Monthly Archives: October 2009

>LGBT History Month: This Is Us

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I remember reading this Letter to The Editor in the Sacramento Bee when I lived in California, and it always stuck with me. The writer was writing in response to another Letter in which homosexuality was called a ‘soul-deadening’ perversion.

This is that writer’s response:

Is homosexuality a ‘soul-deadening’ perversion? Let’s try an experiment:
I’m going to rip out the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling; burn Handel’s Messiah; slash the Mona Lisa; bury Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’; incinerate every Tchaikovsky score; torch every Greta Garbo film; ban every Bessie Smith song; and grind every Marlene Dietrich performance to dust.
Then we can evaluate what kind of ‘soul-deadening’ world we would live in without gay people.

So, here we are, the last day of LGBT History Month and I thought I’d put up a snapshot or two of who we are as a community. And when you hear or read that being gay is an awful thing, that we are all going to hell because of who we love, when we don’t deserve the same rights and privileges as every other American, remember where we came from, who we were, who we are, and who will will be…..

This is us:














Larry Kramer, Suze Orman, Jared Polis, George Takei; Ian McKellan, Cole Porter, Alan Turing, Dan Solmonese; Paul Monette, Andy Warhol, Peter Paige, Alice B. Toklas; Tracy Chapman, Matthew Shepard, Esera Tuaolo, Neil Patrick Harris; Marc Shaiman, Wanda Sykes, Rudy Galindo, Dave Koz; Martina Navritilova, Bob Paris, Rosie O’Donnell, Greg Louganis; T.R. Knight, James Whale, Dale Peck, Gregory Maguire; Dan Matthews, Rufus Wainwright, Bishop Gene Robinson, David Hyde Pierce; Margaret Mead, RuPaul, Randy Shilts, David Sedaris; Ethan Morrden, Mark Pocan, Vito Russo, Ned Rorem; Charles Perez, Gertrude Stein, Gore Vidal, Jimmy Somerville; Bill T. Jones, Christopher Isherwood, Andrew Holleran, Rock Hudson; Chaz Bono, Thomas Mann, Barney Frank, Cleve Jones; Kelly McGillia, Stephen McCauley, Bruce Vilanch, Tab Hunter; James Dale, Thom Gunn, David Cicciline, Walt Whitman; Judy Gold, Tom Ford, Frida Kahlo, Ellen DeGeneres; Alberta Hunter, Lily Tomlin, Noel Coward, Sam Harris; Nathan Lane, Janis Joplin, Bessie Smith, George Michael; Alan Cumming, Harvey Fierstein, Sara Gilbert, Ma Rainey; Harry Hay, Anthony Perkins, George Nader, Sheila Kuehl; Dan Choi, Oscar Wilde, David Hockney, Candace Gingrich; Lea DeLaria, Armistead Maupin, Joe Orton, B.D. Wong; William Haines, k.d. lang, Ramon Navarro, Pedro Zamora; Quentin Crisp, Caesar Romero, Felice Picano, Cherry Jones; Tom Ammiano, John Barrowman, Bryan Batt, Kate Clinton; Mario Cantone, Michael Callan, Robert Gant, Willa Cather; Harvey Milk, Tallulah Bankhead, Edward Albee, Angela Davis; Rudolph Nureyev, Cynthia Nixon, Edmund White, Liberace; Montgomery Clift, Ian Roberts, Stephen Fry, Jodie Foster…..

……..and the march goes on….

On This Day In LGBT History

October 31, 1968 – Silent film star Ramon Novarro was found murdered. A bathroom mirror had the words “US GIRLS ARE BETTER THAN FAGGITS” smeared with blood. Hustler Paul Ferguson and his brother Tom Ferguson were convicted of the murder and both received life sentences. During the trial, Novarro’s sexual orientation was called into question with more vigor than the guilt or innocence of the defendants.
October 31, 1969 – Time magazine ran a cover story on “The Homosexual in America” that included a report on the Stonewall Riots. It was protested by the Gay Liberation Front because the writer said homosexuals are mentally ill and immoral.
October 31, 1977 – Halloween brings thousands of queer-bashers to Toronto’s Yonge Street looking for the annual drag parade. Gay representatives meet with police beforehand to try to prevent crowd from gathering. Operation Jack-o’-Lantern, a gay street patrol is organized to monitor situation but police do little to control crowd.
October 31, 1980 – For the first time, Toronto police do not allow queer-bashers and spectators to congregate outside St Charles Tavern to wait for drag queens. Traffic and pedestrians are kept moving with help of large numbers of police officers. Not a single egg thrown.
October 31, 1987 – The Associated Press reported that several nursing homes in King County Washington were under investigation for refusing to accept AIDS patients or those suspected of being likely to have been exposed to HIV.
October 31, 1992 – The coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights held a march in London.

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Filed under LGBT, LGBT History Month, LGBT Pride

>PR 6 EP 11: Create A Companion Piece

>The challenge [such as it was] this week was to create a companion piece for a design they’d already created this season. it was the PR6EP11ReBoot Show, I guess. There wasn’t a better challenge, like oh I don’t know, create something that at least resembles fashion and doesn’t look like you took your Mood Money to Target and shopped the half-off rack?
Just sayin‘.
Let’s rip…..

Althea created this look based on a hideous miniskirt she designed a few years ago during her drunk and stoned phase that looked to be about the size of a cocktail napkin….that had been sitting under a gin-and-tonic for about twenty minutes. And I could be wrong, but isn’t that a Snuggie with the bottom cut off?
Althea spent a good deal of the episode bitching because she hates Logan–he of the Shiny Pants–and thought he was ripping off her Christina Aguilera design from Episode something-or-other. She and Irina kvetched and moaned about Logan. They want him and are jealous because he won’t slip out of the glitter drawers for them.
Anywhore [thanks DD] she won.


Irina created this companion piece to her winning Aspen look from the soon to be released John Denver Rocky Mountain High Collection at a Belks near you.
Meh. The dress is too tight; Nina was right on. And the sweater looks like a remix of the Aspen sweater, although Irina, after commiserating with Althea about the alleged Shiny Pants Design Thief, threw Althea under the bus for, she says, stealing her sweater design.
Logan calls her irina Meana.
She scares me.
I love her.

And here we have Carol Hannah’s companion piece for her winning Christina Aguilera sequins-and-feathers extravaganza. It’s cute, I’ll give her that, and the judges, especially the bottom-of-the-barrel-because-I’ve-never-heard-of-her celebrity judge liked the pockets since they were young and flirty.

Pockets? Young? Flirty?
Well, then, my Osh Kosh Bigosh overalls are downright sexy!

Christopher. Christopher. Christopher.

He suffers from a case of I-don’t-know-when-to-quit-so-let-me-sew-a-few-more-pieces-of-fabric-on-this-dress-itis. From the knees up, it’s okay, but I swear to God I thought her slip, or, um, slips, were falling down. That mess of cheap cotton sheeting pleated at the bottom just screams NO.
But then, maybe it’s a trend in Minnesota.


And then here’s the salute to all things zippered mess that got Logan auf’d. He even wore the Shiny Pants but the magic had faded. It looks a little cocktail-waitress-at-the-Spacely-Sprockets-after-work-lounge.
But, what I loved is that last week the judges told him to turn up the volume and he gave them this, prompting them to say he should have edited it down. So, I guess they want you to go crazy and then take it all apart and make it look like Grandma’s housecoat.
And, speaking of Grandma’s housecoat, this is the look that I thought should be auf’d, and packed and gone, and been eliminated from the race.

Gordana’s little Prague Schoolteacher outfit. It’s sad, it’s drab, I found myself weeping uncontrollably. She called it edgy and all I could think of was pushing it, and her, off the edge of a cliff in Hungary.
This is forthcoming from Gordana’a upcoming Salute To Misery Line, available at fine Ace Hardwares everywhere.
But then, it happened. As I took a second look at Gordana’s handiwork….or perhaps it’s more footiwork…..I realized I’d seen it done before, and better.
Here:

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Filed under Bob, Lifetime, Project Runway, Rant, Reality TV, TV

>Chaz Bono On Gender Reassignment

>I don’t know Chaz Bono, never met him, but I can say that I am quite proud of him, and anyone, who realizes that perhaps a mistake has been made, and that years of living in a body that didn’t feel ‘right’ can be changed. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in a body that you don’t believe is yours; it must make you question every single thing about yourself. So, I’m glad he’s talking about this. It shouldn’t be taboo. I wish him well.


On making the decision to undergo surgery:
“It wasn’t a sudden decision. I’ve been doing therapy for a long time. It’s a long process going back almost a decade. I got clean and sober in 2004 and I couldn’t have done this before that. I always felt like the male from the time I was a child. There wasn’t much feminine about me. I believe that gender is something between your ears not between your legs…It was just a long process of being comfortable enough to do something about it. I was turning 40 and I thought it’s now or never. I want to still feel vibrant and be able to enjoy my life in a male body and not wait until I am an old man.”

On taking male hormones and “top surgery”:
“I started in March. It lowered my voice. Fat redistributes, muscle growth, hair growth, sex drive increases. It doesn’t change anything mentally and emotionally. [I’m] still not anywhere near what I will look like but really for the first time I am feeling much more comfortable with how I look physically. Most people call it top surgery. The construction of the male chest from a female chest. When I went through puberty and started to grow breasts, it was very uncomfortable and emotional.”

On the changing process:
“I will be changing for about 4 to 5 years in total but I’ll be on testosterone for the rest of my life. The nice thing about this process is it is slow. I am literally going through puberty. I shave about once a week now. It kind of started to come in just like peach fuzz. I always wanted to shave. It is a very natural process. For my birthday I got a lot of shaving stuff.”

On why he’s going public with his personal decision:
“[I’m] trying to use my life experience to educate people. I feel more like myself more than I ever felt. I feel happier and more confident. I used to live most of my life in my head because I was so uncomfortable in my body. The most important thing about this for me is that my outsides are finally starting to match my insides. I feel like I’m living in my body for the first time and it feels really good.”

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Filed under Chaz Bono, Gender Reassignment, Quotes

>Bea Gives Back

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I posted something about this before, about how the Ali Forney Center, a center dedicated to helping homeless LGBT youth, planned to purchase a building to house 12 youths and name it honor of Bea Arthur because of her commitment and dedication to LGBT causes.

Well, now comes word that Bea Arthur has left $300,000.00 to the Ali Forney Center.

In a statement, they said: .

“We work with hundreds of young people who are rejected by their families because of who they are. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that Bea saw that LGBT youth deserve as much love and support as any other young person, and that she placed so much value in the work we do to protect them, and to help them rebuild their lives.”

Right On, Bea!

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Filed under Bea Arthur, Homelessness

>LGBT History Month: "The Puppy Episode"

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“The Puppy Episode.”

It sounds completely innocent, and perhaps that was the reason for the title, but it turned out to be anything but……It was the episode of the TV show Ellen, when Ellen Morgan comes out of the closet. And brought Ellen DeGeneres with her.

Ellen had been on for three years, and both Ellen DeGeneres and the writers and producers, were unhappy with the lack of focus in the show. It wasn’t the usual single-girl-sitcom-about-the-trials-and-tribulations-of-dating; one producer suggested that since Ellen Morgan showed no inclination toward dating, she should get a puppy.

Executive producer Mark Driscoll: “It was an indication of just how lost the show was that network executives would be excited by Ellen buying a puppy.” But then it took on a life of it’s own, and soon “The Puppy Episode” was born, though it had nothing to do with dogs.

In the summer of 1996 DeGeneres and the shows other writers began negotiating with ABC, and its parent company Disney, to have Ellen Morgan come out during season four. Word of the secret negotiations leaked in September of that year, sparking a storm of speculation as to whether the character, the actress, or both would come out.

Disney rejected the first draft of the script, though not because it would be controversial; Disney exec Dean Valentine said the story did not go far enough. With Disney fully onboard, “The Puppy Episode” was written, and ABC announced on March 3, 1997 that Ellen Morgan would be coming out.

But all wasn’t happy and, well, gay, at the time. Believe it or not, there were some people who were upset that Ellen Morgan was going to utter those words….”I’m gay.” The studio received bomb threats and phone calls came in declaring that anyone and everyone associated with that show would be going to Hell. And even people in the entertainment industry questioned the need for Ellen Morgan to come out.

Ellen DeGeneres: “I did it selfishly for myself and because I thought it was a great thing for the show, which desperately needed a point of view.”

DeGeneres began dropping hints in the episodes leading up to “The Puppy Episode” that she was planning to come out on the show and in real life, including such sight gags as opening the show with Ellen Morgan actually coming out of a closet; and DeGeneres even kissed k.d. lang while presenting her with an award at a Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center function in early 1997.

Finally, in April 1997, came the Time magazine cover, featuring Ellen DeGeneres uttering the words, “Yep, I’m Gay.” Ellen, and then-girlfriend-and-future-crazy Anne Heche, appeared on Oprah the day “The Puppy Episode”aired to discuss their relationship.

Ellen was out. And Ellen was out.

“The Puppy Episode” and Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out generated enormous publicity before the show even aired. Right-wing-nut groups like the American Family Association [AFA] pressured ABC to drop the storyline and urged Ellen sponsors not to advertise. Two such advertisers, J. C. Penney and Chrysler, decided not to buy time during the episode, and another, Wendy’s, decided not to advertise on Ellen ever again.

This was just twelve years ago, people.

Of course, even asshat Jerry Falwell had to get in the picture, and took to calling Ellen DeGeneres, “Ellen Degenerate”, to which DeGeneres responded, “I’ve been getting that since the fourth grade. I guess I’m happy I could give him work.”

Still, support for Ellen and Ellen was huge. GLAAD organized “Come Out With Ellen” house parties, and the Human Rights Campaign [HRC] created “Ellen Coming Out House Party” kits that included invitations, posters and an Ellen trivia game. HRC initially planned to send out 300 kits, but response was overwhelming, and they upped that number to over 3,000.

When ABC affiliate WBMA in Birmingham, Alabama, citing that old chestnut “family values”, asked for the networks permission to air the show in a late-night slot, ABC refused; the affiliate then refused to air the episode at all and the local LGBT organization Pride Birmingham arranged for a satellite feed of the episode and rented a 5,000-seat theatre for a viewing party, which sold out. Activists in Abilene, Texas circulated a petition requesting that their affiliate, KTXS, not air the episode but were unsuccessful.

“The Puppy Episode” was the highest-rated episode ever of Ellen, drawing some 42 million viewers; it won an Emmy for Best Comedy Writing, and won a Peabody Award for Excellence in Television, and a GLAAD Media Award.

Ellen Morgan’s coming out has been described as “the most hyped, anticipated, and possibly influential gay moment on television” and is credited with paving the way for such LGBT-themed shows such as Will and Grace, The L Word, Ugly Betty and others. It has also been suggested that Ellen and these other series have helped to reduce societal prejudice against LGBT people.

Following “The Puppy Episode”, Ellen was renewed for another season, but ABC, possibly faced with more advertisers withdrawing, began to preface each episode with a parental advisory warning. DeGeneres criticized the network for including the warnings, telling Entertainment Weekly: “It was like this voice like you’re entering some kind of radiation center. It was very offensive, and you don’t think that’s going to affect ratings?”

DeGeneres further noted hypocrisy on the part of ABC which aired episodes of The Drew Carey Show and Spin City, featuring two men kissing, with no disclaimers at all. Was it because the men, and their characters were heterosexual, and so the joke was okay?

So, many say, Ellen DeGeneres took it a step further. Episodes after “The Puppy Episode” dealt almost solely with LGBT issues: Ellen coming out to her parents and boss, quitting her job at the bookstore and finding a series of new jobs, searching for a girlfriend, and learning more about the LGBT community. Even some members of the LGBT community criticized this new Ellen. Chastity Bono, working for GLAAD at the time, was quoted as saying, “[Ellen] is so gay it’s excluding a large part of our society. A lot of the stuff on it is somewhat of an inside joke. It’s one thing to have a gay lead character, but it’s another when every episode deals with specific gay issues.” Bono would later say her comments were taken out of context.

Ellen was canceled after its fifth season.

With the cancellation of Ellen, DeGeneres went back to stand-up comedy, where she had begun her career, and returned to television in 2001 with the short-lived The Ellen Show, in which her character Ellen Richmond was openly lesbian from the start. She has since found enormous success with her talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Speaking of “The Puppy Episode”and it’s aftermath, DeGeneres said, “It was a huge step in my life. I think people sensed the honesty in it. I think it helped a lot of people, and still to this day I hear about parents and children being able to have an honest conversation through watching that show. That’s ultimately what television can be: It can get conversations started.”

I agree. I was out, way out, when this show aired, but I teared up when Ellen Morgan uttered those words, because I had teared up the first time I uttered them. And I teared up because this was one of the first times I had seen one of ‘us’ on TV who wasn’t a joke, or a villain, or dying of AIDS. It was a gay character, just a normal gay character. And I’ll always remember the one line I loved even more than the coming out line; it happens when Ellen Morgan tells her therapist that no one gives you a cake with the words “Good For You, You’re Gay” on it. And when she finally admits that she is gay, her therapist says those words to her.

I say that to everyone I know who’s come out since that show aired:

“Good for you. You’re gay.”

And the march goes on.

On This Day In LGBT History

October 30, 1976 – The first gay civil rights group in Quebec, Association pour les droits de la communauté gaie du Québec (ADGQ) is formed.
October 30, 1987– A panel discussion on gays and the constitution was held during the inauguration of the new Lesbian and Gay Studies Center at Yale University.
October 30, 1992 – New Ways Ministry, a Mt. Rainier Maryland group led by three Roman Catholic bishops, announced it would release a statement of disagreement with the Vatican’s call for gays and lesbians to be barred from becoming adoptive or foster parents, teachers, coaches, or military personnel. 1,500 lay persons signed the statement.

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Filed under Ellen Degeneres, LGBT, LGBT History Month, TV

>Buh-Bye

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I loved Top Chef last night because I loved Mike Isabella’s smug-ass-smart-mouth-arrogant-know-it-all comments about how he could “do” vegetarian and win.

“My restaurant does 60 dishes and 20 are vegetarian, so I got this.”

“My mom used to cook vegetarian for us, so I got this.”

And then, when the judges denounce his “leeks as scallops” play on vegetarianism, and he says the rest of the dish was good, the judges simply say “No.”

I.Loved.It.

And even more than that, I loved watching him pack his smarmy-smug-ass-arrogant-know-it-all knives and go.

Before Robin.

Whatever whatever Mike. It is what is is.

Buh-bye.

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Filed under Bravo, Top Chef

>The Nudie V The Quitter

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The coming-soon-to-a-centerfold near you, Levi Johnston, is talking Palin again. he says Palin often refers to her Down Syndrome child as her little retard”, and that she’s a horrible mother and blibbety-blah-blay-blue what’s new.
Now, of course, the Lipstick-On-A-Pitbull, the Quitter From Up North, the Maverick-Gone-Rogue, has a response, and, well, here goes:
“We have purposefully ignored the mean spirited, malicious and untrue attacks on our family. We, like many, are appalled at the inflammatory statements being made or implied. Trig is our ‘blessed little angel’ who knows it and is lovingly called that every day of his life…CBS should be ashamed for continually providing a forum to propagate lies. Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies — those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention.”

I love how The Quitter says she has “purposefully ignored”the gossip and slurs hurled at her family, because….she hasn’t. She’s talking here almost an instant after Levi uttered the words, just like she chose not to ignore David Letterman’s bad joke about her daughter. The fact is, Asshat, you talk about it to get a wee bit more attention for the book you “wrote.” If, and it’s a big if because you are the media whore to end all media whores, if you choose to ignore the meanness, you’d take the high road and keep your mouth shut.
And of course she has to bring in CBS because that’s where she was asked what she reads [remember she didn’t know] and where Letterman works. She has it in for CBS until, oh wait, that book she “wrote” comes out and then you can bet her large mouth will be speaking from the Eye Network.
And then she calls out Levi for selling his body for money. Well, I’m no fan of Levi, but really he’s just selling pictures of his body. You, Ex-Governor Asshat, sold your family and that little chunk of blackness where your soul would be, if you had one, for a shot at the White House.
And let us not forget, it’s because of you that you missed your shot at the White House.
Now begone, Asshat, before someone drops a house on you.

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Filed under Levi Johnston, Mama Grizzly Bore