Monday, December 31, 2007

for each of you

sitting quietly by the fire, thinking about the year that's about to pass. i am content and thankful. i've been thinking too about the amazing women in my life, and how each of them, in their own unique and beautiful ways, are such warriors. strong, fierce women. women who make me proud to know them and walk beside them. they give my life color. depth. meaning.

y'all know who you are. i've written about you, i've written for you, i've written because of you. you have lifted me up when i was low, you filled me in your arms when i felt empty, cooked me meals when i was hungry, took me dancin' when i needed to feel free, or made me laugh til my belly hurt when my heart just needed to fly. 2007 was a miracle year for me, in so many ways and you all were such a profound part of it. without you...well. i think you saved me. truly.

and i love you big and wide...to the moon and back.

found one of my favorite audre lorde poems and i'm sending it out to you. and wishing you all a peaceful and beautiful 2008.

For Each of You

Be who you are and will be
learn to cherish that boistrous Black Angel that drives you
up one day and down another
protecting the place where your power rises
running like hot blood
from the same source
as your pain.

When you are hungry
learn to eat
whatever sustains you
until morning
but do not be misled by details
simply because you live them.

Do not let your head deny
your hands
any memory of what passes through them
nor your eyes
nor your heart
everything can be useful
except what is wasteful
(you will need
to remember this when you are accused of destruction.)
Even when they are dangerous
examine the heart of those machines you hate
before you discard them
and never mourn the lack of their power
lest you be condemned
to relive them.
If you do not learn to hate
you will never be lonely
enough
to love easily
nor will you always be brave
although it does not grow any easier

Do not pretend to convenient beliefs
even when they are righteous
you will never be able to defend your city
while shouting.

Remember our sun
is not the most noteworthy star
only the nearest.

Respect whatever pain you bring back
from your dreaming
but do not look for new gods
in the sea
nor in any part of a rainbow
Each time you love
love as deeply
as if it were
forever
only nothing is
eternal.

Speak proudly to your children
where ever you may find them
tell them
you are the offspring of slaves
and your mother was
a princess
in darkness.

rochester street

the 50 most loathsome americans '07

one of my favorite things about the end of year are the many "best of" and "worst of" lists that inevitably come out in print and on television. someone from gaynet posted a link this morning of the 50 most loathsome people in america, 2007. it's a great (and somewhat painful) read with Fred Phelps at #3, Dick Cheney at #2, and at #1, no big surprise.

From The Beast:



1. George W. Bush

Charges: Is it a civil rights milestone to have a retarded president? Maybe it would be, if he were ever legitimately elected. You can practically hear the whole nation holding its breath, hoping this guy will just fucking leave come January '09 and not declare martial law. Only supporters left are the ones who would worship a fucking turnip if it promised to kill foreigners. Is so clearly not in charge of his own White House that his feeble attempts to define himself as "decider" or "commander guy" are the equivalent of a five-year-old kid sitting on his dad's Harley and saying "vroom vroom!" Has lost so many disgusted staffers that all he's left with are the kids from Jesus Camp. The first president who is so visibly stupid he can say "I didn't know what was in the National Intelligence Estimate until last week" and sound plausible. Inarguably a major criminal and a much greater threat to the future of America than any Muslim terrorist.

Exhibit A: "And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it."

Sentence: Dismembered, limbs donated to injured veterans.


For the complete list, read 'em and weep by clicking here.

Friday, December 28, 2007

listening to...






another light goes out

"Without a place to vent, the passion of our people for liberty threatens to explode... There is not enough barbed wire, or bullets, or bayonets to defeat my people's unquestionable desire for democracy." Benazir Bhutto, November 10, 2007

Benazir Bhutto assassinated.

damn, damn, damn.

i know Bhutto was controversial. most trailblazers are. but to me, she was the ultimate feminist and champion for the poorest and most marginalized communities in a land where they had absolutely no voice, at all. she became their voice. and they loved her for it. she was courageous and full of conviction and in spite of seemingly insurmountable challenges, she was making real change for the people of Pakistan seem possible and achievable.

there are few women i admired more than Benazir. here was a woman speaking to the world about a Pakistan with programs for health, social welfare and education for the underprivileged. about putting an end to the divisions in Pakistani society - including reducing discrimination between men and women. it was...extraordinary.

it was so courageous to step out in that world and speak out. she spent her entire life with the threat of violence, of death, all around her. she could have chosen to quietly disappear and live a peaceful life somewhere...anywhere. but she didn't. i suspect that in her heart, doing 'nothing' was inconceivable, and in her mind, she must have understood that she was born to lead. to be a trailblazer. and a visionary. and like so many trailblazers and visionaries, she paid the ultimate price for daring not just to dream of a better world, but to do what she could to make a better world. we should all be half so bold.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated.

damn, damn, damn.

another light goes out in the world.

what a tragedy. truly.

and the turmoil and violence that slow-boils in Pakistan seems ready to erupt now.

this is just. so. sad.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Buachaill on Eirne

listening to clannad.

and adding one more item to my list of things to do in this lifetime:

Ireland.



update

inquiring minds want to know...


i am happy to report that santa and his reindeer did indeed make the trip to shapleigh this year, as was evidenced by the fresh tracks in the backyard on Christmas morning.



Monday, December 24, 2007

the ghosts of christmas past

i was up early this morning, excited to finish wrapping gifts and make my way home to shapleigh. i lit a christmas eve fire, put on george winston's 'december' CD, and sat for awhile, sipping coffee, mesmerized by both the flames and winston's piano. "carol of the bells" came on, and i was absolutely flooded by the memories of my christmases past. i closed my eyes and i could smell it, taste it...hear it. i was a kid again with my redheaded freckled-face baby sister, my mom and dad younger, the world safer, more pure, time endless, life barely beginning.

we had such traditions...

every christmas eve we'd make home-made doughnuts--dunkin' donuts cannot hold a candle to the ones we would cook up in that kitchen. we'd each have one, piping hot, and then wrap the rest, except for two, which would be put out later with a tall glass of milk for santa. my sister and i would each open one gift and it would always be matching pajamas that we'd put on immediately. then we'd write a note for santa, take one last look at the tree with its handful of gifts scattered underneath, and then head to bed, knowing sleep would be almost impossible.

our bedrooms were across the hall from each other, and i can remember talking to each other, in the almost-dark, the only light coming from the christmas candles on the window sills in our rooms. i would hear her voice and know she was as excited as i was for the morning to come. we'd jump up and down on our beds, screeching, laughing, filled with adrenaline and anticipation and the kind of frenzy only a little kid can muster up. my mom would beg us to stop, tell us if we didn't go to sleep santa would skip right over our house for sure. finally we'd drift off to sleep, unaware that as soon as our parents heard our slow, steady breathing, their night was only just beginning.

morning would finally come...whoever woke up first would come running into the other's room (4:30 am was not unusual for christmas morning) and whisper wake up wake up wake up it's christmas!! we'd run into the living room, turn on the lights, and the tree that had only a few gifts the night before...well. wow. presents. everywhere. crammed under the tree and flowing half way across the floor. we would jump and yell...we were...delirious. we were allowed to dump out our stockings before waking my parents and then as soon as we ripped through them, we'd go screeching and yelling into their room, tugging on them frantically to wake up. (i learned years later that they would only pretend to be sleeping...that they would listen to us alone in the livingroom and laugh and giggle at our excitement.)

finally they would both get up...make coffee...and the rule was, donuts and milk before unwrapping the gifts. my dad would look out the back door onto the lawn and say hey you guys, come see, looks like santa was here for sure last night!! we'd rush over to the door and sure enough, the snow was covered with reindeer and sleigh tracks and we'd laugh and say "oh my god, oh my god!!" a million times and be stunned and amazed that santa left his own trail in our backyard. (my father continued this particular tradition for many, many years, long after my sister and i figured out who the real santa was. i can remember being home from college and sure enough, he'd look out that back door on christmas morning and yell you guys, come see! my sister and i would look at each other, kind of roll our eyes, laugh, and walk over to the door. wow dad, that's really unbelievable. go santa.) i'm pretty sure that was my dad's way of keeping us all young. i think about it now and it's so sweet to me i could cry.

my mom would put on our christmas albums...bing crosby, jim reeves, brenda lee, dean martin, charley pride. i hear those songs today and i get a lump in my throat. and then we'd all settle in the livingroom, and my dad would start passing out gifts, one at a time so that every gift was savored. it would take HOURS to open them all. literally. looking back now, i still don't know how my parents did it. we were always struggling financially. always. yet every damn christmas that tree would be utterly overflowing with gifts. every wish fulfilled. every dream realized. it was astonishing. when we were finally done, the rest of the day would be spent playing, relaxing, just spending time together. as a family. it was truly precious.

of course when i go home now, the tree isn't quite as overflowing with gifts. and we don't leave santa any donuts or milk. but i get just as excited as i did when i was ten years old. i can't wait to wake up in shapleigh on christmas morning. we play the old albums. my sister and my brother-in-law and my gorgeous neices come over and we laugh, and we eat, and we open gifts, and we dance. and we love. we love so big and so wide that it is more overwhelming and powerful than a million presents could ever be. just being together in the same room with the people who are my very heart and soul...well that's the only gift I'll ever need for christmas.

oh, and i should mention that santa and the reindeer still occasionally leave tracks on the lawn.

i guess some things never change. thank god.

i have more memories than if i were a thousand years old.

so this is christmas

sarah mclachlan is, quite frankly, the woman of my dreams.

happy holidays to all...and a sincere and hopeful wish for a peaceful new year.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

commander in chief

so last week i had the "honor" of being mentioned on The Record via a "headline" that read: EqualityMaine's Huntress Outraged at Bangor Media. And linked directly to my blog.

I am sending out a heartfelt thanks to my pals over at CCL. Unique hits to The Slant have quadrupled since the free advertising and are steadily rising as I sit here type-type-typing away. So far, any comments and/or emails I've received have been overwhelmingly kind and supportive, with only an occasional missive from someone who thinks my life and writing style will surely lead me to the Gates of Hell. Oh well. As Lady Bug, the fantastically brilliant vice president of the homosexual rights movement, once said, "think of all the amazing organizing we'll be able to do down there with all those thirsty queers and forward-thinkers."

So as my blog readership increases, I'm figuring that every now and again I'm probably going to have to read some comment that doesn't whole-heartedly embrace my view and I'm okay with that. I've got thick skin and a very healthy sense of humor. And a thirst for new ideas and thoughts about all the many topics covered inside this blog. But I have decided that if a comment pisses me off too much, or is just out-and-out too nasty, it's going into the Great Slant Trash Can In The Sky, never to be heard from again. The way I look at it, I get to be the Dictator of This World. It's MY world after all, and y'all are living in it. I don't have that kind of freedom outside of The Slant so I plan on exercising every bit of it in here. Like Ani said once "I always wanted to be commander-in-chief of my one-woman army."

That said, I welcome healthy debate. I appreciate someone who might see the world differently than I do. I don't have every answer. Hell, most of the time I am not even sure what questions to ask. All I have in my pocket at the start of the day is my own perspective, based on the journey of which I keep plugging along. Anything else I accumulate or pick up along the way usually comes from someone who has some fresh idea or world view to share with me. Life is one big buffet of new and interesting experiences and baby, I'm a very hungry traveler.

Bottom line: show me or anyone else who contributes to the conversation in here some respect, and you're welcomed to stay and visit.

But assholes?

They need not apply.

That's all for now.

Winter Solstice

























Saturday, December 22, 2007
at 1:08 a.m. EST











May this winter's Solstice bring you joy and peace...














and a New Year brimming with dreams fulfilled.



Enya ~ Smaointe



Enya ~ Only Time








Friday, December 21, 2007

that's what i'm talkin' about

yesterday i asked you all to write or call the bangor daily news and express your concern about coverage of their story regarding the Orono School Board meeting.

today, i'm again asking you write or call the staff at the Bangor Daily News...and tell them this time, in regard to the CCL, they got it exactly right.

and thanks to each and every one of you who picked up the phone yesterday or sent out an email. the power of collective action is a truly beautiful thing.

Editorial: Christian priorities
By BDN Staff
Friday, December 21, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

At a time when the state is cutting back assistance to the elderly, children and the poor, you might reasonably assume that the Christian Civic League of Maine would have larger concerns than the bathroom practices of an elementary school student. You’d be wrong.

The league, which has long been obsessed with sex, has entered the fray over an Orono 10-year-old, guaranteeing that this battle over bathrooms, sadly, will continue for a few more rounds.

The stresses faced by a 10-year-old boy who believes himself to be transgendered must be enormous. The boy’s plight is now public, thanks to the grandfather of a fellow student. The man directed his grandson to mimic — and essentially mock — the transgendered boy’s use of a girls bathroom, and later, a faculty bathroom. For this, the league called the man "courageous."

The Orono School Committee is to be commended for striving to protect the boy’s identity, and whatever remains of his privacy. And that privacy is at the heart of the matter. The boy’s bathroom needs could stem from a past trauma, a physical disability, a psychological malady, or from gender identification issues, none of which should be disclosed to the public.

And furthermore, the school is bound by the Maine Human Rights Law, which requires a reasonable accommodation be made to anyone seeking it over sexual orientation or gender identification.

Further, the special bathroom arrangement for the boy have not detracted from the experiences of others at the school, at least according to available accounts.

The Christian Civic League of Maine’s decision to champion the grandfather’s actions further erodes that organization’s credibility and reason for being. In a formal statement on the matter, league Executive Director Michael Heath praised the grandfather and claimed the man’s grandson was facing discrimination.

The league "seeks to present and maintain an effective, positive, and faithful Christian witness in the public life of the state of Maine," according to its Web site. It’s likely there are more effective, and certainly more positive ways for the league to be a Christian witness. In these financially difficult times, why doesn’t the league serve as a network, facilitating church volunteers to check on seniors and help shovel out their walkways and drives, help close gaps in leaky doors and windows, offer rides to appointments and donate to heating oil accounts for the poor.

If not these ways of being a witness, surely there are more Christ-like ways of engaging in civic life than interfering in a child’s bathroom use.




Thursday, December 20, 2007

thank you massachusetts

here's a new video that Mass Equality just released called "thank you Massachusetts", taking a behind-the-scenes look at a few of the over 200,000 people who helped them win marriage equality in Massachusetts.

i'm especially moved by Rep. Paul Kujawski, who says, in this video, that he made the "best vote of his life" when he switched his vote and supported equality by voting against the constitutional amendment.

it's 6 minutes long...and worth every second.


bangor media needs a spanking

A storm is brewing in Orono, and there's an 11-year old kid in the middle of it, and even though I'm writing this at 5 am in the morning, I can feel my blood pressure rising and the proverbial 'juices' heating up. Find me a soapbox because I need to stand on it and scream.

I know I proposed a holiday cease-fire with a certain group of fundies. I also know that they'll never, EVER, find enough self restraint (or more importantly, compassion) to even consider reporting on something else besides our "evil homosexual agenda" for 30 days. Whatever. I am challenging myself to post about this incident in Orono without mentioning "their names", even though they've now stooped to an incredibly vicious low by aggressively going after a kid. I've given them enough ink and links. I'm going to try and find a more positive, pro-active way to react to what's happening upstate in Orono.

I've been following this story for awhile. Here's the very, very short version of what I think could become a very dangerous situation.

An 11 year old kid in Orono who was born male is transitioning and identifying as female. From what I can gather, her parents have been working closely with the school (gawd love them), one result being that she can now use the girl's restroom. This news twisted the panties of another student's grandfather, and he told his grandson to start using the girl's restroom too, in protest. And the grandson did. And was suspended. And now all proverbial hell is breaking loose in Orono, and They Who Shall Not Be Mentioned are right smack dab in the middle of it, of course.

Pam's House Blend, one of the best blogs in the blogosphere, picked up the story. I appreciate their perspective, and especially appreciate the pro-active slant.

Please read it here, and then pick up the telephone and call WABI-TV and the Bangor Daily News and tell them to get it together. I don't know what I can do in "my neck of the woods", but I'm going to explore that today and if there is anything more to do, I'll be sure to let you know. What I know for certain is that I'm worried for the safety of this kid.

Stay tuned, because I'm certain there's more to come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

tonglen




last night i closed myself away from the outside world, lit a candle and incense, turned off the lights, unwrapped the mala beads from my wrist and held them loosely in my hands. sat still in meditation for almost an hour. focused on a healing meditation called tonglen for a friend who needed it.


Tonglen is a beautiful Buddhist practice, a method, a meditation, for connecting with suffering--our own, but more importantly, the suffering that is all around us. Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, is one of the great teachers of Tonglen, and she describes it this way:

"Tonglen reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In the process, we become liberated from the very ancient patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love both for ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others. Tonglen awakens our compassion and introduces us to a far bigger view of reality...

...It is a method for overcoming our fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness in our hearts. Primarily, it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us." from When Things Fall Apart



For me, it's sort of like...spiritual recycling. A deliberate receiving of the sadness or pain of someone I care about, almost like pulling in poison. (It's painful sometimes.)

I begin by visualizing a lake, clear, placid, glass-like, fresh, unpolluted, beautiful, that sits inside of me.

Then the Tonglen begins.

When breathing in, I think of the one who is suffering. I imagine a feeling of claustrophobia...a tightness. Something heavy and dark and thick as mud. That is my inhale.

I hold that breath inside of me, visualizing that clear placid lake, suddenly muddied, clouded, by the darkness i've let in.

and then i filter it with light, with pure and infinite space, with thoughts of calmness and peace, of healing and tranquility.

And when the pool of water is clear again, I push it back out, i push it out through every pore, every atom, every bit and piece of me that was before, that is now, that will ever be. I imagine the water washing over my loved one, cleansing them, freeing them from pain and suffering. That is my exhale.

I continue with this inhaling and exhaling, focusing on this one particular person, until finally I can reach a point in the meditation when the inhales no longer muddy that pool of water...when what I breathe in is lightness that is free of suffering.

And then I make the inhales grow beyond that one person, I take in and send out bigger breaths, until, finally, it becomes a meditation for all beings who suffer, all beings who carry darkness and pain.

What is extraordinary to me is that this practice of Tonglen has expanded, I hope, my capacity for compassion. It helps me to see that things are not quite as solid as I think. That suffering is impermanent. That by moving beyond those things within ourselves that scare us and cause us to suffer, and by reaching out to others and offering to hold their pain, we find, finally, that our compassion, our willingness to risk, to love, to comfort...to feel it all...to live...is what ultimately releases us from suffering and heals us all.

And so liberates us.

Monday, December 17, 2007

i dare ya

so last weekend i mentioned a column in the PPH by Bill Nemitz, a long time ally of our community (see i heart bill nemitz). In a nutshell, Nemitz took long time gay-obsessed fundy Mike Heath to task.

Heath responded with this little morsel on Friday in the letters-to-the-editor section:

Bill Nemitz slams me (yawn) in his Dec. 7 column ("Is Heath 'bogeyman' of tolerance?"). I've lost count of the number of times over the years he has condemned me for believing in absolutes.

When it comes to the Christian Civic League of Maine, Bill's primary moral absolute is that anal sodomy is a social, religious and civic virtue. How dare anyone support the idea that some kinds of sex are immoral.

Bill and his friend at the First Congregational Church in South Portland are real jokesters. Somehow, when I think about creating a society devoted to encouraging youngsters to just-do-it-with-the-one-you-love- as-long-as-you-wear-a-condom, I get the feeling that Bill and the good reverend won't be getting the last laugh.


methinks the man doth protest too much.

this weekend on gaynet, someone posted a little research she conducted on Heath's website, the RECORD. she did a google search on the site and the resutlts were, um, very revealing:

searching the site for the word "Jesus"--511 hits

searching the site for the word "God"--671 hits

searching the site for the word "homosexual"... drum roll please... 761 hits.

(what a shocker. )

now, to be fair, i can admit that i've mentioned the CCL on the slant more than once. while i don't think i've been obsessive about it in the same way that mr. heath seems to be obsessed, i can own up to the fact that i've spent at least a little bit of time writing about all the things that this group does to irritate me.

after some thought about this, i am proposing a holiday cease-fire.

i have a holiday challenge for mr. heath. in honor of this particular time of year, when good Christians everywhere are, I assume, supposed to be on their A-game, I dare him to refrain from posting any columns, articles or new stories on the RECORD about anything homosexual for the next 30 days. i propose instead that he focus his energy on something that's actually christian-like. maybe he could work on a relief-fund for the kazillion mainers who are running out of heating oil. maybe he could work the line at the soup kitchen on preble street once a week for the next 30 days. maybe he could visit a domestic violence prevention agency and donate a sackful of toys for the kids who will be spending christmas in a shelter. or hit the children's cancer unit at maine med and spread a little holiday cheer.

here's the kicker...i'll even stand next to him in the soup kitchen or the hospital or the shelter. set aside our differences for one moment and do something meaningful for someone who could use a little help. take all that negative energy we usually fling at each other and focus it instead on something...ANYTHING...positive that will help another fellow human being.

come on mike. show us homosexuals some "true Christian values."

you know how to find me, so the question is...

meet me at preble street?

give me an answer.

i dare ya.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

overheard at the gaynet watercooler

woke early this morning and read a fantastical quote from one of gaynet's most talented and humorous posters. it was in response to a thread about 'taking back' words like dyke and queer.

it made my morning, and i just HAVE to share it.

thanks BD!!

"We own "gay" and "queer". God gave them to Gertrude Stein and Oscar Wilde, carved into stone tablets by lightening somewhere among the dunes of Provincetown, along with "fabulous", "puhleeze" and "girlfriend"! Who says I'm not religious? Just because I've got my own special interpretation of the term burning bush? Puhleeze!"


Ha! Isn't it fabulous?!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

oh boston

In the summer of '85 (oh gawd I am aging myself now, for sure...) I worked as a counselor at a day camp. Four of my "charges" were autistic children of varying degrees, and I fell in love with all of them...beautiful, gifted and loving kids.

I am also a die-hard-was-wearing-a-boston-cap-in-the-womb Red Sox fanATIC.

So I was delighted to see this youtube video posted on gaynet this morning.

On Disabilities Awareness Day, inside my beloved Fenway Park, a young man with autism was chosen to sing the National Anthem.

He got a serious case of the giggles and just look and see what the 45,000 fans did to help him get through the song.

It's just the sweetest thing...and thanks to MB for the original gaynet post.






community

Back in November, I wrote about Reverend Jennifer Paty from the Northern Lights MCC in Augusta, and her very powerful closing remarks at Transgender Day of Rememberance (click here for the post.) She spoke immediately after the reading of the names, and I think for many people there, her words gave great comfort. They certainly comforted me.

Reverend Paty has graciously given me permission to post her remarks on The Slant.

I thank her, and the many, many compassionate and inspiring people of faith who stand beside us, who work with us, and who embrace us with their whole hearts.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reverend Jennifer Paty
Closing Remarks
Transgender Day of Rememberance, November 16, 2007

When I was first asked to close our Transgender Day of Remembrance, the request included that I might close by saying something (briefly) about community and the importance of community.

Over the past month I have thought about that.

And on Wednesday, I finally opened myself up to what was churning away inside of my heart about US. All of us.

I thought about how there are many in our community that have been harmed by religion, demonized and rejected by church dogma and how, in some cases, the very men and women we have remembered this night were taken from their friends and family by those whose hatred and fear may have been fueled by antiquated religious beliefs.

With that in mind, I thought about justice, liberation and what the world’s religions and spiritual practices truly have to say to our community and about our community.

The Buddha never specifically addressed justice – his main purpose in life was to teach us about suffering and he calls us to ask the questions of why. Why there is hatred, why there is death, why there is destruction of life.

I look upon this community and I see a community that is not afraid to ask Why. Even when it hurts the most, we are not afraid to cry out, why is there such hatred, why is there death and destruction of life. Why.

In Hebrew Scripture, Isaiah told the people in the midsts of great suffering. “Preserve justice and do righteousness, for liberation is about to come and Justice will be revealed” and then he said “How blessed are the ones who do this and the ones who take hold of it”

I look out among this community and I see those who live out these words of the promise of liberation, so that justice may be revealed. How blessed are we as community to be part of this struggle.

The Koran says: O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witness.

I look out among this community and I see those who believe in the struggle of gender liberation and who stand firmly for justice and I see and feel the presence of those who have witnessed with their very lives.

The Christian Scriptures follow the ministry of Jesus Christ– “Who was sent to Earth to bring justice to the Nations. To open the eyes and hearts of those blinded by their judgments and to bring out those imprisoned in the dungeons of inequity.”

I look out among this community and I see those sent to earth to bring justice to the Nations.

I see a community who will continue to open the eyes and hearts of those blinded by judgment.

And I continue to see the release of those who have been imprisoned in the dungeons of inequity. This is not an easy task that we have undertaken.

StarHawk, a pagan, a witch, a leading social justice activist, has taught me the most about doing justice work, she has taught me about showing mercy and knowing kindness.

She reminds us that “At this moment in history, we are called to act as if we truly believe that the Earth, is a living, conscious being, that we are a part of this being.”

“That human beings are interconnected and Precious” And I emphasize that. She says that we are interconnected and Precious…. We are precious.. Each one of US. … And she says that “Liberty and Justice for all is both desirable, what we all desire in our hearts of hearts”,,,,,,it is in our DNA.

and it is our “infinite quest.” What we are called to seek.

I look upon this community and I feel the interconnectedness and I see the precious, absolute precious souls in all who have graced this place. And in all whose life and death we remember this night.

So my blessing for us this day is that we never lose sight of the precious souls who have been lost but not forgotten. And that we look around and know the preciousness of this community.

And that we always and in all ways have the courage to ask the hard questions, to continue to open the hearts of those that judge and in doing that we bring justice to the nations by our witnessing.

The witness of our lives. The witness of our love and the witness of our gender inclusiveness and paradoxically our gender freedom.

A freedom that we can teach the whole world to celebrate. A gender freedom that this world desperately needs.

And so, I leave you with these words from a Rabbi Hillel, one of the most influential scholars in Jewish history.

He said, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

Peace, Shalom, Namaste. Goddess and God bless. Go from this place knowing that we are community; that we are precious and go in peace.

Monday, December 10, 2007

drag, baby

friday night. drag kings and queens in all their glory. 700 queers (and the people who love them, as the vice president of the homosexual rights movement would remind me to say) hootin' and hollerin'. all proceeds will go to THE most excellent USM Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity. great cause, great fun.

i'm so there.

Presenting USM's 8th Annual
Royal Majesty Drag Show and Competition


Friday, December 14
Doors Open 8:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn by the Bay, Spring Street
Portland

Admission: Students $5
Non-Students $8

For more information, (207) 228-8235 or glbtiqa@usm.maine.edu


Northern New England's LARGEST student and community drag show!

Voted BEST LGBT
Portland Event in 2006!

Tickets available at the door.

All proceeds benefit the USM Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity.

Sponsored by the CSGD, Queer Insurgency, the Portland Events Board and Gorham Events Board, and the Centers for Student Involvement and Activities.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

confession

Pop culture confession time.

I am complete West Wing Junkie. Serious. And my friend Kristin just sent me this youtube clip because she knows it's one of my all time favorite WW scenes. She knows this because she is also aware that I have a big crush on Allison Janney. And even bigger crush on Mary Louise Parker.

Posted on The Slant, for time immortal.



sunday morning music

tanita tikaram.
ancient heart.








Saturday, December 08, 2007

i heart bill nemitz

so last weekend, EqualityMaine collaborated with the South Portland First Congregational Church for a screening of a truly profound and touching film called For The Bible Tells Me So. This documentary has won a ton of awards and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. The synopsis, in three sentences, which I lifted off their website: "Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?"

This film rocked my world because I grew up attending a Baptist church, and I know with my whole heart that I would never, EVER, be welcomed back in that church as an out and proud dyke. Hell would literally have to freeze over for that to happen. And the fact is, I would never want back "in" anyway. But my entire family has very, very close ties to their own Baptist church, and I wonder sometimes what's going to happen when they are finally confronted with the fact that their church condemns their oldest daughter to eternal damnation because she is a lesbian. Maybe it's already happened and they just haven't told me about it. I don't know. They love me, they're proud of me, and my mom and dad, who are forced to live very frugally on a fixed income, donate money every year to EqualityMaine. Perhaps they have found a way to reconcile the spiritual needs that their church fulfills with their love and support of me. I hope so.

More than 200 people attended the screening, including Mike Hein of the Christian Civic League and five members of his Merry Band of Religious Fundies. Whatever. It was a public showing and everyone was welcomed. Hein roamed around with his trusty digital camera and wrote this little "news item" about his experience on The Record. Again, whatever. His presence at these queer events means little if anything at all to me anymore except that I find it...amusing. But beyond that, it's utterly inconsequential to me. I stopped caring about what the Christian Civic League thinks of me and mine a long time ago. They are just cheap entertainment and beyond that, meaningless.

Of course, I do love it when someone else calls them on them out. And Bill Nemitz of the PPH loves to call them out. You just have to read this column he posted on Friday. It's delicious: Is Heath the Bogeyman of Tolerance?

Bill Nemitz, the Homosexual Rights Movement loves you baby. Big time.

a picture's worth a thousand words...



...but if you want more, here is an excellent take by Pauline Park (The Visible Vote '08) on HRC's monumental ineptness at explaining why they threw the trans community under the bus. Eh. Color me disgusted.

HRC Doublespeak Wins No Hearts or Minds

What’s the point of damage control if it only compounds the damage?

That’s the question I asked myself after last night’s community forum at the LGBT Community Center of New York City sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. The forum on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 7 drew nearly 100 people, including a substantial number of transgendered people as well as non-transgendered lesbian, gay, and bisexual community members. But despite the demographic diversity of the audience, there was unanimity regarding the HRC and its betrayal of transgendered people in supporting the stripped-down, sexual orientation-only version of ENDA that passed the House with the support of HRC and over the opposition of United ENDA, a coalition of more than 360 national, state, and local LGBT organizations from throughout the country.

finish the article by clicking here.


And here's a report from Gay City News about the "listening forum" which Park writes about: GayCityNews.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

the big gay sketch comedy show

I am just way too tired to write tonight.

BUT, I wanted to post this ridiculousy funny segment about lesbian phone sex from The Big Gay Sketch Comedy Show. Virginia played the audio on Lesbian Radio today and I just knew I had to bring it to The Slant. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

randomness

During my snow day on Monday I spent some time perusing the net for fun stories and websites. Of which I found a bazillion (many thanks to Al Gore for inventing the world wide web.) Here are a couple of gems:

Apparently "boutique" hotels across the country have decided to replace the Gideon Bibles in those dresser drawers with such items as "condoms, sexual intimacy kits and sexually oriented games." Sweet. Let me say that again: Sah-WEET. Is the Marriot a boutique hotel? I'm hoping. 'Cause if it is, then my February trip to Detroit for Creating Change just got a whole lot more interesting.

I mean, come on. Let's be honest.

If this is in Drawer A:



And this is in Drawer B:




...it's pretty clear I'm gonna be all over Drawer B.

You can read more about this fabulously naughty dresser-drawer transformation by checking out this article from One News Now, which offers news from a...ahem...christian perspective.

If you're having trouble deciding what to buy for that Someone Special during the holidays, check out stupid.com for some hilarious stuff. My favorite? The Talking Senator Larry Craig Action Figure:



I know what you're thinking. Is this the kind of stuff she buys for Someone Special? What can I say...find me a woman who can appreciate the silliness of the Trash Talkin' Turleen Barbie Doll. Life is far too serious sometimes. A sense of humor can be sexy thing.

And for some colorful entertainment on those snowy days when you've had enough of the Food Network and/or Law and Order reruns, I have discovered a thoroughly amusing site called The Midwest Teen Sex Show. Good gawd it's...funny. Check out this segment on homosexuality:



That's all for now.

Monday, December 03, 2007

the first snow...

...always reminds me of Betty. I miss her, every day.

Found this amazing Lorena McKennitt video of one of her most beautiful and haunting songs...Dante's Prayer.

That's all for today...


Sunday, December 02, 2007

better than chocolate

thanks to kimm for sending me this.

sometimes i think melissa channels janis joplin. and joss stone?
holy shit.

this is better than chocolate.
serious.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day

Thanks to Audrey for sending me the link to an amFAR ad commemorating world AIDS day. Below the video are links to some fabulous organizations doing the hard work of HIV/AIDS research, education, prevention and care. Pick one, and send them a check. In particular, there are a few local orgs here in Maine who are going to need our support, especially given the insane budget cuts that are about to happen in Augusta. If there are other orgs or foundations that should be posted, shoot me a comment and I'll put them up. Gotta spread the word and not the virus.

And then revisit my own tribute to a dear friend lost to this disease. This madness simply needs to end.



Maine Aids Alliance
Frannie Peabody Center
The National AIDS Memorial Grove
ryanwhite.com
amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
The AIDS Memorial Quilt
International HIV/AIDS Alliance
Interact Worldwide
Clinton Foundation
AIDS.org
Children With AIDS Project

listening to...





and here's a good GAWD tori video. the first time i saw this was the precise moment i fell in love with her. spectacular.