Monday, March 31, 2008

Queer News Corner

This is the first in a new series of Queer News Corners. From time to time, we will post a story of interest to the queer community. The following story is one I originally saw in The Advocate, but when I went to find it there, the website was down. This version is from the UK Times Online, and quotes most of The Advocate story. This is a fascinating account of a transgendered man who is pregnant, baby due July 3rd. It raises so many questions for both the gay and straight communities. Be sure to read at least some of the comments. They are really interesting. I had to wonder if they would have been different on an American website.

Thomas Beatie, a married man who used to be a woman, is pregnant with a baby girl

A married man who used to be a woman says that he is pregnant and will give birth to a baby girl in July.

“How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible,” wrote Thomas Beatie, 34, from the Pacific North West of the United States, in the latest issue of the gay magazine The Advocate.

“Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am.”

Mr Beatie was born female, named Tracy Lagondino, but had gender reassignment surgery and is now legally male and married to a woman.

He decided to carry a baby for his wife, Nancy, because she had a hysterectomy years ago. He was able to get pregnant because he kept his female organs when he switched genders.

“Sterilisation is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights,” he writes. “Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire but a human desire.” The couple, who have been together for ten years, run a custom screenprinting business in Bend, Oregon, where neighbours do not know that Mr Beatie was once a woman.

“Our desire to work hard, buy our first home and start a family was nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until we decided that I would carry our child,” he wrote.

Before becoming pregnant, Mr Beatie stopped the testosterone injections he was receiving as part of his gender reassignment. “It had been roughly eight years since I had my last menstrual cycle so this wasn’t a decision that I took lightly. My body regulated itself after about four months and I didn’t have to take any exogenous oestrogen, progesterone or fertility drugs to aid my pregnancy,” he wrote.

The couple bought donor vials from a cryogenic sperm bank and, facing resistance and prejudice from doctors, resorted to home insemination. “Doctors have discriminated against us, turning us away due to their religious beliefs. Healthcare professionals have refused to call me by a male pronoun or recognise Nancy as my wife. Receptionists have laughed at us. Friends and family have been unsupportive; most of Nancy’s family doesn’t even know I’m transgender,” he said.

Mr Beatie’s first successful insemination ended in a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy with triplets that required surgery, resulting in the loss of all his embryos and his right Fallopian tube. “When my brother found out about my loss, he said, ‘It’s a good thing that happened. Who knows what kind of monster it would have been?’,” he wrote.

The second pregnancy resulted in a baby girl who is due to be born on July 3. “I will be my daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family,” he wrote.

Mr Beatie would not be the first transgender man to give birth, according to Lisa Masterson, an obstetrician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.

“A transgender man can be pregnant because he has the same organs as a woman,” Dr Masterson said on the ABC Good Morning America show.

Dr Masterson said, however, that transgendered men face special health risks resulting from their sex change. “It’s really important that he doesn’t take any testosterone early on in the pregnancy and later on,” she said. “That can cause male-type characteristics in the female baby.”

Some of the Beaties’ neighbours in Bend voiced scepticism about the pregnancy claim. One resident, Josh Love, told ABC: “I couldn’t say that he looks pregnant. I can stick my stomach out and almost make it look like that. I think it’s kind of bizarre. I don’t know if I believe it or not.”

The Advocate said it had confirmed the story with Mr Beatie’s doctor.

Source: UK Times Online

Movie club poll is still open. Vote if you haven't already!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out Spotlight XIX

We have something a little different today on the Spotlight. This time we're focusing on an organization. SMYAL is the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (you can see why they just go by SMYAL!). It's based here in Washington, D. C. , but has branched out into Northern Virginia and Maryland.

An organization like this is needed EVERYWHERE! SMYAL works with queer youth to help them deal with sexuality and gender issues. Here is their mission-

Our mission is to promote and support self-confident, healthy, productive lives for LGBTQ youth as they journey from adolescence into adulthood. To fulfill our mission, we concentrate our commitment and energy on five focus areas: (1) Life Skills & Leadership Development, (2) Counseling & Support, (3) Health & Wellness Education, (4) Safe Social Activities, and (5) Community Outreach and Education.

SMYAL came about in response to cross-dressing youth being seen as mentally ill and hospitalized at the local psychiatric hospital (St. Elizabeths). They started out as a referral service but realized that the main problem facing queer youth was isolation. They started operating a social club out of borrowed space for queer youth so kids could meet in a safe place. Now they have their own Youth Center in its own building.

SMYAL's other services include a hotline for youth, educational trainings for schools, counseling services, sexuality education, HIV testing and counseling, peer support, and activities for youth. SMYAL encourages youth to be leaders and some of its Board members are youth. Another program they have is RYSE (Rainbow Youth for a Safe Education), which is a group of queer kids working to combat bullying in schools.

When I worked on the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, we got many calls from kids who were either questioning or trying to come out. The number one question they asked was, "Is there anywhere I can go to meet other gay kids?" The relief in their voices when we referred them to SMYAL was incredible. I hope there are organizations like this in other areas. We really need to assist our queer youth as much as possible.

Check out SMYAL's website for more on the great work this organization is doing!

Remember to vote for our first movie for the Movie Club! The poll is still open.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Three from Ang Lee for Your Consideration

Here are the three movies to choose from for our first Movie Club. It seemed like so many people like Ang Lee that I thought we would start with one of his. As always, one computer, one vote! We will probably have our discussion in about a month or so, to allow everyone time to get and watch the film. Please let us know if any of these are a problem to get.

Friday, March 28, 2008

When JFC saw US Weekly

Standing around looking at the newest US Weekly.

John to Kai: "See God, Kai."
(Pointing to the cover smiling. )

[He's a hot God, John. ]

Barry: "Avon. Wonderful."

Shaun: "The pigs have got grandma."

[Shaunie! ]

John: "Yesterday was a three-ring circus."
(Pointing again to the magazine)

Barry: "I didn't know I placed an order."

John and Kai being Jake and Reese.

Kai to John: "Touch my tits."

John: "Tits don't ring a bell."

John: "Butchie hurt my tit."

Barry: "I am looking. I am seeing … Avon in an entirely new light."

John: "I've got a cramp! I HAVE TO SELL IT!" (in a Southern drawl)

John walking away.

Kai: Maybe I'll go too. You know, that family's got enough of their own problems, but can't we do our little part to make them worse.

Kai: "Time for your 'Ballbuster Booster Shot'?"
(Picking up the magazine one more time)

John pacing and talking.

John: "Your mother has turned herself into the worst ball-buster known to man so no one would be around her, and she wouldn’t have to be afraid she’d do something like that again."

(walking back and forth)

John: The internet is big.

John: Today will be a three-ring circus.

John: It could mean a thousand years.

John: It could mean 10 minutes.

John : Do we make that up selling at shrines?

Barry, to Ramon, describing his vision: "I see a row of faces...rapt"

Ramon: "In what?"

Ready Freddy:( talking to himself): "We are on the precipice of a clusterfuck."

John: "Some things I know some things I don't"

Shaun: "I know more than I let on."

Bill: "I've got my eye on you!"

John: "No, I've got my eye on you!" (staring at the magazine again)

Butchie to John: "Radio silence 'til further notification. "

John and Linc: "Maximum right now pow boom!"

John: "Tomorrow's another day." (Picking it up again staring at the cover)

John: "If you are the end, I am near you." ( Touching the cover)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not so fast guys....

Think Jake and Austin were first famous A & J couple with a following?

Think again.

Way back in there was Akbar & Jeff. Who? Akbar & Jeff were a couple created by Matt Groening before The Simpsons, in his book Life in Hell. Akbar & Jeff are have been a couple since the 80's, and have been showing the ups and downs of coupledom that everyone can relate to in their own unique way. They swing between love and hate within one reading.

Groening was quick to acknowledge that they are indeed a gay couple, when it was not the greatest climate to do so. Here is a great description of them from Bartleby.

Almost radical at the time they were introduced, when few gay couples were being portrayed, let alone in a positive light, Akbar and Jeff have continued to serve not as role models, per se, but as humorous meditations on gay coupledom and the banalities of daily life together. It’s almost an off-handed response to the still-lingering criticisms that gay relationships are short-lived, marred by infidelity, or hard to understand. In one famous cartoon, Akbar and Jeff fret over visiting a gay bar, only to find upon arrival that all the patrons look exactly like them, donning fezzes and wearing similar shirts. The comic absurdity and ultimate likability of the pair is what has given them such longevity. They’re stuck together, they know it, and most of the time, they’re happy with it

Groening did not make them political activists, but allowed comment on many of the things they faced as couple from discrimination, legal issues in the gay community, and during a set of AIDS related strips HIV tests, from in his strips for papers.

Akbar & Jeff show their love by touching fingers and skipping together, the first hint of sex makes them flip their Fez. Seems like Groening did this in a way so for the strip could run in all of the syndicated papers at the time. An archive of his interview with The Advocate (Advocate 571 (February 26, 1991): 30-35) reveals much more about this twosome. At the time Groening was going to have them break up but recognized they couldn't be without the other for that long and said this:

Can you tell us why they break up? [Laughing] It's obvious, isn't it? [More laughter] They can't stand each other. [Even more laughter] But they love each other. They can't live with or without each other. What I like about them is this: When they criticize each other, it's like when somebody exactly the same as you criticizes you. It's hilarious, like you don't see the mirror.

Why do you draw such similar guys?
I like to write about relationships. What's great about having characters who are identical is that I can't be accused of taking sides. If one character were a man or a woman, I could be accused of taking a shot against men or a show against women. Or if it were two women or two men, I could side with the one who is more attractive or whatever. If people say Akbar and Jeff are a comment on gay relationships, fine. But I think that they're a comment on all relationships or that maybe it's time for straight people to be able to see themselves in gay people or learn something from gay people.

Akbar & Jeff opposing the first Gulf War.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Thought the moonshine post was coming when Jake went to Dixie --think again.

During Prohibition (1920-1933) in the United States, all alcohol was banned, family "recipes" came out, bathtubs turned into gin mills, moonshine brighten and "medicinal tonics" were the cure. Or where they? Seems that some of these solutions to a "dry thirst" led to a condition called Jake Walk or Jake Leg.

JAKE LEG - Paralysis brought on by drinking jake, Jamaican ginger extract, a patent medicine. It is believed that the malady was first discovered in Oklahoma City by Dr. Ephraim Goldfain in February 1930. "The first person to record a connection between jake and the paralysis may have been Ishmon Bracey, the black blues singer who cut 'Jake Liquor Blues' in Grafton, Wisconsin, in March of 1930." Jake leg "afflicted enough souls to instigate an entire subject of folk music. Blacks and whites were affected. It rendered men impotent. And it was no longer inspiring musicians by 1934, which meant it was a cataclysmic but discrete event." What had turned the harmless patent medicine into a crippler was the addition of tri-ortho-cresyl-phosphate, TOCP, a "plasticizer" used to keep synthetic materials from becoming brittle. This was during Prohibition and the Treasury Department tackled "the problem of people getting too much pleasure from patent-medicine tippling by ordering that the solids in fluid extracts be doubled." TOCP was believed to be harmless and was used to "boost the solids."

"Annals of Epidemiology: Jake Leg: How the blues diagnosed a medical mystery," by Dan Baum. The New Yorker, Sept. 15, 2003, Page 50.

Now don't go a thinking that every time Jake is seen walking funny he's got the Jake Leg, despite what he might say to southern girls.

Hipsters note: The JakeWalk is a new bar in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, NY from Stinky Brklyn owners Michele Pravda and Patrick Watson.

Thanks to Romo inspiration for this post.

A huge apology to Destiny. A thousand pardons faire D.
Destiny mentioned the JakeWalk bar during the
J/R/Week in NYC. I think I missed it in the flurry of
their whirlwind schedule. Forgive me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Play Ball!

Spring has not sprung until today. Opening Day. It is the first day of the 2008 Major League Baseball.

We know that both have played, Jake's a fan, and have to suspect that there is at least one baseball game in that stash of video games.

Wondering if Jake would be up to catch the very first game of the entire league? Today rest of Red Sox Nation catches the 6:05 AM EST game against the Oakland A's live from Tokyo Well being a Red Sox fan you would think nothing less of him watching opening day. But the big question is. Will we see that Sox hat come back now that baseball is back?

Austin. Again a mystery man, even with baseball. Is he a Texas Rangers or a Houston Astro's fan?

Austin doesn't seem like a baseball hat kind of guy, hard on the high hair, but it could be part of his accessories for going undercover and undetected.

Austin at the KC Royals when filming Full Count/Lenexa 1 mile.

Jake's Little League Days.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Suits Them

The work week always starts off strong, where you wear your best stuff at the beginning of the week trying get to Casual Friday. And what a better example of a well dressed Monday than these two well dressed men. Now if they were part of that human resources training video, more people might have paid more attention during orientation.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Out Spotlight XVIII

Since today is Easter, we will focus on an out member of the clergy. The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson is the first openly gay bishop in the U. S. Episcopal Church. Robinson came out in the '80s, after his divorce, and has been with his current partner for 20 years. They are planning a wedding in June, because Robinson says, "I always wanted to be a June bride."

Robinson received his M. Div. from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York City. While doing an internship at the University of Vermont, he met his future wife. A month into their relationship, he told her he thought he might be gay. The two discussed it and decided to marry anyway, and had two children. They moved to New Hampshire and started a business and ministry doing retreats in the winter and a children's horse camp in the summer. Robinson's ministry has focused on youth, clergy wellness, sexuality, and AIDS. Robinson's ex-wife still runs the horse camp.

Robinson came out and sold the business to his ex-wife. He met his current partner, Mark Andrew, in 1987. When they moved in together, they had their new home blessed by a bishop. Robinson is very close to his daughters and still friends with his ex-wife.

In 1988, Robinson was elected Canon to the Ordinary, which was the executive assistant to the bishop of New Hampshire. He held this post for 17 years, until he was elected bishop in 2003. Before his election to bishop was ratified, Robinson was accused of both inappropriate touching and having links to a porn site on his website. Both allegations were debunked and Robinson was consecrated under heavy security and wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Many clergy within the Episcopal Church were unhappy with Robinson's consecration. Nineteen bishops wrote a letter warning of a possible schism. Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he did "not see what all the fuss was about" and this would not affect the Church in South Africa. The controversy continues even now. Robinson was not invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Lambeth Conference, an invitation only gathering of bishops of the Anglican Communion. Prior to this conference, a group of conservative bishops will be meeting in Jerusalem to discuss Robinson's consecration. This meeting is perceived as potentially schismatic.

Bishop Robinson's website

Happy Easter from Peabunny and Carina, the official Easter bunnies of OMG! Click here to read Carina's story as a discarded Easter rabbit.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Results are In!

The big winner is the Movie Club, with almost 70% of the votes. I have to say I'm surprised and pleased with how popular Reports on Gay News was too. We will be looking to incorporate both of these features in the near future.

We need to hear from you all now. What movie would you like to have as our first Movie Club feature? Throw out your suggestions and we will do a poll next week so you can vote on them. Since it's my post, I get to make the first suggestion. :) I say Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. I just recently watched it and it might be an interesting compare and contrast with Brokeback. Let's hear from you guys now.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Funky Footwear Showdown

As Pasty Stone once said ... you can never have enough shoes, hats or gloves.

It's all about the accessories, and today it's about the shoes. Specifically funky footwear. Jake's crocs was the gaunlet that was thrown and now it's time to decide who will win the funky footwear title. There we lots of contenders for the spot from the Jake's woolen clogs, to Austin's chukka boot, but two pairs have risen above all others and they are ready to go head to head.

Gardner Gonna Hunting Crocs vs. The Rain Rain Go -Go Away Boots

Let's get it on.

The Gardner Gonna Hunting Crocs

This is what happens when hunting boots meets garden clog and the result is not pretty.

The camo green molded sole and upper give a uniform look with a chunky funky sole.

Ventilated upper allows for maximum cooling, and less embarrassing odor.

Small vents allow for accessorizing -- bling, sports pins, etc.

Open back allows no only for easy access but can accommodate bulk braces when needed.

Kicky hunter safety convertible orange ankle strap can be worn back for support or up as a bold contrast.

Easy maintenance - hose off, hang up, and you're good to go.

Sleek styling unlike some high water boots (ahem)

The Rain Rain Go-Go Away Boot

When hunting boots meets Wellies with a firemen's twist.

Sleek one piece molded boot and hard sole and heel for maximum stability.

Dark body with hot red and yellow accents compliment in perfect contrast.

Yellow toe accents not only stylish but functional with extra protection for toe break through and scuffs.

High boot just makes long legs look longer.

Internal steel shank in arch for both safety and comfort.

Can been worn under jeans for subtle look, or go for bold with pants tucked in.

Which Sole Reigns? Or will all fall short of the glory of the all might Cordovan?

Now what's a Friday without a little Austy?

Happy Purim! And Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sweater Set

Today is Sweater Day, commemorating what would have been Mr. Roger's 80th birthday. Fred Rogers came into homes of children from 1968 until the early 1990's everyday, changing into his zip up cardigan (handmade for him by his mother) and his sneakers asking as he did everyday if you would be his neighbor. Mr. Rogers was so beloved that once he had his car stolen in Pittsburgh and when it was publicized what happened, the car reappear with a note that said, "if we knew it was yours, we wouldn't have taken it". Mr. Rogers was so iconic that Eddie Murphy spoofed him on Saturday Night Live in Mr. Robertson's Neighborhood. And even Eddy knew he needed a sweater.

Sweaters, Jumpers, Pullovers, Button ups, Fair Isles.....

Everyone needs a sweater, mom's remind you take one , grandma's used to make some really funky looking ones that you had to wear when she came to visit, grandpa's kept cardigans in business, Bill Cosby took on the 80's in them as Cliff Huxtable, Bridget Jone's found her Mr. Darcy while they both were wearing bad holiday ones, crew necks are de rigueur for prepster wear and Old Navy created a whole campaign around "here take my sweater".

Jake and Austin are no different. Jake loves those grandpa cardigans something fierce and can pull them off. On some days they look like he is wearing a hug when he's in them. Austin goes for the quirky prepster in his blue crew neck, and is the the boho hipster boy with his elbow sticking out from fraying holes. Recently Jake is embracing v-necks and Austin? Austin is being swallowed up by a chunkyDolce & Gabana that looks Cliff Huxtable meets George Clinton, and making it look good.

An ugly sweaters have taken a life of their own, springing up as hot new parties. Totally can imagine Austin getting into it showing up in something so hideous that only Jake would find it hot and even then that's a stretch.

Who needs the bad holiday sweater to find The One, it seems like they both have found his Darcy,without them. Now if Jake just gets Austin to appreciate how incredible cashmere ones feel. Well, maybe it'll just be a review.

The Jake we all love.
Welcome back.
We've missed that smile.

Pictures: Austin VF Italia - Austin Media and IHJ

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Great Unicorn Hunter

(Fine gotta do this, well I'm going have some fun.)
Look Reese, a Unicorn!
A Unicorn! Where? Where's the Unicorn?

Look Jake A Unicorn!
(Oh, you've gotta be kidding me)

You know it could be.
You never know where they'll show up
(She's falling for this?
What the hell is that she's point to?
Is that a flag pole and a menu board?)

Look Reese another unicorn!
(Game on!)

Well I'm making sure this time!
(Shit! Busted)

You've reach Unicorn Hotline please hold playing...
"I'm all out of love, I'm so lost with out you"

(Oh crap, keep your cool Gyllenhaal, don't break, what the hell?)

....I can't be to late say that I was so wrong...
....all Unicorn specialists are still busy.
Please continue to hold.

(What the hell is that? Is that a goat?
A poodle!!
Who would do that? How do you do that ?
Why didn't I do that to mom's poodle when I was little?)

Come on it was a joke.
I had to have some fun.
Give a guy a break.

I'm not talking to you.
You're a unicorn teaser.
It's not nice to do that to a girl.
Tell her you see a horn.

(heh heh she said horn,
ahhh yeah, she's pissed)

Wha? No! It can't be!
This can't be real. Can it?

Yes Jake ... yes it's me.
People's Choice Award winner Neil Patrick Harris.
Need someone to talk to buddy?

NPH.....'s all gonna be alright.
It's gonna be alright.

Remember to vote in the New Features Poll!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Batter Up!

Full Count (formerly Lenexa, 1 Mile) actor's Jason Wiles directorial debut and homage to growing up in Lenexa, Kansas in the late 80's come out today on DVD. A coming of age story of five friends and their last summer together, hanging out at the Parks and Rec department, playing pick up games, playing softball, drinking beer, find their friendship tested and what they thought they knew challenged.

Full count is the term used when batter is facing the last pitch of his at bat, with a count of 3 balls and 2 strikes. This last pitch will either strike him out(3 strikes), walk him (4 balls) --giving him a base (free pass) or getting a hit.

Wiles went home to film Full Count, with 25 day shoot in Lenexa, Johnson County(surrounding towns Overland Park, Shawnee, Olathe ) and Kansas City (which Lenexa is a suburb) including K in May of 2005. Even then Austin was getting notices even amongst co-stars Jason Ritter, Chris Klein and Billy Baldwin. Tony Ortega in KC's alt weekly The Pitch says... "Nichols impresses us as a young man who's going places. He played a rich, preppy bastard in The Day After Tomorrow and a rich, sporto bastard in Wimbledon. This time he's apparently going slightly against type, playing a proletarian, bar-brawling bastard in Lenexa, One Mile."

With the 80's setting Austin got another chance to rock the Midwest Morrissey look with a little a little Vanilla Ice shaved side, and tight acid washed jeans. So much better than Chris Klein's mullet, but so on target for the Midwest, sadly even today. And the for the "Oops! I forgot my shirt" contract clause, yup it's there.

Austin at premiere in KC, October 2007

Did you know?

Jason Wiles middle name is Austin.

Director of Photography David Boyd and Editor Steve Mark both worked on Deadwood.

Jason had a small part in Zodiac.

Yahoo Trailer

You Tube Trailer

Jason Wiles: Full Count/Lenexa 1 Mile

Amazon : Full Count

Lenexa Wrap Party

UPDATE: Don't Forget New Feature's Poll is still open!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Wearing of the Green

You're always after me' lucky charms.

Well they're magically delicious.

A Claddagh Ring in the future?

The hands are there for friendship,
The heart is there for love.
For loyalty throughout the year,
The crown is raised above.

The expression which was associated with these symbols in the giving of the ring was: "Let love and friendship reign."

The way that a Claddagh ring is worn on the hand is usually intended to convey the wearer's romantic availability, or lack thereof.

An Old Irish Blessing

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless you
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Happy St. Patrick's Day