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Gay Pride: A Few Answers For A Friend To Some Honest Questions

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Andy Marsh asked some honest and gentle questions of me in my article How Many Current Professional Athletes Are Gay? and I felt honored that he’d asked, because a lot of my straight friends have probably wondered the same things, so I’ve converted it into a sort of conversation.

Andy: Is it really necessary to have a Gay Games? The way I read the article, it sounds like these athletes want or wanted acceptance…does calling yourself out with things like the gay games really make you feel included or excepted? Are there hetero games or hetero pride days?

Jet: Having lived through the turbulent '60s and '70s the short answer is yes, back then it was; Nowadays maybe not, but back then definitely. As an example, way before your time there was an era when blacks had their own sports teams (The Negro Leagues) because they were segregated and weren’t permitted to play with whites. A sense of intolerance towards blacks back then even extended to having separate whites-only drinking fountains. That same intolerance began brewing toward gays in the 70s and 80s as people like Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority” began their unchecked hate mongering and their spreading misinformation about AIDS began doing a lot of damage. In short they succeeded in super gluing the words Gay and AIDS together, leading people to believe their lie that all gays had and spread AIDS.

[ADBLOCKHERE]They were so successful that back then even Gay publications were calling it “The Gay Cancer”. Tragically they actually had people believing that you could get AIDS just by swimming in the same chlorinated pool or breathing the same air. The best example was in the 1988 Olympics when Greg Louganis’ head hit the diving board, causing a scare because he’d bled in the pool. Suddenly professional and amateur sports began banning gays from competing because people were led to believe out of ignorance that it was just as easily and/or mysteriously contracted as cancer.

We knew better, but we couldn’t convince the general population of that, so we started holding our own games to insure that great athletes had a place to show their stuff and be recognized without the over exaggerated stigma involved with HIV positive athletes competing.

Andy: It just seems to me that wearing a big sign that says what you are — no matter what it is — is just asking for trouble. Think about it. Even here at Blogcritics, there are people that give some people shit for never serving in the military and those same people give other people shit that DID serve. So it seems to me that any label you put on yourself is just asking some other group to fuck with you, but that's just me. Does calling yourself out with gay pride day and stuff like that really make you feel included or accepted?

Jet: Let me answer that in four parts.

1. There was an era in my life when I’d make good close friends with people, we’d socialize, have fun, play sports, see movies etc. Then they’d find out I was gay, and suddenly want nothing more to do with me, for only that reason. So I started wearing that sign you mentioned so that they’d know up front who I was and if they couldn’t handle it, it was better to find out then rather than be hurt and spurned later by someone you’d grown close to as a friend(s). In days gone by it might have been “My god I didn’t know you were Jewish!” or “Is your father really black?” and a day later you’d stop hearing from them.

About Jet Gardner

I like collecting books, music, movies, chess sets and friends
  • Jet in Columbus

    Here’s a reading assignment for you Prina Doma, you might learn something, but I doubt it.

  • Jet in Columbus

    (AGI)Turin, June 17 Twenty thousand are taking part in the Gay Pride march in Turin, which hleft on time from Porta Susa station at 5.30pm with music, slogans, kisses and hugs. The rain eased off. The 32 floats are part of a colourful parade under the eyes of the forces of order. There are peace banners here and there and people of all ages. The march is wending its way to Piazza Castello, then Via Po, and finally Piazza Vittorio at 7.00pm. It is moving calmly and slowly.
    (AGI) – 171858 GIU 06 COPYRIGHTS 2002-2006 AGI S.p.A.

  • Jet in Columbus

    Arnold Schwarzenegger will appear at a fundraiser for the conservative gay group, the Log Cabin Republicans in Hollywood next week. According to the event’s organisers, it will be his first appearance in front of a gay audience since the film star took office as governor of California.

    Last September, Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation to allow same-sex marriage and he has threatened veto of a bill to mandate the teaching of LGBT history in California schools.

    The Log Cabin Republicans, a group for gay and lesbian GOP (Republican National Committee) members that publicly parted company with President Bush after he supported a federal gay marriage ban, have consistently supported Schwarzenegger.

    The governor’s decision to be the keynote speaker at the $250-a-plate fundraiser is a way for him to return Log Cabin’s loyalty, said Log Cabin President Patrick Guerrero.
    “There is a better than 50-50 chance this man will be the governor of California for the next four years, and for the gay community to label somebody based on one veto is shortsighted.”

    “There is a better than 50-50 chance this man will be the governor of California for the next four years, and for the gay community to label somebody based on one veto is shortsighted,” Log Cabin national president Patrick Guerrero told the Associated Press.

    “We thought allowing him to address these issues in a friendly setting as well as giving him a chance to get another look at who gay and lesbian families are was important both for him and for us.”

    National Stonewall Democrats John Marble was not so compromising in his comments on Schwarzenegger’s planned appearance.

    “Since Governor Schwarzenegger actively vetoed legislation passed by Democrats that would have granted marriage recognition to same-sex couples, and since there was not one Republican in the California Assembly who could be persuaded to actually vote for the legislation, we would hope that our friends at the Log Cabin Republicans would use any money raised at this event to educate California Republicans on how their actions are harming families in the Golden State,” he said.

    No author given

  • Jet in Columbus

    Gang targeting gay men in Dublin city centre:

    Gardaí in Dublin have issued a warning about a seven-strong gang that has been targeting gay men in the city centre in a string of assaults and robberies.

    They say a gang of five men and two women aged between 15 and 18 years have been targeting gay men for some time.

    They often engage the victims in a friendly manner before attacking them.

    Gardaí say they are confident the gang will be arrested soon, but are advising members of the gay community to be careful.

    The warning was issued at the official opening of a new drop-in centre where gay people can report homophobic crimes.

    The garda project will be piloted in Dublin for a year before being rolled out nationally if it proves a success.

    It will allow victims to report hate crimes against homosexuals and will also offer advice on crime prevention and other issues.

    A recent survey found that around 40% of gay people have been assaulted, but less than one-fifth of these reported the attack to the Gardaí.

    From Ireland on line-22/06/2006 – 11:32:12

    Thomas Crosbie Media, 2006. No author listed

  • Jet in Columbus

    so….Now it comes down to book burning?
    Woman charged with burning gay books at library
    As reported in the Chicago Sun Times-no author listed
    June 22, 2006

    A 21-year-old woman was charged Wednesday with setting a fire in the gay and lesbian section of a Chicago Public Library branch in the Lake View neighborhood.

    Erica Graham was charged with one count of attempted aggravated arson, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. She was expected in court today, when a possible motive may be revealed.

    The fire last week at the John M. Merlo library branch damaged 90 books in the gay and lesbian section and 10 books in the African-American section.

  • Jet in Columbus

    Today and tomorrow is GAY PRIDE days signifying the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots when we stood up and said “We’re not going to just sit here and take it any more!!!”

    So get your signs painted, you support e-mails to Phelps, Bush and Falwell written and try to remember what you did with your seldom-used bibles so you can raise and wave them, and get out to a parade near you!

  • Jet in Columbus

    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle:
    It’s a party, parade and a history lesson
    A community examines its struggles while praising how far Houston has come

    Thousands of people packed the Montrose area Saturday for a street festival and the 28th annual Pride Houston Parade down Westheimer, featuring more than 100 floats and participating groups.


    Gay Pride Week commemorates what many consider the birth of the gay rights movement in the United States — the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City. The first night of rioting began shortly after midnight on June 27 when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. A civil disturbance ensued that lasted several days.

    “It was not legal for gays to be in bars,” said Jack Valinski, the executive director of Pride Houston. Instead, gays congregated in unlicensed venues, fearful of being discovered by the authorities. But after Stonewall, the gay rights movement gathered momentum.

    Valinski became involved with Pride Houston soon after his arrival in the city in 1981. He said Houston has changed over the years.

    “It’s really a different town,” he said. “This was a good ol’ boys town and had sort of a bubba image.”

    Much has changed, he said. The city now has two lesbian elected officials with Controller Annise Parker and at-large Councilwoman Sue Lovell, and the Houston Pride event has grown to become the largest of its kind in the Southwest, Valinski said.

    Saturday’s events began in the early afternoon with the street festival. Organizers Peter Chaivre and Richard Proto had been working since September, marshalling more than 80 volunteers and 100 vendors.

    “The parade has been going on for close to 30 years, but this is only the second year of the festival, so we would like to see it get bigger,” Chaivre said.

    By early afternoon, he said, the festival was near its projected attendance of 5,000.

    As with any party, preparations were hurried and harried the night before, Proto said. But once the festival kicked off, “it’s been going extremely well.”

    “This is really cool,” he said, taking a moment from his organizational duties. “It’s together and the show goes on.”

    The event was about more than having fun. Away from the bands and noisy booths, organizers set up a history exhibit displaying thousands of photos, magazines and posters illustrating the community’s struggle for acceptance.

    Exhibits curator Larry Criscione said the recorded history stretches as far back as ancient Greece. He estimated that the exhibit took more than 300 hours to assemble.

    Leaving the tent, Chris Hann said he was surprised to learn the depth of the gay community’s story.

    “I didn’t realize there were so many organizations that went that far back (in time),” said Hann, in his 20s. “There were a lot of cool black-and-white pictures in there.”

    Wearing a shirt that read “I (heart) my gay son,” Penny Hann, Chris’s mother, said she too was impressed. “It was very informative. I’m so glad we came.”

  • Jet in Columbus

    By Mark Shanahan, Globe Staff :
    Radio station WRKO suspended talk-show host John DePetro yesterday for using a slur for homosexual in reference to Turnpike Authority chairman Matthew J. Amorello.
    The morning host, who calls himself “The Independent Man,” is suspended for two days for using the epithet on air during a discussion of Amorello’s conduct following the ceiling collapse of the I-90 connector. After uttering the slur, DePetro added: “I don’t mean gay [slur]. I mean like he’s a sissy boy. He’s a little sissy boy.”
    Neither DePetro nor Amorello returned calls late yesterday, but WRKO program director Jason Wolfe said Entercom, which owns the station, has “zero tolerance for racial intolerance. . . . Mr. DePetro has 72 hours to think about this.” Wolfe said he purposely chose the word “racial” because “people will lump everything in together.”
    The conservative talk-show host, who has been on the air at WRKO-AM (680) for three years, made the remark while talking about Amorello’s decision to bring his wife, Charlotte, and his spokeswoman, Mariellen Burns , to the funeral of Milena Del Valle , the woman who was killed when tunnel ceiling panel s collapsed. DePetro said his WRKO colleague Howie Carr calls Amorello “fat Matt” and then suggested it should be “[slur] Matt.”
    According to a rough transcript of the remarks provided to the Globe, DePetro went on to say: “I just mean the way when you’re sophomore, juvenile in grammar school, and somebody would say you’re like a sissy boy [slur] . . . I just want to be very clear about that. I don’t mean gay [slur]; I mean like sissy boy. He’s a sissy boy.”
    DePetro is no stranger to controversy. After Imette St. Guillen was murdered in New York City in February , DePetro said the 24 -year-old college student from Boston was “asking for trouble” by being alone in a bar at 4 a.m. The comment outraged St. Guillen’s parents and made headlines, but WRKO did not punish the host.
    “It seems as though he intentionally tries to rile up his audience to get the most rabid listeners to call in,” said Bill Walczak , chief executive officer of Dorchester’s Codman Square Health Center and a recent guest on DePetro’s show. “The deeper the hatred that comes out of the mouths of people, the more successful the ratings.”
    Wolfe said DePetro will be off the air today and tomorrow, and will return Friday morning with an apology. In 2003, Wolfe had a hand in the suspension of two hosts on WEEI-AM, a station also owned by Entercom, after they compared a gorilla that had escaped from Franklin Park Zoo to a Metco student. The hosts, Gerry Callahan and John Dennis, were suspended for two weeks. In that case, Entercom also pledged to fund scholarships for Metco students and provide time for public-service announcements for Metco and affiliated groups.
    WRKO, which calls itself “Boston’s Talk Station,” has a lineup of mostly right-wing hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Matt Drudge, and DePetro. But it is about to begin broadcasting Red Sox baseball, too. The station just signed a deal estimated to be worth between $13 million and $14 million a year. Starting next season, Red Sox games will be split between WRKO and WEEI.
    © Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company

  • Jet in Columbus

    From Today’s Headlines…Army dismisses gay Arabic linguist…

    JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, though he says he never told his superiors he was gay and his accuser was never identified.

    Bleu Copas, 30, told The Associated Press he is gay, but said he was “outed” by a stream of anonymous e-mails to his superiors in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    “I knew the policy going in,” Copas said in an interview on the campus of East Tennessee State University, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in counseling and working as a student adviser. “I knew it was going to be difficult.”

    An eight-month Army investigation culminated in Copas’ honorable discharge on Jan. 30 – less than four years after he enlisted, he said, out of a post-Sept. 11 sense of duty to his country.
    Copas now carries the discharge papers, which mention his awards and citations, so he can document his military service for prospective employers. But the papers also give the reason for his dismissal.
    He plans to appeal to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records.

    The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, established in 1993, prohibits the military from inquiring about the sex lives of service members, but requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.
    The policy is becoming “a very effective weapon of vengeance in the armed forces” said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a Washington-based watchdog organization that counseled Copas and is working to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
    Copas said he was never open about his sexuality in the military and suspects his accuser was someone he mistakenly befriended and apparently slighted.

    More than 11,000 service members have been dismissed under the policy, including 726 last year – an 11 percent jump from 2004 and the first increase since 2001.

    That’s less than a half-percent of the more than 2 million soldiers, sailors and Marines dismissed for all reasons since 1993, according to the General Accountability Office.

    But the GAO also noted that nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic, including Copas, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in California.
    Discharging and replacing them has cost the Pentagon nearly $369 million, according to the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Lt. Col. James Zellmer, Copas’ commanding officer in the 313th military intelligence battalion, told the AP that “the evidence clearly indicated that Sgt. Copas had engaged in homosexual acts.”

    While investigators were never able to determine who the accuser was, “in the end, the nature and the volume of the evidence and Sgt. Copas’s own sworn statement led me to discharge him,” Zellmer said.
    Military investigators wrote that Copas “engaged in at least three homosexual relationships, and is dealing with at least two jealous lovers, either of whom could be the anonymous source providing this information.”

    Shortly after Copas was appointed to the 82nd Airborne’s highly visible All-American Chorus last May, the first e-mail came to the chorus director.

    “The director brought everyone into the hallway and told us about this e-mail they had just received and blatantly asked, ‘Which one of you are gay?’” Copas said.

    Copas later complained to the director and his platoon sergeant, saying the questions violated “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
    “They said they would watch it in the future,” Copas said. “And they said, even specifically then, ‘Well, you are not gay are you?’ And I said, ‘no.’”

    The accuser, who signed his e-mails “John Smith” or “ftbraggman,” pressed Copas’ superiors to take action against him or “I will inform your entire battalion of the information that I gave you.”
    On Dec. 2, investigators formally interviewed Copas and asked if he understood the military’s policy on homosexuals, if he had any close acquaintances who were gay, and if he was involved in community theater. He answered affirmatively.

    But Copas declined to answer when they asked, “Have you ever engaged in homosexual activity or conduct?” He refused to answer 19 of 47 questions before he asked for a lawyer and the interrogation stopped.
    Copas said he accepted the honorable discharge to end the ordeal, to avoid lying about his sexuality and risking a perjury charge, and to keep friends from being targeted.

    “It is unfair. It is unjust,” he said. “Even with the policy we have, it should never have happened.”


    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

  • Jet In Columbus

    Is there a gay gene?
    Study recruiting 1,000 pairs of gay brothers to donate DNA
    September 26, 2006
    BY JIM RITTER Health Reporter

    One of the great mysteries of human sexuality is what causes some men to be gay.
    Scientists have rejected earlier notions that homosexuality is a mental illness. The thinking now is that sexual orientation is determined by roughly 40 percent genetic factors and 60 percent environmental factors.

    And now researchers at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute are hoping to identify one or more genes that help determine sexual orientation.

    The Molecular Genetic Study of Sexual Orientation is recruiting 1,000 pairs of gay brothers to donate blood samples for DNA analysis.
    “We hope our study will dispel mythologies and ignorance about homosexuality,” said Dr. Alan Sanders, a Northwestern University psychiatrist who is directing the five-year study.

    Some fear tests, ‘cure’
    If science can show that homosexuality is a biological trait, like eye color, the public likely would be more accepting of gays, said Timothy Murphy, a University of Illinois at Chicago bioethicist and paid consultant to the study.

    But some gays are wary. They fear discovering gay genes could lead to efforts to “cure” homosexuality, or to prenatal tests for gay genes.
    Researchers say that’s not their intent.
    Also wary of genetics research, Murphy said, are religious conservatives who believe homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.

    But Greg and Phil Scollan of Chicago, two gay brothers who are participating in the study, believe there could be benefits to the research. It might “make people re-evaluate their thoughts on homosexuality,” Phil Scollan said.

    Tends to run in families
    Homosexuality tends to run in families. While 2 percent to 4 percent of all men are gay, 8 percent to 12 percent of brothers of gay men are gay.

    Previous twin studies have pointed to both genetic and environmental causes. An identical twin who is gay is much more likely to have a gay twin than is a fraternal twin who is gay. But even though identical twins share the exact same genes, it’s not unusual for one twin to be gay and the other twin to be straight.
    Possible environmental factors include family upbringing, exposure to certain hormones during pregnancy and having older brothers.

  • Jet In Columbus

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in the first authorized biography of the Nobel Peace laureate, said he was ashamed of his Anglican Church’s conservative position that rejected gay priests. Excerpts from the book, “Rabble-rouser for Peace” by his former press secretary John Allen, were scheduled to appear in South Africa on Sept. 22 and the biography was scheduled for release in time for Tutu’s 75th birthday on Oct. 7. The retired archbishop was critical of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for bowing on the gay priest issue to conservative elements, particularly African bishops, in the 77-million member Anglican Church that includes Episcopalians in the United States. In a 1998 letter to Williams’ predecessor, Archbishop George Carey, Tutu wrote he was “ashamed to be Anglican.”

  • Jet In Columbus

    NEWARK, N.J. — A steamy memoir by former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey, who left office amid a gay sex scandal, is a best-seller on two lists.
    Released Sept. 19, The Confession will be ranked No. 3 in nonfiction hardcover sales in the New York Times book review’s Oct. 8 issue, the newspaper said. The review does not disclose sales figures.

    The book ranked No. 1 in biography-autobiography and No. 4 in adult nonfiction based on first-week sales of 15,000 recorded by Nielsen BookScan U.S., the Star-Ledger of Newark reported in Thursday’s newspapers.

    McGreevey, who had avoided public statements since leaving office in 2004, promoted the book with TV appearances last week, including a taped interview on ”The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

    Elected New Jersey governor in 2001, McGreevey stunned the nation when he announced in August 2004 that he was a ”gay American” and would leave office three months later. AP

  • Jet in Columbus
  • Jet in Columbus
  • Jet in Columbus

    This just in from The Houston Chronicle…
    December 19, 2006
    Poll: for soldiers, gay soldiers aren’t such a big deal
    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that works to end the ban on openly gay people serving in the US military, announced that a new poll conducted by Zogby International has found that many military personnel are quite comfortable serving with gay soldiers:

    The poll, released today, reveals that 73 percent of military members are comfortable with lesbians and gays. Nearly one in four (23 percent) service members report knowing for sure that someone in their unit is lesbian or gay, including 21 percent of those in combat units.

    More from the Army Times coverage of the poll:

    Only 26 percent of those polled agreed that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military, with 37 percent said they should not. Thirty-two percent were neutral on that issue, while the remaining 5 percent said they were not sure.

    The SLDN release notes the results of some previous polls:

    The Zogby poll is the latest in a series of polls and public statements indicating readiness for a chance in policy. A 2004 Annenberg poll found that a majority of junior enlisted personnel favor allowing gays to serve openly, up from 13 percent in other polls from 1993. Among the general public, Gallup has found 79 percent support for repealing the gay ban. A recent Boston Globe poll also found that a majority of conservatives and regular church-goers favor repeal, too.

    The primary rationale for the ban has been the effect of gay soldiers on their units. Aside from being weak, it’s pretty insulting to soldiers; it assumes that they’re too immature to be part of a diverse fighting force that looks like their own country.

    I remember being surprised when I moved to DC – an area with a large military presence compared to Boston, where I had lived before – at how many gay military people I met. One of the first people I met when I came to town, actually, was an Annapolis graduate who in the early stages of an already distinguished military career.

    While the people I met were all pretty careful, for the most part they led pretty ordinary gay lives, like everybody else I knew; it was obvious that while they weren’t openly gay at work, it clearly wasn’t the best kept secret either. Thus, reading that a quarter of the people responding to this poll know they’re serving with gay people doesn’t surprise me, and just points to the inanity of the policy.

    Still, we go ahead devoting resources to tossing out gay people with important skills – Arabic linguists, for example – who just want to serve their country. It’s dumb and self-defeating, and the rationale for it – always weak – seems to be crumbling before our eyes.

  • Jet Gardner

    Friends, I’ve designed a huge new banner for my Gay Pride Page as a “last horrah” before I again leave for the hospital tomorrow morning, and won’t be back from for at least a week or more. If you’ve ever wondered who the openly gay celebrities in entertainment, sports and literature of the present and past were-and still are click hereto view hundreds of names. I’ll warn you in advance that by request there’s some frontal nudity-so you were warned.

  • Cindy

    Jet, What is up with the hospital? Great page you made.

  • Jet Gardner

    My left knee and then my heart gets a once over after the disaster last February.

  • Jet Gardner

    By the way, thanks Cindy, I’m glad you weren’t toooooo offended :)

  • Jet Gardner

    Well, at least Adam got a car out of it, and a HUGE career ahead of him.

  • Cindy

    lol offended? It’s just men. I’ve seen a man or two, or three…maybe even a few more. (I’ll shut up now.) Nudity doesn’t bother me. I used to go swim at nude beaches. And anyway I run around naked all the time. In fact I am completely naked, under my clothes right this minute, believe it or not!

    Jet, you have to tell me though. Are those fake…er penises those guys are wearing or what? They all look suspiciously a might longer than average. Don’t you think? Is it a club or something? lol

  • Cindy

    Ah so they are going to do the knee surgery. Good. That means you are doing well with the heart surgery right? Must be as they don’t do surgery on knees with high risk patients I wouldn’t guess.

  • Jet Gardner

    In case you’re wondering what I thought Cindy could possibly get offended at, there’s a link at #116

    And I’m glad you weren’t Cindy.

    As for the “members” they’re friends that have worked in front of or behind the cameras for me in the industry at one time or another and yes they’re real… very real. That’s how you make money in the Adult video industry.

    The group is at Black’s beach in San Diego.

    Now stop drooling on your keyboard.

  • Cindy

    Those men are more your thing Jet. They are missing my favorite part of the male anatomy–love handles. I am quite fond of ‘comfy’ in men.