The Fosters on ABC Family, marriage equality and visibility

On the second episode of The Fosters a conversation took place between Lena (one of the mom’s on the show) and one of the new foster kids that Lena and Stef (Lena’s partner) took in. Jude (the foster kid who is 12) asked Lena if she was married to Stef. Lena explained that they weren’t legally married, however, they were married in their own hearts. Jude commented that being married in their hearts is the same thing. Now I don’t expect a 12 year old boy to be able to grasp all of the ways that his statement was false on a legal front. I am glad that the show addressed the fact that since they live in San Diego and same-sex marriage isn’t legal in California because of Prop 8 that their relationship will never be treated the same way as an opposite sex couple’s marriage is treated.

This brings me to the current debacle going on in Illinois regarding marriage equality. The IL House, specifically Rep. Greg Harris (who is openly gay and the bill’s sponsor) didn’t call the vote for marriage equality on May 31st as promised. In numerous conversations with LGBT leaders since the IL Senate voted to approve marriage equality I have gotten nothing but encouraging news that the bill had enough votes and that it would pass. I am so disappointed with LGBT leaders in IL since I did my part to reach out to my state representative Alan Turner who eventually came out and said he would vote yes on the bill. Recently, I read a great editorial here http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/EDITORIAL-Marriage-and-Equality-A-Way-Forward/43240.html and I agree wholeheartedly with what Tracy Baim had to say.

In her editorial Tracy explains that the only way forward is through grassroots activism. Another example of grassroots movement that worked was when American women got the right to vote.

Without the likes of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and other members of the National Women’s Party protesting outside of the White House (during World War I when Wilson was president) demanding the right to vote with signs that said “We women of America tell you that America is not a democracy. Twenty million women are denied the right to vote. President Wilson is the chief opponent of their national enfranchisement” we wouldn’t have gotten the right to vote in 1920. They got arrested and were sent to Occoquan workhouse. Alice went on a hunger strike and the prison officials force fed raw eggs to her so she would stay alive. That action along with continued protests and media coverage shamed the Wilson administration to act. If it were left up to the likes of Carrie Chapman Catt (who spent time currying favor with Wilson and who disagreed with Paul and Burns tactics) we would’ve waited even longer for the right to vote.

We need the same kind of commitment now to achieve full LGBT equality nationwide.

Golden Globes 2013…or the night when Jodie Foster upstaged Bubba

Setting aside the winners in each category, the 2013 Golden Globes will go down in history as the most interesting, funny and newsworthy awards ceremony in recent memory.

As others have mentioned on twitter and other social media/blog sites, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler should host the Golden Globe, Oscar and Emmy shows for as long as they want to do the job. Their humor was timely and appropriate for the occasion and they also didn’t have a problem poking fun at themselves when necessary. For all the naysayers who say that women aren’t as funny as men, they need only to look at all the ways in which Fey and Poehler and later Wiig kept the Golden Globes from turning into three hours of self-congratulatory narcissism. My only complaint- I really wish they were used more throughout the ceremony.

Also, in a moment that almost always falls flat during these ceremonies (when awards officials take the stage) Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, made the most of her three minutes on stage. In an almost grandmotherly fashion, she chided the control booth when they didn’t follow her instructions to pan the audience, called out industry people for not knowing who she was in the first place and name checked Bradley Cooper at the end of her speech imploring him to “Call me maybe?”. She changed the game and effectively made it harder for other awards officials to just come out and make a bland statement during awards ceremonies. Rock on Dr. Aida for adding to the funny!

I also noticed that with women at the helm the ceremony was almost free of the usual testosterone filled bluster that pervades most of society including Hollywood.

It was also a night full of surprises. First Bubba aka Mr. Hillary Rodham Clinton introducing a clip from “Lincoln”. For most of the people in the room his arrival was like the second coming of Jesus…except for Tommy Lee Jones. Bitter much? I guess he’s still mad that Bubba didn’t help Al Gore enough in the 2000 campaign (Jones and Gore were college roommates). It was amusing to see Hollywood celebs snapping pictures and fawning all over him.

Also, Bubba is so damn mesmerizing. He can make the most mundane of topics the most exciting thing you’ve heard all day. For all of his faults (DOMA, DADT and Monica) he still has it.

Only in the United States would Jodie Foster upstage a former President but she did it. In what will go down in history as the most non-coming out coming out speech ever, Foster finally acknowledged what most of Hollywood, her closest friends and family and the wider LGBTQ community already knew. That she is a lesbian (of course in pure Jodie fashion she didn’t utter the word nor did she say the word gay) and has been raising two boys with her former partner Cydney Bernard (they started dating in 1993 and broke up in 2008).

Many people have already weighed in on her coming out speech and the opinions are all over the map. I personally believe that every person’s journey towards coming out to the public is as unique as the person coming out. My coming out was vastly different from everyone I’ve met or read about. Look at how long it took for Meredith Baxter, Kristy McNichol and Kelly McGillis to come out to name just a few slightly older women in Hollywood.

Also, Foster has had to deal with being a public figure for 47 years (she is 50 now) and is the only person to have a someone (John Hinckley) try to assassinate a president (Ronald Reagan) in order to impress her. Ironically, Hinckley shot Reagan at a time when Foster was out of the limelight attending Yale (Hinckley began stalking Foster while Foster was at Yale). I think these two incidents, being a working actor beginning at the age of 3 and the Hinckley situation, have caused Foster to retreat from society in a way that other celebs haven’t.

Prior to posting my thoughts on the Golden Globes I read Alison Arngrim (she is a former child star aka Nellie Olson from Little House on the Prairie) twitter feed since she had some very cogent points about being a child star and the effects it has on your pysche. I agree with everything Arngrim said. Her twitter feed is https://twitter.com/arngrim.

The one message I want to convey to the LGBTQ organizations who are itching to give Foster some award. Wait until she does something meaningful for our community. I’m looking at you HRC and GLAAD!

TV execs, the clergy and the Romney campaign. Why are some Americas still so afraid of the LGBT community?

I am enraged! Enraged at TV executives like those at the Syfy channel. Enraged at the clergy such as North Carolina Baptist Preacher Sean Harris. Enraged at the Romney campaign.

What do these three groups have in common? They have all done homophobic things in the last week.

The Syfy channel recently bought the rights to air Lost Girl, a Canadian science fiction/fantasy show, in the United States. The show features a bisexual woman succubus named Bo and a lesbian human doctor named Lauren. The pair, nicknamed Doccubus by the fandom, have already shared intimate scenes which were shown on Syfy during the first season. Syfy had no problem airing the show un-cut during its first season run on their channel but now things are different. I find it interesting that the Lost Girl production team (at the behest of Syfy) censored a meaningful scene in the third episode of the second season (that wasn’t explicit in any way) between the two women after airing other lesbian content on the show in the past. For a more detailed explanation of why this censorship is harmful see this blog post, http://ordinarilyaffable.tumblr.com/post/22227082778/lost-girl-syfy-us-homophobia-and-hand-on-armageddon#notes.

What is their agenda?

When people, including myself, tweeted the person who runs the Syfy twitter feed www.twitter.com/syfy about this issue he deflected the blame to the shows’ production company but later explained that the production company edits were dictated by standards and practices at Syfy.

What does network censorship of a TV show have to do with Preacher Sean Harris and the Romney campaign?

They all speak to a certain section of American society who are still so afraid of the LGBT community that they are hell bent on slicing us out of the fabric of our country.

Harris, in his sermon this past Sunday, told his congregation to attack young boys who act effeminate. See this article for more details, http://www.advocate.com/society/religion/2012/05/02/nc-preacher-who-advocates-beating-gay-kids-i-was-joking-sort. The preacher has backed off of this statement due to pressure from the media and others but to the people who heard his sermon the damage has already been done.

GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign hired an openly gay man, Richard Grenell, to be his foreign policy spokesperson two weeks ago. Grennel’s hiring was pandering on their part since Mitt Romney has spoken out against LGBT equality on numerous occassions. Now two weeks later Grennell was forced to resign due to anti-gay conservatives who criticized the Romney campaign hiring him in the first place. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/richard-grenell-resigns-mitt-romney-campaign_n_1468613.html . The Romney campaign is now saying that they begged Grennell to stay on as one of their spokespersons but that doesn’t excuse Romney’s past anti-gay comments and actions. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/richard-grenell-quits-mitt-romney_n_1471638.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices.

I am tired of people either censoring LGBT content, making anti-gay statements and/or using the LGBT community, of which I am a member, as a punching bag. It’s time for the media, religious figures and politicians to stop using our community as a scapegoat for their own insecurities and homophobia. Anyone in a leadership position has a duty to treat everyone equally and with respect. Is that too much to ask?