Category: Uncategorized

Open Letter: Shut Up Sinead O’Connor and Amanda Palmer

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Dear Sinead O’Connor  and Amanda Palmer,

Shut up.

Shut up, shut up, shut up.

Your celebrated letters are just awful. What more have they done besides highlight the lifelong struggle between mom and daughter? Between the youngs and the olds? They have done nothing to support Miley at all, because the emphasis in each letter is a super misleading protective mom tone that only seeks to service the writer and not the individual who is being criticized. You come across as the Kat Stratford to Miley’s Bianca.  Even when you attempt to raise Miley up, you only do so to counter-balance the actual driving force of your declarations: for O’Connor, that you’ve been there and that you know Cyrus to be a prostitute (okay); and for Palmer, that you are a huge fan of O’Connor (great), and wish she’d remember how hard it was for you and her in your non-public art lives.  Both letters are corrective: in summary, “I agree that you’re talented, but hate that you are letting your talent suffer in an effort to be sexy, so stop that”; and “I sort of agree with you mama Sinead because you were a huge influence on me and I know where you are coming from celebrity-to-celebrity, but maybe you’re a little wrong because Miley is just being Miley, even if we both know the industry suckkkkkksssss, so maybe stop that Sinead (and Miley, you could learn a little something from mama Sinead).”

My message to the both of you is to stop reminding yourselves of your own celebrity, and let Miley, a young person, do what she wants, how she wants to. You are both in positions to inspire people, and that’s obvious, but piggy-backing on someone’s celebrity, a celebrity that you might feel, both in your own ways, is ill-gotten (you’ve got talent, Miley, but you are a whore!), is so unnecessary. It isn’t supportive. You are prescribing wrongness to a state of being that can neither be confirmed, nor denied, as being fabricated. Why?

You are all women. You are all women who have and will do good and bad things in your lives–good and bad being entirely subjective, and you have no fucking right to determine what those terms mean for a girl who is, by all accounts, “just being Miley.” Perhaps the idea of an oversexed former teen starlet is a bit too much for some people to deal with, and by asking a girl who is allegedly being herself to not be herself is asking every non-public woman to dismiss her sexuality for decorum, for the moms of the world like Sinead who think they have it all figured out, even though none of us do. 

Ultimately, this is an open letter to celebrity open letters. To women or men or anyone who feels it important to offer advice on how to be a woman or man in 2013. To people who believe that healthy sexuality is perverse. To people who don’t think people are capable of determining who or what they want to be and how they want to be whatever that is. Your two cents mean nothing when they merely serve to prop up and remind an audience and yourself of your own celebrity. Calling Miley a whore sure is shocking to read, and it is also probably the dumbest thing I’ve read on the Internet this week.

Pat Robertson Talks Jewellery—Jewellery that gives you AIDS

Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcast Network founder and regular asshole, is spreading his hate-filled rhetoric again—this time professing that gay men in San Francisco have AIDS-giving jewellery. Actually.

On a past taping of 700 Club, Robertson answered a letter from ‘Mary’ which asked if there is a moral obligation to disclose status if you are driving a car with someone who is positive. Yes, Mary, you idiot, because we expect people with the flu to just trot around saying, “Hey guys! Got that flu, y’all. Drive at your own discretion, friend!” Yes, Mary, real or fictitious, is absolutely dumb, but Robertson proves to be more ignorant, and more hurtful.

He says, “The homosexual community has put Draconian laws on the books that prevent people from discussing this affliction.” Out of curiosity, I’d love to see a copy of these gay books, because discussion of AIDS prevention, awareness and living with the illness is arguably as rampant as ever.

Except Robertson believes that, “in San Francisco, they want to get people, if they got the stuff, they have this ring where it cuts your finger. It’s that kind of vicious stuff that should be the equivalent of murder.”

The original scene has been wiped from the broadcast, but the full clip is now back on YouTube after team Robertson tirelessly spent the last two weeks trying to erase it from memory.

Sorry I’m Not Sorry: Silence isn’t an option if you’re queer

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I’m not dead. Yet.

I don’t live in Russia. No.

But you don’t need to be in Russia to know about what is happening there.  Even if it all sounds like a bad series of Onion articles: MP calls for law allowing gays to be whipped in public squares; Gay Teenager Kidnapped and Tortured by Russian Neo Nazi Group Is Believed To Have Died From His Injuries; Orthodox priest who supported Pussy Riot found stabbed to deathPartygoers attacked in Moscow bar for ‘looking gay’Olympic athletes will be subject to anti-gay lawGay author receives threats from Russia about children’s book and Russian LGBT Activist Attacked by Angry Mob of Russian Military Paratroopers in St. Petersburg.

The truth is, innocent people are dying, being abused, being doused with water bottles filled with Neo Nazi piss and forced into hiding in fear of death and persecution. It is all real, and it is all not okay.

That should be your basic understanding of queer Russia to date, as it exists in 2013.

We have even been asked to ‘relax’ and ‘respect’ Russia’s anti-gay policy by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

Suitable reactions include: anger, sadness, rage and panicked sobs.  This isn’t a happy time for queers in Russia, nor should it be for those outside of the direct anti-you policy.

But as I discussed yesterday, silence has become a popular choice among queers and media, from Fox News’ zero minutes of Russian anti-gay propaganda coverage to Johnny Weir’s stance on not doing anything but showing up to Sochi to IOC Vice President Ng Ser Miang’s assurance that Russian authorities are being engaged in “quiet diplomacy”  and that the situation will be resolved for the “satisfaction of all.” 

There are times to keep quiet, and this is not one of them.

While some might criticize my position as an outsider, I submit the following reaction: click here.

It doesn’t matter that I am not on the front lines. I wish I could be, but unlike the Olympic athletes who refuse to boycott and Tilda Swinton (who is amazing, obviously), I don’t have that kind of immediate access. But if I did, I wouldn’t just “be myself.” I would, as an outsider, be myself, raise a flag, kiss my fellow man in public, document everything, say everything, and not stop until I leave.

Because I am an outsider, I can leave. That fear I would be living in during the short period of time I’d be there is nothing compared to being Russian in 2013. By showing up to perform as an Olympic athlete—and only to perform—there is a distance established between queer athlete and fearful queer. A performance or an IOC sanctioned quiet conversation that establishes protection for athletes and tourists is self-serving, and motivated by the Olympic spirit and sponsorship money.

The more we say, the more we do, is pressure, whether you think it is accomplishing something or not. In what world is it okay to be gay and not queer? The thought produces the same reaction I have when I meet a woman who doesn’t subscribe to the most base form of feminism. Shock. Outrage. Why any subjugated community wouldn’t be prone to be politically minded is an indication of our immense privilege. It is as we feel there is no more we need to accomplish from inside our western world bubble(s). Our post-Stonewall complacency is showing. Just because you are here, doesn’t mean you can’t be there. In actions, words, anything you can think of. Create a network. Build toward a boycott that will force Russia to rethink its value systems. It isn’t a lofty proposition. Crazier things have happened.

So, continue reaching out to Olympic sponsors. Continue boycotting Russian exports. Find out who the queer athletes are in your community and campaign for them to spread the word that a Sochi Olympic games will not be supported. They’d rather risk their sponsorships than feed an economy that feeds on queer oppression. And if a boycott isn’t possible, it better be the gayest fucking Opening Ceremonies the world has ever seen. We are in a position to not suffer in silence.

 

Why Johnny Weir being gay isn’t enough

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Queer isn’t an insult. Except yesterday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, my messaging “Johnny Weir is a self-involved queer” was treated as such. The scary thing is, it wasn’t just Olympic figure skater Weir fandom that took offense. Facebook banned me for the expression, and cited the slogan as the offensive, term-breaking message. The experience has left me shaking my head.

I initially responded to Weir’s interview on CNN, where he and fellow queer athlete Blake Skjellerup made refusing to boycott the Sochi 2014 games their official position. Weir believes his “performance and presence of just being there” makes a greater statement than a refusal to participate.

“I am very well-known in Russia,” says Weir. “I’m out and just myself,” says Skjellerup. When asked what they would do to challenge the anti-propaganda law in Russia, Weir says he has spoken and connected with people in a very real way, and he’ll perform and do his best for them.

He believes that being himself and performing is the best thing he can do.

My belief is that is isn’t. My position is that it is selfish.

The issue isn’t about Weir personally. His representation in gossip magazines in Russia isn’t relevant. “I am not a propagandist,” suggests that Weir believes that his life is not overt propaganda. And there we agree. It isn’t. But he says that the Olympics aren’t linked to politics and that it is a time of peace, sport and excellence, and it is there we disagree. The Olympics in Sochi is the perfect stage to send a message, as a gay man and athlete, that the actions regionally are disgusting, perverse and backward. It isn’t a time to remain stoic and to “put on a good show.” This dead queer teenager didn’t want a good show, he wanted his life back.

 

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The reaction from Weir’s fandom proved to me what I already believed: he has devout followers who hang on his every word, who derive some kind of understanding from his thoughts and actions. And yet, with this level of influence, his refusal to do something leaves his networks with the feeling that resistance to change is the ultimate sacrifice. That simply being gay (Weir does not identify as queer) is enough of a statement because he is a “well-known” gay man.

As someone worthy of being in Russian gay gossip rags, and who has platforms like CNN to raise awareness, I implore Weir to make it known that he does not accept the injustices in Russia, and I believe he should do so by raising his voice while he is at Sochi 2014, given that boycott is not an option. I don’t care if he lands the quad. I care about queers being assaulted, being denied basic human rights, and being murdered.

Your gay white male privileged perspective highlights how little we can be affected if the crimes are not committed locally. As someone who has the power and influence to make change, but refuses to do so, their blood is on your hands. If you have the power to make change and raise awareness, you have a responsibility to do so. Because why wouldn’t you.

Boycott Russia Now, Because You Can

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Russia is under the LGBT spotlight these days after a law was passed banning “gay propaganda,” which is so loosely and offensively defined that we need to do something about it. Essentially, the law makes it illegal to equate gay and straight relationships, and it bans the distribution of any gay rights materials. Recently four Dutch tourists from LGBT-Groningen were jailed for filming a documentary about the gay community in Murmansk. With an upcoming Olympic Games being held in Russia, there is no better, more effective way to target this bigotry than by comprising their economy. And there is no better way to get their attention than by reaching out to the sponsors and urging them to pull out funding until Russia’s anti-gay law has been eradicated. The images don’t lie. It is absolutely brutal to be queer in Russia right now.

At the heart of this, this boycott isn’t about vodka, it isn’t about Coca-Cola, and it isn’t about a widespread hatred of sports. It is about righting this unforgivable wrong.

Contact Information for Olympic sponsors below:

TOP TEN SPONSORS

Coca-Cola
coca-colacompany.com/contact-us/

Atos
atos.net/en-us/home/contact-us.html

Dow
dow.com/company/contact/

GE
ge.com/contact/general

McDonalds
mcdonalds.com/us/en/contact_us.html

Omega
ccm.omegawatches.com/en/

Panasonic
panasonic.com/business-solutions/contact-psc.asp?display=form

PG
pg.com/en_US/contact_us/index.shtml

Samsung
www.samsung.com/us/support/contact#

Visa
corporate.visa.com/utility/contactus.jsp

For a full list of partners: sochi2014.com/en/team/partners/

What is a gay witch? A brief intro to International Gay Witch Day

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A gay witch named Storm Faerywolf writes in 2000, “In most Wiccan traditions of modern witchcraft there is a strong emphasis on sexual polarity as a model for magickal/ritual working. Simply stated, this is the belief that magickal energy is generated most strongly (and perhaps only) by a male and female working partnership, a concept that was popularized by the Gardnerian tradition and has been passed down in some form to the vast majority of modern witchcraft traditions being practiced today. Even in traditions where this polarity is seen to be internalized (i.e. the idea that we each contain an inner male and female which strive for balance regardless of our physical gender) we find that, ultimately, the model we have adopted is still a heterosexist one: that of polarized or complimentary forces being identified as male and female, thereby enshrining this model as the template for all real relationships whether they be romantic, magickal, or otherwise. For Queers this can be a dangerous practice.”

It can be dangerous. It is merely another instance where queers are subjugated. I will be completely honest. I found out gay witch was a thing on a lark, but quickly felt like it was something I wanted to pursue. The otherness of gay witchcraft appeals to me, and its lack of concrete definition makes it equally desirable. I am very much a beginner, and learning about this as I go along. If you are a seasoned gay witch, I would love to hear from you! E-mail me!

Gay witchcraft appears to be full of good intentions. There appears to be less focus on emulating The Craft and more on pursuing worthwhile causes. Take gay witch Christopher Penczak, who put out a call in 2004 to produce spells for gay rights: “I propose that all magickally-minded people – Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, magicians, healers, shamans, yogis, seers, seekers on all paths who believe in equal rights for all – come together on the first Full Moon after the 35th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that occurred June 27, 1969. Stonewall is considered by many to be the birth of the GLBT rights movement. On the first Full Moon after this historic anniversary, we can raise energy to make a definitive change for the better, where all people’s rights are respected. I suggest a spell with this or a similar intention:

We ask in the name of the Goddess, God and Great Spirit to be immediately granted equal rights for same sex couples throughout the U.S.A., so that all couples may enjoy the rights of marriage if they so choose. We ask this be correct, and for the good of all involved, harming none. So mote it be.”

I do not want to overshadow the Stonewall Riots, which is why I have chosen the first International Gay Witch Day to fall on June 28, 2013. So don your gayest gay witch apparel (how you define gay witch garb is up to you, but I will be wearing a gay witch t-shirt and carrying a sign to commemorate the day, and likely also dying a grey streak in my hair to symbolize being touched by the gay witch gods, and perhaps conducting my first gay séance (let’s talk to Harvey Milk!)), and take to the streets with some gay witch enthusiasm.

Goddess bless,

Kevin “Gay Witch” Naulls

It Could Happen to You

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I don’t kiss and tell unless I am forced to. My name is Kevin Naulls (I have put a photo for reference,  that is me today after I found out Arrested Development sucks now), and I once went on a date.

I am a writer. I didn’t have to follow up, accept a date or meet or stay on a date after I found out he wasn’t gay (and therefore harmless), but I chose to because this guy–we will call him Keith–was literally holding a gun to my head and Keith is the decider when it comes to burgeoning confessional journalism careers.

So I stayed and watched a band I like named Metric. But I didn’t enjoy myself because Keith wasn’t gay and therefore harmful. He mentioned his upcoming book several times,  like how gauche right? I hate when people are proud of what they do, especially when they aren’t gay and could be attracted to me.

Anyway he drove me home and tried to kiss me goodnight. Instead of avoiding a goodbye hug or kiss with someone I did not like because he was not gay and therefore harmless, I went in and he half kissed me.

Keith raped me.

And it could happen to you.