Sunday, August 8, 2010
I don't blog much anymore, but my last post was about my newfound love of RuPaul's Drag Race, and at the end of that post I proposed that Raven was going to win it all. Well, she ended up with second (I was quite upset over it all, but oh well, from what I can tell, people love her WAY more).
Anyway, she (or he I suppose, his real name is David) is from Riverside, CA so we see him occasionally at clubs in West Hollywood or around town. Well, I have had a little bit of a crush on him and finally yesterday we talked to him for about 20 minutes at the beach, and guess who was raised Mormon? Yep. You heard it here first, Raven was raised Mormon. In fact his mom is RS president and his stepdad is in the elders quorum presidency in Victorville. I knew there was a reason I loved that bitch so much.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Gay pride parades? No thanks. Gay bars and clubs? Never. Every time I learned something about gay society that I previously was unaware of, I was almost proud of being ignorant of these segments of gay culture. Well let me just say it now, I love RuPaul's Drag Race. I am seriously in love with this show. Ever since the first West Hollywood Costume Caranval that Max and I attended, I have been mildly fascinated with drag culture and I think RuPaul's Drag Race is fantastic.
After I watched a couple of episodes of season 2, I realized that I was quite ignorant of RuPaul and I became curious of how he became famous. I remember knowing about him since I was a kid, so I did a little internet research to find out where he got his start. I was quite surprised by what I learned about him from Wikipedia, but even more fascinating was an interview I found online that he had given a couple years back. Based on what I have read, RuPaul appears to be a very intelligent and articulate person. I don't know why I would have assumed anything else, but I guess I had my own preconceived ideas of what kind of person he was. The following dialogue I found especially interesting as it relates to my own person experiences. DS is the interviewer, and RP is RuPaul:
DS: It seems like years ago, and my recollection might be fuzzy, but it seems like I read a mainstream media piece that talked about how you wanted to break out of the RuPaul 'character' and be seen as more than just RuPaul.
RP: Well, RuPaul is my real name and that’s who I am and who I have always been. There’s the product RuPaul that I have sold in business. Does the product feel like it’s been put into a box? Could you be more clear? It’s a hard question to answer.
DS: That you wanted to be seen as more than just RuPaul the drag queen, but also for the man and versatile artist that you are.
RP: That’s not on target. What other people think of me is not my business. What I do is what I do. How people see me doesn’t change what I decide to do. I don’t choose projects so people don’t see me as one thing or another. I choose projects that excite me. I think the problem is that people refuse to understand what drag is outside of their own belief system. A friend of mine recently did the Oprah show about transgendered youth. It was obvious that we, as a culture, have a hard time trying to understand the difference between a drag queen, transsexual, and a transgender, yet we find it very easy to know the difference between the American baseball league and the National baseball league, when they are both so similar. We’ll learn the difference to that. One of my hobbies is to research and go underneath ideas to discover why certain ones stay in place while others do not. Like Adam and Eve, which is a flimsy fairytale story, yet it is something that people believe; what, exactly, keeps it in place?
DS: What keeps people from knowing the difference between what is real and important, and what is not?
RP: Our belief systems. If you are a Christian then your belief system doesn’t allow for transgender or any of those things, and you then are going to have a vested interest in not understanding that. Why? Because if one peg in your belief system doesn’t work or doesn’t fit, the whole thing will crumble. So some people won’t understand the difference between a transvestite and transsexual. They will not understand that no matter how hard you force them to because it will mean deconstructing their whole belief system. If they understand Adam and Eve is a parable or fairytale, they then have to rethink their entire belief system.
As to me being seen as whatever, I was more likely commenting on the phenomenon of our culture. I am creative, and I am all of those things you mention, and doing one thing out there and people seeing it, it doesn’t matter if people know all that about me or not.
I really think he is spot on in his assessment of religious people and is quite accurate for many Mormons, at least it was for me. Also, the idea that people refuse to get to know people because it will require them to deconstruct their false ideas is something that I have encountered quite often. Overall, I was quite impressed with what he said.
Anyway, if you don't get Logo, I recommend that you go online and watch the shows, I promise they are not as icky as you were raised to believe, and the show overall is very entertaining. Oh, and you heard it here first, Raven is going to win the race. She is absolutely beautiful, and if you have seen the show and know me, you will know why I love her so much.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Was I really ever that deficient that I would have read that letter and thought it was great to see a mission closing? Yeah, probably. Not some of my proudest days.
In unrelated news, Boston Scientific announced the consolidation of two of its business units in order to cut costs amid declining revenues.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Of course, I am obviously very familiar with the LDS religion after having spent all of my life in it until I was 25. And I do have very strong feelings against that religion for exactly that reason, I spent many years in it, and for many years I like most Mormons refused to look at it objectively. I was an avid defender of that so-called "faith." Realizing that the leaders of my religion were just like the leaders of every other organization, in that they are ultimately concerned with their power and place in society, was well, disheartening. I had always wanted to believe that I was part of the greater good, and after getting a glimpse of how the LDS religion really works on the inside, I was a little disenfranchised. That being said, I am opposed to any organization that lies and covers up its motives and uses the loose disclosure requirements in the US to push its agenda.
Anyway, now on to the point of today's post. Many people have probably heard that testimony in the federal challenge against Prop 8 ended recently, and Judge Walker (you know, the judicial activist, flaming-liberal Republican originally nominated by Reagan and then appointed by Gerorge H. W. Bush) is now reviewing the evidence before closing statements are made. Unfortunately, the SCOTUS blocked the YouTube broadcast of the trial which would have been a very eye-opening experience for many Americans, to finally see how absolutely stupid and baseless the "arguments" in favor or Prop 8 really are. Most proponents of Prop 8 can't seem to get over their "we've voted on it twice, just let it be!" argument to understand that the Constitution provides equal protection for all citizens, regardless of what the will of the masses is.
I followed much of the trial via live blogging on prop8trialtracker.com, and later read most of the transcripts on equalrightsfoundation.org. They are very revealing not just about the general motivations of the Proponents of Prop 8, but also the close ties between certain organizations, and protectmarriage.com, the official organization behind Prop 8. So with that being said, let's analyze some of the documents entered into as evidence during the trial and compare those with the PR statements of the LDS religion that were released during the election of 2008.
The following records were read into the court record on Day 7 of the trial, and you can check them out for yourself.
On Page 1608, beginning in line 23, a letter from the Catholic Conference of Bishops to the bishops within the conference states:"Of course, this campaign owes an enormous debt to the LDS Church. I will comment specifically at a later time, under separate cover, about their financial, organizational, and management contribution to the success of the effort. The ProtectMarriage.com campaign has surpassed $37 million in donations."
On page 1622, line 9, an internal memo from Mark Jannson, who is on the LDS Church's Public Affairs Committee, we learn the following: "Since the First Presidency letter was read in every ward throughout California last month, I have been frequently asked what our role in Public Affairs will be in the Prop 8 campaign." Continuing on line 20, "As you know from the First Presidency letter, this campaign is entirely under the priesthood direction - in concert with leaders of many other faiths and community groups forming part of the ProtectMarraige.com Coalition. I believe [name redacted] will be the LDS chair for all of California."
Page 1623, line 8 continues, "All of us working in public affairs will simply stand by and prepare to be anxiously engaged, like all citizens and lay members, when that time comes." Line 17 continues, "What is the next step in this campaign? I understand that all grass roots organizing efforts in OC will be led by Gary Lawrence, who will report directly to the ProtectMarriage.com Coalition leaders." Gary Lawrence is an member of the LDS religion who owns a polling company in Orange County.
Page 1627, line 11 continues with, "He has also been hired by the coalition to do polling work for Prop 8. The main California grass roots leaders are in the process of being called as, "area directors," with the responsibility for areas that generally correspond to each of the 17 LDS coordinating councils for the LDS mission boundaries. Thereafter, priesthood leaders will call local prop coordinators over each stake and leaders by zip code within each ward - potentially working not only with LDS, but also LDS volunteers."
Let's compare those internal documents with the statements publicly made by the LDS PR department: "the Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized" (from the so-called Divine Institution of Marriage document put out by the LDS PR department).
The day after the election, they released another statement that, "before [the LDS religion] accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments..."
Both statements have a similar theme of implying that the LDS religion was just part of a coalition, not leading it. Based on the internal documents released during the trial, this is clearly not the case.
I am not going to go on and on about this, because I think it is clear that the LDS religion played a big role in Prop 8, and not just because the Mormons did a good job, but because the LDS religion was orchestrating the entire effort. If the LDS religion would own up to this, I would probably let it be, but they won't. They continue to cover their tracks by pushing their money through organizations like "National Organization for Marriage" which does not have to report its contributions. I know that practicing Mormons refuse to believe it, and those who do will justify that it is all legal, and that their religion has the "right" to do what it does, all of which I am not disputing. The LDS church has not broken any laws, but that's not saying much. Most of the politicking that goes on in this country is entirely legally. But that does not make it right. And I always hoped that an organization that claims to be inspired and from a higher source would be above it all. Prop 8 has helped me realize what most others already knew, that the LDS religion is like any other.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Too bad right now I can't remember what any of that was, so I will just give a brief update for now, and hopefully this won't be my last blog for months.
My personal life has never been better. Max and I will have been together two years this March, so I guess right now that makes it about 22 months. Sometimes it seems so surreal. It certainly has gone by quickly and I have started to understand how 2 years can quickly become 15 or 50. I think if you had asked me two years ago if I thought I would ever be this happy, I would have said no. I do recall writing somewhere back at the beginning of my blog, before I even addressed my being gay, that I thought that my life would be very different in a couple of years, and it is. The biggest change? I am happy. My life has meaning now and I feel that all of the other aspects of life that I used to worry about, just seem like minor events in the course of my life.
Work, although I still don't love my job, is way more tolerable now that it seems like I am doing it for a reason. There is a reason for my future, a reason to work too many hours, and at least now there is something to make me smile when I get home. Loneliness and anxiety have been replaced in my life with love and friendship. In addition to Max, my friendships with others have become stronger, I have made many new friends, and I feel generally more concerned with others. That feeling of being emotionally void is long gone.
My relationship with my family has also improved. While at my parents house in 2008 for Christmas, I told my mom that I enjoyed coming home, but would not be doing so alone anymore (she knew about Max, but at that time he was not talked about much). I told her she could make the decision as to whether or I would come home anymore, since it was her home. Well Mom and Dad progressed quickly and we stayed with my parents twice during the summer, and had invites to stay at both sets of parents' homes for Christmas 2009. We ended up staying with my sister because there was the most room there. While both sets of parents still have a ways to go in terms of mutual respect, understanding, and objectivity, in terms of our relationship, it is clear that both parents understand that we will be in each others' lives for a while, and both families love and accept us. His parents even came over to my parents house during the holiday break and his older sister was down here this weekend for Max's birthday.
One last thing. I suppose it it clear from my previous posts that Mormonism has finally freed me from its grasp. I know many mohos would not use those terms to describe the event of leaving Mormonism, but it best describes the way I feel about it. I think I have mentioned earlier my general disposal of what I consider to be all things superstitious, but suffice it to say I don't believe in any of it. I don't really feel like an atheist, because even that seems unnecessary. To me it is quite liberating to watch a 2 hours special today on the evolution of the planet, mammals, and humans without having to try to understand how that all fits into this Judeo-Christian paradigm that I grew up with, because well, it's all nonsense. I don't mean that as an assault on anyone's beliefs, but that is just where I am at.
OK, one more thing (yes, I know I said that before), but I guess this is one other area in which I have recently evolved. Growing up in California, and being "brain-washed" from an early age in all things liberal, I was doomed from the start to ever be one of those "neo-con" patriots as I call them. And now I have finally come to the point where I can say this without fear: I don't like America. I don't care for the culture, the vast majority of the people, the obsession with wealth, religion, and power. I am over it. I used to joke that I was just in "like" with America (as opposed to being in love), but let's be real: if I could convince Max to leave this country tomorrow, we would be on the first flight to anywhere. Our trip at the end of 2009 to Sydney and New Zealand really just solidified that idea into me, and I have finally disconnected from this country enough that I no longer really care what goes on here. It's been an interesting journey for sure, since we are constantly reminded that we live in the wealthiest and most powerful country on the planet. It's just a shame that wealth and power don't add up to much else. Oh well. Being disconnected from here makes it a little bit more enjoyable since I don't get wound up by either political party's charades anymore. That being said, I still follow closely the events in my home state and find my self mildly interested in what goes on here. Some of my future blogs may address what is going on here politically, but not much nationally interests me.
So that is it for now, hopefully this blog doesn't remain so dormant this year, with perhaps a wider array of topics being discussed.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Church does not object to rights (already established in
Legislation introduced on January 28, 2009 and passed by the [Washington] Senate on March 10, the [Washington] House on April 15, and sent to Gov. Gregoire on April 23, aims to extend the laws to encompass all state–level benefits of marriage. The new legislation would amend many of
- The right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner
- The right to wages and benefits when a domestic partner is injured, and to unpaid wages upon the death of a domestic partner
- The right to unemployment and disability insurance benefits
- The right to workers’ compensation coverage
- Insurance rights, including rights under group policies, policy rights after the death of a domestic partner, conversion rights and continuing coverage rights
- Rights related to adoption, child custody and child support
- Business succession rights. (Wikipedia)