Sunday, 10/11/09, Public Square

coming outToday is National Coming Out Day, an internationally-observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) issues.

So many people are open about their sexuality now, that equal rights under the law is at the forefront of the modern LGBT movement.  Same-gender marriage is now recognized by several countries – Canada, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and South Africa.  Civil unions and domestic partnerships are recognized in 17 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, just to name a few.  Unions are also recognized in some parts of Mexico, Australia, and Venezuela, and other countries.

On yet another issue, America is behind the curve!



Filed under Diversity, GLBT Rights, The Public Square

22 responses to “Sunday, 10/11/09, Public Square

  1. President Obama spoke eloquently last night (again) and made the same promises (again).

  2. Bad Biker

    When I voted last November, I voted for Barack Obama and for bipartisanship. I believed, at that time, that our nation had had enough of the bitter partisanship that marked our national political discourse for the past two decades.

    Now I believe that only half of our nation has had enough of the partisan divide. Apparently, the “right” half still sees every offer of bipartisanship as a sign of weakness to be exploited.

    I am surprised that the GOP is still playing Rovian politics. Obstructionism, lies and distortions seem to be all they have to offer. From “birthers” to “death panels” to the feigned outrage over the Nobel Peace prize, the right is still engaged in a “nothing Obama is for” mindset.

    Barack Obama is a skilled politician. He has sent strong signals that his patience has worn thin with the resistance put up by the GOP.

    How soon he will put the presidential foot down is unknown, but it will happen soon. Personally, I feel his poll numbers will shoot up if he performs a ritualistic smackdown on his Republican critics.

    I am disgusted by the GOP approach and frustrated by the Democrats lack of “response in kind.” It seems that only Rep. Grayson (D – Florida) has the courage to say what everyone knows is true – the GOP has nothing other than “we are against everything Obama is for.”

    They say “patience is a virtue.” Well, in my mind, “patience” with the Republican Party has become a vice.

    • tosmarttobegop

      Biker it is the old problem for the GOP, when the facts do not support your view and the reality is not a part of your reality. You stand in the way and hope the other guy fails.

      They are counting on the people getting growing tired of the Democratic party and throw the bums out. Partisanship it the only game they have left, Oh God forbid that the party throw out their misguided ideology. Become realists and problem solvers instead of blind ideologists.

  3. PrairiePond

    Need I add how depressing it is for us? Probably not. Obama’s hollow promises about equality remind me of the Amazing Rhythm Aces song “Pretty Words”.

    Wake me up when he actually does something.

    Some of those other countries are looking pretty good right now. Too bad the weather is so awful in Canada. If you buy a little land and promise to farm it, they let you in at the head of the immigration line.

    But Spain, on the other hand….

  4. PrairiePond

    Biker, I wish I shared your optimism about the Presidential foot coming down. I just dont think he has it in him. His need to be liked is too strong. I think he has a personal need for approval from all, including the residents of Outer Wingnuttia.

  5. PrairiePond

    …and of course it could be that they all really ARE owned by the same people. Er, corporations.

  6. tosmarttobegop

    Pretty words are only as good as they can inspire others to act. He has the power to push real change through. He is throwing over the LGBT which would be the easiest problem to solve. In favor of not wanting to spend his favor on it.

    President Obama’s real problem is that the right people are not listening to his pretty words. He is speaking to the wrong people and the right people are not listening.

  7. Bad Biker

    Perhaps I am naive (or stupid, I answer to both) but I just can’t wrap my feeble brain around the vitriolic opposition to gay marriage. It just does not register on my radar.

    Marriage, civil unions, ending DADT and DOM are just no brainers from my perspective.

    I have yet to receive anything approaching a rational answer from the opposition when I ask how a gay marriage affects a straight marriage.

    Usually, the type of response I receive is something along the lines of “if you are for gay marriage then you must be gay.”

    Now, there’s an intelligent response.

    • Hate, perhaps egged on my fear. I’m giving some credit to the haters by allowing that maybe fear is what is behind it. Mostly, it seems to be plain ole stupid hate — brought to you in the name of god.

  8. Heights part of premiere of ‘Laramie’ follow-up

    Student actors at Heights High School will be part of a high-tech, international theater project on Monday night when they debut the play “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.”

    It’s a pretty impressive undertaking, dealing with pretty heavy subject matter. But theater teacher Stuart Graham says his cast students and alumni are up to the task.

    The play, which focuses on the 1998 death of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo., will debut simultaneously in about 150 theaters across the United States and in several other countries, including some in England, Australia and Hong Kong (who because of time zone issues will perform it only semi-simultaneously.)

    Most of the theaters presenting the play are professional, and Heights is one of just a few high school groups accepted to participate in the premiere. (Heights is also one of only three theaters in Kansas given permission to participate. McPherson College and the Kansas City Repertory Theater are the other two.)

    All participating theaters will present via Webcast a preshow discussion hosted by actress Glenn Close and including Shepard’s mother, Judy, as well as a post-show question-and-answer session with the writers of the play.

    Shepard was the University of Wyoming student who was murdered near Laramie in 1998. His death earned international attention because of witness accounts that he was targeted for being gay. The trial spurred state and federal hate crime legislation.

    After Shepard’s death, a group of theater professionals called Tectonic Theater Project visited Laramie and interviewed people — including those directly affected by the crime as well as those with no involvement at all — about the incident.

    Those interviews were turned into a play, which was turned into a 2002 movie, called “The Laramie Project.”

    “It was a pretty famous piece of theater,” Graham said. “It was real different because it was like a documentary, using real words and real names.”

    That same group of theater professionals returned to Laramie in 2008 to reinterview the subjects and see how attitudes had changed after a decade.

    Those interviews are woven into the new play, which is being debuted on the 11th anniversary of Shepard’s death.

    Graham said his students performed the original play in 2002, and when he read about the new project in a theater magazine, he wrote the directors to ask if he and his students could be a part of it.

    In addition to current students, Graham cast several members of the original play, who have since graduated and moved on. His students are benefiting from acting alongside the alumni, including Eric Tedder, a Heights graduate who has made a name for himself performing in Lawrence.

    The students also benefiting from being exposed to a more modern, high-tech sort of theater production, Graham said, as well as from the message of the play.

    “The message I think is that we need to remember the truth of the story because one of the things that is happening in the play and in Laramie is that there are members of the community who are editing what really happened for their own comfort level.”

    If you go

    ‘The Laramie project: TEN Years Later”

    What: A play about the death of Matthew Shepard being simultaneously debuted by theater groups across the world, including student actors at Heights High School

    Where: Heights High School Auditorium, 5301 N. Hillside

    When: 7 p.m. Monday

    How much: Admission is free, though donations will be accepted and given to a charity

    For more information, call 316-973-1400 or visit

  9. PrairiePond

    The kind of murderous hate that killed Matthew Shepard is seething just below the surface with, I guess, about fifty percent of the population. It’s always there, just waiting to leak, or explode, out into the open.

  10. PrairiePond

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, uh, I mean the topic of this thread…

    I think the single most important thing any gay person can do is to come out. Everywhere, to everyone, at every opportunity. Of course it needs to be appropriate to whatever is going on at the time. No need to walk in the front door at Thanksgiving and say “hey y’all, I’m gay”, but when an opening in the conversation presents itself, go for it.

    Too many people protect their wealth and position by staying silent when they should speak up. The speaking doesnt have to be rude, or inflamatory, or in appropriate. Just honest.

    I used to be understanding of people who didnt come out to their families or coworkers or whomever. Now? I’m not understanding or tolerant of that. At all. I’m not going to out anyone, but every gay person needs to just grow up and come out.

    As they say, a closet is too small a space for an adult human to live in.

    • Zippy

      This may sound silly, but I would add “come out”. . . as a supporter of gay rights.

      I’ve been “accused” of being gay so many times. The insecurity is hilarious, particularly when I tell them I would be a in-their-face, pink-triangle activist if I was gay.

      The irony: you know who to really thank for this?

      The guy who apparently didn’t like my colorful shirt, on a bus stop, in 1981, who passed in a car, threw his soda on me, and yelled “Fag!”

      Thanks, Fag-Bashing Idiot. I was tolerant toward gay people then, if a little (literally) homophobic, and naive and not really comprehending then. My, Fag-Bashing Idiot, how you opened my eyes.

      And my gay friends live with this every day.

  11. Maybe someone will see this play who hasn’t ever had any thought of their own on this subject, someone who might learn the ugliness of this unwarranted hate and intolerance.

  12. PrairiePond

    I wish it were so, Fnord. I’m happy those folks have chosen and been chosen to present it. It takes some courage and it is a risk.

    I guess I’m just cynical enough to believe that the folks who need it most will never go to see it. They’ll be preaching to the choir, but there is also value in that. We all need reassurance that we are not alone in standing for equality.

  13. Trip to the Outhouse

    On this day of the National Equality March on Washington, I was struck by an article in today’s Topeka paper (online). The writer meant it to be a feature story about the segregated basketball teams at Topeka High in the late 40s and earlier and also that there’s to be some sort of panel discussion on the topic this coming week. I found the article quite eye-opening, because growing up in Kansas and even working a couple of years for 501, I never knew that this type of segregation was part of Kansas’ history.

    What’s more worrisome is reading the comments to the article and finding that even 60 years after the end of the the segregated basketball teams, there are so many who still harbor so much prejudice (both ways). What’s worse is some are the children and grandchildren of those involved.

    If people can’t get over all these racist attitudes in 60 years, how many generations is it going to take for them get over their homophobia?

    Here’s a link to the article:

    • Thanks for sharing that, Trip! I read through the article and the comments as you recommended. It is scary to think all that happened in my lifetime.

      This was included in one of the comments:
      “…whether sports or academics, all the black people ever wanted was equal access to resources, not to lose their culture and identity.”

      Will there ever be a time everyone enjoys the same civil rights, and all that commenter asks for?

      We must stop and think hard about the Latinos / Mexicans who are becoming a bigger part of our American population.

  14. Zippy

    I hate to say it, but forget about Obama on this one. He’s not going to show any leadership on this. The people advising him on Southern issues tell him that getting in front is political suicide. I should note that in passing that we would have gotten the same cowardly crap from any of the leading Dems.

    Biker, John Kennedy made the same mistake: say nice things but put off doing anything. I thought you in particular should consider that historical parallel.

    Kennedy might have followed up in his second term (I rather think Johnson’s awakened conscience–he was a former segregationist–knew this). But it was wrong to wait.

    And it is wrong to wait.

    Congress exists. Yes, I know: not for you Wichitans. No one in the Kansas delegation even—probably not even Moore–will stand up to Christian bigotry.

    Some of us live in different places. Blue Dog member Gabby Giffords has already surprised me and come out strongly for the public option.

    Since the previous guy to represent this district was a gay Republican, I think we have a reliable vote.

    What we need is a co-sponsor.

  15. Zippy

    P.S. I know it’s a huge gamble, but I still there are five shaky votes for the radical notion of human equality in the US Supreme Court (yes, I’m including Sotomayor, though Kennedy has hardly been reliable on human rights issues).

  16. tosmarttobegop

    A co-worker was contently saying bad things about Gays and accusing me of being Gay.
    One night I shocked him and came out,

    “West we have been working together for some time.
    And I think it is time you know, I am a lesbian I found women sexually attractive!”

    He accepted it well and said “Oh” then walked off. suddenly from the other end of the hallway came.
    “YOU SOB!”.

    But it got the point across, he stopped saying bad things and admitted one day he was a Lesbian too.
    I replied yes but the women you find attractive have staple in their bellies and folded in three sections.
    He laugh than called me a SOB again.

    If in the right mood and one thinks about it the whole issue is point-less since even heterosexual attraction is odd. Hard to explain and the decision to give one’s life to become one with another person for a life time.
    Is even odder.

    • Zippy

      Heh, awesome, toosmart! You are a treasure!

      I had a long-deceased friend who told me that if he was a woman, he’d be a lesbian.

      You just took the next logical step.

      I am going to use that line!

  17. tosmarttobegop

    I have to chuckle every time I get this one e-mail. It talks about how the Obama administration is looking the other way at denying Americans their right to own a gun.

    There are hundreds of thousand of Honest Americans on the secret terrorist watch list that are being denied buying a firearm.

    I chuckle because when I would bring this possibility up on the other blog.
    I would be accused of being soft on terrorism. And if I had done nothing wrong I had nothing to worry about!

    Their foresight is shorter then their male member.