes they just don’t want people to know. They think that if we were to contact their sex partners, the partners could identify them. Sometimes they don’t know their partners and don’t have enough info to provide for us. Often, people are under the influence [when they have sex], so they can’t recall much beyond where they met the person. But more times than not, when people know who their partners are, they are more than willing to share the information with us to help prevent the spread of disease.” Health officials like Dr. LeMaileWilliams cite drug and alcohol abuse as an important factor in the transmission of HIV. Anyone who has visited a gay chat room or personals site knows that the thriving online “marketplace” for dating and sexual activity has also helped to facilitate unsafe sexual practices. Out of curiosity, I posted a profile on the Columbus Craigslist site Friday night. Advertising myself a year older than I am, as 6’1” and 180 pounds (very close to my actual height and weight), I claimed to be “looking for bare fun with [a] bttm” and that I was willing to host or travel to my partner. I had five responses within fifteen minutes and almost twenty by the next morning. All of the responses appeared to be legitimate rather than spam. A few included graphic photos. None made any mention of HIV status. Trevon Logan, an economics professor at Ohio State, is very interested in the online marketplace catering to the sexual desires of gay men. His research for a not-yet-concluded study yields some informative, and perhaps encouraging, findings. “There is actually a high market on gay men who advertise safe sex,” he says. “We argue that there is a premium on safer sex because there is no negotiation involved. Saying that you’re going to participate in safe sex makes it easier because it is one less issue to discuss.” The research, however, focuses on men who are selling their services, and as Williams notes, cannot predict actual behavior in the bedroom. Trust, Responsibility, and Safety If my unscientific, spur of the moment Craigslist experience is any indi-
cation, some gay central Ohioans have decided to risk their health in pursuit of sexual satisfaction. I suppose that is their choice. The men who responded to my posting exhibited a disturbing disregard for their own health and that of future sexual partners. If such a disregard is widespread among gay central Ohioans, then it is no surprise that the rate of new infections continues to increase. But I believe we can assume that most newly infected gay men were not engaging in this sort of behavior before they tested positive. Many of them, like my close friend, may have just made a “bad decision” no different from those made by gay men who are fortunate enough to remain negative. Perhaps they were too trusting of a partner when he swore there was nothing to worry about. Maybe their judgment was clouded by drugs or alcohol. Perhaps the partner was someone they knew well, or loved, whose status they never thought to question. Perhaps the partner was older, more worldly, someone so well known in the gay community that his status couldn’t be a secret. Whatever the case, when a lie is introduced into sexual intimacy, even if it is just a lie of omission, it is not acceptable to blame the victim. We are all responsible for our own health, but when it comes to the transmission of HIV, we are also responsible for the health of others. The safe sexual behavior of most HIV-positive people may make disclosure unnecessary. Or, because no sex is one hundred percent safe, perhaps disclosure is the only proper precursor to any sexual act. The application of the felonious assault law may invalidate its noble intentions, or the law may be a fair societal response to an act of negligence or malice. As with most moral questions, there are more arguments to be made than answers to be had. It is not easy to live with HIV/AIDS. No one will ever claim otherwise. It is also not always easy to tell the truth. If you are positive, engaging in unsafe sex, and lying to your partner(s) about your status, remember that you are committing a felony, and expect to become an instant celebrity if you are caught. This publication is far more interested in protecting the safety of its readers than in protecting reputations.
In Memory of Mark Moffett Jr. 1965-2005 Please donate to the Mark Moffett Jr GLBT Music Scholarship Fund at The Ohio State University, the only music scholarship in the world for the GLBT community http://www.giveto.osu.edu/index.asp Fund # 480417
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WORLD AIDS DAY EVENTS IN CLEVELAND & NW OHIO December 1st is World AIDS Day, and every year local communities around the world host events on and around World AIDS Day to highlight the continuing challenges of the epidemic, and how citizens can take action for personal and societal change. The following lists events sponsored by the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, as well as other programs presented by a range of agencies and institutions across northeast Ohio. We hope you'll participate in as many events as you can-and add your voice to our community's commitment to life, hope, and human rights in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For more information, contact Jason Weiner at 216.621.0766, x270, or email@example.com.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2ND The David Feldt Institute, a program of the AIDS Taskforce, hosts
Shawn Decker, author of the book My Pet Virus, and his wife, Gwen Barringer, for a discussion about HIV, safer sex, and personal responsibility-with humor. A pre-talk reception begins at 4:00, with the discussion beginning at 5:00. There is no charge for this event; it will be held at the Wyndom Cleveland Hotel, 1260 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 216-6210766, ext. 255.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4TH Triage Film Screening Benefit at 6:30pm at Shaker Square Cinemas. The AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland will present a special screening of Patrick Reed's documentary, Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma. This powerful documentary follows Dr. Orbinski as he returns to Africa to write his new book, An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action for the 21st Century,
and reflect on the meaning of humanitarian action in the face of genocide, injustice and inequality, and HIV/AIDS. Presented with generous support from the Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation. For more information or tickets, contact Jason Weiner at 216-621-0766, x270, or email@example.com.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5TH World AIDS Day at the City Club of Cleveland, 12:00-1:30. Dr. Orbinski will speak about his new book, An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action for the Twenty-First Century. Dr. Orbinski is the former International President of Doctors Without Borders and founder of Dignitas International. Tickets are available by contacting The City Club at (216) 621-0082 or www.cityclub.org, and are $18 for members, $30 for nonmembers. Presented with generous support from the Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation.
OHIO’S HIV FELONIOUS ASSAULT LAW:
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
PEGGY ANDERSON BECOMES INTERIM DIRECTOR OF COLUMBUS AIDS TASK FORCE by Adam Leddy
from the Columbus AIDS Task Force Are you a person living with HIV/AIDS? Are you sexually active? If so, there is an important law in Ohio that you must know about. It is the HIV Felonious Assault Law (often referred to as House Bill 100), enacted in 2000. Under the law, if you are HIV+ you must disclose this to anyone you have sex with before any sex act, even if you are practicing safer sex. What does “any sex act” mean? The law covers at least all these sex acts: • Vaginal or anal intercourse • Any and all kinds of penetration- even with fist, toys or dildos. • Fellatio - giving or getting head or a blow job • Cunnilingus If I have to tell a sex partner that I am HIV+, how do I do that? You can ask your CATF case manager for advice on how to do this. Just call 614.299.2437 What if a sex partner accuses me of having sex and not telling before the sex act? • You will lose all rights to your privacy. • Your HIV status and sex life become a matter of public record. • You will need a lawyer to defend you. This can cost a lot of money. • Legal costs can mean you lose ownership of anything you have that has value, even your home. What if I am convicted of having sex and not telling? • You can be sent to prison for 2-8 years. • You can be put on probation or fined up to $15,000. How can I keep myself from being accused if I follow the law and tell my sex partners I am NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
HIV+? • Ask your sex partner(s) to sign a paper saying you told them you are HIV+. • Have someone you know and trust tell your sex partner that you are HIV+. That person can be your witness that you did tell. What kind of crime is felonious assault? • An assault is an unlawful attempt to do bodily harm to another person. Felonies include crimes like murder, rape, and burglary. Felonies carry a harder sentence than lesser crimes. • An HIV + person who has sex without telling his or her partner commits a second-degree felony. This means that if the person is convicted the sentence will be less than it would for a first-degree felony like murder. Are there any other parts to the law that I should know about? • If you are HIV+, it is a felony for you to have sex with anyone under the age of 18, even if you tell the person that you are HIV+ before you have sex. If you are married to someone under the age of 18, this does not apply. • If you are HIV+, it is a felony for you to have sex with anyone who can’t understand the risks of HIV, even if you tell the person you are HIV+ before you have sex. Need to know your status? Get free, fast and anonymous/confidential testing at CATF office: Tuesday: 3:30p-7:30p (Testing not offered on Dec 23 or Dec 30) Wednesday: 11a-2p (Testing not offered Dec 24 or Dec 31) Thursday: 10a-6p - by appointment: call 614.340.6693 (Testing not offered Dec 25 or Jan 1)
Peggy Anderson’s tenure at the Columbus AIDS Task Force has been described to me as “quiet,” in that she has gone about her work competently and efficiently, without a lot of fanfare or public attention. Anderson has been a presence at CATF since the late ’90s, and in that time she has worn many hats, serving as rural outreach case manager, primary care program coordinator, director of community services, and, most recently, chief operating officer. With the departure of CEO Chad McCoury, Peggy has stepped firmly into the spotlight as interim CEO. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me as CATF prepares for World AIDS Day. Adam Leddy: Tell our readers about your background in HIV/AIDS work. Peggy Anderson: I’ve worked at CATF for ten years. I started in 1996 as a student intern, leaving for two years to work at Children’s Hospital as a clinical social worker. My professional career has always been in HIV. I’m proud of the work that we do and I think I will enjoy this role. AL: What are the biggest challenges we face in dealing with the disease in central Ohio and nationally? PA: Apathy remains one of the biggest issues. Fortunately, if HIV is treated properly, people can live long and healthy lives. But with that, the immediacy and panic have disappeared, so we’re fighting apathy. A lot of it comes from the fact that people aren’t dying in the numbers they were. Even in 1996 and ’97, when I started, we weren’t losing as many people as we did in the early days. Without the sense of imminent death, HIV/AIDS as an issue loses some of its urgency.
People who are living with HIV know that the side effects of the medications can be horrible. Eventually, resistance develops not for everyone, but for many people. Much more of our client population is in poverty, and HIV is 10th or 12th on their list of things that are going wrong. Unfortunately, when any disease gets to poorer populations, it becomes less glamorous as an issue or cause. AL: What do you hope to accomplish, and what challenges do you inherit, as you take over for Chad? PA: Chad did a great job of figuring out where we fit as an agency. The funding structures are changing so much that it is difficult to provide all the things we want to provide. I want to continue to figure out what we are going to do if the funding situation continues to be difficult. One of the big things is education and outreach. Outreach is generally not funded - if we’re funded to do programming or testing, we’ll do outreach along with that. I’d love to do more with youth, for instance, but we don’t get funding for that. AL: For our World AIDS Day feature, we’re focusing on disclosure, and people who do not tell their sex partners that they are positive. In your experience, how common is it for people to keep their status a secret? PA: We feel like the majority of our clients tell their partners, or want help telling their partners. We have programming around how to disclose your status. With every client, we review the felonious assault law and how to have safer sex every six months. We try to educate the public, and remind people that they should ask all of their partners about their status.
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DEEP INSIDE HOLLYWOOD by Romeo San Vicente
PARKER FINDS LOVE AND DANGER WITH GRANT
MOORE, FIRTH CAST IN TOM FORD’S SINGLE MAN
BRAVO SEWS UP MORE FASHION REALITY
JOHN, JAGGER, BOWIE MAY FORM OLYMPIC “SUPERGROUP”
Relax, gays - Sarah Jessica Parker knows you’re all slavering for a follow-up to this summer’s hit Sex and the City movie. But she’s got to stay busy while the Sex sequel goes through development, so in the meantime, Parker will be teaming up with the ever-charming Hugh Grant for a new romantic comedy. The untitled film will star the toothy twosome as an estranged, high-powered New York couple who are put into the Witness Protection Program after they observe a murder being committed. Stuck together in a small town in Wyoming - where Parker’s character will trade couture for flannel - they rekindle their love while dodging the murderers. No release date yet on the movie, which will reunite Grant with Two Weeks Notice and Music and Lyrics writer-director Marc Lawrence. Until Sarah Jessie P. reunites with Big, this will do just fine.
Romeo has told you about how fabulous designer Tom Ford is making his entree into filmmaking with a screen adaptation of legendary gay author Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man. Now the project has begun to line up an exciting cast. Colin Firth will star as a gay British professor in Southern California, whose partner has just died suddenly. Matthew Goode - seen recently as the bisexual Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited and soon to co-star in Watchmen - plays the young, recently departed lover, and Julianne Moore will appear as one of the professor’s friends. The film takes place over the course of a single day, with the professor trying not to let his loss interfere with his daily routine. A Single Man should grace the screen by the end of 2009.
In its ongoing quest to be gayer than Logo, Here, and Clay Aiken put together, the Bravo cable network has announced three new fashion-based shows for its slate of programming. While Bravo may be losing the very popular (and extremely queer-centric) Project Runway, the channel has a similar competition for fashionistas, The Fashion Show, in the works, with November casting calls for contestants taking place in LA, New York, Miami, and Chicago. Combining Runway with Dancing with the Stars might yield Celebrity SewOff, another new Bravo show that will feature famous people designing and creating their own garments. (Romeo would like to see Lauren from The Hills try to fob off something from her own line.) And then there’s Fashionality, a new show featuring New York’s fiercest cultural icons discussing the week in fashion and pop culture. It’s TV you’ll have to dress up to watch.
One openly gay and two at least gay-adjacent kings of rock and roll are discussing plans to form a once-in-a-lifetime “supergroup” to perform at the 2012 Olympics. Elton John, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger - didn’t Bowie’s wife once claim she caught the latter two in bed together? are exploring the possibility of performing together in London at the next summer games. Jagger, who’s already set to sing with the Rolling Stones for the Olympics’ opening ceremonies, wants to expand the show to include John and Bowie, as well as Phil Collins, Sting, Van Morrison, David Gilmour, and Jimmy Page. Even though the collective age of such a combo would hover around 500, the results would still have to sound better than Jagger and Bowie’s dreadful cover of “Dancin’ in the Streets” from 1985’s Live Aid.
Romeo San Vicente was once called “Jumping Jack Flash” after an incident in P.E. involving gym shorts and no underwear. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.
ARTS by Elizabeth Williamson and William Goldsmith
A CHORAL VERSION OF A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS TALE Written and directed by William Goldsmith, Columbus Children’s Theatre’s executive and artistic director, Ebenezer! puts a new spin on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with the use of “choral narration” and what Goldsmith refers to as the “Nicholas Nickleby motif.” In 1983 the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival acquired the rights to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s eight-hour adaptation of Dickens’ sprawling celebration of humanity, Nicholas Nickleby, making Great Lakes the first American company to take on this formidable project. William Goldsmith said that the performance in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square literally changed his professional life. Although the production of Nicholas Nickleby was wonderful, what stayed with Goldsmith was the innovative use of “choral narration” that was inherent to the piece. As the audience entered the theatre they would discover many of cast members in costume, and in character, circulating through the lobby and the house. The characters greeted the audience everywhere, chatted with them about their seats, the weather, and any number of things, but primarily they were subtly ushering the audience into the atmosphere of old England. The show began with all 46 actors “narrating.” NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
Using the rich Dickensian descriptions from the novel, they set the time, the scene, and the characters. The group started its narration in unison, then divided into multiple, varied groups of voices, creating different sounds. As each character was introduced, the actor playing the role would step downstage and into the role. When the scene was set, the company would melt away and the action would begin in earnest. The actors not in the scene would linger about the set, watching the action until time to narrate or take on another character. William Goldsmith was struck by the warmth of this opening and the choral narration. It was as if the entire company was saying eagerly to the audience, “We are about to tell you a wonderful story!” It was “musical,” the way the different voices were combined and blended for the various narrations. This narrative convention was maintained throughout the show, imbuing each scene with the proper atmosphere and tone while the actors moved scenery, furniture, and props as they were narrating. It was a fluid, original production and a wonderful innovation. Columbus Children’s Theatre’s musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol makes use of the “Nicholas Nickleby motif.” One cannot improve upon Dickens’ story - it is magical. But the convention adds to the magic.
“We all love being told a story, and that’s what happens here - a group of people telling a great story. And with the charming music by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience,” Goldsmith said. Ebenezer! is festive while remaining faithful to the classic Christmas tale. Performed by a 36member cast in Columbus Children’s Theatre’s intimate, 170-seat Park Street Theatre, Ebenezer! will be enjoyed by all people of all ages. Ebenezer! Nov28 - Dec 21 at the Park Street Theatre, 512 Park St. Thu-Fri 7:30p, Sat 1p, 3p, & 5p, Sun 1p & 3p. Tickets $10-$20 at 614.224.6672. For more information, visit
www.colschildrenstheatre.org. Elizabeth Williamson is managing director and William Goldsmith is executive and artistic director of Columbus Children’s Theatre, a member organization of the Columbus Arts Marketing Association. CAMA’s mission is to promote awareness of and participation in the arts and cultural opportunities in Greater Columbus through collaborative marketing and public relations projects, and to provide professional development opportunities for members. For information visit www.camaonline.org.
OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 23
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
24 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY
SHOPPING by Marcus Morris
THE NORTH POLE COMES TO GAHANNA
HEADING EAST: HOLIDAY SHOPPING IN GAHANNA by Marcus Morris Not every queer lives and breathes within the confines of the Short North arches, so we’ve taken our holiday shopping tour eastbound to Gahanna. Gahanna is very family-oriented and only a short distance from Easton, and there are plenty of boutiques to find the gifts for you and yours. You will definitely find things to check out if you plan on heading to the Holiday Lights! event in Gahanna that draws thousands each year. Here are a few Gahanna gift ideas that we think are pretty fab. The shops showcased support the LGBT community, and they are worth the trip beyond the traditional gayborhoods. Baskets By Bonnie, www.basketsbybonnie.com, offers gifts for any occasion. You’ll find custommade baskets, gifts for the office, and any number of creative ideas you never could have come up with on your own. I really loved the Sigmund Freud Action Figure, $8.95, as well as the Bananagrams, $14.95. Bananagrams are like Scrabble, but fun. You get 144 letter tiles, and a very cute yellow canvas banana pouch. It’s perfect for traveling. You could play Bananagrams in Paris or Portland! Located in Olde Gahanna, Honey Grove Botanicals, 74 Mill St, 614.638.7809, is a great shop for natural and nature-inspired soaps, bath products, and candles. The Creamy Coconut Milk Soap, $5.99, is all-natural, and at 5oz is a better buy than a bar of Ivory. Plus, you will smell like you’ve been in the islands, when you’ve only been on the east side. www.honeygrovebotanicals.com. Six shops in one? The Shoppes Of Portobello Row, 505 Creekside Plaza, 614.475.8775, is made up of six distinct shopping experiences. There’s Nana’s Corner, Tea Time, The Games, The Garden, Décor, and Beloved Friends. For all the Gore Vidal wannabes, you can buy the Independence War Chess set, NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
$168.99. It features handpainted Revolutionary figurines on one end, and the redcoats on the other. The figurines and the master board are sold separately. Don’t forget to pick up a box of Fortunes Gourmet Ceylon Tea for $4.99…but don’t throw it into Big Walnut Creek! www.portobellorow.com You can’t even imagine the fun you can have at The Candle Lab, 520 Creekside Plaza, 614.554.8474. I really loved some of the scents based on nature, like earth, moss, cannabis, and tomato plant. Each candle comes in an 8oz jar and retails for $15. Starting November 29, you can buy 3 candles and get 1 free. The Candle Lab has great gifts for the bath and the body, but the candles are divine. I say buy based on the personality of your friends and family. I am definitely a fan of tomato plants, for all of those paying attention! www.thecandlelab.com I had a good time from the moment I walked into Zodiac, 69 Mill St. There were loads of things to do in the store, and some amazing gifts. You could give a great set of tarot cards, $17.99, and a velvet storage bag, $18.50, for the person who might want to begin reading. My favorite gift, nerd that I am, is the Mova Globe, $495, which rotates based on gravity and light. The store has a host of things to play with, learn from, and try on. The best part was the utter fabulousness of proprietor Jennifer Lopez (no joke), who takes you on a ride through the store and makes you feel like you will have better karma when you leave. www.zodiaconmill.com
Sparkling lights, live holiday music and the “jolly old elf” himself will create a magical day on November 29 when Gahanna presents the 10th annual Holiday Lights! Parade & Festival and Winter Wonderland at Creekside Park. The festivities, beginning at 8a, are designed to enchant adults and children of all ages with a holiday extravaganza set in historic Olde Gahanna and include:
Handmade holiday gifts can be the most wonderful gifts to give. Learn how to create simple, but beautiful aromatic home spa gifts sure to please and pamper your loved ones. Discover the fragrant world of holiday home scenting with herbs, botanicals and spices as you learn how to create your own scented ornament. (74 Mill St) 9a–8p: Holiday Marketplace Get some holiday shopping done and enjoy delicious festival food at the Holiday Marketplace
8a- 12p: Holiday Character Breakfast Celebrate the spirit of the season with your favorite literary characters: Curious George, Max from Max and Ruby and Mouse from If You Take a Mouse to The Movies. Enjoy a delicious all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast by Chris Cakes and then listen to holiday stories read by special guests. Afterward, pose for pictures with your favorite costumed characters. (Olde Gahanna Sanctuary, 82 North High Street)
11a–7p: Holiday Festivities and Holiday Savings at Upscale Resale Learn decorating tips from talented designers from 1 – 3p Save 10% off all day as you dive into delicious holiday refreshments. (57 Granville St)
Time: Seatings begin at 8:20aand will run every 20 minutes through 12p Place: Holiday House at the Sanctuary, 82 North High Street Cost: $6 per person in advance, $7 at the door - Quantities are limited, so make reservations today!
1p-4p: Holiday Song Wagon Relax and take a festive ride through Olde Gahanna as you enjoy the melodic sounds of holiday carolers.
8a-7p: Festival of Trees Silent Auction No hassle holiday decorating is now available! Purchase a breathtaking decorated tabletop tree at the Olde Gahanna Community Partnership Holiday Lights! Festival of Trees silent auction. 9a-12:30p: Children’s Activities presented by Primrose School Enjoy free festive holiday crafts and activities for all ages! 9a-6p: Santa A holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without a visit with Santa. Picture-taking and wish-making opportunities are available with the “Jolly Old Elf”! Don’t miss the chance to write and send a letter to Santa! An express North Pole mail box will be available for letters to Santa so send your wish list and keep working on that good behavior! 9a-6p: Santa’s Secret Workshop It is so much better to give than to receive! Bring your little shoppers to Santa’s Secret Workshop where they’ll be able to find the perfect gift for you! 9a-9p: Holiday Home Scenting and Impressive Homemade Gift Giving
12p-5p: Heartland Bank Holiday Stage Enjoy the sounds of the season with festive family-oriented entertainment.
1p-6p: Children’s Activities presented by the Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation Enjoy free festive holiday crafts and activities for all ages! 3p-9p: Hospitality Center Take a break from the festivities, stop in and warm up with coffee, hot chocolate and other refreshments. (Mifflin Presbyterian Church, 123 Granville Street ) 6p: Parade! The flurry of activity is just beginning when the sun goes down, as Ohio’s premiere evening parade promises to warm hearts with upwards of 100 lighted floats, five marching bands, plus the Buckeye Brass Band, horse drawn carriages, and a host of other dazzling surprises. After Dark: Winter Wonderland at Creekside Park You don’t have to wait until Christmas morning to see their eyes light up. Cherish the expressions on the faces of your little ones, as you step into the winter wonderland of Creekside Park, offering breathtaking light displays and holiday decorations set against a beautiful backdrop inspired by Mother Nature. (Creekside Park)
OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 25
BOOKMARKS by Adam Leddy
The Black Tower, Louis Bayard Gay author Louis Bayard has earned recognition as a “major talent” from no less an authority than Joyce Carol Oates, so it should come as no surprise that his latest, The Black Tower, has been the subject of fawning reviews since its release in August. Bayard’s most recent works, Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye, featured, respectively, a young Edgar Allen Poe assisting in the investigation of the murder of several West Point cadets and a grown Tiny Tim protecting a young girl from the advance of a deadly killer. One could make the case that the author has proven his brilliance before committing a single word to the page simply with his inventive choice of subject matter. The Black Tower tackles a question that has tantalized historians and conspiracy theorists for nearly two-hundred years: what really happened to Louis XVII, son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who was reported to have died in a prison tower in the late 1700s? Can it be that the dauphin survived his brutal imprisonment at the hands of French revolutionaries and is actually alive somewhere in France in 1818? Bayard enlists a colorful and largely obscure (to Western readers) historical figure to solve the mystery: Eugene Francois Vidocq, an early-nineteenth century criminal-turned-investigator who is regarded today as one of the world’s first, and possibly least conventional, private dicks. A bizarre murder leads Vidocq to the squalid residence of Hector Carpentier, a sickly doctor who soon finds himself playing deputy to the era’s greatest detective and watching over a young man named Charles, who may or may not be the long-lost boy-king. If a gay sensibility informs the novel, it is most evident in the sometimes-tender relationship between Hector and Charles; the story, however, is as gritty as its setting. Perhaps Bayard’s greatest achievement, beyond crafting a historical mystery that will challenge and engage modern readers, is his rendering of a Paris beset by years of political turmoil and horrific violence. Students of French history will recognize the desperate poverty and gaudy opulence that coexisted in the country at the time of the Revolution and subsequent Restoration, and newcomers to the subject will come to understand the uneasiness and ghastly volatility of that coexistence. With The Black Tower, Bayard reaffirms his status as a leading light among contemporary gay writers and an innovator who pushes the limits his genre.
Passions of the Patriots: Our Famous Founders’ Secret Lives, Volume 1, “Thomas Paine” Ben Franklin’s fondness for “street tarts” produces so many bastards that he earns the nickname “father of his country.” Thomas Jefferson’s legendary sexual prowess woos Abigail Adams, who champions lesbianism and the female orgasm to her horrified husband. The Machiavellian orchestrations of Sam Adams earn him the fear and contempt of early American revolutionaries, and lead to the death of Crispus Attucks. And George Washington, famed brewer and hemp smoker, enjoys passionate sodomy with the Marquis de Lafayette. Bexley author and activist Harvey Wasserman has unearthed Thomas Paine’s lost manuscript, an insider’s guide to the debauched luminaries who gave America her independence. Passions of the Patriots is hallucinogenic historical fiction, a wild ride through our nation’s quaint beginnings. The central players and their myriad moral failings are loosely united by a plot, but the story is perhaps more effective if taken as a series of vignettes Wasserman’s quirkiness is stifled when he yields to the need to tie things together, rather than just letting his revolutionary roustabouts run wild. And run wild they do - in the case of Abigail Adams, to western Massachusetts and the arms of Daniel Shays. The great irony of Passions is that the lost writings of Thomas Paine present us with a version of American history that is only slightly more sordid and shameful than what actually happened. Wasserman is most amusing when his humor embraces and exploits that irony. In presenting a pre-Revolutionary America where genocide, slavery, and sexual deviance are central facts of the country’s birth, Wasserman’s twisted take on our founding may be closer to the truth than what we are taught in school.
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
26 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY
INTERVIEW by Gregg Shapiro
Labelle is Back While many people their age are considering or planning for retirement, Patti LaBelle (64), Nona Hendryx (64), and Sarah Dash (63) are working harder than ever. Reuniting under the Labelle moniker after more than 30 years apart, they have released Back to Now to acclaim from critics and fans. Working with Lenny Kravitz and Wyclef Jean, as well as legendary Philly soul godfathers Gamble & Huff, the legendary trio sounds as glorious and divalicious as ever. Remaining true to their origins and to the formula that brought them fame, Labelle is back in a big way. I spoke to Patti, Nona and Sarah shortly before the release of the album. Gregg Shapiro: Patti, Nona, and Sarah, did the three of you remain in contact with each other since Labelle disbanded? Patti LaBelle: We did. We would talk at least once a month. Nona Hendryx: And we did a couple of performances with Patti at the Apollo. You were filming…it was for your DVD or something. PL: For Live at the Apollo. NH: We would go and see each other’s shows. I’d see Patti, she came to see me. I’d see Sarah. Kind of like sisters, I guess (laughs). Catch up on the gossip. GS: Who gets credit for coming up with the idea for the Labelle reunion? NH: Patti was always saying it. PL (laughs): I was the town crier. I was spreading the word. Every year I would say that we were getting back together. People would go crazy. And I knew that eventually we would. But I knew that it wouldn’t be any time soon in my future, because I had a lot of stuff to do. But I kept keeping the hope alive. But I knew that we would - I just didn’t tell them the truth about how long it would take (laughs). I said, we will get together and when we do get together it’s going to be the three original girls. Not two girls from someplace else. It has to be Sarah, Nona and me. Sarah Dash: Right! PL: People were very happy about that information and it finally came true. So, I wasn’t lying! I was just prolonging. SD: Sometimes our family members, and Nona experienced the same thing, they would go, “Oh, my God! When is the reunion?” And we’d go, “Huh”? PL: A lot of times, folks were at the show, and they would tell Sarah and Nona, “Oh, Patti NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
says you’re getting back together.” And they said, “Yeah, we are!” They didn’t know what to say, because they didn’t know when. But I said it every chance I got, because I knew it was inevitable. GS: In terms of working together, does it feel like picking up right where you left off? PL: It does to me. To me it feels like we’re picking up because the sound still remains the same. SD: It does feel like we’re picking up. The other day when we did (W)DAS, a radio station in Philadelphia, we performed live and it was just wonderful banging into each other and doing all the same things. And just to hear Pat’s voice again with Nona’s and mine - it just feels like we took a vacation and we’re back. NH: It was a live, in-studio radio broadcast with people who won a contest as an audience. And it was great because there was a woman who was actually crying and Pat went over and hugged her because she was so thrilled to win the tickets and to be there and that we were together again. It was great! GS: Then would you say that this disc is as much a gift for your fans of, shall we say, a certain age, as it is for younger generations? SD: Uh-huh! NH: Definitely. I think for our fans, the babyboomers out there, who have been missing and wanting and longing for Labelle music and for us to be together again - I think it’s a dream come true for them. Somebody said the other day that they never thought they’d be holding another record by Labelle. And for the younger audience, who grew up with their parents playing it in the house, they now get a chance to hear a new CD, new music, and to see live performances that their parents have probably bored them to death about (laughs). GS: One of the remarkable things about Back To Now is the way that the songs, including “Candlelight,” “Superlover,” and “Without You In My Life” remain faithful to the vintage Labelle sound. Was it a conscious decision not to divert from the original recipe? PL: It was very conscious. SD: Yes. PL: We knew that we had to still be Labelle. (But) we’re older, so we also had to do age-appropriate music. When we were 35 years younger, we were still doing age appropriate music, and we were still a little ahead of our
time, since there were not many women singing about politics and sexual whatever you want to call it (laughs). My son calls it “poor choices” - as far as his mother’s concerned, he doesn’t like me singing anything sexual, but we do. We did back in the day and we do now. And when you think about it, there aren’t any three-girl groups left. We’re the only three-girl group out there now. We’re singing music that older folks and younger folks, anybody with a listening ear and who wants to think about what’s happening to our world today, they’ll listen to Labelle’s new CD and they’ll hear every kind of subject matter. GS: I’m so glad that you mentioned politics, because with this extremely important presidential election on everyone’s mind, I wanted to ask you about some of the more political songs: “Dear Rosa,” “Tears For The World,” “How Long.” Was it important for you to be able to use this album as a medium for expressing those sentiments? PL: It wasn’t that we meant to do that, it’s just who we are. The song “System,” we did that 30 years ago. It was relevant then and it’s relevant now. In the song, Sarah’s sort of like the undecided voter, Nona is kind of like a McCain kind of person and I’m an Obama kind of person. And we’re both trying to get Sarah to come to either side. That’s what the system is today. They’re having these debates trying to get the undecided voters to vote for somebody. In this song we’re saying the same thing. How the world is twisted and they don’t know which way to go. Especially right now with the way the economy is and everything else; everybody’s jacked up. They don’t know if Obama’s too black or too white because he’s both - he’s everyman. They don’t know if McCain’s too old or Palin’s too silly. They don’t know what to do. The album is timely, but not intentionally. SD: In the past, Nona wrote a song called “I Believe I Finally Made It Home,” and there is a line in the song about having hope. That’s something that we’ve always said in our music since back in the day, in the ’70s, so we’re just picking up and saying something different, but saying the same thing. GS: As three women who played significant roles in establishing the soul sound that many of us know today, what do you think of the retro soul revival, exemplified by the new Raphael Saadiq disc, as well as by Amy Wine-
house and others? PL: I think it’s wonderful. This new guy named Dwele and so many young people with great thoughts, great writing skills. And they have to compete with Nona Hendryx, who I think is the best writer in the world. SD: Even some of the rap stars used the old James Brown licks and sequenced them into their music. They appreciated it and used it in their music for the young kids, never realizing that we, the classic musicians, have been a staple there. GS: I recently interviewed jazz performer Patricia Barber about her new album The Cole Porter Mix, and Back To Now closes with Labelle’s wondrous rendition of “Miss Otis Regrets.” PL: And you know what else, honey? That should have said on there, “recorded 30 years ago.” NH: That was recorded in 1970. SD: Yes. GS: Do you think that there might be a Cole Porter revival on the horizon and Labelle wants to be part of that wave? PL: There should be. SD: There were a lot of fans who put “Miss Otis Regrets” on YouTube. And it was being played there. And it was almost as if they said that this is something that they want to hear today. Nona met with the guy to do the digital mix of the song, to take out the noise. I think we recorded it on eight tracks, you guys? NH: We found an eight track master tape. It was digitally re-mastered. We were going to do it from the vinyl, but it had so much noise, so much crackling on it. It was a limited release 45 (rpm) out of England and we were able to find the tape and digitally re-master it. That’s why it sounds as good as it does - he did a great job. And Cole Porter is always relevant. One of the greatest lyricists and songwriters, I think, ever. GS: So it’s safe to say that there won’t be any AARP magazine stories about how Patti, Nona, and Sarah are enjoying their retirement any time soon? PL, NH, SD: (Laugh) SD: The hardest-working woman in show business and her cohorts. PL: Gregg, you’re going to see a lot of Labelle for a long, long time, darling. And I know we have a few more CDs in us.
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OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 27
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
28 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY
SEX TALK by Simon Sheppard
Back in the 1960s, feminists coined the phrase “the personal is political.” And that still goes, notably in the case of the very personal matter of male-male sex. From New York to New Delhi, lawmakers wrangle over issues ranging from same-sex marriage to legalizing gay sex. And, conversely, private playing can be colored by political considerations. Says one man who’s been a gay activist for decades, “There have been plenty of attempts to legislate morality on issues like divorce, birth control, and use of drugs and alcohol. Hell, until a couple of years back, it was illegal to sell dildos in Texas. Queer sex, though, seems to generate an exceptional amount of heat, maybe because many people’s sense of identity is so dependent on gender and family. In the US, the idea that some folks are using their bodies in ways that others don’t approve of has fueled the seemingly endless ‘culture war,’ which is largely a fight over two issues: abortion and male-male sex.” In advanced industrialized democracies, penis-on-penis pleasure is usually permissible. Many European nations even allow gay marriage and queers in the military, while in other parts of the world, orthodox theocracies put men to death for giving head. Geographical generalizations aren’t absolute, of course: While gay rights are enshrined in South Africa’s constitution, it took a Supreme Court decision to legalize sodomy in parts of the United States, and that took place just a few years ago. Though conventional wisdom says that queers tend to be on the liberal side of the spectrum, there have been many notable queer conservatives, and even, as was the case with famed author Yukio Mishima, gays who veer toward fascism. There’s also the “doth protest too much” closet factor; it’s no surprise that a number of prominent antigay politicians have been caught with their pants down, both metaphorically and literally, while cruising for dick. Governmental policy isn’t the only place where pricks and politics intersect. When guys get it on, touchy subjects like race, class, and age often join them in bed. “Sorry, but I don’t get turned on by men who are as old as my father,” says one 20-something fellow. “Maybe that makes me prejudiced, but I like what I like.” Still, while none but the most doctrinaire would propose a dick-based affirmative action program, it does help to keep an open mind.
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
Even then, there are pitfalls. “Having a racial preference can be kind of a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation,” says an observer of the scene. “Face it, when it comes to sex, many of us - even if we’re otherwise unprejudiced - have ethnic turn-ons and turn-offs. But if a white guy, for example, doesn’t care to play with Asian men, that leaves him open to charges of racism. If he prefers Asians, though, he might be accused of racial objectification.” Stickier still is the subject of politically touchy fetishes. What if you’re a pacifist who springs to attention at the sight of a man in uniform, an animal-rights activist who loves men in black leather, or a member of Amnesty International who secretly gets off on POW porn? And how about verbal scenes that include racist or sexist slurs? From SM to incest roleplay, kink can be quite controversial. Feigned abuse of power is an intrinsic part of sadomasochistic scenes, and forbidden fantasies can be very tempting. “This black friend of mine likes to be a slave in roleplaying scenes,” says one Jewish man. “And that’s his choice. I mean, safe, sane, and consensual, right? But though it’s all well and good to argue that politics stops at the bedroom door, I myself am totally grossed out by Nazi-themed porn.” Inconveniently, though, the beyond-thepale, taboo nature of a truly transgressive scene can be precisely what makes it so hot. What to do? Whether at the ballot box or at a bathhouse, politics can make strange bedfellows. So perhaps when it comes to penis, it’s simpler to be pragmatic than policy-oriented. As our 20something says, “I’m usually a conscientious citizen, and I always vote. But if I’m cruising a cute guy, I’m much more interested in his prick than in his political party.” In the best of all possible worlds, we would all be colorblind and totally tolerant of each other’s views, singing “Kumbaya” in one big circle jerk. In this world, though, sexual desire can be gnarly, contradictory, even offensive. Maybe the best one can do is aim for consensual, caring hook-ups that leave the participants feeling good about themselves... and ready to vote. Simon Sheppard is the editor of Leathermen and Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica, and the author of Sex Parties 101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and can be reached at SexTalk@qsyndicate.com. Visit Simon at www.simonsheppard.com.
OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 29
SAVAGE LOVE by Dan Savage
I am a straight, crossdressing male into bondage. That’s NOT my problem. Recently, I began seeing a professional Dominatrix for forced crossdressing, among other things. She was great, but our last session ended abruptly when She told me that She wanted to start dildo training me. I was all for it, but I asked Her, politely, if She could use my dildo. In no uncertain terms, She said no. I then asked, politely, if She would wash Her dildo in bleach in front of me so that I would know it was clean. She ended the session right then and there, and She told me not to contact Her again. Was I out of line? I signed a “contract” with Her that said I would not “top from the bottom,” but She has several other slaves who She probably uses that dildo on and I just wanted to know for sure that the dido was clean. I know I won’t be seeing Her again, but it would be nice to know if you thought I was out of line. She reads your column. Superior Her Ends Edgy Session Hastily Why did this woman tell you to gather your panties and go? That’s hard for me to say, SHEESH, as I’m not a mind reader. But I see two possible explanations: One, she is unwilling to pause, step out of her role, and renegotiate a scene that’s already underway, in which case you are well rid of her. Or, two, you’re an insufferable controlling twat, and you managed to annoy the fuck out of her and she kicked your ass to the curb. I might be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt and declare you the wronged party here, SHEESH, but your having carried this dispute into a column that you know she reads tips me over to her side. By writing to me, you’re not just seeking the last word, SHEESH, but hoping to have the satisfaction of seeing this woman dressed down in public. So while you were careful to submis-
sively capitalize all those third-person pronouns as if She Herself were God Himself - your letter leads me to believe that in person, as in print, you’re a disrespectful, controlling, and manipulative piece of shit. In other words, SHEESH, I suspect that your beef about the cleanliness of that dildo wasn’t your infraction, but the last fucking straw. I’m having an interesting dilemma. I’m a 20-year-old female and a junior in college. For the past few years, I’ve been working on becoming a journalist. But I’ve found myself less and less interested (and passionate) about it as time goes on. And I think I’d rather be a fetish model. For the past year, I’ve been a submissive in a D/s relationship with my boyfriend. I love him VERY much, and he is more respectful toward me than any other man I’ve been with. Lately, we’ve been toying with the idea of creating a fetish-modeling website. I do not want to be shot nude or have sex on camera, but I LOVE the idea of bondage photos and pursuing this as a career, and so does he. From the photos I’ve done so far, I’m pretty sure this could pay off AND be more personally satisfying than a job at a newspaper. But I’m nervous about what my family and friends will say when they realize I’m never going write for the Washington Post or the New York Times. Kinky Coed Journalism or fetish modeling, journalism or fetish modeling - gee, which career is right for you? Um, KC? If you bothered to read either of the newspapers you cite as possible future places of employment, you would know that times are tough at daily newspapers. The Internet ate their business model - so long, lucrative classified ads! hello “citizen journalists”! - and right now, it’s all
layoffs and buyouts all the time at daily and weekly newspapers. If you care so little about journalism that you’re tempted to make a career of posting bondage pictures to a website instead, KC, then don’t go into journalism. Leave the few jobs that remain at newspapers to people who have some passion for the field. So it’s fetish modeling for you, right? Not so fast, kinkster. Porn companies, large and small, are experiencing similar financial difficulties. Just as many people are willing to write for free online, many millions of people are willing to post everything from “tasteful” fetish shots to hardcore porn online for free. So while there may be a handful of people out there who’ll pay to see you tied up, you’re probably not going to make enough money as a fetish model to support yourself. So you might want to think of some other line of work, something with more job security and better long-term prospects - perhaps banking or real estate? I have a bigot in the family. My brother’s mother-in-law is scared this country is “on its way” to legalizing same-sex marriage, which is “against what her Bible tells [her].” Debating the issue with her is no use, because it always comes back to her religious beliefs. She doesn’t dislike gays, and she’s said that if gay marriage becomes legal she’ll help me find a husband. Outside of the marriage issue, she shows no prejudice. As a gay man, I find her views on marriage reprehensible, but I’m conflicted about how to deal with her in the future. I see her half a dozen times each year on holidays, the same time I typically see my nieces and nephews. I don’t want her bigotry to impose on my right and desire to spend time with these kids as their uncle. On the other hand, I can’t just sit there and be quiet.
Anyone looking for proof that the United States is “on its way toward legalizing same-sex marriage,” despite recent setbacks, only has to look to the numbers of people - gay and straight - who poured into streets over the last two weeks to protest the bigotry of the Mormon Church and its assault on minority rights and individual liberty. (Oh, Canada: While we scream and yell about being the land of the free, you quietly live it. I love how my boyfriend magically becomes my husband when we visit Canada, without anyone else’s marriage being threatened. Here’s hoping that one day soon the United States will recognize the legal marriages of all Canadian citizens, gay and straight.) Okay, BBIB, my favorite sign at the protest I attended in New York City last week - well, after “Jesus Had Two Daddies,” “Use Your Magic (Underpants) for Good, Not Evil,” and “Thou Shalt Not Fuck with Us” - was this: “No More Mr. Nice Gay.” If anyone caught me on Anderson Cooper 360º later that same night, you saw me refusing to play Mr. Nice Gay in a conversation with lying rightwing überbigot Tony Perkins. (Looking to get involved in the fight? Jointheimpact.com is a good place to start.) But while I’m down with the whole no more Mr. Nice Gay thing, BBIB, I see no need to go postal on your brother’s MIL. She’s not Tony Perkins; she’s a human being. And it sounds like her affection for you is already on a collision course with her bigotry. Stand firm, continually emphasize that there’s a difference between civil marriage rights and religious marriage rites. Polls show that many Americans have already come around on this issue. Thanks to the work you’ve already done, BBIB, it sounds like your brother’s MIL will be next. Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Battling Bigots In Brooklyn
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
30 • OUTLOOK WEEKLY
ABOUT TOWN HOLIDAY TRADITION CONTINUES AT CITY HALL Columbus is proud of the kindness and generosity of our great community. Each year, a reminder of that generosity comes in the form of a unique gift - a 35foot-tall gift, to be exact. The 2008 holiday tree is a gift from Mr. and Mrs. David Gay, residents of the Martin Avenue neighborhood in west Columbus. During the holiday season, the tree will be aglow with energy-saving LED lights, and adorned with gold, handmade garland ornaments and 3-dimensional lighted snowflakes. The tree lighting ceremony and holiday celebration will take place at 5p on Tuesday, December 2, at City Hall. Traditionally, Mayor Michael B. Coleman and members of city council are on hand to throw the ceremonial switch to light the tree and signal the arrival of the season’s most anticipated guest. The tree lighting ceremony is produced by Columbus Recreation and Parks and made possible by the support of AEP Ohio, Boehringer Ingleheim Roxane, Inc., LeVeque Enterprises, Schooley Caldwell Associates, MSI, Ohio CAT, Smart Center Easton, Black Creek Bistro, and Katzinger’s Deli. Holiday display and handmade ornaments created by Art in the House and Transit Arts, programs of the Greater Columbus Arts Council. For more info, 614.645.7996 or www.columbusrecparks.com
GOVERNOR AND FIRST LADY TO LIGHT STATEHOUSE HOLIDAY TREES, KICKOFF HOLIDAY FESTIVAL Public invited to FREE lighting ceremony and Holiday Festival Governor Ted and First Lady Frances Strickland will kick off the holiday season on Capitol Square with the lighting of two Ohio Statehouse holiday trees on December 1. The lighting is the culmination of a short ceremony that begins at 5:30p on the west (High Street) steps of the Ohio Statehouse. This is the 93rd annual Statehouse holiday tree lighting. The short ceremony will include music by the Con Brio Children’s Choir from Westerville and the Salvation Army Band. Governor and Mrs. Strickland will welcome visitors and usher in the holiday season by flipping the switch to light the trees. Both live trees are planted on the west plaza. Governor Strickland will then command the firing of a Civil War-era cannon to signal the special holiday lighting of the Capitol Square complex and surrounding buildings. The cannon will be fired by members of the 1st Ohio Statehouse Light Artillery, Battery A. A free holiday festival in the Rotunda and Atrium will follow the ceremony. The festival will include refreshments and performances by community choirs and the Chapel Brass of the Salvation Army. Other program elements will include: Lego Club model train display, Garden Railroad Club model train display, a Santa and Mrs. Claus photo station, a finger
printing ID station, live animals, Civil War re-enactors, various community mascots and much more. The event is free and open to the public. The entire program will be held inside the Statehouse if the weather is inclement. In-kind event sponsors include Kroger, Starbucks, and Costco. About the trees: The trees are living 28-foot blue spruces planted in 1996 on the northwest and southwest corners of the Ohio Statehouse west plaza. Each tree is decorated with more than 15,000 lights and 285 ornaments and topped with a star. The Ohio Statehouse is more than a monument to our past; it’s where history happens! The Statehouse is open weekdays from 7a-6p and weekends 11a-5p (closed on holidays). Free, guided tours are offered Monday through Friday on the hour from 10a-3p, and on Saturday and Sunday from 12p-3p. Tours depart from the Third Street information desk. Groups of 10 or more are requested to call in advance to ensure a guide is available. Contact 888.OHIO.123 for more information or to schedule a group tour. For more information about the Ohio Statehouse visit www.ohiostatehouse.org.
BALLETMET COLUMBUS’S NUTCRACKER BALL CELEBRATES SILVER ANNIVERSARY BalletMet Columbus commemorates the holiday season with the 25th annual Nutcracker Ball on Saturday, December 6, 2008. The elegant black tie affair begins at 7p at Million Air/Odyssey Aviation, Port Columbus International Airport and features cocktails, dinner, dancing, and entertainment. The ball celebrates BalletMet’s The Nutcracker, a hometown holiday tradition, December 12-23 at the Ohio Theatre. Proceeds from corporate and individual table sales are an investment in BalletMet’s performances, dance academy, and education/outreach programs. This year’s ball will include a delicious gourmet dinner by Cameron Mitchell Catering, music by the Jerry Bruno Orchestra with Strings and a special performance by the BalletMet Dance Academy. Helping to plan the event as honorary chairs are community leaders Lucy and Sam Porter. Mrs. Porter served as a co-chair for the first Nutcracker Ball (then Nutcracker Gala) in 1983 and was honored for her longstanding dedication to BalletMet during its 30th anniversary commemoration last season. Assisting as co-chairs are Cynthia Mushrush and Randy Walters. “It has been a pleasure watching BalletMet grow and thrive throughout the years and I am delighted to be involved in the 25th Nutcracker Ball,” said Mrs. Porter, who is also a BalletMet Trustee. “The Ball is not only a social highlight of the holiday season, it also provides critical financial support to a treasured community arts institution.” Also on the fundraiser’s planning committee are: Carol Aronowitz, Debbie Phillips Bower, Patti Cotter, Jim Cushing, Natalie Furniss, Pamela Hutchinson, Stephanie Lewin, Stacy Lilly, Sue Porter, Ellen Smith, Libby Tarrier, Tracy Treon, and Barbara Wayman. Tickets are sold for tables of ten or for parties of two. Platinum table sponsorships are $10,000, and platinum seating for two is $2,000. Gold tables are $6,500, while gold seating for two is $1,300. Silver tables are $4,000, and silver seating for two is $800. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call Barbara Markus, assistant director of development, at 614.586.8671. BalletMet Columbus, renowned for its versatility and innovative repertory, ranks among the nation’s 15 largest dance companies, and its dance academy ranks among the five largest professional dance-training centers. Since its inception in 1978, BalletMet has added 142 company premieres to its repertoire and produced 117 world premieres. It has also developed DanceReach, a series of educational and outreach programs that serve 30,000 people annually, as well as a scholarship program that provides tuition for youth based on financial need or talent. www.balletmet.org.
COLUMBUS NEXT MEETING: DEC 10, 6P-8P; LOCATION: SAGE AMERICAN BISTRO (2653 N HIGH) ; OUTLOOK'S HOLIDAY SHINDIGEXTRAVAGANZA WWW.NETWORKCOLUMBUS.COM
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OUTLOOK WEEKLY • 31
THE LAST WORD by Mickey Weems
Liars, Whores, Obama and Me I devoutly believe that all politicians are liars and media whores. It’s part of their job description. Here’s the deal: do politicians lie for the good of the people or their own selfish interests? Are they classy hookers or cheap sluts? Obama claimed he was against Gay marriage, a boldfaced lie he told on his way to becoming president. Now he needs to repudiate that lie because LGBTQ people like me did everything possible to help him win. Put Out, Bitch! Like politicians, journalists are media whores. As a journalist-whore, I shamelessly put out for people I like. Over the last few months, I have been Barack’s Number One Bitch, and I wear the title with pride. Again and again, I’ve written articles trashing John McCain and Sarah Palin. Obama is now president, and it’s time for some payback. He needs to do me right as soon as possible. At this moment, Obama is probably as popular as he will ever be. Most Red and Blue Americans stand with the President-Elect. Before this blissful unity passes, Barack needs to give me and my Gay community some serious love. I was not alone in my trolloptitude. Pretty much all Gays who were not members of that Log Cabin mess put out for him. We voted for you, Obama, campaigned for you, prayed for you and stood up for you. Now we want some action, baby! Time for you to put out for us.
No You Can’t! African Americans are giddy with irrefutable proof that America is truly their home. Black folks across the nation have been waving flags, pulling their pants up, and speaking with pride about the country of their birth. And we’ve seen White folks voting with Black folks, celebrating with them, putting away the KKK sheets and putting to rest the old tired notion that to be White means being complicit in the systemic oppression of people of color. At the same time, homophobic Black and White folks of many ethnicities stood together as they denied LGBTQ folks equal rights in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas. Too many voters in favor of electing a Black president failed to show support for marriage equality. Perhaps most insulting of all, American Christian homophobes still tell us they love us to our faces, and in the same breath tell the world our love is a threat to children, civilization, and the sanctity of real marriage. And then they have the gall to pray for us in hopes that we disappear as a people. Such tainted love is cultural genocide by other means. The stained-glass closet they’ve prepared for each of us is merely a concentration camp built for one, a psycho-spiritual detention center in which the prisoner is the guard, and the sentence is identity-death by suicide, be it slow or be it fast. Come Out of the Closet, Barack It is no coincidence that anti-Gay referendums came out at the same time as this presidential
election. Gay people weren’t their only target. They also wanted to take votes away from Obama by linking him to us, the same tactic they pulled 4 years ago against Kerry. Gay folks can tolerate the half-truths and lies Obama told Americans in order to get into office. We can forgive all that nonsense he spouted about not believing in Gay marriage, blah blah blah, because he was so obviously not telling the truth. Barack could not come out in support of Gay marriage because he was forced to remain in that special closet reserved for Straight politicians who want to be elected to high office. To do otherwise would have been political suicide. But he was openly against California’s Proposition 8 against Gay marriage. During the campaign, Obama would mention us positively in his speeches: Black and White, Gay and Straight, Wall Street and Main Street, all a part of Obama’s vision of a united America. And he never referred to us as “homosexuals,” too often a code word for “faggots.” The election is over. Now is the time for Mr. Obama to come out of the closet and say: YES WE CAN GIVE GAYS EQUAL RIGHTS! Make it clear to the nation, Barack, that we as Gay folks are every bit as first class as the African Americans, European Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Fill-In-The-Blank Americans that cheered along with us as we elevated you to the hallowed status of the nation’s most powerful liar and media whore.
The Shout-Out Heard ‘Round the World Such a pronouncement in favor of the Rainbow Tribe would quickly spread beyond our shores and around the world to wash over those millions of people who love Barack, but despise us. It would be the single most powerful and effective verbal civil rights act the world has ever seen. Even as millions of people around the world are finally waving American flags instead of burning them, there are millions of LGBTQ people who fear for their lives, homes, families and rights. In too many nations, fags still get burned. Speak your mind, Barack. You’ve been elected already. Openly and unreservedly support Gay marriage, Gay adoption, Gays in the military and equal protection for Gays under the law, at home and across the globe, while the nation and the world still smile upon you. Sakia We have seen prominent African Americans weeping in memory of the civil rights activists who didn’t live to see this day. Among the African American civil rights activists who did not live to see a Black man get elected as president are more than a few LGBTQ folks. Let’s never forget Sakia Gunn, a 15-year-old girl from Newark, New Jersey. In 2003, Sakia publicly stood her ground and declared herself a Lesbian to a man who then stabbed her to death in front of her friends. If you can’t do it for me, Barack, do it for her.
HOROSCOPES by Jack Fertig
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 20): You’re even more loquacious than usual, but that can help heal old family problems. Work problems are more complicated, but keep talking. Focus creative, competitive playfulness towards achieving your ambitions.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 19): Some of your ambitions are unrealistic; talk privately with a boss or some expert to develop clearer goals. Then take time out to consider what you need to do to improve your relationship. Never mind your partner’s faults. What do you need to do?
GEMINI (May 21 - Jun 20): To reconcile problems with a partner or colleague, try exploring entirely new ideas. What you eventually do work out can inspire further innovations to provide a new approach to long-standing problems at home.
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22): Cleaning house can help solve problems with your partner, or just bring up problems that have been hidden. Keep up the effort even if it means an argument. The make-up sex will be terrific!
CAPRICORN (Dec 21 - Jan 19): Let your mind wander a bit. Discuss the crazier dreams and ideas that emerge with a friend. Letting yourself sound a bit weird can prove valuable. You don’t have to agree with old-fashioned notions, but study them well to develop a clearer argument against them.
ARIES (Marc 20 - Apr 19): Some of the craziest ideas from your wildest dreams will have some practical application. They will need some work. Hash it out with a few friends to see how those wacky notions can fit in the real world.
CANCER (Jun 21 - Jul 22): Sexuality can be healing, catalyzing new ideas especially when you try something new! Open yourself up to exploring fantasies. The ones that are hardest to verbalize will teach you to communicate in new ways.
LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22): Trying to be logical at work will backfire. Be playful and allow yourself to be inspired. Playing competitively with others can bring out some long-hidden demons. Open discussion and humor can exorcise them once and for all.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18): Your friends are used to your weird side so don’t be shy. Revealing some of your wilder fantasies can prove therapeutic, maybe for them as well. Airing those notions can also help you clarify your sexual boundaries.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20): How do social pressures influence your sexual autonomy? Playing with others necessarily requires some compromises, but you’re entitled to stand up for yourself. You may want to hold back on the impulse and negotiate a more fulfilling position.
LEO (Jul 23 - Aug 22): Casual jests can be unintentionally hurtful. Be ready to apologize, and to learn something in the process. Your humor will be handier when grappling with arguments that leave you wondering what’s really important. Balancing sympathy and logic is the trick!
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21): Set aside some money for impulse spending, but keep the receipts! Arguments with friends are especially likely, but keep in mind that these are people you have to live and work with. Keep your disagreements civil and your ego under control.
Jack Fertig, a professional astrologer since 1977, is a founding member of the Association for Astrological Networking. He can be reached for consultations at 415.864.8302, www.starjack.com, and by e-mail at QScopes@qsyndicate.com.
NOV 27 - DEC 03 2008
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR / PHOTOS Robert Trautman email@example.com BUSINESS & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Michael Daniels mdaniels@outlook...
Published on Dec 14, 2008
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR / PHOTOS Robert Trautman firstname.lastname@example.org BUSINESS & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Michael Daniels mdaniels@outlook...