- January 2023
Many afternoons I stop in at Bank of America to make deposits for the small company I work for. Today's visit came with a show.
Drive-throughs being a rare commodity these days, I walked into a BoA branch in north Seattle that I've patronized many times. As usual, there was only one teller, so I stood in the poky line.
Suddenly shouts came from the cubicle area. A white woman was yelling at the temporary bank manager who'd apparently been helping her. He was a slightly built man of indeterminate race with an advanced fashion sense. At first I couldn't make her words out, then I heard, "I'd hate to dress like you do! I'd be embarrassed!"
This from a person in old-school gray sweatpants.
"I'm a businesswoman!" she bellowed. "Are you gay?!" she demanded.
The manager, trying to get her out of his cubicle, kept his voice low, but he answered, "Yes I am."
"You should kill yourself!" she yelled. "I hate gays! I hate Blacks, and spics," and some others I couldn't hear. By now I got a good look at her, and saw a face that suggested mental illness. This wasn't simply a hater, so I abandoned my impulse to stand in queer solidarity with the manager. Getting her out of the building was clearly what mattered.
He succeeded, after she ranted some more, and we in line remarked to each other on the unexpected excitement.
When I reached the teller, she told me that they're trained to deal with such events. I talked to the security guard outside, who said he's there to stop bank robberies, and it's the bank employees who are tasked with handling unruly customers.
Those employees aren't paid enough. And after enduring that homophobic spectacle, neither am I.
- October 2022
LGBTQ Nation reports that, over the weekend, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke at a Donald Trump rally in Michigan, and delivered a homophobic dig.
As everyone knows, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is openly gay. Greene declared, "Democrats like Pete Buttigieg want to emasculate the way we drive and force all of you to rely on electric vehicles after they shut down your great Michigan auto industry."
She gushed over "the roar of a V8 engine under the hood of a Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro and incredible feel of all that horsepower."
Greene's husband is divorcing the firebrand, and I can't help thinking this is a woman who's worried about where her next feel of horsepower is coming from.
- August 2022
Image by Dari Oberholster from Pixabay
In Grand Island, Neb., the school year ended with a bang. Make that a stomp.
The final issue of the year of the Northwest High School student newspaper, the Viking Saga, included a story on how Pride month came to be, and an editorial opposing Florida's Don't Say Gay law. Three days later, school administrators shut down the 54-year-old publication. Though officials aren't being transparent about the reason, one school district employee wrote in an email that it was "because the school board and superintendent are unhappy with the last issue's editorial content."
These Nebraska officials feel as warmly toward a free press as Vladimir Putin.
The local newspaper, The Grand Island Independent, is doggedly pursuing the story. It ran a photo of two of the Viking Saga's former staffers, one of whom is transgender, holding a Progress Pride flag outside their high school.
That picture and the saga of the Saga underscored for me that, no matter how heavy-handed Nebraska school administrators—and Florida legislators—get these days, they've already lost. If queer youth, supported by allies, are out in rural America, they won't go back.
The genie is out of the bottle. And he's fabulous.
The officials, on the other hand, are putzes.
Image: Atlas Obscura
Atlanta police are looking for the man who spray-painted swastikas this week on the city's rainbow-painted crosswalks.
Could the spray paint be hair dye? Rudy Giuliani found himself in Atlanta this week . . .
Cartoon by Benjamin Slyngstad
- July 2022
- June 2022
Image by Paul Henri Degrande from Pixabay
In Saudi Arabia, the government is chasing rainbows.
The Saudi Commerce Ministry recently posted a video on Twitter showing its employees in stores, hot on the trail of rainbow-hued clothes and toys.
The government says rainbow colors evoke the Pride flag and promote homosexuality in children.
That is, of course, exactly how a gay person is created. Hand a three-year-old boy a rainbow teddy bear and rest assured that by 10 he'll be sewing it Joan Crawford's waitress outfit from "Mildred Pierce."
The Commerce Ministry's super sleuths comb through stores, seizing and confiscating "products that contain symbols and signs that call for aberration and contradict correct nature," according to the Twitter post. Retail establishments caught with aberration-pushing hats and backpacks are penalized.
A TV reporter followed some of these courageous hunters of rainbows through what appears to be a mall in the capital city of Riyadh. Everything they took from a store sat in a pile on the floor, a sad rainbow mound. "It indirectly promotes homosexuality," a ministry official declared of one item, while a voice-over decreed the toys "are nothing but poisoned messages that target the innocence of children."
If Saudi officials believe that playing with a rainbow fidget toy will make a child homosexual, do they believe playing Chinese checkers on a hexagram-shaped board will make a child Jewish?
Today is the sixth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre. Yesterday authorities found 31 Patriot Front members crowded into a U-Haul near a Pride event in Idaho.
Some LGBTQ folks will understandably argue that we should start packing heat. But I still believe it's only lesbians who should be packing, and that has nothing to do with guns.
- April 2022
I need you to tell me if I'm being too sensitive.
It feels like something has shifted in women's basketball. Over the last couple of years, I've noticed an affinity, especially among Black college players, for wearing false eyelashes on the court. During the NCAA tournament, Champion repeatedly ran an ad featuring empowered and sensual young female athletes, the leader of whom didn't have nails so much as lacquered talons. Yesterday during the WNBA draft, the announcers gushed over players being fashion plates.
It's enough to make a curmudgeonly lesbian suspicious. And nauseous.
Is homophobia at the root of this push to feminize players? Are young athletes feeling the need to scream they're not dykes? Or is there just a whole lot of self-expression going on, and I'm too jaundiced to see it?
Help me. I've jumped to a conclusion and I can't get down.
- March 2022
A recent display of both stupidity and bigotry made national news, and I'm not talking about the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The owners of a dog named Fezco dumped him at a shelter in Stanly County, N.C. Fezco had humped a male dog, so the owners thought he was gay.
Where to start?
The owners plainly didn't know that mounting is a dominance behavior among dogs. What they did know is they were appalled at the idea of having a homosexual dog.
I'm fighting the impulse to say these people are too stupid to live. Obviously, I just lost the fight.
When ignorance and prejudice combine, humans often get hurt, but in this case the victim was a five-year-old mutt.
With heartworm. It turned out the owners had, apparently, never taken the dog to the vet.
I'll put you out of your misery right now: This tale has a tail-wagging conclusion.
Longtime partners Steve Nichols and John Winn of the greater Charlotte area saw Fezco's story on TV, and promptly adopted him. They renamed him Oscar for—uh huh—Oscar Wilde. Sounds to me like a big gay raspberry blown at the previous owners.
Oscar was immediately scheduled for neutering and heartworm treatment at an animal hospital, but is expected to be in his new home at the end of the week.
"I know it’s silly to think that a dog is gay, but if he wants to be gay as hell, he can be gay here," said Nichols.
One more straight mess cleaned up by gays. I think it's time to start bestowing medals.
We get it, Senator Cornyn; you're still mad at gay marriage for taking away none of your rights.
The Moscow Times, an English-language newspaper out of Russia, posted this startling headline yesterday: "Russian Church Leader Appears to Blame Gay Pride Parades for Ukraine War."
Uh huh. And COVID-19 is all Tinky Winky's fault.
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