Monthly Archives: June 2010

>This Apple Fell Far From That Tree

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Y’all know about Fred Phelps, right? Westboro Baptist, um, semi-preacher? He, of the God Hates Fags signs? He who protests at the funerals of American soldiers?

Yeah, that asshat.

Well, turns out old Fred has a son, who spent a lifetime moving away from his father and is now speaking out about Freddy.

Nate Phelps, father of four and self-confessed atheist, now lives in Calgary, Canada, and is engaged to be married to his second wife. He spoke to the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail about what it was like growing up the son of such a hate-filled man:

“I don’t accept the argument that growing up in a twisted environment is what led me to atheism….I accept the argument that growing up in a hyper-focus-on-God environment led me to search for answers. There’s no doubt about that. And I do accept that there’s damage there….I just don’t see any evidence for a God. But I see plenty of evidence for good and evil in humans.”

Phelps did acknowledge that, after being raised by such a man as Fred Phelps, he feels the need for atonement, and the need to work out his feelings about his upbringing. These days, as part of what he calls his atonement, he speaks on the subject of his family and his father’s religion at both secularist and gay conventions. In fact, earlier this year he
returned to Topeka, Kansas, to speak at a gay rally, a move that “put him at the centre of his father’s hate campaign”.

Speaking on the subject of homosexuality, Nate Phelps said he understands that gay men and women don’t choose their sexuality, but did admit that the religious teachings of his father were “hard-wired” into his brain, and that even today he sometimes doubts his thoughts. He does concede that it isn’t intellectual thought that causes his doubt, but emotional thought that leaves him wondering.

After being raised by Fred Phelps, it’s no wonder that Nate still wonders; being brainwashed by one’s own parent can do that to a child, even a grown child. And Nate Phelps has had his share of suicidal thoughts and has battled depression, but he lives in hope, while his father lives in hate.

Nate Phelps is one of 16 of Fred Phelps’s children, two of whom have changed their names and turned their back on the family for good.

Sometimes, sometimes, good does come from evil.

You can read more about Nate Phelps, and his life, and trials, and struggles, as the son of hatred, on his website HERE.
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Filed under Nate Phelps, Religion, Uncategorized

>Art Wednesday

>European artist Sandrine Estrade Boulet finds inspiration just about everywhere.

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Filed under Art Wednesday, Sandrine Estrade Boulet

>NOM Is Going On Tour

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That’s right!

The NATIONAL Organization for Marriage is getting their tap shoes out of storage and taking their act on the road.

There will be clowns! Brian Brown.
There will be bearded ladies! Maggie Gallagher!

And there will be hate.

NOM is calling their extravaganza the Summer for Marriage Tour 2010, when in reality it’s a chance to spread fear, hate and misinformation around the eastern half of the United States.

I cannot imagine anything more fun than to attend a rally where your main goal is to discriminate against someone.

Reminds me of the old days and the KKK marching through town.
It’s hate.
Simple hate.
And they’re marketing it like a party.

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Filed under Anti-LGBT, Brian Brown, Discrimination, Hate, Maggie Gallagher, NOM

>It’s As If We Don’t Exist

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Forty-five years ago this month, four years before the Stonewall riots sparked what many consider the modern day LGBT Rights movement, a handful of men and women, dressed appropriately and politely, put their lives and their careers on the line to march in front of the White House carrying carefully hand-lettered signs demanding “First Class Citizenship for Homosexuals”.

Those men and women might be gone now, but their picket signs remain. And four years ago, those very signs were donated to The National Museum of American History because the fight for LGBT rights is history. But the signs were never displayed; no curator fashioned an exhibition. Those signs are stored in a vault at the Smithsonian.

The protest signs were donated to the Smithsonian by The Kameny Papers Project, funded in part by former Congressman Michael Huffington and other allies. The Kameny Papers Project is named for Frank Kameny, considered the still living father of the gay civil equality movement in Washington, D.C. [for those of you who don’t know, Frank Kameny led many such picket lines back in the day, and was subsequently fired by the federal government for being gay.]

And this makes one wonder how and why the Smithsonian chose to place these icons of the LGBT movement in a vault and keep them from the public eye? Well, the short answer is that it takes time for any museum, much less one the size and scope of the Smithsonian, to ready an exhibition.

But, more shocking than that, is the fact that if you are to visit The National Museum of American History today, you will find there is not one single gay or lesbian story told in the entire museum.

It’s as if we don’t exist. It’s as if we never existed.

Go there. You’ll see the struggle for Civil Rights, Equal Rights For Women, but no LGBT Rights on display. There are major exhibitions detailing “American Ideals”, “Public Opinion”, “Communities”, “The Price of Liberty”, “Culture” and “Science in the Public Eye,” but they make absolutely no reference whatever to LGBT Americans. Most disgusting of all, is that you won’t find a piece of the AIDS quilt, or any mention of LGBT involvement in politics, civics, culture or war.

It’s as if we don’t exist.

At least, within the confines of the Smithsonian.

The same year, however, that the Kameny Papers Project donated those early picket signs to the Smithsonian, they also gave some 50,000 items to The Library of Congress, and all of those items have been catalogued and are now fully available to anyone with a Library card.

In fact, this month, the Library of Congress will launch an innovative, new web portal that focuses on the Kameny archive, along with the papers of gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and other prominent writers and doers, with a very generous Introduction by our national Librarian James Billington.

The Library of Congress tells the stories of all Americans who helped build and define what this country is, and what it can be, while The National Museum of American History only tells the story of certain freedoms, and the fight for certain freedoms, from the abolition of slavery, to granting women the right to vote, to the African-American civil rights movement of the Sixties, to defending the rights of the disabled. But not the LGBT Rights movement.

It’s as if we don’t exist there.

It’s sad that such a place as the Smithsonian opts to omit our stories, which have been as much a part of the fabric of this country as the stories of anyone else. Because, while we are gay, we are men and women, Black and white, and every other color, and religion and age and ethnicity and, well, we are everyone.

But not in the Smithsonian.

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Filed under LGBT History, The Library Of Congress, The Smithsonian

>Here’s ONE Reason He’s So Hot

>Alexi Giannoulias on Equality:

4 Comments

Filed under Equality Illinois, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, Uncategorized, YouTube

>We Aren’t ALWAYS Right

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Brian Johnson, a Wisconsin evangelist, along with his wife and son, wanted to attend a Gay Pride celebration at a Minneapolis park to hand out Bibles, but Twin Cities Pride tried to stop him. So he had to sue to be able to do so.

And, while this may seem strange, coming from me, but, good for him.

I am not a particularly religious man. I have certain beliefs that do not pertain to any one organized religious movement. For me, religion, or spirituality, is a personal thing, and it doesn’t need a congregation, or a minister in a Mercedes, to be celebrated.

I am, however, also openly, militantly, proudly, gay, and I will defend gay rights at each and every turn. But this attempt to stop Brian Johnson from handing out Bibles has got me riled.

We want to be treated equally, as gay men and women; we want the rights, the benefits, the privileges afforded all Americans. We want simple equality.

And then we try to stifle this man’s right to Free Speech because he doesn’t like gay people, because he thinks homosexuality is a sin.

Well, guess what homos? He has that right. To believe what he chooses, to say what he wants, to dispense Bibles when and where he chooses, on public property.

Would I have taken his Bible? Doubtful.

But, I wouldn’t have denied him the right to hand them out. There are plenty of gay Christians out there who might have taken his Bible, and maybe had a conversation with Brian Johnson, and maybe, or maybe not, changed his mind on homosexuality. I would have liked to see that happen.

But what I don’t like is the fact that we gather for Pride, march for Pride, work to be heard, strive to be equalized, and then turn around and tell someone else to Go away because we don’t like your opinion.

Think of how the LGBT community would have reacted if, at some church function in that very same Minneapolis park, gay people were told they couldn’t enter the park, couldn’t speak, couldn’t hand out literature.

We would be blogging in anger and marching in anger and suing in anger.

You cannot ask to be treated equally, while denying equality to someone else.

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Filed under Brian Johnson, Discrimination, LGBT Pride, Minnesota, Religion, Uncategorized

>It’s Her Name, But She Has To Pay To Use It

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Traci Turpin of Knoxville, Tennessee, and her partner travelled to Washington DC for a little sight seeing, a little politics, and, oh yeah, a wedding.

“We had a nice ceremony. Shed some tears and walked away feeling confident and happy,” said Turpin.

And when the newlyweds returned to Knoxville, Traci Turpin made a quick stop at the Social Security office to have her last name legally changed to that of her partner’s. And then she stopped off at the DMV to change the name on her driver’s license, too. No one batted an eye, and Traci left both offices with new identification, with her married name on each.

But before Traci Turpin could even get out of the West Knoxville DMV parking lot, an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles approached her car and asked for the new license back.

“How dare her employee run out to my car, in front of everybody and say, ‘You’ve got to give me the license back, we don’t recognize same sex marriage,’ out loud,” questioned Turpin.

So, Traci Turpin refused.

And the employee called the Highway patrol, who forced Traci Turpin to hand over her new license, and have another issued with her old name on it. See, the State Department of Safety requires two documents in order to make such a change on a license: a current license and certified document showing reason for the name change.

And, for Traci Turpin this second document was her marriage license. However, since Tennessee does not recognize same sex marriages, this document was invalid. And Traci believes that if she had not told DMV employees of her good news, that she was married to a woman, she would still have the license with her new married name.

“I understand it’s state law. I recognize that. I just want my name to match my social security card,” Turpin says. She just wants her married name recognized, and, apparently that’s not possible in Tennessee, unless she goes through other means and pays some $200 to do so.

It costs so much money to be gay, I just don’t see why people wanna do it.

Name change? Write a check.
Hospital visitation rights? Get a lawyer to draw up the papers and charge it to your Visa. Adoption? Ka-ching; pay the bills.

It’d be cheaper to be straight.

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Filed under Discrimination, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, Tennessee, Traci Turpin, Uncategorized, Washington D.C.