Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween birthday

On the West coast it is about one hour away from the witching hour. It is also an hour away from my birthday. I haven't had any startling revelations yet but I will be sure to share here I if I do. Also I had two job interviews this week and both are jobs I would really enjoy. I would also really enjoy health benefits and a regular pay check. Throw an office in there with it within biking distance and I could be one happy homosexual! I feel the change coming that is why I have been trying to finish my projects at homelike hanging up my art work in my room. I applied today for a position with the Santa Clara County Sister Region Commission. The region would be Moscow. I can hardly stand it that I may get to have relationships with Muscovites and actually see the Faberge eggs, the Tretyakov Museum and a hockey game in Russia. Too bad I don't drink so I won't have tales of drinking Russian vodka. Oh but I will have pictures of St Basil's Cathedral. The Kremlin. Red Square, the Moscow subway. OH my GAWD, my mind boggles to think that I could meet with the Gay Russian man who has been organizing Pride in Moscow and gotten arrested twice for it. We could do some AIDS work! Ah the possibilities.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Winchester Mystery House

The missus and I just returned from a flashlight tour of the Winchester Mystery House, a Santa Clara County landmark. It was built by the late Sarah Winchester who was the a beneficiary of the Winchester Rifle fortune. Sarah was a bit of a kook, building what started as an unfinished sic bedroom farm house into a spooky Victorian with a ton of rooms, fireplaces, Tiffany windows, stairs to nowhere, stairs that end in walls, a seance room and purported ghosts everywhere. Last week the Travel Channel did a live broadcast from there.

So we went over there at the ungodly hour of 9:45 PM for the 10:15 tour. Now we are on the path to showing how old I am. 9:45 on Halloween weekend is apparently too much for me. There were a number of drunk people on the tour. So since I had paid a ridiculous amount of money for these tickets, I was really getting irritated with the drunken masses. I couldn't hear everything, they were loud, laughing too much and ruining my tour. So the old lady in me asked the tour guide to shut them up. See where I am going here? Birthday this week, acting like an old lady, complaining about drunks, old lady right?

Guess I better go warm up my milk and head to bed now.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Show me the money

Right from the "I don't give a shit about you" Republican manual, Ms Marinucci writes about the total lack of support from the Repub Presidential candidates raising money in California while the southern part of the state burns.

A leading Republican blog is spot on:

"I find it very distasteful that while neighbors are dealing with these fires in their own way, whether directly impacted, or trying to empathize with those who have been - that they are being hounded by presidential campaigns - Republicans no less," wrote Jon Fleischman, the Irvine-based publisher of the Flashreport (www.flashreport.org), a leading GOP Web site.

"How candidates and officeholders react in the midst of a tragedy tells you a lot about whether they are focused on themselves, or on the people around them," he wrote.

I must point out though that things are much better at the San Diego Chargers stadium than at the Superdome. Among other things there are children's art classes and yoga for the displaced. Could it have something to do with the vast numbers of white people who are displaced as opposed to black folks in New Orleans? Naaaah, that would be racism.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We love Linda!

Representing California’s 39th District


October 18, 2007


Congresswoman calls for inclusion of gender identity protections

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-Lakewood) issued the following statement when casting her vote today in the House Committee on Education and Labor against H.R. 3685, a narrow version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes protections based on gender identity. Congresswoman Sánchez is an original cosponsor of H.R. 2015, the original version of ENDA that was introduced earlier this year and prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Congresswoman Sánchez joined three other Democrats in opposing H.R.3685 for similar reasons. The bill won approval by the Committee and is expected on the House floor next week. Congresswoman Sánchez is actively working to rally support for an anticipated amendment by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) to add gender identity protections into the legislation.

“I am pleased that last month, the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on H.R. 2015, the original version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was introduced earlier this year. I am a proud original cosponsor of that bill, which would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I am disappointed that we're not marking up that bill today. Instead, we have a narrower, less inclusive version of the bill, which does not include gender identity.

“In the opening statement I submitted at last month's hearing, I said I was proud that as a member of this Committee, I was able to help make our employment laws consistent with our values.

“Unfortunately, this bill does not go far enough to enshrine American values into law because it fails to include protections to those who arguably need it most: transgender people, as well as those who don't conform to gender stereotypes. These are the most vulnerable people we sought to protect in H.R. 2015, the fully inclusive ENDA.

“I believe I am correct to say that it is an American value that it is unacceptable to deny someone a job, a raise, or a promotion for arbitrary factors beyond their job performance. And that is a value that holds true regardless of the worker’s real or perceived gender identity."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oh so perfect

It is just priceless sometimes to live near San Francisco and get to read pieces like this.

On Oct. 7, Archbishop George Niederauer delivered the Eucharist to members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence - an activist group whose motto is "go forth and sin some more" - prompting cries of outrage from conservatives across the country and Catholics in San Francisco.


A letter to Congreswoman Linda Sanchez


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dear Congresswoman Sanchez:

The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, on which you serve, is scheduled to vote within the next two days on H.R. 3685, the version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes gender identity protection.

As leaders of the Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community throughout the United States we respectfully ask you to vote against approval of this version of ENDA and – instead - insist on a committee vote in favor of H.R. 2015, the version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) that includes gender identity protections which would make employment discrimination against transgender people illegal.

You might be aware that these bills have drawn a tremendous response from various local and national LGBT organizations and leaders - as well as non-gay allies – who overwhelmingly recognize that stripping away gender identity language from ENDA would leave the transgender community without protections against discrimination.

And, as often is the case in the Latino community, the heated dialogue that has ensued might be considered by some as something that might pertain to the LGBT community but might not be of concern to Latinos living in the United States.

Those of us who have signed this letter, believe nothing could be further from the truth.

Over the last few decades, the LGBT movement in the United States certainly has made tremendous strides towards being recognized as equal citizens and yet, what is little known is that the Latino LGBT community and our Latino straight allies have been an integral part of this civil rights movement.

During the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, seen now as the launch of the modern gay rights movement, Sylvia Rivera emerged as one of the key figures standing up to discrimination during those fateful nights, along with other Latina women who happened to be transgender.

And, while it is unarguable that the general environment for gays and lesbians has greatly improved since the Stonewall Riots, thanks in no small part to Sylvia and other Latino trangender heroes, the same cannot be said for transgender people who are probably almost as vulnerable today as they were then.

Some in the gay community have argued that the ‘T’ as in “transgender” is not part of the gay community but, if you really think about it, when people discriminate against a person based on their perceptions of who we are as gays and lesbians, their discrimination is often based on their perception of gender roles and not only sexual orientation.

This is particularly true of the Latino community which often confuses the issues of gender with sexual orientation as if they were interchangeable. Spanish language newspapers and television news often refer to transgender individuals as gays and gay Latinos are often asked what their gender role is in bed – whether a gay man is a “woman” in bed or a lesbian woman is “a man” – which speaks to how these issues are sometimes seen in the general Latino community.

Furthermore, for those of us who are transgender, have transgender friends and/or work with transgender communities, we are direct witnesses to how vulnerable the community is to being discriminated particularly in gaining employment.

For these and many other reasons, we know that it would be unconscionable to pass an ENDA bill that leaves the transgender community – and the Latino transgender community in particular – behind.

On behalf of the Latino LGBT leaders listed below in alphabetical order, we look forward to hearing from you. If you need additional information or would like to ask questions about this statement, please contact me at XXXXX.


Gloria Nieto


*Noel Alicea, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, New York, NY
* Marta Donayre, Love Sees No Borders, Sunnyvale, CA
*Andres Duque, Mano a Mano @ Latino Commission on AIDS, New York, NY
* Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, ALLGO statewide people of color organization, Austin, TX
* Nila Marrone, LATINO PFLAG - NYC, PFLAG for Families of Color and Allies in NYC (PFLAG is an acronym for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
*Lisbeth Melendez, political consultant, Washington, DC
*Gloria Nieto, former member of the Democratic National Committee, San Jose, CA
*Pedro Julio Serrano, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Washington, DC
* Herb Sosa, Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida, Miami, FL

* Affiliations appear for identification purposes only, signatures do not imply that those affiliations endorse this letter unless otherwise indicated

Friday, October 12, 2007


Here we go again. The Governator has once again vetoed a marriage bill passed in the California legislature. According to the SF Chronicle:
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said voters and the state Supreme Court should decide the issue. The high court is likely to rule next year on whether California's ban on gay marriages violates the constitution.
Then a positive outcome will be the fault of activist judges. All these Republicans always want to pass the buck, it's the judges, no, it's the voters, no it's the legislators, no, it is a 12-year-old with no insurance.

This is what immorality looks like, not two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together, legally.


Donald v 2.5

I got a chance to talk to my friend Donald Hitchcock yesterday. You may remember that he is suing his former employer, the Democratic National Committee, the DNC. There is an article in today's Washington Blade about the legal case and the current status of said case.

Again, since I have had an insider's perspective and I believe that telling the truth is a critical component of politics (Yes, I am old school that way) the case is a clash of the truth versus political expediency, power and privilege against one gay guy in the DNC trying to make sure all the homos get something from the adult table. I know this is a simplistic argument but it is also based on my experience at the DNC, the lies, the underhanded tactics, the punishment that occurs for speaking your mind and representing your constituency.

The LGBT part of the Democratic party has always been the red headed step child. The big dogs had no issues taking those checks but , lordy, we should not ask to be on the stage with us or be seen in public. In 2000 at the Presidential convention in Los Angeles, there were eight openly gay and lesbian speakers, including myself. In 2004 that number was three. There were more lesbian and gay delegates and way more transgender delegates but you would never know that from the number of speakers on the stage. The same thing could be said about the Latino delegation, hundreds of delegates and only two speakers on stage.

So when Howard Dean was elected chair of the DNC, there was great hope for inclusion. During the run up to the chair election, Dean promised the lesbian and gay caucus that there would continue to be a gay and lesbian desk (the insider term for a staff person who is focused on a certain constituency). What happens when Dean gets elected? No more desk. Everyone is to be blended into a new American Majority program.

Donald Hitchcock was the staff for the Democratic Leadership Council, the big bucks boob at the DNC. His job was squeeze every dime out of the homos with dough. Donald also saw his role as an advocate for the LGBT community, making sure that there were actions taken to support our issues.

When Paul Yandura, Donald's partner wrote a letter blasting the DNC for its lack of action on anti-gay election referendums in state's all over the country, guess what? Donald was fired.

So now a little farther down the path, this case is going to court. There is an error in the Blade's reporting on the case. The mediation they are headed for is part of a normal process in this type of procedure. The judge did not order Donald and the DNC into mediation. They now have four months to ask 36 questions of the litigants at the DNC. I can hardly wait for the answers.

This all could have been avoided too if the DNC, specifically the chair of the DNC, Howard Dean, had not been such a horse's butt. Donald asked for three things, a letter of recommendation, severance pay and a letter clarifying the harmful statements that had been said about Donald in the building. They tried a number of things to get the situation cleared up, asking people to approach Dean to get some resolution, getting their lawyer to apply some legal pressure, none of it worked.

So now here we are, the law suit to be heard at the beginning of the next year, a presidential election year. Nice to see the DNC has its priorities in order, especially toward the LGBT community. And ask yourself, when was the last time you heard from the DNC? Was it to ask for money? Heard any affirmations about our needs in the upcoming elections? I bet not.

I am sure once the questions are answered, we will have a lot more questions. And it will not be how much can I give you.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I have returned from Chico having learned these things:

  • It is really really really white on that campus.
  • I didn't realize that it is a really really really white campus when I was there.
  • Things do change in 29 years.
  • It is hard to move buildings but easy to add buildings. Therefore, I could still find my way around.
  • I went to school with some wonderful people, especially Art Thompson and Wayne Miyamoto.
  • Memories are good as memories. Going back to Chico, California was nice to do but I have no reason to go back again. I will always remember Helen's Donuts opening at 10 PM for the stoned college students to go and pick out our donuts in the back. I will remember being a successful sports writer but that person is gone. And that is just fine.
  • A college town is just a town, it is not superior to the surrounding communities.
  • I am still a student of life even after leaving college. There are many more lessons for me while I am here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Chico memories and now

Thursday I am going back for the first time in 28 years to my college alma mater. I came out there at Chico State, had my first lesbian heartbreak, met my first gay man. Back in those days we were 100 miles away from the closest gay bar. We were rural, not organized and deeply segregated by gender.

Then there was a Homo 101 class and suddenly all these queers were sitting in the same class room. I learned about chicken hawks and size queens, felching and snowballing, shrimp queens and leather queens. I loved hanging around these very witty gay men who introduced me to cocaine and poppers. I am also grateful I made it out alive!

This controversy about inclusion, lack of inclusion, who owns the movement and who is getting in the door first is truly sad. I am sad because I remember how hopeful we were then, before AIDS, at the dawn of liberation.

Liberation is apparently only for a few with the right body parts in the right order. Me, I think I will hang with my sisters and brothers who want the liberation for all. I think our party will be much more fun. Cus there won;t be anyone pushing each other out of the way to get at the front of the line.

Besides, we are going to line up by height and I am the shortest so all you people line up in back of me. Let's get this party started. Belly up to the bar folks, equal rights for everyone.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Big week

This is turning out to be a big week for me.

On Thursday I am returning to scene of my collegiate crimes, Chico State. My friend and former colleague, Art Thompson is getting inducted into our old newspaper's Hall of Fame. So I am driving in my convertible back to Chico State. Plus I have to buy a new Chico state sweatshirt for the autumn.

Then on Sunday, the magic moment arrives! My first hockey game! Dun da da! I will become old #78 and who knows what position I will play but I will be playing. whoohoo!

Monday, October 01, 2007


Pelosi, Miller, Frank and Baldwin Statement on ENDA

Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, Congressman Barney Frank, and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin issued the following statement today on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):

"After discussions with congressional leaders and organizations supporting passage of ENDA, we have agreed to schedule mark-up of the bill in the Committee on Education and Labor later this month, followed by a vote in the full House. This schedule will allow proponents of the legislation to continue their discussions with Members in the interest of passing the broadest possible bill."
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