Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meet Jett

My name's Jett Smith. I'm 28 and transgendered, meaning I was born female but live and identify as male. I was raised across the bay from San Francisco, and have lived in SF for the past ten years. I've worked all sorts of jobs, from security guard to managing a restaurant. Currently, I work as a Supported Living Skills Instructor for adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism. It is a challenging job, and I enjoy it, but I am also attending school. I hope to transfer to San Francisco State University next year, where I will first earn a degree in math and then obtain my teaching credentials. Ultimately, I'd like to teach math at the high school level. In the little free time I've got, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and doing outdoorsy things. I strive to live life fully and simply.
I met Jett when he responded to my post on the Facebook page for Original Plumbing, a magazine about FTM transsexuals. He graciously agreed to be a face of the day. Thanks Jett!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meandering Manifesto, Part 2: Moral Turpitude

Continuing from Meandering Manifesto, Part 1: Tintinnabulation...

I've been thinking a lot about society's relationship with bendy people. Of the disparate sources that contributed to my musings, the most unexpected was Skylark of Space. It was written between 1915 and 1921 and first published in 1928. It's considered by many to be the first space opera, and man, it's quite a ride. I highly recommend it. You can read the full text on Project Gutenberg.

One of the reasons the book is such a gas is that it's breathtakingly foreign to modern sensibilities. For example, late in the book there's about to be a double wedding on the planet Osnome between two Earth couples: The good guys and the damsels they've rescued from the bad guy. The leader of Kondal, the nation they've befriended, is holding forth on Kondalian customs.
     "I have called in our most expert weavers and tailors, to make the gowns. Before they arrive, let us discuss the ceremony and decide what it will be. You are all somewhat familiar with our customs, but on this I make very sure. Each couple is married twice. The first marriage is symbolized by the exchange of plain bracelets. This marriage lasts two years, during which period either may divorce the other by announcing the fact."
     "Hmmm..." Crane said. "Some such system of trial marriage is advocated among us every few years, but they all so surely degenerate into free love that none has found a foothold."
     "We have no such trouble. You see, before the first marriage each couple, from lowest to highest, is given a mental examination. Any person whose graphs show moral turpitude is shot."
Whu... buh... WHAT???  That was my initial reaction, and it still hasn't faded. The thought of exterminating people who don't live up to a standard has been anathema to most folks ever since Hitler's Final Solution. Obviously the idea wasn't so abhorrent in 1921.

Speaking of extermination, the second most breathtaking thing about the book is that the Earth people give the Kondalians the technological knowledge that will allow them to annihilate their Mardonalian enemies. Just a few pages after the wedding, we find a justification for this action.
     "You do not understand?" he went on, with a deep light shining in his eyes. "It is inevitable that two peoples inhabiting worlds so widely separated as are our two should be possessed of widely-varying knowledge and abilities, and these strangers have already made it possible for us to construct engines of destruction which shall obliterate Mardonale completely...." A fierce shout of joy interrupted the speaker and the nobles sprang to their feet, saluting the visitors with upraised weapons. As soon as they had reseated themselves, the Karbix continued:
     "That is the boon. The vindication of our system of evolution is easily explained. The strangers landed first upon Mardonale. Had Nalboon met them in honor, he would have gained the boon. But he, with the savagery characteristic of his evolution, attempted to kill his guests and steal their treasures, with what results you already know. We, on our part, in exchange for the few and trifling services we have been able to render them, have received even more than Nalboon would have obtained, had his plans not been nullified by their vastly superior state of evolution."
Wow. Now I see Star Trek's Prime Directive in the context of the late twentieth century. The contrast between E.E. "Doc" Smith and Gene Roddenberry is blinding: at the beginning of the twentieth century, there were clearly some lessons yet to learn about stepping into a foreign civil war and handing over weapons to "our guys". And there's that pesky genocide issue again.

World War II gave people in the United States a powerfully negative association with racial sanctions. I think that this stigma favors inclusiveness, so it helps progressive movements. On the other hand, World War II also made socialism into a Brobdingnagian boogeyman by associating it with both National Socialism and Communism. Just glance at today's headlines and you'll see that that one's still got legs.

There are plenty of people alive today who, as children, ran laughing past newsstands stocked with the issues of Amazing Stories that brought Doc Smith's unapologetically genocidal and eugenics-happy vision to the general public. They liked it well enough for it to blossom into a series of books, so apparently folks had no problem with an absolutist, conformist vision of their society. Think of the changes that have been wrought in a single lifetime. Think of the assumptions and certainties that have shattered. Be grateful for the opportunities that the twentieth century afforded for progressives, and understand how fragile the circumstances are in which progressive thought can fluorish. And be aware that the bubble could pop at any moment. We have to be smart about how we maintain and reinforce it.

From the Office of Speaker Quinn: LGBT Hate Crime in Queens

As a media representative of the office of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, I'm passing along the following statement which was released along with the press conference which she gave yesterday on the same subject. You can also view it as a Google document.

THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

CITY HALL

NEW YORK, NY 10007

http://council.nyc.gov

(212) 788-7116

**For Immediate Release**

October 12, 2009




Contact: Eunic Ortiz 646-279-1659

PHOTOS: William Alatriste walatriste@council.nyc.gov

Release # 098-2009

Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Local Leaders Denounce LGBT Hate Crime in Queens

College Point, Queens – City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn was joined today by LGBT and community leaders in responding to a recent violent hate attack, which occurred early Friday morning. The victim, Jack Price, is recovering at New York Hospital Queens.

State Senator Tom Duane, Council Member John Liu, and community leaders Daniel Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer and Kevin Kim stood with Speaker Quinn in denouncing the attack.

Price was attacked by two men for being known as an openly gay man in his community. The assailants were heard making derogatory anti-gay comments at the victim prior to the attack. The incident occurred early Friday morning outside a deli in Price's College Point neighborhood. The NYPD has caught one of two suspects being sought for the crime, Daniel Aleman. He is currently being held in police custody and is charged with assault, aggravated assault as a hate crime, and aggravated harassment.


“When someone is attacked for being who they are, and for being proud of who they are, there is no other explanation for that attack than hatred and bigotry. In response, we will do all in our power as individuals, as a community and as a city to ensure that whoever commits such a vile act of hate is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I know the Queens community is outraged that hate has tainted their streets, and I know they will join with us in helping the local authorities find the second suspect. I applaud the NYPD for taking swift action on this case, and I know they will continue their efforts until justice is served. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Jack Price and I hope and pray for his speedy recovery.”


"I am deeply saddened and angered that yet another hate-motivated crime has occurred in New York City,” said State Senator Thomas Duane. “Hate and prejudice of any kind are unacceptable anywhere and it is deplorable that any person, regardless of their sexual orientation, would be victimized so with such malice and brutality. The New York Police Department should be congratulated for their work in bringing one of the assailants to justice and I am confident that by working together with the Queens community, justice will ultimately be meted out to all who were involved in this hate crime. My deepest sympathy and prayers are now with the Price family."


“Once again, in Queens, a gay man has been brutally beaten simply because of who he is. This is deplorable. All righteous people - gay and non-gay - must speak out loudly against hate crimes because it is the only way to combat this type of violence,” said Daniel Dromm of Queens. “This is the fourth time in 19 years that a gay man in Queens lies near death, or actually died, because he was beaten for being gay. Enough is enough. My thoughts and prayers are with Jack Price as he struggles for life in NY Hospital of Queens. One can't imagine how devastating an attack of this type must be to the Price family. I offer my support and help to Mr. Price and his family.”


“This tragic and senseless incident is yet another reminder of how far we have to go toward making our City one that is free of hatred and violence at all times and for all people,” said Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victim, his family and friends.”

Friday, October 9, 2009

Meet Dan

I have wondered several times in the last year or so just what really happened to the past 10 or 15 years. How did I all of a sudden become a 43 year old man?! And was my 25th high school reunion really this past summer? I spend my days raising money for a small HIV/AIDS agency in Boulder, Colorado called Boulder County AIDS Project. I enjoy the challenge of convincing folks that AIDS is not over, that there is no cure for AIDS, and that AIDS agencies around the country are doing vital work. It blows my mind that as HIV rates increase to crazy numbers within the gay/bi male communities, very few people are actually talking about it. And even less are donating money to the groups making sure AIDS does not leave the headlines. Meanwhile I am always searching for the newest vegan yumminess. Yes, A gay vegan. Go figure. There are not many of us but we do exist. I am also one of those men who decided to marry the love of his life. My favorite t-shirt is the one I ordered from a Facebook ad that says “Marriage is so Gay”. During my work day I daydream about the next walk I get to take with my husband and our dogs, or about the beach house I want to rent next summer. I am still glad that I voted for Obama and very much hope he increases troops in Afghanistan. Many years in the US Navy might have something to do with that thought.
I met Dan after @BoulderAIDS followed me on Twitter and I asked if anyone there wanted to be a face of the day. Thanks, Dan, for contributing your face and story!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From the Office of Speaker Quinn: National Equality March

As a media representative of the office of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, I received two notices during the last few days about this weekend's National Equality March in Washington, D.C.

Speaker Christine C. Quinn urged New Yorkers in her weekly podcast to sign up and get on a bus to DC on October 11th for the National Equality March. Speaker Quinn has sponsored several buses for Sunday's trip - to see a list of her and other NYC to DC buses for the 11th visit www.nycgomarch-cq.eventbrite.com. The Speaker will travel from NYC to DC on the 11th on one of her buses and march. She will also be speaking during the ceremonies immediately following the National Equality March.

See the video below of Speaker Quinn promoting the march.


The media advisory below came yesterday. You can also view it as a Google document here.



THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

CITY HALL

NEW YORK, NY 10007

(212) 788-7116
http://council.nyc.gov

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY

Contact: Eunic Ortiz 646-279-1659

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn Addresses the ‘National Equality March’ in Washington D.C.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2009

New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn will travel to Washington D.C. Sunday to march with thousands of New Yorkers and tens of thousands of Americans in support of full equality for LGBT people.


5:30 AM Greets New Yorkers and embarks on a bus to D.C.

MANHATTAN - 16 W. 22nd Street between 5th & 6th Avenues

Buses depart at 6 AM


10:30 AM Arrives in D.C. along with thousands of New Yorkers

WASHINGTON D.C. - Union Station


12:00 PM Marches in the National Equality March

WASHINGTON D.C. - Corner of K Street and 15th Street

Route: http://bit.ly/45vsUl


2:45 PM Addresses the National Equality March in front of The Capitol

WASHINGTON D.C. - Corner of 1st Street and Maryland Avenue (Capitol, West Lawn)


**All media requests please contact Eunic Ortiz at 646-279-1659 or email her at eortiz@council.nyc.gov

Meet Matt

I’m one of those guys who always excelled academically, but was terrible in sports. So I coasted through elementary school, high school and even college as that over-achieving dork, getting in and out of college with an Aerospace Engineering degree in 4 years. Of course, one would think that with a degree like that, one’s future is set… not in my case. I worked as an engineer in a great research and development position (lasers used for manufacturing)… gold in the eyes of many of my peers. But I soon got bored and thought “I went to school for this!?” As the low man on the totem pole with just a BS degree (compared to all of their various PhDs around me), I had a chance to work on the equipment we developed alongside an occasional sales meeting or two. I soon realized “hey, I could do that… perhaps even better” and leapt at the chance to go from R&D into technical sales. It worked. I spent the next decade honing my sales and marketing skills, while still maintaining a strong foothold in the world of technology. So when the Internet came along, it was an easy transition to begin what I first thought was going to be a small online project for the GLBT community that soon morphed into one of the largest GLBT online communities of its time.

Being able to both feel comfortable with technology and, at the same time, apply that technology to our various new clients seeking to reach the online GLBT community (thanks to my sales and marketing experience in the laser machine tool world) was what allowed me and my little company to grow far beyond anything I had first imagined when I started this project in 1995. I’ve since sold everything and have moved on, focusing more as a consultant now with companies that still want to reach the online GLBT community, but with some of the more advanced marketing tools at their disposal such as Facebook, blogs and Twitter. I also enjoy doing webinars and seminars, educating these companies on both how to do it all themselves, as well as what are some of the latest tips and tricks being used when it comes to new technologies available today and on the horizon.
I met Matt after he followed me on Twitter, and he graciously agreed to be a face of the day. Please check out Matt's website, www.PinkBananaMedia.com. Thanks Matt!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meet Tom, aka Ramble Redhead

I currently live in Indiana with my partner Joe and we have been together for 3 years on Oct 6th. We have one dog Starbuck and two cats Bristow and Repeat. I am a podcaster who has a show called Ramble Redhead and for the past four years I have done interviews with members of the GLBT community and our allies. The main reason I do the show is because when I was younger I was picked on all of the time for being the shy and quiet kid and with some for being gay. My self esteem was an all time low and until I met my first partner did I begin to finally accept who I am - a gay man. From that point on, I wanted to do what I could to help people in our community. I hope that my show will be a voice for those people of all ages so hopefully then can live their lives proudly and not allow anyone treat them like second class citizens. I have been honored knowing that I have listeners all over the world and they have been touched by the stories they have heard.

Over the past four years, I have had guests like Kate Clinton, Leslie Jordan, Jason Stuart, Chad Allen, Daniel Choi, Wayne Besen, Sabrina Matthews, Rich Merritt and many many more.

Hope you will check it out at http://www.rambleredhead.com and you can subscribe to the show on Itunes.
I met Tom when he found me through Twitter and asked if I wanted to be on the show. I was thrilled and honored to accept. I don't think I did too badly; I sound incredibly nasal, but I'm used to that. The only complaint I have is that I said "Uh..." too much. Not too bad for my first podcast. Thanks to Tom for the opportunity! And congratulations to Tom and Joe - today is their third anniversary!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Meet Kevin

Elder Rev. Kevin E. Taylor, our beloved Pastor, began in ministry at Inner Light Unity Fellowship Church (UFC) in 1993, after several years of community activism in Washington, DC with such organizations as DC Coalition of Black Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals and Whitman-Walker Clinic. At Inner Light UFC, he sang on the Voices of Praise and served on other auxiliaries, until he was called into the ministry, where he served as Deacon, Student Clergy and Minister. He studied World Religions, Metaphysical Spiritual Science and Homosexuality in the Bible.

In 2000, he moved to New York City, where he worked with Liberation in Truth UFC until Archbishop commissioned him to charter Unity Fellowship Church New Brunswick.

In 2007, Rev. Kevin E. Taylor was elevated to the post of Elder in the Unity Fellowship Church Movement. He oversees the National Office of Communications of UFCM and all of the multimedia outlets for UFCM, including the national website and printed publications.

Unity Fellowship Church New Brunswick is found to be moving into its new space, effective February 1st, 2009; Elder Taylor will celebrate his 8th year as Pastor on January 25, 2009.

UFCNB will celebrate its 8th Anniversary March 2009.


--
Kevin E. Taylor
COMING FALL/WINTER 2009

"BECAUSE HE LIVES" (a novel)

"IT'S TIME FOR SOME ACTION:
10 Common Sense Steps to taking your life back...and then to the next level"
plus a new website featuring
CREATIVE LIFE COACHING
that's accessible AND affordable!
www.KEVINETAYLOR.BIZ

www.UFCCNB.org
www.myspace.com/kevinetaylor
www.facebook.com/kevinetaylor
www.modelmayhem.com/TM3
www.twitter.com/kevinetaylortm3

AVAILABLE NOW:

UNCLUTTER: Cleanse Your Spirit & Claim Your Stuff
and JADED (a novel)

COMING IN 2010...
MOMMA, PLEASE
(a novel)
THE WORK
(A Spiritually Creative Gathering for the Creative Spirit)
and
TNTees
(droppin' knowledge like bombs)
I met Reverend Taylor thanks to Rod McCullom, who was kind enough to introduce us. I drove to New Brunswick to meet Rev Kev, and we had a delightful and engaging interview. Unfortunately I didn't record it in a form that I could post here. I've been kicking myself ever since, because Rev Kev is a joy to talk to, and I'd like to be able to share his energy with you. When I transcribe the conversation I'll post it as a Q&A here, and I'm looking forward to more interviews with Rev Kev. For now, though, I'm thrilled to have him as a face of the day.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Meet Loren

Dr. Olson is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has practiced psychiatry for over thirty years. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and received the “Exemplary Psychiatrist Award” from the National Alliance for Mental Illness. He has held several offices in the Iowa Psychiatric Society, including president.

Dr. Olson served as a Flight Surgeon in the United States Navy.

Dr. Olson currently is writing a book on the subject of coming out for mature gay men, due for publication in 2010. He is an active contributor to several blogs and has had his essays published in psychiatric and lay publications. His most recent essay was published in The Advocate: Will Your Marriage Change Your Relationship?

Dr. Olson has conducted independent research on mature gay men, and he presented the initial results of this research at the World Congress in Psychiatry in Prague in September, 2008.

Dr. Olson was featured via Skype interview on Good Morning America in a featured health story called, Bringing Back the House Call, Virtually - ABC News. He has also been featured in an RFD-TV segment on raising grass-fed beef. He is an active member and has served in leadership positions in Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines, and his experience as a gay man and a Christian was featured via a video-taped interview at the National Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Dr. Olson and his life partner were married in Iowa in September of 2009. He was previously married and is the proud father of two daughters and five grandchildren. He and his partner live on a farm south of Des Moines where they raise Belted Galloway Cattle, and they are actively involved in sustainable agriculture.
I met Dr. Olson on Twitter, where I heard about his recent marriage. He graciously agreed to be a face of the day. He runs a website for mature gay men, MagneticFire.com

Friday, October 2, 2009

Meet Laura

I’m Laura Matanah, and I live with my wife Sarah, our two kids, and our chocolate lab. We even have a white picket fence! I love books, biking , and board games. The best is sharing all three with my family. I’m the publisher of an award-winning web magazine, Rainbow Rumpus, that creates community among youth and families across the globe. We publish original children’s and young adult fiction about LGBT-headed families, and articles by and for kids, teens and parents. Visit www.rainbowrumpusdrive.org to learn more about our work.
Two nights ago I was thrilled to discover Rainbow Rumpus. I like the idea of kids having this resource. I called Laura to tell her this, and to ask if I could help promote the site. I'm honored to have her as a face of the day, and to help promote Rainbow Rumpus by sharing with you their video below.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meet Kori

Kori Ashton is a Christian solo artist who has opened for Tree63, David Crowder Band, Skillet and more. For years she worked alongside of Exodus International, PFOX and Focus on the Family. In 2004 Kori left those ministries and began sharing her music and the story of her journey as a gay Christian. You can find her online www.LesBePure.com
I met Kori through Twitter, and she was kind enough to contribute her face and story to Meet Adam and Steve. Thanks Kori!