The World's New Gay State

For Gays Everywhere, it’s a “Blue Hawaii”

There’s little to cheer about when it comes to Gay life in paradise.

It’s official.  After decades of battling for Gay equality, Hawaii can be written off.  This is especially poignant, after years of deluding myself into thinking Hawaii was different.  Last night, the announcement was made that Gov. Linda Lingle , a Republican, would not permit the passage of same-sex civil unions in her state, on the grounds it would be too similar to traditional marriage.

Many of you can remember as I do, that Hawaii was the first state to have it’s legislature, more than a decade ago, meet to  consider domestic partnerships and civil unions, at a time when no other state had even approached the debate in a serious way.  In the end, whether through lack of political will or courage, the government left the fate and freedom of an entire people, in the hands of the voting populace.  An overwhelming 60+ percent of the voters struck down the measure.  When, I wonder, will collective human consciousness acknowledge this atrocity and make it right?  If the federal government of the 1960’s had left the fate and freedom of African-Americans in the hands of the general voters, where would the USA be with it’s human and  civil rights record?  If the fate and freedom of millions of African-Americans was not left in the hands of the voters, then why is the fate and freedom of millions of Gay-Americans approached differently?

I am very familiar with the Pacific cultures.  Generally, as a regional group, they are socially conservative and place profound importance  on family bonds and children.  In many Pacific nations, the very existence of Gays is outlawed and can result in harsh criminal penalties.

Many Hawaiians like to refer to themselves as “cosmopolitan.”  It is a reference to a varied ethnic and ancestral heritage.  It’s not uncommon to meet someone, who may to an untrained eye, simply be considered or referred to as an “islander,” when in fact, very few people have any traces of Hawaiian in their bloodline.  They may be part Samoan, Filipina, Chinese, German and English but by birth in the US, also be American.  And as I mentioned earlier, Hawaii remains the only state in the USA where Caucasian European-Americans form only a minority of the population.  They do not however, live the lives of a typically oppressed minority.  Their power comes more from a base in finances than any other aspect of life.

So why, after all of these years, is Hawaii still impotent in delivering the basic right to its people?  The answer is, as is often the case, based in religion.

As the clock ticked away for the Governor to make her decision, thousands of religiously inclined gathered to let their numbers be known.  They didn’t protest, they didn’t display any hostility.  They simply stood in silence.  Some sang hymnals, while reaching upwards towards the Heavens, while every one of them wore white shirts with badges saying “iVote.”  The implication of course, is that politicians will face the wrath of the pious if they allow the pro-gay civil unions bill to pass.

So yes, Hawaii has a long tradition of religion.  For the many years I kept a home in Hawaii, I had thought to myself thousands of times and openly expressed it nearly as often, that the missionaries that settled into Hawaii a little more than a century ago, have successfully made a colossal mess of things.  They tainted the culture and its effects remain to this day.

I have to wonder how Gov. Lingle can sleep at night.  The first duty in justice and democracy is to care for those who live their lives on the margins.  The majority of Hawaiians had nothing to lose in this fight.  Those who will suffer in her inaction will continue to be denied the freedoms of the majority.  The message in Hawaii is loud and clear — Gays are NOT free and equal citizens in Hawaii.  They can gather as they wish in their private homes, but don’t expect proper society to openly acknowledge they have a place at the human table.  Their relationships and the human desire to have a family will not be recognized as valid.

The message is Homosexuals can exist in Hawaii and even prosper to some extent, but no more than their Heterosexual masters are inclined to allow them.  The “Cavalcade of Disappointment” has just made another stop and this time, it was in Hawaii.  Earlier this year it was Maine and before that, New York.

I no longer conceal my contempt for our oppressors as if it’s a mere disagreement.  No.  It’s much worse than that.  These evil-doers are only the latest perpetrators in a very long history of shunning, belittling and discriminating against my people and our very rights to freedom, liberty, democracy and equality.  Another generation of our Gay family is ostracized  from fully participating in the human experience.  How many more Gays will die never having felt the joy of acceptance?  Of belonging?  And participating without hiding behind closed curtains not even a sad, distant and haunting memory? 

The irony is the shame falls squarely on the non-Gay majority.  May God have mercy on Governor Lingle and her soul.  I wonder when we are gone, who will they subject to their injustices?  When we are living in peace and equality – and enjoying far more liberty “over there” than was ever possible in Hawaii, we will not look back wistfully, for we’ll know what we left behind was inhumane and unworthy of our people.

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Nellie’s and “The Land Of Confusion.”

Posted in FIGS Party, Gay independence, Gay State Promotions, GLIFAA, LGBT Politics, The Gay State by thegaystateblog on June 25, 2010

The other night, upon settling into my Washington DC quarters,  I went for a stroll around the neighborhood.  It was a hot, balmy night and Foggy Bottom was at its best.  I walked all the way up to DuPont Circle where I bumped into an old friend at the Starbucks.  We caught up on the current of each other’s lives and before long, jumped into a cab together and went over to Nellie’s Sports Bar.

I’m not giving away any secrets here, so there’s no need to worry.  Once or twice a month GLIFAA meets at Nellie’s.  GLIFAA stands for Gay and Lesbian In Foreign Affairs Agencies.  GLIFAA members are usually with the State Department but they do attract many admirers.  And over the years many other groups within the LGBT community have made Nellie’s their “third place.”  Anyone and everyone who is Gay and with the CIA, NSA, embassies and intelligence communities and even Capitol Hill types also gather at Nellie’s for something more that your run-of-the-mill mixing, mingling and camaraderie.  I’ve been a regular for longer than I can remember, but I’ve been away from Washington more often than I’ve been in town as of late, so it was wonderful to be back.  I urge you to check it out, if only for fun.  You might just meet a man who could kill you with his thumb.  You might meet a secret agent, a double agent or a real life Bond.  If you’re a Jock, you’ll definitely find yourself feeling right at home.

If you’ve never been to Nellie’s don’t judge it by this.  The music is a perfect mix of new and old.  And as I was getting ready to leave, on the screen was one of those classic music videos from the 80’s.  Probably half of the customers in Nellie’s on this night probably weren’t yet born when Phil Collins and Genesis performed “The Land of Confusion.”  The video featured these creepy puppets resembling all of the international players in politics and pop culture  during the Reagan years.  Hugh Hefner and the Pope.  Reagan and Thatcher.  Michael Jackson and a cast of a hundred others.  It certainly captured the mood of the culture at the time.  And in many ways, for all of the scrambling and diversions, little has changed and only in small ways has the world improved.  We should be entitled to expect so much more for the state of humankind in the world. 

Here is the link to see the Genesis version of “The Land Of Confusion.”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZtWABLuWHo&feature=related

In the 80’s just as all throughout the history of military science, troops are trained to be fearless, to persevere and to be willing to march off a cliff if doing so benefits a greater good.  Troops in the early 80’s sang cadence proclaiming they would be dead by the summer of ’85.  It probably steeled them to the potential inevitable.  Anyway, some of the older agents watch this video and reminisce.  Fast forward to 2010 when a heavy metal band (debatable – if my 10-year-old niece likes them) named Disturbance does a remake of “The Land Of Confusion.”  Watch this and compare it to the original.  It seems much darker and menacing, with one rag-tag superhero.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6KXgjLqSTg&feature=related

The lyrics go something like this:

I must have dreamed a thousand dreams and haunted by a million screams.

But I can hear the marching feet, of moving into the street.

Now did you read the news today, they say that danger’s on our way,

But I can see the fires still alight, and burning into the night.

Well there’s too many men, there’s too many people, making too many problems and not much love to go ‘round.

Can’t you see this is the land of confusion?

This is the world we live in and these are the hands we’re given,

You’ll never let us stop trying to make this a place worth fighting for.

Now Superman, where are you now?  It seems everything’s gone wrong somehow.  The “Men of Steel,” “The Men of Power” are losing control by the hour.

This is the time.  This is the place.  So we look to the future and there’s not much love to go around.  Tell me why this is the land of confusion?

This is the world we live in and these are the hands we’re given.  You’ll never let us stop trying, to make this a place worth living in!

Remember so long ago when the sun was shining.  And the skies were bright all through the night and the sound of your laughter as I held you tight.

So long ago…

I won’t be coming home tonight.  My generation will put it right.  We’re not just making promises – you know – we’ll never keep.

There’s too many men, there’s too many people, making too many problems and there’s not much love to go around.  Can’t you see this is the land of confusion!

This is the world we live in and these are the hands we’re given.  You’ll never let us stop trying to make this a place worth fighting for.

This is the world we live in and these are the hands we’re given.  STAND UP and let’s start SHOWING just where our lives are going to!

Music certainly has the power to move us and jar loose some long forgotten memories.  Tonight has been a wonderful indulgence for me between the meetings of the ALA Conference.  It’s very late, the sun will be up in a few hours and I’ll be due back at the convention center.  I hope you are well.  Goodnight and remember, make it a world worth living in.

Gayle King To Interview Barbra Streisand, Legendary Actress, Singer, And Director For “Opening Night” Keynote At Bookexpo America On May 25, 2010, 6:00 – 7:00 P.M.

Posted in Book Distribution, Gay independence, Gay State Promotions by thegaystateblog on May 23, 2010

5/19/2010 |

Norwalk, CT, May 19, 2010:  Gayle King, Editor-at-Large of O, The Oprah Magazine, will interview Barbra Streisand at BookExpo America (BEA), North America’s largest annual gathering of book industry professionals. Ms. Streisand’s appearance for the Opening Night Keynote Reception will be held on May 25, 2010 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.   Ms. King will talk with the famous actress, singer and director about her upcoming first book, My Passion for Design, to be published by Viking on November 16, 2010. 

Ms. King is a noted journalist and celebrity who, in addition to her role at O, The Oprah Magazine, is also a special correspondent for both The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America, as well as the host for The Gayle King Show, a national radio show on Oprah & Friends XM Satellite Network.

“This year’s Opening Night Keynote will be a standout event in BEA history,” notes Steven Rosato, Event Director for BookExpo America. “We are enormously fortunate to have Barbra Streisand and Gayle King on stage for a one-on-one conversation. This rare and very special occasion will be an unforgettable experience for everyone in the audience.”
An Emmy award-winning broadcaster, Gayle King began her media career in Baltimore, followed by Kansas City and Hartford. Now, as Editor-at-Large at O, The Oprah Magazine, she has helped guide its editorial and creative vision since its inception in 1999.

The Opening Night Keynote with Barbra Streisand is an “all convention” event and is open to all BEA badge members BUT a free ticket to the event must be picked up at a designated kiosk area upon arrival at BEA in order to gain admittance.  No one will be admitted without a ticket.  Special instructions about ticketing and queuing are available at the BEA web site.

BookExpo America will take place Tuesday, May 25 – Thursday, May 27 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.  It is an exclusive convention for book industry members only.  BEA officials are expecting thousands of professionals to be on hand for the Opening Night Keynote Reception.

For more information about BEA, please visit www.bookexpoamerica.com and connect with BEA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

BookExpo America (BEA) is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals attracting an international audience. It is organized with the support of association partners including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA).  BEA is recognized for the media attention it brings to upcoming books as well as for the notable authors it attracts to the convention itself.