Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Archived blogs

Hi friends,

Now that I've moved my blog to a real blog site, I've compiled some archive posts below. Enjoy!


How will we know (if they really loves us)?
21 July 2013

There’s been a lot of talk floating around the interwebs (those crazy interwebs!) these days about LGBT representation in television and film. Well, to be fair, there’s always been talk – or perhaps more accurately criticism – about LGBT representation on screen. But notably, on the heels of GLAAD proclaiming last October that the 2012-2013 television season would be the best year in television for LGBT characters (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/glaads-where-we-are-on-tv-report-gay-characters_n_1942313.html), AfterEllen has asked, “When is okay to kill lesbian/bi characters?” (http://www.afterellen.com/when-is-it-ok-to-kill-lesbian-and-bisexual-character/07/2013/) and issued an “RIP lesbians on TV in 2013” (http://www.afterellen.com/rip-lesbians-on-tv-in-2013/05/2013/).

All this leads me to ask, how will we know when we’ve arrived? At what point will we stop fretting over every cancelled show, every lesbian character who gets the axe, every rating and opinion piece? Are we striving for a specific percentage of representation across all characters on television and in movies? Are we hoping for a particular quality of representation, which allows LGBT characters to be good and bad, heroes and villains, lovers and best friends – in short, people? Are we concerned that for every LGBT woman on screen, there are two LGBT men? Should we be?

If we achieve a certain level of political protection and equality, and societal acceptance, will we stop worrying about how, and how often, we appear on screen?

Maybe not -- maybe these questions will never go away. Maybe, as a perpetual minority in society, we will constantly be preoccupied with our level and quality of representation in the media. If that’s the case, we would be in good company, sharing these concerns with racial minorities, and even to some extent women.

But if achieving a satisfying level of representation for LGBT characters is like Sisyphus and that damn rock, how do we find it in us to keep fighting, keep pushing that weight up the hill? We must have some hope that some day we will achieve what we’re fighting for – that there exists a finish line and we have a chance of crossing it.

These strike me as weighty questions, and I don’t have easy answers to them. Personally, what keeps me inspired are the truly excellent portrayals that we do have of LGBT characters on screen. I’m sure we each have our favorites, whether it be old school (Priscilla or Hedwig), fantasy (Bo and Lauren, Willow and Tara, Renly and Loras), hilarious (Mitchell and Cameron, Will and Jack), felonious (Piper and Alex), subtextual ([too many to list]), or medical (Callie and Arizona, and did I mention Lauren and Bo?).

So, we keep fighting, each in our own way. We write. We perform. We read and watch and tweet and comment.

And maybe someday we will have arrived.

Til then, fight the good fight, brothers and sisters.


. . . waiting . . .
17 June 2013
Today on the HRC's Facebook page, they posted a picture of Ted Olson and Chad Griffin in a car headed to the Supreme Court. Olson is the attorney who presented oral arguments in the Prop 8 case and Griffin is the president of HRC. The photo got me thinking about the four plaintiffs in the case.
Anyone with an interest in marriage equality is waiting for the decisions to come down, but I can't imagine what Kris and Sandy, and Paul and Jeff are experiencing right now. And Edie Windsor, too -- she's the named plaintiff for the DOMA case. I wonder if they are all making daily trips to the Supreme Court so that they are present when the SCOTUS announces the decisions. And I admire their courage for becoming the public face of the fight for marriage equality. 

We all know it takes courage to fight for what you believe in, to fight for love and equality and the freedom to make your own choices. But it takes a special kind of courage to not only put your name on a court case, but also give a host of interviews and tour the country making appearances. I don't know them, but I'd like to publicly thank Edie, Kris, Sandy, Jeff, and Paul. 

In other news, if you're interested in learning more about the original prop 8 trial but don't want to read the entire trial transcripts, I recommend checking out Dustin Lance Black's 8, a documentary play taken from the trial in San Francisco that started it all. Productions of 8 are happening all over the country, and you can watch the star-studded LA cast performance of 8 on the play's website: http://broadwayimpact.com/8-theplay/. Dramaturgically, the play has some problems, but as a way to bring the trial to the public eye, it's pretty fantastic.
More soon!

Which Supreme Court Justice are you?
22 May 2013

Ever wondered? Well, wonder no longer, my friends. Take the quiz and find out: http://abovethelaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/SCOTUS-justice-personality-quiz.png

Unsurprisingly, I got Sonia Sotomayor. Although I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d ended the flow chart on Elena Kagan either. Obviously, their main difference involves their attitudes toward scarves.

I post this quiz in anticipation of Barring Complications, and also the SCOTUS decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA – both of which will be coming your way in June!

Obviously, I’m not the most frequent blogger, for which I apologize. But I have been laboring away at Barring Complications, and I’m shooting to post it mid-June.

In the meantime, go steal some Oreos from the cookie jar. And offer no one an explanation. They’re your cookies. Possession is 9/10ths of the law. J


19 March 2013
Today, March 19, 2013, marks 10 years since the US began military operations in Iraq. I mention this for two reasons. First, milestones like this deserve attention and reflection. And second, Rachel Maddow's book "Drift" has just come out in paperback, and my wife and I recently saw her speak about it (and many other topics).

 Maddow speaking about a book she wrote outlining the chasm between military and civilian families in America strikes me as significant on many levels. The book is a well-researched, well-argued articulation of the problems of modern warfare, and while many may find Maddow too partisan to be universally palatable, when it comes to the military she offers important, bi-partisan arguments. The fact that an out lesbian who hosts an incredibly popular cable news program chose to write about, and has earned national attention for, an issue other than gay rights seems both groundbreaking and inspiring. Lesbians in the public eye, Maddow demonstrates, are now able to talk with authority about something other than their sexuality. The next frontier in the gay rights movement is not gay visibility, which Ellen, Neil Patrick Harris, and countless others have fought for. It's the acceptance of complex identities for gay people. Famous women can be lesbians and war scholars. As with race, it's not about being sexuality-blind, but about appreciating sexuality AND other characteristics, other interests.
Maddow was incisive, self-deprecating, and endearingly awkward during her talk. She fielded tough questions about whether her show and shows like hers contribute to the partisan gridlock griping the US. She made us laugh with anecdotes about the protests she participated in during her time as a Stanford undergrad. And she came across as charmingly human -- not just gay.

In other news, some of you have been asking, and I am working away at "Barring Complications." My goal is to complete the story before the Supreme Court issues a decision on the two gay marriage cases they will hear this month (the decision will probably come down in June). Wish me luck!
 A Different Kind of Church

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we all worship something. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, the porcelain god, the woman we love. This past weekend, my wife and I were traveling and we got to worship at Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, the most fabulous bar in Atlanta. Decked out with hilarious and profound Jesus art, equipped with ping pong and comfy couches upstairs, and fully stocked with tasty beverages, Sister Louisa’s is a must-see if you ever find yourself in Georgia. The owner is a fantastic gay man we had the good fortune to meet when we visited the bar, and his story (or, rather, the story behind his alter ego Sister Louisa) is on the bar’s website: http://www.sisterlouisaschurch.com/.

The art on the walls contains images of Jesus and Mary with sayings added by Sister Louisa. One of my favorites was a portrait of Jesus over which was written “fuck fear.” It struck me not as sacrilegious, but as an important rethinking of religious dogma – a lot of Catholicism is founded on fear, and Sister Louisa’s edict against being afraid is liberating. There’s a sad clown on which the good Sister has written “God has a strange sense of humor,” and a blank page with a reminder that “God loves bigots.” The totality of the writing on the walls of the bar paints an unusual yet coherent picture of a man raised in the church struggling to reconcile his faith with his sexuality. Those of us who similarly grew up with a religion that condemns gays feel a kinship with this bar – as though we’ve found a church happy to take us in and serve us wine.


Sister Louisa’s Church was the perfect way to end 2012. I hope you all likewise closed out last year in style, and I wish you all a wondrous 2013. XO!

Girl Crushes

I’m not gonna lie – I dig Kelly Clarkson. While my wife was getting ready for work this morning, she YouTubed Kelly’s audition for American Idol, and that girl is adorable and talented. So is Kelly (you’re welcome, Honey). When Kelly first hit the scene, I might have had a little crush on her.
The whole thing got me thinking about crushes, and how they help young women figure out their sexuality. I was in high school the first time I saw Grease, and when Stockard Channing sang “There are Worse Things I Could Do,” I imagined she was singing about kissing girls. She had this tough little swagger and this attitude and it didn’t strike me as a huge leap that she might be just a little gay. Obviously, I was projecting, and I knew it, but it was a fun game to play.

And then I saw The Graduate and about died over Anne Bancroft. She was so sophisticated and drop-dead gorgeous and I sympathized with Dustin Hoffman – I would have been powerless to resist her, too. I mean, look at her. Plus, especially in this picture, she has this slight aura of melancholy that is so attractive.


Both of these characters – and the women playing them – were before my time. It’s interesting to me that the generation of lesbians just now coming of age (at least the ones I know) are drawn to characters from Xena and The L Word—women and characters similarly before their time. I guess it adds another layer of removal and safety, and that’s, after all, what we need when we’re working it all out – the safety to work out different scenarios in our head without the pressure of them actually coming true.

I think this also explains why guys who are figuring out they’re gay always get crushes on me. I’m married and a lesbian and totally safe. And my wife says I'm cute. 


p.s. Great write-up about the gay marriage cases coming before the Supreme Court next session, for anyone interested: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/dec/08/anti-gay-marriage-laws-not-defended/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=December+11+2012&utm_content=December+11+2012+CID_8faa1eb55cb2b0b5aa257ade6bbb4dd0&utm_source=Email+marketing+software&utm_term=Laws+Not+Fit+to+be+Defended

I Saw Mommy Kissing Mrs Claus
9 December 2012
I got a new t-shirt today. It might make you jealous. In fact, I bought it because a friend of mine was wearing it and I was jealous. I even bought it in green as an homage to jealousy. And the holiday spirit.
In case you want to know what’s on my envy-inducing t-shirt, here’s an image:

Sexy, huh? My wife asked me where on earth I would wear it and I didn’t have a good answer. Probably not to visit grandma. But that’s hardly the point – I got a new t-shirt!
That’s really all this post is about. XO!

Edie and Thea and DOMA, oh my!
8 December 2012

Yesterday was a big day. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced they were granting cert to three gay marriages cases – the Prop 8 case from California and two DOMA cases.
So come June, laws regarding gay marriage could be very, very different in this country. Or they could be the same.

We just don’t know.

In honor of the announcement, my wife and I watched Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement last night. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking love story and one of us might have cried. Or maybe both.


Near the end of the documentary, shortly after their wedding in Canada, Edie gave a rally speech in New York where she asked: after forty-one years of committed partnership, what could marriage change, really? She answered her own question – everything.

Everything is different when you’re married. The way your family treats you and your partner – even if they’ve always been generally supportive – changes in subtle and meaningful ways when the state recognizes your marriage. There’s something about standing up in front of your friends and family and vowing to make it work with this one person, even when things get hard.

Or in Edie’s case, even if your partner develops MS and becomes wheelchair-bound and it takes you an hour every night to get her ready for bed.

Committing to each other publicly, and having that commitment honored by your government, is both profoundly moving and a huge responsibility, both on your part and your government’s. And that’s the difficultly about marriage, really – it’s both a deeply private and a transparently public action and status. Supporters of marriage equality often question why the haters would even care what two people who love each other do in the privacy of their own home. But we want it both ways – we want people to leave us alone and we want people to recognize us.

They want it both ways, too. They what nothing to do with us and they want to regulate us.
Inconsistencies abound. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so fascinated by the Court’s upcoming decisions. There’s a strong conservative case to be made for gay marriage – for family and monogamy – but I seriously doubt Antonin Scalia would make it. There are arguments on both sides for states’ rights (DOMA protects states’ rights, or DOMA is the federal government infringing on states’ rights), and a Justice could just grab whichever argument suits his or her predisposed attitude toward gay marriage.

Pretty much all we know is that it will be exciting and nerve-wracking and tear-inducing (either way).
So while I wait for oral arguments and the subsequent opinion of the Court, I continue writing Barring Complications, my next novel about the Supreme Court hearing cases about gay marriage.
And I vow to my wife that if some chronic condition left her physically or mentally disabled, there is no place I would rather be than by her side, holding her hand, kissing her, loving her. In sickness and in health.


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