pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
I am so happy about today's Supreme Court decision that I feel as though I am on the verge of exploding.

I had hoped I would see this one day, but now that it's actually

Best. Pride. Weekend. Evah.

Here are some links.

The Supreme Court Marriage Equality decision, in haiku.

19 hysterical passages from Supreme Court Same Sex Dissenters.

[Suck it, Scalia.]

And I also wanted to say this: I want to remember all of those who hoped and prayed and sweated and worked and marched and fought for this day, yet did not live to see it. My interest in gay civil rights began when I was researching The Wild Swans, and it has only continued to become more passionate and burning as I have watched the changes in American culture over the past two decades. I am utterly convinced that the nation would have not progressed to this point had it not been for the AIDS epidemic, for all the brave, dying men who realized that they had to come out of the closet, in order to fight the cruelest of diseases, to fight their shamefully complacent and criminally uncaring government, to fight for their right to have their partners visit them in the hospitals, for their renters rights, their inheritance rights. A generation of men were forcibly outed to their astonished families because of AIDS, and Americans had to really face for the first time that the people that they casually, unthinkingly denigrated were in actuality their beloved sons, their brothers, their fathers, their uncles, their cousins.

A whole generation of amazing creative talent was lost. But their tireless activism changed the face of America for those that followed them.

I want to light a candle for Sean and Elias, and for all the others with their names on the AIDS Quilt. Thank you for your fight, and for the way you changed this nation. We will not forget your courage, your faith, and your sacrifice.

Edited to add: Someone pointed this out on Facebook, and I think it's important: in the joy of this victory, I don't want to forget or exclude in the celebrations this weekend the other sisters and brothers on this journey: those who identify as bi and trans (or questioning or asexual for that matter). There are all sorts of points on the rainbow continuum, and they need to be assured of their full rights as American citizens, too.

Another thing: it's entirely possible that there will be people who will joyfully post their wedding photos online, only to be fired the next day. You can STILL lose your job for being gay in more than half the states. We still have a lot of work to do.
pegkerr: (Default)
Here are two, one which I finished several weekends ago, and one which I am not convinced is entirely finished.

First we have this Committee Card:

The Brat (Committee)
The Brat (Committee Card)
I am the One who wants things MY WAY. If you do not allow things to be MY WAY there is no way I will be reasonable. Expect volcanic rage instead.

Marriage (Council)
Marriage (Council Card)
I am the One made from Two who have decided to join their lives and fates together, with the blessing of family and friends.

The thing that bothers me so much about this card is that I had it just about all the way assembled when I realized I was including only heterosexual couples. This was an unconscious assumption/bias, and I was quite ashamed of myself when I finally twigged to the lack. (Also a distressing lack of diversity). Duh. This from the woman who wrote The Wild Swans and campaigned for United for All Families. I like the couples I've found, but a pair of male hands with wedding rings added at the last minute--especially when all the other couples feature full body shots--hardly satisfies.

I like the card, and yet I may do it all over again. Rats.

I almost didn't post the card because I'm so embarrassed about it, but then realize I might as well show my mistakes as well.
pegkerr: (No orc would say that)
Interesting article here.
"CEO Barilla has released another apology, this time on video. It’s difficult to watch the video, and Barilla’s near comatose delivery, without thinking of Patty Hearst. Clearly this is someone who’s had a bad 48 hours, and appears under some duress....In response to the video, a number of people on Facebook defended Barilla’s homophobia, and actually got upset with him for apologizing. Sadly for Barilla, his defenders didn’t do him any favors."
Mr. Barilla's apology is undercut by previous remarks, which suggests that this 'apology' is simply back-pedaling to protect the company's market share. Yet: is it possible that people whose opinions are laced with homophobia can change? Is it possible that the outcry from Mr Barilla's remarks have shocked him into really rethinking his attitudes? It's possible. Difficult, but possible. Since he does want to protect the company, his apology is suspect, and one wonders how sincere it really is (he still insists he has never discriminated against gays. Yeah, right). Yet, if he does follow through with his offer to meet with people whose definition of family differs from his, perhaps his mind will be opened. A little.

For the time being, however, I won't be buying any Barilla pasta.

What do you think?

See also this article.
pegkerr: (Excellent you seem to be coming to your)
I have been thinking quite a bit about this article the last couple of days. Marriage equality has come to Minnesota, but some people, apparently are all about the 'Oh Noes!' and 'The moral downfall of our state' and 'Hate the sin and love the sinner.'

I've been probing my own feelings about this. It's difficult: I want to both mock and get angry. Part of my emotion comes from the fact that when I was much, much younger, I suppose I would have been disapproving of marriage equality--if I had even thought about it, which no one I knew did back in the 80s. Why did my opinion change? It was because I came to actually know some gay people, and it all crystallized because of all the research I did for The Wild Swans. The other reason was that I hear echoes of my Dad in some of the words here. I called him on it, strenuously, when I scolded him for his vote in Georgia. I do wonder if I would have been able to change his mind if he had lived long enough to vote on the matter in Minnesota. I would like to think so. He was certainly ashamed of himself when I explained to him that he had, entirely without realizing it, voted against civil unions too when he cast his vote in Georgia, which he hadn't intended to do.

I remember the conversation I had with a co-worker a long time ago about gay civil rights. She was very conservative, and I tried to open her mind a little. She got quite offended, and as she stalked back to her desk, she said something revealing: 'I'm too old.' As in too old to change her mind? That comment has always haunted me.

This article, "Why Privilege is Hard to Give Up" was fortuitously timed to reflect upon the first article I linked above. It's true: these people have been accustomed for so long to think that their marriage, cis-gendered heterosexual marriage, is the only real marriage. And now they're throwing a tantrum because their privilege is being taken away. Despite my tug of sympathy (I came from a place where I understood that point of view) I can't help but think that their tantrum makes them look ugly and clueless. And even MORE ugly in protesting 'Don't call us bigots!'

Um. Cluebat? You are bigots.

There's a little tragedy buried in that article, too. One of the commentators, going on about 'Hate the sin, love the sinner' notes that he has a son who is gay. But they don't talk very much anymore. He also said sadly that his son identifies as an atheist.

GEE, I WONDER WHY?! Could it be possibly because you've been doing such an extraordinarily lousy job of modeling God's love to him that he's decided, "You know, for my own self-preservation, I don't want any part of a 'loving God' who looks like that. Who judges and rejects me for the way He created me."

Changing minds is hard. But it's worth doing. I have a great deal of respect for the guy who is doing the blog My Obama Year, a conservative who decided to take a year to really delve into and try to understand all the liberal opinions and stands he's been reflexively rejecting for years.

See also this post I made about changing hearts and minds.
pegkerr: (Default)
Today's the big day here in Minnesota. CONGRATULATIONS to all the new newlywed couples. I'm so happy for you! Joy and peace to you, and equitable tax filings.

Sean and Elias are raising a glass in your honor.
pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
I am mighty proud of my state, which voted today for marriage equality. Starting August 1 (assuming the governor signs it into law tomorrow, as he says that he will), gay couples will start marrying in Minnesota.

Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make this day a reality.

I know there are many Minnesotans tonight, on the other hand, who are angry and afraid over what this change will bring. I trust that before too much time has passed, you will see and understand that nothing has happened that threatens you, and this was the right decision to make and direction to take.

Change is coming. Change is here. Change can be difficult for some. But as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
pegkerr: (Bloody brilliant!)
with the results of the election. I'm particularly happy that the Marriage Amendment of Minnesota went down to defeat, and proud that I phone banked against it. It's the first time I've volunteered with a political campaign like that. Yes, gay marriage is still illegal in the state of Minnesota, but at least it isn't written into our constitution. I'm delighted that the Photo ID amendment was voted down, I'm happy that Elizabeth Warren was voted in, in Massachusetts. I'm sorta happy that Obama was re-elected, but mostly I'm ecstatic that Mitt Romney was defeated.

And I'm happy that Fiona voted in her first Presidential election evah. (Not her first election, mind: being her mother and daddy's daughter, she has already faithfully voted in some primary elections.).

(But Michele Bachmann is going back to Congress. Boo! Please don't judge the rest of us Minnesotans by her politicians of her ilk, USA.)

And now, a victory lap by Obama's Anger Translator. Hat tip to [ profile] sdn:

pegkerr: (Default)
I've never volunteered with a political campaign before (I know, I know. The shame). But the election is coming up, and I really want the Minnesota marriage amendment to be defeated. I've pledged money to Minnesotans United for All Families and been to several of their events, and the block party we helped put on raised $12,000.

But I got another call, this time asking me to come in and work a phone bank. Outside my comfort zone, definitely. But I believe in the cause, so yes, sign me up.

So I went in tonight, for volunteer recruitment. This is a little easier, since everyone we were calling had already said they supported the amendment. There was about a half an hour of training, and they gave us a script to follow. We were requesting three 'asks': to help on Election Day with calls and door knocking, to come in to do phone work to get volunteers (as I was doing, how meta) and to come in to do phone work for persuasion calls. Our goal was to dial at least forty-five numbers in the time allotted to us, to have at least eight conversations, and to get volunteers to agree to sign up for at least three shifts.

I went a little slower than was needed to meet the goal, as it was my first time and I was nervous. One of the coaches listened in and said I sounded warm and natural, but I needed to press a little harder. Most of the phone numbers I called didn't answer, but that was expected.

I dialed about thirty-five numbers in the hour and a half and had five conversations and got three volunteers signed up. And I'm coming back to do another shift in two weeks.

And there's a sign now out on my lawn: Vote No on the Anti-Marriage Amendment.

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}
pegkerr: (Default)
Despite the sad news this week, this made me smile:

There is a tree by a lake locally, where, according to legend, the Lake Harriet elf lives. The door appeared at the base of the tree years ago, and every year, little elf things appear in the elf's front lawn. Many, many people, particularly children, stop by the tree to leave notes for the elf, and they leave offerings in his yard.

You may be aware that Minnesota is one of the states which will be voting on a so-called marriage amendment. In our case, the proposed constitutional amendment would prevent gays from marrying (something which is barred by statute already).

I am tickled as can be to see that the Lake Harriet elf votes 'No.'

The Lake Harriet elf votes 'No.'
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
I've been fascinated by this story.

The Boy Scouts of America recently announced that after a two year review, they have decided to keep and reaffirm their policy of not allowing gay scouts or scoutmasters. Here's an example of what this policy looks like in practice:

You may remember that there was a legal case that reached the Supreme Court a few years back over the issue (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale), and the Court ruled that since the scouts were a private organization, they had the right to determine the rules for their own membership.

Now a fascinating phenomenon is developing: Eagle Scouts are beginning to return their medals in protest. The Eagle scout rank is the highest rank and takes years to earn. About two million men nationwide have earned the honor. NBC news published a story here and a followup here, which includes a video interview with one man who sent his Eagle back. The followup story also included excerpts from emails that scouts had sent NBC news in response to their first story, with arguments both for and against.

Here is a Tumblr account collecting the photographs and letters from Eagle Scouts returning their badges. The letters are very heartfelt and eloquent, and they movingly demonstrate the irony that the men learned something from the process of earning their Eagles and scouting itself that the organization is failing to do: treat all people with kindness and respect. Many cite the scouting law as the authority for why they are taking this step and renouncing their membership with the organization.

I love the way that one man, a pastor, closed his letter enclosing his Eagle:
I return it mindful of what Rev. Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter from Birmingham City Jail: “If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.”
Another site, Return My Eagle, that explains the hows and whys, counts 80 badges that have been returned so far. See their twitter feed here.
pegkerr: (Default)
It was a gorgeous weekend. Delia struggled a fair amount with the decision when we asked her, 'What do you want to do for your birthday?' We suggested movies, and there were some she wanted to see, but that didn't seem special enough for a birthday. Yesterday, she decided she wanted to devote a day to art, and so we came up with an itinerary of various places we could visit: the Northern Clay Center, Wet Paint, an independent art store, and a place where people go to sketch the fourth Sunday of every month.

Today, she decided to throw all those plans out the window, and we went instead to the annual Pride Festival at Loring Park. It's attended by about 100,000 people in the Twin Cities. This year was the 40th anniversary.

Now, I've been to the Gay Pride Parade a couple times before, which is part of the weekend events, and even taken the girls (it's held on Sunday morning). But I've never been to the Minneapolis Pride Festival at Loring Park before.

I hear your gasp of surprise. I know, I know! I wrote The Wild Swans. How is it POSSIBLE that I have NEVER been to Loring Park on Pride Weekend?

I haven't. It certainly not that I'm not interested in the subject, as all the research I did for The Wild Swans triggered my interest in the topic of gay civil rights, an interest that has never diminished. It's not as close and convenient as the May Day Festival, and the crowd is much huger. But this year, yes, we went.

Delia's interest in these topics has certainly grown this year. The GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) at her high school is extremely active (in fact, at her school the bathrooms turn unisex for a block of time every day to accommodate the transgender students). She also appeared in her school's production of '8,' which has also made her think about these things.

So what did I think of it? My base of comparison was, undoubtedly, May Day. Both are held in a Minneapolis park, with a lake, and booths for the event circle the lake. Both are colorful, both are a beloved ritual for many in the city, both are shot through with a certain feeling of the removal of restraint, an opening, a flowering. For May Day, it's winter that we're shaking off, for Pride, it's the closet. Both offer (expensive) food and bands on stages. At Pride, there is an extra layer of bureaucracy: none of the food booths accept cash. You have to purchase food and beverage tickets. If you neglected to bring cash, they have ATMS, but this means waiting in THREE lines: for the ATM, for the food and beverage ticket booth, and then for the food.

More naked skin: Pride, but the weather is much warmer by then, too, which is probably a factor.
More dreadlocks: May Day.
More glitter: Pride.
More corporate: Pride
More environmental: May Day, by far (May Day sold no bottled water at all this year. Instead, they had water stations set up all over the park, and people were encouraged to bring their own containers. They also recycle everything; even the food is separated out to be composted. It was certainly startling to me to see all the plastic bottles in the trash at Pride.)
More nonprofit: I'd say May Day is more nonprofit oriented. But Pride has probably a bigger nonprofit presence, simply because of its bigger size.

We parked at Uptown and then bused there, which worked well, and then the girls cheerfully informed me that they were ditching me. We checked in by phone every hour or so. I wandered by myself. Although it was my first time there, I didn't find much that surprised me; I've very familiar with many of the gay-oriented businesses and nonprofits in the city. (One thing that did was a whole avenue of booths, at least ten or so, all devoted to pets, mostly dogs. I guess they figure that gays luuuurrrrve their pets.)

It was hot. I debated between bringing a hat and something I purchased at the last Renaissance Festival: a big, sturdy Japanese paper parasol. I chose the parasol, and I'm very glad I did. This worked splendidly as a sunshade, and I was very glad I had it. I think it kept me much cooler than a hat alone would have done.

One nice thing: the girls encountered the Gaylaxicon 2012 booth where they saw some local SF/Fantasy fans that they knew. There was a white board up with trivia questions: and MY NAME was the answer to one of the trivia questions. (Fiona, they said, was the only person, however, who knew the answer to the question, which was a little lowering). Anyway, when the girls ran into me again, they told me this, so I stopped by the booth, and was very graciously told that if I wished to attend the convention, they would be delighted to comp my membership. So I will probably attend the Gaylaxicon in October of this year.

So: a very fun day, albeit exhausting. Happy Pride, everyone!

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}
pegkerr: (Fealty with love valour with honour oath)
Of course I haven't seen or read the testimony, but as best I can tell from what I've heard about the case within the media, I think the verdict seems about right. Oh, heavens, how can I say? I'm so glad I'm not a judge forced to make these agonizing decisions. There can be no winners in this sad matter. The judge explains his reasoning here, and his thinking seems measured and well-considered.

One point that particularly caught my attention was the judge noting that the man who was with Tyler Clementi, identified in court documents as "M.B.," had written to the judge asking that Ravi not be deported. The judge granted his request by recommending that (but noted that his recommendation may be overruled).

Edited to add: Here is M.B.'s victim impact statement. I'm glad to have read it, as I had been wondering how he was doing.
pegkerr: (Default)
Maybe all month: here:
"@LegendMG: The thing that bugs me most about North Carolina; Jesus had two dads."
Also: my favorite fictional president, Josiah Bartlet (@Pres_Bartlet) made a speech, on Twitter no less, in response to yesterday's events (link here):
The following is a speech given on twitter by the account of the fictional President Bartlet from the television show The West Wing, on May 9, 2012, about the passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina, and directly preceding President Obama's endorsement of Gay Marriage. Each line represents one tweet. President Bartlet can be followed on twitter @Pres_Bartlet

To those who want to retaliate against North Carolina for their vote my moving the DNC: You are going about this all wrong.

If anything, the vote in North Carolina is a sign that we need to spend more time in this state, not less. We still have minds to change.

To give up the task of reforming society is to give up one's responsibility as a free man.

When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive.

I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating.

Cry, The Beloved Country, For The Unborn Child That's The Inheritor Of Our Fear.

Alan Paton's words are as true today as they were in his day.

There is only one thing that has power completely and this is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power.

It would be easy to be consumed by anger and hatred right now. I suggest that instead we commit ourselves to love and forgiveness.

Let our message be the message of love. Of the belief that all men and women who share love should be treated equally under the law.

Will it be harder for @BarackObama to win reelection if he comes out in support of gay marriage? Maybe. I can see the argument.

I have found in my many, many years in politics that doing the hard thing is usually the same as doing the right thing.

We are, here and now, setting the conversation for the next generation. If we refuse to stand up, we are failing our children.

We are failing our brothers and sisters, or mothers and fathers, our fellow men and women of this country. We are failing them.

For those of you worried about energizing the base of the GOP, I have to tell you, they are already energized.

[At this point, the news breaks that Obama endorses gay marriage]

Game on.
pegkerr: (Excellent you seem to be coming to your)
I'm still reading news and analysis on it. But the icon really says it all. Thumbs up.

I think the Republicans will realize, oh maybe in the next ten or fifteen years that they were really on the wrong side of history on this. By that time, they will have lost the next generation. My daughters are definitely two of 'em.
pegkerr: (Default)
Two good pieces of commentary re: Amendment One and Christianity.

How Evangelicals, with their stand against gay civil rights, are turning off the young from Christianity: How to win a culture war and lose a generation.

A challenge to both sides of the Amendment One debate (from the blog "Crumbs from the Communion table." The author is a gay Christian living in North Carolina.) Edited to add: [ profile] piccolo_pirate notes: The author of the "Crumbs from the Communion Table" blog is actually Justin Lee, the Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network, which is a fabulous resource for anyone struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality, or just looking to find other gay Christians.
pegkerr: (Default)
Man. This is SO devastating.

This is what we are fighting for. Please share this story. Follow Shane on Twitter at @ShaneBitney, and follow the Facebook group EqualLoveEqualRights.

pegkerr: (Default)
I've been contacted by OutFront, asking whether I want to volunteer to man a phone bank to help defeat the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. I said I'd think about it. I'm not sure about phone bank work, but I really want to do SOMETHING. So I went to poke around the Minnesota United for All Families website to see what other volunteer opportunities there might be.

On May 20, Minnesota United for All Families are trying to set up house parties to bring people together to discuss the amendment and try to raise money to defeat it: "By hosting an event on this day you will help support Minnesotans United – by inviting your friends, coworkers, neighbors and family to events on this day you will help organize Minnesotans to Vote No and raise the money needed to defeat this amendment." I am not sure I can host a party, but perhaps I could find another person doing so and volunteer to help. (See the Facebook group here.)

Another possibility: They are asking for volunteers at the May Day parade and at a booth at Powderhorn Park. This is something that perhaps I could do. Perhaps one or both of the girls might be interested in participating, too.

I just want to defeat this amendment so badly. I don't have much money to contribute (although I've already made a small donation). But I need to get out and volunteer.


Mar. 6th, 2012 10:36 pm
pegkerr: (Default)
Featuring an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon and others, "8" is a play written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and directed by acclaimed actor and director Rob Reiner. It is a powerful account of the case filed by the American Federation for Equal Rights (AFER) in the U.S. District Court in 2010 to overturn Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Framed around the trial's historic closing arguments in June 2010, 8 provides an intimate look what unfolded when the issue of same-sex marriage was on trial.

pegkerr: (Default)
This is from an Australian group for marriage equality.

pegkerr: (Default)
Lauren Myracle (@LaurenMyracle on Twitter), you are one classy lady.

I am several days behind in my reading so I am just learning now of the sad story of Lauren Myracle, who received the happy and exciting news that her book Shine was a finalist for the National Book Award, only to be told later that, oops, that was a mistake, and gee, we'd mixed up your book with the real finalist, Chime, and um, why don't you publicly participate in your own humiliation and help us cover our asses by graciously withdrawing? Read the entire story of the debacle over at [ profile] libba_bray's journal here.

There was no way the National Book Award committee could come out of this by looking like anything but hurtful idiots, but Lauren Myracle rose above this humiliating debacle in an magnificent way. Shine, in case you do not know it, is about a hate crime against a gay teen and how it affects an entire community. This is, sadly, a reality for teens in much of the world, and, as Lauren said in her gracious statement, “I was also deeply moved that in recognizing "Shine," the NBF was giving voice to the thousands of disenfranchised youth in America—particularly gay youth—who face massive discrimination and intimidation every day. So that something positive may come of their error, I have strongly suggested that the NBF donate to the Matthew Shepard Foundation [a charity focused on respecting human dignity among young people].”

Well, there is one silver lining. As Lauren reports in her first person account, there has been an outpouring of support for the book. Follow the hashtag #ISupportShine on Twitter.

Another interview.


pegkerr: (Default)

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