Today's Mighty Oak

Alright, let’s see what we have today, little bit of a video heavy one, but let’s go with it!

For Star Wars Day, Heathrow added flights to destinations in the Star Wars galaxy to their boards.

In good news, Ireland is looking to prosecute practitioners of gay conversion torture.

The trailer for POSE looks so good:

Spoilers for Infinity War, but here’s a great break down of the real villain.

In that vein, want to see if you survived the final events of Infinity War?  Click here.  Spoiler, I didn’t make it.

Also related: straight people shouldn’t write about gay ‘culture’ if they don’t know what they’re talking about.  Bad NYTimes.

The music video for Deadpool 2 is amazing:

It’s a little heavy handed, but good on AIG and the All Blacks for these awesome new jerseys!

Two classic Mega Man games are being re-released….on cartridges!

I ran the marathon a few weeks ago and had a blast!  I talked with the guy filming this, but we didn’t make it in, but still a really cool video!

Required reading: Dan Savage eviscerates a gay republican and it’s so perfect.

Also, conservatives are sad because people don’t like them.  If I wasn’t busy trying to save the world, I still wouldn’t give a shit.

Arrested Development is coming back for season 5, and I’m so, so excited:

That’s it for now (hopefully these video links work, Youtube was acting strange for me), have a great one!

Alright, let’s see what’s been going on.  First up, did you know that Harry Potter makes you more understanding of others?  It’s true!

Joseph Gorden Levitt writes about Star Wars: The Last Jedi (spoilers,obviously).

Like me, do you need a chart to see who owns the rights to which superhero?  Well this chart is handy (but won’t be accurate for long, I’m sure).

Super Mario Bros. in ragtime:

These are really bad times for queer people.  Just recently, the federal government has taken steps to allow doctors to deny services to anyone because they’re part of the LGBT community.

A new study has shown that 40% of LGBT high school students have considered suicide due to bullying because they’re queer.

The majority of people still think it’s okay for businesses to discriminate against queer people.  And the Supreme Court denied an appeal and Mississippi’s law allowing businesses to discriminate is able to stand.

Waste of oxygen and poor excuse for a human being, Mike Pence, will officially lead the US Olympic delegation and openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon is having none of it.

And in other slightly better news, Senator Doug Jones’ son, who is gay, stared down Mike Pence at his father’s swearing in and it made my day.

Here’s the Star Wars Cantina Theme played with pencil and paper, writing out a math equation:

In better news, a new ruling from the International Court of the Americas (didn’t know that was a thing) is bringing marriage equality to a lot of different countries (potentially)

And new year’s resolutions for gay men (and everyone, in some cases).  And speaking of resolutions, Surviving the World has a great coming about them.

Watch a Katana disappear.  Makes me think of the novel, “The 50 Year Sword”

Quite possibly the best thing ever, a T-Rex conducts the Jurassic Park theme music.

Pittsburgh non-profits come out hard against the PG and it’s owner’s racist editorial, published on MLK Day.

And finally, a great little comic about our place in the universe.

Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, Mark Hamill pays tribute to Carrie Fisher in a wonderful way.  Joe Manganiello remembers the time she glitter bombed him.

This optical illusion is blowing my mind!

USA Today did not hold any punches when writing an editorial about Drumpf.

Jessica Jones is coming back, and I”m very excited:

We have a new chapter of Harry Potter!  Kind of.  Not really

DeRay McKesson is suing FOX news after being constantly slandered, good for him.

2 Political Junkies has an amazing icon of Darlene Harris, Defender of Faith and and Small, Noncompliant creches.

Did you know Wikipedia has a list of individual dogs?  They’re all very good boys.

A great take on being gay for the holidays:

In horrifying legal news, SCOTUS has declined to hear a case about employment discrimination, leaving a split in circuit court decisions.  This will be the followup to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

Also in bad news for us, gay people are more likely to have trouble sleeping.  But some good news, we tend to have happier relationships.

More scientific evidence about why some people are born gay, and the correlation to having older brothers.

That’s it for today, have a great one!

I hope everyone is enjoying their post-Thanksgiving turkey comas.  Let’s see what we have today.  First up, an insane 360-degree water slide.

I’m sure you voted in this last election, and if you live in Allegheny County, you can check out amazing statistics about how everything went (you can drill down to you voting district)

And speaking of voting, need help getting people registered for the so, so important 2018 election?  Indivisible has you covered.

And lastly in politics, this amazing song from Randy Rainbow:

The Player’s Tribune has an awesome article up about the crime of running the Boston Marathon while female.

I’ve talked about it before, but an amazing article from The Good Men Project about straight people trying to make things like National Coming Out Day about themselves, and how hurtful it really is.

And lastly, I just finished it, but here is the trailer for Season 2 of Lady Dynamite.  Maria Bamford is one of my favorite comedians, but she is a very acquired taste:

That’s it for today, I’ll be back with more soon as November wraps up, have a great one!

Alright, let’s see what we have today, first up, the new Google ear buds are going to change the world with live translations.

Stan Lee takes a stand against bigotry.

Fitz and the Tantrums’ new song is my new jam:

A touching tribute to Matthew Shepherd.

And speaking of, the politician who was saved by a married lesbian spoke at a convention dedicated to taking away her rights.

Oh hey, so did the president.  The first to do so.  He spoke at a convention that has discussed ways to pass legislation to put gay men to death.  Let that sink in.

Also in the horror show that is this administration, Jeff Sessions has rescinded protections for trans* people.

The president has also removed all mention of the queer community from the Health and Human Services department, meaning no mention of queer focused health initiatives.

And Jeff Sessions rescinded other protections for all members of the queer community.  These are things that affect people you love.  Be fucking pissed.

Okay, quick pallet cleanser.  The new trailer for Super Mario Odyssey takes the form of a Big Band musical number:

After the horrific shooting in Vegas, just a reminder that your thoughts and prayers do jack shit.  We need comprehensive gun control in this country, including a rescinding of the second amendment.

It boggles my mind that it takes something personally happening to someone for them to take action.  It is not that hard to actually think about other people and try to imagine a better world for them, as well as yourself.  But, predictably, when gun violence is close to a gun fanatic, suddenly, he realizes his mistake.  It infuriates me that it takes a tragedy like this for him to realize how wrong he is, but hey, at least he came around I guess.  I just won’t be patting him on the back for his sudden realization.

A Dutch news program takes on (with dark humor) the insanity that we live with here in the US:

Okay, the graphic designers have gotten a hold of the US map.

Speaking of graphic designers, a great SNL skit about fonts:

And if you can believe it, the man who created Papyrus, responds!

Stranger Things 2 (or the second season, not sure what to call it) looks amazing:

The president rolls back the mandate for birth control under health care, because he wants to drive up abortion rates, the cost of healhtcare and get rid of preventative medicine.  Just kidding, he’s a racist and since it is both something Obama put into place and a GOP wet-dream, it’s gone.

And I’ll just drop this here, the 10 things you need to know about Patriotism:

In good medical news, due to PrEP, there has been a huge drop in new HIV cases in England (where it was studied).

And finally, the amazing trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

Thank you to the woman who fought for love and brought down DOMA.  She leaves a giant legacy behind, and we keep fighting in her memory.

Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, Prince has his own Pantone color!  Of course it’s purple!

If you haven’t been convinced that ‘gay conversion’ torture is real, or harmful, new, horrific recordings have surfaced thanks to investigative journalism.

A new reality show is coming to (British) TV, and I certainly want to watch it: Bromans:

The mayor of Hell (Michigan) has banned straight people.

My new favorite thing on the Internet: Dungeons and Drag Queens!

A gay porn star calls out Colby Kellar for his privilege.  It’s beautiful.

And finally, the trailer for the new Netflix documentary about Lady Gaga:

That’s it for today, have a great one!

Half a world apart, two interconnected stories have emerged.  The treatment of LGBT individuals in sport, and in the broader world, is one being examined with the coming out of Michael Sam and the games of the Sochi Olympics.

Even spaces created to be safe havens for the LGBT community, both physical 2 and online 3, are now being targeted.  A ninth grade girl was found guilty of violating the ban on progpganda and was placed on an offender list and was subsequently beaten by her father, landing her in the hospital with head wounds 4, just for coming out to her classmates.

Recent documentaries about the subject show hope for the Russian people, even from the Russian LGBT community.  In the face of such adversity, they wish to stay to fight for their cause, knowing that changing hearts and minds comes about from knowing out gay people.

But sadly, that won’t heal that ninth-grade girls head.  It won’t heal those targeted by “morality patrols,” or other vigilantes.  It won’t heal those who trusted in the basic decency of humanity and were instead met with hatred and broken bones.

The day of the opening ceremony brought more than 60 arrests across Russia of LGBT activists.  The IOC defended the arrests and beatings 5 and Rachel Maddow gives a great and concise report here.  Few other protests were held, but the arrests (and then dumping in the wilderness) were defended by the IOC 6.

The Google Doodle that is referenced was in place for two days and mentions both Principle 4 and Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter.  Principle 6 7 reads:

Sport does not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.

In response to the Russian law, as well as the IOC’s utter refusal to stand up for basic human dignity, a few athletes have taken matters, literally, into their hands with protests on mittens 8.  The Canaidan Institute of Diversity and Inclusion produced this tongue-in-cheek video and the US State Department’s clip promoting the games and the athletes made sure to include sexual diversity 9.

And back here in the United States, we are now looking at the distinct possibility of the first openly gay NFL player.

Sports has always had a place in culture as one of the last bastions of homophobia, at least male professional sports.  Since women are already “subverting their traditional roles” by being athletes, lesbian professionals in sports seemingly make sense.  In at least some sort of backwards psychosis type of way.

So a gay male player, in the most popular of the “big four” sports, is a huge deal.  And that player may be Michael Sam.  While Jason Collins came out last year, he is at (or near, although he was practicing with the Nets recently) the end of his career, so seemingly what progress was made with him, came to a sudden stop.  Well that escalated quickly.  Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the New York Nets, and on Sunday became the first openly gay man to play in one of the big four sports.  And as we’re finding out, the owner of the Nets is Russian, and a political opponent of Putin 10, so the contract may have been partially a political move.

Michael Sam on the other hand, is well respected by press, his teammates, coaches and his entire school.  He was out to his team this entire year, leading them as a captain to a season with only one loss and capped by a victory in the Cotton Bowl.  And he’s about to enter the NFL draft process.

A few collegiate athletes voiced their concerns 13, some were punished, others were not, but I have a feeling that in the long run, those that judge Sam on his sexuality instead of his athletic proess will be left behind in the dust of history.But this seemingly upending of the heteronormativity of the NFL has brought the bigots out of the woodwork.  Both Jon Stewart 11 and an eloquent Texan sportscaster12 have pointed out the hyprociticy of a league and a public that would rather have murders, assailants, dog fighters and a parade of other criminals instead of a well-behaved gay man.

Sam’s own father, who, admitedly, was not involved in his life, came out with a confusing and hatefilled statement, claiming that he does not think the NFL should have any gay players, but he still wants his son to be able to play professionally 14.  Honestly, I can’t wrap my mind around that, and thinking about the mental gymnastics he is putting himself through hurts.

But for the majority of us, we will never compete in an NFL stadium.  We will never have a chance to win gold for our home country.  But this is a situation that affects us all:

A news flash for every straight man out there: You’ve been naked in front of a gay man.

This is not the end of the world, some sort of chemical imbalance being brought into your sacred locker room space or even open “hunting season” for straight men.  As Frank Bruni of the New York Times continues, if a gay man happens to be next to you after the showers, a squeal is probably not the correct reaction 15

What I think has been the most interesting aspect of this, and the Jason Collins story, is the resistance set up by some corners of society.  And here’s the big secret: straight people don’t get to tell the gay community what’s news to us.

Of the 3,000 (give or take) professional male athletes on the rosters of the big four, we have yet to have an openly gay one 16.  So yes, this is news.  This is progress.  Announcing he is gay is not shoving it down anyone’s throat any more than every single act of sexual declaration heterosexuals unknowing commit each day: talking about their spouses, dates, children, hand holding, kisses on the cheek, photos of loved ones on their desks.  Yes, there is much more to Michael Sam than his sexuality, as being gay is more than who we sleep with.

This is about love and equality.  The very principles sport is supposed to embody.

The views and opinions expressed in posts, articles, or comments published here are those of their respective authors, and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Global Entropy as a whole, or that of institutions for which Global Entropy or the respective authors are affiliated.

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For about two weeks, I had what felt like the black death.  It ran rampant through my workplace and I was unlucky enough to get hit with it hard.  So bad in fact, my boss sent me home early one day, where I promptly crawled under the covers and fell asleep.

I woke up a few hours later, still in somewhat of a fever-haze and saw the news that a judge struck-down the ban on marriage equality in Utah.  I chalked it up to my bacteria-riddled brain and shuffled down the hall to make some tea.

After some of the warm liquid began to clear my head a little bit, more synapses were sparking and I realized my RSS reader had been showing the news coming out of Utah from multiple sources.  Suddenly, Utah had marriage equality 1.

In the ruling, Judge Shelby dismantles every argument against marriage equality 2: that gay couples can’t procreate without outside assistance, that marriage equality is creating a “new right,” that history and tradition say marriage should remain exclusively between heterosexual couples, that marriage equality bans are not passed because of animus, that the state should be promoting procreation, that heterosexual parents are the best kinds of parents, that marriage equality is somehow new and unchartered territory and that the citizens of Utah should be allowed to vote on one group’s rights.  Each point Judge Shelby smacked down with legal authority, even using Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s own dissent 3 from the Windsor case as a way to show the urgent need for marriage equality.

Throughout the next few days and weeks, two stays were denied 4 5and marriages continued.  The governor of Utah has done everything he could to roll back marriage equality, calling it chaos 6, including eventually spending two million dollars 7 to appeal to the US Supreme Court 8

The Governor even went so far to announce that the state would not recognize 9 the legally valid marriages performed before the stay that was eventually put in place by the US Supreme Court as appeals were filed 10

The US Government 11, as well as many other states 12 have stepped forward and said they will recognize the marriages performed, even while Utah, the very state where those marriages took place, will not.

When this decision came down, after a few hiccups (including one county that closed its office to everyone rather than grant same-sex marriage licenses 13 and four counties that blatently broke the law and were in contempt of court for only offering licenses to heterosexual couples 14), a record number of couples flooded county offices, filling them for hours on end.

Couples did not know how long they would have, and the urgency was palpable.  Like a scavenger hunt, suddenly these couples had stumbled upon some basic civil rights, but they didn’t know how long they would last.  Many left work, grabbed their partners and rushed to the nearest court, resulting in lines filled with citizens in hoodies and jeans, and couples getting married without their families, in a rush to obtain the basic protections they had been denied for so long 15 1617.

“Gay couples are second class citizens in their own country.  We don’t have the luxury of planning out our marriage 18.”

Throughout the day, records were shattered 19 for the sheer number of marriage licenses being produced, and amid the chaos, a heartwarming story emerged of a local Boy Scout and his dad who showed up to pass out pizza to the couples in line and the clerks who were working through their lunches to process as many licenses as they could 20.

Utah has since allowed the couples who got married to file their taxes jointly 21, even while refusing to somehow recognize them.  That doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what’s going on, the very chaos the governor was afraid was running rampant.  In the meantime, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit to force the state to recongize the marriages22.

The state asked for ten extra days 23 to submit their briefs 24, and the plantiffs submited a brief opposing that delay 25, a delay which was ultimatley granted 26.

So now that the dust has finally settled in the legal ping-pong battle between civil rights and those opposed, we wait for the courts to rule once more.  Utah proved to the country the necessity and urgency of marriage equality.

The pictures of lines winding through buildings, while triumphant and exciting, I can’t help but view with a twinge of sadness.   These are loving couples who were forced to wait for so long for basic civil rights, and what should have been a fully joyous occasion, became a battle of logistics to secure what rights they could, even if their friends and family couldn’t be there to witness their vows.

Conservatives in Utah, you may remember, were the major donors to California’s Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality in the state for a time, so, now it is with great pleasure that the Golden State can send this postcard:

It’s hard to fully explain what it’s like to have to claw and scratch you way to full civil equality.  Nor would I ever want anyone else to have to go through the uncertainty and isolation that comes with that fight.

And even though this series of events happened half a country away, my heart raced with those couples.  My heart beat with those couples, finally able to get a glimmer of the recognition they so desperately deserve.

It can be exhilarating and infuriating, and even downright scary to watch the process, but we can cheer from afar, both as members of the community, or as allies standing shoulder to shoulder.

Marriage equality may be in stasis at the moment, but we can already see the cracks and know that the tide of history is pushing against that wall.  It’s a messy business, trying to deny a group their civil rights, as witnessed by the chaos stemming from the governor’s mansion in Utah.  But marriage equality will be the law in the Beehive State, it’s only a matter of time at this point.

The views and opinions expressed in posts, articles, or comments published here are those of their respective authors, and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Global Entropy as a whole, or that of institutions for which Global Entropy or the respective authors are affiliated.

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For five years I worked for a company that would have fired me if they had known I was gay.  And it would have been perfectly legal.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), would make it illegal to fire (or refuse to hire) someone because of their sexuality or gender identity.  Currently, employees are protected based on traits such as age, race, veteran status and disability.  But still, sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected.

While some states have stepped up, a massive and confusing patchwork has emerged 1:

  • Seventeen states and D.C. prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Four additional states prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation alone
  • Nine states prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but only for public employees
  • Three states prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, but only for public employees, and in one of those states, it is only employees of the executive branch that are protected

On top of that, some individual counties and cities have enacted their own non-discrimination ordinances, making the country a maze for LGBT workers to try to traverse.

But it’s not just fairness and equality this bill strives for, it’s economic gains as well.  Companies with employees who are honest with who they are in the workplace have better interpersonal relationships with their coworkers and are more engaged in the workplace 2.  Conversely, workplaces that have discriminatory policies in place see wasted money, less trust, less job satisfaction and less job loyalty, costing over $64 billion a year 3.  Most Fortune 500 companies have made it corporate policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, seeing it not only as right and fair, but good corporate policy as well 4.

But yet, we still live in a world where gays and lesbians can (oftentimes travel to) get married, and then be fired for placing a photo of their spouse on their desk at work.

ENDA passed the senate, which was a historic victory, having never passed through a chamber of congress in the 40 years it has been brought up 5.  Now, like any other bill making its way through the legislative process, it moves to the House.

Will it pass the House?  No.

I’m an eternal optimist, yes, but I just don’t see it even being allowed to come up for a vote.  Speaker Boehner has said he thinks the bill is “unnecessary” and he sees no need for it 6.  He goes on to say that LGBT citizens are already protected, which is a lie; and also really insulting since his home state of Ohio has no such protections whatsoever and he must be aware of the situation.

As if he hasn’t made it abundantly clear in the past, Speaker Boehner continues his march of anti-equality, securing meeting space for the World Council of Families, a hate-group that seeks to modify United States law to more closely resemble the draconian laws in Russia persecuting the LGBT community 7.  And this was after that same group was barred from the Capitol Building by a fellow Republican because of their extreme views 8.

We’ve known for quite some time the opposition we face from the Speaker, and unless there is some massive shift, or an impossibly rare discharge petition, we will not see ENDA move any further.

But perhaps that is actually a good thing.  For years, versions of ENDA trying to gain votes to pass in either chamber of congress went through various revisions.  Oftentimes gender identity was omitted, many progressive lawmakers and lobbyists fearing it would not pass with those provisions in place.  The current version of ENDA that passed the Senate keeps those protections in place, and rightfully so.

But this version of ENDA includes very broad religious exemptions, allowing for certain types of charities, hospitals and universities to continue to discriminate 9.  If we are to fight discrimination and proclaim that we are all equal, then we must mean it.  A watered down version of ENDA which does not help those most in need is pointless.

Exemptions for gender identity and broad religious exemptions have no place in this bill.  Are we asking for special treatment?  Absolutely not, we just seek the same security that our coworkers, our friends, our brothers and sisters have: that when our bosses make decisions about our employment, that it is based on our merits, not our personal lives in the bedroom.

Currently, I am protected by my county’s non-discrimination ordinance.  But if I were to take a job a mere six miles away I would be vulnerable.

A friend, when discussing a potential transfer in his company asked if I would move with him.  I’m finally in a position where I have some protections, and that is an amazing feeling.  I don’t go to work on edge every single day.  I don’t fear for my employment.  I can be my entire self with my co-workers.  I’m happier.

And I don’t want to give that security up.  My own mental health can’t take it, and now that I have some modicrum of equality, I can see how tolling my previous job was on me.  I’m not asking for anything special, just what he has: the knowledge that he is protected from discrimination in his workplace.

I had to turn down his offer, I would have been moving to a place where I would have zero protections and he was floored that this was still something I had to think about it: not because he comes from a perspective of straight-privilege, but because he could not fathom that being able to discriminate was still legal.

Supporting equality is not a radical statement, even as it was just five years ago, but we still live in a world where it must be fought for and won.  And we still live in a world where many go to work each day afraid to be truthful, or who live in a world where their options are very limited.  So that is why we fight.

Do I think we will see passage of ENDA through the House?  Honestly, no.  But for the first time we have real progress, and we will keep fighting to see that momentum continue.

TL;DR version:

The views and opinions expressed in posts, articles, or comments published here are those of their respective authors, and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Global Entropy as a whole, or that of institutions for which Global Entropy or the respective authors are affiliated.

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  3. Burns, Crosby. The Costly Business of Discrimination. Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress, 2012. Print. 

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