‘The Lorax’ Is Brainwashing Our Kids Says Fox News

It was just a matter of time.

What with Santorum’s matter-of-factness about the Republican agenda, Gingrich’s out-of-touchness, and Romney’s resolutely-stoic-good-looks, there had to be something crazy going on out there.

Not one to disappoint, Lou Dobbs has jumped on the conspiracy theory bandwagon by accusing Dr Suess of being a tree-hugging lefty brainwashing child indoctrinator:

Adventures in the Molly House (or what I didn’t learn in History)

Not to knock my Central-Montana public education, but I think we skipped over some of the juicer parts of history.

Either that, or I nodded off when we learned of Princess Seraphina. An 18th Century Molly House Lady who brought a thief to court for stealing her clothes.  Ahh, queerness in the 18th century. The complete transcript of a trial in 1732 offers a peek at a character who knew how to work it. In an act of sheer extravaganza eleganza, Princess Seraphina, having been robbed at knife point, bloody and bruised, didn’t back down or cower. Girlfriend sued Thomas Gordon for ” putting him in fear, and taking from him a Coat, a Waistcoat, a pair of Breeches, a pair of Shoes, a pair of Silver Shoe-buckles, a Shirt, a Stock, a Silver Stock- buckle, and 4½d. in Money…”

The adventure of the Chevalier d’Eon was also skipped. You’d think in a county named Chouteau (with two “U”s, thankyouverymuch) the story of a spy who sported elegant gowns, who fought and fenced like a man yet walked like a woman would have been a great educational opportunity to spark some farm kid’s imagination and get her to learn more about French history…and transgender politics.

Yep. It’s history lessons like this that certainly would have rounded out my education. But, Mr. H, bless his basketball coach’s heart, never ventured into this territory.

Oh well, there’s always wiki on the interwebs.

10 Lies About the LGBT Community Perpetuated By the Christian Right

An excellent post by Kathy on Canyonwalker Connections. Excerpt:

“I find it exceedingly sad that the State is leading the charge for social justice when God told His people over 2,700 years ago in the book of Isaiah to “spend” themselves on justice issues. (Isaiah 58: 6-12)  The courts are now leading the way to end this inequality. It should have been Christians churches.  We have been here before on the issues of equality for women and Black Americans. God help us; Your people betrayed a mandate and used Your name to validate discrimination.”

Read the full post here.

Like I said, it’s excellent.

World AIDS Day: A Need To Remember

Because I think it’s still relevant, I’m reprinting (with a few updates) my column for World AIDS Day from last year. I may just continue to do so as long as it still makes sense….


Remember when World AIDS Day used to be important?

I do.

I remember December 1st as a day when people gathered in terror and grief with candles and tears listening to words that couldn’t begin to touch the pain and anger and sadness.

I remember when it was a time for all kinds of people to gather together, people that probably wouldn’t be in the same room for any other reason. At World AIDS Day services in the early Nineties, I remember seeing queer activists, quietly closeted gay men and women, Episcopal and Catholic priests, Native American leaders, Protestant ministers, atheists, nuns and agnostics. I saw elected officials, Republicans and Democrats, wheelchair-bound elderly, parents, children, nurses, doctors, cowboys, lawyers, accountants, little old ladies and, once, a rodeo clown. All coming together, all looking for comfort and hope and compassion among others who could maybe understand.

We don’t really do that now. And maybe it’s okay that we don’t.
Maybe it’s good that the terror I remember so vividly on the faces of  friends and complete strangers is no longer there. Maybe it’s good that people aren’t dying so fast and so painfully, isolated and afraid. Maybe it’s good that we’re not so traumatized by fear and grief and anger.

Maybe.

Is terror a good thing? Is a painful death beneficial? Is emotional trauma something to be longed for?

No. But I have to say, those scenes of suffering and bravery certainly helped capture the zeitgeist of the Eighties and Nineties. It helped keep AIDS in our collective consciousness. Drama and fear and compassion fueled activism and grassroots movements and the formation of community-based organizations. AIDS was overwhelmingly real. It was dramatic. It went to the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys and the Tonys. And it won. More than once.

So I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that HIV isn’t such a drama queen anymore. Not to say that I want people to suffer needlessly. I don’t. I just happen to think we’re not paying attention because it’s no longer hip, sexy, avant-garde and noble to do so. I think that our short attention spans need to be constantly reminded. And, there’s really not a lot of spectacular theatrics to grab our attention today. Well, not compared to the past.

But, trust me, it’s still there. There are some rather dramatic facts to consider:

  • People are still being infected. In the U.S. there are over fifty thousand new diagnoses a year. The CDC estimates that one in five persons with HIV doesn’t know it. That means they may not be protecting their sexual partners out of ignorance. That means more HIV.
  • Gay men, and/or Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) account for more than half of all new infections each year, and MSM is the only risk group in the country whose infections are increasing. MSM account for nearly half of all persons living with HIV in the United States today. Nearly half. And those are just the ones we know about. That means that for all the talk we hear about “AIDS is not a gay disease,” it is. That means sexually active MSM are having sex with HIV+ partners statistically more often than any other members of the general population- and being infected. HIV significantly and dramatically lives in the bodies of gay men.
  • HIV strains the budget of every state in the Union. So much so, that states have cut or are considering cuts in funding to drug assistance programs and other HIV support and prevention services. These services keep people alive at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. More money is needed with every new infection. That money comes out of your taxes.
  • People are still dying. Yes, the drugs help, and people with HIV are living longer lives, but the drugs don’t always work, and HIV mutates. Our immune systems are under a great deal of strain and one serious opportunistic infection can kill. I lost a friend just this year.
  • It’s not over. Families are still being traumatized and our community is being hurt by this epidemic. Here in Montana, with its relatively miniscule gay population, new members joined my HIV+ support group this year,  most are gay men in their twenties- kids, really. All facing a lifetime radically different than they had hoped for.

And those are just some of the many points to consider.

Is it good that people are no longer dying and suffering in such huge numbers? Yes.
Is it good that we no longer gather in great numbers, sharing strong emotions, standing hopefully resolute in the face of pain and suffering and memory? I don’t think so.

Personally, I need to remember these facts and these people, because they’re part of my history, my community, my country and my world. I need to be reminded that my compassion, my voice and my heart are all still relevant. I need to be reminded that I’m not alone, I need to remind others of the same thing. And I think doing it once a year is the least I can do.

That’s why I’ll be going to a World AIDS Day service this year. That’s why I’ll be wearing a red ribbon, holding a candle in the dark, listening to words of grief, bravery and encouragement. To remember, to remind, to regroup.

Because I still think it’s important.

Bully

I knew it when I saw it
-I always do.
Especially when it’s waved
in front of my face.
Flaunted and taunting.

I hit it. Like on TV.
I yelled inside “Ha!”
When it went down,
Shaking, trembling,
though I hit with words.

But next time I hit
It will be better.
I hear the words, firing me up
to go beyond them,
to hurt more than hearts.

I feel my body tense,
Muscles knowing more
How to put it in it’s place
Than words ever can.
I believe my story about it.

It goes down because it has to.
It has to because if it doesn’t,
It will be me, a person.
And that won’t happen
When I can steal power.

~D Gregory Smith

A Reminder For A Monday

Before the work week starts to do its little dance of damage to your soul, I thought I’d share something with you.
From one of my favorite poets and one of the most inspirational human beings to ever pick up a pen, comes this compact revelation:

“I believe in kindness.
Also in mischief.
Also in singing,
especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”
~Mary Oliver

I’m going to do all three today….

Moderation

There’s been a bit of an exchange in the comments on my post Being Gay IS a Choice in the last few weeks. I loved the dialog, but was increasingly bothered by the intolerant intransigence of one of the commenters. I felt that the comments were not in keeping with the theme of this site. It became not a forum to increase understanding, but a soapbox.

That doesn’t work for me.

As a result, I have decided to moderate all the comments on this site (you can read my response in the thread at the bottom of the post linked above). I still encourage comments here, but I guess I need to decide if the content fits in with my vision here. I will probably hear cries of “Discrimination!” and “Censorship!”, but that’s okay. My goal is understanding, education, awareness and a bit of silliness- not judgment, anger or proselytizing.

Namaste.