Another State Added to the List: New York Votes for Marriage Equality

Tonight is another good night.  After a long week of expectations and delays, the New York Senate voted to approve same-sex marriage by a vote of 33-29.  In the Republican-controlled senate, four of those voting in favor of passage were of the majority party. 

After frequent internet checks all week, I started out the night checking tweets from various bloggers, but then went downstairs to try to find something on TV.  CNN was doing Piers Morgan re-runs, but when 8 o’clock hit, I switched of to see what Rachel Maddow was doing on MSNBC.  Of course, everyone is totally focused on the murder case in Florida, but after a bit, Rachel got off of that and started live coverage from Albany, New York.  At that point a couple of Republican senators who had previously not been committed either way gave speeches saying that they were going to vote in favor of the bill.  Then after a few delays in the procedures, the final votes were read and it was a done deal!

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who really pushed for marriage equality, will now need to sign the bill into law, after that, a 30-day wait, and the state of New York will begin executing same-sex marriage certificates.  Another good thing is that anyone can get married in New York, not just residents!

With New York now joining the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, not to mention the District of Colombia, we are starting to see the old prejudices and discrimination starting to chip away.

Update:  Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law before I had even finished my original post.  Congratulations to all those who worked so very hard to get this passed!

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Houston’s 2011 Gay Pride Festival and Parade in Just Two Weeks; Other Events Taking Place Throughout June

From the increased number of clicks onto my previous posts about Houston Gay Pride 2009 and 2010, people are once again trying to get information about this year’s events.  Living for such a long time right in the middle of Montrose, there were some years that I just skipped it all.  Now that I’ve moved out to the “burbs,” going “into town” for the festival and parade helps me feel part of the whole Montrose scene, something I don’t miss on a daily basis.  Just two weeks from today, I’ll be there with my camera, ready to be part and take part!

This year’s theme is “Live. Love. Be.”  A few of the “pre” events have already taken place; others are ongoing.  The major draws for the entire month are the festival and the parade, both of which will be held in just two weeks, on Saturday, June 25th.  The festival begins at noon in the heart of Montrose, near the corner of Montrose and Westheimer.  The parade, one of the very few such nighttime events, starts at 8:15 PM.  The parade goes down Westheimer, beginning near Woodhead.

For all the details on the Houston Gay Pride events, hit this link: http://pridehouston.org/celebration/pages/theday

Gay Pride Houston 2010

(Update: check out posts and photos of the 2010 parade here and the festival here.)

It’s that time of year again, and I can tell by clicks on posts I made about Houston Gay Pride 2009 that people are trying to find information about the 2010 events.  I don’t know why “gay” isn’t in the URL, but to find out about all that’s connected with Houston Gay Pride 2010, go to www.pridehouston.org/index.php/events.

Now that it’s June, many events are starting to happen, but the biggie will be Houston’s Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, June 26th.  The nighttime event starts at 8 PM, going down Westheimer, starting at Dunlavy and ending at Crocker, which is just a couple blocks beyond Montrose.  The theme this year is “Pride Not Prejudice”.   The Pride Festival is the same day, starting at 1 PM, right in the heart of Montrose.

Trip to the Outhouse’s Top Gay People of the Biennium: Matthew, Adam, and Annise

A lot of readers who hit my blog never even take a chance at videos that I’ve got in the Radical Vid Box.  Hey, most of the videos I’ve got in there are music vids; it just happens that the most-viewed are short gay films.  If you happen by my blog, get to know my music too.  You might be surprised.

I know it’s not much of a segue, but I have been wanting to put up a Trip To The Outhouse Top Three Gay People of . . . 2009? 2010? . . . hmm?  No, I guess since I started this blog, which will soon to be about two years ago.  That’s it . . . of the Biennium!

The three people that I put in this category are Matthew Mitcham, the Australian Olympic diver who who a gold medal in the 2008 in Beijing, Adam Lambert, the runner-up in last season’s American Idol, and Annise Parker, Houston’s own new mayor.

I admire all three of them for being successes in their own endeavors and not being afraid to live their lives openly as gay people (in the same way that straight people live their straight lives openly).  Mitcham’s boyfriend, Lachlan Fletcher, was poolside during the Australian’s now famous dive and their story has been covered far and wide.  (Here’s a good one I haven’t linked to before.)   How far Adam Lambert goes is still to be seen, but he’s a good performer, and he doesn’t back down from being who he is.  The video I’ve posted is the best thing I’ve heard from him so far.  As for Annise Parker, the effects of her election to mayor go much further than just our city.

What I really like about all these people is their success counters all the what is said by all the deniers and haters out there who want to put gay people down and somehow give the idea that because of our sexuality, gay people are losers.  But people like Matthew, Adam, and Annise show just how hollow that thinking is and give positive role models to all those young gay kids who desperately need them.

(There are previous posts about all three of these great people on the blog.  Sorry, it’s late and time for bed; let your fingers do the walking.)

A Bit of Culture Shock in the Suburbs or “I Want My Barnes & Gay-ble”

From the most recent issue of "The Advocate," contained in an article about some of the young organizers of the National Equality March. (If you're someone who doesn't agree that this about one of the most tender images you've ever seen, you'd probably better click right back to the site you were on before.)

Last night another go at the turkey I had baked over the weekend wasn’t going to be my supper, so after getting home and walking Annie, I decided to head up the road to Stripcenterolandia.

One of the benefits of living in my new (new to me) house is that I’m actually closer to all kinds of shopping than I had when I lived close to downtown.  Before, I had to drive at least 3 miles to the super market and about 10 if I wanted a megastore like Walmart or Home Depot.  Now, even though I live more than 20 miles from downtown, I have, within “spittin’ distance” at the corner of Highway 6 and 529, more shopping opportunities than I really need.  I don’t even have to cross the main intersection to get to both Home Depot and Lowe’s, and if I do decide to wait at the never-changing light to make that journey across all those lanes of traffic, there’s Target and Walmart and almost every other smaller chain retail store that one might think of.  Without crossing the corner, I can get treats for Annie at PetSmart, a new camera at Best Buy, or something to read at Barnes & Noble.

Even with all the great shopping nearby, every time I go out to buy groceries or just check out the other stores, I almost go into culture shock.  Yes, the demographics of 77084 are not the same as those of 77007.  77007 is the land of the singles and couples.  Whether straight or gay, young or old, people either come “one to a package” or at most two.  And while the two might be married, or not, kids are not usually part of the deal, even if they have some.  Most of the time the couples are young, so no kids yet, or older, empty-nesters, with the kids happily off to college or now married with offlings of their own.

Not so in the land of 77084.  Can you say f-a-m-l-i-e-s?  So it’s kids dancing in the canned goods aisles of the HEB, kids punching at Dad outside the McDonald’s, kids begging for something they want anywhere and everywhere.

OK.  It’s not that I didn’t expect that.  I just didn’t expect it in such a big way.  I just miss all my single people and my coupled people, my without-kids people, who had some sense of my existence and my space when waiting in the check-out line, who, even though they may not have spoken a word to me, make me feel that I wasn’t  alone.  (However, I love my house, and living in 77084, I can afford this house.  If this house were in 77007, I couldn’t touch it.  I’m just whining to be whining on a cold night.)

Last night, after polishing off my Angus burger, I decided to hit the strip with PetSmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble.  At least, at PetSmart, there’s a bit of kinship with the other petlovers.  The Best Buy is typical, stocked with all the electronic gadgets.I thought it would be great to have a Barnes & Noble Bookstore down the road.  Finally, I stopped in at Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble has always been a retreat for me, no matter whether it was the store near where I lived or one in a city that I was just passing through.  Last night, I thought I’d buy a 50% calendar with the gift card I had been given for Christmas.  I remembered looking at the selection when everything was full price and hadn’t been tempted by anything, and the reduced price didn’t help with the selection. I browsed through the books, but nothing lured me either.  What does this store have the biggest selections of? All kinds of stuff for home schooling and aisle after aisle of religious stuff.  The gay and lesbian section is housed on two bottom shelves, but as I looked closely there were fewer than ten gay books, the rest were definitely lesbian.  I faired no better in the magazine section.  The really don’t want people to browse the magazines in this store; their selection is all stuffed together on four stands directly at the front of the store, and whoever is in charge of the magazines needs a short course in organization.  I couldn’t find any gay magazines; likewise, there were hardly any of the typical soft-core skin magazines for straight men like other bookstores usually have.  Maybe the person who decides on which magazines this store will stock is the same person who fills half the store with religious materials.  This is beyond culture shock!

My little evening outing reminded me that I still hadn’t changed my address for my Advocate and Out subscriptions.  Today I found out that it’s very hard to do online.  After much searching, I changed tactics and found the numbers in the magazines themselves.  It’s easy to do.  A real person answers the phone, and because they are published by the same company, if you change your address for one, your address is automatically changed for the other (as I found out with my second call).  So for anyone who wants to change your address for The Advocate or Out magazines, call one of these numbers: (800) 792-2760 or (800) 827-0561.

I’ll probably go back to this Barnes & Noble.  Maybe ordering some gay books and picking them up at the store will get them to add to their selection.  Maybe I can shock their culture a little bit.

Houston’s Mayoral Inauguration Day Brings Along Prayer and Protestors

Annise Parker, Houston's newly inaugarated mayor

Downtown Houston’s Wortham Center was the site for the public inauguration ceremonies of Mayor Annise Parker as well as city council members and other newly-elected officials on Monday, January 4th.  One of the Houston Chronicle’s political writers blogged the event.   Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. and the largest with an openly gay mayor.   Mayor Parker was the winner of a December 12th run-off election.  (Watch the new mayor’s inaugural speech here.)

A big surprise for me is that giving the prayer for the inauguration was Joel Osteen of Houston’s mega Lakewood Church, which is now housed in the building that was the previous arena for the Houston Rockets of the NBA (the Summit, later called Compaq Center).  I put this in almost the same category as Rick Warren giving the convocation at President Obama’s inauguration just a year ago.  It was only a couple of months ago when Osteen appeared on The View and said, “. . . homosexuality is not God’s best.”   If Osteen doesn’t think Annise Parker is one of God’s best, why did he consent to give the prayer at her inauguration?   Also why was he picked to speak by those doing the planning?

Osteen has a big draw in Houston, and I know some gay people that go to Lakewood.  I also know gay Catholics and gay Mormons.  I don’t know why gay people would want to belong to a church whose leader doesn’t think they are God’s best.  I also don’t know why gay people want to belong to any church that keeps hammering them down.

Speaking of hammering, some of the Phelps clan from Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church are in town to protest Annise Parker’s inauguration.  However, the Phelpses aren’t one-stop shoppers when it comes to hating;  according to their website (the name of which is such a pejorative that I would not deign to give them the satisfaction of writing it), they are making a 2-day trip of it  in order to picket a wide spectrum of venues, which include among others, the Co-cathedral downtown, the Holocaust Museum, the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish school, and even Osteen’s own Lakewood Church.

Watch part of the ceremonies at the Wortham Theater:

(Click on Home for other posts on Annise Parker’s election.)

Annise Parker Officially Sworn In as Houston’s Mayor

It's official! Annise Parker is now the mayor of Houston.The cutline in the Houston Chronicle reads: "Mayor Annise Parker gets sworn in with her grandparents’ Bible, shown being held by Parker's partner, Kathy Hubbard, on Saturday. State District Judge Steven Kirkland administers the oath." (Photo by Jenny Antill)

Annise Parker became Houston’s mayor on Saturday (Jan. 2nd) as she was officially sworn in with her partner Kathy Hubbard at her side.  There will be a public inauguration on Monday.  After all the publicity surrounding the new mayor’s sexuality during the recent run-off election and after her win, the quiet ceremony indicates how serious and business-like Houston’s new top official will take her responsibilities.  Read the Chronicle‘s article here.