30.3.12

"Why do gay people always have to tell people that they are gay?" -- a challenge for the straight folks!

 I can't even tell you how many times I have heard people (usually straight men) say things like "I don't have a problem with gays as long as they don't flaunt it"....or "why do you have to TELL people your gay...cant you just keep it quiet?"  This article takes a funny yet poignant view at how illogical these statements by posing a challenge to all you heterosexuals out there......and I'll just be that you couldn't last for more than ten minutes!  


Take a look....



How many times have you heard that question asked? It seems like at least one homophobe (usually male) per week will ask the question. They'll dress it up in a call for modesty: "no one needs to know about your sex life!" I have tried repeatedly to get these people to see that being gay is not merely a sexual distinction, but a social distinction. I tried to get them to see how socially awkward the world is when people don't know you are gay.
I try to show them multitude of ways that they themselves "flaunt" their sexuality. Whether if that's through holding hands in public with their opposite sex life partner, or showing off photos of said life partner to nearly everyone they meet, or any number of social markers straight people use to identify their sexual orientation, or maybe just the general heterosexual privilege of presumption that so many of them enjoy. None of this works. This post is my last ditch effort to reach these people. It's in the form of a challenge.
The easiest version of this challenge takes no more than a couple hours of just about any straight man's time. This is an experiment where the straight person will become the sexual minority. This is my first challenge: Go ALONE to a gay bar where no one knows you. Spend one two hours there. Don't tell anyone there that you are straight. If you last the two hours without telling one person in the bar that you are straight, you pass the first challenge. Congratulations. At this point it doesn't seem you "flaunt your heterosexuality in anyone's face."
On to challenge two.
This challenge will take ninety days of your life, but it is the REAL test as to whether you could exist as a sexual minority who was so modest that he (or she) could go through life without "flaunting" your sexual orientation.
This test will only work if you are NOT a famous person. If you are not a famous person please proceed with the challenge.
In this challenge you are to live 90 days as you want gay people to live their whole lives: so "modestly" that you never tell anyone your sexual orientation, never let on that you are a straight person. I'm not telling you to live a lie, you can have all the straight sex you want. That is, after all, all heterosexuality is about, right?
In this challenge you will move to a gayborhood, like maybe the Castro, West Hollywood, or Chelsea. You will vanquish all vestiges of your heterosexuality, no wives or kids (if you are a man or vice versa if you are a woman), no pictures of your wife, girlfriend, or fiance, no marriage certificates, or wedding rings. If you have a woman stay overnight, make sure you make a nice palate on the floor to explain where this woman slept in case someone comes over and finds you did anything as superfluous as... (you know). You may not do anything as ridiculous as flaunt your sexuality by telling anyone you meet there that you are straight. "No one needs to know your bedroom habits." You are the sexual minority here, keep your place by being discreet.
Also, remember, since no one will think you are straight don't feel put off if you tell your new gay friends that you have a lady friend visiting you and they think it's nothing serious and invite themselves to spend some time with you while they discuss the new Adam Lambert CD with you (after all, she's just a woman, that makes her your Judy not your fuck partner). You have to be patient as a sexual minority, so just suck it up and wait till another day to get that alone time with your lady friend.
Your challenge is to live like this for 90 days make it to the end without revealing your sexual orientation (or having someone do it for you) or without being a nervous wreck means you win, and now, and only now do you have the right to challenge LGBT people why they "always feel the need to come out."
Thank you.
Edit: Thanks for the Rec List.  Also, thanks to Milk Men and Women, and Angry Gays for the Republish

Originally posted to RfrancisR on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 01:58 PM PST.


Call me a Faggot

The terms "faggot," "dyke," and "tranny" are just as important to identifying our queer communities as "gay," "lesbian," and "transgender." It's convenient to just dismiss these words as hate terms. We've been preconditioned to anticipate abusive blows and expect hateful shouts from homophobic people, but we also have a choice in the words that we use to understand ourselves. And mostly, we think, we don't want to hear these words, even from someone we know. But, we are these people.
We are faggots. We are dykes. We are trannies. One of the most important things we can do is stop thinking of these as disgraceful and start thinking about how these words can encompass queer identities that orientation labels like "gay," "lesbian," and "transgender" can't cover.
Yes, we must extend empathy and compassion to those still hurt by these words, but that doesn't mean we can't also embrace these terms as a process of healing for others. Don't shake your head and tell me I'm just rehearsing "the N-word argument," where reclaiming a hurtful word leads to empowerment and resistance. I embrace words like "faggot," "dyke," or "tranny" because they are not just slurs; they are descriptors. They illustrate ways of moving through the world. They portray real people, beautiful people.
LGBT people are really good at shaping vocabularies and visual representations of our communities. For instance, certain trans folks embrace their self-representation as a "tranny" while cringing at the label "cross-dresser." A lot of lesbians think the term "lesbian" is embarrassing; they just want to be dykes. A "gay man" is a pretty broad term, reflecting everything from leather daddies to bears to twinks. Whatever words we use to describe ourselves, our individual self-representation should be respected as integral to our identity.
Just speaking to a "gay," "lesbian," or "transgender" experience denies the converging moments and impact gender and sexuality have on our lives. Men get called a "faggot" when they are perceived as effeminate, regardless of their actual sexual orientation. It is not just about effeminacy, of course, as even the butchest guy gets called this when he doesn't act like his straight peers or when others challenge his masculinity.
Some people use these words to keep us in check, reminding us that there are consequences when we step outside the box. But when I'm called a faggot, it usually means I'm doing something right; I feel rewarded. It's not enough for me to operate with an identity that states, "I like men." I need an identity that also states, "I like me." That's why being perceived as a faggot is personal.
Some LGBT people want to refute these labels to separate us from the pain. We are used to being perceived as societal victims and are scared of who we might become. Of course we don't want straight people using these words, but not because we don't use them or even consider them "wrong." I want to challenge the idea that only certain members of a certain community can use these words. It's too easy an argument. If someone is called a faggot by their straight relatives or despised as one by a gay person, the intention to hurt and silence is still the same.
I hope it's clear by now that I'm addressing a primarily queer audience: those who identify and connect with LGBT communities. As important as these conversations are, we don't have enough conversations with each other about LGBT representation and accountability in public spaces and forums. I won't agree that we should placate our youth with self-soothing messages of "It Gets Better," while people in our communities with wisdom, financial capabilities, and social power complain to students that they now "have it better" in schools, or yell at street kids in their gayborhoods to "make it better" for themselves.
I'm concerned with the way we embrace our communal responsibility and personal accountability. The facts are going to stay the same, but I'm proposing that we reverse the way we remember these words in our lives. Obviously we can't forget the pain these words have caused us, but, as queer people, I think we have a lot to gain by embracing our resiliency as survivors.
There are real moments of sadness, hate, and violence attached to these words. I choose to both embrace these histories and allow these words to empower my daily existence. I don't need my identities and labels to only reflect a desaturated vibrancy of all I've lived through and who I really am. I refuse to accept that just because a word should hurt, that it can hurt.

29.3.12

Lord Laurence Olivier - His Possible Hidden Life

Vintage Hunk: Laurence Olivier


Laurence Olivier, a.k.a. Sir Laurence, a.k.a. Lord Olivier, is mostly remembered by fans today as the aging "great actor" of movies and stage. Many people consider him the finest actor of his time. (He wasn't. Fellow Brit Ralph Richardson of The Heiress fame was a finer, more versatile actor and did it without Olivier's matinee idol looks.)
But back in the day, Olivier was a true movie heartthrob; anybody who sees Wuthering Heights or Rebecca will see one of the sexiest men in films. That Olivier preferred the stage and character roles is a tribute to his artistic ambitions but he still leaves behind a film career that truly qualifies him for hunk status.
Perhaps we should have called this weekly chapter Sir Hunk.
 Laurence Olivier was born in 1907 in Surrey, England. His father was an Anglican priest, and from this austere upbringing it is surprising that the young Olivier appeared in school productions regularly in his youth. Joining the Birmingham Rep Company in 1926 was the beginning of Olivier's rise to stardom. His 1930s stage work revealed an actor of almost unlimited abilities. Although he disdained the movies he did make a few British films including Fire Over England in 1937. It was on this film that he and co-star Vivien Leigh began their momentous relationship. Both were married to other spouses and each had a child, but once the two gorgeous actors became involved nothing else mattered.
Laurence Olivier3 In 1938 director William Wyler convinced Olivier to come to Hollywood to star as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights opposite Merle Oberon as Cathy. This vivid romantic drama from Emily Bronte's classic novel was a smash hit and made Laurence Olivier a box office matinee idol. Leigh (who had declined the secondary role in Wuthering Heights) came to Hollywood to visit her lover and ended up being cast as Scarlett O'Hara in the epic Gone with the Wind. Both Olivier and Leigh were nominated for Best Actor and Actress of 1939. She won, he didn't. But the couple finally obtained divorces and were married August 31, 1940, cementing their status as "The Royal Couple." The only people who attended the secret ceremony were Katharine Hepburn and playwright/director Garson Kanin.
Although World War II was raging in Europe, Olivier and Leigh were persuaded to stay in Hollywood to help bolster support for Britain in a still-neutral America. Olivier made three films that cemented his stature as both a fine actor and a sexy movie star. Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson and Rebecca with Joan Fontaine were two of the best movies released in 1940. Olivier was perfect as the snooty Mr. Darcy in Pride, and equally moving as Max de Winter in Hitchcock's great film Rebecca, which won the Oscar as best film of the year.
Laurence Olivier1 After a disastrous Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet, Olivier and Leigh made the stirring war movie That Hamilton Woman with Olivier as Horatio Nelson and Leigh as Emma Hamilton. This thinly veiled propaganda film was not only Winston Churchill's favorite film but it helped fuel U.S. support for Britain during their fight against the Nazis.
Olivier and Leigh finally returned to England where he joined the Royal Air Force and she appeared in a number of well-received plays performed during these desperate, bomb-filled days.
Olivier the actor became Olivier the film director when he made the fantastically successful Henry V and later Hamlet. He won the 1948 Oscar as Best Actor and the film won Best Picture. More importantly, Olivier was forging a staggering career on the British stage playing almost all the classic roles. In 1947 he was knighted, and Lord and Lady Olivier were the toast of the entertainment world. This culminated in their greatest joint triumph when he directed her on stage in A Streetcar Named Desire. This led to her getting the plum film role and winning the Oscar in 1951 for Best Actress.
Laurence Olivier5 On the surface Oliver and Leigh were the Golden Couple. Behind the scenes it was a different story as Leigh's mental problems and violent outbursts were sowing the seeds for the eventual destruction of their marriage. But there were still a number of sparkling theatrical successes for both of them. Their 1951 Broadway productions of Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra and Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra were total triumphs.
As the 1950s wore on, Olivier's stage career flourished and Leigh's mental decline reached its nadir when she had a total breakdown making Elephant Walk in Ceylon, Sri Lanka. Officially divorced in 1960, the Oliviers had already begun seeing other people. He eventually married actress Joan Plowright and had three more children. Leigh, however, would die in 1967 from tuberculosis; she was only 53 years old.
The rest of Laurence Olivier's life would be filled with stage, film and TV work of various merit. (Olivier subtly coming on to his slave Tony Curtis in Spartacus is a gem!) His health was also not good during these later years and he died in 1989 at age 82.
Laurence Olivier has left a permanent film record of his beauty and brilliance. While we have very little of his lauded stage work, we do have those four films made in 1939-1941 that truly show Olivier as a gorgeous, talented actor.

For most of his adult life, Lord Olivier was dogged by rumours that he enjoyed the company of both women and men.
Even after his death, tales of his colourful private life continue to overshadow his legacy.
Details of an alleged homosexual affair in the 1930s with the actor Henry Ainley resurfaced in a biography published last year and were said to have infuriated some of his family.
There were also suggestions that he had an affair with the Hollywood star Danny Kaye. Further allegations of a lengthy affair were made by Sarah Miles, his co-star in Lady Caroline Lamb and Term of Trial.
Olivier died in 1989, aged 82, after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. Now for the first time, his widow Dame Joan Plowright has confronted those rumours - and refused to deny they are true.
Instead, she excuses him, saying such geniuses as Olivier are 'normally attended by demons'. Seventy-four-year-old Dame Joan - who married Olivier in 1961 and had three children with him - was challenged about his alleged homosexuality on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs yesterday.
She replied: "I don't think there is any need to defend his memory. His performances, his greatness as an artist are there.
"If a man is touched by genius he is not an ordinary person. He does not lead an ordinary life. He has extremes of behaviour which you understand and you just find a way not to be swept overboard by his demons.
"Such men are also normally attended by demons. And he would fight to overcome those demons. Sometimes he would and sometimes he wouldn't."
Dame Joan said that during their 28 years of marriage she learned to 'stand apart' from Olivier as a way of dealing with his darker moments.
The couple met while appearing at London's Royal Court theatre in 1957. Olivier, who was still married to Vivien Leigh, wrote later of the instant attraction between them.
But in her interview with Sue Lawley - the broadcaster's last for the programme - Dame Joan disputed this. The volatility of Leigh, whose life was blighted by manic depression, at first thwarted their relationship, she said.
"We waited, because you didn't want to force someone with that affliction into doing something violent, which could have been possible," she said.
"She changed her mind rather a lot, which was difficult. She would agree to a divorce one day and then change her mind the next."

Pre Hays Code Gay Hollywood


A Glimpse of Gay History


 
“I am prepared to believe that the sense in romance of those of our brothers and sisters who incline towards love of their own sex is heightened to a more blazing pitch than in those who think of themselves as normal.” - Lord Laurence Olivier


Circa 1940


Gays and lesbians have been around since the dawn of time, but many of us only think of same-gender couples in a post-Stonewall world. It's almost as if they couldn't possibly exist in public before that era and stayed hidden in the shadows—the two women "friends" who (sadly) never married so they lived together, or the rich man and his attaché who kept to themselves in that big house down the block.

A tribute to all the men and women who were brave back then and who helped to pave the way to freedom....









First Gay Kiss on Film -1927 "Wings"


Wings (1927)
WHO KISSES WHO?: A male soldier kisses his dying friend.

WHAT'S THE REST OF THE FILM ABOUT?: Jack and David are rivals over the lovely Sylvia Lewis. When they enlist as WWI fighter pilots, they become friends—tragedy ensues.

WHY IS THE KISS SO HOT?: "The climax of the story comes with the epic Battle of Saint-Mihiel. David is shot down and presumed dead. However, he survives the crash, steals a German biplane, and heads for the Allied lines. By a tragic stroke of bad luck, Jack, who is bent on avenging his friend, spots the German plane and shoots David down. When Jack lands to check on the wreckage, he becomes distraught and places a lingering kiss on the mouth of his friend just before he dies."

LOVE PECK: Wings is the only silent film to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture.





23.3.12

Blog Questions.....what do you want to see?

This blog has now reached nearly a quarter of a million people worldwide.  I would love some feedback!  What do you like the most?  The least?  What do you want to see more of?  What would you like to see that I haven't written about? 

Fill me in....don't hold back!

RuPaul's Drag Race Rule Breaker: The Day After!


 
Like many of you, I was shocked Monday night when, on RuPaul's Drag Race, Ru announced that one of the contestants, Willam Belli, had broken the rules and was being disqualified from the competition. (That's right. I love TV. Deal with it.)
Oddly enough, I had scheduled an interview with Willam last week, before the bomb dropped, for a second installment of my HuffPost blog "Queer Celebrities Need Love, Too," but after watching the show I decided to throw out all those questions.
My chat with Willam from yesterday (the day after all the drama) is below.
Hey, Willam. Tough night, huh? What happened, girl?
Well, I checked the Internet to find out why I was disqualified, and this is what my NancyDruPaul skills could come up with:
  1. I was on heroin, and that's how I was able to be so calm when Phi Phi yelled at me.
  2. I went out drinking the night before, and that's why I vomited onstage.
  3. My favorite reason: I was on hormones to become a woman, and they found out during the lie-detector test -- 'cause you can obviously see how delicate I've become, with all my soft features and this friggin' man jaw.
  4. I apparently slept with Pit Crew Jason, because he's in my new "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)" video.
  5. I enjoyed the Internet, or went shopping, or had sex with cast or crew.
The Internet thinks you've been really busy! Good times. You didn't look very surprised when the announcement that you were being asked to leave the show was made. Had you been told in advance of the taping, or did you find out onstage?
Well, I was the one who admitted to the producers without prodding that I broke rules -- multiple times, in fact. I wasn't caught doing anything. One of the days just happened to be on a duet challenge, so I knew that it would be a going-down-in-a-blaze-of-glory moment should they choose to act on it (and they did). I'm glad they let me sing, though, because Latrice and I were the best, and her being partnerless in a duets challenge would've been weird. How about this: I'll tell the world exactly what I did when I win the NewNowNext Award for Most Addictive Reality Star. I'll announce it right up onstage. So go vote, or else the world may never know (cue ominous music).
Deal! Honesty is a pain in the ass sometimes. Good work, though. Better to out yourself than be outed. I do love a drag queen who can plug, as well. Speaking of drag queens, had you not been eliminated, who would your biggest competition have been for that final spot?
Jiggly Caliente.
Riiight. Well, who are you rooting for now?
Michelle Visage (#hausofvisage).
Way to plead the fifth creatively, love. How are people taking the news so far? I'm sure you're getting blasted with questions.
The news is good! But it is nice to know my solo works got almost as much attention as my disqualification just 24 hours before. "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)" was posted by HuffPost and lots of other mainstream media outlets, based on the fact that it's a current issue and it's truly a protest song. Granted, it's not like some "we shall overcome" shit, but it does have a message that I think is lacking in my generation of gays, about speaking up more, activism, and volunteer efforts. I do not need a 90-year-old Baptist billionaire judging who I get with when his spicy chicken sandwich gave me the bubble guts for two days.
Yeah, down with Church of Christ mall chicken! I couldn't agree with you more about wanting our generation of queers to rise up and make the world a better place. Thank you for messaging that out! Overall, are you glad you decided to do the show?
Yes. Of Course.
That's good to hear! I'm glad you did the show, too. We were rooting for you at my house. What are you up to now?
I'm working on a video with Chi Chi LaRue for "Trouble," my dance single, and prepping to shoot a film all about the '90s porn scene, Joey Stefano, and Chi Chi LaRue in Los Angeles. The writer, Chad Darnell, is in the process of securing funding now, and I'll be playing porn legend Geoffrey Karen Dior, with Missi Pyle (recently seen in The Artist) as Sharon Kane. I'm also appearing in Neighborhood Watch this summer, opposite Ben Stiller and Billy Crudrup, July 27.
I love Chi Chi! Condragulations! Sounds busy! If you could change one thing about your time competing, what would it be?
I would have liked a stand-up comedy challenge.
Who was your favorite judge, dear?
I can't pick one. Kelly for telling me to "fuck off" because of my body, and Pauley Perrette for co-signing the accolades. BillyB and Santino for their candor. Cassandra Peterson and Pam for even bringing their iconography into the same room as us. Ross Matthews and Loretta were everything. Loretta dished on her understudy for Dreamgirls back in the day on a break, and it's not printable, but she's hilarious. RuPaul is, of course, my fave if it came down to it. Michelle was a tough critic, but it always was clear it was coming from the right place. She's the biggest supporter of all queens.
I think you are hilarious, and I wish you all the best, Willam. Anything you'd like to leave us with?
"Trouble," my dance single, is now available on iTunes, along with "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)" and "The Vagina Song." You know, it's weird. I played hookers on television shows for all those years, and now I'm pimping myself. Lateral move, much?
Well played, queen. Well played.

My Reaction to Dismissal of Counseling Student....



First of all I want to say that I think that it was justified to remove her from the program.  I also want to say that I agree with the University's decision to pursue action.  I do not, however, agree with the logic that was used. They use the term "gay affirming counseling," and "homosexual lifestyle." 

I am going to get up on my soapbox for a bit....

First of all homosexuality is not a "lifestyle choice" any more than heterosexuality is a lifestyle choice.  To me, that term is illogical. Being gay is not a choice. When a person hits puberty sexual attraction starts and hormones and brain chemistry dictate to whom an individual with be attracted to.  The only choice here is made by nature and genetics.

 MRI functional scan studies have been done that show a difference in brain function between heterosexual and homosexual clients.  There is a functional difference demonstrated in those studies (Lindstrom et al, 2008). This would indicate to me that there is a biological basis for sexual orientation.  It would be as logical as saying you choose to have blue eyes, or you choose to be black, or you choose to have natural blonde hair.

Now lets take that bit of information and put it to use in this example.  If this counselor said that she did not agree with the blue eyed lifestyle and refused to treat a client because they had blue eyes, how ridiculous would that seem?

I think that it is very sad that it should even have to be a debate in this day and age.  A friend of mine who is an academic has an original copy of the Encylopedia Brittanica from the mid 1800's.  I leafed through it one day because I find it  interesting to see how the world has changed and how political views have changed since then.  Upon my exploration I came across the entry for African American (or in those days the very crude term used for African American) and I was in absolute shock about what the entry had to say.  It spanned four pages and went on to explain how black people were substandard in every way, including intelligence and how that they were savages who's sole drive was food and sex.  It was totally full of political propaganda and just horrid!  This was and still is a respected reference for academia.  Its not like it was some rag magazine that no one took seriously.  People looked at this book to learn information which they thought was correct. 

Today , this would have NEVER made it to print and I am sure that a major law suit would have occurred had it even been considered for publication!  People would read this today, as I did, and realize how ludicrous it was to think that way. My whole point to bringing this up is to show that we are not really thinking any differently than they did back then when it comes to the gay issue.  We are taking away rights based on a biased stereotype coming from a lot of political influence.  Someday, hopefully, future generations will look back at our time period and be just as shocked and amazed at how we thought about things.

Now, back to the subject at hand.  I think it is ridiculous to allow any professional to refuse service to someone because they are gay.  Refusal because of orientation is ridiculous and illogical based on what I have presented above. It saddens me to see that in 2012 we still haven't figured ourselves out and this sort of behavior  still goes on.


References:
Lindstrom, P. (2008). PET and MRI show differences in cerebral asymmetry and functional connectivity between homo- and heterosexual subjects. Neuroscience, 105(27), 9403–9408.

22.3.12

Judge Upholds Dismissal of Counseling Student Who Balked at Treating Gay Clients



Federal Judge Upholds Dismissal of Counseling Student Who Balked at Treating Gay Clients

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Eastern Michigan University by a student who was kicked out of its graduate program in school counseling last year for refusing, on religious grounds, to affirm homosexual behavior in serving clients.
In an order granting summary judgment to the university on Monday, Judge George Caram Steeh of the U.S. District Court in Detroit held that the university's requirement that the student be willing to serve people who are homosexual was reasonable, and did not amount to an infringement of the Christian student's constitutional rights to free speech and free expression of religion.
The university "had a right and duty to enforce compliance" with professional ethics rules barring counselors from being intolerant or engaging in discrimination, and no reasonable person could conclude that a counseling program's requirement that students comply with such rules "conveys a message endorsing or disapproving of religion," Judge Steeh wrote.
The Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers that is helping to represent the student, Julea Ward, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it plans to appeal the judge's decision.
"Christian students shouldn't be expelled for holding to and abiding by their beliefs," said David French, a senior counsel for the group, which helped out in a similar lawsuit filed against Augusta State University, in Georgia, this month.
Ms. Ward, who entered the Eastern Michigan program in 2006 in hopes of becoming a high-school counselor, had not been disciplined in any way for expressing her views, in classroom discussions or in written course work, that homosexuality was morally wrong. In fact, she had received A's in all of her classes, the judge's summary of her case said.
Her opposition to homosexuality got her into trouble, however, when she enrolled last year in a practicum course that involved counseling real clients in a university-operated clinic. When she encountered a client who wanted to be treated for depression—but previously had been counseled about a homosexual relationship—she asked her faculty supervisor whether she could refer the client to another counselor, explaining that her religious views precluded her from doing anything to affirm the client's homosexual behavior.
To maintain accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the program that Ms. Ward was in is required to familiarize its students with the ethics codes set forth by the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association. In refusing to affirm the homosexual behavior of clients, Ms. Ward was accused of violating various provisions of the groups' ethics codes, including prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and an American Counseling Association rule holding that its members should not demonstrate "an inability to tolerate different points of view."
The faculty members overseeing the counseling program offered Ms. Ward three options—voluntarily leaving the counseling program, completing a remediation plan intended to change her thinking about the issue, or requesting a formal hearing. She opted for the hearing, which was held in March 2009 by a panel consisting of five faculty members and a student representative.
At the hearing, Ms. Ward said she refused to affirm any behavior that "goes against what the Bible says" and that she disagreed with, but did not plan to violate, the American Counseling Association's prohibition against therapy aimed at changing a homosexual person's sexual orientation. Afterward, the hearing panel unanimously recommended that she be dismissed from the counseling program. She responded by suing.
Along with her First Amendment claims, Ms. Ward's lawsuit alleged that the university had engaged in viewpoint discrimination and violated her Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection. It also argued that the policy cited in dismissing her amounted to an unconstitutional speech code.
Judge Steeh's ruling held that the policy at issue was not a speech code but "an integral part of the curriculum," and that Ms. Ward's dismissal from the program "was entirely due" to her "refusal to change her behavior," rather than her beliefs.
The ruling said that "instead of exploring options that might allow her to counsel homosexuals about their relationships," Ms. Ward "stated that she would not engage in gay-affirming counseling, which she viewed as helping a homosexual client engage in an immoral lifestyle."
The ruling said, "Her refusal to attempt learning to counsel all clients within their own value systems is a failure to complete an academic requirement of the program."

20.3.12

Rutgers student convicted in webcam suicide case.

Ex-Rutgers Student Guilty In Webcam Suicide Case

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. March 16, 2012, 07:15 pm ET
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life was convicted Friday of invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim threw himself to his death off a bridge.
Dharun Ravi, 20, shook his head slightly after hearing guilty verdicts on all 15 counts against him. He and his lawyers left the courthouse without comment, his father's arm around his shoulders.
He could get up to 10 years in prison by some estimates — and could be deported to his native India, even though he has lived legally in the U.S. since he was a little boy — for an act that cast a spotlight on teen suicide and anti-gay bullying and illustrated the Internet's potential for tormenting others.
Prosecutors said Ravi set up a webcam in his dorm room in September 2010 and captured roommate Tyler Clementi kissing another man, then tweeted about it and excitedly tried to catch Clementi in the act again two days later. A half-dozen students were believed to have seen the live video of the kissing.
Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and leaped from the George Washington Bridge after posting one last status update on Facebook: "Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry."
At a courthouse news conference after the verdict, Clementi's father, Joe, addressed himself to college students and other young people, saying: "You're going to meet a lot of people in your life. Some of these people you may not like. Just because you don't like them doesn't mean you have to work against them."
Rutgers said in a statement: "This sad incident should make us all pause to recognize the importance of civility and mutual respect in the way we live, work and communicate with others."
During the trial, Ravi's lawyer argued that the college freshman was not motivated by any hostility toward gays and that his actions were just those of an immature "kid." The defense also contended Ravi initially set up the camera because he was afraid Clementi's older, "sketchy"-looking visitor might steal his belongings.
The jury found Ravi not guilty on some subparts of some of the charges, but guilty of all 15 counts as a whole.
The most serious charges — bias intimidation based on sexual orientation, a hate crime — carry up to 10 years behind bars each. But legal experts said the most Ravi would probably get all together at sentencing May 21 would be 10 years.
Before the trial, Ravi and his lawyers had rejected a plea bargain that would have spared him from prison. He would have gotten probation and community service and would have been given help in avoiding deportation.
Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi's death, and the suicide remained largely in the background at the trial, though some witnesses mentioned it and the jury was told Clementi had taken his life.
Prosecutors were not allowed to argue directly that the spying led to his death; defense lawyers were barred from saying there were other reasons he killed himself.
Each bias intimidation charge included five questions. A finding of guilty on any of them made Ravi guilty of the entire charge. The jury issued a split verdict on those subquestions.
It found, for example, that Ravi did not try to intimidate Clementi's romantic partner, identified in court only as M.B., and that Clementi reasonably believed Ravi was trying to intimidate him because of his sexual orientation. It split on questions of whether Ravi knowingly or willfully intimidated Clementi because of his sexuality.
Clementi's death was one in a string of suicides by young gays around the country in September 2010. President Barack Obama commented on it, as did talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
New Jersey lawmakers hastened passage of an anti-bullying law because of the case, and Rutgers changed its housing policies to allow people of the opposite sex to room together in an effort to make gay, bisexual and transgender students feel more comfortable.
"The verdict today demonstrates that the jurors understood that bias crimes do not require physical weapons like a knife in one's hand," said Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director of the gay rights organization Lambda Legal.
Testimony came from about 30 witnesses over 12 days, including 32-year-old M.B. Ravi himself did not testify, though the jury watched a video of his interrogation by police.
Ravi and Clementi, both 18-year-old freshmen from comfortable New Jersey suburbs, had been randomly assigned to room together, and Clementi had arrived at college just a few days after coming out to his parents as gay.
A string of students testified they never heard Ravi say anything bad about gays in general or Clementi in particular. But students did say Ravi expressed some concern about sharing a room with a gay man.
On Sept. 19, according to testimony, Clementi asked Ravi to leave their room so that he could have a guest. Later, Ravi posted on Twitter: "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
Ravi told police that he watched only seconds of the encounter via computer.
His friend Molly Wei testified that she and a few other students also watched the live stream of the men kissing. (Wei was initially charged in the case but was later accepted into a pretrial program that will allow her to keep her record clean.)
Two nights later, Clementi asked for the room alone again. This time, Ravi tweeted: "I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it's happening again." He also texted a friend about a planned "viewing party" and allegedly went to friends' rooms to show them how to access the feed.
However, there was no evidence the webcam was turned on that night. Ravi told police he had put his computer to sleep. Prosecutors argued Clementi himself unplugged the computer.
According to testimony, Clementi submitted a room-change request form and talked to a resident assistant about what happened. He also used his laptop to view Ravi's Twitter site 38 times in the last two days of his life. He killed himself Sept. 22.

Paul Freeman Photography













Paul Freemans New Quest: Heroics

Hero quest: Paul Freeman broaches new territory

Hero quest: Paul Freeman broaches new territory


From Bondi to old world Italy: Seminal Australian photographer Paul Freeman has left his larrikin Aussie fantasies behind to focus on the heroic images of the Italian Renaissance and beyond for his latest monograph.
“I was meeting with a model the other day and he said, ‘I know, I know, you want me to grow my body hair back – you like hair’. And I said to him, ‘it’s not that I like body hair at all. It’s that a photo of you looking like you are comfortable with who you are – whether hairy, smooth, whatever – will read so much better than a photo of you looking like you spend a long time manicuring and decorating yourself in a desperate effort to please everyone else and fashion’s sense of what’s hot’. What people subconsciously find hot is someone who is beautiful plus has the strength to be an individual.”

So says photographer Paul Freeman, who has garnered something of a cult following around the world for his rejection of the aesthetic homogeneity that often exists in contemporary male nude photography. Through his body of work, he has consistently asserted his understanding that the erotic lives within the individual, not the stereotype. Freeman’s  first book,  Bondi Classic, was published to critical acclaim in 2003, and a best-selling series followed, including Bondi Urban, Bondi Work and Bondi Road. Equally successful has been his recent Outback series, Outback, Outback Currawong Creek and Outback Brumby.
Freeman’s latest offering, Heroics, sees him leave behind his Bondi babes and larrikin fantasies to focus on the heroic imagery of the Italian Renaissance and beyond. Exciting and intelligent in equal measure, Freeman fuses history and whimsy to great effect.
“Years ago when I was travelling around Europe, I photographed some of the dramatic and sometimes homoerotic male nude sculptures that were publicly displayed everywhere – and taken for granted,” Freeman tells SX. “They were celebrating maleness in all its glory. Whether commemorating military victories or legendary feats of strength, or even mythical rape, they were sensual.
“It kind of amazed me that here were these very ‘out there’ depictions sitting amongst otherwise prudish, bland financial capitals and, to me, increasingly conservative societies. I always had it in my mind that I’d like to incorporate this paradox into my work in some way, and point it out.”

Dismissal of Counseling Student Who Balked at Treating Gay Clients

Federal Judge Upholds Dismissal of Counseling Student Who Balked at Treating Gay Clients


A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Eastern Michigan University by a student who was kicked out of its graduate program in school counseling last year for refusing, on religious grounds, to affirm homosexual behavior in serving clients.
In an order granting summary judgment to the university on Monday, Judge George Caram Steeh of the U.S. District Court in Detroit held that the university's requirement that the student be willing to serve people who are homosexual was reasonable, and did not amount to an infringement of the Christian student's constitutional rights to free speech and free expression of religion.
The university "had a right and duty to enforce compliance" with professional ethics rules barring counselors from being intolerant or engaging in discrimination, and no reasonable person could conclude that a counseling program's requirement that students comply with such rules "conveys a message endorsing or disapproving of religion," Judge Steeh wrote.
The Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers that is helping to represent the student, Julea Ward, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it plans to appeal the judge's decision.
"Christian students shouldn't be expelled for holding to and abiding by their beliefs," said David French, a senior counsel for the group, which helped out in a similar lawsuit filed against Augusta State University, in Georgia, this month.
Ms. Ward, who entered the Eastern Michigan program in 2006 in hopes of becoming a high-school counselor, had not been disciplined in any way for expressing her views, in classroom discussions or in written course work, that homosexuality was morally wrong. In fact, she had received A's in all of her classes, the judge's summary of her case said.
Her opposition to homosexuality got her into trouble, however, when she enrolled last year in a practicum course that involved counseling real clients in a university-operated clinic. When she encountered a client who wanted to be treated for depression—but previously had been counseled about a homosexual relationship—she asked her faculty supervisor whether she could refer the client to another counselor, explaining that her religious views precluded her from doing anything to affirm the client's homosexual behavior.
To maintain accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the program that Ms. Ward was in is required to familiarize its students with the ethics codes set forth by the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association. In refusing to affirm the homosexual behavior of clients, Ms. Ward was accused of violating various provisions of the groups' ethics codes, including prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and an American Counseling Association rule holding that its members should not demonstrate "an inability to tolerate different points of view."
The faculty members overseeing the counseling program offered Ms. Ward three options—voluntarily leaving the counseling program, completing a remediation plan intended to change her thinking about the issue, or requesting a formal hearing. She opted for the hearing, which was held in March 2009 by a panel consisting of five faculty members and a student representative.
At the hearing, Ms. Ward said she refused to affirm any behavior that "goes against what the Bible says" and that she disagreed with, but did not plan to violate, the American Counseling Association's prohibition against therapy aimed at changing a homosexual person's sexual orientation. Afterward, the hearing panel unanimously recommended that she be dismissed from the counseling program. She responded by suing.
Along with her First Amendment claims, Ms. Ward's lawsuit alleged that the university had engaged in viewpoint discrimination and violated her Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection. It also argued that the policy cited in dismissing her amounted to an unconstitutional speech code.
Judge Steeh's ruling held that the policy at issue was not a speech code but "an integral part of the curriculum," and that Ms. Ward's dismissal from the program "was entirely due" to her "refusal to change her behavior," rather than her beliefs.
The ruling said that "instead of exploring options that might allow her to counsel homosexuals about their relationships," Ms. Ward "stated that she would not engage in gay-affirming counseling, which she viewed as helping a homosexual client engage in an immoral lifestyle."
The ruling said, "Her refusal to attempt learning to counsel all clients within their own value systems is a failure to complete an academic requirement of the program."

18.3.12

Bedrooms were not for sleeping and sex......




Did you know that bedrooms prior to the 18th century were considered public places and not the quiet, private places that are used for sleeping and intimacy of modern day?  Did you know that there was no such thing as a bathroom, or even a toilet?  Did you also know that closets were invented to store artwork and personal treasures and NOT clothes, in fact most modern day homes in England do not have closets even to this day! 

Check out this article and book.....it truly is fascinating!

Lucy Worsley works as the chief curator in several palatial buildings in London, including Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. In contrast, she lives in what she calls a "normal, boring modern flat."
The differences between her home and her workplace inspired Worsley to research the history of the home, which she details in her new book If Walls Could Talk. The book answers questions like: Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why were kitchens cut off from the rest of a home? And did strangers really share beds as recently as a century ago? (Yes, they did.)
"You would have been quite happy to share your bedroom not only with your husband or wife, but with your colleagues from work — even with people that you didn't know at all," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And if you look back centuries, people have no particular requirement to sleep by themselves. And that's because there weren't enough rooms in their houses."
In medieval homes, servants were likely to bunk down together on the floor of a giant hall — where it was likely smelly, sweaty and not very quiet.
"But the alternative was worse," says Worsley. "To be sleeping outside, I suppose. If there aren't enough bedrooms, you have to share, and you're glad to do so — because of the warmth and security it brings."
Because bedrooms lacked privacy, young amorous couples often flocked to fields, says Worsley.
"You know, the merry month of May — this is the time when young people can get out of the confines of a cottage with very few rooms and enjoy themselves in the woods and fields," she says. "A level of supervision was very desirable."
To keep their children from going to the fields, some parents in the 17th century would allow a daughter to sleep in the same bed as the young man courting her — but both the woman and man were tied down with heavy rope in a practice known as "bundling."
"The idea was that they spend the entire night chatting and getting to know each other to decide if they wanted to get married," says Worsley. "I see bundling as a really important step in the journey toward marriage becoming a marriage of personal choice, rather than something you're just forced into by your parents for economic reasons, because you don't have to marry the man or woman after the night of bundling."
During a night of bundling, parents likely stayed elsewhere, because many homes contained only one room.
"The bedroom was the room for everything: cooking, leisure, sleeping, the washing and working as well," she says. "And the funny thing is, history has gone full circle, because my modern, boring flat where I live is essentially one room. And it's multipurpose. But between [older homes] and that, there's been an entire journey that homes that have taken, which has developed different rooms and reached a high point, I think, in really grand Victorian houses. But since then, there's been a trend back toward medieval simplicity and multipurpose rooms."

Lucy Worsley is the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity looking after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens.
Enlarge Courtesy of the author Lucy Worsley is the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity looking after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens.

Interview Highlights

On the United Kingdom's lack of closets
"It's not a room type that we recognize anymore. We have freestanding pieces of furniture called wardrobes that might be used for storing clothes. But those little square, dark, walk-in rooms don't exist in the U.K. That's a little piece of history that you've got that we haven't."
On privacy in bedrooms
"It really flourishes in the Victorian age when the security and seclusion of your bedroom and bed linen becomes paramount. If you read Victorian manuals, they're crazy — the amount of attention they devote to the perfect making of the bed, the cleanliness of the bed, the hygiene of the bed."
On privacy in baths

"[Before the 19th century] people washed parts of their bodies wherever it happened to suit them. As part of the research for this book, for a week I went on a Tudor personal hygiene regimen. The rules were: no bath, no shower, no toothpaste, no deodorant. How did they do it? And I knew that they did just use a basin of water. They would wash all the parts of the body one after another. And they would do it wherever it happened to be nice and appropriate."
On Queen Elizabeth I's toilet
"She had a flushing toilet fitted in one of her palaces. She was aware of this technology, but she didn't use it because she didn't want to go to the loo — she wanted the loo to come to her. She wanted her servants to bring her a chamber pot whenever she wanted to."
Burnt toast crumbs – completely rubbish. I was using a twig. What worked quite well was a mixture of rosemary and salt mixed together, rubbed on with a cloth, actually, followed by a gargle of vinegar.
On using old 17th-century methods to brush her teeth

"Most of them were quite unsuccessful. Burnt toast crumbs — completely rubbish. I was using a twig. What worked quite well was a mixture of rosemary and salt mixed together, rubbed on with a cloth, actually, followed by a gargle of vinegar. Best of all was a 17th-century ... recipe of cuttlefish. You know those white carcasses of fish? That ground up makes really excellent tooth powder."
On flushing toilets and Thomas Crapper

"The word 'crap' is actually another word that's very, very old. It was taken over from 17th century England by the pilgrim fathers, and Americans were talking about things being crap in the 17th and 18th centuries. What Sir Thomas Crapper — complete coincidence — does is not invent the flushing toilet, as many, many people believe, but was a great promoter for it. He ran a business marketing other people's products, and that's why his name was on them. When the American soldiers came over in the first world war, they all thought it was hilarious that it said 'crapper' on them."
On the royal family

"I think they're a very good thing indeed. As a piece of living history, it's brilliant to think that they're facing the same challenges that we can see coming up in so many of the royal characters that we see in our work as curators. So they're interesting from that point of view. They're terribly important to people's notions of Britain and Britishness, and they're a really big part of the tourist industry as well. All of those processions, the regalia, the crown jewels — they're essential to our conception of who we are over here. We know that people all over the world share this fascination and come to see them."

Lucain Freud, Grandson of Sigmund and Little Known Artist

"I want paint to work as flesh... my portraits to be of the people, not like them. Not having a look of the sitter, being them ... As far as I am concerned the paint is the person. I want it to work for me just as flesh does."

Lucian Freud: Grandson of Sigmund:

Lucian Freud is the grandson of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psychoanalysis. Born in Berlin on 8 December 1922, died London 20 July 2011. Freud moved to Britain in 1933 with his parents after Hitler came to power in Germany. His father, Ernst, was an architect; his mother the daughter of a grain merchant. Freud became a British national in 1939. He started working as a full-time artist after being invalided out of the merchant navy in 1942, having served only three months.
Today his impasto portraits and nudes make many regard him as the greatest figurative painter of our time. Freud prefers to not use professional models, to rather have friends and acquaintances pose for him, someone who really wants to be there rather than someone he's paying. "I could never put anything into a picture that wasn't actually there in front of me. That would be a pointless lie, a mere bit of artfulness."
In 1938/39 Freud studied at the Central School of Arts in London; from 1939 to 1942 at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Debham run by Cedric Morris; in 1942/43 at Goldsmiths' College, London (part-time). In 1946/47 he painted in Paris and Greece. Freud had work published in Horizon magazine in 1939 and 1943. In 1944 his paintings were hung at the Lefevre Gallery.
In 1951 his Interior in Paddington (held at the Walker Art Gallery, in Liverpool) won an Arts Council prize at the Festival of Britain. Between 1949 and 1954 he was a visiting tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art, London.
In 1948 he married Kitty Garman, daughter of the British sculptor Jacob Epstein. In 1952 he married Caroline Blackwood. Freud had a studio in Paddington, London, for 30 years before moving to one in Holland Park. His first retrospective exhibition, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain, was held in 1974 at the Hayward Gallery in London. The one at the Tate Gallery in 2002 was a sell-out.
"The painting is always done very much with [the model's] co-operation. The problem with painting a nude, of course, is that it deepens the transaction. You can scrap a painting of someone's face and it imperils the sitter's self-esteem less than scrapping a painting of the whole naked body."
According to critic Robert Hughes, Freud's "basic pigment for flesh is Cremnitz white, an inordinately heavy pigment which contains twice as much lead oxide as flake white and much less oil medium that other whites."
"I don't want any colour to be noticeable... I don't want it to operate in the modernist sense as colour, something independent... Full, saturated colours have an emotional significance I want to avoid."
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