Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New York gets it right: Separate but equal is not the American way

Let's celebrate the passage of gay marriage in New York for the wonderful advancement in civil rights that it is. Let's thank NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo for being the champion of this cause. Let's recognize Rosie O'Donnell's hard-working brother, NY Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, for sponsoring the legislation. And let's also offer a very special congratulations to the lovely lesbians in Manhattan who are displaying their rings beside the historic front page of June 25th edition of The New York Times.

Now, let's also urge President Obama to recognize that he cannot be a true advocate for equal rights if he continues to oppose gay marriage. President Obama says his views are "evolving," and he recently has stated support for civil unions. While I appreciate that he is making some progress toward promoting equal rights for all American citizens, I am baffled that he cannot see how he is essentially promoting a "separate but equal" policy. As we know, the US Supreme Court in 1954 determined that this country cannot have separate but equal treatment of American citizens because separate is, in the words of the court, "inherently unequal" and a violation of the Constitution.

Let me offer yet another perspective on how far behind President Obama is in his reluctant and late support of civil unions: Republican candidate for president Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah fought for civil unions in his state TWO YEARS AGO. And our Democratic president is just getting there now? And in sentiment only; he has sent no bill to Congress. Mr. President, it's time to move ahead of Republicans in your position on gay rights. Support equality. Support gay marriage. It's the American way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gertrude Stein is in the house

I'm sensing Gertrude Stein in the zeitgeist. There is a new book "Seeing Gertrude Stein" (University of California Press) and a show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. In conjunction, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will have programming celebrating Stein's immeasurable influence in the arts. Also, Stein is portrayed by the wonderful Kathy Bates in Woody Allen's new film, Midnight in Paris. And, since lesbians still often don't get recognized without some negative comment, a misguided writer in The New York Times Style Magazine recently referred to Stein as a "matronly frump" who has surprisingly turned into a style icon. Describing Gertrude Stein as a "matronly frump" is like calling Andy Warhol a homely virgin. It is so not the point. If that's all you can see about a genius whose influence in the arts is extraordinary, then you are really not qualified to comment. The rest of us can celebrate Stein, as SG did at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her portrait by Picasso usually hangs. But currently it's in the show in San Francisco. At least one of Stein's trademark waistcoats will also be on display.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is this the real life? It's a boorish fantasy.

There are other lesbian websites providing extended witty recaps of the first episode of Season Two of "The Real L Word," which aired on Showtime last Sunday night. But I will strive for brevity. In the spirit of Dorothy Parker, I could just say, "I fwowed up." But I will elaborate. The show is terrible. Just terrible. It makes LA lesbians look grimy and inarticulate. Their behavior is boorish and depressing. As one writer at Autostraddle advises: "Watch this show like it’s a mockumentary and it’s actually really fucking funny." Indeed, I never thought I would say this, but Season One was better. I did not realize how good we had it with Tracy & Stamie and Jill & Nikki. At least those women seemed like reasonably educated people who practiced basic courtesy and hygiene. Okay, you could say, hey, don't watch the show if you don't like it. True. But, as I said at one particularly low point during the viewing at our house, "I feel like I'm monitoring this show rather than watching it." And that is because Ilene Chaiken is an important contributor to lesbian culture. Whether or not you like "The L Word" and its offspring, "The Real L Word," you must admit that whatever she does will make a significant contribution to how the world sees us and how we see ourselves.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Send a little love to our friends in Japan

It's easy to give a donation to help those suffering in Japan. Just text the phrase REDCROSS to 90999 on your mobile phone, and you'll give $10 to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Or, you can go to Lady Gaga's online store and order a "We Pray for Japan" wristband. It costs $5 and all proceeds go directly to relief efforts in Japan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pantsuit Madness

Yes, it's March, and you know what that means. An important, if unofficial, competition is underway on the nation's basketball courts. The lady coaches are going head-to-head with their sideline sartorial skills. It's Pantsuit Madness!!!

In all seriousness, I do want to talk about this. And celebrate it. Not just because I happen to find these women rather sexy. But because there is basically nowhere else in the mass media where you will find such a concentration of strong, confident women striding around, giving orders, and wearing butch pantsuits.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that all basketball coaches in pantsuits are lesbians. But many of them are. And, as far I can see, only one of them is out—Portland State's Sherri Murrell, at left. The rest are closeted because we all know that, despite the heaps of lesbians in women's athletics, homophobia in college sports is rampant and vicious.

Professor Pat Griffin, an expert on the topic, wrote on her LGBT sport blog, "Of course, there are lesbians coaching Division 1 basketball teams. Even though they are closeted, everyone knows they are there." ESPN magazine also recently published an article on the problem. "Some women's college basketball coaches use subtle vocabulary to 'dis' certain programs. But there's no polite way to say this: Their homophobia is polluting the recruiting trail," the article said. Incredibly, it also touched on the topic of anti-gay recruiting being used against legendary coach Pat Summit, who, it must be said, in addition to being the NCAA's winningest basketball coach ever, male or female, is a masterful wearer of the pantsuit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lady Mary

I'm afraid I'm too busy to muster up much, but, speaking of Downton Abbey, this photo of Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, is worth a great deal of study. Also, Lady Mary looking rather butch with top hat and intensity. And Lady Mary with a teacup full of quiet desperation. If you can spare 3 minutes, you should watch this video of Lady Mary — it has a sound track of Juice Newton's Angel of the Morning, which, honestly, makes it very special.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lesbian guide to snow removal

Considering the fact that I am now an expert on snow removal, I feel qualified to offer these guidelines. In addition to the approximately 56 snow storms I've lived through this winter, I also have years of experience in the northern climes, including a childhood in New Hampshire (where they know how to clear the roads, if not adequately fund public education).

The Lesbian Guide to Snow Removal:
1. The lesbian in the house should lavish praise on the lesbian who is outside busting her ass.
2. Proper gloves should be worn. Not the fancy green leather gloves, which will leave an unsightly stain on the fingers once the wetness has soaked through, which it will.
3. Pancakes or some other type of hot breakfast should await the lesbian who is outside busting her ass.
4. Keep a box of Kleenex near the door. Even if you are one of those girls who knows how to blow her nose into the snowbank, you should not do that.
5. The first order of business should be to clear a path for the dog, who does not want to step in snow deeper than 1/18 of an inch.
6. The rarely worn baseball cap that you consider kind of stiff and dorky (a la Dad's style) but is big enough to fit over a knit cap and protect from falling snow may elicit a surprise compliment from the neighborhood hip-hop guy who passes by. When this occurs you may realize you look a little like Turtle from Entourage.
7. If you have a snow blower, you should name her and refer to her using feminine pronouns. "Alice B. Toklas" or "Mary Cheney" are good choices.
8. Choose appropriate topics to discuss with your shoveling neighbors, who will tend to be male. FYI, "My feet are cold," is a conversation stopper.
9. Pause occasionally to look up at the sky.
10. When you come inside, stomp your heavy, dyke-style boots in a ceremonial ritual to signal the completion of snow removal and the commencement of hot breakfast.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let's take a moment to appreciate Elizabeth McGovern

Speaking of Downton Abbey, we should take a moment to appreciate Elizabeth McGovern. In Downton Abbey, the wildly popular British television series, McGovern plays the wealthy American mistress of an English great house in the early 20th century. The series is currently airing in the US on PBS's Masterpiece, which means I have been enjoying Maggie Smith deliver such memorable lines as, "What is a 'weekend'?" But back to Elizabeth McGovern, who is all sidelong glances, squinting inquisitions, and breathy understatement. "We will discuss that later," she says of her daughter's behavior as a corpse lay scandalously on her daughter's bed. She is fabulous in this production. And the hats! Also, I think it's worth appreciating McGovern's history in queer roles, including Moira, the underground lesbian rebel, in the film version of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and Ellen Doubleday, Daphne du Maurier's intense and flirty but ultimately unrequited love interest (her publisher's elegant wife) in Daphne.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You are going to love Jayne Dooe

If you need a little lift today, check out Jayne Dooe singing "Hell Yeah I'm Gay." Just look at her smile! That is a beautiful smile. Jayne Dooe is a politically aware LA-based hip hop artist. I admit I'm not much of a hip hop fan, but this is a song everyone will love. "I just wanna be me/Last time I checked this country was free." The video is pure joy. (And you can buy the song on iTunes.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Profusion of chefbians

Our girl Tiffani Faison is doing well in the current season of Top Chef All Stars, but she apparently is fresh out of a job in Boston. The Boston Globe reported this morning that Tiffani's employer, Rocca, in Boston's South End, has closed. Tiffani said she plans to stay in Boston and hopes to run her own restaurant. Book me for a reservation! This is a good opportunity to review the profusion of lesbians and queer women on Top Chef. By my count, there have been at least six in the show's eight seasons. Due to this prevalence, the gals at AfterEllen coined the term "chefbian." Likewise, the site recognized the pervasiveness and called for a new rule banning "annoying, whiny lesbians who complain about everything." What? We don't whine! We don't complain about everything! Okay, maybe sometimes we do. But only when the patriarchy deserves it! Anyhoo, the sexy chefbians are pictured above, from left: Josie Smith-Malave, Ashley Merriman (my favorite because she is a NH native and just so adorable), Jamie Lauren (#scallops), Tiffani Faison, Lisa Fernandes, and Preeti Mistry. BTW, if the gals at spent more time with lesbians, they would know that Sara (of Tegan and Sara) is spelled sans "h."