Oh, Jesus

The surburbanites were out in full force at the Palo Alto train station today heading north to San Francisco.  With every potential celebration shut (e.g. Castro Street), they must be heading to AT&T Park.  At least, I hope so.

They didn’t know where Tinky Winky was…

Our Gettysburg: Why Prop 8 is important to EVERY gay

Dan’s note:

Evan Wolfson originally voiced the analogy between gay marriage and Gettysburg.  In case you don’t know Evan Wolfson, he wrote “why marriage matters” and is the founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry.

Like Gettysburg’s importance in turning the Civil War, we gays are at a pivotal point in our own civil rights.  Prop 8 is a bill on the California state ballot next Tuesday that, if passed, will enact a state constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman.  The wingnuts are out in full force lobbying voters in the conservative Central Valley and other areas of the state and both sides are in a dead heat according to polls.

Even if you don’t live here – give money, volunteer, make calls, spread the word.  If YES on Prop 8 passes, it means the Constitutional Amendment passes which will have disasterous consequences for gay rights in general.  I’ve said enough.  My friend Andy Camp says it much better….

The New York Times reports:

[R]eligious conservatives have cast the campaign in California as the decisive last stand, warning in stunningly apocalyptic terms of dire consequences to the entire nation if Proposition 8 does not pass.

California, they say, sets cultural trends for the rest of the country and even the world. If same-sex marriage is allowed to become entrenched there, they warn, there will be no going back.

They’ve tried lies, they’ve tried threats and blackmail. In case you’ve been asleep at the wheel, we are at war in the battle of our lifetimes, I just don’t know any other way to sugarcoat it. The other side is calling Prop 8 “Armageddon” and with rhetoric like that, it’s clear they will stop at nothing, I mean NOTHING to rob gays and lesbians of vital civil rights.

Make no mistake, this is our Gettysburg and the outcome will be felt across the country and around the world.  All eyes are on California because this is the only place, the only state where we have the chance to prevail and we owe it to the rest of Americans who value freedom, to all the folks who’ve fought before us, and to the kids growing up, to defeat hate and bigotry once and for all.

Our opponents are saying that Prop 8 is more important than the presidential election, not just in California, but across America. The exact same is true for those of us to oppose Prop 8, and support same sex marriage.  There will be no going back if we lose.  Neither the courts nor the legislature will not be able to override the voters’ decision. Prop 8 will become law and the constitution will cease to ensure equality for all citizens. But if we win, it will be a victory for civil rights and equality that will resound to all “corners” of the world.

I know the timing’s inconvenient, with Halloween and a busy party schedule, but folks, when the masses are storming the castle with torches and pitchforks it’s time to put down the party hats and grab the nearest implement of self defense, because we are under attack!  I skipped out on three parties last weekend to call voters, my costume for this weekend is nonexistent and my house a cluttered and dirty mess: all because I’ve donated upwards of $5000, along with probably a hundred hours of my time this summer to fight Prop 8, and I’m not even getting married !

We could lose everything that it’s taken our collective decades to gain, because once our constitution is altered to say “gays and lesbians are not full citizens, they are second class citizens” all GLBT and all minorities are from that day on an easy target, for the right wing to comfortably mobilize to take away any and all of remaining rights. The constitution that has ensured our gains in civil rights by promising equality to everyone will cease to do so, and right wing groups will have their moral victory and the assurance they can preach the results of future elections.

If somehow, in spite of my constant attempts to get the word out all summer, you’ve managed to get through the past couple of months without getting involved, or even if you’ve been involved the whole time, rest assured we need everybody’s help in the next 7 days. It’s so very critical we not lose this now! If you’re voting NO and telling your friends to vote NO, that’s great, but it’s just not enough to vote and forward emails. Everyone needs to donate time and money and get out on the streets and on the phones to reach out to the voters who we need to be supporting our side.

Because, make no mistake, for those of us who feel pretty secure in our gay friendly neighborhoods in Los Angeles, there is a lot of hate out there, the evangelicals are all leaving their red states to travel to California to unite against us. If they are successful, you can believe they will be emboldened and empowered to make us their favored target of further discrimination in the coming years. Will you let them? Will you let them open this door? Because once that door is opened it will be extremely hard if not impossible to shut it ever again. That’s why our enemies are so determined to spend millions upon millions to stop us from gaining rights: because they don’t think we are entitled to any rights at all and if they achieve their ultimate goals, we won’t.

Prop 8 is about far more than marriage vs. domestic partnership, far more than gays and lesbians, it’s about human dignity, with our basic American freedoms hanging in the balance. It’s about the kind of country we will live in 10 or 20 years from now and whether fairness and equality, or religious based fervor and bigotry will dominate this country. While I’m glad the people in our local community are FINALLY waking up to the urgency and global importance of this issue, as evidenced by the money has come in and the support now being provided to the “no on 8″ campaign, there’s just so little time left to make up the slack. Had we had all this support months ago, we could be comfortably ahead, but since the other side had such a substantial early lead, we are still neck in neck and it’s going to be a real nail biter on election night.

If you, personally, are not doing anything and everything you possibly can to help defeat Prop 8, every single day over the next 7 days, then it will not have been enough and we will lose!  Believe me, no fun time on the boulevard this weekend is going to compensate for the collective hangover we’ll feel for years to come if we wake up November 5th to find our civil rights “gone with the wind.” Everyone in our community, every single person, EVERYONE is needed in the next 7 days or we will lose fundamental rights: starting with marriage and continuing from there! We cannot take assurance in the poll numbers (because people don’t admit to pollsters their intention to discriminate against us) nor can we rest our laurels on the money that has been raised (because it didn’t come until very late in the game…) We have to do everything possible to ensure victory in the few short days that remain!

So please donate, volunteer your time by phone banking registered voters, sign up for visibility campaigns and volunteer to help at polling places on election day.  You need to sign up in advance for these things (at www.noonprop8.com) and not wait until the day of / or the day before.  The other side has not run their campaign “California style”. They are organized and they have been methodically legislating state by state to take away our rights and freedoms.  But California is where we make our stand to stop them!!  You need to act immediately, TODAY, ***RIGHT THIS MINUTE*** otherwise we are going to lose our rights and the chance to spread equality and fairness to the rest of America and the world.

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” – Benjamin Franklin

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmond Burke

“A right delayed is a right denied.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Andy Camp
West Hollywood, Calif.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/29/opinion/29mon3.html?ref=opinion

What the fuck? Gay Halloween Costumes I can’t explain…

As you are well aware, this Friday is Halloween.  Although I’ve already worn my share of Halloween costumes this year, I have quite a surprise for San Francisco this week!

But, as I was surfing for ideas and gay Halloween coverage, I uncovered these poor girls.

Does anyone know what they are supposed to be?  Leave your thoughts in comments!

My aching back!

When I was 17, I was driving my 1982 fire-red Pontiac Firebird down Route 27 in Belgrade Lakes, Maine in late summer, 1983.  I had just left my friends off at their respective summer houses on Great Pond after a day trip to the Maine coast and was heading back to my parents’ house.  The sun was setting and Asia was playing on the FM radio.  As my sunburned arm rested on my window, I thought about how great it was that I was about to become a senior.  We would rule the school!

BAM!

As I hit the busy intersection of 3 different major state highways, a fairly large late 1970s Chevy plowed into the driver’s side of my beautiful redneck car. In 1982, no one had to wear seat belts — and I wasn’t.  The marine who was driving the Chevy had been blinded by the sun and never saw me in the intersection.  The force of the crash knocked me over the stick shift and out the passenger door.  The door had come open from the force of the crash.

Fortunately, I was okay.  His car had hit mine on the driver’s side of the engine compartment.  He hadn’t been driving too fast, but had he hit my door directly, I would have been killed.  Remember, there were no air bags or other modern safety features on cars back then.  Both cars stopped and I ended up hanging over the passenger seat with my head next to the seat adjustment handle.  I climbed back into the now bent and banged sports car to shut off the motor.  However, it had already stalled.

I remember climbing out the passenger side and the police had already arrived.  Someone asked me who to call and I gave them my parents phone number (no cell phones, either).  As I sat stunned on the curb, I remember feeling nauseous but more concerned about the headlight dangling from the front grill – or, whatever was left of it.  A stream of anti-freeze and oil poured onto the asphalt.  Steam rose from the engine.  I presumed that it smelled like an oil spill or plane crash would smell like.

I ended up experiencing severe lower back pain a day later.  After months of chiropractic and medical visits, the pain subsided late that fall.  I didn’t run cross country as a result, but did play Tully Bascom in “The Mouse That Roared” with the high school drama club.  Over the years, the back pain has occasionally shown up but quickly retreated – I have found the pain somewhat manageable and never sticking around for long.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to get my Halloween outfits out of storage.  My unit is about 4 blocks away (LONG blocks in South of Market – about 550 feet each) but I decided to carry the two crates awkwardly through my ‘hood.  I didn’t realize until about an hour after I had returned home that my lower back was once again fucked.  Really fucked.  It didn’t help that I worked at my home office another four hours without stretching or doing anything to deflect the looming pain.

I met Rich for a quick dinner last night but decided to take a cab home since I couldn’t stand up straight – let alone walk – down 4th Street back to my loft.  I didn’t have Advil in the house and didn’t feel like getting any, so I barely slept on a heating pad that tripped the circuit breaker during the night.

As I stumbled into work today, our CEO says: “Shit – you should see my accupuncturist .”

Never having been a fan of natual medicine, I hesitantly agreed.

“Good – they will see you at 4:45.”

I showed up – still in severe agony.  After my “intro” meeting, the doctor had me climb onto a table and administered craniosacral therapy, essentially pressing against my aching muscles up and down my spine and neck.

At 5:30 she pulled me off the table and, to my amazement, I was standing up straight and in much less pain.

Amazing!

An Epsom salt bath later, I am feeling almost normal.

It’s amazing how stubborn we become especially as we grow older.  We think we know it all.  Then, we brush aside our prejudices and are surprisingly delighted by what we discover when we simply open up.  In this case, my willingness to try something I’ve always doubted saved my back – literally.

If only natural medicine had fixed my Firebird.  I’d have grown a mullet by now!

First training ride for AIDS Life Cycle

Rich, Rinnie and I embarked on our kick-off training ride yesterday – 23 miles RT from San Francisco to Mill Valley.  A beautiful and gorgeous day met us, and despite the tourists “wobble riding” on the Golden Gate Bridge, we had no mishaps or brushes with death (rare for me on my road bike).

After a long and GREAT day, I was too exhausted to do anything but go home and curl up with Louie in bed.

Get off your asses and vote – I did!

I know that I am preaching to the choir, but I can’t beg you enough to make sure you vote on November 4.  I cast my absentee ballot this evening, and did it feel good to:

1) Not see the name George W. Bush on the ballot

2) Vote against California’s Prop 8, which would enact a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

However, with the names Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin on the ballot I am still scared shitless.  Although Obama is leading in the polls, there are many factors that could throw this election to the Republicans.

First, the race factor. While many voters SAY they plan to vote for Obama in the polls, analysts say that when in the privacy of the voting booth, a number of Americans will never vote for an African American regardless of how liberal, conservative or publicly accepting of the idea of a black president.

Second, vote tampering.  We saw it in 2000 with dismal results and non-action by the Democrats.  We still saw issues in 2004 in states where the vote between Bush and Kerry was so close that I would have shown up to count them personally if I were one of the candidates.  I just don’t trust the deceit and tampering that one expects in our elections now.  Hell, we need Jimmy Carter to monitor our own elections.

The right to same-sex marriage is threatened here in the Golden State.  The right wing has pelted the conservative and rural California voter with fear about gay marriage.  Fear that if allowed to continue, churches would be sued if they refused to marry a gay couple.  Fear that granting civil rights for our team will result in stifling of the wingnuts’ right to free speech (and application of hate crimes).

No one on the right is saying that in the four months we have had the right to marry that the sky has not turned purple, food still tastes the same, civilization has not fallen, churches have not been sued and gay tourism dollars are pouring into the state.  I must have personally met about 10 couples over Pride and Folsom Street Fair weekends here to get hitched (when they normally would not have visited San Francisco).

There are many other issues on the ballot that needs our attention, so read up, consult internet sites with more information and make informed votes between now and November 4.

One ballot initiative about which I changed my mind was renaming a San Francisco sewage treatment plant after the buffoon in the photo above. When I first heard about it, I was all for renaming a facility that handles our shit after the worst president in American history.  But, I also have heard that the staff of the plant feel offended that their workplace may be named after Bush – and, apparently, it is a great sewage treatment plant.

And, if the people that handle our shit are upset about this renaming (expected to pass), so am I.  I voted against it.

Perhaps naming the swirling mass of plastic trash in the middle of the Pacific is more fitting?