In the Atlantic today, Alice Dreger interviews Joe, who is now 17 years old, "to expand on some of the themes explored in the book and answer some questions raised by people who have commented on it."
Joe is a really interesting person, and the interview is terrific. Go have a read.
(Photo: John and Joe, shot by Ethan Hill for the NYT) Read the rest
BB reader Jane Lowers sends along this beautiful BBC Radio documentary about two men in California who have been together for decades, now facing one's terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis. "I know both of them; Eric was a columnist at a radiology magazine I used to work for," says Jane. "Their house is every inch as insane as described. But the story -- trying to decide how to deal with a diagnosis, how to use the time you have, and how it can affect relationships -- was very well-described, I thought." Read the rest
Years ago during the reign of Milosevic in Serbia I wrote an essay called "Decent people". It was about that 80 percent of Serbian people, the classic silent majority, who lived in denial of the genocide in Srebrenica, the snipers in Sarajevo, the shelling in Dubrovnik.
These so called decent people who could not grasp cruel political and military reality. Eventually the damage to daily life became impossible; the decent people could not go through with their charade of normality as postmen, engineers and dentists. On October 5th 2000 a million people took to the streets in Belgrade and physically deposed the tyrant.
However, time stopped then in Serbia. An October 6th never dawned for a bewildered Serbia, not even 12 years later, on the anniversary. Milosevic died behind the bars in the Hague, my Yugoslav-era parents are deceased, my postman is on pension but the inhabitants of the Serbian parliament today are the next generation of those decent people. No painful truths were admitted and confronted; there was a rebellion of the decent, but not a thorough change in the society.
Typically, a few days ago the new elected premiere of Serbia forbade the Gay Pride annual parade. He claimed that 80 percent of the Serbian population is against gay manifestations, and warned against the risky and inevitable gay-bashing that would follow in the streets. This new premiere is an old member from the deposed Milosevic' s party. Crushing the aspirations of Serbian gays has become routine, and he has already handled the trouble successfully before. Read the rest
I recently posted a couple of articles featuring heartfelt letters from people who had earned their Eagle Scout awards as boys, but no longer wanted to be associated with the Boy Scouts of America and its rule banning gay scouts and GBLT troop leaders. Instead, they were choosing to return their awards to the BSA, in hopes that scouting's national organization would recognize that this rule isn't something all scouts want. In fact, many wrote about their frustration with what they see as the BSA failing to live up to the values that scouting teaches.
As of August 4, more than 80 former Eagle Scouts have sent photos of their resignation letters to the Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges Tumblr blog, where the letters and the protest they represent are being archived.
Reading the comments that have turned up here at BoingBoing, I get the sense that there are many more Eagle Scouts—and active Boy Scout troops—that also disagree with the BSA, but don't want to resign from local connections that don't reflect the national organization's bigotry. In fact, the Northern Star Council, which represents 75,000 scouts in Minnesota and Wisconsin, is openly bucking Boy Scouts of America policy, and has been for years.
The Associated Press ran a piece yesterday looking at this dissent and the effect—or, it seems, lack thereof—it is having on BSA policy.
Read the rest
Deron Smith, the Boy Scouts' national spokesman, said there was no official count at his office of how many medals had been returned.
Earlier this week, I posted a couple batches of letters from grown-up Eagle Scouts who chose to resign their hard-earned, elite awards in protest of the Boy Scouts of America's policy banning gay and atheist scouts and troop leaders.
I'm still getting letters in the mail. These things are coming in faster than I can update the posts. Which is why I'm very glad that several former Eagle Scouts have taken matters into their own hands, starting a Tumblr that can play host to all these letters, and all the ones going forward.
Burke Stansbury put the site together. In his own resignation letter, he wrote:
I am not proud to be affiliated with an organization that excludes people based on their sexuality. Many of my closest friends are gay, lesbian, or transgender and it pains me to think that I invested time in an organization that prohibits their membership. It's a shameful, bigoted policy. Plain and simple.
I'll be contacting people who have sent me letters recently about whether it's okay to forward their emails to Burke. And if you'd like your letter to be archived on the Tumblr, there's an easy-to-use submission form right on the site.
Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges on Tumblr
On Monday, I published a letter from my husband, Christopher Baker, to the Boy Scouts of America. In that letter, Baker returned his hard-earned Eagle Scout award and explained that he no longer wanted to be associated with an organization that discriminated against gay teenagers and GBLT parents. By the end of the day, I'd posted six updates to that story—adding letters from other Eagle Scouts who had joined my husband in resigning from a fraternity they had loved and had worked incredibly hard to join.
The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization. The Supreme Court has said they have the right to discriminate. What these Eagle Scouts are saying is that legal precedent doesn't make the discrimination right. Overwhelmingly, they've said that it makes them sad to see the organization that meant so much to them go against the very values of inclusion that it taught them as children. As Baker wrote, "banning openly gay scouts and leaders is not a neutral position any more than separate-but-equal was a neutral position on race."
Yesterday, I received more letters from other Eagle Scouts who want the Boy Scouts of America to know how disappointed they are, and that they choose to stand with the persecuted rather than with the people doing the persecuting. In this post, you can read inspiring words from 13 Eagle Scouts who asked that I share their letters. In most cases, I've included a photo of the letter, and quoted text for easy reading. Read the rest
If you aren't familiar with American Boy Scouting's Eagle Scout award, it might be a little hard to explain how important this story really is. Eagle Scout is a big deal. For one thing, it takes a lot of work to get the position. A scout has to earn 21 merit badges and then spearhead a community service project that they organize and manage themselves from start to finish. Add to that the fact that most kids don't stay in scouts through high school anyway, and you end up with the award representing a relatively small and elite group. Since 1911, about 2.1 million men have earned an Eagle Scout award. And it has serious implications once you graduate high school. There are scholarships. Eagle Scouts who enlist in the military after high school can start off with a higher rank than their peers. The adult Eagle Scouts I know have told me that they've gotten interview call-backs or even job opportunities because the award was on their resumes. Basically, it's more than just this medal you pick up at age 17. For many men, it's a lifelong position—and one that demonstrates a commitment to serving others and caring for the community.
So when Eagle Scouts start returning their medals to the Boy Scouts of America, that matters. Especially when these men are making this decision because they think it's the best way to demonstrate the values of being an Eagle Scout.
The Boy Scouts of America bans participation in scouting by openly gay, bisexual, or transgender kids and bans GBLT adults from serving as scout masters. Read the rest
Via the New York Times: In Chile, a judge who lost custody of her daughters in 2004 because she is a lesbian will now receive damages, after an Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling. Karen Atala will get $50,000, and $12,000 to reimburse court costs. Not much comfort after being separated from your kids by the state for 6 years, but the ruling sets an important precedent in the region. Read the rest
Police Constable John George said police boarded the cruise ship and arrested the two men on suspicion of indecent exposure and "buggery," a term equivalent to sodomy on the island. The cruise was organized by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel. President Rich Campbell, who is aboard the cruise, said in a phone interview earlier that he thought the two men would be released. He later said in an email that the company has organized many trips to Dominica and would "happily return."
Cruise ticket buyer, beware. (thanks, Antinous!) Read the rest
Gentlemen, start your slashfic engines. Yes, the theme of this DIY costume in Boing Boing's ongoing series is— Sexy Wikileaks.
Above, Philip Neustrom and friend Ron Baker last night at DNA Lounge in San Francisco. Philip, at left, is dressed as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Baker, at right, is Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier believed to have leaked secret documents to the whistleblower website (he is currently in military jail, awaiting trial.)
Too soon? Eh, not for me to say. These two figures are nothing if not folk heroes. But don't ask, don't tell indeed. Philip tells Boing Boing,
Some totally unrelated and somewhat-drunkely-typed backstory: When we were getting the Manning outfit supplies from a military surplus store in Berkeley, the guy ringing us up asked, "Hey, what are you dressing up as?"Read the rest
We showed him a picture of Manning and gave a little explanation. He got it immediately and then told us this story, with the preface that we were probably "far too young to get it"--
So a few weeks back, an older woman walks into the store and says something like, "Do you folks have any goggles? My grandson is going to burning man.."
The guy helps her find some goggles, and as he's ringing her up he looks down at her credit card. "Ellsberg..any relation to Daniel Ellsberg?" "Oh..well, he's my husband!"
Not exactly the types I'd expect to be running a military surplus store. Regardless, the guy hooked us up and we got like $150 worth of stuff for $20!
Five-year-old Dyson Kilodavis is a little boy who loves sparkly things: princess gowns, hot pink socks, glittery jewelry. Deal with it.
Richard Metzger over at Dangerous Minds points to a lovely children's book by Dyson's mom, titled My Princess Boy, and shares a surprisingly non-exploitative television interview with the boy's mom, dad, and older brother.
You have to watch the video. Have some kleenex handy. I sure cried. It's right here: My Princess Boy: Meet the most awesome family in America (Dangerous Minds, thanks Tara McGinley)
This child, I think it's clear, is going to be who and what he'll be. But unlike many kids like him, he's not going to grow up thinking there is anything wrong with who he is. This kid is FABULOUS and nothing less! With all of the gay bullying, suicides and the general anti-gay bigotry going on in rightwing circles, Cheryl, Dean and their older song Dkobe, deserve admiration and gratitude from the rest of us, for being such an amazing, wise examples for other people in their situation, with their loving parenting of their "Princess Boy."
The It Gets Better project is a series of video postcards from happy, well-adjusted GBLTG adults to isolated queer teens who think that they're they only "different" people in the world. No matter what your sexuality, these are damned heartwarming -- and "it gets better" is a great message for kids everywhere, queer, straight, or undecided.
SF Says: It Gets Better (via Making Light) Homophobic news site changes athlete Tyson Gay to Tyson Homosexual ... Bizarre anti-gay comic book from 1980s Oh, Happy Gay! How Buttsecks Works, by gay marriage opponent Rep. Nancy Elliott ... Read the rest