Monday, March 30, 2015

Hoosier Hospitality

Indiana Governor Mike Pence last week signed the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. This law institutionalizes intolerance in Indiana – although it's the religious who are shouting about not being tolerated. The RFRA allows Indiana businesses to refuse service to certain individuals by citing their "deeply held religious views". Here is Mike Pence signing this bill into law, surrounded by nuns, Friar Tuck, butter churning prairie pastors and homophobes (one shown here equates gays with bestiality). Is this how you want your lawmakers to look like?
Indiana: A Theocracy in the heartland.
Say you want to patronize a business that purports to serve the public in Indiana. But the bigot owner of the business doesn't like that you are gay. Or Muslim. Or black. Or a divorced woman. Or they just don't like the look of you. They can now cite their beliefs and tell you that you are not welcome. Go find that other water fountain marked "sinner". This bill is nothing but updated (if you can call this regression an update) segregation.

And Pence is facing the justified wrath of not only equality-minded citizens, but major corporations including Apple, Salesforce, the NCAA, now even a boycott by the state of Connecticut. Nobody is telling the deeply religious that they can't practice their faith. Nobody is suggesting they cannot follow the dictates of their god, but here's a tip: if you want to serve only those who think, walk, talk and believe the same as you – do not purport to serve the public. Not that anyone would want to patronize a business that might turn them away because you don't share the same belief system, but how are we supposed to know before being turned away in hurt and humiliation?

I propose an amendment to Indiana's bill that states if you are not willing to serve everyone based on your deeply held bigotry, don't hide behind the newspeak of Religious Freedom Restoration. State it up front, outside for all the world to see, with a big fat sign on your business door: "No gays" "No Atheists" "No Mexicans" "Christians Only". Proclaim it loudly, boldly, for all the world to see just how loving you are. Segregation by any other name smells just as rotten.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Holding Out For A Hero

Hey you big hero, check out my latest essay in this month's Advocate.

(fab illo by Daniel Zalkus)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Queens Land

HIt up north for a quick getaway to that Great Barrier Reef, before it becomes an Exxon oil refinery. Still rather marvelously fishy, folks. Get at it while you can. NYC friends Wayne and Iqbal flew over the frozen Hudson to head with us up to Queensland for a few days of perfect summertime paradise.
Jump for my love!
The Real Housewives of Whitehaven Beach...
...or a chance to use my selfie stick.
Whitehaven Beach is advertised as the most gorgeous beach in Australia, but it was "stinger season", stingers being the teeny tiny but potentially deadly Irukandji jellyfish. Being so far from an airlift to the hospital (already it was a 1.5 hour catamaran ride from Hamilton Island to this remote stretch of sand) if we wanted to go in the water we had to wear these clunky stinger suits. 
A bit like the garden of Eden - all we wanted to do was eat that apple. So we did jump in this perfect water without the suit for a few moments at a time, and then scream bloody murder because who can resist that kind of hilarity? Almost as funny as my picture of this drunk guy Wayne's cartwheel. 
From Hamilton Island, which has its own airport and is just two hours from Sydney (and all owned by one person, apparently) we also took an excursion to REEF WORLD. Which sounded tragically touristic, but we went anyway - because now we can say we've been to REEF WORLD... which is this very large pontoon way out on the Great Barrier, Hardy Reef to be exact, a full day excursion that caters for the lowest common denominator, including the Chinese who can't swim.
Reef World
And for REEF WORLD visitors who can't or don't swim, Chinese or otherwise, there is a semi submersible and even a viewing area below deck… just look what they spotted.
"Look, it's a Merman!" "More like ETHEL MERMAN."