The sassy Sahara Davenport just sent this my way. The bad boy of dance music, Jipsta, who appears as a featured artist on RuPaul’s new single "Sexy Drag Queen" serves up a little something to giggle and wiggle to with his new track "U Got (What I Need)." And three of RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, Pandora Boxx, Sahara Davenport, and Jessica Wild, help Jipsta catch what he is craving in this campy bit of fun. Jipsta's new album, Bandoozle, is available on iTunes. (t/y Sahara).
I've been working on putting together a collection of stylized images of some of the better photographs I've taken over the last few years, of everyone from Dustin Lance Black to Lady Gaga, while attending various pro LGBT rallies and marriage equality events. (Click on top photo to begin slide show. All images by Wayne Anderson)
(Blogging for WOW is like a Godfather movie, once you think you're finally out, something historic comes along to drag you back in) I just got back from downtown at the City Clerk's office in Manhattan with hundreds of gay couples preparing to wed. WHAT A GREAT DAY! There were so many happy faces and proud couples who have waited so long for this day. I also saw NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn being interviewed by CBS News, during a break in the interview she spied my "EVOLVE ALREADY" t-shirt amongst the crowd, and looked directly at me, and I mouthed the words "Thank You." Much to my surprise she came over and gave me a hug (even though, with the NYC heatwave, I was a hot sweaty mess at that point) and we spoke briefly about all the marriage equality rallies we've seen each other at over the years.
OOOOH, and I almost forgot, when I first got there, there were some Westboro Church gay-hating-ass-wipe types who were protesting across the street, but a group of counter-protesters came and opened up umbrellas in rainbow colors, blocking them from the view of the happy couples, and strangely enough, that seemed to work! All the protestors left within about 10 minutes. The only one who stayed behind was some orthodox Jewish guy that kept walking along the sidewalk with a small sign that said "Bad Idea."
But for the most part it was just a wonderful time seeing so many happy couples on such a happy day. And though the struggle for marriage equality will continue until DOMA is repealed and gay couples receive full federal rights and recognition of our unions; today was still a day to celebrate, and I'm so happy I was a part of it. (Click on photo below to begin slide show. All Photos by Wayne Anderson)
I made the decision to stop blogging for WOW about a month ago, mainly due to financial reasons. The bad economy is putting a strain on my finances and I’m working overtime to keep afloat, so the free-time I have to spend blogging has become very limited. But I attended the protest of the LGBT presidential fundraiser in NYC last night and thought I would post some photos from the event. President Obama did himself no favors at the fundraiser by basically punting on the question of marriage equality, and worse, actually advocating a ‘State’s Rights' argument on equality that probably caused MLK and Bayard Rustin to roll over in their graves. Gay rights activist, David Mixner, attended the fundraiser and wrote of his frustration and disappointment on his blog, saying: “Last night I went to the President's speech in New York City. There was no question that I entered with very low expectations since he had made it clear before hand that he would not support marriage equality (which by the way puts him with about 20% of the Democratic Party!). However, I didn't expect to leave feeling that my low expectations should have been even lower.”
I had texted Dan Choi to see if he would be attending the protest or the fundraiser, but he told me that he was in Kansas and would not be able to make it, but that he was happy to hear that a protest was being organized and to give hell to those who refuse to support our full equality. I carried a sign to the protest that read: STOP FUNDING OBAMA'S BIGOTRY which seemed to garner a fair bit of attention. I was interviewed by Andy Humm (Gay U.S.A.) as well as Jennifer Vanasco (of 365gay.com). When asked what message my sign was conveying, I said my message is that Obama has unfortunately made anti-gay bigoted and exclusionary statements such as "marriage is between a man and a woman" and that "God is in the mix" in defense of his refusal to support full equality for gay Americans. And though many in the gay community like to play mind reader and claim that Obama doesn't really believe those statements, the sad fact is, he has said them, and has not retracted them, and virulent anti-gay bigots often use Obama's words as cover for their own bigotry. And it is past time for gay people to stop funding our own inequality by giving Obama's promotion of inequality and anti-gay bigotry a pass. Also in attendance were British activist, Peter Tatchell, Justin Elzie (the first soldier discharged through the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy), and several other activists and GetEQUAL members.
It also occurred to me that I never actually said my goodbyes. I’ve had a great time writing for WOW over the last five years and I know I will miss it. But I’ve had a good run and though I remain dedicated to gay equality issues and will continue to stay involved in the struggle, it’s time for me to try some different things. I wish everyone at WOW, and their readers, all the best.
While not addressing one of the larger elephants in the room, namely that President Obama and military leaders still refuse to include sexual orientation as a protected class under military non-discrimination clauses; Rachel Maddow reports on some of the other built-in snags to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell that continues to allow open discrimination against gay soldiers.
It appears that RuPaul and his crowned queen Raja are not the only ones in the gay community to recently embrace the power of "Fuck You." Activist, and creator of the It Get’s Better project, Dan Savage, whose blog rant to President Obama and his administration saying "Fuck you. We're sick of your words and your speeches. Fuck you and deliver on your promises" was like a shot heard throughout the LGBT community; has now done an extensive interview with Joshua Kors in which he references the power and success of the Fuck You strategy:
Savage: Some things have pissed me off. I remember Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama's senior advisers, gave a speech to the [Human Rights Campaign, the gay rights group] and called it "It Gets Better," instead of "We Can Make It Better." And I went apo-f—in'-plectic. In my blog, I said, Fuck you. We're sick of your words and your speeches. Fuck you and deliver on your promises."
Kors: You wrote that in your blog?
Savage: I did. And you know what happened after that? Officials at the White House called me.
Kors: No way. What did they say?
Savage: They said they didn't like my column, and they started pointing out all the things they've done for the gay community. And I kept saying, "DADT, DOMA, DADT, DOMA." The amazing thing is, it was a few weeks after that that Obama went ahead and made the video.
Kors: You know, I saw on Rachel Maddow's show yesterday that the ban on gays in the military still hasn't changed.
Savage: I know. It's amazing how the military is dragging its feet. Still, everything points to the change coming. I just saw a video the Pentagon is now using to indoctrinate Marines, to tell them that they will accept and respect gay soldiers. ... Still, I think if the White House could have gotten away with not delivering on their promises, they would have. But the pressure from their base was there. The money from gay donors cratered, and the gay vote was no longer a sure thing. I think finally they thought, "We can't take them for granted anymore."
And it seems that is indeed the message that President Obama and the Democrats have finally been made to understand. It was not until activists like Dan, as well as ordinary gay citizens, started to put the Democrats on notice that we were no longer going to settle for business as usual, that things began to change. We will no longer support those who do little more than reserve our seats at the back of the bus. If you break your promises, then you will lose our support. The gay ATM will close. If we lose the fight for our equality because of your lack of support, then you may well lose your next election due to the lack of our support. That is the genius behind the power of Fuck You. And it is a message that we must continue to convey. Even now, President Obama still only does the minimum amount required to placate us. DOMA is still being enforced; DADT remains the law of the land (and as referenced above, has built in setbacks even after the so-called repeal is certified) and ENDA has yet to pass. Our message to Obama and any politician that vies for our support must always be conditional upon their actions. We are watching you. And to those within the gay community who continue to preach passivity and place blind faith in any politician, or worse, castigate those brave enough to speak truth to power; I’ve got two words for ya, “Fuck You.”
Openly gay figure skater (andRuPaul's Drag Race season 3 guest judge), Johnny Weir, decided to flex his muscle and come out swinging when he heard the news that the U.S. Olympic committee recently chose former gymnast Peter Vidmar—a man who donated money and protested publicly in favor of Prop 8—as the American liaison for the International Olympic Committee and London games. “I certainly wouldn’t want to be represented by someone who is anti gay marriage. It isn’t just about marriage; it is being allowed equal rights as Americans. The fact this man who is very publicly against something that may be represented on the American team is disgraceful.” Weir said in a widely publicized statement. And it appears that Mr. Weir’s words packed quite a punch! The Queerty blog (which is back up and running, by the way) is reporting that Peter Vidmar has now resigned his position. “I wish that my personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic movement in the United States. I simply cannot have my presence become a detriment to the U.S. Olympic family. I hope that by stepping aside, the athletes and their stories will rightly take center stage.” Vidmar said via press release. And in response, I would simply say that I’m sure there are quite a few gay Americans who wish that Mr. Vidmar’s personal bigotry had not been a “detriment” to their equality. Johnny Weir for the win! Somebody hand that boy a medal.
I posted this last year, but I thought today would be a good day to repost it. Rudolf Brazda, the last known gay survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, recalls the dark history of the pink triangle symbol. Although the short film is in English, French, and German, it is subtitled in English, which makes it easier to understand (just be sure to close the ad on the bottom so you can see the subtitles).
This week marks the 78th year anniversary of the Nazi book burnings. On May 6, 1933, Nazis ransacked the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Four days later on May 10th, thousands of books pertaining to homosexuality and the sexual sciences were deemed “un-German” and removed from the Institute and thrown into a huge bonfire as part of a public ceremony. Hitler had condemned homosexuals shortly after taking power. Gay people were viewed as “socially aberrant” and counterproductive to the Nazis’ desired goal of purifying German society and creating an “Aryan master race.” Hitler banned all gay and lesbian organizations and gathering places. Germany had once had a vibrant gay club scene that flourished in many cities such as Berlin and Hamburg during the 1920s. But brown shirted Nazi soldiers began raiding gay institutions and arrested anyone suspected of homosexuality. During 1933-1945, some 50,000 men were arrested and sentenced for the crime of homosexuality in Nazi Germany. Most of the men served their time in regular prisons, but an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 were sent to concentration camps. All prisoners within the camps wore marks of various colors and shapes on their uniforms to allow the guards to identify them by category. Homosexual prisoners bore the mark of a pink triangle (which would later become a symbol of the modern gay rights movement). Conditions in the camp were terrible for all prisoners but were known to be particularly brutal for gay inmates; a large majority of the gay men sentenced to concentration camps would die while in captivity. (Photos: Top Left - Nazi Book Burning May 10, 1933. Top Right - Nazi soldiers close down and guard the gay club, El Dorado, March 5 1933. Bottom Left - Concentration camp prisoners. Bottom Right - Concentration camp prisoner symbols, including the pink triangle)
Bill Clinton spoke out in favor of marriage equality in a press release from the Human Rights Campaign "Our nation's permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ - deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York's welcome must include marriage equality." (via JoeMyGod)
“Richard and John are the quintessential New York couple. They met at Juilliard and have spent most of their lives together here,” said Evan Wolfson, Founder and President of Freedom to Marry. “They are still obviously so deeply in love after 61 years and yet after all those years of commitment, being there for one another through the ups and downs of life, they are still being denied the one thing they want most – the freedom to marry in New York. It is time to change that. After 61 years together, haven't they waited long enough?” (via Freedom To Marry)
Rep. Bob Barr, the author of the Defense of Marriage Act, spoke in an extensive interview with The Advocate on why he no longer supports the law he authored, the Republicans’ defense of it, and the Obama administration’s pledge to continue enforcing it. “On the one hand, I can understand from a political standpoint why [the administration] is sort of bifurcating this. But to be consistent, you can’t say, ‘We don’t support DOMA and what it says, and we’re not even going to defend it from a legal standpoint, but we’re going to enforce it.’ That’s the same thing [President George W.] Bush would do: ‘Hey, I recognize this law is unconstitutional, but golly gee, you know, it’s there, so I’ve got to enforce it.’
“If any administration believes that a law is unconstitutional and should not be enforced, then I think they have an obligation to take steps to see that it’s not enforced. I don’t know exactly what the administration could do, because I haven’t sat down and analyzed it. But I know that modern administrations, both Democrat and Republican, did a lot of things through executive orders, for example, to sort of skirt having to enforce certain laws that they don’t like. And they ought to be advocating in Congress for its repeal. If they truly believe that it’s not constitutional, that it’s not proper, that’s what they ought to be doing. But on the other hand, I certainly recognize that there’s a political price to be paid for that — why they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too.”
Though it’s not getting that much media attention there is a concentrated effort to pass marriage equality in New York and Governor Cuomo says he feels optimistic.
So if you are a New Yorker who wants to join the fight, you can contact New Yorkers United for Marriage or the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) who will be hosting phone banks every Monday and Thursday through May to help mobilize folks and ensure that marriage equality gets passed this legislative session.
According to Gallup, polls of the American public indicate that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans approve of the military action that killed Osama bin Laden but apparently a majority of Americans give most of the credit to the military and the CIA, not President Bush or President Obama (which to my mind, is as it should be). It also helps to explain (besides the terrible economy) why President Obama's job approval ratings have not seen a significant jump since the news of Osama’s death, and are still mired in the mid 40’s (which even I find a bit surprising, I figured he’d at least get a baby bump in the polls from it).