Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"The Truth Tonight..."


November 30, 2010

As of this afternoon, there is absolutely no excuse to delay the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Now it's time to act.

The Department of Defense has released its landmark study, 9 months in the making. It came to the same conclusion as numerous experts' reports and 25 other countries.

They all agree on one simple, inescapable truth: Lesbians and gays should serve openly in the U.S. military.

My fellow troops have spoken. Generals have spoken. Think tanks have spoken. The American people have spoken.

From this point forward, any delay is nothing more than discrimination and partisan politics. It needs to end. The Senate is holding critical hearings this week and won't be in session long – so we must act now.

Tell your senators: No more delays. The military and the American people have spoken. Do the right thing. Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" now.

I was the first American wounded in Iraq. I lost my leg. I almost lost my life. When I returned home, I came out – and spoke out against a policy that forced me to hide who I was.

I've talked to elected officials on both sides of the debate. They all need to hear from us today. The ones with the courage to fight for equal rights still need to hear that voters want them to make it a priority. And the ones who have supported discrimination can still be convinced by the facts highlighted in this new report. I've seen it happen.

The evidence is on our side. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has always been wrong. But now, it's not just me or you saying it – it's the Pentagon’s own study.

We're on the brink of ending injustice – but we all must stand together, right now.

The clock is ticking and the Senate won't be in session too much longer. Raise your voice today.

Let's make this happen – for my brothers and sisters in arms who put themselves on the line to defend us, and for the good of this nation we all love.

In solidarity,

Eric Alva
Retired Marine Staff Sergeant


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U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

*******

"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

"The Imitation of Life..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 502"

"Marriage is the Joy of Love and Happiness..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Imitation of Life..."

"Love and tragedy are often one in the same..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Artist's Corner"

"Tenderness"
Acrylic
Unknown Artist

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 501"

"There Is Joy In Togetherness..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"The Imitation of Life..."

Finding the truth of your heart is the most important discovery of life's journey...

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"In The News Today..."

Jackson Pastor Accused of Forcing Sex
Lawsuit claims young male coerced




Jimmie E. Gates
November 26, 2010

A pastor who founded a Jackson church is accused in a lawsuit of coercing a young adult male church member into a sexual relationship while serving as his spiritual adviser and bishop.

The claims in the lawsuit in Hinds County Circuit are similar to allegations leveled against Atlanta mega-church pastor Bishop Eddie Long by four young men.

The local lawsuit was filed against Kevin Joseph Boyd Sr., senior pastor of The Apostolic Church, 1735 Shady Lane Drive, late last month. Boyd also operates a church in New Orleans.

"Defendant Boyd has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," according to the lawsuit.

Boyd hasn't responded to calls left at the Jackson church and at his New Orleans home for comments about the lawsuit.

Boyd and wife Karla are listed in court papers as having been served with the lawsuit, which represents one side of a legal argument, on Nov. 8. They have 30 days to respond. No attorney is listed yet for Boyd in court documents.

A female answering the telephone at the New Orleans home Monday said she was aware of the lawsuit and then said, "We have no comment."

The plaintiff, now 23 and married, is asking a jury to decide on damages on claims, including breach of fiduciary duties, fraud and negligence.

Though the plaintiff is named in the suit, The Clarion-Ledger does not identify those alleging
sexual abuse.

The male church member sang in the choir and played drums, according to the lawsuit. At Boyd's request, he said he would go to the pastor's office on Sundays after church.

"Defendant Boyd would discuss the holy scripture to justify and support the sexual activity," the lawsuit says.

The plaintiff alleges that the sexual relationship escalated from touching and occurred off church grounds, including at a local motel. Boyd allegedly would travel to Jackson "to engage in sexual relations" with the plaintiff. "He would contact plaintiff and inform him that he would be in town and for him not to let anyone know."

By 2009, the plaintiff said he started to distance himself from Boyd and became engaged to the woman who is now his wife. In June this year, the plaintiff informed a senior pastor of the church of Boyd's alleged sexual abuse, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiff's attorney, Winston Thompson, said his client's interaction with Boyd began at age 12 in New Orleans, where both were living. Both ended up in Jackson after Hurricane Katrina.

The size of Boyd's church was unavailable, but individuals who have visited it say its congregation is not large.

A MySpace page about the church says it officially opened on Nov. 19, 2006 and was founded by "the Presiding Prelate of The Church of the Apostolic Faith International Incorporated and pastor of The Apostolic Church At New Orleans, Kevin J . Boyd Sr."


*******

What I fear we have here if the charges prove to be true is another closeted gay man turned predator. This is the effect of homophobic religious intolerance that forces people into shadows and evil acts to fulfill their natural (and God-given) sexual attractions. Maybe this (along with Eddie Long's alleged transgressions) will be enough to cause the black church to re-examine its positions on same-sex oriented people, but more likely than not, such hypocrisy will only move the black church further away from the truth. Some people are gay, and its normal, natural and the way God created them.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 500"

"We Are Family..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"This Made Me Smile..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 499"

"Husband and Man... Man and Husband"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"The Imitation of Life..."

Hollywood can sometimes get it right... "Love Is Love"

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 498"

"Love Starts the Day Together..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 497"

"Its Love That Makes Our House A Home..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth About Cooking Turkey..."


The Easiest Way to Roast a Turkey…

No, this is not about how to poke fun at me at a party, but rather, this is how to roast the perfect turkey with very little work and absolutely NO basting.

I’ve literally been cooking since I could reach the stove. I took over cooking most of the family meals when I was just 12 years old. So, I’ve cooked a few turkeys in my day and about 15 years ago I discovered this method of roasting a turkey that’s virtually foolproof. It’s also much easier than the roasting pan method where you have to constantly baste the bird.

Ingredients and Supplies:

12-20 Pound Turkey (fresh or frozen-thawed)
Favorite Stuffing (optional)
1 Slice of Bread (any kind)
4 tablespoons Melted Butter
Salt, Ground Pepper, Sage, Thyme
4 Stalks Celery Coarsely Chopped
1 Large Onion Coarsely Chopped

Shallow Baking Pan with Rack
Slightly Larger Shallow Baking Pan or Cookie Sheet
2 Brown Paper Grocery Bags

Brown Paper Bag Turkey Roasting Method

Wash and dry turkey (be sure to remove neck and giblets).
Season the inside cavities of the turkey with salt, ground pepper, sage, and thyme.
Loosely stuff turkey (optional) or put ½ of celery and onion inside breast cavity.
Place one slice of bread inside neck cavity of turkey (prevents skin from burning).
Place turkey on rack in the smaller baking pan, brush skin on all sides with melted butter.
Put celery and onion in the bottom of the pan around turkey.
Rub salt, pepper, sage and thyme over buttered skin.
Place turkey in pan inside of brown paper grocery bag.
Pull second paper bag over first in the opposite direction so that turkey is fully enclosed.
Place bagged turkey on second baking pan.
Roast in oven at 325 – 350 for 20-25 minutes per pound of turkey weight.

THE HARD PART:

Trust this method to give you the moistest, most flavorful turkey you’ve ever roasted.

IMPORTANT: Don’t peak… Do not open the bag until the full roasting time has elapsed. When you do open the bag you’ll find the most beautifully browned, picture perfect turkey you’ve ever imagined. Use the broth in the bottom of the pan for gravy.


********

I wrote this about 3 years ago, but never posted it at the time. I wrote this when I was planning to make a traditional Thanksgiving feast for Stephen Christopher Harris. Although I cooked hundreds of meals for him, his fears and evil ways meant that this meal never happened. But today for the first time since my mother passed away, I'll be roasting a turkey and serving that traditional holiday meal. I can't lie, I know I'll be thinking of him at some point during this day. I hope he is well and perhaps finally knows the truth of his own heart.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"The Truth Tonight..."


Who doesn't love Neil Patrick Harris? He's a great actor, a sincere and genuine person, a devoted partner and now I'm sure, a great dad to twins. He's a great role model for GLBT people and I greatly admire him. Clearly, he knows that, "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"This Is The Face of Hatred..."





I once explored the religious aspects of the Salvation Army, they have a worship center just a few blocks from my home. And just as the maker of this video claims, they do indeed take a discriminatory hard line stance on GLBT people. The pamphlet they sent me describing their believes espoused gay hatred and animus that I didn't even encounter from the Mormons (whose leadership is equally hate-filled, but more adept at packaging it in the guise of "loving the sinner, but hating the sin").

I immediately recognized their unjustified hatred and to quote my beloved mother, I decided many years ago that I wouldn't give them "eye water to cry with..." I strongly encourage everyone to give to other more worthy causes that can do just as much good for people in need without preaching hatred and discrimination.



"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 496"

"Live and Love Fearlessly..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"This Made Me Smile..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"This Made Me Smile..."

Sure its offensive, but you've got to be able to laugh at yourself...

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 495"

"Love, Togetherness and Good Clean Fun..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"This Made Me Smile..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Artist's Corner"

"Boat People"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 494"


"With Love the World is a Beautiful Place..."


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Truth Shared..."

Its time to stop trivializing and fetishizing prison rape... its first and foremost violence and a form of dehumanizing torture of GLBT people and others.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 493"

"First Came Love, Then Marriage, Then Our Family..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"Shore Leave"
Acrylic on canvas
Michael Breyette

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 492"

"Even in the Midst of the Fight, Look to the Future..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Today..."

To quote my friend Mark...
"Suprise, Suprise, Suprise!"
We're all unique individuals defined by more than just our sexuality.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Friday, November 19, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"Bird's Eye View"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 491"

"This Is The Color of Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"This Made Me Smile..."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"Both Sides Now"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 490"

"When Love and Paradise Meet..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth About Love..."



"Fear Eats the Soul"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"In The News Today..."

Canadian Couple Claims Record $50-million Lottery Win




VANCOUVER -- When Claude and Kurt Blanchette-Ebert started planning for their 30th anniversary next month, they considered buying themselves a second-hand car to celebrate.

But after winning $50 million in the Lotto Max jackpot Friday, the couple can get themselves something much grander. A house is on the list, they said, and perhaps a vacation to someplace like Monaco.

“We still don’t believe it,” Claude, 52, said. “It’s surreal.”

The couple was facing tough financial times when Kurt bought a Quick Pick ticket last Thursday from the Mac’s convenience store at Hemlock and Broadway in Vancouver.

When he returned on Saturday to check the numbers at the store’s machine, he was flabbergasted. He rubbed his eyes and looked again: he had matched all seven winning numbers and won $50 million, the biggest lottery jackpot in B.C.’s history.

“The first thing I said was ‘holy sh--,’” Kurt, 63, said as he and Claude accepted their winning cheque from the B.C. Lottery Corp. on Tuesday.

He still didn’t believe it and had the ticket verified by Mac’s clerk Sunil Arora. When he got home, he was “beet red,” said Claude. “I thought he was going to have a stroke.”

The pair stashed the ticket away in a safe place and broke into hysterical laughter.
But it would be days before they claimed their winnings. On Sunday, Kurt returned to the convenience store, sneaking through the slew of reporters, to buy a firelog.

The next day, he quit his job as a pastry chef for a small bakery. When he told his boss, he said, the man “just fell on the ground and rolled around laughing. It was very entertaining.”

Claude also quit his job as a furniture upholsterer.

But what’s next for the newly retired couple remains a mystery. Kurt said while he has often daydreamed about becoming a millionaire, it’s different when you really have the money. As a result, the couple has no immediate plans to spend it.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Claude added. “We’re trying to absorb it and get it to the bank as quickly as possible.”

The pair, who don’t play the lotto regularly, said they hope to buy a house and live off the interest on their winnings.

They say they'll also go on a shopping spree, and perhaps take a holiday since they’ve never had one together. Kurt said he would like to visit someplace like Cote d’Azur on the French Riviera.

Up until now, he said, he has been happy vacationing on the beaches in Vancouver and the mountains in Whistler.

“If you think you might get rich with lottery tickets, think again. It’s luck and good karma,” he said.

The couple met nearly 30 years ago in Edmonton — Claude’s hometown — when Kurt, who hails from Germany, was working as a chef at one of the city’s hotels. They moved to Vancouver in 1986.

Although the Blanchette-Eberts said the money will change things, Kurt noted: “we’re still the same people.”

Neither one of them had told their families about the win before it was announced at the B.C. Lottery Corp. “They’ll find out now,” Claude said..


*********

It seems that its true, sometimes good things do come to those who wait... Cheers Kurt and Claude!



H/T: The Great White North

"It's Not So Funny..."

As sad (and funny) a sight as this is, I can't help but comment that "Something like this would never happen at a gay wedding..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 489"

"When Love Is True No Words Are Required..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"This Made Me Smile..."

All over the world, GLBT people are fighting for their rights. This Australian parody of the famous "Old Spice" ad pokes fun at the realities of intolerance, bigotry and hatred of those who deny us the right to be equal citizens under the law.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 488"

"The Waters of Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Artist's Corner"

"Blue Water, White Shirts"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 487"

"Remember... Love Is Always Worth Fighting For"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"In The News Today..."




Saudi Gay Gets 5-Years In Jail, 500 Lashes

Monday, November 08, 2010


A Saudi gay will be jailed five years and lashed 500 times with the whip for indulging in homosexual activities and publishing obscene photos of himself online, the Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz reported on Monday.

The court in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah sentenced the 27-year-old man after he was convicted of practicing homosexuality and publishing his pictures online and on mobile phones showing him wearing women underwear.

Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most feared law enforcement group in the Gulf Kingdom, had seized the unnamed man red handed in obscene acts, Okaz said.

The man had already been tried and jailed for posing as a security man and was accused of indulging in obnoxious acts inside the prison, it said.

“The court found that this defendant had indulged in obscene acts that contravene Islamic teachings…the judge also decided to fine him SR50,000. ($13,000 U.S.)”

*********

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"Brief Encounter"
Acyrlic on canvas
Steve Walker

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 486"

"Marriage is the Celebration of Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"This Made Me Smile..."

I don't quite know what to make of this unique French animation short. I'm not sure if it's a whimsical send up of Hollywood and American consumer culture or a scathing satirical critique of the cookie cutter corporate culture that has overtaken the world... Maybe it's both. But whatever it is, it made me smile.

"The Artist's Corner"

"The Kiss"
Acrylic on canvas
Steven Clayton Corry

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 485"

"It's Only Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"A Story to Share..."

My friend, Mark and I have some truly honest and frankly amazing and animated discussions about race and its societal impacts in America. As for me, I love to approach the subject from a historical perspective explaining how even today, race relations in the U.S. are impacted by things that have long since been forgotten in our collective memory. Mark says he really enjoys our conversation about this as I provoke him to think of such things from a vantage point that he never realized he could understand.

We were once having a talk about the term "cowboy" and I was explaining it also has origins in racism and he was left dumbfounded by my revelations. When I pointed out that the Old West and the frontier was not "lily white" like in the movies he at first balked at the idea. But after breaking down the term "cowboy" I think he was encouraged to do a little more study about it.

Although Mark hates rap and hip-hop music and culture, and although I'm not keen on it either, I ran across this song again today and it reminded me of our "cowboy" conversation. I first came to like this song when my son was a little fella in middle school and he smuggled the album with this song on it into the house (I had forbidden listening to Rap music). But when I found it in the CD player, I decided to give it a listen. Almost immediately, this was a track that I realized I actually liked and since it tells its story in a remarkably accurate historical context I thought I'd share it here.

Since Mark visits my blog occassionally, this post is for him, my friend and ally, Mark.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"A Thought To Ponder..."

Map of world sites from which this blog has been visited

I am amazed to live in the age when the barriers of time and space that have divided the world's people from one another have fallen away because of technologies like the Internet. On any given day, I've entertained visitors here from as many as 20 countries around the world. There have been 10's of thousands of page views to this blog since I began it in 2009.

Among the thousands who come here to view what I post, I have a number of regular visitors from countries in the Middle East. I'm certain that its perhaps the images of "same gender loving people" living open and happy lives that draws them here.

As much as I feel like a second-class citizen in my own country because I am denied many of the rights (marriage, open service in the military, etc.) that most heterosexual citizens take for granted, I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live in a culturally repressive society in which even daring to express such thoughts as love for someone of your own gender are criminal acts. Because of this I am troubled by a couple of visits to these pages by a Saudi government agency today.

The details of the most recent visit are below:

Date: Nov 12, 2010 12:20:34 PM
Browser: Firefox 3.6
Operating System: WinXP
Screen Resolution: 1280x1024
Location: Riyadh, Ar Riyad, Saudi Arabia
ISP: Communications And Information Technology Commission
IP Address: 86.111.196.3
Visited: theunbearabletruthfeareatsthesoul.blogspot.com/?zx=6dfdb20a99e7d5b6
Referring Link: No referring link

To my many visitor from around the world I'd like to first say thank you for visiting and sharing in my thoughts here. But I also want to remind you to be warned that "Big Brother" is indeed watching. Although it's true that "fear eats the soul" and "a life lived in fear is a life half-lived," living fearlessly comes with a cost and in some places in the world that cost is tremendous. Please be careful my friends.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 484"

"Love and Family..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"Bareback Mountain"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 483"

"Live and Love Fearlessly..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"The Artist's Corner"

"On The Beach"
Acyrlic on canvas
Mats Eriksson

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 482"

"Love Makes a Happy Family..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."


Perhaps this will be a moment of truth and reflection for Andrew Shirvell. I sincerely hope for his sake and ours that it is. But my worst fear is that this confused man will become the new darling of our enemies and a cog in the machinery of anti-gay hatred and animus. I pray for him to know truth.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 481"

"With Love Life Is A Wonderous Adventure..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Today..."

Corvino: Gay Is Not “Unnatural”


By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com
11.05.2010

It’s interesting the things that push us over the edge.

A few weeks ago, I was participating in a marriage debate with Glenn Stanton, a Focus on the Family researcher whom I’ve debated many times in the last half-dozen years.

During the Q&A, an audience member made the bizarre claim that homosexuality did not appear in his (Native American) culture until it was introduced via rape by Europeans. The claim was not just bizarre but offensive, and I expected Glenn to counter it. (I have often come to his defense in the past when people on my side make bizarre and offensive claims.) Instead, Glenn jumped in and started talking about how homosexuality is “unnatural.”

Say what?

It’s not as if I hadn’t heard the “unnatural” claim before. Indeed, it has roots in otherwise respectable philosophers like St. Thomas Aquinas, and finds expression today among notable conservative academics like Robert George of Princeton and John Finnis of Oxford and Notre Dame.

But I had never heard it from Glenn, and when it came in the wake of an audience member’s linking homosexuality to rape, I lost my cool.

During the ride back to the airport that day I expressed my anger and disappointment that Glenn would fail to challenge the audience member’s strange claim. It’s one thing to oppose marriage for gays and lesbians, I told him, and quite another to remain silent while someone claims that homosexuality is the “unnatural” result of sexual abuse.

Particularly in light of the recent string of gay teen suicides, such myths must be forcibly demolished.

A few weeks later we were speaking together in Missouri, and once again Glenn made the claim that homosexuality is “unnatural.” I asked him again to clarify, and he seemed unable to say more than that “marriage between men and women is a human universal”—something he says in every one of our debates—and that no society in history has accepted homosexuality without effort (a debatable point of dubious significance).

None of these claims were new to me. But the “unnaturalness” wording continued to rub me the wrong way.

I’m still trying to figure out why this bothers me so much. After all, I disagree with Glenn about a lot of important issues—our relationship is rooted in debate, after all. Much of what he believes I find harmful and wrong. Why would this particular claim stand out?

What’s more, the claim that homosexuality is unnatural strikes me as largely impotent. Homosexuality appears, not just across human cultures, but also in hundreds of other species. More to the point, many valuable things are “unnatural” in some sense: airplanes, eyeglasses, iPhones, and government, to take a random list. Unless “unnatural” can be backed up with some morally significant explication, it has no force.

Or at least, no MORAL force. Its force is emotive and rhetorical. And perhaps that’s what bothers me.

We call sexual activities “unnatural” when we want to evoke a certain horror—such as, for example, when we speak of necrophilia and bestiality, rather than, say, adultery. (I’m putting aside here natural law theorists, who hold that all immoral acts are unnatural—because such acts are against reason, which is central to human nature.) The term suggests not merely something bad, but something monstrous and disgusting.

Such rhetorical flourish makes sense if evoking disgust is one’s goal. But I don’t think that’s an acceptable goal in reasoned discussions of same-sex marriage. Hence my dismay.

In the years I’ve debated this issue, I’ve done my part to foster discussions that produce more light than heat. For example, I’ve argued (sometimes in the face of criticism) that the term “bigot” should be used sparingly, because it’s a conversation-stopper.

“Unnatural,” for me, is a similar conversation-stopper.

I don’t know whether Glenn intended to evoke disgust by his use of the term. But I now expect him to know better.


*********
John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit http://www.johncorvino.com/.

Later this month he will be one of the speakers at the Skepticon convention in
Missouri: http://www.skepticon.org/

"A Story to Share..."



'Mama, I Am Gay', The Son Reveals




Francistown, Botswana: "This revelation has really turned my world upside down. Like a sharp spear, the words have pierced through my heart leaving me feeling dejected and feeling like a worthless human being.

"Why does it have to happen to my son? What wrong have I done in this world to deserve such a punishment from God?"

These are the words of 45-year-old, single parent, Sega (not her real name). These lamentations have been triggered by her 24-year-old son's shocking revelation of his sexual orientation. The day of the revelation will forever remain engraved in her mind. It is the day in which, as she puts it: "I lost my son, though he is still alive and we are living under the same roof. On that day, I did not know what to say to my son. I was not sure whether he was still my real son or not. But physically he was still the same".

She reveals that it was in the afternoon on that fateful day when the boy decided to reveal the truth that he had been hiding from her all along. "He approached me with a smile that I was used to because we were very close.

He held me tight and whispered in my ears that he wanted to tell me something," she says. Having seen him with a few girls before, she says she immediately suspected that the boy might have impregnated one of them.

"That is what immediately came to my mind. My mind started playing the videos of the faces of the girlfriends that I have seen with him. He immediately called me into his room and I sat on his bedside," she says. She says that, "a pin drop silence followed before I urged him to tell me whatever he wanted to tell me. He looked down and tears started flooding his eyes before declaring that: "Mum I wanted to tell you that I am gay. I am tired of hiding this fact from you".

Sega says that though her son had said a few sentences the only word that she heard and that continues to ring in her mind is 'gay'. "That word was like a deadly blow that knocked me off. I felt confused. I started sweating. My whole world was crumbling. I could see my world falling apart in front of my eyes. I felt like my son is no more though he was right there beside me," she maintains.

She reveals that that night the shock and anger did not permit her peaceful sleep. "I had difficulties sleeping. I cried uncontrollably. I tried to recollect myself and to figure out what might have gone wrong with my boy but to no avail," she says.

She had no alternative but to accept this hard to accept fact. "I had to accept that my son is different from others. I accepted that the few girlfriends that I have seen and even the last beautiful one who was officially introduced to me was just one of the many attempts by my son to fight off the truth that was burning inside him," she says.

She adds, "I now became suspicious that the different boys that I usually see with my son might turn out to be the real girlfriends". She says that of particular note was her son's friend who would always visit at month end. "I was always told that this friend was staying in Gaborone. My son also always made numerous trips to Gaborone," she reveals. She says that, "though I am trying to accept my son as he is, I still face difficulties. This is mainly presented by religious convictions. As a Christian, I at times tend to think that my son is possessed by demons and that one day they will leave him and he will be a normal person again".

She has however gone for counselling and is beginning to accept that "as human beings, we are different. It is not an easy thing but I have no choice here because he is my son, my own blood and flesh that I carried for nine months. I therefore cannot disown him because of his condition".
Although she is somehow disappointed, Sega is full of praises for her son. "At least he was able to be assertive and bold enough to tell me the truth. I will always love him and respect him for that," she says.

Anita Lebengo, a psychology and sociology lecturer at the Institute of Health Sciences in Francistown says that, "the issue of sexual orientation remains a challenge. This is so because as members of societies we are conformists and are bound by our respective societal norms and values. These societal norms and values create a burden of having to fulfil societal obligations and expectations. One of the clear societal expectations is that sexual relationships must and have to happen between people of opposite sexes".

She says, "because this is the understanding that has come to be viewed as the accepted standard or norm, anybody who engages in anything contrary to this is regarded as a misfit in the society and deserves to be punished".

She says that the societal norms and values have a corresponding effect on the way individuals think. "This explains why it will always be difficult for most people to publicly declare or express their sexual orientation. Only those who are strong enough are able to break from the established norm and publicly celebrate their true sexual orientation," she says.

She says that all forms of persuasion are used to try to cement and justify the societal norms and values. "At times religion and culture are used to try and justify condemnation of any other forms of sexual orientation apart from the socially acceptable ones".

*********
Sadly, this is actually a "good" story out of Africa where homosexuality is for the most part demonized and rejected as a natural variation of human sexual orientation. I say "sadly" because although the mother of this young man eventually finds the ability to "accept" her son's reality, she describes it as a curse and even a punishment from God. Nevertheless, I am encouraged by this story because it seems to indicate that ever so slowly attitudes may be changing on the continent.

Although most of Africa is intolerant and unwilling to form enlightened opinions about human sexuality and homosexuality in particular, in my opinion its just as bad or worse in the black community in the United States and especially true in the black church community. I often hear black people make the most cruel and insensitive, homophobic and frankly idiotic statements. I've thought a great deal about why this would be true... after all, one would think that black people would be the most sympathetic of all peoples when it comes to any group being demonized, marginalized and oppressed, but in fact the opposite is true.

I've come to the conclusion that black people, like many self-loathing closeted gays, have internalized the prejudice and hatred that as a people and a visible minority they have endured for centuries. I'm sure this explains much of what's wrong with so many black people, and in particular our rampant homophobia. I think its a way for us to lash out at our own internalized demons that torment us over our history of enslavement and our present state in the modern world.

I was discussing this just the other day with my friend Mark. Mark is a white man who sometimes acknowledges the fact that in America white skin privilege still rules the day. But he is also quick to point out that "we're nearly there, we're living in a post-racial society" - but of course nothing could be further from the truth. Mark recently offered as proof this statement, "The most powerful man in the world is a black man," referring to President Obama, but of course the rise of the Tea Party revealed the truth of the matter. Racism, like sexism and homophobia is alive and well in the world and still a very strong thread running through the American culture.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 480"

"Love Makes Life Happy..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"A Thought To Ponder..."

Corvino: What do we do with Evangelicals who ‘want to help’?

By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com
10.29.2010

I’ve been engaging in quite a bit of dialogue lately with conservative Christians. It usually involves their asking me a question along the following lines:
“Look, we feel awful about the recent reports of gay teen suicides. We believe each of these kids is a child of God, deserving of love and respect, and we unequivocally condemn hateful speech and action against them."

“But we feel that gay-rights advocates are engaging in a kind of moral blackmail, telling us that either we give up our traditional Christian convictions about sex and marriage, or else we have these kids’ blood on our hands."

“Is it possible for us to join you in the fight for these kids’ welfare, even though we’re not prepared to renounce our traditional beliefs? Is it all or nothing?”

I wish this were an easy question. It’s worth reflecting on why it’s not.
On the one hand, I applaud anyone who truly wants to help LGBT kids. I’m not talking about the “Let’s cover our asses by making a suitable show of concern before we go right back to our usual attack” Christians, but about those who are sincerely empathetic. We need them as allies. (Remember, conservative Christians can have LGBT kids, too.)

On the other hand, we’re talking here about people who believe that gay physical affection is morally wrong, that dispositions toward it are disordered, and that God detests it as he detests all sin. Please let’s not sugarcoat it.

Thus there’s a point where these potential allies and I must part ways. I want to tell LGBT teens (and adults), THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. That’s my message. And these folks can’t join it.

For over 18 years I’ve been giving my talk “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” in which I counter common arguments against same-sex relationships. Some balk at the title, but I keep it for a simple reason: Gay people STILL grow up being taught that there’s something wrong with them. Many internalize this message, sometimes with tragic results.

We need to question it, expose its falsehood, and ultimately demolish it.
“Whoa,” my conservative Christian acquaintances will interrupt. “You’re talking about ‘demolishing’ something that we believe is revealed by God.” Yeah, I know. If that’s hard to hear, imagine hearing that your innermost romantic longings are fundamentally disordered.

At this point some object, “But I don’t think that these kids are ‘disordered.’ I don’t think there’s anything more wrong with these kids than with straight kids. We’re all sinners.”

Um, I thought we agreed not to sugarcoat.

Look, I understand that Christians think that we’re all sinners, that humanity is fallen, that straight people have a lot of disordered desires too.
But it doesn’t follow that certain orientations aren’t disordered relative to others. And any view that insists that all homosexual conduct is sinful logically entails that homosexual desires are (morally) disordered relative to heterosexual desires—and thus that there’s something wrong with gay people.

The Roman Catholic Church’s position is helpfully coherent (and characteristically un-sugarcoated) on this point: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

That view is harmful and wrong—indeed, it’s precisely the position I’ve spent the last two decades fighting—but it’s coherent.

So where does this leave us on the “all or nothing?” question? Is there NO sense in which conservative Christians and I can be allied in the fight for these kids?

I wouldn’t go that far. While I think that it’s important to acknowledge where we part ways, I also think there’s a good deal of collaborative work that can be done before we get to that point.

So when conservative Christians sincerely ask me what they can do to help, short of renouncing their convictions, here’s what I tell them.

I tell them not to expect me to stop critiquing those convictions, because I (like they) value truth and justice.

I tell them that they should turn up the volume on the “equal dignity” message and turn down the volume on the “no gay marriage” message. That doesn’t mean giving up what they believe. It does mean a change of emphasis (and one, incidentally, more consonant with the Gospel).

I tell them that if they really believe that homosexual conduct is no worse than heterosexual sins like premarital sex or divorce, they should behave accordingly in their relative reactions.

I tell them they should acknowledge openly the dissonance they feel in the face of love-filled same-sex romantic relationships, and to consider that God might be trying to teach them something in this dissonance.

I tell them to teach their kids why bullying is wrong, and to remind them in word and deed that they love them—no matter what.

I tell them to put their concern for LGBT people into action.

And when they do these things, I tell them thank you. Because when it comes to saving kids’ lives, I’ll work with what allies I can get.

John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays.

For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit http://www.johncorvino.com/.

"The Truth Is In The Scriptures"



"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 479"

"Another Sunday Morning..."


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 478"

"Happiness Comes From Love..."


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

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