Friday, April 30, 2010

Move Over, Larry ...

There are three new cuties on the block. Adorable baby lion triplets made their debut Friday at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, and the Daily News has provided an exclusive sneak peek. Even better -- New Yorkers can join in the fun by helping to name the toothsome threesome. Submit your baby-name ideas HERE. (I'm in love!)

Dad's already losing patience ...

King of the Court

ESPN: The Magazine cover man Roger Federer enters the Grand Slam season on a three-match losing streak. Still, his new Serena-like approach to the game has everyone believing he can add to his record 16 major titles. The 28-year-old legend tells the magazine that he hopes to play until he's 35 in part because he’s like his twin daughters to get the chance to see him play. I'm sure Andy Roddick is just thrilled ...



Live From New York ...



Jesus Christ. First "Lonnie Queer" then the "chicken-fucking incident" and now this. Does this happen in all local TV markets?

Love for Courtney

Caution: This review of Wednesday's night's Hole show at Terminal 5 may disappoint with its lack of drama and other theatrics. The Internet was abuzz after Tuesday's show that Courtney Love was up to her old tricks, coming out and playing just 25 minutes and then a brief encore before calling it a night. It sounded like her typical routine -- give or take a microphone stand in the head -- so I went the following night prepared for anything (and less). Instead, Courtney -- looking like she was fresh from the beauty parlor ("Give me the Loretta Swit!") -- and her fake Hole-sters treated the crowd to a great show -- filled with old songs, new songs and a handful of interesting covers -- and then she called it a night. (It was kind of like going to a regular old concert.) But even while they were still onstage, my concertmate was already graciously trying to write me a headline for my review of Wednesday's show, with "Snore Through This" as his suggestion. Later, I caught up with someone I know who is friendly with Courtney who swore he loved the show, but then kept almost apologizing by saying she's "not the rock star she used to be" knowing that this was my first time seeing her live.

Afterward, I couldn't help but think of Jim Morrison, who, after getting arrested on obscenity charges for allegedly exposing himself during a concert in Miami back in 1969. Once this happened, Doors concerts ceased being about the music as everyone was now showing up to see what Morrison would "do" next. Without theatrics, however, the Hole show was about the music -- and that was just fine with me. Sure, Courtney lacked a little stage presence for someone who has been around as long as she has. But I couldn't help but wonder if performing not completely out of her mind was a whole new experience for her. To be honest, I wasn't aware of how many devoted fans she has and was almost taken aback when the crowd knew every word (and breath) to every song she did off "Live Through This" -- "Miss World," "Violet" and "Doll Parts" -- and "Celebrity Skin" -- the brilliant title track, "Malibu" and "Northern Star." I have to say it's entirely different experience to hear hundreds of fans sing along to these angry anthems versus, say, a Madonna song. She did seven tracks of the new record, plus two Rolling Stones covers that she's been doing throughout this tour. In addition, she surprised us with "Gold Dust Woman" -- which the old Hole recorded in '96 for the soundtrack of "The Crow: City of Angels" -- and Big Star's classic "13," in a nod to the late Alex Chilton.

I generally don't look at my watch much when I'm having fun at a concert. But I did jot down the set list, and by my count the band did 17 songs, which sounds like a completely normal-length -- one might even say typical or boring -- show to me. I haven't read many reviews from this tour, but I sure hope people don't beat Courtney up for being punctual and professional. At 45, it's far too late for her to die young. Instead of longing for the messy "rock star" days, I say her fans should fully embrace Courtney 2.0 -- who, assuming she stays relatively clean, I can see aging into a Debbie Harry by way of Marianne Faithful type -- and enjoy the fact that she's still making good music.

Hole, live @Terminal 5
April 28, 2010:

"Sympathy for the Devil" (Rolling Stones cover)
"Skinny Little Bitch"
"Miss World"
"Violet"
"Nobody's Daughter"
"Letter to God"
"Pacific Coast Highway"
"Gold Dust Woman" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
"Someone Else's Bed"
"Malibu"
"Celebrity Skin"
"Samantha"
"Play With Fire" (Rolling Stones cover)
"Doll Parts"
"13" (Big Star cover)
"Northern Star"
"Never Go Hungry"

140 Charcters (or More)

Twitter fans won't want to miss this hilarious article in The Times about the "Twitter police" by my friend John Metcalfe:

A small but vocal subculture has emerged on Twitter of grammar and taste vigilantes who spend their time policing other people’s tweets -- celebrities and nobodies alike. These are people who build their own algorithms to sniff out Twitter messages that are distasteful to them -- tweets with typos or flawed grammar, or written in ALLCAPS -- and then send scolding notes to the offenders. They see themselves as the guardians of an emerging behavior code: Twetiquette.

Yes, he and the other Twitter cops do get quite a backlash, much to their delight. Mr. Fanaro posts a phone number on his Twitter profile page, and his voice mail is full of death threats and foulmouthed rants. For laughs, he sometimes takes his phone to a bar and plays the messages for his friends.

Read the full piece HERE.

This One's for the Glandularly Challenged



It's been nearly a month since I was laid off. And like many others with extra free time, I set out to "hit the gym" hard during this period of my life. Instead -- like many others -- I've gotten out of my old routine (lunch, gym, work) and actually gained 4 pounds. Was it because my metabolism slowed down (I am a month older now, after all) or my thyroid is out of whack from the stress of unemployment? Well, actually no. I barely went to the gym once in the last month and I've started up my old daily Pop-Tarts and milk routine. I may be an unemployed fat ass -- well, gay fat: I'm still a perfect male model sample size, but I wouldn't take my shirt off in public right now for all the money in the world -- but at least I'm not a liar.

Side note: In an attempt to stop being this way, I started running again yesterday, and tonight on the tread mill I realized Kylie Minogue's "On a Night Like This" is kind of the same song as Enrique Iglesius' "Just Wanna Be With You." Anyone else ever notice this?



RIP, Leslie Buck

Leslie Buck, the designer of the Anthora cup, has died at age 87. Read all about the history of the iconic New York coffee cup HERE.

The Faces Behind 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

NOTE TO READERS: As part of SLDN's Stories From the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama campaign, each day about two-dozen bloggers -- including myself -- will be posting heartfelt letters to President Obama from members of our armed forces who want Washington -- and the world -- to know the importance of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." The campaign is already making waves, and was even mentioned on Ed O'Keefe's Federal Eye blog in The Washington Post.

The writer of today's letter is from Capt. Rebecca H. Elliott (separated), pictured here with her sister.

April 30, 2010

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I am the mother of two young children, and an Iraq war veteran. I joined up just like my dad – a retired Army officer – and my sister, who currently serves in the Guard. My brother is a reservist and has been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Two weeks ago, our family gathered together as he is leaving again for Afghanistan -- his 4th deployment. Even my husband, Jay, served as an officer in the Air Force until 2008.

Like my dad, I chose the Army. I reached the rank of Captain and was a platoon leader in the military police. I was there during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

I had some of the best NCO's (non-commissioned officers) in the Army who could accomplish any mission. Several members of my platoon received decorations for valor during the combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On my last day of active duty, some of my old squad leaders revealed to me that one of my former team leaders was gay. They figured it was safe to tell me, as I was leaving the Army. My first feelings on the matter were, frankly, a little surprised, followed by complete indifference.

I was surprised because I had never suspected the soldier of being gay. But then, I never really had any thoughts about her sexual orientation whatsoever.

When I reflected on it, it didn't make one bit of difference in how she performed her job or how she related to the other soldiers in the platoon. She had the respect of her squad leaders (fairly conservative men, mind you), who kept her secret and continued working with her side-by-side for years.

As an officer, I would have been bound by my position to report such “credible information” that would have led to the discharge of a great NCO. I am glad that I was never placed in the position of having to choose between one of my soldiers and enforcing this terrible law, which I feel is unfair and wrong.

Please, Mr. President -- at this critical time -- do not allow those serving their country to be forced to choose between good, honorable soldiers, and upholding an unfair law.

Please, do not continue to allow gays and lesbians in the service to have to choose between hiding a part of their identity and continuing to serve their country.

Please, help Congress repeal “Don't Ask Don't Tell” now.

Respectfully,


Former Capt. Rebecca H. Elliott
Untied States Army

Morning Wood

What a Drag

The bad news is drag star and fellow Detroit gal Sweet has been hospitalized in recent weeks and, like many Americans, does not have health insurance. The good news Sweetie is on the mend and is loved by many, a number of whom threw a wonderful benefit for her on Wednesday night at Elevate. I happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped by to wish the voluptuous blonde well. And then stayed around for a bit of the big Pink Cross fundraiser, which featured performances by the likes of Peppermint, Julie Atlas Muz, Dina Marie, Greg Scarnici, Cherry Jubilee, Bridgett Everett, Tigger! David Ilku, Adam Klesh, Princess Diandra, Go-Go Harder, Lady Bunny, Poison Eve, Brandall the Magic Lady and Randy Jones. Cherry was a delight before the show. And Randy -- who was admittedly "well-lubricated after having access to four open bars" earlier in the night -- was a charmer. But it was hostess Linda Simpson who had me in stitches all night. (Now I know why I don't usually like drag queens: most of them think a couple of "big cock" jokes is all it takes to be a performer. Linda, on the other hand, is witty, smart and talented. Funny how that works.)

If you weren't able to attend but would still like to make a donation to Sweetie's health fund -- I hear her bill was over $100,000 -- you can do so by clicking HERE.

With the girls of the evening, Sweetie

With the enchanting Cherry Jubilee

With the lovely and talented Linda Simpson and Sylvia London, star of "Bitches in the Sky"

Village Person Randy Jones meets Chelsea "boy" Kenneth Walsh

On the Rag, Vol. 86

A weekly look at what's making news in New York's free gay rags:

Odyssey New York features model(?) Robert Gonzalez on this week's cover.

Meanwhile, Next has Kevin Wiltz of Wednesdays at Su Casa, where "fashion fags and their hags drink and dance the night away."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vanity Project



Congratulations to Brett Bisogno, who created this winning entry for Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" video contest that asked fans and filmmakers to create the first and only concept video to accompany her iconic hit. Bisogno won a grand prize of $10,000 and had his winning video premiered tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival, and featured on AOL's Spinner.com. To me, the video is a case in point as to why some songs are better off without a video -- I never imagined the winner of the Joaquin Phoenix on Drugs lookalike contest to be the man evoked in Carly's still-mysterious song. But Carly looks gorgeous and seems to be having fun -- and at this point, isn't that what's it's all about? See all the finalists HERE.

Appletology

As a nonmember of the Cult of Apple and the frequent target of (gay) members of it, I love that L. Ron Hubbard Steve Jobs & Co. are revealing what homophobic surprisingly un-gay-friendly nutjobs they really are. Even Jon Stewart called him/them out on their bullying corporate behemoth ways, while begrudgingly admitting that "bad guy" Bill Gates is solving the ills of the world. I've said before and I'll say it again: Macs are the least-intuitive computers I've ever used (and yes, my FIRST computer was a Macintosh back in the '80s). IPhones are amazing -- except for making, um, phone calls (and that's WHAT they're for!). And iPods are nifty -- when not prematurely dying right and left. Maybe Jobs is on to something, but despite the very vocal minority of people who swear by his products, he hasn't quite executed it just yet.

I am curious to see if Apple's overenthusiastic gay fan base will turn on a corporation that clearly cares little about them.

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Battle of the Bars

I never really understood the fascination some people have with "gay sports bars." What's so great about having (annoying) sports events on big-screen TVs while a bunch of (annoying) queens squeal about the latest Madonna album? (I'd rather watch the Madonna videos and tune out the chatter.) The only one I ever had any use for was Champs on 19th Street back in the mid-'90s, where a boxing ring in the middle of the joint doubled as a "back room." But Gym Sportsbar seems to be here to stay (I think they've opened a, um, sister location in Los Angeles), so of course no reigning champ would be complete without a contender. First up is Boxers NYC Sportsbar (on 20th between 5th and 6th avenues) who, despite just opening this week, has already dubbed itself New York's "premier" gay sports bar. Sounds like a typical upstart to me, although the calendar is sort of boast-worthy if not the least bit sports-related ('80s Night, "Show Us Your Boxers" night, etc.). If anyone goes, let me know how it is. I finally made it to Eastern Bloc last night -- the first time I'd set foot in the joint since it was Wunderbar back in '98 -- so I figure I should have my own review of the new "buds, suds and sports" joint in about 2015.

In this corner ...

Vs.

The Faces Behind 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

NOTE TO READERS: As part of SLDN's Stories From the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama campaign, each day about two-dozen bloggers and I will be posting heartfelt letters to President Obama from members of our armed forces who want Washington -- and the world -- to know the importance of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

The writer of today's letter is currently serving and unable to identify himself publicly:

April 29, 2010
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As an active-duty military chaplain who just returned from a 15-month deployment in Iraq, this is my appeal for justice:

Over the years some of us have buried our closest friends -- officers and enlisted, African American, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Whites, rich, poor, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Jews. They had the courage to make the supreme sacrifice in order for us to reap the bounties of freedom. We owe them a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid.

What is remarkable about these Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coastguardsmen is they understood the personal risk when they answered the highest calling of our nation. What could be a nobler act then to give one’s life to one’s country, knowing that in their lives many freedoms would be denied them?

And when their story is told a significant piece of their life would be missing.

As they sleep under the crosses, the stars of David and the crescents there is no bigotry. There is no prejudice. There is no hatred. And within the sacred confines of their resting place there is no law of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” There is only purest democracy.

When the final cross has been placed in the last cemetery, will it only be then that we as a nation acknowledge our gay brothers and sisters who took the risks of life and truth to answer their nation’s highest calling? How many of these brave men and women lie in military graves and still hide in death?

They are among the unknown soldiers.

There are only a few who know the truth of those who lie in these graves. There are only a few who know the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn them in silence and fear. The nation remains silent and owes no allegiance to who they truly were nor does it honor their loved ones. What does that say of our sacred values?

If one gay person was killed in defense of America, issues such as the destruction of unit morale or the fear of people not wanting to join the military devalue their sacrifice. This is not about appeasing the uncomfortable feelings of a minority; this is a universal and transcendent matter of justice. America was built on the common Jewish and Christian heritage of justice when the Bible commands: “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20).

It is easy for those who do not live in fear of being ‘outed’ to say: ‘We must wait and examine this law further.’ But when you have to watch what you say, where you go, and who you talk to, this erodes the human person. When you live in fear that the wrong pronoun slips through your lips, or a co-worker see you in public with your life long partner and you respond ‘this is just a friend’, this degrades your human self worth.

Gays and lesbians wait not for justice, for them justice is denied, but they wait for the ‘knock on the door.’ They are haunted daily waiting ‘to be found out.’

We went to foreign lands to wage war to liberate people so they would not have to live in the fear of waiting. But citizens of our own land who served nobly, who died to secure freedoms which they would never profit from, must live in fear waiting for justice.

"Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is an unjust law. It degrades the human soul because it forces those who willingly serve to live in shameful humiliation because of deceit and fear. It undermines the very principles and values of what it means to be an American. Living the fa├žade of a life goes against the Core Values of every Armed Service. How much longer is justice going to be denied? There comes a time when despair and fear must end.

Mr. President, we depend on your sense of justice and fairness to help end this gross injustice so we, as a nation, do not have to wait for the final marker to be placed in the last cemetery.

We ask you to lead the way in repealing this unjust law and replace it with a policy of non-discrimination that advances open and honest service. A law that is consistent with true American values and honors the sacrifices of so many who have served -- and died -- in silence.

With deepest respect,



A military chaplain

RIP, Harry Wieder

Very sad to hear that Harry Wieder, a self-described "disabled, gay, Jewish, leftist, middle-aged dwarf who ambulates with crutches," was killed Tuesday night after being struck by a taxi leaving a Community Board 3 monthly meeting at P.S. 20. Wieder was a well-known LGBT rights activist as well as a transportation and disabilities advocate. He was 57.

Hole Lotta Excuses

Sorry, had a late night after Courtney Love and the boys. More posts TK.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seeing Starz

Given my deep disdain for the interminably annoying Alexandra Wentworth, I have purposefully avoided original programming from the underdog Starz cable network, figuring that if they'd give her a show ("Head Case"), then I want no part of what they're offering. But in a nod to the world of advertising, a poster for the heavily promoted series "Party Down" finally caught my eye the other night, so I watched the two episodes from this season and became instantly hooked (who doesn't still love seeing a shirtless Steve Guttenberg?!). I immediately recognized Adam Scott who played Palek in the shouldn't-have-been-canceled HBO drearfest "Tell Me You Love Me," but couldn't place the hilarious "new chick" on the catering squad with the flat, nasally accent.

Turns out it was Megan Mullally, proving you can play a completely different character even if you are really well-known for playing someone else if you ... are talented. ("Thanks, Ted.") With John Enborn, Dan Etheridge and Rob Thomas of "Veronica Mars" fame plus the hilarious Paul Rudd as creators and writers on the show -- who knew? -- it makes sense that it's so great. Now I'm kicking myself for not watching Season 1, which apparently featured a pre-"Glee" Jane Lynch. (WHY isn't this available On-Demand, Starz? I'm demanding!!!)

Now does this mean I should check out the network's upcoming suicide-support-group show, "Gravity"? I'm pretty sure I saw my guy Ivan Sergei (of "The Opposite of Sex" and "Jack & Jill" fame) in the commercial ...

Music Box: The B-52's (Mesopotomia Edition)

Although I didn't realize it back in 1982, apparently not all B-52's fans thought "Mesopotamia" was the perfect record I did. Don't get me wrong, I loved their first two albums. But even there I'm in the minority, favoring the slightly more polished "Wild Planet" to the quirky debut.

Sure, "Rock Lobster" and "Planet Claire" are timeless, but the rest are weaker versions of those. I'd take the equally fun "Quiche Lorraine" and "Private Idaho" plus the plaintive "Give Me Back My Man" and haunting "53 Miles West of Venus" over the debut any day.

Perhaps that's what made "Mesopotamia" so perfect. With just six songs, there was no room for filler. Each song was was special, with "Deep Sleep" still ranked in my mind as the coolest song of all time and the title track that never fails to make me happy. It was only later that I learned that the EP was intended to be the band's third LP, but unraveled mysteriously when David Byrne of the Talking Heads was reportedly fired from the project. In the ensuing years, I've scoured the Internet looking for "the lost tracks," convinced that an album's worth of material had been recorded, but the label salvaged the six best songs. Ten or more years ago, I believe I even asked Fred Schneider what he recalled about the recording sessions when I ran into him on the street one time (he must live near me in Chelsea because I see him constantly, most recently eating at Le Pain Quotidien the other afternoon). As I recall, he was the typical celebrity who remembers WAY LESS about the details of his career than his fans do (like when I had to explain to Debbie Harry what "The Beast" was in a club in Georgetown when another fan asked her something about the lyrics!) and offered no new information.

Jump to last week when my pal Mark Allen sent me a link to a fantastic blog post about the history of "Mesopotamia." Although none of the "lost" tracks are discussed -- rumored to be early takes of "Queen of Las Vegas," "Big Bird" and "Butter Bean," all of which were rerecorded for "Whammy," plus "Adios Desconocida," which is described as a "Fred Schneider ballad" (oh, my!) -- it does have the "David Byrne mixes" of the songs that did make it on the EP -- including very different recordings of "Cake," "Loveland" and "Throw That Beat in the Garbage" -- versions that apparently made it on some early pressings of the EP in the U.K. and that are far less commercial-sounding than what fans know to be the final mixes.

You can download them all HERE. Now if someone -- like you, Fred! -- does get their hands on the other four songs, my Lost '80s Music Dream List will be all but checked off and stored away forever ...

UPDATE (05/02/10): I just mysteriously received MP3s of "Adios Desconocida" and the demo of "Queen of Las Vegas" in my inbox today (the former was never released, the latter was apparently on the "Nude on the Moon" compilation -- oops). Also got a demo called "Lost" that was apparently scrapped in place of "Hallucinating Pluto" during the "Time Capsule" period. Thanks to the mystery reader who sent them my way -- and to the World Wide Web for existing!



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The Faces Behind 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

NOTE TO READERS: As part of SLDN's Stories From the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama campaign, each day about two-dozen bloggers and I will be posting heartfelt letters to President Obama from members of our armed forces who want Washington -- and the world -- to know the importance of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

Today's letter is from LCpl. Danny Hernandez.:

April 28, 2010
President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I was humbled to have earned the title of U.S. Marine just two years ago – my goal since I was 14 years old. But just nine weeks ago, I was informed of my discharge under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Mr. President, if I could be serving my country right now – I would be. Instead, I was fired while you were my Commander in Chief.

The stories we hear of discharged service members are becoming far too common and are based around a primitive law that we should have eliminated years ago. As this injustice continues to hurt our country, we are in desperate need of your support and leadership as we work to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

After I finished my training, I was a 20-year-old reservist. I returned to school to continue working on my undergraduate degree with hopes of becoming an officer. I wish I could tell you about my distinguished service, about stories from the war overseas, or about how being a Marine has changed my perspective on life, but I can’t.

My discharge came from the fear that my sexual orientation was going to be revealed by a third party; a group of unknown Marines who threatened to use my sexuality as a way to retaliate after a dispute in a bar. I had spoken with two fellow Marines from my unit; both of whom I trusted. They calmed me, told me that it wasn’t a big deal, and reassured me that everything was going to be fine.

I returned to drill only to find out that the two Marines – the Marines I confided in -- had mentioned it and word had reached my 1st Sergeant and Commanding Officer. They told the two Marines to submit written statements detailing everything I had told them. When I walked in to my 1st Sergeant's office the first question out of his mouth was, "Are you gay?"

I answered honestly. The investigation was now underway.

The 1st Sergeant proceeded to tell me that there was no way he could protect my privacy in the matter, citing the “grapevine,” and having no control over what people within the unit said or did. I was told by my CO to hang tight and wait to hear from the Battalion Commander.

Ultimately I was discharged, a fate I found out only through my persistent calls and emails. My dreams of being an officer had been shattered and it felt as if the world was tumbling down on me and all I could do was step aside.

Upon earning the title of Marine, I took an oath and vowed to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” This enemy is a domestic one, and with your direction as Commander in Chief, this is a war in which we can be victorious.

“Semper Fidelis” is the Marine Corps motto meaning “Always Faithful.” Not only am I willing and anxious to go overseas, but I am prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our freedoms.

I have remained faithful to my country; please be faithful to me.

Very Respectfully,


LCpl. Danny Hernandez,
USMC (Separated)

Morning Wood

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Hero

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Actor Lance Baxter, otherwise known as "D.C. Douglas," is probably the coolest guy in America.

At Long Last

The wait is almost over ...

Pop-Tart Will Young Covers INSTINCT

In an exclusive interview in the new issues of INSTINCT U.K. pop sensation Will Young talks about everything from winning the inaugural "Pop Idol" title -- which later spun off into "American Idol" -- to the media storm that erupted when he came out ("It was like the second coming!") to the heartbreak brought on by an ex-boyfriend that would later inspire some of his best music yet. Read an excerpt from the piece HERE.

The Faces Behind 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Happy to announce that I'm joining about two-dozen bloggers in a new media campaign organized by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network -- STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES: LETTERS TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA -- to help underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal -- including myself -- will share an open letter to the president from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. We are urging the president to include repeal in the administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes!

Today's letter is from Joan Darrah, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy:

April 27, 2010
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Joan Darrah and I served in silence under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) for almost two decades. I share my personal story with you as we’re at a critical point in the fight to repeal this discriminatory law.

We urgently need your voice and leadership as we lobby the Armed Services Committees and the full House and Senate to end DADT this year.

I’m sure, as I do, you remember exactly where you were on September 11, 2001.

At 8:30 a.m. that day, I went to a meeting in the Pentagon. At 9:30 a.m., I left that meeting. At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon and destroyed the exact space I had left less than eight minutes earlier, killing seven of my colleagues.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a lesbian Navy captain who, at that time, had more than 28 years of dedicated military service. My partner, Lynne Kennedy, an openly gay reference librarian at the Library of Congress, and I had been together for more than 11 years. Each day, I went to work wondering if that would be the day I would be fired because someone had figured out I was gay.

In spite of that stress, somehow Lynne and I had learned to deal with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; we had made the requisite sacrifices. I had pretended to be straight and had played the games most gays in the military are all too familiar with.

But after Sept. 11 our perspective changed dramatically. In the days and weeks that followed, I went to at least seven funerals and memorial services for shipmates who had been killed in the Pentagon attack. As the numbness began to wear off, it hit me how incredibly alone Lynne would have been had I been killed.

The military is known for how it pulls together and helps people; we talk of the "military family" which is a way of saying we always look after each other, especially in times of need. But none of that support would have been available for Lynne, because under "don't ask, don't tell," she couldn't exist.

In fact, had I been killed, Lynne would have been one of the last people to know, because nowhere in my paperwork or emergency contact information had I dared to list Lynne's name. This realization caused us both to stop and reassess exactly what was most important in our lives. During that process we realized that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was causing us to make a much bigger sacrifice than either of us had ever admitted.

Nine months later, in June 2002, I retired after 29 years in the U.S. Navy, an organization I will always love and respect.

Today, nine years after that fateful day at the Pentagon, I am now committed to doing everything I possibly can to get rid of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so our military can finally be open to all qualified and motivated individuals who want to serve their country. This is the right step for our country, for our military, and for all gay men and lesbians.

As a veteran, and as a witness to the 14,000 men and women who have been discharged, I thank you for your bold words in your State of The Union address: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do.”

I have great love and respect for our country, and I know that we will be a stronger and better country when we repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

With great respect,


Capt. Joan Darrah

United States Navy (Ret.)

Tuesday Ad Watch

Page 1 Consider (04/27)

  • Blond Ambition: Meet Nick Ayers, the 27-year-old executive director of the Republican Governors Association. He's being hailed as "the bright young future of the Republican Party." But with his "runner's build," Jay Mohr fetish, "blond hair of a barbershop's model book," a near-miss DUI charge and ready admission that he "didn't really have sex for the first three years" of his marriage, I give it 18 months before he's caught "using the bathroom" at Mr. P's. (WaPo)

  • Dykeapolooza: Check out the Top 10 gay girl wishes for Lilith Fair 2010. (No 6. is my favorite: The Indigo Girls Teach Femmes How to Start a Campfire.) (SheWired)

  • Race for the 'Cure': California Assembly members have voted unanimously to repeal a law that calls for a so-called “gay cure." Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal -- who introduced the bill -- called it offensive. “It was ludicrous then, it’s ludicrous now, it’s time to get rid of it permanently.” (CPR)

  • 'Dazed' and Confused: I don't know, "The Golden Girls" meets "Jersey Shore" set in retirement community in Arizona? I might not be able to resist WE television's "Sunset Daze," although I'm still not sure how my mom avoided being on it. (NYT)

  • The Dehumanization of LGBT-ers: Apparently one man's attempted (hate crime) murder is another's "juvenile prank." (Global Shift)

  • Happy Travels: Be sure to pick up the new issue of PASSPORT magazine -- you know, for the articles. (PASSPORT)

  • Follow-Up: Arrest and charges have been made in the Shannon Barry assault case up in Edmonton, Alberta. (QueerTwoCents)

  • New Agenda: Some great news out of Washington. The District's long-running gay weekly will resume publishing under its original name, the Washington Blade, at the end of this week, after the acquisition of the Blade's assets in bankruptcy court in Atlanta. Staffers have been keeping the 40-year-old publication alive as the DC Agenda while sorting out the legalities. (WaPo)

  • Jobs Search: Are all of you Apple cultists down with this bullshit move? (NYT)

  • Still Pretty in Pink: Brandon Voss has a fun interview with Brat Pack queen Molly Ringwald, in which she discusses her gay fans, Harvey Milk, the lack of gay characters in her '80s teen classics and John Hughes being a "big Republican." (Advocate)

  • Drama Queens: Terence McNally's "Corpus Christi" -- which has been banned by two different venues in Texas in recent weeks because of its controversial recasting of Jesus and his disciples as young gay men living in modern day Corpus Christi, Texas -- has finally found a home. (Cathedral of Hope)

  • Music Addiction: Fans of "Intervention" rejoice: the full version with lyrics of the famed "Five Steps" closing theme song can be heard HERE. (So THAT'S what they're saying!)

  • Party Pooper: Justin Robinette says he is leaving the Grand Old Party because he was impeached as chairman of Duke University's College Republicans because he is gay -- a claim school officials and the Log Cabin Republicans say is unsubstantiated. Good move, kid. But the real question here is WHY were you a member in the first place? (Advocate)

  • Book Marc: So happy to see that Marc Jacobs is "saving" the famed Biography Bookstore on Bleecker Street (one of my favorite haunts) and opening his own librairie in its place. (Gawker)

  • Sorry About That, Mr. DeMille: In small but significant numbers, filmmakers and casting executives are beginning to re-examine Hollywood’s attitude toward breast implants, Botox, collagen-injected lips and all manner of plastic surgery, turning instead to "natural looking actors from Australia and Britain because the amply endowed, freakishly young-looking crowd that shows up for auditions in Los Angeles suffers from too much sameness." (NYT)
  • Morning Wood: Colbi Bruce

    Learn more about the handsome OnDisplayMen.com fitness model HERE.

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