Showing posts with label Politics is Personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics is Personal. Show all posts

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Urge, Overkill

[Photo by AP]

I try to keep things pop culture related and relatively light here most of the time. This is for fun, after all. But you cannot deny the culture part attached to the pop we so enjoy. I’ve watched with more and more appall as news has out of Ferguson, MO this week. The unwarranted tragedy of police shooting and killing an unarmed 18-year-old black teen named Mike Brown has been made exponentially worse by the absolutely bananas law enforcement response to protesters. Combat gear. Armored vehicles. Tear gas. Flash bombs. Assault rifles. FUCKING SNIPERS. All pointed at citizens of the United States of America exercising their First Amendment right of the people peaceably to assemble.

An alderman thrown in jail. A state senator tear-gassed. Two reporters arrested. And if they’ll do that to those folks, think what they do to everyone else? Yes, there has been some, isolated violence. Yes, I believe police have a responsibility to serve and protect. But this is not how you calm and control lawful citizens. So what if people are angry? They should be angry. This response is overkill. This response is unacceptable. Did anything look like this when Clive Bundy and his nutso armed-to-the teeth militia wouldn’t pay grazing fees he rightfully owed the government? Nope. And all these pictures were just from yesterday. Hell, this is the police response I’d expect for a hostile alien invasion, not people engaged in legal protest. There’s so much left to do. Thanks for letting me vent. May today be a better day in America, and the world.

[Photo by @ryanjreilly]

[Photo by AP]

[Photo by @PDPJ]

[Photo by @kodacohen]

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ice, Ice, Baby

Good morning, kittens. Are you awake? Are you sleepy? I’m sleepy. So how about a bucket of ice water to wake you up? Oh, not, not on you. That would be rude. How about a bucket of ice water on Rachel Maddow. Yes, Lesbian Nerd Heartthrob Rachel Maddow. Yeah, now you’re awake. The ice water trick is part of this celebrity Ice Bucket Challenge for charity. Rachel will explain the details herself. But needless to say it’s for a good cause and she also gets to throw down a challenge to Liz Cheney. So, really, it’s a wonky nerd dream come true. Happy Monday!

Friday, August 01, 2014

My Weekend Crush

[H/T to Beyonce Voter for the image]

From the Voting Rights Act decision to the Hobby Lobby debacle, our three ladies of the Supreme Court have decidedly not taking this shit lying down. In particular, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is having none of these basic boy bitches on the court. (That means you, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy.) It’s a very frustrating time to be a woman and not a corporation in America. Justice Ginsburg has been the fiercest in her official dissents in both the Voting Rights Act and Hobby Lobby decisions. You can practically feel the heat from her righteous rage coming off the page.

But the one small consolation is Justice Ginsburg and the rest of our lady Supremes are just as frustrated. And, just like us, they turn to (or at least appreciate) the humor which we turn to to feel better about our situation. So much so that she knows about her Internet nickname, The Notorious R.B.G., and LOVES IT. She also loves its accompanying Tumblr and has watched all those feminist rap songs people have made about her on YouTube. You can see her full multi-part interview with Katie Couric here. Oh hell yeah, I’m getting a T-shirt. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Back home again in Indiana

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that my home state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. So now, in Indiana, one of the reddest of red states in the union, gays and lesbians began saying “I do” legally. I’ve lived for well over a decade now in California, a state known for its progressive politics. (Though, dude, Iowa beat us by four years – tsk, tsk. My journey is mirrored by countless LGBT people in America. Grow up in a conservative place, long to live in one of our so-called meccas, leave as soon as you can. After college, my goal was to get to a coast. That the West Coast came calling first was almost chance, but I happily took it. Leaving Indiana for California was a complete flipping of my previous political environment. Here, the right wing huddles angrily in the minority, not the other way around.

In the life of this transplanted Midwestern girl there has been a beautiful symmetry at work in this steady march toward full equality. In 2008, my adopted home state of California in June 2008. Pride month, of course. There was the ugly blight of Proposition 8,but then five years later on June 27, 2013 same-sex marriages began once more, for keeps, thanks the Supreme Court ruling invalidating Prop. 8 for good. And now, here we are once again in June just days away from Pride, and a the courts once again have said let now unconstitutional law tear asunder what love has made obvious in my former home state of Indiana. So, it seems, you can go home again after all.

As the moral arc of history begins to bend its bright rainbow over more and more of this country (20 states and counting), one has to wonder if the narrative of LGBT kids might start to shift, just a little. While the big cities and liberal communities will always beckon, there is an undeniable satisfaction in knowing that staying home is becoming a better, safer option as well. There will always be more liberal and more conservatives pockets of this country. We are a nation deeply divided by party and politics. But whether you vote red or blue, it shouldn’t matter because the white of our constitution need to protect and respect all of us. And with each new judgment and each new law, we are getting there. Both my homes, separated by so many miles and so much ideology, say so. Congratulations, Hoosier state. So, next time I visit, I’ll know how happy I will feel to be back home again in Indiana.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Are you ready for some football

Just in case you have not had your Monday morning cry yet, here is Michael Sam receiving the news her has been drafted by the St. Louis Rams, making him the first out gay player in the NFL. Bonus for kissing his boyfriend, Vito, live on ESPN afterward. Guess I have to root for the Rams now.

Friday, May 09, 2014

My Weekend Crush

Hey, remember a few years ago (2011, to be exact) when I talked about this cool “Self Evident Truths” photography project? It was the one artist iO Tillett Wright was crisscrossing the nation taking pictures of LGBTQ people, remember? Well, guess what, it’s still happening – and it has gotten bigger. iO is still taking pictures and has now expanded her goal to 10,000 faces with it all culminating in an instillation on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It’s ambitious, for sure. And it needs your help to happen. So far more than 4,200 people have been photographed. To reach its new goal, the project is looking for people to sponsor each face in the form of a $20 “We Are You” T-shirt. (If you’re wondering where all the money is going, the site has a comprehensive breakdown here.) You can also still pose for the project. The touring schedule is here. Do a cool deed, get a cool shirt. Kind of win-win, no? Happy weekend, all.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Weekend Crush

So yesterday someone threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton while she was giving a speech in Las Vegas. She wasn’t hurt, or hit, and the offending hurler was promptly arrested. But afterward our former Secretary of State and current Coolest Lady on the Planet was quick with a joke. And, kittens, what a joke it was.

“Thank goodness she didn’t play softball like I did.”

That’s right, suckers, our future President of the United States played softball. I feel like this is important information I should have already know. I feel like a little bit less of a lesbian for not knowing it. But now that I know, I will cherish this information forever. Man, do I want this lady to be the leader of the free world. I am so ready for Hillary. Happy weekend, all.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Weekend Crush

Raise your teacup. Marriage equality is the law of the land in the United Kingdom. At the stroke of midnight, like a freaking Disney movie, same-sex marriage became legal in Britain. (England and Wales, at least. Scotland starts later this year. And Northern Ireland, well. Yeah.) The UK adds to the 15 countries who now recognize same-sex marriage – Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and Uruguay. Yeah. Kind of ridiculous screaming, “We’re No. 1!” now isn’t it, America?

Anyway, grumbles aside, what I love about each new country, each new state, each new couple who gets to experience the simple equality of love is how truly, deeply, madly joyous it all is. I mean, if you can’t be happy at a wedding, then you truly aren’t worthy of being a human being, are you? Three cheers for love. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Just click on the Vine to make the cheering stop looping, in case you were getting too verklempt.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chasing the Gay Dollar

So, you might have heard that Russia, the country hosting the Sochi Winter Olympics, is a little anti-gay. You might have also heard a lot of people are boycotting watching the games (like lesbian fandom dreamgirl Zoie Palmer, for instance) and others are protesting in other ways (rainbow unicorn mittens of solidarity) and still other companies have made their own statements (AT&T and Google were early out of the gate). While companies have tailored ads for LGBT events, publications, etc. Now there have been a handful of commercials that have put their inclusiveness where their advertising dollars are in the mainstream. There was that cheeky Canadian ad with the lugers. (Oh, Canada, indeed!) And now Chevy, Coke and Chobani (above) have all created LGBT-positive advertisements, which have all been released during the Olympics. These sorts of gestures often make me feel torn. On the one hand, amazing – so fucking amazing that finally we’re being represented in mainstream culture in something as All-American (yes, yes – I know, they are global brands) as Chevy and Coke. On the other hand, is it just a crass way to use the LGBT audience as another consumer pawn to be played in search of the almighty dollar? Though, I guess being seen as just a capitalist tool is in a way its own victory. If inclusiveness and diversity is seen as a way to make money, I guess I’ll take it. So gay sells now? It’s better than the opposite, that’s for sure.



p.s. Here’s a Norwegian ad which premiered the same day as the Sochi opening ceremonies and features some prominent sports stars.

p.p.s. Interesting that major corporations are jumping on the LGBT bandwagon for the Olympics, but the major sporting organization of the NFL (particularly its anonymous cowards) can’t get on board with an out prospect and potentially the first out professional football player. Go, Michael Sam, go. Suck it, NFL.

Friday, February 07, 2014

My Weekend Olympics

I am an admitted Olympics junkie. I love them. I love the pageantry. I love the drama. I love the passion. I love the hot athletes. Without fail I always get a little choked up during Opening Ceremonies because it represents the culmination of a lifelong dreams and a lifetime of hard work.

But this Olympics? Dammit if they’re not trying to break up with me before we’ve even started dating. What with its kidnapping of wild orcas, killing of stray dogs and warnings to visitors about “dangerous face water.” Oh, right, and there is also all that terrible mistreatment and persecution of LGBT people. Faster. Higher. Stronger. Fewer Civil Rights. Ugh. It is just so fucking awful.

This is the first Olympics which I have truly, unshakably mixed emotions going into. Certainly, there were questions about human rights issues with Beijing. But Sochi has had so many that are so well documented they’re practically impossible to ignore. And they’re kind of ruining everything. The illusion that the Olympics are about the purity of sports and talent was shattered long ago. But it’s still nice to hope that we can rise above the geopolitical posturing, rampant consumerism and endless corporate sponsorship to appreciate the thrill of human accomplishment.

The good news is the world is watching. NBC kicked off its Olympics coverage tonight with Bob Costas mentioning Russia’s anti-gay climate in the first few seconds of broadcast last night. And there was an in-depth discussion of the civil rights issues in the country (with the even more depressing stat from a veteran Russian journalist that 85 percent of the country is virulently homophobic). And while most corporate sponsors have stayed silent, AT&T was the first major corporate sponsor to take a stand against the country’s anti-gay laws. And yesterday Google posted took an unmistakable stand on its homepage (as well as its Russian homepage). I swear to God, I got genuinely choked up looking at my search engine yesterday.

So, starting today, we’re all faced with a choice. Watch the Olympics, don’t watch the Olympics? Boycott Russian vodka? Toast with some Stoli, baby? Hard to say what will be most effective. I’ve decided I’m still going to watch. I’m going to cheer for these athletes because they deserve to be cheered for. But I’m also going to continue to advocating for change, continue shedding a light on Russia’s oppressive anti-gay laws (and other general bumblefuckery). And I hope more athletes, sponsors and world leaders do the same. Perhaps the glare of the international spotlight will do some good, or at very least expose all that is wrong. Perhaps the torch can shine some light into some dark places. In fact, I think it has an obligation to do so. In the end, you don’t have to love Sochi to still love the Olympic spirit. Go, world. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Oh, and I have a few thought on the ridiculous hypocrisy of having fake lesbian Russia pop duo t.A.T.u. play at the opening ceremonies tonight as well, if you’re so inclined to care click over here.

p.p.s. When not rooting for Team USA, I will be rooting for Team Canada. A little gay indeed, eh.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Somebody up there likes us

Yesterday was the 41 anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Yet still the assault on women’s reproductive rights continues unabated. I don’t know what it is exactly about women being in control of our own bodies that drives the Far Right so crazy. Perhaps it’s the crazy concept that we’re human beings with our own minds, hearts and agency that they just can’t wrap their heads around. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s it. And we haven’t even touched on the hypocrisy that puts an unborn fetus above all else, including that same child once it is born and its mother if they have the nerve to be poor and happen to need some additional assistance for luxuries like food and housing. Also, don’t even mention preventing pregnancies in the first place with comprehensive sex education and access to birth control in the first place.

Anyway, all of this is a very long way of saying Sarah Silverman has been totally killing it of late. I mean, I’ve always admired her even if her humor hasn’t always been my total, um, thing. But her social commentary has been always been particularly razor-sharp and recently very impressive. Not to mention hilarious. She is an unwavering feminist and champion of a woman’s right to choose. Like, take her chat yesterday with Jesus. Sure, it might not convince the wingnuts. But for everyone else, it is the very definition of “good talk.”

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Big Gay Middle Finger

You know how I like to start a new year (well, besides a boxful of puppies)? I like to express a little righteous indignation. And this being the beginning of 2014 and 2014 being an Olympic year, the two naturally come together. I still have mixed feelings about the Sochi Winter Olympics. On the one hand, I love watching the sheer skill of these elite athletes who spend a lifetime working toward this accomplishment. On the other hand, Russia’s oppressive policies toward LGBT people can kiss my big gay ass. So what can we do? Boycott the games, boycott their vodka, boycott winter? I don’t pretend to have the perfect answer. But I do know continuing to shed light on their backward politics is important. And, if we can do that with a little humor and a lot of gay-iety, all the better. So let Kate McKinnon as Billie Jean King be the big gay middle finger of us all. Righteous laughter, indeed. p.s. “Saturday Night Live” should use Kate more. Like, way more. Like, all the time.

Monday, December 30, 2013

First Robin of Winter

Make that The Out Nine. On Sunday longtime broadcast journalist and popular “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts officially came out – via Facebook, no less. Yep, it’s officially the year of unconventional, nonchalant outings. The 53-year-old has not commented publicly on her personal life until now. But, like with so many of the famous women who came out in 2013, most people had know – or assumed – about Robin for years.

In her Sunday Facebook post she reflected on the past year and what she is grateful for. Among them, she listed “my long time girlfriend, Amber.”

“I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”
ABC News confirmed Amber is Amber Laign, who has been in a 10-year relationship with Robin. I’m incredibly happy for Robin and Amber, but acknowledgements like these always make me a little sad, too. While I have no doubt that Robin was open with her family and friends and probably co-workers about her relationship with Amber, it took 10 years for her to tell the rest of the world. It’s just a reminder that closet doesn’t only hurt the people inside of it.

Over the years Robin has built an award-winning career as both a sportscaster and news reporter. And besides being a newly inducted official member of the LGBT community, she also forever has a place in LGBT history as the journalist President Barack Obama chose to sit down with the express his support of marriage equality in May 2012.

Robin has also let the public into her private health struggles, first with breast cancer and in the last few years with diagnosis and treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome. Her Facebook post touches on that, how a year ago she celebrated 100 days since her bone marrow transplant. (Side note: reflective end-of-the-year coming out, let’s make this a thing!)

What makes her acknowledgement extra special is that not only is this another talented and respected woman, this is a woman America admires and invites into their living rooms every single morning. So thank you, Robin. Being grateful for those we love out loud matters, and coming out always matters. Oh, and score another awesome addition to Team Rainbow. Oh, and one more side note, damn girl looks good for 53 - or any age, actually.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Era of Edie

As the days dwindle down in 2013, it’s time to do that retrospective thing we humans love to do. And, given my activities this past weekend, I thought I’d pay some renewed respect to our gal Edie. Of course, we all know her story by now and her Edie vs. the Goliath of the United States of America victory. And she was rightfully the third runner-up for Time Person of the Year this year. Yet still, it’s stunning to think how one 84-year-old woman has changed the world, and will continue changing the world for the better for years to come. People have and will and still criticize our movement’s focus on marriage as one of our key battles. But I see it as our smartest possible fight. Because, make no mistake, love is transformative. And when you see it, it’s also impossible to deny. So then nothing inferior will do, no union or partnership or skim milk marriage will suffice. Only “I do” will do. And we certainly do love our Edie.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Kids say the darnedest things

Aw, kids. I don’t want any. But sometimes when I hear them speak I feel a little less worried about our future. Sometimes not. But today, yes. Also, my favorite comment was, “Isn’t it dangerous to stand on a bus?”

p.s. This was posted less than a week ago and there’s already a small correction. Now there are 15 states (well, as soon as the Illinois governor signs the bill, which he will) with full marriage equality.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Golden Love

So you’ve probably already seen this video. But if you haven’t, or you just like to rewatch ladies share loving kisses after winning gold medals, please enjoy. Or if you still have lingering warm fuzzy feelings about “The Cutting Edge,” but wish D.B. Sweeney stood for Danielle Bernard instead, this is the video for you. I’m still torn about what to do when the Sochi Olympics roll around. But I am not torn about how terrible the anti-LGBT laws in Russia are.

In a week when we had a victory in the Senate (vote coming on ENDA, though the House continues to be The Worst) and in Illinois (about to become No. 15 for marriage equality), we must not forget that the fight continues on all fronts and across all borders.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Get on the Love Bus

The secret about me is I am, deep down, a softie. And I love watching a good marriage proposal because who doesn’t like to have their little hearts grow three sizes in a day? This one has been making the rounds this week and gets points for the creative use of a bus and romantic use of Mumford & Sons* The Lumineers. It’s still a wonder to me that marriage equality is legal in so many states, including Washington – where this couple lives – and my own state. And, it seems we’re poised for even more (fingers crossed) victories in coming weeks. Which means, you guessed it, more wedding proposals for me to watch. Now I call that a win-win. Enjoy.

*Mixed up my old-timey, folk-rock hipster bands.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Stop This

I’m back from vacation. Yet our federal government remains shutdown. I actually ran into some shutdown services while vacationing. For me, they were nothing more than inconveniences. Though, man, am I glad we decided to go to the coast instead of Yosemite this trip. But for others the shutdown is a very real hardship. Funding for WIC nutrition program has dried up, meaning women and children who rely on the government assistance are going hungry. Funding for the National Institute of Health has stopped accepting new patients and conducting clinical trials on potentially life-saving treatments. Funding for our national parks has stopped, which means all of our national parks – including Yosemite – and monuments are closed. No EPA food checks, no federal small business loans, no NASA research and no paychecks for some 800,000 “non-essential” federal employees. I could go on.

Why? All because the Republican Party is throwing a temper tantrum about Obamacare. Something that was passed by both the House and Senate and signed into law. Don’t like a democratically approved law? Then try to repeal it through proper channels. Don’t hold the entire country hostage with the threat of not funding it and shutting down the government and possibly sending us into default by not raising the debt limit meanwhile costing us hundreds of millions a day and possibly billions before this whole power play is over. Oh, and all those representatives refusing to do their jobs? They’re still getting their paychecks while others suffer. It’s so fucking frustrating.

But as they say, if we don’t laugh we cry. So please enjoy Miley Cyrus’ dead-accurate “We Can’t Stop” parody. It’s beyond creepy and you’ll never get that image of professional Oompa Loompa John Boehner twerking in a white cut-out leotard bodysuit out of your head.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

You down with R.B.G.

It’s badass ladies of a certain age week here at Surrenders. So it’s already a true fact that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a certified badass. The 80-year-old (R.B.G. if you’re nasty) has been on the highest bench in the land for 20 years and in that time she has been a champion of women’s rights, abortion rights, gay rights and voting rights. If you recall, she asked the epic question during the DOMA hearings about skim milk marriage:
They (the 1,000-plus benefits offered to married couples under federal law) touch every aspect of life. Your partner is sick. Social Security. I mean, it's pervasive. It's not as though, well, there's this little federal sphere and it's only a tax question. ... And so he was really diminishing what the state has said is marriage. You’re saying, no, state marriage [is] the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage.
And she was, of course, among the majority who overturned DOMA and found the Prop. 8 proponents did not have the standing to bring the case and essentially overturning the proposition as well. And this weekend she became the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate a same-sex marriage. On Saturday she presided over the wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser and economist John Roberts. Factoid: R.B.G is a huge fan of opera and close friends with Kaiser. Another Factoid: R.B.G. will be conducting another same-sex wedding this month. Counter Factoid: Justice Clarence Thomas performed (one of) the weddings of radio windbag Rush Limbaugh. Yeah, now you’re even more down with R.B.G.

Also, you’ve got to love the snarky precision of some of her arguments. In writing the dissenting opinion of the Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act she wrote:
Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.
And when asked a couple of years ago how many women on the Supreme Court would be enough, she answered – naturally - nine:

Also, have I mentioned she beat cancer twice, has a penchant for lace gloves and has her own dedicated Tumblr blog called – what else – Notorious R.B.G.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

For Russia, With Hope

How do we solve a problem like Russia’s treatment of gays? The recent wave of political and physical violence against LGBT rights and people simply cannot be ignored. At a time when many other parts of the world are starting to finally embrace us fully as equal and worthy, Russia is going backwards with angry fists flying.

- Gay Pride parade banned in Russia for 100 years.
- Law against foreign LGBT couples adopting Russian children.
- Law against spreading “gay propaganda” to minors, effectively making it illegal to call same-sex and straight relationships equal.
- Anti-gay violence and attacks on the rise, including the targeting, torture and humiliation of gays online via social media.
Over the summer almost every attempt to hold peaceful Pride Parades or rallies have ended in violence, arrests and blood. It’s not pretty and it’s very real.

So now the question become, how does the LGBT community and its allies best protest these atrocities? How do we get this to stop? It’s not an easy question and there are no easy answers. It will all come to a head this winter when the Olympic Games come to Sochi, Russia. LGBT athletes and spectators will show up in a country that decidedly does not want them there. And us fans at home must decide how watching them in a backdrop filled with such hate.

So far, response has been varied. Some say boycott the Sochi Olympics. Others say don’t boycott the Sochi Olympics. Some say boycott Russian vodka. Others say don’t boycott Russian vodka. And Lady Gaga tweeted. Boycotts, backlashes and Gaga, oh my.

The truth is, there’s no one right way to make change. Boycotting the Olympics hurts the athletes who train a lifetime for their chance at glory. Boycotting Stoli hurts a company that has been incredibly LGBT friendly over its history. Not boycotting either sends a message of passive acceptance. Perhaps letting the Olympics proceed, but reporting on its human rights violations is the answer. Or drinking Stoli, yet pressuring its owners to put pressure on its mother country is the answer. More likely, all kinds of combinations of all kinds of responses, while always pressing for change, is the ultimate answer. What I know is we can’t stop talking about it, we can’t stop exposing it for what it is, we can’t stop supporting the brave LGBT people and allies in Russia who are facing jail, beatings and even death fighting for their rights. So I guess the only answer that isn’t an option is to close our eyes.