An Experiment in Optimism – My Hope for the LGBT* Community and the Olympic Games

Last week I was originally going to post a very negative and rant filled blog. Luckily I have a  girlfriend who reminded me that this blog (for the most part) is to be a positive space for LGBT* aid/ development /government / non-profit workers. I’ll write criticism when it’s due, but I will do my best to focus on the good, or try to find the good in the rubble.

We all know the negative aspects surrounding the upcoming winter games in Sochi, Russia. I’m going to try to write my first (of several) posts about the Olympics as positively as possible. I don’t have rose-colored glasses on, but I feel like ignoring  possible outcomes that would be favorable to the LGBT* diminishes the ideals of the Olympics are supposed to be.

So this is going to be my idealistic hope for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi:

  • I hope that everyone is safe throughout the games.
  • I hope that there are some great LGBT* athletic moments – heart warming and medal winning.
  • I hope that ignorant minds are changed. That people can see a gay Olympian as a hard-working athlete that deserves honor and respect. And if that person deserves respect, maybe everyone in the LGBT* community should be awarded the same.
  • I hope that Obama not going and by sending a LGBT* filled envoy sets a positive precedence in the United States and Russia.
  • I hope LGBT* Olympians get on cereal boxes and on Subway commercials.
  • I hope that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans* kids all over the world can see out athletes and know they aren’t alone.
  • I hope these kids also will feel empowered and inspired to become an Olympian, or work towards making a difference in their local and global communities.

The Olympics should be about visibility, world unity, and hope.

I hope that EVERYONE can experience these things in the upcoming weeks.

The Non- Profit Master List for the LGBT* Community

I am going to start creating a Master List of resources for humanitarians. Finding LGBT*-specific material is very difficult to come by, so if you have any I will add it to the ever growing list!







Glenn Beck …. LGBT* Hero….?


Here it goes….

I have to congratulate Glenn Beck.

Seriously, I know.

I never thought this day would come. For those who haven’t seen what’ I’m referring to:

From what I read about his stance, thoughts are inspired by his  libertarian ideology, ( I’m not even going to touch how I feel about libertarians, call me if you want me to rant at you for hours.) and I oddly agree with his logic. He accurately connected the treatment of the LGBT* community to a scenario that could lead to Holocaust scenarios. Respectively and passionately.

I definitely have my negative biases towards the Fox news style of “journalism”. But I have to give credit where credit is due. All eyes are on Russia, and will be for months. And many LGBT* celebrities have voiced their outrage and protest. Which is extremely and undeniably important. But, at least it certain circles, I think that Glenn Beck’s vocal chastisement of Putin and the Russian government will be more impactful on the American people.

Should it be that way? Definitely and without a doubt NO. Allies are important but LGBT* activists should be in the forefront… but it’s Glenn Beck. He’s a household name, that a lot of people pay attention to and agree with. In this case, like many others, influence is influence. And he is actually exemplifying what it means to be an ally and straight activist.

While we wait for more LGBT* members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and queer individuals with large political clout, strangely we have to look at Glenn Beck for a shinning example of how to maneuver the queer international politics.


Hetero-facism…….. I don’t even know.


Even If They Are Assholes: Do You Have the Right to Out People?

Warning: This post is full of conflicted feelings and was written in a stream of consciousness fashion. I don’t apologize.

Like I mentioned last week –  visibility is important. However, when journalist Italy Hodd basically outed Rep. Schock (R-IL), I couldn’t help but feel uneasy. Yes, Schock is a raging homophobe, his political history pretty much sums it up:

  • Schock voted against adding sexual orientation to the already-existing hate crimes law.
  • Schock opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • Schock opposes the repeal of DOMA.
  • Schock is against gay marriage; and
  • Schock is for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would add language to the US Constitution banning gay marriage and likely striking down every gay rights law and ordinance in the country.

Some of the arguments supporting outing him I find ridiculous and nonsensical. The America Blog states:

Now, one could argue that being gay can bring with it scorn and prejudice, thus the newly-outed gay person could be harmed by the revelation about their sexual orientation.  But don’t blacks and Jews and Latinos face scorn and prejudice?  A reporter wouldn’t hide any of those features of a congressional candidate, so why hide the fact that he’s gay?

If people don’t want the gay rights movement compared to racial and ethnic equality movements, then we shouldn’t use the same logic as a way to out people. Racial oppression and queer oppression are two separate entities. And if one more person compares being LGBT* to having red hair, I will run screaming into the night.

Obviously I don’t want a self hating gay to be in a position to continuously oppress me, but outing him doesn’t make any past differences, or change that he’s a douche. Yes, he is in the public eye, and in turn has an obligation to not play into the terrible notion that being gay is something that is shameful. Does the revenge of outing him equal out his past transgressions? A lot of people are saying yes, but I’m not so sure.

Being out not in the public eye can be difficult. My non-profit is definitely not even close to being a household name, but that would ultimately be the goal. Do I have an obligation to out myself then (I would actually want an answer to this)? Should we shame Sally Ride for coming out posthumously because she wanted to protect her organization?

I wouldn’t want to be outed because someone views me as technically being hypocritical by working in anti-gay country. Yes I’m not actively working on anti-gay policies, but I am working within a system of government that actively oppresses LGBT* individuals. Someone could easily argue that my hypocrisy should be ‘outed’. I definitely do not compare my work to Schock’s work in Congress. But it could be if one was so motivated.

I don’t have a clear definite feeling of Right or Wrong when it comes to this topic. Some days I have thought ‘Just out the bastard’ while other days I have been more concerned about the societal implications of free-range outing ‘famous’ people, whether they are homophobic or not. I guess the closest thing to a  reasonable conclusion would be:

Outing a famous person is never an obligation, nor should be avoided it at all costs. It is an opportunity that comes with a great deal of responsibility attached. Dragging someone through the mud because they are gay is just as bad as the person hiding ones orientation as something shameful.

Making someone’s sexual orientation into a national pariah story should not be the goal- positive visibility  should be.

Why Visibility Matters: Why Robin Roberts is Awesome and A+E Sucks

I hate entertainment news.

A lot.

I don’t care about 99% of the dribble that the American (meaning USA) media passes off as something I need to know or care about. See: Duck Dynasty.

I just don’t care. I mean I care that some ass-hat is getting paid by an hypocritical TV company. Maybe saying that I’m not surprised is more accurate than not caring. Homophobic douche-nozzles are a dime a dozen, and TV channels who talk out of both sides of their mouth are the same.

Which is why I thinking that people coming out should still be news. Robin Roberts coming out this past weekend was extremely important. There is a case for wanting coming out to be “non-news”. And I agree with that, if we didn’t live in a world with Phil Robertsons and companies wanting to profit off of them. Don Lemon stated in perfectly:

Lemon said he was “afraid of people like Phil Robertson who claim to love everyone while simultaneously thinking that everyone’s love is unequal.” Lemon expressed hope that in Roberts’ case, “empowerment will quickly replace fear,” and concluded that if people like Robertson have their rights and those rights should be celebrated, then openly gay anchors like Lemon and Roberts “should be celebrated as well,” and “that’s why it’s still important to come out and say, very simply, ‘I’m gay.’”

We still live in a society where companies and organizations preach tolerance while benefiting off of known bigots.  We still live in a world where LGBT* people are the punchline. In most parts of the world, it’s not safe to be out of the closet. Until people stop getting discriminated against or killed on an institutional level, we need nigh profile individuals to announce their queerness to the world.

Visibility is important. especially in news casting, especially with a show that millions of people watch. We need more Robin Roberts.

I am aware that talking about visibility makes me a hypocrite. I don’t feel comfortable outing myself on this site. I hope to, some day, stand up and be who I am openly and honestly – and do the work that I love. Until then, I look to people like Robin Roberts, Don Lemon, and Billie Jean King for inspiration.

With them, I can see a world where I can be gay and a humanitarian without fear or consequence.