For the past month or so, the legislators in New York State have been behaving, well, to say rather badly would be to put it mildly. But there are some heroes in the state capital. And Senator Tom Duane is one of them. He may not have the oratory skills of our president. But his passion is clear:
Category Archives: Health
Apparently the President of Change (perhaps he means "spare change"?) is counting on the idea that no one is going to check too closely when he issues these pandering crumbs tot he GLBT community. The Office of Personal Management policy paragraph (below) regarding "new" benefits available to domestic partners? — these benefits have been available for YEARS !!!!
For civil service employees, domestic partners of federal employees can be added to the long-term care insurance program; supervisors can also be required to allow employees to use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children.
Nothing new here.
1) See the OPM website which permits long term care to be extended "Qualified Relatives" that includes:
QUALIFIED RELATIVE- The term ‘qualified relative’ means each of the following:
The spouse of an individual described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4).
A parent, stepparent, or parent-in-law of an individual described in paragraph (1) or (3).
A child (including an adopted child, a stepchild, or, to the extent the Office of Personnel Management by regulation provides, a foster child) of an individual described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4), if such child is at least 18 years of age.
An individual having such other relationship to an individual described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) as the Office may by regulation prescribe.
2) During the Clinton administration — guidance was requested about whether sick leave could be used to take care of same-sex partners and/children. The answer came back that a federal employee could use their sick leave to take care of, attend doctor appointments, or even attend funerals for anyone who had the "close approximation of family". This was a guidance memo — not policy — but it has been available since the mid 1990's.
According to one Lisa Polyak of Baltimore, Maryland, the reason we know this is that she has worked for a Department of Defense Agency for 23 years and even DOD allowed her to take sick leave to care for her partner and her non-biological child.
In a word: what a bunch of NOTHING.
as I please
And this gives me pleasure.
My conscience decrees,
This right I must treasure.
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator,
No man can deny —
Die gedanken sind frei.
— German 16th-century peasant
song (revived as a protest anthem against the Nazi regime)*
As emotionally satisfying as it is to hear that the British Home Secretary has banned San Francisco radio shock jock Michael Savage (ne Michael A. Weiner) and the despicable Fred Phelps and his family from entry into Great Britain, along with various and sundry mad Muslim imams, Egyptian clerics and Russian skinheads…it is, alas, the most wrong-headed ham-fisted response, to say nothing of an appalling lack of imagination.
argument for free thought — that die gedanken sind frei ("thoughts are
free") that the Nazis and every other absolutist dictatorship have
excelled in crushing — has not been advanced by those who know better. The easy way out is not the answer. It's convenient to simply stifle ugly speech, but it also serves to elevate its standing.
a world sorely in need of a crash course in the efficacy of free debate
received nothing of the sort from the British Home Office. Instead, the lesson has been that the suppression
of ideas is valid, as long as the suppressors are convinced and self-assured that they are "more moral," of "higher character" and in
We Mourn Again: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick 1950 – 2009
Is that a lovely face or what?…
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick was an American theorist in the fields of gender studies, queer theory (queer studies) and critical theory, which mainly means she was concerned with how many queer angels were dancing on the heads of academic pins. Influenced by Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, feminism, psychoanalysis and deconstruction, her work reflected an abiding interest in a wide range of issues and topics including something called queer "performativity"…whatever the hell that is…and performance; experimental critical writing; the works of Marcel Proust; artists' books; Buddhism and pedagogy. Academic polemic gobble-de-gook aside…she was a friend to the LGBTQ community.
Surprising to some, she was married for 40 years to her husband, Hal Sedgwick, a CUNY professor of visual perception (optometry), but apparently only saw him on weekends. She would also prefer it to be reported in that manner, i.e. she was married to a man, as opposed to assigning her the "straight" or "hetero/homo" categorizations (a too conveniently neat division rejected by Sedgwick.)
Sedgwick wasn’t a household name, unless you count the brouhaha over her 1989 essay Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl, which featured in many of the ritualistic first-kill-all-the-professors stories from our long culture war.
Sedgwick’s books, including “Between Men” and “Epistemology of the Closet,” were on the shelves of most of the graduate students and comp-lit survivors, Gay and non-Gay, queer and non-queer, back in the 1990s. She virtually invented the field, or at least brought it to new heights. My personal favorite was an essay entitled How To Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys. If that was all she ever wrote she'd be worthy of laurels, from the aeries of the academe and the mundane streets alike.
Sedgwick’s radical challenge to heteronormative ways of reading and living may seem quaint (if that’s the word) in a time when people are celebrating same-sex weddings in Iowa and the White House Easter egg hunt conspicuously includes Gay and Lesbian families. Perhaps the misty future evoked in Pace University professor of English and women's studies, Karla Jay’s review of “Tendencies” — one where Sedgwick would be photographed shaving fellow queer-studies scholar Terry Castle on the cover of Time magazine, à la Cindy Crawford and K. D. Lang — isn’t quite here.
But alas, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, one of the foundational non-Gay allies, won't be around to see that future. She died April 12 of breast cancer. She was 58.
Our sincere condolences to her family and friends. In an age of anti-intellectualism and religious mythopoesis run amok, we need all the rational, intelligent voices we can find.
Yank the Tax Exemption for the NY Archdiocese!
Would someone please explain to me… why the new, pinhead, Archbishop of the New York Roman Catholic Archdiocese gets to comment on specific legislation being considered in the NY State legislature? Specifically the bill introduced by the Governor for Marriage Equality.
If I am not mistaken aren't 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations specifically forbidden to lobby or act on behalf of specific legislation or candidates? Here's the relevant passage:
"An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation."
So if Archbishop Dolan…or any other church…follows through on this threat, shouldn't the IRS yank the New York Roman Catholic Archdiocese's tax exemption?
There are too many ways to count the ignorance (and make no mistake about it…they are ignoring reality in favor of dogma) of the Catholic Church and it's pointy-headed old men, but here are four things the Archbishop doesn't know about Marriage Equality:
1. There are few biblical verses that address homosexuality at all, and most of those are not directed at homosexuality per se. Opponents of same-sex marriage routinely cite seven verses in the Christian Bible as condemning homosexuality and calling it a sin. But when taken in context, these lessons speak not against homosexuality itself, but rather against rape, child molestation, bestiality, and other practices that hurt others and compromise a person’s relationship with God.
2. Jesus never said one word against homosexuality. In all of his teachings, Jesus uplifted actions and attitudes of justice, love, humility, mercy, and compassion. He condemned violence, oppression, cold-heartedness, and social injustice. Never once did Jesus refer to what we call homosexuality as a sin.
3. The Bible never mentions or condemns the concept we call same-sex marriage. Although opponents of same-sex marriage claim that lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender unions violate biblical principles, no verses in the Bible explicitly address gay marriage or committed same-sex relationships.
4. Those who claim a “biblical definition of marriage” as a model for today ignore various marital arrangements in the Bible that would be illegal or condemned today. The Bible is filled with stories of polygamy and husbands taking concubines. In accordance with the culture and laws of the past, women were often treated like property that could be traded or sold into marriage. Today we understand that these examples of marriage reflect the cultural practices of the time rather than a spiritual model for today.
Papal Rectal Cranial Inversion
It's gratifying to see a scientific journal with the intellectual heft of The Lancet taking on the pope and his recent idiotic rantings in Africa and how condoms "contribute to HIV/AIDS":
But they're being nice. Or tactful. Or something. I'm sorry, but is it really "unclear" if his intent was to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology? Really? Unclear to whom?
Note to Galileo: About 1.7 million people, mostly women, in sub-Saharan Africa became infected with the HIV virus in 2007, bringing the total number of infections in the region to 22.5 million, according to the latest report by UNAIDS, the United Nations program that deals with HIV/AIDS. That’s two-thirds of the global number of people living with the virus.
The pope's comments are nothing short of an outrage, and frankly are as much a "crime against humanity" as any genocide. Medieval rot.
Of course, it wouldn't be the first time…and the Vatican's record on astronomy would be enough to give anyone pause when it came to listening to papal science (which, interestingly, if you Google "papal science" the first thing that comes up is Paypal. Somehow perfect.)
"Papal science"…Is that an oxymoron? Or just a moronic?
AARP Blows off Gay People
So, as a 50-ish, nearly 60-ish Gay man, I am, as a result of a 50th birthday present from my own parents, a member of the Association for the Advancement of Retired People, AARP. I get their magazine, and I use their discounts whenever I can, and I was actually pleased to find out that I could include my younger partner as part of my membership.
But then it occured to me…I wondered what their position was on Gay marriage? So I wrote and asked.
This was the reply:
Dear Bo Young:
Thank you for contacting the AARP national office. We appreciate
being able to respond to your concern. You asked whether AARP
supports gay marriage, or a gay or lesbian lifestyle in our policies
and publications, or perhaps whether we have any special affiliate
groups for gay or lesbian people.
AARP's all-volunteer Board supports particular public policies based
on the wide impact they would have on the entire population of older
Americans and their families. Since resources are limited and the
issues are numerous, the Board focuses AARP support on issues of
broad effect on older Americans. Therefore, AARP has no position on
AARP has always been a leader in fighting discrimination against all
older people, in the courts, in Congress, in state legislatures and
in other venues. It is important to remember that AARP's strength is
in its inclusiveness. Our nearly 40 million members represent every
walk of life and a diverse population over 50 years of age in all 50
states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin
Islands. AARP emphasizes the dignity and worth of every individual.
People featured in our publications always have been chosen for
interest and for the timeliness or uniqueness of their endeavors and
contributions. Our editorial policies contain the same principle of
inclusiveness as do our public policies.
I hope this gives you the information you need to answer your
concerns. If you are interested in the specific policies AARP
supports, you may review "The Policy Book", a complete record of the
current AARP public policies published biennially. Policies are
comprehensively reviewed every other year and more frequently as
needed. The National Policy Council conducts a deliberative and
inclusive study of the issues from numerous sources and forwards them
to the Board of Directors. The Board then adopts them, or not, after
You can review the Policy Book on the internet from your home
computer or your public library. Go to www.aarp.org/issues, and then
on the left, click on AARP Public Policies and under that, The Policy
Book. This is a convenient way to review a very large collection of
policies published every two years. The complete web address is:
Again, thank you for getting in touch with us. Please do not
hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can discuss with you
in the future.
Toll-free 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277)
Toll-free 1-877-434-7598 TTY
Crimes Against Nature
One of the most common slurs aimed at Gay folk is the "crime against Nature" accusation…the idea that homosexuality doesn't occur "naturally." Now, of course, we all know that's a bunch of heteronormative bunkum…Gay penguins, Lesbian seagulls, Bonobos (known taxonomically as Pan paniscus, or the "diminutive Pan"), dolphins ("birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it!")…all you have to do if you're looking for instances of homoeroticism in Nature is look for it and be willing to actually see it.
On the other hand, am I the only person in the room who is mildly disturbed by these stories of multiple births (eight at last count in California, to a woman who apparently already had six children…and they are questioning whether fertility drugs were involved. Well duh!…ya think!?) and, this morning, a 60 year old woman who gave birth. Now…I'm going to be 59 myself this year, and I can tell you, the idea of getting up for middle-of-the-night feedings, to say nothing of diapers, is the very last thing I would welcome. The story mentioned that this 60-year-old woman had turned to fertility drugs after decades of attempting to conceive… ahem… naturally. In my humble opinion, these aren't births…they're litters.
No one is supposed to question the aching desire of these women. Nevermind how self-centered and entitled it all is. My favorite part of all of these stories is how the mother in question always manages to see herself and her conception as something for which god needs to be involved and thanked, completely ignoring the fact that none of it would have happened without the science of in vitro fertilization. One wonders how many of these women who see their wombs as "miracle sites" would in the next breath condemn evolution. Or the women who, with multiple embryos crowding their otherwise unfertile wombs, decline what the doctors refer to as "selective reduction", i.e. selective abortions of some of the embryos for the health of the remaining embryos, citing "god's will," as though god had anything to do with the multiple embryos science placed in her. If god had anything to do with it, then perhaps the very idea that someone, after decades of infertility, might figure out the message that perhaps she isn't supposed to conceive.
And I have to wonder: did anyone bother to tell these self-absorbed "aching wombs" that, in the United States alone there are more than 129,000 children in foster care in need of a loving families and mothers?
And what doctor gave this woman fertility drugs? Where is the oversight? This woman is not married, already has 6 children, lives with her mother and her excuse for having fertility treatments – and therefore eight more children – is that she just wanted one more girl? She was lonely!!?? These are not Barbie Dolls, they're human beings. Babies. Yeah…that's the answer: Collect them all!
That's what I call "a crime against Nature."
And another question: How many of these multiple birth families end up needing public tax monies (paid by Gay people who are, in some states, forbidden to adopt) to manage their families?
It is with profound sadness that we pass along Project Inform's announcement of the passing this morning of their Founder, Martin Delaney. He was 63 years old.
When the full history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is written, there can be no doubt that Martin Delaney will rank as one of the greatest contributors to ending this great human tragedy. Those of us living with HIV, and all of us who care about people living with HIV, mourn the loss of this great leader, lifesaver and wonderful human being.
Delaney’s activism is legendary. He was a David among many Goliaths. He has assured that government, researchers and pharmaceutical companies understand and respond to the needs of HIV-positive people. He heavily influenced the development of the strong arsenal of medications we now have to prolong life for millions of people worldwide.
Personally and through Project Inform, Martin Delaney educated or counseled tens of thousands of HIV-positive individuals and their caregivers about how to treat HIV. A day does not pass in the life of this agency that a person living with HIV or a supporter tells of a life lengthened or saved as a result of Marty’s efforts.
Intellect, activist, diplomat, mentor, friend — each of us will remember Marty for the great attributes he brought to his lifesaving work. He will be missed terribly.
We will provide information as quickly as we are able about the date of a public event to memorialize Marty. Emails of support can be sent to email@example.com and cards can be mailed to Project Inform, 1375 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.
As you may or may not be aware, White Crane sponsors the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy, under the guidance of the wonderful Chris Bartlett. In the interests of Gay men’s health, then we would like to offer this instructive video…NOT your father’s instruction video:
We recommend you do the same.