Archive | March, 2011


30 Mar

Newt Gingrich, your fifteen minutes were up more than ten years ago. And besides, it’s not 1960 anymore, much less 2004.

Gingrich, who has a long habit of opening his mouth, has yet to even officially announce his candidacy for President, but that hasn’t stopped him from engaging in a thoroughly numbing and uninformed media blitz.

When asked what he would do as President to “slow the homosexual agenda”, Gingrich earlier this week made vague allusions to being “pro-classical Christianity” and how important it is to “protect the rights of conscience,” which is somehow being infringed upon in a society that’s growing more and more welcoming of equal rights.

This is nothing new. We’ve heard this before, and it’s getting painfully old, Newt.

When speaking out against opponents of Proposition 8 after the 2008 election, Newt said: “I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.”

Simultaneously paying lip service to evangelicals and playing the outdated fear mongering card, Newt has seemingly forgotten he is living in the 21st century.

And while I wish I were kidding, Newt’s ignorant and backwards ideology is offensive and demeaning and has no place in today’s political landscape.

The thrice married Newt even manages to eloquently talk about the threat of America becoming “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.”

Killing two birds with one stone. Logic be damned!

But when you’re a man who uses your own country as a scapegoat for your infidelities, logic doesn’t really apply to you, does it?

Time’s up, Toady. Turn the page.

Serving More than Coffee & Happiness

28 Mar

Starbucks raised eyebrows in 2005 when they began publishing famous quotes on coffee cups as part of its “The Way I See It” campaign. Among those were Armistead Maupin, whose Tales of the Series profiled San Francisco’s homosexual community during the 1970s and 80s. “My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long,” Maupin said. “I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short.”

Social responsibility has long been at the forefront of the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. Starbucks for years has been an ally and supporter of the community through diversity hiring programs and charitable donations. Their Starbucks Pride Alliance Partner Network works to “effect positive change and increase awareness of the LGBT community within Starbucks” and create an “equitable, dynamic, and supportive environment for LGBT partners, allies and customers.”

Their support for gay pride parades also extends into the workplace, where employees have the option of wearing a “Starbucks Pride” t-shirt while on the job. The Human Rights Campaign has repeatedly listed Starbucks among its Best Places to Work, having received a 100% Corporate Equality Index. Its non-discrimination policies are impressive, listing sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class. Benefits offered to same-sex partners are equal to those offered to opposite-sex partners, even offering short-term leave following surgical procedures and mental health counseling for its transgender employees.

Starbucks’ most enduring legacy may be its partnership with Product Red, a campaign formed in 2006 to help raise awareness and funds to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Beginning during the 2008 holiday season, Starbucks donated 5 cents of every holiday-themed drink sold to Project Red, raising enough money to provide AIDS medicine to 3,800 people for one year. Their involvement has continued ever since, and as recently as World AIDS Day on December 1, 2010, Starbucks donated 5 cents of every drink to Project Red.

Starbucks’ continued activism and philanthropy has helped raise millions of dollars for charity and invaluable awareness for a community it doesn’t take for granted. Starbucks remains a compassionate business, and in contrast to corporations such as Target and Chick-Fil-A, that’s something we can all feel good about.

So the next time you reach for your morning cup of joe or afternoon wake-me-up, you’re not only helping yourself, you’re supporting an ally.

YouTube Sunday: Love is Love is Love

27 Mar

Dear World, It’s okay to be gay. Sincerely, America

25 Mar

The Obama administration this week took a significant step in becoming a global leader on gay rights.

Joining 85 countries, the U.S. condemned discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

U.S. ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe urged the UN and other states to take action. “Human rights are the inalienable right of every person, no matter who they are or who they love,” Donahoe said. “The U.S. government is firmly committed to supporting the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear and violence.”

By defining sexual orientation as a basic human right, the Obama administration has once again placed America in an important leadership position. Last week, while on a tour of South America, President Obama announced the creation of a government position to help monitor gay rights in the West.

Predictably, Obama’s continued historic push towards equality has not gone unnoticed by those on the other side. “While American forces bomb away at Libya, the Obama administration is launching another global offensive: Operation International Tolerance,” the Family Research Council said in a statement.

There’s that “tolerant” word again. Am I missing something? Why is this such a bad word?

According to the Family Research Council, countries should have the right to discriminate against gays. And of course, why not? “Our global neighbors have the freedom to believe that homosexuality is wrong – just as they have the freedom to legislate against any behavior they think is harmful to society. That freedom – and their very sovereignty – would be threatened by this effort.”

I suppose in their world, that whole ‘you can’t legislate morality’ is another assault on their fickle freedoms?

In the meantime, we count ourselves as fortunate to have a President who says, ‘Hey world, it’s okay to be gay.’

In Memorium

23 Mar

“Give. Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow.”

We pause today to remember a truly remarkable talent. Elizabeth Taylor, whose unparalleled beauty made her a Hollywood fixture for much of her life, has passed away at the age of 79.

Though she will undoubtedly be remembered for her show-stopping performances and a personal life marked by glamor and controversy, Elizabeth will also be remembered for her remarkable off-screen humanitarian work.

A tireless supporter of the LGBT community and a fierce AIDS advocate, Taylor established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991 and has helped raise more than $50 million worldwide.

“It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.”

Taylor was for years a visible fixture in the gay community. She was a friend, an ally, and one of the last remaining icons of a Hollywood long gone.

Taylor used her larger-than-life star power for unquestionable good. As the movie roles became fewer and fewer, Taylor selflessly dedicated her life to a noble and tragic cause. She was the epitome of elegance and classic beauty, a one-of-a-kind starlet who lived in the spotlight for more than a generation. Yet underneath all the glitz and glamor, Taylor was – like all of us – a human being. A kind soul dedicated to making the world a better place and spreading a ray of sunshine for all to aspire to.

You leave us today, but your activism and unique spirit will not soon be forgotten.

One last time, here’s to you Dame Elizabeth. Thank you.

“I hope with all of my heart that in some way I have made a difference in the lives of people with AIDS. I want that to be my legacy. Better that than for the mole on my cheek.”