Tag Archives: gay marriage

An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Skype Call

An atheist and a Christian walk into a skype call…

Sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke OR a super fun conversation between two very different people with very different experiences. My friend Jonalyn and I spent some time a few weeks back discussing the separation of church and state, gay marriage, tolerance vs. acceptance vs. celebration, and many other fun things in a….shall we say… wandering conversation for video series Emerald City

For those of you paying attention, we did this once before and discussed what kinds of sex count as real sex, intimacy, and “stewarding virginity” which is just the greatest phrase ever.

Check us out:

Related Post: Jonalyn inspired this piece about friends across the aisle

Related Post: Our past conversation on sexuality and virginity

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Filed under Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Rob Portman Part 2

On Monday, I wrote about Senator Rob Portman’s change of heart on marriage equality. I was (am) very frustrated that it took having a gay son to get him to see the light. That said, a lot of people on the internet and in real life have been making some excellent points about parenting, political motivation, and basic human psychology. I think we have too low expectations of our political representatives. Anyway, I stand by what I wrote, with some asterisks.

I expanded on those asterisks in a more formal (hopefully more nuanced) piece for Role/Reboot


Related Post: That time I met a Republican

Related Post: Do you hope your child will be straight?

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Filed under Gender, Politics, Republished!

Monday Scraps 95


1. DATING: Where do “missed connections” happen? In Illinois, on the train (duh), in Indiana, at home. Wait, what?

2. AUTHORS: Ugh. Ender’s Game was kind of my favorite thing for so so long. It still is, but I hate when the authors you love turn out to be raging homophobes. Dammit.

3. EDUCATION: This amazing investigative piece by WBEZ on the South Side’s Harper High School is incredible in basically every way journalism can be incredible.

4. KNOPE: NYMag has the inside scoop behind Amy Poehler/Leslie Knope’s amazing wedding dress.

5. SPORTS: For the very first time, a woman is participating in the NFL regional tryouts. Kicker Lauren Silberman will probably not play in the NFL, but that’s still pretty f’ing cool.

6. OSCARS: I would write about Seth McFarlane’s horribly sexist jokes, but Margaret Lyons at NYMag  nailed it so hard I’d just be paraphrasing. 

Related Post: Sunday Scraps 94: Bey, Connie Britton, Jane Austen and more.

Related Post: Sunday Scraps: 93: Guns, visiting Chicago, Margaret Atwood


Filed under Books, Chicago, Education, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Sports

Sunday Scraps 91


1. Books: So, apparently McDonald’s is giving away 15million books instead of plastic crap. This seems like a good thing, no?

2. SCI-FI: Jim Hines, a fantasy author, illustrates some of the ridiculous lady-poses of sci-fi and fantasy covers with some creative posing.

3. MARRIAGE EQUALITY: The argument against marriage equality has taken a turn for the strange, in my opinion, with this emphasis on unintended pregnancy and accidental babies….

4. CHICAGO: I’m kind of obsessed with these little graphic illustrations of Liz Fosslien, especially her very accurate understanding of all things Chicago. See especially, the Board of Trade drink ratios.

5. CELEBRITY: God bless NYMag for the gift of 60 high school photos of celebrities, from Amy Poehler to Channing Tatum, Alec Baldwin to Zooey Deschanel.

6. TECH: Really fascinating piece from HuffPo on how Siri came to be and how she changed when she went Apple.

Related Post: Sunday 90 – Frida, Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Zadie

Related Post:  Sunday 89 - Mr. Wright, Matt and Ben, avalanches


Filed under Art, Body Image, Books, Chicago, Food, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics

So How About That

More tomorrow on the election in general, but for now let’s talk about Tammy Baldwin.

She was the one who got me started with the crying.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading at work about corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives, and the idea I keep coming back to is bringing one’s “whole self” to work.

What does it do to people when they feel like they can’t post a photo of their family, or talk about their personal lives, or speak with their real voices? How can you truly contribute if a piece of your brain is worried about letting slip the wrong pronoun?

There was a generation, no… several generations, who had to choose between being themselves and becoming a public servant. The election of Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator, is another crushing blow to that Chinese wall that queer Americans have had to create between their personal lives and their professional lives.

Fuck, sometimes America is pretty alright.

Related Post: When NYC passed marriage equality.

Related Post: Andrew Sullivan on marriage equality.

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Filed under Gender, Politics

A Day of NOH8

25,000 photos and counting. That’s the impact of the NOH8 campaign, brainchild of Adam Bouska, a celebrity photographer who has turned duct tape and a temporary tattoo into the defining iconography of the marriage equality movement. In 3 years, Bouska has added unexpected celebrities (Cindy McCain? What?) to the legions of real people who strike a pose and add their faces to the library of those who refuse to live in a society where they, their friends, parents, siblings, and children will be discriminated against.

Today, N0H8 had an open photoshoot in Chicago and on the invitation of a friend I went to add my face to the collage. The official photos won’t be available for a few months, but the joy and energy in the hotel ballroom was something I can share with you now.

I was struck by the diversity, in every identifiable way, of the crowd, and the celebratory buzz in the air. When a young mother finally got her adorable fat baby to smile, the whole crowd literally cheered. There were pets included, families, siblings, friends, and veterans sporting dogtags. I cried at least twice. Here are some of my favorite moments:

Sean, Rachel, and I applying our NOH8 tattoos

Adorable-est family received actual cheers

I loved each waiting line, a perfect way to document the diversity of the crew

My friend Sean and his bunny, Biddie (the first NOH8 bunny!)

Conrad and I

When we left the hotel, a tourist dad asked me what “H 8″ stood for. I hesitated and replied “It stands for ‘hate’, there’s an event in the W Hotel,” and then walked right on by. I was reluctant to tell him the cause for which we had just stood in line for an hour and a half to support. I wasn’t afraid of him, but I was afraid of confrontation, and that is not a good thing. The duct tape we wore in the photos is representative of being de-voiced, deprived of your ability to fully express yourself and your love, and here I was de-voicing myself to this stranger.

It’s that split second of fear, of paranoia, of hesitation, that is indicative of how much work we have left to do on behalf of LGBTQ rights. We should never be afraid to say that total equality is a cause we’re working towards. That’s something to be proud of.

Related Post: Pride in Chicago

Related Post: Do you hope your child is straight?


Filed under Chicago, Family, Gender, Media, Politics

Feathers, Sequins, Rainbows

Happy Pride, y’all! Nothing restores my faith in humanity or my hope for the future quite like the Pride parade. What color, what joy, what love! I spent the first hour with mascara-laden tears leaking out from behind the my plastic sunglasses. The triple whammy of teachers (“I’m proud of my LGBTQ students!”), veterans, and local high school students was more than my feeble and mimosa-soaked heart could handle.

I feel so lucky to live in a community like this, full of people and businesses so effusive in their support for equality, dignity, and respect for all. The diversity of the crowd (not to mention the participants), is my favorite part. All ages, races, family structures were represented.

Going for some sort of androgynous, punky, patriotic thing

Mayor Emanuel kicked things off


So beautiful!

Happy Rainbows!


Here’s where the leaky tears began

Related Post: Pride 2011

Related Post: Views about gay marriage are trending up.


Filed under Art, Chicago, Politics

Sunday Scraps 61 (Delayed on account of flames)

1. YOGA: A student project pokes fun at the ubiquitous Lululemon bags with a spoof product. From positive affirmations to “Your worth as a woman depends on people looking at your butt.”

2. DIET: From iVillage, a collection of stories about people who figured out how to quit dieting. Imagine all the brain space we’d have if we weren’t counting calories?

3. PROGRESS: You know what’s amazing? How drastically President Obama’s support of marriage equality has impacted views (and polling numbers) on the subject in the black community.

4. GENDER: It’s old internet news, but in case you missed it, I really enjoyed John Scalzi’s post “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is,” using video games as an analogy for gender and race and privilege. Also, his follow-up.

5. SPACES: Virtual tour of Chicago’s new start-up space, 1871, from Tech Cocktail. You ain’t got shit, Palo Alto.

6. FACEBOOK: LifeHacker explains all the rookie mistakes you make on Facebook, and how to fix them.

Related Post: Sunday 60 = Dita Von Teese, George R. R. Martin, Settlers of Catan

Related Post: Sunday 59 = psychopathic children? Michelle Obama and The Biggest Loser, Kickstarter successes?


Filed under Advertising, Body Image, Chicago, Gender, Media, Politics, Sports

Times Change

Look what one of my Massachusetts friends found from back in the day:

Oh hey, remember when Romney was just that moderate Republican that Massachusetts voters elected to Governor?

On the other side of the aisle, as everyone in the world knows, President Obama gave the big thumbs up marriage equality. I’ve since “evolved” in my own views, but my initial instinct was not the cheering/applauding/hooraying of many of my friends and the internet.

My initial reaction was one part skepticism, one part “not enough, Sir,” and one part “too little too late.” It’s hard for me to believe that a black lawyer could ever be on board with a separate but equal policy, which is what we mean when we say we think civil unions are good enough. I felt like the timing, after the crushing blow of North Carolina, was infuriating. And then I got a campaign email and I felt pandered to. The email included this:

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

This is what would make me a terrible politician, and possibly a dictator handing down mandates from on high, but this is how I feel: I do NOT respect discriminating beliefs of others. I do NOT believe civil rights should be a state-to-state issue. I do NOT believe that the federal government should condone states removing the civil rights of a particular group just because the people in that state feel like it. Obviously, this is not how our government works, and I’m pretty sure there are really good reasons for that. But then I watched this speech by NC’s Reverand Barber (skip to 3:10), and I got all fired up again:

“The question should have been, do you believe that the majority, by popular vote, should get to decide the rights of the minority. That’s a dangerous precedent, because that means that the rights of people are determined by who’s in the majority at a particular time.”

All of the above happened in the first five minutes after I saw the President’s announcement, but I mentioned my views have evolved, so what happened? Well, you internet people happened. I started reading Facebook posts, blog posts, Tweets and the like from some of my LGBTQ friends, and I was reminded of a few things.

My friend Helen, at Bettencourt Chase, wrote this: Today feels momentous and magical and full of hope. Will this change everything? Perhaps not in a big immediate way. Equal marriage is not going to be legalized across the country tomorrow. But things are changing, and they are changing with greater and greater momentum. I am so proud of President ObamaThings are changing. I have so much hope. I feel so lucky to be alive right now, watching this unfold.

My friend Jon, at The Daily Quinn, wrote this: Nothing the President said yesterday will change any law.  It will not erase the passage of North Carolina’s anti-equality amendment.  But if you believe that politics still matters, that words have meaning and make a difference, that symbols are an important part of our culture, yesterday was a big day.  Because the leader of your country was willing to talk about you on TV and say that he supports you.  Supports you in spite of the voices that hound you and the laws that deny you.  The President is the only person who represents the whole country, and so the voice with which he speaks is the vessel of our collected voices.  And so it is the word of the land, going forth to say: Your lifestyle has value.  Your love has value.  And instantly you are a confused teenager again, and that man on the screen, that symbol of your country, is saying the words you so longed to hear at that young and impressionable age.

And I was reminded by Helen and Jon, and so many others, that this really is a monumental moment in our history. What’s more, it’s not really my monumental moment to judge and politically dissect. I was never a confused teenager who wondered if what I wanted was good and right and allowed. I never had an authority figure tell me my lifestyle was “wrong” and I never had to worry that my relationships wouldn’t be validated in the way, however flawed, that we in this society validate them. I was reminded that it took Reagan years to acknowledge AIDS. I was reminded that Clinton put into to place DOMA and DADT. I was reminded that I will get to be there for the weddings of my LGBTQ friends, a pleasure denied my parents.

So perhaps maybe I should step off.

Related Post: Do you hope your kids will be straight?

Related Post: Happy Equal Pay Day


Filed under Gender, Politics

Trending Up

Two years in a row more than half of Americans have reported being in favor of same-sex marriage. That is a trend, and I shall celebrate it as such: Here’s how it breaks down:

From Gallup.com, 5/8/12

This poll didn’t show the split by age, and that’s what I’m interested in. From my vantage point as a 24-year-old who has exclusively lived in Boston and Chicago, the rate of progress is excruciatingly slow. But, in the scope of American history, much less human history, the pace of public opinion is moving at warp speed.

I recently finished Travels in a Gay Nation, an excellent collection of essays and interviews from LGBTQ celebs like David Sedaris, George Takei and Barney Frank, plus pieces about average folks and their experiences growing up queer. Every piece by someone over 40 shared an awe and gratitude at the rate of change we’ve seen in the last ten years. David Sedaris wrote about the mindblowing joy of meeting a teenaged gay couple at a reading. They attended his event together, holding hands.

To me, holding hands is no big thing compared to marriage rights or legal protection, but to a gay man who came of age in the 80s, it’s a world of improvement.

Obviously, such luxuries are not afforded everywhere. Spend a few minutes on this chart from The Guardian:

Click for interactive exploration (from The Guardian)

Hover over each state to see specific rights and limitations for marriage, hospital visits, adoption, employment, housing, hate crimes and schools. You can see big trends by region (though mad props to Iowa, right?) plus really fascinating, minor differences in policy. For example, Massachusetts protects sexual orientation in schools, but not gender identity.

Related Post: Remember when my brother didn’t know gay people couldn’t get married?

Related Post: I don’t like places that discriminate against my friends.

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Filed under Books, Gender, Politics