Tag Archive | pride

Why the haters won’t win

It looks like they're planting a new hedge. (© Gene Breshears)

It looks like they’re planting a new hedge. (© Gene Breshears)

I was hurrying to get to the bus stop on my way to work recently and as I started to cross a side street I was surprised at something I saw on the other side. It looked like someone had planted a bunch of new bushes along a construction fence. This new line of freshly planted greenery was on the exact spot that only a month or so before a hedge had been removed. Clearly the bushes were going to be in the way when workers needed to start demolition work. I had been sad to see them go, as I’ve been walking past that line of bushes for many years. It made no sense to plant new ones now, because they haven’t even begun to tear down the old buildings yet, let alone start the new construction. Why would anyone start planting new landscaping now?

I crossed the street and only when I got closer did I realize what I was actually looking at. They had cut down the old line of bushes, yes. But the roots were still there in the soil. And it was spring time and there was ample sun and rain, so new growth was vigorously re-asserting itself.

You can cut it down, but the roots run deep. (© Gene Breshears)

You can cut it down, but the roots run deep. (© Gene Breshears)

I was nearly past the bushes before I decided to stop and take a couple of pictures. Looking down at all that bright green new growth bushing out around the stumps, I couldn’t help think about how tenacious life is. Cut something down, and it will grow back.

It’s hardly an original metaphor, I know. But it’s a process I’ve lived through and witnessed more times than I can count. I was a teen-ager in 1977 when Anita Bryant led her first campaign to repeal an ordinance that would protect people from being fired or denied housing because of their sexual orientation. And when he supporters passed a law banning gays and lesbians from adopting or being foster parents. We weren’t even a decade past Stonewall, and getting a few anti-discrimination ordinances passed in some of the most liberal cities hadn’t been great progress, but it had seemed people were starting to come around. Then this happened.

As Bryant led successful campaigns in city after city to repeal those ordinances, it looked pretty grim. But queers and their supporters didn’t give up. People laughed when they found out that gay bars were boycotting orange juice (Anita Bryant’s primary source of income at the time came from making commercials for the Florida Orange Grower’s Assocation). Gay bars and restaurants removes screwdrivers from their menus and added a new drink called an Anita Bryant: vodka and apple juice. Reporters chuckled on air as they explained the boycott on local evening TV shows. Newspapers ran cartoons mocking the sissies for thinking that some cocktails would change anything.

But all the mocking put the information in front of people. And a surprising thing happened. Orange juice sales were hurt. People wrote to the Florida Orange Growers Association to protest their support of these anti-gay campaigns. The Association hadn’t been supporting Bryant’s campaign, but all that mocking coverage of the silly faggots and their boycott made people think they were. Not just silly faggots who brunched together and gossiped over cocktails.

And it put the issue of gay rights in the news in a different way than anyone had seen it before. Certainly I, as a seventeen-year-old living in a small town, had never been to a brunch with a bunch of queers, and I wouldn’t have known that there were actually places where the law might protect a queer person from some kinds of persecution. And the rhetoric of the anti-gay forces made a lot of people that you would never expect stand up for gay rights.

The result was that all over the country, queers and their allies formed new organizations to fight the anti-gay initiatives and referendums, and those organizations kept fighting. And people like me realized that they weren’t alone. There were people out there like us. There were people out there who wouldn’t hate us if we came out.

Unfortunately, we were then hit by the AIDS epidemic. It’s really hard to explain just how horrific that was to folks who didn’t live through it. As I pointed out in response to an online conversation a few months back, it was not simply that most gay people knew one or two people who died. It felt like everyone was dying. There were weeks when my (now late) partner Ray and I had to decide which of several funerals or memorial services happening on the same day we would be able to attend.

GettyImages-499309743-1435682657But even as we were dying, we fought back. We banded together into new groups like Act Up and Queer Nation and Q Patrol and many others. We banded together to take care of each other while White House press secretaries and reporters openly laughed and made jokes about our deaths. We buried our dead and we mourned and we got right back out on the streets and marched and demanded to be seen.

And the haters ran their anti-gay campaigns again. Initiatives to forbid gay and lesbian people to work in certain fields. Laws to criminalize our terminal illness (sadly still on the books in many states). Proposals to quarantine us in “medical camps.” Laws to ban us from adopting. Laws to ban us from putting partners on our insurance policies.

For every fight we lost, it just made us more determined. Like that hedge, you can cut us down, but our roots go deep. We come back, stronger, brighter, more determined to win the next battle. And every fight we won, when the opposition said, “Okay, fine, you can have those crumbs. Now be quiet!” we refused to go away.

Joe Jervis, who runs the Joe.My.God web site, every year explains why he thinks the Pride Parade is important, which he sums up by quoting the old Jewish joke about the true meaning of every Jewish holiday: “They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.” Joe then gives his Gay version of the meaning of Gay Pride: “They wish we were invisible. We aren’t. Let’s dance!”

Care to join me?

Friday Links (Pride Weekend 2016!) – Updated

books_gay_2016-Jun-01Friday has finally arrived. It is the final Friday in June, which means that here in Seattle this is Queer Pride Weekend! My husband and I have a full schedule, as we are attending events related to the Locus Awards (a sci fi fandom thing) and the Pride events, both this weekend. Se I have a lot of things to get to!

Anyway, here are links to some of the interesting things I read on the web this week, sorted into various topic areas.

Links of the Week

The Internet Is Not Your Global Village.

First step to reducing hate crimes? Enshrine equality in law.

My Encounters with ’80s Porn Star Al Parker: What I Learned About Him—and Myself—After Painting His Portrait.

This week in Restoring Your Faith in Humanity

“Angels” Block Westboro Baptist Church From Protesting Orlando Victim’s Funeral.

Son Collapses in Tears at Funeral of Mother Who Protected Him From Bullets in Orlando.

Helpers: What You Can Do in a Time of Crisis.

ETA: Who ordered an apocalypse?

The votes in the EU referendum in the UK were still being counted when I queued up and posted the Friday links last night. So I didn’t include any news on it, but now as stock markets around the world are plummeting on the news, I figure it’s worth adding some info now:

“Tomorrow belongs to me” – Charles Stross on the Brexit vote/

Cameron’s Legacy – Lee Harris on Brexit.

YOU WANT TRUMP? THIS IS HOW YOU GET TRUMP – Chuck Wendig on parallels between the angry part of the UK electorate and the angry parts of the US electorate.

Calls For Texas Independence Surge In Wake Of Brexit Vote

World Markets Roiled by Brexit as Stocks, Pound Drop; Gold Soars

And other news:

It’s Time to Grant Good Fathers Some Respect.

The underground race to spread medical knowledge as the Syrian regime erases it.

This week in I can’t even…

Gun violence is many things—but inevitable isn’t one of them.

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/06/22/24246432/nytimes-prints-clueless-op-ed-by-stupid-lgbt-gun-fondler.

10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down: Fact-checking some of the gun lobby’s favorite arguments shows they’re full of holes.

FBI investigators say they have found no evidence that Orlando shooter had gay lovers

This week in History

A year later, Charleston families still reeling from church shooting.

This Week in Diversity

“He struggled and kept his guard up”: Hamilton in the Big House.

All 158 Dead Lesbian and Bisexual Characters On TV, And How They Died.

All 29 Lesbian and Bisexual TV Characters Who Got Happy Endings.

Gender neutral school uniforms could revolutionise society.

Being a black, British, queer, non-binary Muslim isn’t a contradiction.

Questions from Christians #3: “Why do you have gay pride parades? We don’t have straight pride parades. (And isn’t pride a sin)”.

The Queer + The Divine: ‘WicDiv’ Gets LGBTQ Diversity Right

After Orlando shooting, LA LGBT Latinos seek safe spaces to mourn.

bMob Shaming: The Pillory at the Center of the Global Village.

Meet the Black Lesbian Rabbinical Student Who’s Changing the Face of Judaism.

News for queers and our allies:

I’ve been thinking a lot about this category. As I mentioned to a friend, if a person is reading my blog, they either are a member of the queer community, or they are an ally, or they are an enemy who is following me to see what we’re up to. I thought about changing the headline for this section to someting like “News for people who aren’t haters” or something even snarkier. Does anyone have any ideas? Let me know.

Orlando Massacre Inspires Some to Come Out as Gay.

L.G.B.T. People Are More Likely to Be Targets of Hate Crimes Than Any Other Minority Group.

THE LATEST: THOUSANDS TURN OUT FOR WEEKEND GAY PRIDE EVENTS.

The Jewish Ex-architect Who Makes Custom Suits for Transgender Bodies.

An Open Letter to My LGBTQ Friends.

Why it’s more important than ever to attend Pride this year.

A ‘radical act’: Edmonton police’s experiment showed recruits how it felt to be LGBTQ in the city.

My Girlfriend and I Just Visited North Carolina, and We Did Not Get Beat Up.

I went shooting with queer gun activists, but it didn’t make me feel any safer.

Science!

Two Baby Alien Worlds Show Us How to Cook a Planet.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

Where Is The SUPERMAN We Once Knew And Loved? I agree with some of this… but he’s wrong that it has anything to do with whether it is for children or not.

Typeset in the Future: Blade Runner.

Reimagining Robin Hood as a Badass Gay Outlaw.

Culture war news:

‘Sanctuary’ After Pulse: We Cannot Let the Orlando Shooter Win.

In 1973, thirty people died in an attack on a US gay bar… and everyone laughed about it.

After False Show of Solidarity, House GOPs Block LGBT Protections Bill. Listen: I’m tired of pretending that the leadership of the Republican party isn’t evil. They are evil. Let’s stop trying to be noble and pretend that we’re just talking about differences of opinion. Their policies, literally kill people. Why can’t we admit that?

The Next Dylann Roof Can Still Buy a Gun.

HOMESCHOOL LEADER RICK BOYER, SR. ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, GROOMING.

3 N.Y.P.D. Commanders Are Arrested on Corruption Charges. Elf hats are part of this fed corruption case…

Judge refuses to block Mississippi anti-LGBT law.

Gay Congress member blasts GOP colleagues for continuing to block pro-LGBT measure after Orlando.

Save Your Sympathy. You Are The Problem..

Worry about bad marijuana—not Big Marijuana.

Utah militia leader planned to bomb federal cabin, FBI says.

Death-To-Gays Hate Pastor Flips Out Because Activists Have Shut Down His PayPal Account [VIDEO].

The Campaign:

The Republicans’ Big Hot Mess.

Trump team disappointed that mass murder didn’t produce a bump in the polls.

Today in ‘Donald Trump’s Campaign Is a Garbage Fire’.

The Real News Is Trump is Broke.

Donald Trump Taps Michele Bachmann, James Dobson & Other Far-Right Leaders For Advisory Board. It’s a who’s who of anti-gay people!

The press has not done its job: 3 ways the media has failed our democracy in covering the election.

Jerry Falwell Jr Tweets Photo with Donald Trump and Playboy Cover in Background .

This week in Politics:

Seattle’s Transgender Activists Want to Transform the Democratic National Committee.

I reported Omar Mateen to the FBI. Trump is wrong that Muslims don’t do our part.

Gay Congress member blasts GOP colleagues for continuing to block pro-LGBT measure after Orlando.

Demanding Votes on Gun Control Bills, John Lewis Leads a Sit-in of the House.

The Democrats Are Boldly Fighting For a Bad, Stupid Bill. I don’t completely agree with the headline. This is a far more complicated issue than it appears, and passing the bill would open up a new avenue for people to appeal their listing on the no-fly list. Arguments about the list seem to be stuck in a spot where no one can actually allow us to try to improve the situation.

This Week in Misogyny

Girl who won Ohio masonry competition bumped from national contest.

Farewells:

Star Trek Actor Anton Yelchin Dies in Freak Car Accident.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 6/18/2016: Compassion, mourning, and an epic vogue battle.

Sunday Funnies, part 18.

Why do you think god hates anyone?

Why thoughts and prayers are worse than inadequate.

Why we need Pride.

Why queer clubs and gay bars are more than just places to dance and drink.

Videos!

Why Is BuzzFeed News Banned From Trump’s Campaign?:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Son of a Preacher Man – Tom Goss:

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Rufus Wainwright – Somewhere Over The Rainbow:

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John Grant – Glacier (yes, least week I posted a video of a live performance of John and Kylie Minogue performing this song and dedicating it to the survivors of the Orlando shooting; this official music video of the song released two years ago is worth the watch):

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Eli Lieb & Brandon Skeie – Pulse (last Sunday, after seeing the news out of Orlando, Eli and Brandon wrote this song, and then went out in West Hollywood for film people for the video):

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Golden – A short film by Kai Stänicke:

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Why queer clubs and gay bars are more than just places to dance and drink

Rainbow flag saying, “Is it Queer in here, or is it just me?”

“Is it Queer in here, or is it just me?” (click to embiggen)

In the immediate aftermath of the Orlando shooting, President Obama’s remarks were met with criticism from many corners, as they do, but there was a particular comment that seemed to really upset a lot of straight people on social media. This bit really got some folks’ panties in a bunch:

The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked was more than a nightclub—it is a place of solidarity and empowerment…
—Barack Obama

Some people had a real difficult time understanding why anyone would refer to a gay bar as a place of empowerment. It’s really hard for most straight people to understand just how isolated and alienated queer kids feel their entire lives. We take a lot of flack, particularly white male queer people, from people of color whenever we draw parallels between our struggle for acceptance and equality with the struggles that racial minorities face. There are more similarities than some people want to admit, but they are correct that there are differences. And one of those differences is that isolation.

A member of a racial or ethnic minority growing up in a racist society is never told that other people like him or her do not exist. At all. Usually a person of color is aware of the existence of other people of color if for no other reason than the rest of their family is also a member of that racial or ethnic minority. They may live in a neighborhood where other members of the minority are neighbors, classmates, and so on.

Not queer kids. Until very recently, queer kids were pretty much guaranteed to grow up being told and shown again and again that every human is straight. Little boys are teased about having a crush on any girl or woman other than a close relative that they get along with. Little girls get told they will be a mommy some day. Every book, movie, television show, family anecdote, et cetera shows us again and again that every boy grows up to have a girlfriend, eventually a wife, and will become a daddy. And they tell every girl that she will grow up to be some boy’s girlfriend, then some man’s wife, and eventually will have that man’s babies.

And anyone who doesn’t do those things? Well, there’s something wrong with them! Unattached characters of either gender appearing in stories and shows are usually treated as the comic relief or as tragically alone. Lonely spinsters that everyone feels sorry for or eccentric bachelors that no one takes seriously are the least horrible futures that society tells us await us if we don’t fall in love with a person of the opposite gender and settle down.

That’s the initial indoctrination. The first level of lying, if you will.

As we get older, we start noticing other fates for men and women who don’t fit into the coupled hetero ideal. They aren’t just taken seriously and pitied, it’s worse than that. Some of those oddballs may indeed have special friendships with another person of the same gender, but that always ends in death for at least one of them. If one survives, it is as a broken creature, forever haunted by guilt and despair because of it.

The lies that we are told is that queer people don’t exist, or at least they don’t exist naturally, and those few queer people that do come about however that happens, will live lives that are filled with loneliness, despair, pain, suffering, and death. But it is a pain, suffering and death that they deserve because they are monsters.

When you are told those lies again and again; when you are made to feel like a freak any time you behave or feel anything other than what is expected; when you are not allowed to see any examples of queer people who aren’t object lessons who deserve pain and suffering—you believe it. Your parents, your teachers, your church, your neighbors, your classmates, and your siblings have all told you the same thing again and again your entire life. It must be true! There must be something deeply wrong with you, and that wrongness means that you can never be happy, never be loved, never know joy, never be accepted.

And you’ve been made to feel miserable any time that any hint of your difference has manifested. You have probably developed crushes on members of your own gender, but realized that the other person didn’t feel the same way. Or if the affection was returned, you both lived in terror of what would happen if anyone found out. If anyone has found out, there were some sort of bad consequences. One or both of your were beaten. You were forbidden to see each other. One or both of you might have been sent away or simply kicked out of your home by your parents.

So, the first time that we walk into a gay bar is usually a revelation. There are other people like you there! More importantly, you find people like you there who seem to be happy. The first visit may be a short one because you’re nervous and not sure what to expect. Or it might be that the atmosphere or theme of the place is catering to a different subset of the community than you identify with. But when you find a place that you can feel comfortable in, you see that there are people there who are living lives other than lonely and tragic. There aren’t just sexual or romantic relationships, there are friendships. People share drinks and a laugh when their life is going well, they share drinks and hugs and commiserations in times of sorrow.

And while you may not be a person who particularly fits in at the bar scene, there is still a sense of community and belonging that you can find there. One that many queer people never experienced before that.

My first few experiences in gay bars didn’t go terribly well. The first place I went to was more of a leather bar and I felt as if I’d stepped into a foreign country. My bright colored nerdy t-shirt didn’t help me fit in, but more importantly, I didn’t understand any of the non-verbal signals that were going on all around me. My second gay bar was filled with loud music that I had never heard before, and everyone was dressed in far more fashionable clothes than I could pull off. I felt like a very ugly duckling surrounded by a sea fashion models and body builders.

For me, the bar that clicked was the old Timberline. It was a mix of lesbians and queer men—a lot of people wearing cowboy boots and blue jeans. Country music was played there, and twice a week there were classes in line-dancing and two-stepping. Same-sex couples danced arm in arm, circling around the dance floor to the kind of music that I had grown up with. It wasn’t every queer person’s dream, but to those of us who are came to Seattle from the south or from rural communities just about anywhere, there were enough cultural touchstones to our childhood to make being an openly queer man dancing with another man feel like a magic transformation where the impossible suddenly seemed within reach.

That’s another reason the shooting hurts so much. Even though I haven’t been inside a gay bar in something like 14 years, the images of wounded people being carried out of the club not by paramedics, but by other people who were clearly part of the bar crowd was worse than a punch in the gut. One of our places was no longer ours.

I’ve rambled enough about this. We grew up being told we were monsters who should either not exist or be invisible. We grew up believing we would never have friends who would accept us for who we really were. We grew up believing that not only would we never find love, but that we didn’t deserve any form of happiness at all. For many of us, a queer club was one of the first places that we learned that all of those things were lies.

And it wasn’t just me who experienced that:

I Found A Home In Clubs Like Pulse In Cities Like Orlando: As a gay Latino man I know there are few safe spaces for me, but Latin night always felt like a solace

How Queer Spaces Gave Me Superpowers

What We Find in Gay Bars and Queer Clubs

Why we need Pride

12480058_240x240_FEvery year as the date of the local Pride Parade approaches, I start seeing the comments and questions: “If you get a Gay Pride Parade, why can’t we have a Straight Pride Parade?” I can’t decide which is the saddest aspect of this question: 1) that they think this tired old canard is actually being clever, 2) that they don’t understand that 99.9% of all television, movies, news, and other public discourse is geared toward affirming heterosexual life, including straight sexuality (so every day is already Straight Pride Day), 3) that they don’t understand that Queer Pride events are about our very right to exist—an act of defiance against those who want us to be invisible or dead—not merely our right to party, 4) that no one is is stopping them from organizing their own straight pride events (even though I think they’re redundant)?

This year there is a new wrinkle. Some of my less-than-affirming relatives have (after trotting out the thoughts and prayers nonsense) urged me not to go to Pride, because they don’t want me to get hurt if something happens. They make these comments completely oblivious to the fact that the anti-gay memes they share online every day, the anti-gay initiative for which they signed the petition to place on the ballot, the angry calls they say they make to their congressperson after learning of an anti-discrimination law under consideration, and all the rest contributes to the atmosphere of hate that drives people to violence against queers.

And yes, I’ve also gotten, even in light of the most recent publicly visible horror, a few people asking me what’s the point of Pride. “You can get married, now. You won. Isn’t that enough?” Marriage equality was one very tiny battle, by comparison to what remains. We live in a world where:

That last one is just the tip of the iceberg. It is still really common for people to react to any depiction of a queer person’s life as a queer person with, “Why do you have to show us all the time? Why can’t you just be who you are without labeling everything?”

The saddest part of this is that those people don’t think they are being homophobic at all. And they never think about the fact that straight people “shove their sexuality” in everyone else’s face all the time. Have pictures of your spouse, significant other, or children on your desk, wall, or phone’s home screen? Mention your wife or husband in casual conversation? Comment on how hot a particular actor or actress is? 99.9 percent of all movies and TV shows depict opposite sex couples flirting, kissing, and more? Routinely ask about family discounts? Expect that, of course, your spouse will be included in the company health insurance plan? Invite us to your wedding or your kid’s straight wedding? Show us pictures of yours or your kid’s straight wedding? Ever use the phrase “no homo”?

Since we get accused of shoving our sexuality in your face if we merely casually mention the existence of our significant other, we get to count all of those things as you shoving your sexuality in our faces.

Why do we need Pride?

  • We need Pride because people are still trying to kill us.
  • We need Pride because religious leaders are still cheering on the people who kill us.
  • We need Pride because people accuse us of “stealing the tragedy” when 49 of us are murdered in a gay night club on a busy Saturday night during Pride month.
  • We need Pride because people still target gender non-conforming children in schools, and now adults aren’t just making excuses for the bullying, they want to pay the bullies bounties for doing it!
  • We need Pride because it’s still legal to fire us just for being gay in 28 states.
  • We need Pride because people are more offended at the idea of selling us a wedding cake than they are about 49 of us being gunned down in a single incident.
  • We need Pride because people get angry when other people acknowledge our existence.
  • We need Pride because people get offended if we mention the gender of our significant other in casual conversation.
  • We need Pride because religious parents still kick their queer children out onto the streets just for being gay, and it isn’t considered child neglect or abuse to do so.
  • We need Pride because queer kids are born everywhere, not just into families and communities that love and accept them, and they need to know that they aren’t alone.
  • We need Pride because the world tries to make us hate ourselves, tries to make us be ashamed to love, and most importantly tries to convince us we are utterly alone.

The only way queers like me have been able to stand up and be ourselves is because other queers before us were brave enough to be out—whether it was staging sip-ins to protest laws that made it illegal for a bartender to knowingly along two homosexuals be served in the bar, or fighting back when police raided a gay club, or picketing in front of federal buildings, or marching in the first ever Pride event in June 1970. Those of us who can stand up for ourselves now, owe a debt to the sacrifices the earlier generations of queers made. We can’t pay them back directly, so we have to pay it forward. We do that by standing up and being counted and being visible for all of the people (especially kids) who can’t, yet.

We need Pride not because we’ve come so far, but because for many there is still a long, long way to go.

Dancing with my pride

“Still Here, Still Queer, Still Dancing!”

“Still Here, Still Queer, Still Dancing!” (click to embiggen)

I make a lot of playlists. I buy new music, I listen to it a few times, then I start picking out other songs from my library that I think go well with the new music for one reasons or another, and soon I have a playlist or three. Or I’ll be having a conversation with someone, and some turn of phrase someone uses will sound like it ought to be the name of an album or band or something, and the next thing I know I’m constructing a playlist of songs that fit the title. Not to mention the many playlists I put together to help with my writing. I have playlists for specific recurring characters in my stories, and playlists for particular stories, and more importantly playlists for particular plot/character arcs within a story.

And every year during May I start constructing a Pride playlist. It’ll be a mix of new songs and old. What they usually all have in common is that they are songs I like to dance to, and resonate in some way with the celebratory side of being out and proud but especially loud. Or, as Miss Coco Peru might said, a life lived out, proud, loud and just a little bit ridiculous.

Some years I feel like putting in songs that are a bit more dirty and flirty, while other years my include some ballads and either more serious or slightly darker in tone. I also throw in songs that are by artists I’ve been thinking about a lot this year. Which is at least part of the reason you’ll see both Prince and David Bowie make an appearance.

Not all of these songs will mean the same thing to you or even evoke the same feelings, of course. And you may see some familiar titles that make you ask, “How can he dance to that?” Don’t just look at the title, but try to find the exact remix by the same artist. You may find that the cover version of an old pop song you think you know has been transformed into something completely different in the particular track I’ve listed.

Anyway, this is my 2016 Pride Playlist:

  1. “Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)” – Prince & The Revolution
  2. “Feelin’ Free” – Sirpaul
  3. “Spectrum (feat. Jo Lampert & Gyasi Ross)” – Ryan Amador
  4. “Rebel Rebel” – David Bowie
  5. “Reach out for the Stars” – Yehonathan
  6. “Revolution (feat. Levi Kreis)” – Matthew David
  7. “What’s It Gonna Be?” – Shura
  8. “Genghis Khan” – Miike Snow
  9. “Get Your Sexy On” – Lovestarrs
  10. “I Wanna Boi” – PWR BTTM
  11. “The Boy Who Couldn’t Keep His Clothes On” – Pet Shop Boys
  12. “Just Stand Up!” – Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Natasha Bedingfield, Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis, Carrie Underwood, Keyshia Cole, LeAnn Rimes, Ashanti, Ciara & Mariah Carey
  13. “How Deep Is Your Love” – Calvin Harris & Disciples
  14. “For You” – Quentin Elias
  15. “The Good, the Bad and the Dirty” – Panic! At the Disco
  16. “Desire” – Years & Years
  17. “We Don’t Have to Dance” – Andy Black
  18. “Feel So Good [Orignal Edit]” – Sean Ensign
  19. “Eddie Baez Donna Summer She Works Hard for the Money” – Eddie Baez Presents
  20. “Only Love Survives (Timothy Allan & Mark Loverush Remix)” – Ryan Dolan
  21. “You’re So Beautiful (White Party Version) [feat. Jussie Smollett]” – Empire Cast
  22. “Breathe Life” – Brian Kent
  23. “Try Everything” – Shakira
  24. “Halo (Gomi Club Remix)” – Beyoncé
  25. “You Are Unstoppable (7th Heaven Remix)” – Conchita Wurst

Whatever music you prefer, never forget: dance with joy, dance with abandon, dance without worrying what anyone thinks, because life is too short to waste time sitting still!

Who’s offended? Why?

Promote QUEER Visibility. Queer Nation.

“Promote QUEER Visibility. Queer Nation.” (Click to embiggen)

I’ve seen a couple of different discussions going around Tumblr about the use of the word Queer to describe members and/or allies of the LGBT/ LGBTQ/ LGBTIQ/ et cetera, et cetera, et cetera community or communities. Some people advise against it because some of the LGBT people are offended by the word. Some people insist the word doesn’t apply if the person being described falls into (or appears to fall into) a specific one of the L, G, B, or T categories. And some people insist that the only people offended are those who want to exclude one portion of the community or another. I find it simultaneously amusing and exasperating to see that this debate still iterating 24 years after I most dramatically confronted my own resistance to the term.

I’ve written before about how, after divorcing my wife and months of counseling and so forth I decided I needed to do something definitive or symbolic about coming out, so I went to a National Coming Out Day march. I didn’t realize until I got there that it was sponsored by Queer Nation, which was controversial for both their radical attitude but mostly (among the LGBT people I knew at the time) just for insisting on using the word “queer.” I marched, because, damn it, it was National Coming Out Day and I was doing it!

For a variety of reasons that don’t bear repeating at this juncture, my late partner, Ray, and a bunch of our friends saw me marching (actually, we were doing the Queer Hokey Pokey at that point) past a restaurant in the gayborhood. For a while I got teased mercilessly by those friends who despised Queer Nation. And while discussing why I wasn’t embarrassed to have marched with Queer Nation, I went from being ambivalent about that word, to saying, “I am going to call myself Queer if I want to, and fuck you if you don’t like it!” to one friend who was getting in my face about it.

I had been teased and bullied just as much as he had with that word (and many others) as a child. So I understood the reasons that friend (and many other people) didn’t want to embrace the term. But I had also been teased and bullied with a lot of other synonyms for “homosexual” including “gay.” And some of my friends who were girls or young women during those years had been harassed and bullied with the word “lesbian.” So if we could use those two words to describe ourselves proudly—hell, the official name of the Seattle Pride Parade at the time was the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade, Freedom Day March and Rally”—then why couldn’t we use the word “Queer?”

Another reason I happen to prefer the term Queer is because of intersectionality and bi-erasure. I’m gay. I’m a man who loves other men. I am not bisexual, despite having once been married to a member of the opposite sex (no, seriously, I mean it!). My husband is a man who is married to me, a man. We’ve only legally been married a bit over 3 years, but we’ve been together for more than 18 years. People assume my husband is gay. He is not. He is bisexual. Saying that he is gay, at least to me, feels as if it is erasing part of his identity. And I love all him, not just half of him, so I take it kind of personally.

I have a rather large number of friends who are bisexual who have married members of the opposite sex. People assume they are straight. They aren’t. Some of them have told me they aren’t terribly bothered by that assumption, but some of them really chafe under the label. I have friends who have transitioned after marrying a partner who was opposite sex when they married, and they’ve stayed together since. Calling either of them gay or lesbian again, at least to me, feels like I’m erasing part of their identity or history. I have a few polyamorous friends who present as straight, and describe themselves as mostly straight… but who sometimes have threeways with their primary partner and one of the partners of their primary who happens to be of the same gender.

And then there’s one straight friend who once told me, “Describing myself as a straight ally doesn’t feel true, because I think I have a queer perspective—and I feel a closer connection to LGBT people—even though I don’t want to have sex with another guy.”

And as I mentioned recently, in the ’90s everyone in the LGBTQ community who wasn’t a cis white male seemed to be offended if we tried to use “gay” as an umbrella term for the whole bunch. So, for the record, I’m a cis white (and old and fat) same-gender-loving man who identifies as queer, uses queer to encompass the whole community (including allies who consider themselves part of the community), and I don’t intend to stop. I mean, yeah, if you tell me that you, specifically don’t like the term, I will try not to call you that… But I refuse to stop using the term in front of you. Because it is who I am.

We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re FABULOUS!

Friday Links (rainbow connections edition!)

Pride Flag carried near the front of Seattle's Pride Parade, 2014 (photo by me).

Pride Flag carried near the front of Seattle’s Pride Parade, 2014 (photo by me).

Friday Links (rainbow connections edition!)

It’s Friday! It’s not just Queer Pride Month, this is Queer Pride Weekend (at least in many places, including my home, Seattle)! Tomorrow, June 27th, is the anniversary of the Stonewall Riot, which most credit as the beginning of the modern gay right’s movement, which is why most folks in the U.S. celebrate June of Pride Month and why so many Pride Parades happen on the last weekend of the month. It’s time for every les-bi-gay, transgender, genderqueer, femme, butch, stud, stem, glittering fairy, cycle mama, leather daddy, drag king, queer nerd, gym bunny, baby dyke, cuddle pup, drag queen, bear, wolf, otter, twink, single, swinger, couple, trouple, PolyFamily, anyone I left out, and everyone who loves any of the above to step out and get down in the Pride Bash Extravaganza!

(Remember, you don’t have to be queer to celebrate it. Know someone who’s queer and want them to have a happy life? Then you can join the party!)

Anyway, here is a collection of some of the things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared. Sorted into categories with headings so you can skip more easily:

Link of the Week

glaad_2015-Jun-26UPDATE: BREAKING: Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage To Be Law Of The Land Nationwide In Historic Ruling.

Same-Sex Marriage Is a Right, Supreme Court Rules, 5-4.

This week in Justice:

Jury finds that anti-LGBTQ “ex-gay therapy” is a total fraud.

With All Eyes on Marriage, Gays Just Won Another Enormous Legal Victory.

Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies.

In Fair Housing Act Case, Supreme Court Backs ‘Disparate Impact’ Claims.

SCOTUS Decision in FHA Case Reinforces Critical Tool To Address Housing Discrimination.

Police Cannot Arrest You For Watching and Criticizing Them from a Distance In Washington State.

This Week in Queer(ish) History

Cops Raid Gay Bar. What Happened Next Changed History.

Every American should know about the largest mass murder of gay people in US history. Media reaction to the 1973 mass killing at Upstairs Lounge reflected society’s views on homosexuality.

The Case of the Sultry Mountie: Doing Family History Queerly.

The Long, Winding Path of Same-Sex Marriage.

John Waters Says He Never Actually Came Out As Gay Because Nobody Asked.

How One Army Vet Designed The Iconic Symbol Of The Gay Rights Movement. Though I’ve read about (and written about) Gilbert Baker, design of the Pride Flag before, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a picture of the man himself.

Political/culture war news:

California Judge Throws Out Ballot Initiative Calling For Execution Of Gay People.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only anti-equality initiative filed in California this year: LGBT Coalition Forms To Fight Horrific Anti-Transgender Ballot Initiative In California.

No Matter What the Supreme Court Decides, the Fight for LGBT Equality Isn’t Over.

Catholic Church Sends Warning Letter to Australian Businesses Supporting Marriage Equality, and No One Cares.

Satanic Temple Will File Federal Lawsuit Against Missouri Abortion Laws.

Conservatives Demanding ‘Fascist, Anti-Christian’ Gay Pride Flag Be Taken Down. Right… and exactly when, in history, did Gay people enslave non-gays, buying a selling them, ripping them from their families, and then declaring a war the resulted in the deaths of 300,000 americans to try to keep their right to enslave?

Though the Wonkette’s headline is even better: Oppressed Wingnuts: Please Stop Lynching Us With Gay Rainbow Flag!

Atlanta Gay Man Bashed With Bat While Helping Change a Flat Tire.

Transgender Teen Killed In Mississippi.

Jon Stewart doesn’t give a damn anymore: Why the “Daily Show” host has never been more watchable.

Why Christians Aren’t Being Oppressed By Gay Marriage.

Science!

Kennewick Man Was Native American; DNA Analysis Confirms What Tribes Said All Along.

DARPA: We Are Engineering the Organisms That Will Terraform Mars.

70-Year-Old Tree Cut Down in NYC Will be Cloned and Planted Again.

Spooky Physics Phenomenon May Link Universe’s Wormholes.

Ancient Human With 10 Percent Neanderthal Genes Found.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

Interview: David Gerrold.

An open letter to the WSFS about unintended consequences.

This Week in Love vs Racism

Combating My Racism.

Because I Would Otherwise Scream.

This Week in Racism

The Confederate Flag Doesn’t Commemorate the South’s ‘Lost Cause’—It’s the Symbol of a Cause Won.

Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party.

How long will we let conservatives write off Republican racism as a coincidence?

Why I Can’t Forgive Dylann Roof.

How White Christians Used The Bible — And Confederate Flag — To Oppress Black People.

Republicans have firm rules for fighting terrorism—unless it’s committed by domestic racists.

Michael Moore Nails Every Racist, War-Mongering, Pseudo-Christian, RW Gun Extremist – In One Tweet.

The Key Thing Conservatives Don’t Get About Obama’s Use Of ‘N*****’.

Just Putting These Here So They Can Be Part of the Permanent Record.

Fox News Race Experts So Mad Obama Allowed To Use N-Word And They Aren’t.

Burning the Flag: This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It may cost me readers, and it may cost me friends.

This Week in Sexism

John Oliver shows how trolls have turned the internet into a nightmare for women.

News for queers and our allies:

emmapayn7_2015-Jun-26The New Law That Would Outlaw LGBT Discrimination Everywhere.

My Whole Life I’ve Been Asked If I’m a Girl or a Boy.

What same-sex marriage reform could mean for the LGBT youths of America.

Op-ed: I’m Gay, Not Trans, and That’s OK.

These Black Trans Couples’ Stories Tug At Our Heartstrings.

An Island With Only 48 Residents And No Gay Couples Just Legalized Same-Sex Marriage.

Reclaiming the spirit of Pride.

Allah Made Me Muslim; Allah Made Me Queer.

On choosing pronouns and embracing ‘queer’.

Everyone is sharing this special engagement notice from today’s Irish Times.

How ‘Twin Peaks’ helped one queer teen find himself.

I was a family man in my 50s when I finally came out of the closet.

What The Hell Do Butch And Femme Even Mean Anymore?

‘Cisgender’ Added to Oxford English Dictionary.

The obligatory Sad Puppies/Hugo Awards update:

BREAKFAST OF BULLSHIT: FUTUREPHOBIA, THE HUGOS AND THE INVENTION OF SF’S PAST.

Silence is Support.

Farewells:

The two-time Oscar winner, 61, worked on three James Cameron films, two ‘Star Trek’ movies and classics like ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘Field of Dreams’ and ‘Apollo 13.’.

Patrick Macnee, Star of ‘The Avengers,’ Dies at 93.

Things I wrote:

Who raised the kid?.

“I can’t be a bigot, because…”.

Oppressed oppressors, part 3.

What’s there to be proud about?

Savage Heroics and Barbaric Eroticism – more of why I love sf/f.

Videos!

Magic Mike XXL – Matt Bomer sings ‘Heaven’:

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Leonard Nimoy reads Isaac Asimov’s ‘The Last Question’:

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Asimov said of all the stories he wrote, this was his favorite. And he said the story had “the strangest effect on my readers. Frequently someone writes to ask me if I can give them the name of a story, which they ‘think’ I may have written, and tell them where to find it. They don’t remember the title but when they describe the story it is invariably ‘The Last Question.’”

He said people wrote and asked him so often, and the story they were trying to remember was always this one. So one time when he got a phone call that was clearly an international call on a bad connection (which we had to put up with back in those days), he could barely understand the person, but he thought he caught the phrase, “don’t remember the title.” So Isaac said, “I yelled into the phone, ‘the name of the story you can’t remember is The Last Question!'” Then he repeated it, in case the person couldn’t understand. The line was just static for a moment, he heard, “thank you” and the person hung up. “So now he probably thinks I’m psychic.”

The Golden Girls on Marriage Equality:

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What’s the Definition of “Traditional Marriage”?:

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Show Me Your Pride – By Miss Coco Peru – OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO:

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Benny – Little Game (Official Video):

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Conchita Wurst – You Are Unstoppable:

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Tove Lo – Timebomb:

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What’s there to be proud about?

15-Reasons-Your-Hetero-Family-Should-Celebrate-Gay-Pride-Day-MainPhotoI hear or read it at least once each year as Pride weekend approaches (or shortly afterward when people post pictures of their local Pride parade): what’s there to be proud of? Usually followed up with comments to the effect that if we are born this way, then there isn’t anything we’ve done to be gay, so why be proud? Why can’t we just be ourselves and go about our day?

The answer is quite simple: because every moment of our lives—from before we were old enough to understand—society at large (including very nearly every single person who raised us, took care of us, taught us, lived beside us, et cetera) has told us again and again that “just being ourselves” is shameful. We have been told that our very beings were wrong. Our selves are a sickness to be cured, or a sin to be despised, or a shameful secret to be hidden. We’ve been bullied, harassed, tormented, shunned, and beaten because of who we are. We have been told (and often shown violently) that our lives don’t matter. We’ve been told we can’t love. We’ve been told that those of us who do fine love deserve what happens to us when the bashers and haters decide to make an example of us.

In a world that insidiously and relentlessly drums that message into us—driving many to attempt suicide as children (and sadly for many to succeed), browbeating us into hating ourselves—just openly being our selves is no small feat.

Merely surviving all of that and managing to piece together lives of authenticity is a monumental victory over incredible odds.

That’s what we have to be proud of.

I used to react to this question by just thinking that the person was clueless. And certainly cluelessness is a factor. But I’ve also realized that it’s just another manifestation of that most basic form of homophobia. “Can’t you just be who you are and not make a big deal about it” is exactly the same as “why do you have to shove it in our faces all the time” which is the equivalent of “go back into hiding where you belong.”

The saddest part of this is that those people don’t think they are being homophobic at all. And they never think about that fact that straight people “shove their sexuality” in everyone else’s face all the time. Have pictures of your spouse, significant other, or children on your desk, wall, or phone’s home screen? Mention your wife or husband in casual conversation? Comment on how hot a particular actor or actress is? Routinely ask about family discounts? Expect that, of course, your spouse will be included in the company health insurance plan? Invite us to your wedding or your kid’s straight wedding? Show us pictures of yours or your kid’s straight wedding? Ever use the phrase “no homo”?

afebdda4c5adc22b4bf3e38957bd3420Since we get accused of shoving our sexuality in your face if we merely casually mention the existence of our significant other, we get to count all of those things as you shoving your sexuality in our faces. Straight pride happens 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, yet you begrudge queer people (trans, lesbian, bisexual, gay, genderqueer, polyamorous, asexual, pansexual, gender fluid, intersexed, gender neutral, and those who love and support us) a parade once a year?

Why am I proud?

I’m proud because they tried to drown us in lies, and we’ve risen above to reveal our truth. I’m proud because they have beaten and tortured us in the name of faith, and we’ve found the strength to show the world our love. I’m proud because they tried to smother us with fear, but we found hope in the most unlikely of places. I’m proud because we have endured hate, which has taught us how to love better. I’m proud because we have fled the shadows, and showed the world our light. I’m proud because no matter how many times we’ve been knocked down, we have gotten back up.

tumblr_inline_n4ebmwjywH1rrknidI’m proud because we’re all still here, we’re unstoppable, and we’re beautiful!

Show your colors

Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

Most of the color guard are Boy Scouts, plus troop 98, which recently left the boy scouts after the sponsoring church overwhelming voted not to fire the gay scoutmaster and force the BSA to kick the church out (they have since joined Baden-Powell Service Organization).

It’s been more than a few years since Michael and I attended the Pride Parade or the Pride Festival. One friend, seeing the pics I was posting to twitter, commented, “I thought you didn’t like going to the parade any more!” And I had to explain that it wasn’t a matter of liking, but more a matter of trying to get both of us up and moving early enough on a Sunday to get there.

I like the parade.

Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

It’s not zillions of blocks long, but we have a big rainbow flag!

I like it so much, that one time I attended three in one year. San Francisco and Seattle weren’t on the same weekend that year (they’re usually both on the last Sunday in June), and the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Chorus (of which I was a member) sang a joint concert with the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Chorus for Pride weekend. So Ray (my late husband) and I flew down to San Francisco, went to a lot of pride events, I sang in the concert, and we watched the gigantic parade. Then, back in Seattle, we marched with the chorus in Seattle’s not quite so big parade. Then, about a month later, we spent a long weekend in Vancouver, B.C., where we watched and cheered a much, much smaller (but extremely enthusiastic) Pride Parade.

copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

The only picture I got of us together at the parade. I know, nostril shot. Sorry.

When I started dating Michael (a few years later, after Ray died), he was a bartender at a lesbian bar down in Tacoma. Tacoma didn’t usually have a parade, though they had a pride festival a week or two after Seattle’s. For several years he had had to work on the day of Seattle’s Pride Parade (he said it was always a weird night, because half the usual crowd was up in Seattle at our parade and parties). After he stopped working at the bar in Tacoma (by which point we were living together), he got a job at a non-gay bar in Seattle. Working late Saturday night and having to work again Sunday made attending the parade less than fun for him, though he did let me drag up off to it a couple of times.

Then we hit this long period of either having too many other things going on, or one or the other of us being sick, or just not quite up to getting up and moving in time. So we missed a bunch.

Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

They make George Takei, one of the original cast members of Star Trek grandmaster? Of course I have to be there!

Watching most of the parade today (we only watched for three hours… there was still a bunch of parade to go, but we wanted to get to the festival in time to see George Takei on the main stage), the thing that struck me is that the parade has become even more ordinary. I’ve described my first pride parade before, noting that while there were outrageous costumes, more than a few near-naked people (though actually less than most non-gay parades I’ve attended), and so forth, the majority of people marching and riding floats looked pretty ordinary: people or all ages, shapes, and sizes in t-shirts and shorts or jeans. That’s decidedly more true now than it was when we last attended more than eight years ago.

This was only part of the Alaska group, they had another vehicles and a crowd of employees on foot.

This was only part of the Alaska group, they had another vehicles and a crowd of employees on foot.

I believe that is less about gays assimilating into mundane society (as some have suggested), as it is about corporations assimilating to the idea that inclusivity is good business. The first parade I attended had a few contingents of employees of some of the large employers in the area, but only a few. This year I saw groups of employees from several major banks, mobile phone companies, grocery stores, airlines, cruise lines, wineries, insurance agencies, restaurants, et cetera, et cetera. About half of the contingents, I would say, were groups of employees. And the standard ensemble for those groups is a t-shirt identifying their employer with pants or shorts.

Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

Market Optical’s float said, “Look with your eyes, not your hands” and then had go-go boys with multi-colored handprints all over their bodies.

There were still plenty of the non-profits and recreational groups, and those were where you most often saw the more outrageous costumes (though the Market Optical float was the one with the most scantily-clad go-go boys). There were scantily-clad people, including a large group of people on bicycles and roller skates wearing nothing but body paint. Most of the naked bikers were painted to look like characters from Star Trek. It didn’t occur to me while we were watching the parade that they had probably decided to do that because George Takei was the grand marshall.
Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

In the past it was the bars and dance clubs that would put a cage dancer in the float, not an optician!

I should mention the unpleasantness. Back when the Parade was on Cap Hill (aka, the Gayborhood) every parade I marched in had some “Repent sinners!” protestors. Except most years it was one grim-faced bearded guy holding up a sign at one corner, saying nothing. A couple times he had a small group, but that was it. Apparently now that we’re in downtown Seattle we now get an entire mini-parade of haters. According to the people standing next to us, last year or the year before there were some very angry confrontations. Now a couple of bicycle cops follow along. The haters walk the route before the parade officially starts. It looked like a lot of them, with a lot of signs and one guy with a bullhorn.

Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

The parade committee invited a lot of people who participated in the first Seattle Pride, including a country band called Lavender Country.

I say it looked like, because once I realized who they were, I simply turned my back on them, and refused to look at all. Michael did the same, except he glanced over when a lot of cheering broke out: two womyn ran out into the street and kissed in front of the bullhorn guy. Apparently it happened a lot along the route.

Now I feel a need to digress a moment, here. While I am a fierce advocate of free speech even for people I disagree with, here’s the thing: the Supreme Court has ruled that we have the right to exclude the ex-gay groups and the pedophile groups from marching in our parade, and the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade has the right to exclude gay people from their parade. So, why is it, when the streets have been blocked off because we have a permit for a parade (and we are paying the city for the police to route traffic, and so forth) that we can’t exclude these people from the route that we’ve paid for for the duration? Instead of escorting them so angry faggots won’t attack them, shouldn’t the police arrest them?

Two guys were walking along with one of the groups and had their Dalmatians with them--with rainbow spots!

Two guys were walking along with one of the groups and had their Dalmatians with them–with rainbow spots!

I know all the reasons why we shouldn’t push for that: we should show more tolerance than they do, they’ll milk it for fundraising and propaganda purposes how they’re being oppressed, and so on. But you know darn well if we showed up at their church on a Sunday morning and starting reading a “How To Come Out To Your Parents” pamphlet over a bullhorn, they would call the cops.

That’s enough about the bad stuff.

Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

I did manage to get one non-blurry picture of gay Batman, even if it is a silhouette.

There’s so much more I could share. I kept trying to get a non-blurry picture of the guy skating as gay Batman. He was with two others, one was the joker, and the other had some Superman emblems mixed with other things. As far as I can tell the three were just skating up and down the full length of the parade, so they passed us several times. Then Batman crashed into a woman standing next to us. No one was hurt. It got a little funny, because she kept asking him if he was all right, and he said not to worry about him but was she all right? And that went back and forth several times.

Copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

Rainbow tie-dye overalls over rainbow tie-dye shirt!

There was a very shy little kid who wanted candy, but would hide whenever anyone who was passing things out tried to give them to him. There were fun floats. There were several bands and drum and pipe corps, including the Police Department’s drum and pipe corps. There were several groups with pets. Lots of youth groups. Lots of trans* groups. There was a troop of librarians doing synchronized maneuvers with book carts. There were kids, lots of kids. And of course lots and lots of rainbows.

It was a great parade. And I’m so glad that we’re marching through downtown now, and filling the Seattle Center with hundreds of thousands of people, instead of cramming smaller crowds into the gay ghetto. I do want to support the businesses up there that have always been ready to answer the call of all the queer non-profits over the years. And since we have three parades now, we can! I think next year we need to make an effort to attend the Dyke March on Saturday and/or the Trans March on Friday.

Because it’s been a long, long time since I did three parades in a single year…

Friday Links, Pride 2014 Edition!

http://www.nyacyouth.org/what-oreos-gay-friendly-facebook-post-about-pride-really-means-for-todays-gay-youthIt’s Friday! The last Friday in June! Tomorrow is the 45th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, generally accepted as the start of the modern gay rights movement. That means that tomorrow is the 44th Anniversary of the first ever Gay Pride March! Happy Pride!

In case you have managed to get to this blog without knowing this, I’m a gay man, married to a gay man, so this is basically our High Holy Days. Pardon us if we take to heart the words of Miss Coco Peru: “…live a life that’s out, proud, and just a little bit ridiculous.” So be warned, this week’s links are even more rainbow-colored than usual.

Here’s a collection of news and other things that struck me as worthy of being shared:

12 Kick-Ass Gay Women In Comics And Graphic Novels.

The Moment A Gay Couple Dared To Kiss In The Face Of Hate .

Dr. McMurtrie and the Gay Kiss. How a doctor studying sexuality in 1914 described and defined the relationships.

Op-ed: My First Grand Marshal Experience and the Meaning of LGBT Pride. Being Key West’s grand marshal gave Rob Smith a new perspective on small-town America.

Photographs Document Hidden LGBT Relationships From The Early 20th Century.

Tenth Circuit Court Rips Apart Right-Wing’s Bogus ‘Religious Freedom’ Argument Against Gay Marriage.

Transgender People: Strangers in Gay Land.

LOUISIANA: Judge Surprises By Deciding To Consider Full Marriage Equality As Well As Out-Of-State Recognition.

WATCH INDIANA’S FIRST GAY MARRIAGE: VIDEO. Note: the website has the video set to auto-play

Gay Pride in the 1950s: The Photo Booth as a Safe Space.

Kidnapped for Christ: New film exposes the horrors of gay conversion therapy.

Internalized Homophobia: The Next LGBT Fight After Same-Sex Marriage.

Gay marriage battle hinged on a great love story. Edie and Thea…

A Photographic Look at the Birth of Gay Pride.

Fabulous Photos From One of America’s Longest-Running Gay Prom.

PHOTOS: Meet the First Trans Man Crowned ‘Mr. Gay Philadelphia’.

The Mormon Church Just Excommunicated Another Feminist.

Last Month Was The Hottest May In Recorded History.

GOP House Candidate: Islam Not A Religion, Not Protected By Constitution.

Black Parents, Gay Sons, and Redefining Masculinity.

College student at LGBT rally: It’s OK to be gay in Huntsville, not rest of state.

Making Comics More And More Gay – The Hernandez Brothers, Kate Leth, And Terry Moore Talk LGBT Characters At Heroes Con 2014.

FRC is an extremely deceitful org: Example #1,234,234,921.

Social Security agency shows why Supreme Court must act on gay marriage.

Almost No Night in the Northwest.

Why Believing In Astrology Is Not As Harmless As You Think.

Black hole made peek-a-boo galaxy go mysteriously dark.

6 Amazing Cephalopod Species You Didn’t Know Existed.

Show Me Your Pride – By Miss Coco Peru:

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International Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer is awesome:

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Boyinaband -You look like a girl:

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Ferras – Speak In Tongues:

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Eli Lieb – Safe In My Hands:

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