Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Take Action -- Contact Advertisers!

After being alerted by GoodAsYou and Dan Savage about GLAAD's Media Alert regarding yesterday's episode of 30 Days on FX, I decided to compile a list of the advertisers who supported last night's bigoted broadcast.

The most surprising advertisements to me were from Subaru of New England and Bacardi. Bacardi aired the same ads that I see running on Logo every night during Queer As Folk, including a "Drink Responsibly" ad that features gays and lesbians.

Here's a boilerplate letter I've written:

I was disappointed to see your company's advertisement during the June 24th broadcast of '30 Days' on FX. Despite repeated contact from GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), FX refused to alter the content of the episode.

In the episode, a woman opposed to gay and lesbian parenting spends a month living with a gay couple who are raising four children. Early in the episode, there is an "expert" interview Peter Sprigg, of the Family Research Council. Mr. Sprigg is the only "expert" presented in the episode, and he had the following to say about gay and lesbian parents:

Homosexuality is associated with higher rates of sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse, and those are all reasons for us to be concerned about placing children into that kind of setting.

All credible scientific information disagrees with Mr. Sprigg, but FX refused to air any balancing commentary from experts at organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, or any of the many other child health and social services authorities who support parenting by qualified lesbian and gay parents and dispute Sprigg’s claim.

Your advertisement supports the production of this defamatory content. Your company's presence lends credence to the bigotry set forth by Mr. Sprigg.

Does your company believe that gays and lesbians are dangerous people from whom children should be protected? Based on your advertising, I can only assume so.

Should gay and lesbian families (and those who support their existence) avoid doing business with your company? I don't want my hard-earned money being spent on advertising that supports the creation of more hate-filled content like this.

The advertisers during last night's broadcast were:

Buffalo Wild Wings

Bacardi (2 Ads plus "Drink Responsibly" PSA)

Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd DVD

Miller Lite
Miller Brewing Company
3939 W. Highland Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53208

Cadillac (3 Ads)

Pizza Hut

Absolut (2 Ads, plus one sponsorship announcement: "30 Days is brought to you by Absolut Vodka.")

KFC (2 Ads)

Country Crock

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Subway (2 Ads)

Smirnoff (2 Ads)

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Vantage Point
Columbia Pictures
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
United States

Verizon FiOS
Verizon Communications
140 West Street
New York, NY 10007

Dave and Buster's
Dave & Buster's World Headquarters
2481 Manana Drive
Dallas, TX 75220

Coor's Light
(2 Ads)



And here in Massachusetts, we had a couple of local ads:

Subaru of New England

Boch Collision Center

Write to these advertisers, especially if you use their products!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Life is full of contradictions. I'd like to lose a little weight, but I don't want to eat any less. I want an iphone, even though I know that I hardly ever use my cell phone. These are simple contradictions, though. I'll either start a new diet, or I won't. Neither will dramatically alter my life. I'll probably keep my sad little cheapo prepaid cell phone, but if I decide to get an iphone, it won't be because I've convinced myself that I'm going to start talking on my cell phone more often. It'll just mean that I've decided the fun factor is worth the cost.

But there are bigger contradictions in life, and I'm never quite sure how to look at them.

I have an uncle who does work for Focus on the Family. I consider FotF to be a rabid hate group. But my uncle is one of the kindest people I've ever met. He's certainly nicer than I am. When my uncle and aunt first met The Husband last Christmas, my aunt gave him a giant hug and told him how glad she was to finally meet him. I feel like my uncle has made it his life's work to undermine my rights and attack my family. But he's never said anything even remotely approaching that sentiment to anyone else in my family. I've only ever been treated with love and respect, and The Husband has been lovingly welcomed.

In 2005, I made the mistake of visiting and searching through the names of people in my hometown who had signed the petition to amend the Massachusetts constitution. I found only three names that surprised me -- my father's parents, and my aunt's mother. My aunt's mother has always been friendly to The Husband and me. We've celebrated holidays and birthdays with her. My grandparents have been wonderful to me, and wonderful to The Husband. He feels comfortable with them, and they've always made him feel like a member of the family. But at the same time, they signed a document asking to take away my rights, asking to make sure that The Husband and I would never truly be family.

I made the same mistake today, while writing this post. I searched the petition list, looking for people who live on my street. I've found seven names on my small street. What am I supposed to think when I walk by those houses? Do I need to be careful of these people who wear their bigotry so proudly that they make it a matter of public record?

Friday, June 20, 2008


The first surprise yesterday was the phone call from my father. He called to speak to the Boyfriend (now, the Husband!) to officially welcome him to the family. I really didn't expect that, and especially with the Husband's strained relationship with his own parents, I know it meant a lot to him.

The second surprise was the second call from my best friend. We had planned to announce the wedding to our friends at dinner, but I dropped some hints when she called in the afternoon, saying that the Husband had taken the day off, and then we'd "gone out and done some things" that morning. About forty-five minutes later, she called a second time, and said, "Wait! What exactly did the two of you do this morning?!" I guess my hints had been too big.

The third surprise was another one for me. We had a lovely evening with our friends, and afterwards, at home, I was reflecting on the day. Intellectually, I had known how important marriage is, as a word. I knew that it was important for the gay community in terms of making progress toward full equality. But I hadn't realized how important it was for me, or for my friends, or for my family.

There is a wedding band on my finger. The man with whom I share my life is no longer "boyfriend" (which made the relationship clear, but seemed to minimize his impact) or "partner" (which, depending on the day of the week, sounded like a business venture or a cowboy movie). He is now my husband. To me, he was already my husband. We had made a commitment to each other before getting married was an option. And once we returned to Massachusetts, we procrastinated, because we already knew what we meant to one another, and on some level it felt silly to get married. Really, weren't we already married? But it wasn't silly at all. And that was something of a surprise.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gay Marriage on WBUR's On Point

The second hour of today's broadcast of On Point on WBUR is all about gay marriage. It was an interesting discussion, mostly about the particular's of same-sex marriages and how they are different from their heterosexual counterparts.

Not surprising to me (or anyone else, I suspect!) the biggest differences Tom Ashbrook's guests could find were that same-sex marriages tend to involve two women or two men, while more traditional marriages generally have a man and a woman. It sounds funny, but it was actually a pretty valid discussion about the way two men or two women might interact that would be different from the way a man and a woman interact.

There were a couple of calls in to the program that I thought were noteworthy. One was from a woman in a long term relationship with another woman. She found it "amusing and a little insulting" that gay relationships were being looked at under the microscope. When questioned about why she found it insulting, she backed off a little, saying that she understood why the issue was receiving so much attention. Tom Ashbrook even suggested that perhaps the caller was misidentifying the issue. He asked if marriage on the whole isn't constantly being discussed and looked at.

Of course marriage is a constant topic. It's an important facet in the lives of most human beings. But when the marriage is being discussed as a general topic, there's never -- or nearly never -- the implication that marriage should be questioned, never a question about the validity of the institution as a whole, and certainly never the expectation that every married couple be a representation of all marriages. People laughed about Britney Spear's one day marriage, they didn't say, "See?! This is why straight people shouldn't be allowed to marry."

The second noteworthy call was from a man questioning the results of Nanette Gartrell's study. (Dr. Gartrell is a professor of psychiatry at U.C. San Francisco, and has been studying lesbian couples for more than two decades.) Dr. Gartrell said that her study was unable to find anything that one gender parent was able to do that a parent of the other gender couldn't provide. This caller said that he knew better, and that obviously Dr. Gartrell was only seeing what she wanted to see. I thought Dr. Gartrell's response, that the caller had asked a "very good" question, was ridiculous. This isn't a study she's been conducting at casual dinner parties. It's two decades worth of university research, and presumably peer-reviewed. If it was biased or clearly lacking, don't you think someone would have noticed that by now? The caller should have been laughed off the air.

We need to stop justifying anti-gay bias when we see it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Get Married, But Don't Be Flamboyant?

A particularly disturbing story has appeared in the Los Angeles Times today:

Gay couples are emphasizing low-key weddings

Now, as one half of a gay couple that's about to have a very low-key wedding, I began reading with interest. The headline suggested to me that perhaps gay couples were having low-key weddings for a variety of reasons. I know that personally, marriage is only a fairly recent option, so when the Boyfriend and I were first a couple, it wasn't an option. This meant that we had to define our relationship for ourselves. While marriage is a wonderful right, the idea of the wedding has lost most of its significance for me.

But that's not what this article is about.

No, this article is about encouraging gay couples to avoid "flamboyant" weddings, so that opponents of same-sex marriage won't have inflammatory images to use in their campaign to amend California's constitution.

Images from gay weddings, said Lorri L. Jean, chief executive of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, could be used by opponents in a campaign designed to persuade California voters that gays and lesbians should not have the right to marry. Those getting married, she cautioned, should never lose sight of what they might be supplying to the other side.
Would Ms Jean like us to abstain from sex until after the election, too? Perhaps gay men should marry women this summer, and hope no one finds out that same-sex marriage is even an option in California.

Hey, Lorri L. Jean, here's a question. Have you ever seen an offensive or inflammatory image of a gay wedding? I haven't. Couples have been getting married in Massachusetts and Canada for years, and even longer in parts of Europe. Where are these offensive weddings taking place? Who are these gay men and lesbians who have "lost sight of what they might be supplying to the other side?"

It seems to me that your request, Ms Jean, has insulted all of us, and attempts to reduce our relationships to a category "less than" that of our heterosexual counterparts. Does Focus on the Family keep you on the payroll?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Waiting Period

Handguns, abortions, flood insurance, initial public offerings, divorces ... and in Massachusetts, marriages. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin have been waiting since 1953, which makes the three day waiting period that the Boyfriend and I are facing pale in comparison. But we counted correctly, so we're able to get married on Thursday, which is my 30th birthday. I guess I didn't want to be a spinster.

We went to our suburban Massachusetts city hall this morning, and went to the city clerk's office. I was prepared for a stand-off, or for someone to refuse to help us. (Truth be told, I even had a backup plan. I was ready to drive to Cambridge if there were any problems.) If the justice of the peace wasn't in the office today, I was going to ask if he or she had performed a same-sex wedding before. I didn't want any surprises in the form of religious objections on Thursday.

Quite a waste of time. The folks in the clerk's office couldn't have been nicer. I'm pretty sure that the woman who filled out the paperwork with us is the same woman who did the paperwork for our dog license last year, which is kind of quaint. We laughed about that on our way out of city hall.

It was a complete contrast from twelve years ago, when as a college student in upstate New York, I needed to have a form notarized in order to go to my first gay bar. (They needed a notarized form if you were under 21. It's worth pointing out that none of the straight bars and clubs felt they needed to protect themselves with notarized paperwork.) Never one to plan ahead, I picked up the form from the gay bar on a Saturday. My school had notaries in the registrar's office, but they didn't work on the weekend. So my boyfriend (lower case 'b,' he's long gone) and I drove out into the wilds of upstate New York to find a notary public who worked on Saturday afternoons. We found one, in Cortland, New York. A woman who worked out of her home, a little white farmhouse. She was very polite, until she saw the form I wanted to have notarized. "Oh no," she said. "I don't notarize those forms. I'm not going to help people like you." I was speechless, but my boyfriend had the presence of mind to tell her that she could fuck off and go to hell, for which I will be forever grateful. It's something I'll never forget, and it's made me somewhat wary. I don't like to need the cooperation of strangers, so I'm always ready for them to be adversaries.

I didn't really see the necessity of a waiting period until the city clerk handed me a copy of the marriage ceremony he usually uses. Really, it's perfectly nice. I've been at perfectly lovely weddings that probably used the exact same language. And he's willing to change whatever we'd like, or substitute any other script we'd like. But reading through this, all I can think is, "Isn't there a version for cynics? I'd like that one, please."

I'm going to have to look around on the web, but I doubt that my google search for "marriage ceremony cynical utilitarian" is going to turn up very much.