Wednesday, May 29, 2013

John Grant

I'm just discovering John Grant. He's openly gay, openly HIV positive, and with astounding vocals, lyrics and synths he sounds like he's invented a new music genre. Listen to his Pale Green Ghosts:

 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Putin On The Blame

I was tasked with writing a news piece for an upcoming issue of DNA Magazine on the horrific murder of 22 year old Vladislav Tornovoi, in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), Russia. It was not something I particularly wanted to spend a day thinking about or focusing on. Tornovoi was killed outside the block of flats where he grew up, by people he knew, one of them since childhood. They stripped him, slashed his anal area, pushed two beer bottles up inside, bashed his head eight times with a concrete block and tried to light his body on fire. All because he admitted to being gay.

Vladislav Tornovoi, murdered in Volgograd
Anti-gay murder and violence often does not get reported as such in Russia. The reason this one did, is because the killers were trying to illicit public sympathy by offering their motive: "he said he was a fag." In my research, I discovered their aim may have been met. It seems even the victim's family are trying to protect the last shred of his dignity by proclaiming their son wasn't gay. Over three quarters of Russia's population think being gay is either a bad habit, disease or the result of trauma. Polls show that support for equal rights for gays have gone down by double digit percentage points since 2005.

Putin has overseen a renaissance of the Orthodox Church, now just an appendage of the Kremlin. Its leader has said homosexuality is one of the biggest threats to Russia. Putin himself blames the gays for Russia's population decline. Many regions, including St Petersburg, have outlawed "gay propaganda" which can be used to stop any form of open expression, including pride marches, kissing, they even sued Madonna for passing out pink bracelets. Russian parliament is pushing forward a national "no gay propaganda" law which is wildly popular. Is it any wonder that in such a climate, anti-gay violence is on a disturbing uptick? Never doubt that leaders wield not just power, but influence over a population. Tornovoi's brutal murder is the result of Putin's anti-gay policies.

Russian officials said that activists would not be allowed to gather in protest against his killing. It was "gay propaganda". The courageous activists went ahead with their rally protest, and 30 of them were arrested for breaking the law - while being savagely attacked by Orthodox vigilantes carrying crosses.

So yeah - I didn't want to spend a day focusing on the disturbing news out of Russia. But that in itself is the most disturbing. As we celebrate marriage equality in new states and new countries in the west, what's really important? Our Russian brothers and sisters are fearing and fighting for their lives, and we must think about this, write about this, dialogue about this. Silence still equals death.




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Michael Musto's Next Move

Aside from the horoscopes, there's no real reason to pick up the Village Voice anymore.

They killed its wisdom, wisecracks and downtown soul by letting go of nightflife personality, gossip columnist and all around good guy Michael Musto, along with several other prominent critics. Musto had been writing his La Dolce Musto column, for nearly 30 years. Spotting him riding his bicycle around town is every New Yorker's favorite sport, and being as courageously witty as Musto is every writer's wish. He doesn't just turn a phrase, he turns a phrase out.

I can't wait to see where he lands next. He writes, "So many people have come out to offer their love (and opportunities). I'll update you on all my new beginnings. My brand will be feistier than ever."

In the meantime, the Village Voice is mute. Or maybe it's just echoing the voice of the village in 2013 and filed a noise complaint against itself?

SCOTUS: Last Hope for Fairness.

“I don’t want to be the senator who asks Americans to choose between the love of their life and the love of their country.” - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Bullied by a "gang of 8", the US senate yesterday dropped gay families from their comprehensive immigration reform package. This means that thousands of same-sex bi-national couples have only one hope of staying together legally in the country. That is the defeat of DOMA, which prevents their state marriages from being recognized federally. All eyes turn to the Supreme Court.

The laws of US marriage in allow you to provide a green card to your spouse... unless you are gay.

Above is married bi-national couple, Tom and Claus. They are represented by my friend Lavi Soloway, a lawyer whose office I managed a decade ago! Of course DOMA stands in the way of them being able to reside in the country based on their marriage.

The reason they are all smiles outside the LA immigration office above, is that after an appointment at USCIS, including thorough review of all the evidence of the bona fides of their marriage, interview questions, and assessment of eligibility for permanent residency - the immigration officer put their application on hold for 45 days. The SCOTUS ruling that could strike down DOMA is expected in before 45 days.

It looks to me like the USCIS is winking at the Supreme Court. 

Lavi's organization, the DOMA project, is dedicated to helping fight the discrimination brought upon by DOMA and affecting tens of thousands of couples like Tom and Claus. Check out more stories on their The Doma Project page. If you'd like to help them stop deportations, separations and exile, get onto the frontlines by helping out their indiegogo campaign

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Breaking News!

Need a reason to pick up premium cable? I'm very excited to announce that Half-Share, the Fire Island comedy I created with Sean Hanley has been picked up by the HERE! network in the USA. Congrats to all involved. It will premiere on the channel June 7. Just in time for summer!



Friday, May 17, 2013

Courage

Just when I thought I couldn't love Angelina Jolie anymore - she went and got a preventative double mastectomy after genetic testing revealed she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer. That one of the most stunningly beautiful women in the world can do this, openly write about it, and refuse to let it diminish her sensuality or femininity, is inestimable empowerment to so many other women.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Say Cheesecake!

It was fun surprise to wake up and hear I was on the cover of the HuffPost gay voices page. This was some great feature press for artist Paul Richmond's series on gender bending take on classic pin-ups.
I love the scenario he created for me and was honored to be the first in the series a couple years back.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hi Flu! I'd forgotten about you.

I was leveled last week with a wicked flu. Of course, I cannot be sick without jokes about how it's the new fatal strain of meningitis (or, as Bam with his verbal dyslexia says, "melongitis" - as in watermelongitis?) or my AIDS seroconversion. Who knows, but I was so flat out there wasn't even energy to go to the doctor or check myself for bedsores.

Returning to the land of the living, suddenly absolutely everything was at my fingertips: time travel, eternal life, I even thought about going back to school. It's incredible the possibility health provides. Can you imagine what it must be like to be terminally ill? My renewed sympathies!

I must thank my survival to Bam, Richard, tons of crap TV and this rocking discovery from my friend Sharon. Check her out. Aren't you envious of her amazing ability? I'm happy it's on a loop because I can't get enough.