February 14, 2014
Male prostitution on the rise in Lebanon

From the article:

When talking about his life “Hassan” hesitates, the words coming out with difficulty as he chain-smokes cigarettes and fiddles with his sweatshirt. His work could have him arrested, beaten up and jailed. Hassan, a 27-year-old Sunni from Iraq, is a male prostitute and has been selling himself for money in Beirut for a year.

This was not a lifestyle that he ever wanted, but something he says was forced upon him. He insists he would have chosen another path “had I been given the choice”. Hassan - who asked his real name not be used - was forced to leave his country after his family found out about his homosexuality and threatened to kill him. Fearful for his life, he fled Iraq and was smuggled into Lebanon, along with five other refugees, by an NGO he refuses to name. After a few months, he was evicted from his flat after getting involved in a fight.

Alone, still unemployed and desperate for any way to make money, he heard about bars in bourgeois areas of Beirut where men would pay high prices to spend a few hours with young men like him. A couple of days later, a wealthy entrepreneur from Turkey picked him up at a gay club located in the heart of the capital. After a drink and a short discussion about prices, they left together. The next morning Hassan was given $400 from the first of what would become many “clients”. He was now a male escort.

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February 13, 2014
"

The best defensive player in college football’s best conference only a third to fifth round NFL pick? Really? That is shocking, and I guess that other thing is, too. Michael Sam would be the first openly gay player in the NFL; [he] says he knows there will be problems, and they’ve already started…

It wasn’t that long ago when we were being told that black [football] players couldn’t play in “our” games because it would be “uncomfortable.” And even when they finally could, it took several more years before a black man played quarterback, because we weren’t “comfortable” with that, either…

I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine. Civil rights activist Audre Lord said: “It is not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” We’ve always been able to recognize them. Some of us accept them. And I want to believe that there will be a day when we do celebrate them. I don’t know if that day’s here yet. I guess we’re about to find out. But when I listen to Michael Sam, I do think it’s time to celebrate him now.

"

Dale Hansen

I liked this monologue, but I wonder if Hansen understood the irony of saying that he’s “not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay,” followed by a quote from Audre Lorde, who was a lesbian and gay rights activist.  On the other hand, it was surprising to see an old white dude from Texas name-dropping Audre Lorde in a monologue about diversity.  Progress is progress.

h/t metamorphoseandbodhi

February 9, 2014
longreads:

Being Gay in Russia: A Reading List

LTMC: Definitely worth a perusal, if only to catch the headlines of the articles.

longreads:

Being Gay in Russia: A Reading List

LTMC: Definitely worth a perusal, if only to catch the headlines of the articles.

February 5, 2014
Lawmaker who thinks gays a threat to children crashes boat into children

Early contender for best headline of the year.

Update: This apparently happened last year and I missed it.  Still a great headline, though.

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Filed under: politics gay rights 
November 4, 2013
Dan Savage, Ctd.

In response to this post, a reader writes:

Dan Savage is a mysoginistic, trans*phobic, and biphobic piece of shit, jsyk before you herald him as a savior for queer people

I never intended to appoint him as such.  I’m sorry if I gave that impression.

To be sure, Dan Savage is an asshole.  He’s made his career off being an asshole.  His Savage Love column is brusque, to the point, and often insulting.  He’s not afraid to tell off audience members in his public appearances, nor is he afraid to offend people who might otherwise be in his corner.  He’s burned his fair share of bridges over the course of his career, including with the Feminist community.

As far as Savage’s misogyny, transphobia, and biphobia are concerned, all I can say is: fair enough.  But I think we can still recognize the good things that Dan Savage has done while calling him out for his misguided positions.  As Ta-Nehisi Coates put it, "Virtues do not excuse sins—they co-habit with them."   

I think if nothing else, he deserves credit for the It Gets Better project, which has been one of the most visible awareness campaigns for the plight of LGBT youth I can think of in recent memory.  The campaign makes a conscious effort to include bi-sexual and transgender youth in its advocacy, so Savage’s opinions on bi-sexual and transgender people don’t appear to be one-dimensional. He doesn’t get a pass for whatever misguided statements he has made, but thankfully his actions seem to be speaking louder than his words to at least some degree.

8:49pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZMMjnxzWy1La
  
Filed under: dan savage gay rights 
November 4, 2013
A 1925-year old girl passed this note to Dan Savage at an event in Australia.  A not infinitesimal amount of Feels were had.
Twitter

A 1925-year old girl passed this note to Dan Savage at an event in Australia.  A not infinitesimal amount of Feels were had.

Twitter

5:26pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZMMjnxzVosFT
  
Filed under: gay rights dan savage 
September 5, 2013
A mom writes her son a letter after he came out on facebook.  Read to the end.
NOH8 / George Takei

A mom writes her son a letter after he came out on facebook.  Read to the end.

NOH8 / George Takei

August 24, 2013
Transgender Woman Dies After Beating in Harlem, Cops Say - Central Harlem - DNAinfo.com New York

Transgender individuals are probably one of the most vulnerable groups in society right now.  It’s interesting how despite all the progress we’ve made in social acceptance of gay people, transgender individuals still provoke feelings of rage in some people strong enough to provoke violence. Abandoning the gender binary is truly a bold decision in a society as dangerous for transgender people as this one.

August 23, 2013
Chris Arnade Photography: Why I love gay bars

arnade:

image

I found my dream boyfriend in a Montreal gay bar. He was 65, wearing shorts that almost touched his knee high socks, aviator glasses, a fedora, and sipping half price Labatt’s. I called him Sunglasses Man.

He never moved, never swiveled his head to watch the gay porn playing on the bar’s TVs, never clapped for the lounge singer belting out show tunes, herself a 6’ 2” overly made up older man.

He just sat at the bar as he had for over thirty years watching the odd collection of working class men walk in and out the front door.

Sunglasses Man winked at me, I think. I am not sure though.

Whenever I leave New York City, when I find myself in smaller towns, I like to drink in gay bars.

I don’t think I am gay, I mean sexually that is.

Why then gay bars? Here are my five reasons.

1. Most every gay has had to fight intolerance growing up. Especially those in rural or religious areas of the country. They understand the pain of life and have often moved beyond it. They don’t forget it though. Consequently they are some of the least judgmental people I have met. Well, except when it comes to what others wear.

2. Regular bars can be depressing places. Overly loud music, overly bright lights, with angry people trying to drink away their anger, often just making them angrier. Gay men, sorry to stereotype, often have better design taste. In addition, they less often come to a bar to drink away their anger; rather they come to celebrate good times with a close group of friends.

3. Sports. I don’t really care for sports. Gay bars, if they do have the games on, are respectful about not turning the sound on. Gone is the uniformity of clothes found in other bars: Loud shirts festooned with sports logos.

4. Conversation. I go to bars to talk and listen to people’s stories. I never tire of hearing the courageous story of a person’s coming to grips with who they really are.

5. They are just more fun. The lack of judgment allows me to try and dance unselfconsciously.

A language barrier kept me from ever talking to Sunglasses Man. I did talk to David, pictured above. He grew up in a strict religious Mexican-American family. He always knew he wanted to be a woman. For this he was beat up regularly and disowned by parts of his family. After many years they eventually accepted him for whom she is: A proud woman.

So if you want to find me in Pittsburgh, Montreal, Oklahoma City, El Paso, Charleston, Raleigh, or Atlanta go to the gay bars. I am the straight guy drinking cheap beer and listening to stories.

Really I am straight.

LTMC: I never get tired of reading Chris Arnade.

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Filed under: politics gay rights 
July 24, 2013
NY State Will Refund Estate Taxes Paid By Same-Sex Spouses Under DOMA

Well done, NY.

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