My wireless system started working out of the blue the other day, so now instead of simply writing this column from my study at home, I can write it from the living room while watching Rod Blagojevich banter with the press live on MSNBC. I can even use the crawl headlines to spell â€śBlagojevichâ€ť without looking it up.
You know, Iâ€™m sure, that Rodâ€™s wifeâ€™s sister is an openly gay Illinois state legislator, so the governorâ€™s travails are conceivably a legitimate part of our community news rubric. But donâ€™t worry, Iâ€™m not headed into the noxious Blago-swamp. Instead, I just clicked on an AOL headline that read: â€śBakery refuses to make childâ€™s cake.â€ť Subhead: â€śBoyâ€™s shocking name is reason why.â€ť
I was all set to condemn the churlish bakery without further research when I read that the three-year-oldâ€™s name is â€śAdolph Hitler,â€ť and his parents are Nazi sympathizers. His sistersâ€™ names are â€śJoyceLynn Aryan Nationâ€ť and â€śHonszlynn Hinier.â€ť I looked up Honszlynn Hinier and found nothing, but still.
The parents, Heath and Deborah Campbell, produced a shocked statement of outrage for the New Jersey grocery store in Holland Township that undermined their toddlerâ€™s birthday celebration. â€śShopRite canâ€™t even make a cake for a three-year-old,â€ť complained the deranged mother. â€śThatâ€™s sad.â€ť When a reporter asked her if she worried about the childrenâ€™s moniker-related troubles down the road, she answered: â€śI just figured theyâ€™re just names. Theyâ€™re just kids. Theyâ€™re not going to hurt anyone.â€ť
Hello, Child Protective Services? By the way, the Campbells got little Adolph a cake with no problem at WalMart, so the party is back on track. Can you imagine the therapy bills those kids are going to rack up over the decades to come? And whatâ€™s with WalMart?
Meanwhile, our ubiquitous President Elect is back on the tube, this time to present his Interior and Agriculture Secretaries, Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack. Iâ€™m a little tired of these lengthy issue-oriented press conferences that continually interrupt coverage of poor little Caylee, Rod Blagojevich and the $50 billion Ponzi scheme guy.
Earlier this week, however, Obama made his first openly gay high-level appointment, picking LA Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley to head the White House Council on Environmental Policy. And one of the top nominees for Labor Secretary, labor activist Mary Beth Maxwell, is also gay. If appointed, Maxwell would be the first openly gay cabinet member in history. As for those closeted gay cabinet members of yore? Only the shadow knows.
You Say You Want a Resolution
Meanwhile, Equality California is initiating a big push to convince California lawmakers to go on record in opposition to Prop 8, a nice expression of solidarity should it come about, but not much more than that, right? Maybe Iâ€™m missing something, but the California legislature has already passed marriage equality rights not once, but twice. Those votes overruled the previous pernicious prop, number 22, and I think they still represent a strong thumbs up from Sacramento. Why do we need more reassurance?
The pro marriage resolution was introduced by Mark Leno in the Senate and Tom Ammiano in the Assembly, and is meant to put the state legislature on record in its belief that Prop 8 is an invalid â€śrevisionâ€ť to the constitution, not a legitimate â€śamendment.â€ť Unfortunately for us, the opinion of our political allies is not likely to influence the California Supreme Court.
Look, itâ€™s not as if Iâ€™m against any effort to support our fight for marriage and promote our cause of equality. But it feels about as productive as punching the elevator button ten times in a row to make the car come faster. Nonetheless, Equality California has scheduled a lobby day at the Capitol for Feb. 17, coinciding with the Freedom to Marry Day events of Valentineâ€™s week.
Oh, and we damn well better win this resolution, because if we donâ€™t, weâ€™ll have set ourselves back significantly for no apparent gain. Has anyone done the two-person zero-sum game theory box on this? The downside of trying to pass a resolution and failing is harsh. The upside to passage is tepid. The downside to not attempting the plan is minimal to nonexistent. Ergoâ€¦.
Lesbian Teens Run Amok
Moving on, I just stumbled upon a research project out of British Columbia claiming that lesbian teens are far more likely to get pregnant than their heterosexual counterparts. The study just published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality was based on some 30,000 anonymous surveys of high school kids, collected in 1992, in 1998 and in 2003. In the 1998 survey, over 10 percent of bisexual girls had managed to get knocked up, along with 7.3 percent of lesbians and only 1.8 percent of heterosexuals. Granted, the gay and bi girls combined to make up only 3.5 percent of the total, but 30,000 is a large survey population. I also assume that the Vancouver Sun picked the 1998 data because it represented the most dramatic gap.
Oh, and the gay guys reportedly got more girls â€śin troubleâ€ť than the straight ones. Bad boys!
Can this be true? A scientist speculated that the gay kids may have been experimenting with heterosexuality in their quest for sexual identity. Perhaps, but as far as Iâ€™m aware, straight teens are also fond of â€śexperimenting with heterosexuality,â€ť for reasons of their own. Are our LGBT youth clueless as well as promiscuous? Are they seeking to keep the fires of prejudice at bay by becoming parents (another suggestion from the Sun)? Are they having a bit of fun with the human sexuality researchers? Is there something about Canada?
Pregnant Lesbians Redux
I just google-newsed â€śpregnant lesbiansâ€ť and although I didnâ€™t find additional clues to the above mystery. I came up with something else, a Daily Telegram headline reading: â€śDead Yagoona Woman A Lesbian Who Thought She Was a Man.â€ť I assumed this was a case of trans-phobic headline writing, but I persevered with the story, and found it worthy of passing along.
â€śDetails and pictures have emerged illustrating the grim life led by two lesbians at a Yagoona hotel, after one of the women was found dead in suspicious circumstances,â€ť the Telegram began..
â€śPolice are investigating after the 37-year-old - who thought she was a man - died at the Hume Hotel in Yagoona last night.
â€śMeanwhile three men are being quizzed after a woman fell to her death from a Sydney balcony this morning. It is feared she may have been pushed.
Read more here. [Noteâ€” I clicked on this item, and I can tell you it has nothing to do with the tragic plot we were following up until we rudely interrupted with this irrelevant material.]
â€śThe woman and her lesbian partner were long term residents at the 10-room hotel.
â€śIt has emerged they were both heavy drinkers who frequented a bar known as the Snake Pit. Follow the gallery link below to see their living conditions.â€ť
Your intrepid reporter has indeed followed all the links on your behalf. The couple, Tina and Carla, lived the Daily Telegraphâ€™s version of a grim life at a low rent hotel, where Tinaâ€™s bruised body was found in her room roughly four days after her death. Carla, meanwhile, is reportedly 20 weeks pregnant from a one-night walk on the wild side. It clearly wasnâ€™t Carlaâ€™s first experiment with heterosexual sex, as we say in Canada, since she has two other kids who live with their father in Macquarie Fields.
Carla, 28, has been questioned by police and released.
The couple spent nearly every evening at the aforementioned Snake Pit, where the bartender said Tina would be missed and called the twosome â€śfabulous people.â€ť A friend of the pair told police that Tina literally thought she was a man and convinced herself that she had fathered the expected baby.
And thatâ€™s it. We donâ€™t know how she died. We donâ€™t know who or what killed her. But I can add that Yagoona is a suburb of Sydney, and the Snake Pit is independently described online as a â€śclassic country pub.â€ť Did they really live a grim life? How bad could it be if their bartender thought they were â€śfabulous?â€ť Was Tina presenting herself as a man, or was she off her rocker? What happened in that room! So many questions!
Worst Judge in the World
I havenâ€™t had the heart until now to write about a particularly cruel case parenting case now pending before the West Virginia Supreme Court, which voted 4-1 this week to hear an appeal of an adoption petition by a lesbian couple. The women, Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess, have raised a one-year-old baby since birth, caring for her as foster parents through drug withdrawal from an addicted mother. The father is unknown.
After the mother relinquished her rights in early November, the women moved to become her adoptive parents, which is not technically illegal in the state. Not only does West Virginia allow gay couples to foster parent, but it allows any single adult to adopt. Kutil is already the mother of a 12-year-old girl, adopted in some rare progressive corner of the Hillbilly State.
But last month, Judge Paul Blake ignored recommendations from the state department of Health and Human Resources, siding instead with the childâ€™s legal advocate, Thomas Fast, who has tried from the get go to have the child removed from the dangerous confines of a lesbian love nest. According to the Charleston Daily Mail, Blake ordered the baby to be sent to another foster home, where Ozzie and Harriet were reportedly prepared to apply to adopt her. When that couple changed their minds a few days later, the little girl was shunted over to yet another couple, but thankfully returned to Kutil and Hess on an emergency order from the state supreme court that same day. The baby is safe for now, pending the justices ruling on the case. Oral arguments are set for March 11.
Ho Ho Ho!
Iâ€™ve been away from the keyboard for a half hour or so and I lost my train of thought, which had been chugging towards a diatribe about Judge Blake and his ilk. Mel came home early and began blasting a Big Band version of â€śLet it Snow.â€ť We both put on Santa hats and opened a bottle of white wine, and it is from this cheery new vantage point that I attempt to finish this column.
One thing I must mention is the jointheimpact.com candlelight vigil set for Saturday night, Dec. 20. The simple plan calls for people around the country to put on a gay T-shirt, get together with candles and protest Prop 8 for an hour or so. My fellow Austinites will demonstrate on the Congress Avenue Bridge from five to seven, so I assume many other cities will be able to draw a crowd, particularly those located in areas of the country that are not buried in ice.
In general, it looks to me as if jointheimact is indeed having an impact, although the Day Without a Gay was a dud. That idea, urging gay people to stay home from work, volunteer for good works and refrain from spending, was just too ambitious. Itâ€™s hard enough to move people en masse to a one-hour rally, let alone convince thousands to adhere to a specific and difficult agenda. Iâ€™ve watched the development of the Day of Silence over a long time. It started slow and built into a noteworthy movement only after years of persistent organization.
But for now, the new Web site is a successful focal point for a community dying to express both hope and frustration and it will be interesting to see if the momentum will continue. Personally, my momentum is now draining at approximately the same rate of speed as my wine glass.
Christmas fun is calling me!