Long, long before The Village People made "YMCA" — the song that would become the unofficial, persistent national anthem of Winter Olympian Brian Boitano – "Ys" played an important role. They were second only to gay bars, as places to meet available others of like-minded, body-mind-and-spirit, triune — me, you and the shower — persuasions. In the '60s and '70s there were four YMCAs in the Metro Detroit area. (The long-gone Grand Circus Park YMCA dating to 1904.) There's only one YMCA now, located on Broadway, in a totally revitalized, energetic, amazingly-changed, thriving new Downtown area.
One of the lasting lessons I learned from Detroit’s legendary activist Jeff Montgomery was no matter what the outcome was of an election, we must prepare for the morning after. As I write this before knowing the results, I know that things could go either for or against us, but we have to be prepared. When he said this advice, Montgomery was talking about the 2004 Michigan vote that made it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. So much was at stake.
A friend reached out to me yesterday to see if I was OK. She said, “Everyone I care about is under attack.” My dear friend was referring to the administration’s desire to “erase” trans identities [...]
Now, I don’t need to tell you that minority rights should never be on the ballot. It was wrong to let the majority vote on marriage rights for same-sex couples, for example. It is incredibly damaging to have the voting majority debating whether or not your family is legitimate or if the love you feel for your partner is “real” or if you’re just a weirdo pervert.
Back in the mid-'80s a group of gay friends gathered monthly for dinner and sharing at Detroit's historic venue, the Scarab Club. We called ourselves "The Friends of Dorothy Kilgallen". Our campy title was a play on the old closet question, "Are you a friend of Dorothy?" Meaning, Are you gay? A friend of Oz's Dorothy. The title also referenced once-famous Miss Kilgallen, syndicated journalist, panelist for TV's 1960s popular "What's My Line?" guessing game show.
What to say to get you to vote that isn’t already in a meme? That’s my task and conundrum. So let’s start with this: LGBTQ Michiganders, when sufficiently motivated, vote and do so in large numbers. For example, 2014 post-election modeling done by the national Stonewall Democrats determined that 14 percent of all Democratic voters in Michigan were LGBTQ. Assuming that we’re 3 to 5 percent of our state’s overall population, that outsized voting percentage is hugely significant.
It’s been a challenging week this week for members of the transgender community, their allies and supporters. Over the weekend, the New York Times revealed that officials within the Trump Administration are pushing for a narrow definition of sex in enforcing federal civil rights laws. By defining sex as “either male or female, immutable and determined by a person’s genitals at the time of birth,” governmental departments could refuse to recognize and address incidents of discrimination against transgender people in employment, education, housing and access to health care.
There is a group of about 4,000 people walking from Honduras toward the United States. Donald Trump and the Republicans would like you to believe this is an invading army. It isn’t. It’s by and large unarmed people fleeing violence and poverty. These are asylum seekers, not invaders. But, of course, to Republicans there is no difference. It’s now being reported that Trump intends to send over 5,000 troops to the Mexican border. Not to provide humanitarian aid, mind you. The troops are much more likely to kill these asylum seekers than to help them.
There are shared similarities between high-visibility personalities Pastor Joel Osteen and Republican Vice President Mike Pence. First off, each shepherds a flock of religious followers. Mike’s, however, is basically evangelical and/or fundamentalist. Osteen’s tends to be New Age, Power of Positive Thinking, Prosperity Gospel and devotees of his seven bestseller books, read by a goodly number of his weekly 7 million American TV followers.
Remember when Trump Tweeted out that trans troops were no longer welcome to serve in the military? Republicans across the country have been similarly hostile, feverishly crafting legislation to keep trans folks from using public restrooms.
1968 was indeed a year that had a profound impact upon this country - the assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, protests of the Vietnam War and racial inequality - most notably during the Democratic Convention in Chicago and the fist raised during the Olympic ceremony by two Black athletes. And 1968 saw winners – Richard Nixon won the White House and the Detroit Tigers won the World Series! The year also saw the birth of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), and yours truly was born in December of that year.
Being in middle school is tough. Your body is going through often mortifying changes: acne, body hair, growth spurts. Your hormones are raging. Kids are often relentlessly cruel to each other. You aren’t old enough to drive. Your parents are hopelessly lame.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making it an important time of year to raise awareness for the need of screening and early detection, advocacy, support and ongoing research. Unfortunately, the reality is that breast cancer doesn’t care what month it is and doesn’t just go away until October. It's vital that any person with breast or chest tissue, meaning everyone, understands that they may be at risk of developing breast cancer.
So, for this year’s National Coming Out Day, bring out your dead. If you have deceased LGBTQ friends or relatives who may not have been out during their lifetimes, bring them out, even in some small way. Help them take their next step. Tell someone about them. Write up an account of their lives for some future reader (or perhaps a historian). Maybe, in the fashion of cemeteries planting American flags on veterans’ graves, place a rainbow flag at their final resting place.
If you’ve ever wanted to commit sexual assault, now is your chance. I mean, has there ever been a better time, especially for men assaulting women? We are in the midst of the Kavanaugh Window where no accusation of sexual assault, no matter how credible, will be believed.
The stories are all different, but they are the same. The family friend or member who comes into the bedroom at night. The uncle, grandparent or friend who touches inappropriately with a hug. The boys who cop a feel in the hallway. The “nice” guy who after a few beers forgot that “No means No.”
Oh, yes. The reading of this redemptive Parting Glances comes with 30 days indulgence, courtesy of Between The Lines and Monsignor Alexander, Blessed Society of Gee Whiz. What you indulge in is your own redemptive business. Amen. Ah-men! Whoever.
This is the kind of move you’d expect to see in a place like Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Then again, Trump has declared his love for him, too. It’s an alarming pattern. Vote on Nov. 6 like lives depend on it. Because they do.
Do not sit the midterms out. Vote on Nov. 6, even if only to gloat to Bryan Fischer that you were compelled by Satan to do so.
“Rottweilers, when dyke trained, tend to be a fanatic, one-owner breed. They also sit well on Harley’s. Lipstick lesbians prefer well-groomed lap pets and in more intimate surroundings a well-trimmed, short-haired, frisky bichon frise.”
Yes. It's been a long journey for me. It wasn't always easy. But, then again, it wasn't that hard either (The journey, not the sex.). I’ve survived, and I like to think I've made something of myself as an artist, a writer and human being who just happens to be quite gay. Contentedly so. Reasonably happy. Most of the time. That's life (I'd gladly do it all over again.).
And now we find that he is a nightmare for women, too. Who would have thought? Besides anyone who pays even a fleeting bit of attention to the contemptuous way Republicans treat women, of course.
To me, it becomes an issue of accuracy versus truth. It may indeed be accurate, for example, to include the name I was born under, answered to and used on legal documents until I was in my early 20s — but this isn't exactly my truth. That surely isn't me, and isn't my identity now. It's not the person who pens these words, or has been under this name and gender for the more than half of this life.
A few journalists, sexologists, social workers and gay priests, to be sure, saw the handwriting on the wall, almost two decades ago, when an innovative and shocking blog first appeared: bishopaccountability.org.
“Brett Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer very basic, very direct questions about the Supreme Court’s historic ruling bringing marriage equality nationwide is alarming and completely unacceptable,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Obergefell decision is settled law. If this nominee cannot so much as affirm that or the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families, he should not and must not be granted a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”
So, in the spirit of inclusion, LGBTQ organizers should make it a responsibility to pick venues that are as accommodating as possible — even for disabled LGBTQ people. More importantly, organizers should put an effort into making disabled participants feel welcome, not like it is inconvenient to include them.
A 50th anniversary production of Mort Crowley’s groundbreaking play “The Boys in the Band” closed on Broadway Aug. 12 of this year, with big-name stars Jim Parsons (who has said goodbye to TV's "Big Bang Theory"), Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto.
I am tired this morning as I write this. You see, I stayed up way too late talking to my mother-in-law who is visiting from Florida. We talked about all kinds of things: my son, her only grandson; cancer, I’ve had it twice; grief, my wife’s father died over the summer after suffering through ALS; politics, we both worry constantly about the horror show that is Donald Trump; and also chicken, I’m a vegan and my 14-year-old miniature poodle is sick so she cooked him some chicken to spare me from having to. All in all, it was a good talk, and by the time I went to bed it was midnight.
“Drug addict,” “philanderer,” “lifestyle” ... these are the pejoratives that substance abuse professionals used in a workshop I recently attended at a national conference on substance abuse. I was shocked to hear such judgmental and stigma-laden words casually thrown around the room by trained professionals. I have issues with judgmental words and labels; not only on a professional level, but also when talking to others from the LGBTQ2+ community. We are already fighting for our equality on many other fronts, specifically fewer barriers to health care and we don’t need labels to be used against us.
Harper Hospital (at the time, I hadn’t the slightest idea that my OR training would lead to what might well be the first coincidence of its kind).
Our older son in particular was harassed from the beginning. Not only was he biracial and darker than most of the kids who attended his school, but he also had two gay dads.
"As Hooper puts it, 'If you’re surprised that political evangelicals would show up to this White House despite the many reasons to not, you haven’t been paying attention for four decades. Rank hypocrisy in service of their desired outcome is, was, and always will be their m.o.'"
Welp, child sex abuse in the Catholic Church is in the news again and, gosh, wouldn’t you know it, the Catholic Church is trying to blame it on the gays. Again. A recent Pennsylvania grand jury report found sex abuse rampant in the church, something everyone who has ever delved into it has also found to be true.
"Whoa! Hold on there!" I urge the little guy who works the switch, bargaining for a few more seconds 'til I get my key in the lock and make an unscheduled dash to the loo, there to discharge another distillation of my allotted 40,515 lifetime quarts.
There are more than 13,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system who are need of permanent loving and supportive homes.