Category Archives: LGBT

It’s the Thought That Counts

I’m still not sure what Bing is (so I obviously don’t use it), but I appreciate the sentiment in this commercial that aired during last night’s Golden Globes.

(Don’t you just love that shot of Edith Windsor?)


Dear Queen Latifah: Please Come Out

LatifahI don’t usually fall for feminine straight girls. But I’m making an exception for Queen Latifah.

Or am I?

The gorgeous, glowing Queen herself will debut a new daytime television talk show on Sept. 16. It’s almost worth getting Tivo just so I can come home to her every evening after work.

But the one thing Queen Latifah won’t dish about on her new show is her own personal life.

She has long been rumored to be a lesbian, in a relationship of many years with Jeanette Jenkins, with whom she bought a Hollywood Hills home in 2010 and has been photographed embracing. Jenkins is a Hollywood personal trainer with her own workout show on Lifetime Television.

“I don’t feel the need to discuss my private life on this show or any other show,” she recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s the part of my life that the public and I share together. And there’s the part that’s mine to keep for myself. And that’s mine. For me.”

It’s too bad she won’t let the public see this vital part of herself. Daytime talk host Elle DeGeneres and wife Portia Di Rossi have been visible and vocal and it certainly hasn’t hurt their careers. However, Queen Latifah and (let’s just say it) Oprah Winfrey, continue to fiercely block any discussion of their sexuality. Their fear of public rejection seems to outweigh any interest in contributing their personal strength to the LGBT community.

Each of them has dropped hints in her own way. During a performance at the 2012 Long Beach Pride event, Queen Latifah addressed the crowd as “my people,” causing many in the audience to believe that she had come out, according to The Advocate magazine. Oprah hasn’t been quite as transparent, but nonetheless seems overly interested in lesbianism and camping with BFF Gayle King.

Prop. 8: One Less Thing to Write About

silverbulletIf it wasn’t so socially and politically inappropriate for my workplace, I might consider buying myself one of these silver bullet necklaces to celebrate the final, final death of California’s Proposition 8.

While my coverage wasn’t definitive, I feel like I’ve been writing about Prop. 8 for-ev-ah. (For the sake of nostalgia, read my short story, “Something About Love”.)

After all, same-sex marriage has been riding a roller coast in California for more than a decade. I’ll take you on a spin. Buckle up and keep your arms and hands inside the car at all times: Continue reading

HPV and Throat Cancer: So What About the Lesbians?

yellow-roadsign-download-iconA recent story in the New York Times reports that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is helping protect people against throat cancers.

Infection with HPV is linked to cervical cancer – one of the few viruses that has been definitively linked to a cancer.

The report says that a new study shows the vaccine is proving to be beneficial against cancers caused by oral sex, and “presumably would protect men as well” (The study was done on women, but not women who identified as lesbians.)

Every time I read a study like this, I think, “So what about lesbians?” After all, we have a reputation for taking the big dive at the slightest invitation. Why not study older lesbians, who have presumably been performing oral sex on women for most of their sexual histories?

According to the NYT article, cancers caused by smoking or drinking usually occur in the mouth, those caused by oral sex usually occur at the base of the tongue or deep in the folds of tonsillar tissue, and are hard to detect. They are more common among heterosexual men than among women, or gay men; experts believe this is because vaginal fluid contains more virus than the surface of the penis.

Again, wouldn’t be logical to test older lesbians who have seen more pussy than penis? Continue reading

Bay Area Home Girl Kay Ryan Honored

Kay RyanKay Ryan, a former Poet Laureate of the United States and a career English teacher at College of Marin, was honored by President Barrack Obama at the White House recently. Obama, who counts himself among Ryan’s loyal readers,  honored her as one of 24 recipients of the 2012 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medals.

“One of the special privileges of this office is getting a chance to honor individuals who’ve played an important role in my life as well as in the nation’s life,” Obama said in presenting the medals.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Ryan read her poetry several times and she has a dry wit and plain way with often-fancy words. I once heard her poems described as mousetraps, because they look simple and then – snap! – they’ve got you.

In 2008, the New York Times published this portfolio of her poetry, still available online for your reading pleasure. (Hint: For maximum pleasure, read them aloud, even if you’re alone.)

Chris Pureka: Whiskey and Wry


Chris Pureka at Oakland’s New Parish

Last night I experienced the alchemy of being in the room with the voice that often carries me through crowded BART trips. Chris Pureka finally played a show in my town.

I’ve written about her before (and she even played a minor role in one of my short stories). Her voice mesmerizes me — it’s made of  whiskey and wry and honey and the dust you blew off an old biology text.

She has a new EP out, Chimera II, and you need to get it.

Get Yourself to Oakland for Butch Voices

The third biennial national Butch Voices is barely more than a month away.

I’d like to recommend that you clear your calendar, make your reservations, and get yourself to Oakland.*


Cherríe Moraga (l) and Jay Toole (r) are keyote speakers

While I didn’t have the honor of attending last year, the first biennial conference – which I attended four years ago – was a memorable weekend. If you’re on the fence about going, you can read my posts about it here, and I’m sure you’ll register online as soon as you’re done.

Continue reading

Happy SF Pride, Ya’ll

Pride PopsicleI’m not really a crowd girl, but I’m headed to the parade for the first time since SCOTUS repealed Lawrence vs. Texas. It seems like a good time to get my gay on and revisit the chaos and the beauty that is SF Pride.

Promise an Authentic Life Before Asking Someone to Give It

This new campaign delivers a body blow. Called “Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry,” the information campaign is targeted at educating the public about the Defense of Marriage Act and its impact on gay and lesbian military families.

Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, one of the organizations behind the campaign, spells it out:s:

Many people assume that, with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” gay men and lesbians serving our country are now being treated fairly and equally, but that’s not the case. We ended the ban on open military service for gay and lesbian Americans, but there is still federal ban on treating married service members as what they are: married.

(Thanks to towleroad.)

UK Homecoming

Grab a hankie…

Let’s Not Waste Our Energy, Okay?

Nixon and Marinoni with their son, Max Nixon-Marinoni

The rainbow-hued wires have been buzzing this week with bitching and tsking over actress Cynthia Nixon’s interview with the New York Times Magazine, where she told writer Alex Witchel that for her, being gay is a choice.

Her comment was made while telling a story about how she prepared an empowering speech for a gay audience, and was counseled to edit out the line, “I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better”. Event organizers felt that Nixon’s statement implied that homosexuality can be a choice which was not a message they supported, to which she replied, “And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”

Immediately, Nixon began to be pecked at by the self-righteous peckers of gay rights organizations and the gay press, who hopped up and down and said her statement fuels the conservative belief that gay can be prayed away.

Today, Nixon made a statement to The Advocate, in an attempt to clarify and contextualize her comment:

“My recent comments in The New York Times were about me and my personal story of being gay. I believe we all have different ways we came to the gay community and we can’t, and shouldn’t be, pigeon-holed into one cultural narrative which can be uninclusive and disempowering. However, to the extent that anyone wishes to interpret my words in a strictly legal context I would like to clarify:

“While I don’t often use the word, the technically precise term for my orientation is bisexual. I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact. What I have ‘chosen’ is to be in a gay relationship.”

So there. We made her turn in her gay card so she could be reissued a bi card. Now that we’ve forced the woman into clarifying her sexual orientation for us, we can all feel better about our own gayness.

Why does the LGBT community continually act like it’s Gay Day at Disneyland and the gayest amongst us will go to the front of the line at Space Mountain?

Nixon, 46, was in a 15-year relationship with a man that started in her early 20s. The two have two children together. Since 2004, she has been in a relationship with education activist Christine Marinoni. Marinoni gave birth to the couple’s son in 2011.

Nixon’s story isn’t that different than mine (well, except for all her talent and fame). I also came out in my 30s. I was married to a man, and together we had a child. Since I’m confessing: it was actually my second marriage to a man. I was involved in two opposite-sex relationships that totaled nearly 27 years, the first a right-after-college-graduation marriage to my high school sweetheart.

No one, especially  not a reporter, has ever sat me down to ask if I think my lesbian identity is a choice. But I’d probably say “yes”.

Make no mistake, I’m as gay as the next dyke. But somewhere back before the turn of the century, I made a clear-cut decision to come out and live the rest of my romantic life in the company of women. Life with men wasn’t awful. I suppose I could have kept doing it – and millions of women have, for reasons of security, religion, and fear of being ostracized.

But the question of could I do it again is a much tougher one. There are just too many variables. I’ve never identified as bi because I never pictured myself returning to relationships with men. And, admittedly, I’m the first one to rankle when Dan Savage starts talking about the sexual fluidity of women. I don’t think of my sexuality as all that fluid. Before I came out, I just hadn’t considered my options.

I thought of myself as perfectly straight, right up until I met a woman who rang my chimes harder than any man ever had. While I didn’t have a relationship with her, I was so unnerved, I was compelled to look deeper into myself. It was my own dark night of the soul. But unlike Jonah, I wasn’t coughed up in a ball of whale spit. Instead, I landed on the beach covered in lube and waving the rainbow flag.

So I was married to men. Does that make me less gay now?

Consider this: With the exception of a very few Gold Star Lesbians, every lesbian woman I know has slept with more men than I have (three).

I understand why we don’t want to give haters any more ammunition to use against us, but the sort of backlash aimed at Nixon fractionates us. It divides our own community into gay, gayer, gayest, bisexual, and so forth. It’s a complete waste of energy that could be better spent scaffolding our community, not tearing it down.

This type of reactionary thinking panders to conservatives and will ultimately hinder the gay rights movement.

For example, in a 2006 article in Pediatrics: The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics supporting gay marriage, the Academy stated  that the vast majority of children with parents in same-sex relationships were conceived in heterosexual relationships. So when we talk about gay families, should we exclude them from our numbers? Make them draw a bi card? No, we need to coax these moms and dads out to be counted. We need to encourage them to come out to their family doctors. Then, perhaps the estimated number of kids being raised by gay parents won’t be so wide-ranging, anywhere from 1 million to 10 million in the U.S., and will settle near the higher end (and probably more realistic) figure.

That’s how we gain political clout.

For political recognition, we don’t need fractions, we need whole numbers. We need to throw our gay arms open and embrace the entire damn rainbow.

While we’re at it, let’s all apologize to Cynthia Nixon. She tries to do right by our community. And, she’s more than gay enough for me.

A Lesbian Holiday Tradition

This is the time of the year when Joe over at Joe.My.God posts his holiday classic, Dance of the Sugar Plum Lesbians. It’s up for the eighth year and it’s still one of my favorites. Wander over and check it out.

Tell Them We’re Home

When the crew and family readiness group of the dock landing ship Oak Hill sold raffle tickets for the first kiss at homecoming, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta bought 50. Since that is fewer than many people buy, Gaeta never guessed she win the kiss. But she did, and when the Oak Hill docked in Virginia Beach after nearly three months training with military allies in Central America, Gaeta’s girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell, was waiting when she crossed the bow.

This is the first time the happily reunited couple has been gay. The women kissed and the crowd cheered.

Don’t ask. Just tell them we’re home.

Landmark Lesbian Publisher Dies

Recently, when I packed to move, I found a copy of Katherine Forrest’s first novel, Curious Wine, on my bookshelf. Published in 1983, the novel about two women sharing a room in a Tahoe cabin is still considered the classic lesbian romance. It was given to me by my first girlfriend, who said it reminded her of my own coming out story. She, in turn, had received it from another lesbian.

Before the days of the internet, the lesbian community could only find literature that reflected their culture in women’s bookstores. You were lucky if your community had one. Or, you were gifted books passed hand-to-hand through friends. Continue reading

Where Lesbians Are Legal

Alice Dreger is a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago, and a guest advisor to Savage Love. She writes a number of blogs, which you can read here. This essay, about a child’s view of gay marriage rights, recently appeared on the Psychology Today blog.

Last week, my son and I were trundling up the hill from the Washington Metro station to our hotel when he spoke a line that has been ringing in my ears ever since.

We had just passed two women, one carrying a baby in her arms, the other pushing a three year old in a stroller. We had been eavesdropping as we passed, and so we had heard the two of them talking about schedules for later that day. I subconsciously read these two women as either two friends or as a woman with her nanny. But my son, who had just turned eleven, read them differently. As soon as we cleared them, he said to me, “They might be lesbians. They’re legal here.”

Read the rest now.

See Dr. Dreger’s brilliant TED Talk, “Democracy After Anatomy“.

Talkin’ Bout an Evolution has the perfect t-shirts to poke the President. Click on the photo.

It’s been pretty clear these past few weeks that the man who stood on “Hope” and had the blue states chanting “Yes We Can” is still using semantics to drive his campaign.

Staring into the face of a re-election campaign, President Obama is once again using a catch phrase, only this time he’s “evolving”.

(Now, I’m a science-y dyke, Mr. President, and I know that “evolution” doesn’t always mean a change for the better. You’re buying time, the way a pestered parent does by saying “let me think about it”.)

I expected better from a man who was born at a time when anti-miscegenation laws would have prevented his own interracial parents from marrying in parts of the United States.

I expected him to know that “granting rights” and “recognizing equality” are not the same thing.

Over this past Pride weekend, the New York Times editorial staff took President Obama to task on his wishy-washy stance on same-sex marriage:

Fundamental equality, however, is hardly the equivalent of a liquor law that can vary on opposite sides of a state line. Why is Mr. Obama so reluctant to say the words that could lend strength to a national effort now backed by a majority of Americans?

You should read the whole editorial.

Why Marriage?

Whenever the topic of same-sex marriage arises, there inevitably has to be an explanation of why domestic partnership agreements and their cousins aren’t marriage. Even with a civil union, it can take time, lawyers, and money for a couple to duplicate the rights granted by traditional marriage.

In support of Pride month, the employees of LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics offer this explanation.

Now that you’ve finished watching, go take a hot bath with a Butterball Bath Bomb and plan your dream wedding!

The Internet Brings Men Together, as Lesbians

The internet community is still reeling from the news that lesbian Syrian blogger “Gay Girl in Damascus,” Amina Arraf, who built a reputation on writing vivid accounts of revolt in Damascus, is actually a man.

After Gay Girl’s reported detention fueled internet and media attention, this identity was revealed to be an elaborate hoax. Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old American man living in Scotland has apologized for inventing, and posing as, the blogger.

It’s amazing how the internet can seem so vast and impersonal, and yet has an ability to pull people together in the weirdest possible ways. Continue reading

Not Just for Gays

I couldn’t be happier to make my 700th blog post one with Neil Patrick Harris, my gay man crush! In case you missed the opening of last night’s Tony Awards:

Justin Does Dani, Dani Does Justin

Baby dyke singer-songwriter Dani Shay, 22, rocked the internets with her America’s Got Talent audition – “What the Hell,” a song addressing her uncanny resemblance to Justin Beiber (or rather Justin Beiber to her).

Watch her audition below and try not to think about the possibilities for twin porn.