Thursday, March 27, 2008

way more fun than counting sheep

so i post quite a lot about my life, and in particular about my life as a lesbian. which might lead someone to believe that i would likely find more uses for the word homosexual in my daily musings, than, say, a Christian organization with a stated mission of bringing a "biblical perspective to public policy."

yep.

the number of times the word "homosexual", or some derivation thereof, appears in The Slant (202 posts, excluding this one):

28.

the number of times the word "homosexual", or some derivation thereof, appears in the last TWO posts of the CCL:

26.

Biblical perspective. I had no idea the Bible discussed homosexuality so frequently.

Isn't obsession fascinating?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

stillness, or not

this morning i sat, candle and incense lit and burning, mala beads in hand, breathing in the stillness all around me, breathing it out and sending it to a friend whose heart is heavy. wishing him peace. lightness of heart. my meditation.

after an hour, i stood, stretched, stayed and kept quiet, no music, acutely aware of my aloneness, my solitude, not empty as loneliness, but enough alone to feel a familiar ache.

i am trying to stay in the center. to live in circles without edges. trying to turn upside down the thoughts, the feelings, like loneliness or fear or confusion. turn them over, create from them images that are concrete, objects i can touch and see. trying to imagine them as water that i pour into glass pitcher, and then spill out onto the ground, released, free, rolling away, sinking into the dirt, dissolving.

i am suppose to practic emptiness...sunyata . impermanence...anitya. non-attachment...vairagya. selflessness...anatman

i am suppose to practice awareness, awareness, awareness...prajna.

i am suppose to see life in the immediate now. not be distracted by what lies ahead.

i know this.

yet there is this paradox. a presence, a promise, living quietly in my heart. a voice in my head, in my dreams. like it's always been there, always. someone i can't recognize yet but who i have to believe is out there, somewhere and god i just hope i recognize her when i see her.

otherwise none of this makes sense. i simply cannot believe i am supposed to spend this life alone.

she's out there. and she's singing. and laughing. and waiting.

the next day is going to the best day.

life is
all about
what’s next.

Monday, March 24, 2008

i don't have a title for this post.

two very unrelated thoughts before i lay me down to sleep.

100 gallons of heating oil = three hundred and seventy nine bucks and ninety freaking cents = a steady diet of oodles of noodles for koko until payday.

a sad but true story.

tonight at a portland city council meeting, i'm pretty sure i heard a woman testify that the portland public library is violating the human rights of books. yep.

that's super.

no words necessary










oranges are not the only fruit

So yesterday I stepped inside a Southern Baptist church for the first time in more than 20 years. And lived to tell about it--which I will--as soon as I do the lesbian thing and PROCESS. I did it as a gesture of appreciation to my mom and dad, who have traveled in unknown territories many times for me (EQME dinners, Walk with the Ones You Love...essentially the entire experience of having me as a daughter).

Like I said, story to follow at some point.

When I got home last night, I pulled out my worn, tattered, well-loved copy of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. It's one of my favorite books in the world, the coming out story of a young British girl in the 60's who also happens to cut her teeth as an evangelical. It's funny, it's inspiring, it's damn fabulous. And let's just say...I can relate to this book.

When I was younger, I had a tendency to jot notes in the margins of books, underline passages that I thought were important or interesting or a funny way for the author to write something (a habit left over from earning a degree in English.) Last night, I skimmed through the book to revisit those notes and to see what I had found fascinating fifteen years ago when I read the book for the first time. Fun.

Here's a sampling:

~I was glad I didn't have testicles. They sounded like intestines only on the outside, and the men in the Bible were always having them cut off and not being able to go to church. Horrid.

~In the library I felt better, words you could trust and look at till you understood them, they couldn't change half way through a sentence like people, so it was easier to spot a lie.

~The only thing for certain is how complicated it all is, like a string full of knots. It's all there but hard to find the beginning and impossible to fathom the end...History should be a hammock for swinging and a game for playing, the way cats play. Claw it, chew it, rearrange it and at bedtime it's still a ball of string full of knots.

~We were quiet, and I traced the outline of her marvellous bones and the triangle of muscle in her stomach. What is it about intimacy that makes it so disturbing?

~To eat of the fruit means to leave the garden because the fruit speaks of other things, other longings. So at dusk you say goodbye to the place you love, knowing you can never return by the same way as this. It may be, some other day, that you will open a gate by chance, and find yourself again on the other side of the wall.

~I knew I couldn't cope, so I didn't try. I would let the feeling out later, when it was safe. For now I had to be hard and white. In the frosty days, in the winter, the ground is white, then the sun rises, and the frost melts... (i wrote 'cindi' next to this.)

~The unknownness of my needs frightens me. I do not know how huge they are, or how high they are, I only know that they are not being met.

~Families, real ones, are chairs and tables and the right number of cups, but I had no means of joining one, and no means of dismissing my own; she had tied a thread around my button, to tug when she pleased. I knew a woman in another place. Perhaps she could save me. But what if she were asleep? What if she sleepwalked beside me and I never knew?


Jeanette WInterson=Brilliant.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

almost not

i know i've been posting a lot lately on China & Tibet. Suffice it to say I am deeply disturbed and saddened. I take some refuge in the fact that, at long last, the world seems to be paying a bit of attention to a horrifying situation that has been ignored for more than a half century.

last night i meditated, and ended my meditiation with this Buddhist prayer for peace:

May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending
one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless,
fearful wilderness--
the children, the aged, the unprotected--
be guarded by beneficent celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

Before I fell asleep, I thought of a documentary I watched years ago, called "Compassion in Exile, The Story of the 14th Dalai Lama." I was thinking of a moment near the end of the film when the interviewer asks the Dalai Lama, "your Holiness, do you hate the Chinese?" It is a profound moment, particularly after watching, in photos, newsclips, and personal recollections, the atrocities and human rights violations perpetuated by China on the Tibetan People.

Tibetan children forced to shoot their parents. Monks forced to rape nuns. torture..."When they were torturing us it was literally as if they were trying to kill us. Prison guards would hit and beat with all their strength. Once after we all shouted 'Long live the Dalai Lama' they started to kick and beat us so much that the ground was covered in blood."

"Your Holiness, do you hate the Chinese?"

The Dalai Lama says quietly, "no." then a slight pause. and a quantification. "almost not."

I remember watching that and feeling my heart break.

Here's the trailer from that film...opening with that very moment.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

McHottie McNugget

"you know, Corey, lesbians are a lot like cats...we can make a toy out of just about anything."

Dr. McHottie, waxing poetic to the Birthday Girl, March 22, 2008

here's a novel idea: boycott

China may ban live broadcasts during Games



Associated Press, updated 7:13 p.m. ET, Fri., March. 21, 2008


BEIJING - China might bar live television broadcasts from Tiananmen Square during the Beijing Olympics, apparently unnerved by the recent outburst of unrest among Tibetans and fearful of protests in the heart of the Chinese capital.

A ban on live broadcasts would disrupt the plans of NBC and other major international networks, who have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to broadcast the Aug. 8-24 games and are counting on eye-pleasing live shots from the iconic square.


The rethinking of Beijing's earlier promise to broadcasters comes as the government has poured troops into Tibetan areas wracked by anti-government protests this month and stepped up security in cities, airports and entertainment venues far from the unrest.

Click here for the full AP story.

Friday, March 21, 2008

yep.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/21/china-issues-most-wanted-_n_92717.html

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave support to the Tibetan cause on a visit to the Dalai Lama, calling China's crackdown "a challenge to the conscience of the world."

Her criticism added to a chorus of international concern over Beijing's harsh response to the anti-government protests, as China sought to blame supporters of the Tibetan spiritual leader for unrest that is posing the biggest challenge in two decades to Beijing's control of Tibet.
"If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China's oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world," Pelosi told a cheering crowd in Dharmsala, India, seat of the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile.

She dismissed China's claim that the Dalai Lama was behind the violence in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as making "no sense."

tibet

Unless you get all your international news from some version of The Forecaster or The Daily Shopper, you're probably at least aware that some shit is going down in Tibet right now. The amount of press coverage in the last week probably surpasses the accumulative coverage of the last half century. Protests in Tibet against Chinese rule, which erupted anew ten days ago, have turned violent. According to Tibetan exiles, at least 80 people have been killed and more than 325 injured in the subsequent Chinese crackdown, and posted on walls and buildings throughout Dharamsala (where the Dalai Lama now lives in India and home to several thousand Tibetan exiles), are graphic and disturbing photographs of Tibetans apparently killed by Chinese police or soldiers. This quote comes from a story filed to the Belfast Telegraph and picked up by BBC by reporter Andrew Buncombe, who is in Dharamsala:

"It's horrible. There are many bodies. The Chinese are holding the bodies," claimed Tenzin Thangh, who was participating in a candlelit vigil through the main street of the town – a procession that has become a nightly occurrence. "The soldiers are going into all parts of Tibet."

According to the Chinese government, they have a head count of sixteen deaths. Of course, this is the same government that calls the Dalai Lama "a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast" making him sound less like the Buddha of Compassion and more like Ghengis Khan. The same government that claims he is orchestrating this violence from his exile post in India. You don't have to be a Buddhist to see how preposterous that accusation is. Give me a break. The Dalai Lama won't even kill a cockroach.

Nancy Pelosi, who has been an outspoken supporter of Tibet's fight for freedom, met with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala yesterday. Last week she issued a statement on China's handling of the protests, calling the ''violent response'' by the Chinese police against peaceful protestors ''disgraceful''. Canada is weighing in, Great Britain, and others.

So while it's good to see world leaders speaking out about Tibet, words are not action. I doubt there would be much attention at all if the whole world wasn't about to hang out in Bejing at the Olympics and pretend that all is just plain fabulous in China. Certainly these recent eruptions in violence would not have been enough to get world leaders on a plane to India for a heart to heart with the Dalai Lama. All hell has been breaking loose in Tibet since 1950, and in spite of an extraordinary effort by the Dalai Lama to educate the world about it, the fact is, there is no oil in Tibet and everybody wants to play nice with China and so aside from some squishy photo ops, the Dalai Lama's pleas for help have been pretty much ignored.

I can't begin to describe how much. it. offends. me. that the Olympics will be held in that country. The atrocities, the human cost of China's occupation of Tibet...well, it's genocidal, and you don't have to take my word for it, and I don't need to editorialize about it. I'll just let the facts speak for themselves, and leave it at that. For now. Oh, and by the way, these numbers only take into account events up to 1995. Um, yeah.

from http://www.freetibet.org/index.html:

Reprisals for the 1959 National Uprising alone involved the elimination of 87,000 Tibetans by the Chinese count, according to a Radio Lhasa broadcast of 1 October 1960. Tibetan exiles claim that 430,000 died during the Uprising and the subsequent 15 years of guerrilla warfare.

Some 1.2 million Tibetans are estimated to have been killed by the Chinese since 1950.

The International Commission of Jurists concluded in its reports, 1959 and 1960, that there was a prima facie case of genocide committed by the Chinese upon the Tibetan nation. These reports deal with events before the Cultural Revolution.

Chinese Justice: Protest and Prisons Exile sources estimate that up to 260,000 people died in prisons and labour camps between 1950 and 1984.

Unarmed demonstrators have been shot without warning by Chinese police on five occasions between 1987 and 1989. Amnesty International believes that "at least 200 civilians" were killed by the security forces during demonstrations in this period. There are also reports of detainees being summarily executed.

Some 3,000 people are believed to have been detained for political offences since September 1987, many of them for writing letters, distributing leaflets or talking to foreigners about the Tibetans' right to independence.

The number of political detainees in Lhasa's main prison, Drapchi, is reported to have doubled between 1990 and 1994. The vast majority of political inmates are monks or nuns. A political prisoner in Tibet can now expect an average sentence of 6.5 years.

Over 230 Tibetans were detained for political offences in 1995, a 50% increase on 1994, bringing the total in custody to over 600.

Detailed accounts show that the Chinese conducted a campaign of torture against Tibetan dissidents in prison from March 1989 to May 1990. However, beatings and torture are still regularly used against political detainees and prisoners today. Such prisoners are held in sub-standard conditions, given insufficient food, forbidden to speak, frequently held incommunicado and denied proper medical treatment.

Beatings and torture with electric shock batons are common; prisoners have died from such treatment. In 1992, Palden Gyatso, a monk who had been tortured by the Chinese for over 30 years, bribed prison guards to hand over implements of torture. The weapons, smuggled out of Tibet, were displayed in the west in 1994 and 1995.

Despite China having ratified a number of UN conventions, including those relating to torture, women, children and racial discrimination, the Chinese authorities have been repeatedly violating these conventions in China and Tibet.

Nearly all prisoners arrested for political protest are beaten extensively at the time of arrest and initial detention. Serious physical maltreatment has also been recorded in a significant proportion of cases. In the period 1994-1995, three nuns died shortly after release from custody as a result of ill-treatment and torture in detention.

The Chinese have refused to allow independent observers to attend so-called public trials. Prison sentences are regularly decided before the trial. Fewer than 2% of cases in China are won by the defence.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

about this war that George thinks is worth it...


3,990 US Troops Killed

29,395 Wounded

2,100 Have Tried To Commit Suicide

88% Of Military Officers Say War Has Stretched US Thin

82,000-89,000 Iraqi Casualties

4,500,000 Iraqi Refugees



um. yeah.

Here's a fabulous Huff Post Blog entry by Robert Scheer about Bush's Failed Legacy:

That idiotic "what me worry?" look just never leaves the man's visage. Once again there was our president, presiding over disasters in part of his making and totally on his watch, grinning with an aplomb that suggested a serious disconnect between his worldview and existing reality. Be it in his announcement that Iraq was being secured on a day when bombs ripped through that sad land or posed between his treasury secretary and the Federal Reserve chairman to applaud the government's bailout of a failed bank, George Bush was the only one inexplicably smiling.

Finish the post by clicking here.

random rant in no specific order, please forgive

A few weeks back I ranted a tiny bit about Obama's association with Donnie McClurkin (and was taken to task for it.) It was a post actually praising Obama, but I hinted at some criticism over the Dingbat Donnie situation.

Now I've caught myself in a catch-22 (caught in a catch...is that redundant?) because I feel like ranting about Obama's pastor and how he's been held accountable for his pastor's own rants. I feel like ranting about how Hillary is sorta connected to Elliot Spitzer and so is now responsible for Ashley Alexandra Dupre because she hasn't taken a presidential-like stance on the evils of prostitution. I feel like screaming 'this is such bullshit!' but I realize I can't have it both ways. I can't bitch about Obama hanging onto Dumbboy Donnie and then bitch about how we should cut him some slack about his minister, or bitch about how I could give a rat's ass if Hillary doesn't publicly condemn Spitzer about having to pay for sex.

Hmmm.

Dimwit Donnie (I am enjoying this exercise in alliteration.)
Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Elliot and Ashley up in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

I am certain I can't condemn two of the reactions and then condone one of them. (maybe someone can help me out with that.)

Ah. Righteous indignation rears its ugly head.

The bottom line, I guess, is that I care more about the fact that our current president thinks the war in Iraq was (or more accurately, IS) worth it. Nice, George. Beautiful. And that it costs me 340 bucks a month to heat my apartment and that's only if i keep the thermostat at 65 and freeze my ass off. And that when i do groceries, and look at price tags, i am confronted with these small but expensive facts:


  • milk is up 17% from last year
  • cheese: 15%
  • pasta and rice: 13%
  • bread: 12%
  • and...drum roll please...in the last two years...eggs, 35%

And that because of all these increases in the cost of living--or better put, the cost of barely living and being one paycheck away from homelessness--I still can't afford to buy a car and have to hoof my way around the city or depend on the generosity of my friends or the barely bearable Portland public transit system.

Let's not even talk about the health care disaster and the crap education disaster and the ever widening gap between the very rich and everyone else and prescription drug prices and the decrease in social service funding and the increase in corporate welfare and a social security collapse and homeland (in)security and our addiction to fossil fuel and the fact that most of the world thinks we're arrogant assholes and human rights violators and on and on and on.

It sure feels like we're on the brink of utter doom (utter doom...that's for you, Matriarch) so I gotta let go of Douchebag Donnie (ooh! another one!!) and Rev. Wright and Elliot Spitzer. These are tiny matters in comparison to the gargantuan wrecking ball that's sweeping across this country. If we nitpick these candidates to pieces, and if these candidates continue pissing all over each other, and if we don't find some way to unify this i-gotta-process-my-feelings-and-then-i'll-get-back-to-you-Democratic-Party, we're gonna end up with this scenario:

President John McCain.

Attention Dems: We need to get. our. shit. together. now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

exactly

"The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."

Hubert Humphrey

privilege

I don't know how to write about yesterday. How to describe. Even where to begin.

I was one of a thousand people at the state house in Augusta, attending a rally to protest the funding cuts that will decimate some of the most critical social services in the state. I've been to many, many rallies at the capitol. I've never, EVER, been to one this big. (Senator John Martin, who has been a legislator up there since, hmmm...the War of 1812...says it's the biggest rally he's ever seen.) Security police threatened to close down the statehouse if the protesters didn't filter into other rooms, and if Governor Baldacci was hiding in his office at 11:30, well, I hope all those very expensive paintings didn't fall off the wall from the rumble and roar and deafening shouts coming out of the Hall of Flags. Mostly I hope the Governor was listening to the most vulnerable of the people he claims to be serving. And shame on him if he wasn't.

It was simply incredible.

Most of the time I'm at one of these rallies/protests/press conferences in Augusta because of a queer issue. In fact as I sit here typing, I can't honestly think of a time I've held a sign in my hand when it wasn't about the LGBT community. Except for yesterday. I'm a little embarrassed about that, maybe even a little ashamed. I am constantly making the case to our straight allies that they need to help us fight in the trenches. I need to live better by my own words.

There were many, many moments yesterday that I won't ever forget, but one in particular is sitting like a lump in my throat. I met a family who is depending on the services of a domestic violence agency. I first noticed them because the mom was holding one of the sweetest babies I've ever seen. This baby, even amid the chaos of a thousand people, was smiling like she didn't have a care in the world. I mean she was just. beaming. The kind of smile that makes your heart fill up in an instant. Boom. You see that smile, and you're done.

Then I spotted her big sister. She was holding a sign, a personal plea to the governor in the hand-writing of a child. I think I said something like, "Hey there...and who are you?" And was then introduced to her by someone who I suspect is her current heroine, (and one of mine), my friend Jill. I bent down to get at eye level with her, and she just looked at me. Didn't say a word.

But her eyes were...

Haunting.

I thought immediately, those eyes have seen too much. Those eyes are far older than the eleven year-old girl they belong to. Those eyes are...too wise. Tired. Scared. . And then Jill said "she wrote a letter to the governor, all by herself." And the little girl reached into her pocket and pulled out a copy, a little tattered, folded and unfolded a hundred times probably. And she handed it to me.

"I get to read it?" A shy nod.

And so I unfolded it, and read every word. And it broke my goddamn heart. She wrote that no kid should have to worry about whether or not their mom is going to get beat up tonight. She wrote about domestic violence statistics and she wrote that she was one of them. It was a beautiful, articulate, gut-wrenching letter, and no kid should ever, EVER, have to carry those kinds of experiences inside of them.

After I read it, she finally started talking...and then couldn't stop. She told me about the shelter, and the people, like Jill, who were helping her family get back on their feet. And then her mom told me about her other child, who was going to come today, but who stayed back at the shelter to help another kid who was having some problems dealing with life. And I said, "wow, you've got some rock star kids."

At which point she said "thanks to the shelter, yeah. My kids are finding their way now. We are. The shelter is saving our lives." And she sounded so grateful. And so goddamn scared.

"I don't know what we'll do...."

And I thought my god, that smiling, beaming baby is so different than her big sister. She won't remember this. But if these cuts go through...she'll end up living it.

Eh. I cannot get that family out of my head.

Yesterday I became acutely aware of the revolving door that is privilege. Walk through one door and you've got none...walk through another, and you're the only one that has any at all. Most of the people I stood next to yesterday were fighting for their lives, quite literally. I don't know how that feels. I have heating oil in the tank. Food in the fridge. A roof over my head. A job, loving family and friends, and I am safe. Privileged indeed.

It's almost embarrassing when you're the one who has it, and you're having a conversation with a family who has...none.

But when you realize it, you also realize you have two choices. You can thank your lucky stars you've got it and walk away and amass some more. Or you can take responsibility and help someone who just needs a little. tiny. bit. of it.

Our Privileged, Republi...oops, I mean Democrat... of a Governor is insisting there is no other way to solve this current budget crisis than to bleed these social services dry. I don't believe that, not for a minute. (Maybe the Governor should sell some of those expensive paintings.) How about adding a penny to sales tax? We won't even notice it, and I promise, tourists don't look up sales tax rates when they decide to take vacations. One goddamn penny.

Are we so selfish, so greedy, that we can look that eleven year-old kid in the eyes and tell her she's not worth a penny?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

we heard what you said, sally

Oh my.

By now you've probably heard about the Freak Show named Sally Kern, the Oklahoma State Rep who went on a tear about homosexuality saying, among other things, that homosexuals are more of a threat to America than terrorism.

Sally, Sally, Sally.

She THOUGHT she was speaking to a small group of like-minded whack jobs. Turns out though that at least one person in the room didn't agree. And lucky for us, that person had a tape-recorder.

Nice.

So listen to the audio below. And then after that, click this link to PageOneQ and read a story about my girl Ellen Degeneres, who is suddenly feeling, um, empowered by her recent outspokenness. If you click down to the middle of that article, you can watch Ellen, live on her show, try and call sweet old Sally for a talkin'-to. It's classic Ellen. Funny shit.

And on a serious note...this is what THEY say about US when they think we aren't listening....



Ellen Responds: Click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

awww

the posse....




my beautiful corey...



and my mom and dad...

Monday, March 10, 2008

ps

I mentioned the insane budget cut proposal.

Check out this website: http://www.mainecandobetter.org/

And if you have the opportunity, please show up in Augusta on Wednesday. I'll be there, and hope to see some of you as well. This is just critically important, and we need to speak up.

LOUDLY.

Read on:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(from the Maine Can Do Better website)

URGENT ALERT

Serious additional cuts to MaineCare and other services in Governor's New Budget Proposal.

Please join us at the State House at 10am on Wednesday, March 12th to oppose deep budget cuts and ask Maine lawmakers to find a better way for Maine!

Join us to fight these cuts! Join hundreds of others to help legislators understand the harmful impact of these cuts.

Come to the State House in Augusta at 10:00 am on Wednesday, March 12th. Please check in at the Welcome Center on the first floor of the State House at 10:00 am. We will give you information which you can provide to your legislator, asking them to reject these harmful cuts.

At 11:30 we will gather in the Hall of Flags for a rally highlighting the cuts and calling for the Legislature to find a better way to balance the State budget. Please bring signs opposing the cuts if you can (do not put them on stakes). We will also have some signs available. For those who can stay for the afternoon, we ask you to join us in the Appropriations Committee hearing room to show our opposition to the cuts.

Please join us--our goal is to have hundreds of Maine people come to the State House on March 12th to show our opposition to these cuts!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

random thoughts from a sleepy lesbian

So all and all, the big dinn-ah was actually pretty gayfabulous I think. I'll leave it to others to critique the program (feel free to post your thoughts if you attended), except to say that the award recipients' speeches were fantastic: engaging, emotional, moving. I am certain some felt the program was long (2 hours, almost exactly), but you know, we had a lot to say and I hope people walked away with a clearer idea of what's been happening at EQME and in the community. We tried our damnedest, and I hope we were at least moderately successful. We are planning on posting the program remarks, as well as a slide show of our photographs, on the EqualityMaine website, so keep checking back.

A few random thoughts I woke up with on Sunday morning:

1. I'm so proud of my mom and dad...at one point in the program, we asked all our straight allies to stand and be recognized, and my friends tell me my parents leapt out of their chairs and were among the first to stand.

2. I loved loved loved seeing the PRYSM table. And am so grateful for the amazing work that people like Joanna Testa, Jen Hodsdon & Sarah Parker Holmes do to support LGBT youth. They are making such incredible contributions and I am proud to call them my friends.

3. Ray and Connie Winship now have 525 new friends...many of whom would like to be adopted by them. I just...love them, so much.

4. Genia Graham might be the sweetest woman alive. She spoke so beautifully about why she works so hard on HIV/AIDS prevention and education.

5. I heart Jill Barkley. She's the Real Deal. Her speech was funny, passionate, inspiring. We must find a way to stop these insane funding cuts in Augusta so that people like Jill can continue doing the incredible work they do in supporting victims of domestic violence.

6. Rev. Mark Doty restores my faith in...well....faith. He is an absolute treasure with a heart of gold and a truly beautiful soul.

7. With partners like the Maine Civil Liberties Union, we are destined for amazing things.

7. I hate it when Kevin is sick. :(

8. The Posse Rocks. And Corey was a gorgeous date.

9. Matt can make flip flops look fashionable, even when wearing a tie in March.

10. Brian is a mean pole dancer.

11. I am so proud and happy to work with the amazing EQME staff, with Betsy Smith at the helm.

12. Queers are So. Good. Lookin'.

Perhaps more thoughts will follow later on down the line.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

i love my life because...

sometimes i get to dress up for fabulous queer events and hang out with gorgeous, brilliant women who are changing the world. of which there were many at the EqualityMaine 24th Annual Awards Dinner. including the two i'm standing with in the picture below, who also happen to be two of My Absolute Favorite Women In The World. 'cause bitches get stuff done baby. and these two beautiful dynamos are just a few steps away from world domination.

more dinner pictures and tales from the evening to follow soon, i promise.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

please refrain from throwing your kiwi fruit at the stage

So my next few days are going to be all about writing the bulk of our program content for EQME's Annual Awards Dinner, which is happening this Saturday, and which you can still get tickets for if you Do. It. Now. This dinner has become one of the premiere progressive events of the year, and I have to find the words to inspire and motivate 500 or so people who are expecting this to be...well...one of the premiere progressive events of the year. No pressure there. Yeah, right. I've decided to lower the bar a bit, and am hoping just to write something that will neither put 500 people to sleep nor induce them to throw rotten tomatoes and various forms of fruit at the stage. I'll let ya know how successful I was after March 8th. Promise.

In the meantime, I must save all my creative juices (I love that term, for so many reasons) for the task at hand, which means there will be little if any activity on The Slant for the next five days or so. Which sucks, because there is much to say about the fact that Hillary is proving she's the Real Deal (Texas AND Ohio! wow.) and there is much to say about the amazing court hearing in California yesterday about marriage equality, and well, there is just always so much to say if you're me. But alas, these things will have to wait.

In the meantime, for your amusement and mine, today I'm going to steal something from one of my favorite websites, The Huffington Post. I suppose the fact that I am acknowleging this comes from the Huffington Post and not from inside of my sometimes twisted brain removes the theft burden from me and becomes more of a borrowing issue. And I suspect that the good people over at the Huff couldn't give a rat's ass that some no-name blogger from Portland, Maine is posting something of theirs to the...what...eleven people?...who regularly visit the Slant.

So, without further ado, I share with you one of my favorite features from The Huff. It's called HuffPost's Overlooked Quotes of the Day, and I love it. And see? I linked it and everything, which should further absolve me from any snarky accusations of thievery and tomfoolery. (what the hell is tomfoolery, anyway? and is thievery a word?) I'm going to post a few weeks' worth because hey, I am just feeling wicked generous this morning. Some of them are ridiculously funny (can you say George W.), some of them are ridiculously ignorant (there's that George W. again) and some of them are just dead-on accurate.

Read on, and do enjoy:

"I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who were trying to defeat us."
-- George Bush, thanks the troops with a Freudian slip
(3/3/2008) ***

"When I lost in 2000, I slept like a baby. I'd sleep two hours, then I'd wake up and cry, then sleep two hours, and wake up and cry, so on."
-- John McCain
(2/29/2008) ***

"That's interesting. I hadn't heard that."
-- President Bush, on the possibility of $4-a-gallon gasoline in the near future
(2/28/2008) ***

"I don't think it's just me. I think it is still the burden that women in public life have to bear."
-- Hillary Clinton
(2/26/2008) ***

"I can't wait until it's Obama vs. McCain. It's gonna be Youtube vs. Feeding Tube!"
-- Bill Maher
(2/23/2008) ***

"A clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive."
-- President Bush, after touring a genocide memorial, Kigali, Rwanda.
(2/19/2008) ***

"I may be killing my political career."
-- Mike Huckabee, on his continuing campaign.
(2/19/2008) ***

"Polls are nothing more than just like a poof of air. What matters is results."
-- President Bush
(2/15/2008)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

obama

So Barack Obama (or more accurately, Barack's communications team) penned quite an open letter about LGBT discrimination on February 28th.

I think I've made it pretty clear that whether it's Clinton or Obama, I'll be shaking poms poms (um, MY version of that anyway) and working my ass off for either of them.

But I have to say, it sure feels nice to be 'courted'. Much, much different than 2004, when the prez candidates were running as fast and as furious as they could away from all things LGBT. I know these are just words, and we will have to work really, really hard to hold him accountable if he is indeed our next president. And while his stance on marriage isn't perfect, still...it's just somethin' to read this very public letter from a candidate for our highest office.

Sure...we have such a long way to go. But if this isn't progress, then quite frankly, nothing is.

Read on:

I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’s wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.


Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.

Read the rest by clicking here.

And here's another rather remarkable Obama moment. A lot of people, including me, were very, very pissed off that he didn't dump anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a tour a few months back. It was a bad decision, and he heard from us and I will say that choice sits in the back of my mind, a lot. But a couple of days ago he redeemed himself a little bit, for me at least, at a q & a session in Beaumont, Texas...not exactly a hot bed of pro-LGBT constituents. He was asked a question about LGBT issues. And his response was truly fascinating. In a crowd that was clearly very Christian and not particularly supportive of the queer community, he found a way to connect with them and at the same time re-iterate his belief in treating every citizen, we queers included, with dignity and respect and that homophobia is very un-Christian state of mind.

You can watch it here:

Monday, March 03, 2008

these boots

it was suggested to me by The Vice President of The Homosexual Rights Movement, also known as Lady Bug, that a perfect sequel to my childhood song Your Cheatin' Heart would have been this other timeless tune.

i just found me a brand new box of matches.

i like it, i like it, i like it alot.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

ellen

ellen degeneres takes some heat from LGBT activists sometimes because she isn't "political" enough, or she doesn't use her position of power to push forward LGBT issues, and or her talk show is too gay-lite. and on and on and on.

eh. we queers are hard to please.

i'm a big ellen fan. her coming out episode was so historic, and brave, and gawd knows she took a big hit for doing it. people tend to forget that ellen disappeared for a few years after her very-lesbian show was cancelled and it wasn't because she decided to take a long holiday. the "industry" wanted nothing to do with her, and she fought her way back and now has a fabulously successful, award-winning talk show. and i say kudos to her. we aren't all overtly political. and that's fine with me. she's open, she's OUT, and hell, she has portia on her arm. it doesn't get much better than that.

the fact is, when tragedy strikes our community, Ellen has always been one of the first "celebrities" to step up and speak out (think back to matthew shepard). and she just did it again, talking about a horrific murder in california that no one, especially the mainstream media, seems to be paying much attention to at all:



last spring my pal mike hein wrote a big "expose" about an equalitymaine media training i was organizing in portland. His headline?

ellen degeneres would be proud.

gawd i hope so.

for me, that would be the ultimate compliment.