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Saying It With Pride

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From Tammy Faye to Rick Santorum, hoodia to herpes treatments, this is a hodge-podge of Pride Month-induced thoughts.

One of the joys of writing this column is the opportunity to voice my thoughts. Still, my mind is usually pinging like a Chihuahua after guzzling a couple of Red Bulls, so there is a lot I don't share. So, this month, I am throwing at you my random thoughts about matters gay and not-so-gay.

Till the Whippoorwill of Freedom Zapped Me: Who appointed Elton John Grand Duke of All Things Gay, and doesn't he have his nerve accepting the position? I grew up listening to his music, back when it was edgy and loud, so I have nothing but love for the man, but people seem to have forgotten that he spent 20 years of his career in the closet, admitting only to bisexuality and taking a bride during the '80s.

How many doors could he have opened if he had come out back in the mid-'70s, when he had the world's attention, instead of waiting until he was into the Hallmark/Disney/Dirge phase of his career in the '90s? Of course, everyone should come out in his or her own time, but by the time John came out, several others had braved the path, already.

So raise a drink this Pride month to Greg Louganis, Martina, Rita Mae Brown, Quentin Crisp, Armistead Maupin, and the dozens of leaders who were out and proud and made life easier for many of us…and include in that toast the Mother of Pride, Brenda Howard, who organized and promoted the very first Pride affairs in memory of the Stonewall riots.

Ad Nauseam: Am I the only one disappointed that now that their show has been cancelled, the Geico cavemen are back making commercials? Does anyone else find it odd that networks air ads for herpes treatments, shorter menstrual periods, and erectile dysfunction, but won't air ads for condoms? Who is creepier and more nightmare inducing: the bobble-headed Burger King king, the phallic-nosed Jack in the Box, or Flo, the hyper checkout girl overdosing on caffeine in the ads?

WWJD: Gay Pride is a good time to look back and give up a prayer for one our best friends, Ms. Tammy Faye Baker. When other religious leaders were working diligently to make gays and lesbians social pariahs, she was embracing us, telling the world that we were God's children too and deserving of Christian love and compassion.

What would Jesus do? Tammy Faye gave us some insight on that when she said, "I'm trying to educate parents and the Christian world and tell them, these (gays and lesbians) are wonderful people, allow them to be in your church, love them. Don't be so judgmental. Christians are so judgmental and as a result of that they become very cruel. When I go and stand among those gay men and women, I tell them 'I am a preacher of the gospel that loves you. And I accept you just the way you are.'"

It's Nice to be Courted: Kudos to all the presidential candidates who participated in last year's HRC/Logo Presidential Debate (that would be Obama, Clinton, Richardson, Edwards, Kucinich, and Gravel), even if all their answers weren't completely satisfying. Shame on those candidates who failed to appear (i.e., the Republicans). Whom a candidate chooses to speak in front of and who he or she chooses to ignore is a big indicator of whom that candidate plans to represent and whose needs will be ignored.

Not That You Asked - updates on some past columns:

In January 2007's "A Good Return for Our Toil", I discussed the fact that my partner had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Happily, he's beaten it and has been cancer free for one year. As any cancer survivor can attest, the struggle to recuperate isn't over once the cancer is gone, so we still have some rough days. But it's a helluva lot better than it has been.

I mentioned a student in "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know", saying that I thought he was hot. The article mentioned that he was a college student -- in fact, he was 20-years-old -- but even so, I worried that people would miss the college mention and assume that I wanted to seduce some child or teen. So I asked my editor to remove the line, the only time I asked for a change in content after an article has gone to print.

As it turns out, my concern was warranted, as someone posted a comment that if the student were his son, he would fly here and kick my ass. The comment was a joke; I'm married and monogamous, and students are off-limit regardless of age or hotness. Nevertheless, the incident represents my greatest concern with this column, that people will assume there is a pedophilic reference implied any time I mention positively someone under the age of 18.

We can thank the religious Right for that, as they have been spreading the "gays are pedophiles" message so long that it is ingrained in some people's belief system. And the last thing I need is for this column to be on The 700 Club in another inaccurate report about what perverts all homosexuals are.

On As the World Turns, Luke and Noah kissed for the third time, and the first time in over a half year (Nuke the Kiss). Unfortunately, they can't be together as a couple now, because Noah is now married to a woman to help her get American citizenship. No doubt, once they get past this obstacle, Luke's secret missing evil identical twin will show up and wreak havoc. (And congrats to actor Van Hansis on his Emmy nomination for playing Luke.)

Santorum Decorum: Former Senator Rick Santorum, who was summarily dismissed by the voters of Pennsylvania two years ago, has opened his ugly mouth again. Santorum, you may recall, happily inherited the mantle of Congress' Biggest Homophobe upon Jesse Helms' retirement in 2003, and is rumored to be joining forces with Reverend Fred Phelps to produce the musical revue God Hates You and You're Going to Hell. (Just a rumor, though.)

The Human Rights Commission reports that Santorum told The Philadelphia Enquirer, "I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call [that] relationship marriage, too?”. That depends, Rick, on whether you want to set up residence with your mother-in-law, start a family, open bank accounts, celebrate anniversaries, grow old together, and have sex with her. Even a child knows that the love between spouses is different than the love one has for relatives, friends, and pets.

Reading a Magazine Should Involve Reading: While it is refreshing to see local bookstores carrying more magazines for the LGBT populace, it's disturbing that many of those stocked rely so heavily on eye candy, both in their ads and their numerous photo shoots. They're basically soft porn for those whose parents have put granny programs on their computers.

A wider selection from the gay publishing world would not only provide better reading material, but would certainly be helpful in breaking the stereotype of the gay / lesbian person as nothing more than a sexual being. Lesbian magazine Curve, Gay Parent Magazine, spirituality oriented White Crane, and business related Echelon are just a few of the selections that would be welcome additions to the magazine shelves.

The Invasion of Perez: Beginning with a report in US Weekly, rumors have been floating through the Internet about blogger Perez Hilton's claim to have had a tongue-swapping kiss with singer John Mayer (while Jessica Simpson watched, no less). Hilton reportedly took a lie-detector test to back up his story. If it's true -- and what motive could the publicity whore and "self-proclaimed Queen of All Media" have to make it up -- I find the news very disturbing. I always thought John Mayer had better taste.

Product Misplacement: I read that three-fourths of the items on our grocery shelves weren't in existence 30 years ago. Many of the new products are great, but some leave me scratching my head. For instance, there's now a cereal just for women. Women need their own cereal? They can't just eat what the rest of the family is eating and take a women's multivitamin? Dial soap now comes with yogurt added…is this for the on-the-go person who needs to eat while bathing? And does coating your nails with green tea and hoodia really make them stronger? What the hell is hoodia, and how have we managed to get along so well without it all these years?

Worry Warts: I worry that the California Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage will drive more conservatives to the voting booth than a Hillary Clinton / Al Franken ticket. And I worry that the woman I saw on The Daily Show who said she couldn't vote for Obama because his middle name is Hussein will reproduce and instill in her children her same sense of civic duty.

Seems Like Old Times: Several members of the European Union Parliament are putting pressure on the country of Moldova after that country's gay pride parade was marred by violence and protests. Moldovan gays and lesbians haven't been able to successfully have a pride parade in eight tries, and this year, parade participants were threatened and a bus carrying them stopped by an angry mob. All events planned for the day were cancelled.

Photo from

It's easy to condemn the actions there, but it is just as easy to forget that 40 years ago, the same type of events were happening in the United States, leading to the Stonewall Riots and the start of the gay rights movement as we know it. As you celebrate Pride, if you are able, remember the words of Miss Minnie Bell Ward on Designing Women, "We ain't what we should be, we ain't what we're gonna be, but at least we ain't what we were." Happy Pride.

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