June 2010

The Stonewall Uprising

Some 41 years ago, on

the night of June 27, 1969, a fairly routine police raid on New York City's Stonewall Inn, a popular queer bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, turned into open rebellion. Police raids on queer bars were a matter of course, and this particular dive, a mafia-owned business, had a regular warning system in place involving a change in lights. The Stonewall opened in spring 1967 and was the only bar in New York City where men could dance with each other. Mostly the police turned up to harass cross-dressers, deliberately targeting the professional drag queens who performed in shows at nearby clubs, and the dykes, dressed in suits and trousers—technically illegal under the dress code.

How to Be An Ally

The "A" in QLTBAG is often said to stand for Ally; sometimes it also stands for Asexual. There are a lot of people who identify as an ally who also identify as heterosexual. That's great, it really is, and there's a lot a straight ally can do in terms of supporting human rights for all. But sometimes, inadvertently and unthinkingly, a straight ally makes it really uncomfortable for those who identify as one of the minorities in the letter soup of human relationships.

Here are some things to keep in mind about being an ally, especially in the context of commenting on posts on That Gay Blog, whose primary audience is made of up people who identify as part of the QLTBAG:

What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?

In 2009, Philip Spooner, an 86 year old WWII vet and a lifelong Republican was filmed speaking movingly about why he fought at Omaha Beach on June 6th, 1944, in one of the most brutal battles of WW II. Spooner spoke movingly about why, and how, he fought for the right to be different and be equal.

As Spooner says in the original video in which he testifies before the Maine Senate at a hearing about the Maine Marriage Equality Bill:

I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman . . . asked me, "Do you believe in equality for gay and lesbian people?" I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, "What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?"

Iceland: Parliament Votes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

The Althingi, Iceland's parliament,

voted 49 to 0 (that's right, it was unanimous) to change the legal language of Iceland's marriage statutes to include marriage between "man and man, woman and woman," as well as those between man and woman. It's worth noting that Iceland, a tiny, socially tolerant nation of about 320,000 people was also the first nation to elect an out and proud lesbian as head of state, when Social Democrat Johanna Sigurdardottir was elected as Prime Minister.

Lesbian Moms: Doin' it Right

Contrary to assertions from people opposed to same-sex parenting, we found that the 17-year-olds scored higher in psychological adjustment in areas of competency and lower in problem behaviors than the normative age-matched sample of kids raised in traditional families with a mom and a dad.

So concludes Dr. Nanette Gartrell,

MD, the Williams distinguished scholar at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. Gartrell's conclusions are part of a report she published in the journal Pediatrics. It's one of a series about the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS).

NY High School Crowns Gay Friends Prom Queen And King

In a refreshing reversal

from more hetero-normative and terrified school districts, Hudson New York High School seniors Charlie Ferrusi and Timmy Howard were voted prom Queen and King in a land-slide event at last Saturday's Prom. The two friends started thinking about running a month or so ago, and when they ran the idea past the high school principal Steven Spicer and advisors, were given an ok to go ahead. The two won by such a large margin that the school didn't even bother with runners-up.

It's particularly heartening to read stories like this one. In 2008 another Hudson high senior ran for Prom Queen, and won, but school officials denied him the crown. This Ferrusi and Howard said that one of the hardest parts of their experience "was deciding who would be king and who would be queen."