Discrimination Death March, Silver Lake, 11/4

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I always understood the general rule to be: one in 10 people is gay.  This ratio, which apparently has been oft-repeated to a point where it still remains lore 10 years after I first heard it (the gay population apparently has not adjusted for inflation), is a nice shorthand for: it could be you.  (One of my favoritest people of all time, Jane Lynch, interviewed with Terry Gross on NPR yesterday, and this was her reaction to her 20something realization that she is gay: “Oh man, really?”).  The threat that you could be the one left holding the rainbow flag is the greatest fear tactic of all: it results in the simultaneous internalization and externalization of one’s homophobia.  This is, in part, what moves certain people to go to the polls, draw the little iron curtain, and, in the comfortably private, if not stuffy, polling station, mark a mark that will seal the fate for all those ones in tens, if not themselves.  And they are, of course, protecting the children.  Remember the children!

Yesterday – one year after Prop. 8 passed here, and one day after a similar referendum passed in MaineEquality Network organized “Death to Discrimination,” a march-and-mourn protest and rally in Silver Lake.  The LA Times estimates that 60 people were present when the march started, but grew to a bit over 200 as the march marched up Vermont and down Sunset towards its destination in front of Le BarCito at Sunset Junction (overall, a decent turnout, but a far, far cry from the 700+ people who RSVP’d for the event on Facebook — like certain people I’m sometimes frustrated to know, you’ll always have flakes).  As the speakers began their spiels to the converted, the number of people dwindled – slowly at first, then “exponentially faster,” as Narinda Heng, my fellow mourner, observed.  Tip to future organizers: a rally and protest aren’t the Oscars.  Keep the speeches short well before the orchestra starts to hum its boredom.

A handful of pictures from the post-march rally, after the jump.

Continue reading “Discrimination Death March, Silver Lake, 11/4”

Top chef on marriage equality

Tom Colicchio
Tom Colicchio

“The idea that religious leaders are continuing to shape state law is just wrong.”

Remember last fall’s boycott of El Coyote restaurant in West Hollywood by supporters of same-sex marriage after it was learned an owner had donated money to the campaign to pass Prop 8?

El Coyote had a sizable gay clientele on Thursday nights, the unofficial “gay night” at the restaurant, which packed the place. That all changed in the aftermath of Prop 8’s passing when the owner’s name appeared on donor lists that were available online and publicized by some media outlets.

Demonstrators appeared in front of the restaurant, business fell off on Thursdays, the pilloried owner did herself no favors when she tried to explain herself, saying if she had a chance to do it all over again, she would do the same thing, citing her religious convictions.

Such a mess for such a mediocre restaurant.

Enter Tom Colicchio, Bravo TV’s Top Chef lead judge and owner of Craft, his first venture into the  Los Angeles restaurant world, located in Century City. Continue reading “Top chef on marriage equality”

CA Gay group will wait until 2012 for Prop 8 repeal effort

After much handwringing and consideration, Equality California, the gay rights organization, has decided to hold off until 2012 to push for a ballot initiative to repeal Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. An impassioned debate over whether to place an initiative on either the 2010 or 2012 ballot had been playing out over the past several months.

I initially wrote about it here last month, when three gay rights organizations successfully got the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in DC on board  to wait until 2012, which at the time I suspected was the writing on the big gay wall.

In a related matter, some gay leaders are at odds over a hastily planned march for marriage equality in Washington DC this fall, on October 11th.

Newlywed Game seeks gay couples

new“From Hollywood, the newlywed capital of the world; here come the newlyweds!” will never sound the same again to Prop 8 supporters. Pity.

The Newlywed Game, the game show that started in 1966 and is now hosted by Carnie Wilson and sponsored by the eHarmony personals site, is scouting for married same-sex couples via Craigslist. Contestants need to be legally married in one state. From Craigslist:

NOW CASTING!!!

The Game Show Network is currently casting season 2 of

“The Newlywed Game”

Producers are seeking fun, outgoing couples to participate in the next season of this classic television game show!

Gay Couples: *Marriages must be legally recognized in 1 state

If this sounds like you or someone you know, please contact the Casting Team IMMEDIATELY at:

[email protected]

PLEASE INCLUDE: Names/Ages, City/State, Phone Number (with area code), Email Address, Wedding Date, and PHOTO.

All participants must be 18 years of age or older and married 2 years or less.

eHarmony recently got on the big gay bandwagon thanks to an anti-discrimination suit in New Jersey that forced them to climb on board. Before that, the site barred same-sex match-ups for their users. Times change.

Date for campaign to repeal Prop 8 still up in the air

As deadlines for filing, gathering signatures and fund raising loom, gay rights groups are still debating the timing of a ballot initiative to overturn anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8, which passed last November with 52% of the vote.

The two dates in question are the November elections in 2010 and 2012. Those pushing for holding off until 2012 cite flat poll numbers favoring same-sex marriage since last year’s election, linking them to the difficulties it would create for raising the enormous amount of money necessary to undertake another ballot initiative drive. The Prop 8 campaign cost more than $80 million, with those opposing it spending $43 million.

Two weeks I posted about three gay rights groups in California that joined together, with the endorsement of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in DC, to release a statement calling a 2010 initiative “rushed and risky.” Called “Prepare to Prevail,” its approach calls for a lengthy grass roots movement that engages minority communities that overall supported Prop 8; and waiting for statewide poll numbers to show a 60% approval rating for same-sex marriage before an initiative appears on the ballot. Continue reading “Date for campaign to repeal Prop 8 still up in the air”

Hollywood liberals eat their own

"I’m a blogosphere virgin. I don’t read blogs. Blogs feels like they’re a dime a bushel. They’re endless. Like cockroaches..."
"I’m a blogosphere virgin. I don’t read blogs. Blogs feel like they’re a dime a bushel. They’re endless. Like cockroaches..."

Out, gay-as-a-picnic-basket, proud, loud, blog-challenged and, by all accounts, liberal director Todd Holland inadvertently got sucked on to the Hollywood Liberal Shit List last week. However, the move looks to be temporary in light of his good-natured and at times bitchy response, in addition to being nominated this year for a directing Emmy for 30 Rock, the sitcom starring über-liberals Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. His placement on the HLSL was further complicated by the fact that he got legally married to his partner last year before Proposition 8 was passed.

How it happened: At a panel discussion about gay Hollywood, Holland answered a question about whether he would advise gay actors in Hollywood to come out. Leave it to some nasty bloggers to take his response and “twist or warp” his words into anti-gay remarks.

The panel discussion took place at Outfest, the Los Angeles gay film festival held each July at The Directors Guild (a.k.a. Hollywood Liberal World Headquarters.)

So now the LA Times, LA Weekly and those spiteful, overly-sensitive gay blogs manned by (to use Holland’s word) “cockroaches” are tripping over themselves as he trips over himself to clarify and over-explain what he really meant or really meant to say– or more likely wishes he hadn’t said at all in the first place.

A condensed version of what played out… Continue reading “Hollywood liberals eat their own”

All that is solid melts into air

luxemburg-by-churchill-smallOur estimable friend and blog author, Chal Pivik posted a description of the statement “Prepare to Prevail,” written by three LGBT advocacy groups.  These groups urged advocates of marriage equality to wait.  Or specifically “Going back to the ballot […] in 2010 would be rushed and risky.”  To me, equality is 2010 is “rushed” in much the same way that it was rushed, by Brown, in 1954. Does it strike anyone else as noteworthy trivia that the Brown decision of May 17, 1954 was 50 years to the day prior to implementation of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (i.e. the first same-sex marriages in the United States)? Continue reading “All that is solid melts into air”

Groups urge delaying Prop 8 repeal initiative to 2012

2010 seen as “rushed and risky.”

Should marriage equality supporters push for a ballot initiative in next year’s November election that would repeal Proposition 8? Not according to three gay advocacy groups in California that jointly released a statement urging a delay until 2012.

The statement, “Prepare to Prevail,” was released this week by the Jordan/Rustin Coalition, an African American LGBT advocacy group; API Equality-LA, an Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT advocacy group; and HONOR PAC, which advocates for empowering Latina/o LGBTs.

The groups implore supporters of same-sex marriage “to forego a rush to the 2010 ballot box to repeal Proposition 8” and “start now in building the campaign infrastructure and robust public education efforts needed to win back marriage equality.”

Going back to the ballot to remove the voter-imposed ban on same-sex marriage from the state constitution in 2010 would be rushed and risky. We should proceed with a costly, demanding, and high-stakes electoral campaign of this sort only when we are confident we can win.

Popular support for marriage equality for same-sex couples has not changed since the last election. Today, California voters’ opinions on a constitutional amendment to overturn the voter-imposed elimination of marriage equality remain evenly split, according to all recent polls.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, based in Washington, DC,  has signed on to the statement by the California groups:

Build solid majority support for the freedom to marry before returning to the ballot.  Multiple polls have shown that support for marriage equality has remained flat since November 2008. The LGBT community will be in a stronger position to win if we’re defending, and not attempting to create in the midst of a campaign, majority support at the ballot box for the freedom to marry.

Preparing for 2010 marriage equality campaign

It’s now accepted that in California, same-sex marriage will again be on the ballot in the November 2010 election. This time advocates for marriage equality, stung by the passage of Proposition 8 last year which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state, will be prepared to counter anti-gay distortions thanks to the work of people like Pam Spaulding and her blog, Pam’s House Blend.

Today she has a post about the religious right’s attempts to twist facts, lie about studies and just make stuff up about LGBTs in an attempt to scare voters into not supporting marriage equality for everyone. And she must have struck a nerve, because someone from an anti-gay group, Focus on the Family, responded to her in an email, which she quotes and answers.

It’s going to be a tough campaign, but Pam’s early primer is a good way to gird yourself for the campaign.

According to Pam, this is the first of six distortions used by the anti-gay crowd:

1. Using nonrepresentative or out-of-date studies to make generalizations, or distorting legitimate studies to give misleading conclusions

Example 1 – Religious right talking point: According to the book Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having 1,000 or more sexual partners. Therefore gays have no concept of mongamy and certainly can’t be trusted to raise children.

Truth – Homosexualities was a book written in 1978 that only looked a certain portion of the lgbt population (gay men in the city of San Francisco). It also did not look at same-sex households. In addition, the authors of Homosexualities (Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg) said that their book should not be used to generalize about all gays in general.

And here are the the first four of 17 lies she identifies:

1. Homosexuality is a lifestyle more harmful than cigarette smoking.

2. Gay men have a short life span.

3. The gay and lesbian community have a high rate of domestic violence.

4. Unhealthy behaviors (i.e. substance abuse, promiscuous sexual behavior) is indicative of the gay or lesbian orientation.

Project Pushback marriage video contest names winner

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJsxdi7d690&feature=channel[/youtube]

This spring, the Gay and Lesbian Centers in Los Angeles and New York partnered to sponsor Project Pushback, a viral video competition aimed at changing public opinion to favor same-sex marriage.

Out of 68 entries from across the nation, a panel of judges chose eleven finalists. Yesterday the winner who will receive a $2500 grand prize was announced, a video entitled Family Values created by LA-based filmmaker Andrew Putschoegl.

“We received entries from across the country but most of them were from Los Angeles and New York, being film centers,” Thomas Soule, communications director of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center told me. “The contest spurred people to get very creative in their approaches to changing hearts and minds about the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.”

Soule also said some of the entries will be shown at Outfest, the LA Gay and Lesbian Film Festival held each July at the Directors Guild in Hollywood.

The videos are all polished and professional, running the gamut from testimonials from real people to vignettes written for actors. There’s even a Blair Witch Project parody, which won the $1000 People’s Choice prize. But my favorite is the one where the guy says– actually, I don’t want to give it away so you’ll have to watch it and see why. (It made me cry.)

Los Angeles-based judges included Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Milk); Rev. Art Cribbs Jr. of the San Marino Congregational Church; CA Assembly Member John A. Perez;  Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Outfest,; Judy Starkman, co-owner of convergencefilms.com and Emmy Award-winning director and producer Paris Barclay (In Treatment, Cold Case, The West Wing.)

View the eleven finalists here.

Two names added to Hollywood Liberals’ shit list: Gary Sinise & Craig T. Nelson

sinisehlslAn occasional round-up of who’s not liberal in Tinsel Town.

I confess, I am the type of person who takes great joy in watching Republicans who call themselves “defenders of traditional marriage” getting SO BUSTED and copping to having extramarital affairs. Last week it was Nevada’s Republican  Senator John Ensign.

Today it was South Carolina’s Republican Governor Mark Sanford explaining that he wasn’t hiking on the Appalachian Trail when he went missing last week, as his staff told the media. Instead he was skipping down the Treasure Trail in Argentina attending to a year long extramarital affair.

Pam’s House Blend noticed that within an hour of Sanford’s press conference about spilling his beans, the Values Voters Summit, a conservative organization, had already removed his photo from its web site.

So now when you look at it, Sanford is gone, but not people like Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, Carrie Prejean and– GARY SINISE?!

And last week I watched Craig T. Nelson commiserating with Sean Hannity on Fox News.

Hollywood Liberals, take note!

Anti-gay infomercial airs in Los Angeles market

A group saying they represent “oppressed Christians” entered the Southern California TV market over the weekend with their anti-gay infomercial Speechless: Silencing the Christians.

Last February the organization, The American Family Association, bought air time for the 60-minute program in Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina.

It resurfaced in California on Sunday. According to GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “One person saw it in West Hollywood, California on Independent Cable Channel, KDOC on Sunday, June 21, where it aired from 7 to 8 p.m.”

KDOC is based in Santa Ana but also serves Los Angeles cable markets.

KDOC’s general manager John Manzi told me, “Our plan is not to run it again.” He also mentioned that the station has nothing to do with content of infomercials nor do they endorse or agree with any of the views presented.

Speechless is hosted by über-conservative talk radio queen Janet Parshall, who lays out the Evil Gay Blueprint at the beginning of the program:

The way Americans think about homosexuality has changed over the last two decades. And if you think that’s an accident, think again.

Two homosexual activists wrote the book in 1989, After the Ball – How America Will Conquer It’s Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s. In that book, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen laid out powerful and sophisticated propaganda techniques to manipulate people into accepting the homosexual lifestyle.

She’s right; it’s an incendiary book. But her conspiracy theory that it’s behind the growing acceptance of LGBT people is laughable. If anything, both After the Ball and reactive attacks like Speechless speak to the determination (and successes) of gay leaders and their struggle for equality in a society with an ever-evolving awareness.

Even Parshall admits in the infomercial that advances in gay rights in the last 20 years have been “breathtaking.”

If you can bear to watch it, click here.

New LA Times poll on same-sex marriage

The LA Times has just released information from their latest poll conducted in Los Angeles about same-sex marriage.

Overall in the city, 56% support the right of same-sex couples to marry while 37% oppose it.

Broken down further into racial and ethnic groups, among whites, 68% support same-sex marriage and 27% oppose it; among blacks, 37% support it while 54% oppose it; and among Latinos, 45% support it and 46% oppose.

New blog about sex, etc. from Antebellum Gallery

Antebellum Gallery, the Hollywood fetish gallery owned by photographer-director Rick Castro, has entered the blogosphere. Surprise-surprise, it’s for adults only.

Keeping track of sexuality (and sex) in all of its permutations as it is represented in popular and fringe culture, Castro’s blog might just be a perfect addition for the enlightened age that Obama’s presidency seems to be struggling to usher in. (Now if Obama would just grow a pair.)

Recent posts have been about the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 list of honorees who will receive stars on The Walk of Fame, this Sunday’s celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Tom of Finland Foundation at Faultline Bar and reaction to the latest sexually-charged Calvin Klein ad campaign.

My favorite post so far: One Straight Guy’s View of Bisexuality— a video by Minneapolis Youtube star Rocci Berrini, who espouses about topics of the day from a slacker’s POV.  And his seemingly clueless, common-sense, pro-gay marriage stance is actually one of the best (and funniest) arguments yet against the right’s clueless bigotry. Fight fire with fire, I say.

Immigration reform addresses gay couples’ rights

An immigration reform rally in Los Angeles and more than 40 other locations nationwide on Monday addressed immigration rights for gay couples, although that information didn’t make it into this piece in the LA Times about the event.

And if you want to see the anti-gay marriage crowd’s feigning that civil unions provide all of the benefits of marriage fall away, take a look at this article on Politico about gay partner language when it comes to immigration reform. A bill is being introduced in the US Congress would include the term “permanent partner” to sections of immigration law that pertain to married couples.

All of the right wing’s subterfuge about “civil unions are enough, just don’t call it marriage” flies out the window.

From Politico:

The chasm inside the immigrant rights community has led the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — a major partner in the drive for expanded immigrant rights — to withdraw its support from a House bill to be filed Thursday that would speed up reunification of immigrants with their families.

Including the same-sex provision in the family reunification bill “would erode the institution of marriage and family by according marriagelike immigration benefits to same-sex relationships, a position that is contrary to the very nature of marriage, which pre-dates the church and the state,” the bishops said in a letter to Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.).

“The last thing the immigration debate needs is another politically divisive issue,” said Kevin Appleby, the bishops’ director of migration and refugee policy.

Another major ally, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called the efforts to slip gay rights into the immigration debate a “slap in the face to those of us who have fought for years for immigration reform.”

Honda represents California’s 15th congressional district in Santa Clara County, the location of Cupertino, Apple Computer’s headquarters city. He’s been a long time advocate for the gay/bi/trans community.