Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Love And Fun..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Congratulations Singapore..."

Congratulations to Singapore's GLBT community who held their largest ever annual pride event yesterday... Known as "Pink Dot," Saturday evening more than 21,000 people gathered at the Speaker's Corner in Hong Lim Park in the tiny city-state.  This year's event featured the attendance of the country's first openly gay politician, Vincent Wijeysingha.   Wijeysingha came out publicly on Facebook on Friday by posting, "Yes, I am going to Pink Dot tomorrow and yes, I am gay."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Truth About Love..."

"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."

William Blake

"There's Truth In Every Joke..."

"Don't forget to laugh at yourself today..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1385"

"In The Moment Of A Touch, Love Reveals Itself..."

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"

"We Were Always There..."

Our love was so strong that we overcame our fears...

"The Imitation Of Life..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Artist's Corner..."

"A Boy In A Tree"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"The View To Love Leads To Marriage... Live Fearlessly"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"The Truth Of Love..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Changing Face Of China..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Truth Is Adorable..."

Can it be long before Burt and Ernie can come out...?

"Military Pride Overseas..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Just The Beginning, Together For Seven Years... Live Fearlessly"

"Poking Fun At Our Haters..."

"The Artist's Corner..."

Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"This Made Me Smile..."

"In The News Today..."

After Rulings, Same-Sex Couples Grapple With Diverging State Laws

New York Times
June 28, 2013
Sheryl Gay Stolburg

WASHINGTON — In the dining room of their town house here, David Huebner and John Barabino were the picture of prosperous domesticity this week. A housekeeper padded about, work on their outdoor patio continued and their 3-year-old son, Miles, napped upstairs.

But together, they put a human face on an uncomfortable truth: Mr. Huebner and Mr. Barabino’s union, although legal, is still not equal to that of their heterosexual friends, even after historic Supreme Court rulings to grant federal benefits to legally married gay couples and restore same-sex marriage in California.

While the plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act case, Edith Windsor, will get back $363,000 in federal estate taxes — “with interest,” her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said — the future is not so clear for Mr. Huebner and Mr. Barabino. They married in California (before the now-overturned ban) and adopted their son there. Their primary home is in Utah, which does not recognize their marriage. But they live part time in Washington, which does.

They are among thousands of legally married same-sex couples, wed in one state but living in another, caught in a confusing web of laws and regulations. It is a predicament the Obama administration is only beginning to grapple with: how to extend federal rights and benefits to same-sex couples when states, not the federal government, dictate who is married.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1384"

"Our Love 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.

"Free At Last, Free At Last..."

Yesterday, the plaintiffs in the historic Proposition 8 case decided by the Supreme Court on Wednesday were married in California...

"The Truth Of What People Thought This Week..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Friday, June 28, 2013

"The Truth Is Simple..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1383"

"Preserving A Memory... To Remember 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 Triumph Of Love..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Freedom To Love Is Wonderful!"

"NYPD Officer Thomas Verni proposed to his partner Joe Moran on the streets of the West Village earlier today. Joe said yes. Verni is the New York City Police Department's LGBT community liaison. Moran is the tech director for Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"This Made Me Smile..."

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. She laid her pet on the table. The vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's heart. "I'm so sorry; your pet duck has passed away."

The distressed owner wailed "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. The duck is dead," the vet replied.

"How can you be so sure," she protested. "I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few moments later with a black Labrador retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.

He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog and took it out and returned a few moments later with a beautiful cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed the bird from its beak to its tail and back again.

The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly, jumped down and strolled out of the room. The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck."

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys, and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$450!" she cried. "$450 just to tell me my duck is dead?"

The vet shrugged. "I'm sorry. If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would have been twenty dollars. But, what with the Lab Report and the CAT scan, it all adds up."

"And The Truth Shall Set You Free..."

"Fear Eats the Soul'

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Love And A Sea Cruise, Joy In Life... Live Fearlessly"

"This Was History Being Made..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"We Were Always There..."

Love captured in a snapshot, a moment of happiness...

"The Artist's Corner..."

"The Only Man In The World"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Dreams Do Come True..."

But only if you work to make them come true...

"The Truth About Our Friends..."

YouTube just launched a viral campaign propagated via Google+ to affirm their support for Gay Marriage. Google is #ProudToLove the LGBT community!

In their own words, "At YouTube, we believe that everyone has the right to love and be loved. We strive to make YouTube a place where all communities can feel proud to express themselves and connect through video. That's why we're proud to stand with the LGBT community and support equal rights and marriage equality for all."

Share this message with your friends.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"We Were Always There..."

We dared to love, even back then...

"The Artist's Corner..."

"Lost At Sea"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"What's The Truth Here..."

From The Huffington Post:

Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said he plans to introduce the Federal Marriage Amendment later this week, a measure that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. DOMA did the same thing, but was a federal law, not a constitutional amendment. As such, the Federal Marriage Act is more far-reaching but also a tougher climb. It requires the support of two-thirds of the House and Senate, and ratification by three-fourths of the states, or 38 states.

"This would trump the Supreme Court," Huelskamp told The Huffington Post.

Huelskamp said his bill has no cosponsors yet, but said its language will be almost identical to past Federal Marriage Amendments introduced in Congress. The last time Congress voted on the proposed constitutional amendment was in July 2006, when it failed 236-187. It needed 290 votes to pass. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were among those who voted for the amendment at the time.


"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

As I have said time and again, the most vehemet homophobes are almost always self-loathing homosexuals themselves...

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"A Kiss Reveals The Truth Of Love And Life... Live Fearlessly"

"The Imitation Of Life..."

As I reflected on the victories of yesterday, I thought about the many milestones we've passed on the journey to freedom, justice and equality.  I remembered the reactions of people to Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain."  I don't know if the film drove the changes in people's opinions or whether it was merely a timely reflection of a paradymn shift already underway.  But this much I do know, it had a profound effect on me and helped me choose to seek out a life of truth and it gave me a hope for the happiness that Ennis and Jack never fully realized.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Truth Of What It All Means To You..."

From Freedom To Marry:

AFTER DOMA: What It Means For You

The Supreme Court victory in United States v. Windsor striking down the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) affirms that all loving and committed couples who are married deserve equal legal respect and treatment from the federal government. The demise of DOMA marks a turning point in how the United States government treats the relationships of married same-sex couples for federal programs that are linked to being married. At the same time, a turning point is part of a longer journey, not the end of the road. There is much work ahead before same-sex couples living across the nation can enjoy all the same protections as their different-sex counterparts.
These fact-sheets on what the DOMA ruling means for you can help point you toward resources to make sense of it all.  

General Information on Life After DOMA

Ending DOMA lifts up all LGBT people, even if it does not end our work.  DOMA was an official federal policy disapproving of gay people and same-sex relationships, often imitated by states and private actors, and imposed a second-class status on our lawful marriages by negating them for all federal purposes.  The Court has now affirmed that equal protection guarantees apply to the relationships of LGBT people and has replaced federal disrespect with federal respect for our lawful marriages.  This victory will energize our work moving forward so that we can achieve a reality in which every single same-sex couple enjoys full and equal protections under the law, regardless of where they live. (PDF)


Bankruptcy is a legal process designed by Congress to give debtors a fresh start from debts they can't afford to pay. It allows them to "discharge," or eliminate, certain debts, and prevents creditors from taking further action to collect on those debts. There are specific rules about which assets you can keep if you go through bankruptcy, and which debts you can discharge. Some kinds of debt are never dischargeable. If you are married, you have different options for bankruptcy filings. Now that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been struck down, this guidance provides basic information about bankruptcy filings, how being married matters in bankruptcy proceedings, and what married same-sex couples can expect. Consult with a professional bankruptcy advisor for information and advice about your specific situation. (PDF)

Benefits and Protections for Civilian Federal Employees and Their Spouses

Current and former civilian employees of the federal government may be eligible for an array of protections and benefits for their spouses. The following offers general information about major categories of such protections and benefits. Current and former federal employees and their spouses and surviving spouses should obtain more specific information about their particular circumstances and rights. The federal Office of Personnel Management ("OPM") administers benefit programs for current and former federal civilian employees. OPM's website provides extensive information on these programs and contact information for making further inquiries.
There may be initial uncertainty about how OPM will process some types of applications for benefits and protections for employees' spouses. There may be uncertainty about how the federal government will treat marriages for particular purposes if the state where the employee works and/or lives does not respect the employee's marriage. There also may be uncertainty about the timing of when current and former employees may add their existing spouses to their federal benefits, such as during a regularly scheduled Open Season for new enrollments, or whether OPM will establish special Open Seasons to address the needs of federal employees whose same-sex spouses have only now become eligible for protections after DOMA's fall. Federal employees and their spouses with questions about these issues may contact the OPM. Our organizations will endeavor to provide any updates as we acquire more information. (PDF)

Family and Medical Leave Act for Non-Federal Employees

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides important protections for eligible workers. It allows them to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to care for a spouse with a serious medical condition, or 26 weeks to care for an eligible servicemember spouse with a serious injury or illness. It also allows an employee to take job-protected leave for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a child who has a serious health condition, regardless of whether the child is biologically related to the employee. At the end of the FMLA leave, workers are entitled to resume their same or an equivalent job.
This guidance addresses the rights that non-federal employees and their same-sex spouses should expect to receive under the FLMA now that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been struck down. Rules for federal employees differ slightly. See the guidance section on Federal Employees for information specific to employees of the federal government. You may also have additional rights under state law. For more information, consult with a lawyer who specializes in employment law about rights you may have in your state. (PDF

Federal Taxes

Summarized in this document are a few of the many tax issues potentially affecting married same-sex couples now that DOMA has been invalidated. In all likelihood, there will be specific guidance forthcoming from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) before the next income tax filing deadline for tax year 2013. For personal advice on income tax, gift tax, or estate tax - federal or state - please consult a tax advisor. State income taxes are not addressed in this guidance. This is not legal or tax advice. (PDF

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This guidance addresses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the unified application used to apply for federal student aid such as grants, loans, and work study. It is also used by public and private higher education institutions (like colleges and universities) and some private financial aid providers to determine whether an applicant qualifies for additional aid through his or her school.
Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), applicants with married same-sex parents were instructed to treat their parents as if they were divorced, and were therefore permitted only to list the contributions and income of one parent. Likewise, applicants with same-sex spouses were informed that their marriage was not recognized by the federal government and were not permitted to list their spouse on the application. Now that DOMA has been declared unconstitutional, applicants with same-sex married parents will be required to list the incomes and contributions of both of their parents, and applicants with same-sex spouses will be required to list their spouse as part of their household. (PDF)


These FAQs address some of the questions we anticipate LGBT families with immigration issues will have following a Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). For general information about U.S. immigration law and how it affects LGBT individuals and their families, see the Immigration Equality website, Immigration is a complicated area of law, with many factors to consider specific to each individual. Consult with a qualified immigration attorney about your specific situation. (PDF)


Medicaid is a health insurance program for very low-income people who meet certain guidelines. Medicaid also provides insurance coverage for long term care, such as when someone needs nursing home care. Many states have additional specific programs that are also called Medicaid, such as pre-natal care coverage for pregnant women.
Each state has its own Medicaid program that is partially funded by the federal government. Most states call this program "Medicaid," but some states have their own name for their Medicaid program (for example, in California it is called Medi-Cal). Each state has different rules about who can get Medicaid and what is covered, although there are some federal requirements that states must all follow. Even if you qualify in one state, you may not qualify in a different state if you move. The best way to determine the specific eligibility standards used in your state is to visit or (PDF

Medicare Spousal Protections

This guidance addresses the spousal protections of Medicare, the federal health insurance program for adults 65 and older, as well as for certain younger people with disabilities. Several aspects of Medicare are implicated by whether a person is married, including eligibility based on a spouse's work history, premium amounts, and enrollment penalty exemptions related to remaining on a spouse's private health plan. Access to these Medicare protections was blocked or affected by the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Now that DOMA has been declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, this guidance summarizes the benefits, who qualifies, special concerns, and how to apply.  (PDF)

Military Spousal Benefits

Service members receive only approximately 30% of their total compensation in the form of base pay. The remaining 70% of their compensation package comes in the form of allowances, in-kind benefits, and-in the case of retirees-deferred compensation. For service members who are married (or who have another qualified dependent), many of these allowances and benefits are increased, to account for the reality that the service member is providing for a family, instead of an individual. These increases are generous, and reflect the unique strains and challenges placed on a family with a member serving in the military. (PDF

Private Employment Issues and Benefits

Although discrimination against married same-sex couples under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) did not bar private employers from offering most spousal employment benefits to employees' same-sex spouses, it subjected same-sex couples to discriminatory tax treatment and other forms of unequal treatment. For example, married same-sex couples had to pay additional income taxes on the value of employer-sponsored health insurance that married different-sex couples did not need to pay, and married same-sex couples who divorced were barred by federal law from obtaining a court order sharing pension benefits as part of a divorce agreement. 
Now that DOMA has been struck down, we urge married same-sex couples with employersponsored retirement benefits to immediately review your beneficiary designations and form of benefit elections to ensure that your designations and elections are accurate and complete, and that they reflect your wishes. Your rights may have changed, and waiting may hurt you and your family. (PDF

Social Security Spousal and Family Protections

This guidance addresses Social Security spousal benefits: when one spouse retires; in the event of disability; and when one spouse has passed away. Access to each of these benefits was blocked or affected by the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Now that DOMA has been declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, this guidance summarizes these benefits, who qualifies, special concerns, possible reductions to benefits, how to apply, and how to appeal if your claim is denied. (PDF

Supplemental Security Income for Aged, Blind, and Disabled (SSI)

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays a modest cash benefit to people who are at least age 65 and meet financial limits or have severe disabilities and very limited income and resources. (PDF

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally-funded program run by states that provides limited cash assistance to extremely low-income parents and their children. States may have different names for this program, but it can be called public assistance, temporary assistance, general assistance or cash assistance. This program is extremely limited and provides small amounts of assistance to parents who have little or no income and very few assets for limited periods of time. It also provides some assistance directly for their children. Since the passage of Welfare Reform in the mid-90s, there are severe restrictions on the program, which vary state by state, and many extremely lowincome parents do not qualify.
There is a requirement that adult recipients of TANF generally must work or participate in a welfare-to-work program, although the requirements vary widely from state to state. In many states, being eligible for TANF may also make you eligible for free child care, although child care may not actually be available. (PDF

Veterans' Spousal Benefits 

There are two categories of veterans who receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs: qualified non-retired veterans and retirees. Qualified veterans are those who meet eligibility requirements for specific benefits (usually related to time-in-service and discharge characterization). Retirees are those who served at least 20 years in the military and who formally retired from military service. Retirees receive benefits both from the Department of Defense (DOD) (see guidance on Military Spousal Benefits fact sheet for information related to these benefits) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). (PDF

"The Truth About A Day To Remember..."

For Gays, Progress Stunning, Fast

By Charles Kaiser
June 26, 2013

(CNN) -- When the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back after the New York police raided that Greenwich Village gay bar 44 years ago, no one there imagined the federal government would ever recognize the rights of two women or two men to get married.

No other movement for equality in the United States has ever traveled so far or so quickly as the push for equality for gay men and women.

I have a vivid memory of a dinner at Gracie Mansion with Tom Stoddard, an early leader of the gay rights movement, and Ed Koch, then the mayor of New York, sometime in the late '80s, when the idea of same-sex marriage was first in the air.

"If you think people are going to go for this, you're crazy!" Koch said. I'm sure I agreed with Koch at the time.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1382"

"Love Means Looking To The Future 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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"The Imitation Of Life..."

It's not what you're thinking...

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1381"

"Love, Freedom And Home... Rights 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.

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Let Love Be Love Everywhere You Go... Live Fearlessly"

"And The Truth Shall Set You Free..."

Companies Can't Afford Not To Be Gay-Friendly Anymore

Business Insider Magazine
June 20, 2013
By Belo Cipriani

The most macho of high-profile industries has been changed for the better.
The world of major league sports has long been a final frontier for social movements, slowly accepting what other industries have welcomed. Thanks to Jason Collins, the testosterone-fueled sports community is starting to shed its homophobic image.

Last month, when Collins came out as a gay man (the first in the U.S. to do so while actively playing a professional team sport), he wasn’t mocked or shunned. Instead, he was embraced by fellow athletes, the NBA, and sports fans worldwide. Even Nike, his corporate sponsor, had his back. Collins’ coming-out experience is likely to show closeted business leaders that being openly gay does not spell certain career doom, nor does it threaten a company’s bottom line.

From the Court to the Corner Office

Jason Collins has admirable leadership qualities, which have earned him the respect of the media and his peers. He’s busted the effeminate stereotype surrounding gays, proving that sexual orientation does not impact the quality of one’s work. At the same time, Collins’ coming-out has debunked the myth that an industry steeped in testosterone would reject one of its own simply for being gay.

If we shift the focus to closeted industry leaders, Collins offers an encouraging glimpse into what it’s like for a prominent leader to come out today. Unfortunately, many still associate coming out with scaring business away. Ellen DeGeneres was highly watched when her eponymous character on “Ellen” came out of the closet. Her show tanked, and she effectively had to build a new career from scratch — that’s what people remember. But that was 16 years ago; these days, Ellen is arguably one of the most successful people on the planet.  

The Advantages of a Corporate Coming-Out

Affirmative action was put in place to assure that minority groups were not arbitrarily dismissed from the hiring process, thereby developing staffs with various backgrounds, experiences, and skills. By this same token, openly gay executives would be a major boon for company diversity. If more leaders were out, more employees would come out. This would lead to better benefits for domestic partnerships. Most importantly, having visible, openly gay leaders would send a message of zero tolerance for unjust behavior.

More specifically, if top executives were comfortable being open about their sexuality, they would likely see the following positive results:

Peace of mind: Keeping secrets is draining and stressful. If you’re comfortable with yourself, you’ll have a better quality of life. This will undoubtedly spill over into your professional life.

Role models: Openly gay execs would be great role models for queer youth interested in the corporate world. Trust me — there’s a great need for gay business mentors.

Efficiency: Hiding things is distracting. If you don’t have to live a double life, you’ll be far more productive and focused.

The negative impacts of remaining in the closet are disheartening. As a systems engineer in Silicon Valley in the late ‘90s, I met many closeted managers. I would occasionally run into them at gay events, where they would beg me not to tell anyone they were gay. Because they were so terrified of ruining their careers, I followed their lead and reluctantly stepped back into the closet.

This was a major step backward for my personal life. I’d come out in high school to a very accepting family, and it was baffling to have entered a world where being myself was unacceptable. I was grateful when I met a manager who helped me; eventually, I came out professionally while working at a very progressive staffing company.

Even with recent progress, professionals’ fears are not totally unfounded. Some executives might experience backlash from other partners or lose clients. However, the potential productivity that closeted staff would unleash if they worked in a tolerant atmosphere outweighs any perceived benefits of staying closeted.

What Employers Can Do

If you want your company to be queer-friendly, these three tips will get you on your way:

Sponsor local gay charities: This tells closeted employees that you support the GLBT community.

Run GLBT-friendly ads: If you use same-sex couples when running employment ads, you will attract “out” employees and provide support for those who don’t want to hide their sexual orientation.

Provide manager training: Offer seminars to help managers understand employees who don’t feel comfortable coming out. Support at the corporate level makes queer employees feel safe and valued, whether their corporate leadership is gay or not.

The tide of public sentiment toward the GLBT community is shifting. Being out no longer carries the shame it once did. Thanks to Jason Collins, business leaders who are still closeted now have a positive, high-profile coming-out experience to reference. That can lead to a multitude of opportunities for gay employees — and their companies.

Belo Cipriani is a freelance writer, speaker, and author of Blind: A Memoir. Belo was the keynote speaker for the 2011 Americans with Disabilities Act celebration in San Francisco and was a guest lecturer at both Yale University and the University of San Francisco. “Amber Clovers,” his first work of fiction, will be published in 2013. He welcomes anyone to reach out to him at or on Twitter @Beloism and Google+.

"This Made Me Smile..."

"Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied..."

Now able to marry in California

And just now a cowerdly ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court...


Although this is a disappointing ruling, it is nonetheless a victory.  Same-sex marriages may now resume in California.  Our complete victory is inevitable... Justice, Freedom and Equality is not a question of if, but merely a question of when... And the answer is soon and very soon!

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Pride And Service..."

Chuck Hagel Celebrates LGBT Pride Month At Pentagon Event

Metro Times Weekly
By Justin Snow

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel marked June as LGBT Pride month at an event at the Pentagon yesterday, describing gay and lesbian servicemembers as "integral to America's armed forces."

It was a first for Hagel, who was confirmed as defense secretary in February, and a historic moment for the Department of Defense, marking the first time a defense secretary has attended a Pentagon Pride event.

"Our nation has always benefited from the service of gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, airmen, and coast guardsmen, and Marines. Now they can serve openly, with full honor, integrity and respect. This makes our military and our nation stronger, much stronger," Hagel said at the 30-minute event, that was also attended by White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning. "The Department of Defense is very proud of its contributions to our nation's security. We're very proud of everything the gay and lesbian community have contributed and continue to contribute. With their service, we are moving closer to fulfilling the country's founding vision, that all of us are created equal."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Breaking News..."

If you're reading this in the U.S., turn on your television news...

The U.S. Supreme Court has just released the first of it's anticipated rulings on GLBT issues:


Still waiting on the news regarding California's Proposition 8.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Sometimes In Advertising..."

Pride month photo posted on Kraft Brand's Grey Poupon Mustard page.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"The Truth About Lifetimes..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Truth About Life With HIV..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Love Means Being Yourself When You're Out And About... Live Fearlessly"

"The Truth About Gay Men..."

By Murray Lipp
As a gay man I have a particular interest in challenging myths and stereotypes relating to gay men in America (and around the world). Myths and stereotypes that go unchallenged become stronger weapons for those who seek to oppress others in society. As the U.S.A. continues to evolve, and as gay men become increasingly more open about our true identities, we must take advantage of all opportunities to educate others about what is correct, and what isn't, in relation to male homosexuality.
Here are 10 of the most problematic myths and stereotypes which play a role in the mischaracterization and dehumanization of gay men in the U.S.
1. "Gay men are all feminine."
The idea that male homosexuality is directly linked with femininity is erroneous. While there are of course some gay men who express themselves (via speech, dress and behavior) in ways which are traditionally "feminine," there are many others who do not. Men behaving in an effeminate manner is not inherently problematic or deserving of public shaming. What is problematic is the assumption that all gay men display the same type of gender behavior. Gay men, as a group, display tremendous diversity in their expressions and displays of masculinity and femininity. Part of the reason this myth about the "femininity" of gay men survives is because many of the most masculine gay men are not necessarily open about their sexual orientation and/or it is not "assumed" by others that such men are gay. In this regard, the most visible gay men are often those who superficially meet the stereotype of femininity, not those who challenge it.
2. "Gay men are into fashion, have tidy apartments, and love Madonna!"
Related to myths about the apparent femininity of gay men are other stereotypes about thepersonalities of gay men. Some of these stereotypes are so strong that it's as though some people think there really is such a thing as a "gay man's personality." In reality, personality differences amongst gay men are as diverse as those across any other group. Yes, there are some gay men who display an interest in fashion, who take care of their appearance, who have meticulously clean apartments, and who are huge fans of Madonna, Cher, and Lady Gaga! There are many other gay men, however, who don't display these behaviors or interests and many straight men who do display them. While personality-based stereotypes about gay men don't on the surface seem particularly toxic, they are damaging to the extent that they play a role in homogenizing gay men and concealing their uniqueness as individual human beings.
3. "Gay men are attracted to all men and can't control their desires."
Like any other group of people, men who are homosexual are attracted to only certain types of men who spark their interest or sexual desire. The notion that gay men have some type of universal sexual desire for all men is simply absurd. The dominance of this myth in certain societal contexts, however, creates particular problems for gay men who wish to participate or excel in domains (e.g. sport, military) that are strongly associated with "heterosexual masculinity." The suggestion that straight men should "fear" having to share sporting change rooms or military quarters with gay men promotes the damaging idea that gay men are essentially predatory, completely incapable of containing their own desires.
4. "Gay men are promiscuous and obsessed with sex."
Myths abound about the apparent promiscuity of gay men as though sex with multiple partners and an inability to be monogamous are core features of male homosexuality – they aren't. Sexual promiscuity, when it occurs, is a human phenomenon that is not uniquely linked with one particular type of sexual orientation. As with any group of people, the sexual behavior of gay men varies tremendously from person to person, with some being very sexually active and others being almost completely celibate. In common with all human beings, gay men have sexual desire. The suggestion by opponents of equality that male homosexual desire is inherently more "sexual" or more "hedonistic" than heterosexual desire is ludicrous.
5. "Gay men focus on anal sex and mimic male/female sex roles." 
The core feature of male homosexuality is sexual attraction to other men, not an exclusive focus on a particular behavior (e.g. anal sex). There are many different types of behaviors that gay men can engage in when interacting sexually with other men. Anal sex is indeed one such activity, but it's certainly not an activity that all gay men participate in, nor is it one that heterosexual people never engage in. Questions about homosexual male sex which focus on trying to identify "who is the man" and "who is the woman" mistakenly assume that gay men act out heterosexual roles during anal sex. While some gay men identify strongly with "top/active" or "bottom/passive" roles, many others regard themselves as "versatile" and do not exclusively identify with either role.
6. "HIV/AIDS is primarily a disease among gay men."
Within heterosexist and homophobic societal contexts, HIV/AIDS is frequently misrepresented as a disease of gay men. While in the U.S.A. men who have sex with men are over-represented in the population of people who has HIV/AIDS, labeling the illness as a "gay" one dismisses the reality that HIV transmission globally is uniquely associated with one particular group: human beings (of all sexual orientations). The fact that gay men form the single largest group of people with HIV/AIDS in America fails to take into account the various societal and cultural factors which contribute to this occurrence. Societal discrimination against gay men can have direct effects on individuals, impacting self-esteem and leading some men to engage in behaviors which place their health at risk.
7. "Gay men are not relationship-oriented."
The suggestion that being homosexual would make gay men less able to connect with or fall in love with another person is illogical and has no basis in reality. Opponents of marriage equality demonize gay men as sex-obsessed on the one hand and yet on the other hand refuse to support their access to an institution (marriage) that aims to foster sexual monogamy and life-long interpersonal commitment. What is truly amazing is that throughout history and to this day, so many gay men have been able to sustain long-term committed relationships with a male partner in spite of having to deal with intense societal discrimination and lack of structural support for their relationships. As the legalization of same-sex marriage becomes more widespread, an increasing number of male couples are now choosing to formalize their relationships legally.
8. "Male homosexuality is caused by parenting or trauma in childhood."
Many of those who oppose LGBT equality dismiss the biological basis of sexual orientation and promote other theories regarding the development of a homosexual orientation. Some argue that a male homosexual orientation develops as a result of certain types of parenting such as the presence of an overly involved mother and/or an absent father. There is no evidence to suggest that how people parent their children has any direct involvement in the type of sexual orientation a child subsequently develops. Others suggest that sexual abuse in childhood can cause the development of a homosexual orientation. Again, there is no evidence to support this claim. The suggestion that abuse causes the development of a homosexual orientation doesn't hold up given that many gay men have no such abuse history.
9. "Gay men can't be trusted around male children." 
Opponents of equality frequently make both overt and covert efforts to create false associations between male homosexuality and pedophilia. In reality, the two phenomena have nothing in common: gay men are no more likely to sexual abuse children than straight men are. This heinous attempt to mischaracterize gay men as "child predators" and "recruiters" for homosexuality becomes particularly problematic in domains where the care of children is of paramount importance, such as in schools and activity-based organizations (e.g. Boy Scouts). Sadly, in their efforts to avoid the toxic label of "pedophile," some gay men socially distance themselves from the male children of friends/relatives, avoid employment roles which involve close contact with boys, or refrain from pursuing a life as a foster care or adoptive parent.
10. "Two gay men as a couple can't raise healthy and happy children." 
Those who support discrimination against gay men frequently claim that children need a "mom and a dad" in order to prosper in life. Rather than focusing their efforts on preventing heterosexual divorce, such people focus on the alleged dangers of parenting by same-sex couples. In reality, there is no evidence to support the notion that children raised by gay male couples are harmed psychologically, physically or socially as a result of being parented by two men. Thousands of children in America are raised by gay male couples. Social science research from a wide range of settings and disciplines has demonstrated that children raised by same-sex couples (including gay male couples) experience similar outcomes to those raised by opposite-sex couples in relation to psychological, physical and social development.
A version of this article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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