Tag Archives: lesbian

I’m Not Walking 6 Miles!

If you read the On the Gay Horizon newsletter, you know that my co-publisher announced in this week’s issue that we would be doing the AIDS Walk New York again this year. Didn’t ask me. Just proceeded to include in her fitness piece that I would begin, today, training for the 6.2 mile walk. Being the calm, reasonable person that I am, I believe my response was something like….

Are you nuts?!?!? We’re not going to publish that and publicly commit me to doing that again!” 

“Did you, or did you not, publicly proclaim that you are following the Fit in a Year prescriptions? What better motivator than this year’s AIDS Walk?”

“Well, yes, I may have said that. But I didn’t mean it. I never see these people and I only see you a couple times a year, so who was gonna know? That 6 miles just about killed me last year. I’m not doing it again.”

Sometimes you just have to stand your ground.

I was firm — “Do I have to?”

I was resolute — “Uh, well, I don’t know. What about next year?”

I was strong — “Please don’t make me do it!”

And so we discussed it like mature adults and reached an equitable compromise. New York in May it is! In fact, I only have a couple minutes here. I’m due to go walk around the block about a hundred times. Training, you know.

There is a moral to this story — be discerning when you choose your friends! If puttering around is your idea of about how rigorous you like your physical activity, don’t hang out with a personal trainer. But honestly, how was I supposed to know? I met her at a writer’s conference, not a health nut convention! She may have mentioned something about being fitness-obsessed but I probably wasn’t paying any attention. I just thought she was cute.

How many times has that gotten me into trouble…

Seriously, though, last year’s AIDS Walk in New York City was an incredible experience! We walked with about 50,000 people through Central Park and then along the Hudson River. And we raised a ton of money — over 7 million dollars! Join us and Team On the Gay Horizon as we do it again this year!

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On Becoming a Footnote

It’s such a strange world. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up. In November, we allowed right-wing moralists to push through stripping hard-won civil rights from gays in several states. Our former president tried to convince us that we are attacked because others hate our freedom. Perhaps he didn’t mean the freedom to marry or to adopt. And Iceland now has a lesbian as Prime Minister.

And you know what is so remarkable about a lesbian holding the top job in Iceland? Apparently, nothing. At least not to Icelanders.  Prior to becoming PM, Johanna Sigurdardottir was the Social Affairs minister and had a 73% approval rating. Her civil union to partner, Jonina Leosdottir, in 2002, was widely known and basically, nobody cared.

Klaus Wowereit, during his campaign to become mayor of Berlin, was cheered when he made the statement “Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so.” (“I am queer, and that’s how it should be”).  Paris has a gay mayor and so does Hamburg. There are openly gay members of parliament in France and the United Kingdom. 72% of voters in Spain support equal rights for gays.

So what is it about the “land of the free”? I have my suspicions but its late and that kind of rant could keep me up all night. Besides, I’d like to get some feedback here. Why do you think we claim freedom as our motto, something we sacrifice our sons and daughters to defend, and yet stingily dole out with so many restrictions?

Silvia Jaen, secretary-general of the Spanish Federation of Gays, Lesbians, Transsexuals and Bisexuals, was quoted as saying about being “out” in most of Europe,  “There was a time when you would have received a lot of extra press coverage for being gay – these days it’s a footnote.”

So, now we know what we’ve been working for all these years — to have that little quirk of difference become nothing more than a footnote.

Hmmm…..I’m not sure how I feel about that…..

The World Was Watching

Once a month, I have dinner with four friends — four bright, funny lesbians. There’s lots of laughter and an incredible amount of irreverence, and I look forward to it every month. Tonight, as it was mentioned that Obama signed legislation today to close Guantanamo and put an end to interrogation techniques that involve torture, someone made the statement, “Can you believe we are even having this conversation?”

Think about that for a moment. An American president officially ending America’s official, supposedly lawful, policy of torture.

During Tuesday’s inauguration, I watched as the cameras panned the millions of people on the Washington Mall. I saw tears in so many eyes and was amazed at the depth of emotion that I felt. I realized that this outpouring was not just for the man being sworn in on the platform — it was for the country that elected him.

And, all of a sudden, I understood a movie I recently saw, Valkyrie.

I’d enjoyed it and I learned a lot. I had no idea they came so close to assassinating Hitler and replacing his government. But I wondered about the central figure of the movement, Colonel Klaus von Stauffenberg (played by Tom Cruise). He was considered a war hero after being severely wounded in Africa. He had a wife and several small children. Yet, even with so much to lose, he was willing to risk it all. High ranking officers in Hitler’s inner circle, like von Stauffenberg, knew that Germany was within months of defeat, but still they made this final assassination attempt. And the reason they did this was to show the world that all Germans were not like Hitler.

That’s what I felt on Tuesday as I knew the world was watching.

No, I’m not comparing George Bush to Adolph Hitler — I actually think Bush is probably a decent guy. But the idea that the end justifies the means sets a course down a very slippery slope. It may be a way to win a battle or even a war, but at what cost?

We still have a long way to go to be everything that was envisioned by our founding fathers, but we are better than what’s been presented over the last eight years.

It feels good to be back!

JFK to Rick Warren

I have few memories of JFK before those surrounding his death. The doings of presidents meant little to a twelve year old back in 1963. But I remember exactly where I was the moment I heard that he had been shot. And I bet that most of you do, too. That’s a connection we will always share.

From then on he became “our president”. Who knows if he would have had a successful administration. Maybe — maybe not. What we do know is that he became a symbol for a new generation. And that symbol was immortalized in the words “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

When did we turn our backs on that sentiment? When did we decide that we have to go on the offensive every time something doesn’t go our way? When did it become about me instead of about us? Or am I being naive and its always been that way?

I know that Rick Warren was a poor choice for the inaugeration. But let’s face it, Barrack Obama has repeatedly said that it is his belief that we can disagree about certain issues but still find some common ground to work together. We are not going to like all of his choices — and neither is anyone else. Wouldn’t it be better to give him a chance to at least get sworn in before we judge what kind of a president he is?

Besides, if you think about it for a minute, which religious leader could have been chosen for the invocation that would have met with eveyone’s approval? Ah…maybe that should be the focus of some of this dispute.  There shouldn’t be an invocation during the inaugeration. No matter who does it — no matter what they say — a large number of American citizens will be offended and feel as if their beliefs are not being honored. That’s the whole point of separation of church and state.

I think we’re a little scared. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that it was our turn to take our equal place in society. We got bruised pretty badly in November. Now, we’re wondering if Obama said all the things we wanted to hear so that we would help get him elected.

Personally…..I’m still hopeful. I’m still excited about the inaugeration. If Rick Warren starts spouting religious hogwash, there’s always the volume control button on my remote.

This is going to be my president — I’ve waited a long eight years for him to get here.

Cats, vegetables and yellow Volkswagons

This morning I woke up to my elderly cat screaming at me to get up and dish out the cat food for her and the two other less vocal ones. Uh oh! I was supposed to buy cat food yesterday. What to do? I rummaged through the pantry and found a can of dog food. Since it was from Halo, the company that Ellen DeGeneres is promoting, I figured it couldn’t be all that bad.

They seemed to love it, so I left them to it and puttered off to do something else. When I returned, they had each cleaned their plates — of everything but the vegetables. How interesting. It would have been much easier to have eaten it all, but they were obviously interested in only what they liked.

Reminded me of yellow Volkswagons. You know, how you never see them until, for some reason, they are brought to your attention, and then you see them everywhere? Not only that, but pretty soon, they are all you see?

And that reminded me of the Biden/Palin debate. Or, rather the aftermath. It was so clear to everyone who had won. To the Democrats, it was clear that Joe Biden had won. And to the Republicans, it was obvious that Sarah Palin had won. Everyone heard exactly what they wanted to hear and turned a deaf ear to the rest.

Have we always done that? If not, when did we stop listening to each other? When did “we” start watching CNN and “they” tune in only Fox? How did pundit become a career? 

If we only listen to those we expect to parrot our own thoughts and beliefs, what is the point of any dialogue?

We may as well just talk to ourselves.

Some Questions Deserve Answers

I just finished watching the Vice Presidential debate and I’m trying to remember if I ever watched one before. If I did, it certainly wasn’t memorable. Tonight’s, however, was everything an important debate of its kind should be. The differences between the two camps were laid out, clearly, passionately and with supporting facts and figures.

The only problem is that all of that came from Joe Biden.

Did Sarah Palin ever answer a question? I know she made the statement that her maverick status meant that she didn’t have to, but I can’t remember if she maybe slipped up and actually responded to the question put to her.

You have to give her credit, though. Considering how far out of her league she is, she showed a lot of courage just showing up. She appeared confident and had obviously been doing her homework. Showing her skills as a politician, she managed to sidestep answering the tough questions — like how unsupportive this Republican platform is to gay rights. But, if I didn’t already know that, I wouldn’t have learned it by listening to her tonight. In fact, there were moments when she seemed to actually appreciate diversity.

And therein lies my main issue with not just Palin, but all Republican politicians (and a fair amount of Democrats). Pandering to their base. None of them — McCain, Palin, Bush, Cheney — are really all that opposed to our having equal rights. Palin claims that one of her best friends is a lesbian. Dick Cheney is very supportive of his gay daughter. Its just a tactic for them. Something to stir up the conservative base. An issue that mobilizes the religious right and gets them to the polls in droves.

It’s a tactic. All’s fair in love, war and politics, right?

Well, no, it’s not right. Because, for us, it doesn’t end when the election is over. It lives on through the energizing of movements to pass legislation to deny our basic civil rights. It lives on through the empowering of lunatics like Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist followers as they picket military funerals, chanting that God has taken these lives because the United States condones homosexuality.  It lives on in the implied license to follow God’s will and society’s bidding by killing innocents like Matthew Shephard and 15-year-old Lawrence King. By removing threats like Harvey Milk. To vilifying and threatening until even those like Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson are forced to wear a bulletproof vest at public events.

No, all is not fair. And I, for one, am pretty tired of it. Sarah Palin is totally unqualified to be in this election. She was chosen simply to ignite the conservative base. 

I started this by talking about questions. Let me sign off with one for you. How do we put an end to being used as pawns and scapegoats?

We vote.