Friday, November 19, 2004

Americans are hypocritical prudes (dawn of the neo-Victorian age?)

Indeed we are, or at least a majority of us are and they are the ones in charge right now!!! Let's look at the laundry list of issues where America in general is far to the right of most of the rest of the world (and indeed, some of our polices or at least the beliefs held by the right-wingers, is in step with radical Islamist beliefs!):

  • Alcohol (you can legally go to war and kill people but you still can't have a beer?)
  • Drugs (i.e., pot - we are by far the number one consumer of this stuff)
  • Sex (yes sex - look at the ridiculous uproars over recent mini-second risque bits on Monday Night football, Howard Stern and the Super Bowl)
  • Prostitution (outlawed almost everywhere but in parts of that fun place Nevada...)
  • Abortion (we even refuse to fund any international relief or family planning efforts that have any connection to any service that even talks about abortion as an option!!!)
  • Birth Control (the morning after pill has been available and used safely by millions in Europe for decades and now the right-wing wackos in some states want to remove reference to use of condoms from sex eduaction classes)
  • Homosexuality (we are contemplating writing the bigoted idea of homosexuals and transgendered as second-class citizens into our Constitution for chissakes!)

What do all these have in common? Sex sex sex!!! I guess some of these born-again types were born again virgins - they don't remember that sex is fun, sex is freeing, sex is fucking a biological instinct as well!

We need to lighten up, enjoy life, laugh at ourselves every once in a while...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

right-wing myths about marriage and gays

The right-wingers won massive victories in the states in their continued efforts to relegate gays, bi-sexuals, lesbians and the transgendered (hereafter referred to as GBLT) to second-class citizen status. How? As usual through outright lies, distortion, false claims and a reliance on the basic ignorance and fear of the unknown of the majority of rural, middle-class Americans.

Their basic "mythic" arguments:
1. Marriage has been a sacred institution between a man and a woman for the last 5000 years.
2. Allowing GBLTs to marry will ruin or corrupt the institution of marriage.
3. GBLT individuals are evil and against God's will.
4. The GBLT cultures are somehow corrupting our youth and resulting in the decline of "values" in America.

Now, to my mind, any intelligent individual will look at the statements above and say: how could anyone in their right mind hold such bigoted and exclusionary views? Unfortunately, as the last election so soundly reminded us, a lot more people in this country are willing to buy into this vision that we sometimes might care to admit. Now let's debunk all these right-wing myths:

1. Marriage has been a sacred institution between a man and a woman for the last 5000 years:
This is pure drivel. Marriage has evolved and changed over time the same as any other social institution. Some of you may even be old enough to remember when inter-racial marriages were outlawed or when inter-cultural couples were discriminated against openly. Prior to that women in a marriage were merely regarded as chattel that the husband owned. And who can forget that still legal in some cultures practice of polygamy (75% of the worl'd societies allow this form of marriage)! If a tradition is wrong (some more examples: sacrificing virgins to the gods, slavery), it gets changed. An exerpt from the Congressional Quarterly Researcher, 2003:

Present-day advocates of gay marriage — notably, Yale law Professor William Eskridge in his book The Case for Same-Sex Marriage — find historical analogues dating back to the Biblical accounts of David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi. Eskridge notes that same-sex relationships between men were common in ancient Greece — witness Plato's discourse on love in the dialogue Symposium — and that the Roman Emperor Nero had a formal wedding ceremony with his male lover Sporus.
“Same-sex marriages are a commonplace in human history,” Eskridge writes, and have been “tolerated in most societies” except in the West.

2. Allowing GBLTs to marry will ruin or corrupt the institution of marriage:
This has yet to be explained to me? How? How does letting other adults marry of their own volition and using their own ceremony corrupt yours? Besides the fact that, as mentioned above, the idea of a singular "institution of marriage" is simply not true, how does gay marriage in any way affect heterosexual marriage? There is absolutely zero evidence that gay relationships are any less lasting, loving and viable than hetero ones and research about child rearing shows that there is also no difference in the short or long-term outcomes of those children (besides perhaps, and I'm just guessing here, that these children would be more open-minded and tolerant of others).

3. GBLT individuals are evil and against God's will:
And guess what? Right-wingers often believe anyone who doesn't believe exactly what they believe is evil. Here's another similar example: the Al Qaida wackos think that America is evil and against God's will too...

4. The GBLT cultures are somehow corrupting our youth and resulting in the decline of "values" in America.

Wait, I thought they had been crying that TV and those evil hollywood people were responsible for that...Anyways. whose values are we talking about here? There is absolutely no credible evidence of any relationship between a rise in GBLT culture and a decline in values. Besides, gays have existed since mankind arose. It was certainly widespread (and this is well-documented) in the first democracies in history: ancient Greece and Rome (not to mention rampant within the cloistered medieval monasteries).

By the way, here is an excerpt from CRUZ, DAVID B. "Same-Sex Marriage, I." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Ed. Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst. Vol. 5. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. 2307-2308. 6 vols.

The refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry violates the DUE PROCESS clauses of the Fifth Amendment and the FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, under which the Supreme Court has recognized that the right to marry may not be significantly burdened absent extraordinary justification. In LOVING V. VIRGINIA (1967) the Court held that the right to marry is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, and ZABLOCKI V. REDHAIL (1978) made clear that it embraces both negative rights to freedom from government prosecution for cohabiting as married and affirmative rights to enter government-sanctioned civil marriage. The prohibition on two men or two women marrying thus should trigger STRICT SCRUTINY, provided the right is defined at a sufficiently high level of generality.
Defenders of the heterosexual status quo argue that civil marriage has always involved the union of one man with one woman, and thus that there is no SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS right to same-sex marriage "deeply rooted" in American history or "essential" to our scheme of ordered liberty. Yet it is inappropriate to take enduring characteristics of a person claiming a right into account in defining the contours of that right. The Court rejected such an effort in Loving, where Virginia argued that its MISCEGENATION law prohibiting marriages between white and black persons violated no fundamental right because mixed-race marriages had long been prohibited by law. Despite the long history of monoracial statutory marriage definitions, the Court held that Virginia's law infringed the fundamental right to marry.
Similarly, the right to marry should not by fiat and history be deemed to exclude same-sex marriages a priori. Rather, the two-sex requirement should have to survive strict scrutiny to be consistent with the due process clauses. However, in the RIGHT TO DIE case Washington v. Glucksberg (1997), a majority of the Court took a restrictive view of the proper formulation of substantive rights claimed to be protected under the due process clause, and it is conceivable that the Court would do so in this context and find no fundamental right to same-sex marriage.
Nonetheless, excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage also violates the constitutional guarantee of EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS, which demands that governmental classifications must withstand the appropriate level of scrutiny. Under cases such as UNITED STATES V. VIRGINIA (1996), governmental SEX DISCRIMINATION must survive at least intermediate scrutiny.

There is no reliable social science evidence that most or all mixed-sex marriages provide a healthier child-rearing environment than same-sex marriages.

At base, the nationwide refusal to recognize same-sex marriages, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, its state-level copycat statutes, and arguments that recognizing same-sex marriages would somehow "undermine" the institution of marriage all reflect both a profound anxiety that heterosexual privilege may be eroding and an attempt to use the law to perpetuate the subordinate status of lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. The Constitution, however, prohibits majorities from using the power of government to shore up such status hierarchies. As the first Justice JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN argued in his DISSENTING OPINION in PLESSY V. FERGUSON (1896), and as reaffirmed in the sexual orientation context in ROMER V. EVANS (1996), the Constitution "neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Fear and exclusion have won the day (but only for now!)

Somehow, the majority of well-meaning Americans have bought Bush's "strong and moral" image. Bottom line: the republicans used the extensive and close-knit religious institutions in this country to win and they did it well. They sold those vast populations on lies and innuendo and false claims about Kerry and the Democrats.

Oh well! Whining time is over. Now its time to figure out how to stop Bush from wrecking our country even further; to minimizing the damage the Republicans can do; and to getting someone sensible elected in 2008.

We need to start organizing NOW! If you care at all about the long-term health of the environment we live in, about the rights of all citizens, about the long-term problems of terrorism, crime and nuclear proliferation - then we all have common cause. I obviously don't have all the answers, but the bottom line is we need to do a much better job of dispelling the awful image of liberals, progressives and Democrats held by vast swaths of this country, and we need to do a better job of selling our vision for the future of our nation - one based, in my view, on inclusion, respect and love.

For my part, I definately need to do more - to get more involved, to make an effort to get out there and protest and fight for what I believe in. In that respect I failed miserably these past 4 years and hope I can do more to reverse that failure in the coming years...

We will have to fight tooth and nail for all this because with control of all branches of the government and soon probably also the supreme court, the conservatives will be deeply entrenched in power and by nature unwilling to give it up. My simple advice: start local, find a local cause and get involved - make the critical arguments to your friends and colleagues and get them involved! Stand up to the politics of hatred, aggression and fear!

Enough soapbox ranting for ya? ok, ok....

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween adventure

I hope everyone (especially you t-girls out there) got to get out and be a little wild this past weekend. I know I did...

It started out innocently enough at a friends party - with lots of kids, candy and innocent drinking and conversation. Oh by the way, I was wearing a slutty looking goth minidress, garters and high heels (see images at the bottom of my web site here:

Next was Club 22. It was fairly packed. I entered the drag costume contest and ended up winning! I got a $50 bar tab as winnings and spent most of it within 15 minutes! Thanks to all who cheered for me during the competition - it was the first time ever winning anything as Dana.

Next was some dancing and then some pool. Unfortunately, there was this drunk asshole there and he was taking things a little too seriously. I don't know how he didn't get kicked out before the incident, but he lost at pool to a couple gay guys and evidently took it personally. As he was leaving the table (I was waiting to play the next game) one of the gay guys said something like "nice game" and the guy just went beserk! He lunged at the guy, who was standing right next to me, and started throttling him. Well, I was pretty drunk by this time and I must have had some pent up anger. I reacted instantly and grabbed the drunk asshole by the neck and shoved him back away from the guy. A general melee ensued and as the drunk was being talked to by the owners I shouted out that he started it and was being a total asshole. He went even more beserk, threatened to kill me (at which, in my somewhat also drunked state, I stuck my tongue out at him) and he lunged at me. Luckily there were a group of people between us, although I was fired up and fully ready to stick my 6 inch stilleto platform heel right into his neck. Luckily, he was kicked out and I didn't have to mess up my outfit, and we went on playing pool.

Getting more drunk as the evening progressed, I felt some attraction to my runner-up in the drag contest. We had talked earlier and she seemed very nice. To make a long story short - we ended up making out a little, feeling each other up a bit and generally flirting with each other shamelessly. Unfortunately, the girl had her boyfriend there (they both wanted to take me home and make a Dana sandwhich :-), but I had no interest in that, so things ended there (and probably thankfully). The girl was very cute though! That's it - I know - boring, but for me exciting! I feel myself getrting more and more adventurous in my outings - who knows where it will lead me! I can't say for sure how far things might have progressed if that girl's boyfriend hadn't been there...