Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year! But...

Could 2014 possibly be any better than 2013 for same-sex marriage?  Well, of course.  And there are lots of other states to win and many more issues for the LGBT community.  Still DOMA destroyed and Prop 8 overturned and UTAH, friggin' Utah.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bishop Burke, Fashionista, Removed from Important Post

Maybe you have read this story about Burke's membership in a group that helps select new bishops not being renewed, but here's an LGBT-friendly POV.  This guy is the antithesis of the Pope's desire to move away from obsession with culture wars and pomposity.  Hey I love some nice vestments but wait until you see more of this billowing cappa magna and the other stuff in Bishop Burke's closet!

Wow, that's a bride of... Satan? (hear Church-lady)

Affordable Care

The GOP has brought repeal of ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) to a vote in congress more than 40 times.  But what would appeal really mean to many Americans?  Take a minute to see watch this video. As Americans shouldn't we be helping to make sure that every American has affordable care? And if you are paying more because of ObamaCare, who do you think pays for those who are forced to use emergency rooms and immediate care facilities for primary care who don't have insurance?


This is my favorite from 38 Test Answers that are Totally Wrong But Still Genius.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Hobibit: Part 2

This was a favorite book to read aloud to my 3rd graders.  I know some will think it too mature and complex. I spent time answering questions, explaining, recapping to make sure the listeners could follow the story.  I started teaching in a time when teacher had some flexabilty to bring their own passions to their classrooms. The exposure to great literature and rich vocabulary was a worthwhile investment of 15-20 minutes a day. I have heard from many former students who loved the story. One told me he could not find the beautifully illustrated version I read from for his daughter.  I sent him my copy.

My first problem with the film was that I could never recommend it for a third-grader.  I am archaic, I know, but that much violence is just not appropriate for that age. The book has battles, characters die, but no heads are hacked off.

As a Tolkien aficionado, not a fan, the story changes did bother me.  It was Jackson's faithfulness to the Lord of The Rings that made it not only great cinema, but like seeing and old friend on he screen.  With the Hobbit I had to let go of the book to thoroughly enjoy the movie. That being said, I did.

Got Gold?
One reviewer used the term hyper-realism to explain how completely immersed in another reality the viewer is.  Attention to detail has never been so thoroughly executed.  Generally I pass on 3-D, but I am glad I saw this with my polarized glasses in place.  3-D was used much as I remember Avatar, to pul the viewer in, not push the picture our.  We saw in Sony Digital 3-D and at times the picture was too crisp, almost video in quality. I guess that's the new standard, but it seems less warm.

Stretching this story across 3 films seems motivated by nothing but greed.  There are unnecessarily long Rube Goldberg scenes and dialogue that is tedious.

I wish that Jackson had made one Hobbit movie and put his considerable talents to work on another project.  I still and glad that he did make (is making) The Hobbit and I will see part 3.   I will alos take out my Blu-ray copies of The Lord of the Ring and watch Jackson at his best.

Can We Make Someone Care about LGBT Issues?

I am just finishing 2 3-year terms on the NEA SOGI committee.  Posting a picture from the meeting on Facebook with the full name of the group, The National Education Association Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification, I received a thought provoking comment.  Essentially it said, "A group of people trying to make themselves feel important sitting around talking about gender?  As far as I know there are only 2, perhaps neuter."  This is a paraphrase.  I deleted the comment without saving it. To the the comment author, a gay man, I sent a note explaining that members of the team, including me, found this "offensive and ill-informed."

The fact that one of the largest unions in the country, dealing with shaping the future of education in the U.S., cares enough to gather a group of allies and LGBT members is a great thing.  I can tell you that the people I worked with there gather not to self-aggrandize, but to push the limits of NEA's support for these issues.  Most of them have multiple leadership roles which make them incredibly important already.  The most important thing they do is teach, and they do it well.

It is easy for those of us who live in progressive states to imagine that the problems for LGBT students are disappearing (though that is quite a leap).  That is not the case in less progressive places. Tennessee's legislature is attempting to ban any discussion by teachers of sexuality that is not heteronormative. It is referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" bill. They also want to require counsellors to report confidential disclosures by students that they are gay or questioning their sexuality to their parents.

What I found ill-informed in the comment was the simplistic view of gender, one I shared for many years.  Working with various groups, attending many conferences,  and most importantly, meeting transgender people, I have a completely different understanding of this issue. Just recently a friend share the story of an uncle who was born inter-sex and was assigned male gender at birth. He lived his life as a man for 62 years. Then the estrogen kicked in. Losing all body hair and developing breasts, doctors discovered that she has complete female "plumbing" and is now living life as a woman.

For LGBT gender nonconforming students the statistics for the abuse abuse from their peers is clear.  More frightening is that more than half of theres abuses are reported to adults and only half of those reports result in any action against their abusers.

In offline discussion with the comment poster mentioned above he made the statement, "You can't make people care."  In my experience that is true with most strangers to whom I speak.  But when I speak to people who already care about me it's a different story.  You can make someone who cares about you, care about the issues that affect you.

In my work with Believe Out Loud workshops, a program supported by Integrity USA, the Episcopalian LGBT advocacy group, and it's grantors, we focus on this point.  LGBTQI folks need to tell their stories to the people that care about them.  This is now change occurs.

If you or someone you know is not "out," this year, consider giving or suggesting they give an amazing gift this Christmas. Give the gift of the real you.