Recent Comments


    Ann Rostow: Get Well Soon!

    annboxBy Ann Rostow

    Get Well Soon!

    Hello, everyone. Are any of you as petrified as Mel and me, hanging onto the edge of the cliff by our fingernails for the next two months as we wait for Hillary Clinton to reach down and pull us back to safe ground? I know she will, but I cannot stand the suspense, and I’m not sure we can take another day like Sunday, when we weren’t sure for a while whether or not she was healthy enough to weather the campaign.

    It seems we dodged that bullet, and normally I’d expect Trump to fall into his own pool of bad publicity a few more times between now and November, but then again, he seems impervious to bad press, in a way. There’s been so much of it that it feels as if the media and the public are tired of calling him to task.

    Plus, this Kellyanne person seems to be an effective Trump spokesperson, after we’ve spent months hearing from very odd incoherent females and bullying unattractive males speaking on his behalf. We’re getting sick of Kellyanne, but she also frightens us by being pretty good at her job.

    Quite frankly I’m having a hard time concentrating on GLBT news, and, as usual, I’ve wasted some serious time on listicles and political news. For example, I just reviewed the 32 most dangerous venomous animals, a lengthy process requiring me to relentlessly press the “next” button and wait for the screen to refresh. After that, I had to make sure that several of the scariest creatures on the list did not live near me. Fortunately, they did not. (Bottom line: I’m not going near Australia, for the time being.)

    As for gay news, I did notice that Nicholas Chamberlain, the Bishop of Grantham, was forced out of the glass closet by the threat of a newspaper article the other day. Chamberlain told the Guardian (which was not the paper that was about to reveal his sexual orientation) that everyone knew he was gay and had a long term partner, so it was no big deal.

    Chamberlain pointed out that he and his partner were abiding by Anglican rules that dictate gay clergy must be celibate, which makes you wonder exactly what goes on in Chamberlain’s “long term committed relationship.” Meandering walks on the moors? Sipping small glasses of port together by the fireplace? Come on, Church of England. It’s high time to enter the 21st Century.


    I was surprised to learn that the NBA All-Star game represents about $100 million in economic activity to its host city, but the detail made me very pleased that, last month, the basketball powers that be decided to take the 2017 game away from Charlotte as punishment for North Carolina’s anti-GLBT law, HB2.

    Now, however, the NCAA has stepped up to the plate, withdrawing seven championship contests out of the state starting in December. The events include soccer, tennis, golf, lacrosse and baseball. But they also include the first and second rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament, scheduled for Greensboro in mid-March of next year.

    Yes, my friends. The NCAA has withdrawn a big chunk of March Madness from North Carolina! I’m actually not sure how much the loss will hurt Greensboro’s economy because, when I went to look that up, I found a bunch of contrarian articles that insisted the NCAA tournament does not, in fact, boost the local economy of host cities.

    I don’t have the time or inclination to burrow into the numbers in order to re-evaluate the All-Star game’s purported $100 million cash inflow in view of this surprising conclusion about March Madness. Let’s just say that whatever the numbers may be, the decisions by both organizations are a slap in the face to North Carolinian sports fans, who should rightly be asking their legislators whether or not HB2 has been worth all the pain.

    The next sports group in line for a decision about HB2 is the Atlantic Coast Conference, which governs athletic competition for 15 schools including the University of North Carolina and NC State. ACC Commissioner John Swofford told the press that the NCAA decision “continues to build upon the negative impact the bill has already had on the state.” Swofford said that HB2 was already on the agenda at the ACC Council of Presidents meeting the week of September 12, adding that the “league’s longstanding commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will continue to be a central theme to our discussions.”

    “On a personal note,” he added, “it’s time for this bill to be repealed as it’s counter to basic human rights.” Okay then!

    Eh Eh Eh Eh EEEEEEE!

    It’s infuriating to watch political shows, even with the sound off. I see from the captions, for example, that Trump is accusing Clinton of “multi-million dollar ‘pay to play’ corruption.” The charge is patently untrue, and yet the various reporters and anchors calmly repeat the statements as if this is just another instance of the ups and downs of your typical campaign. It’s not! This is not “he said she said!” It’s unfounded insanity from a lunatic, and as long as the cable news media treats this as an even contest, they will be partly responsible if (God forbid) Trump wins this election.

    As if these shows themselves aren’t bad enough, I am also encountering some annoying commercials, like the one about the man who uses his credit card points to build a “pop-up pick your own juice bar in the middle of the city!” The oh-so-fresh and clever enterprise is set up in an alley and basically consists of people ripping at herbs or snatching a piece of fruit off a tiny tree and shoving it all in a blender. It’s patently obvious that this would not work. Any growing thing will be instantly killed off as grubby hands uproot the ingredient. Unless you charge twenty bucks for a small juice, the logistics don’t make sense, and after three or four customers, the entire business would be in shambles. So no, it’s not a really cool thing to do with your credit card points. It’s a pointless waste of time and money. I hate that commercial.

    Can you tell I’m in something of a foul mood? Correctamundo!

    Here’s something to improve our spirits. Have you read about the scientists in the Black Sea region who recorded two dolphins having a conversation? According to press reports, the dolphins, Yana and Yasha, paused to let each other communicate just as listening humans would do. Their dialogue consisted of squeaks, clicks and whistles.

    This story was blasted around with implied exclamation marks as if it reflected some astonishing discovery about dolphins. But haven’t we known for a long time that a) they are smart and have big brains and b) they converse with squeaks, clicks and whistles? Why is this new? Didn’t any of these reporters ever see an episode of Flipper?

    And Baby Makes Two?

    I guess men might someday be able to have children without women. The science is beyond me, but it has something to do with our ability to make stem cells act like eggs and then maybe turn into embryos and get together with some sperm. Or something like that. I seem to recall that a few years ago, the boffins came up with a scheme that might someday allow women to have children without men—again via some legere-de-stem-cell magic. We can all relax since these advances in human reproduction appear to be decades down the road.

    Still, it’s interesting. One reporter speculated that a man could even have his own child all by himself, an offspring that would be more like an identical twin than a clone. Paging Ray Bradbury.

    Speaking of men with kids, a review of gay couples based on income tax filings indicated that gay men with children make the most money of any other combination. That makes sense to me since men generally make more money than women, and men who go to the expense of having kids probably make even more money than other men.

    But here’s what I found interesting about that piece of news. Our community has never really been measured. Now, not only will the 2020 Census directly measure gay and lesbian families, but our taxes will begin to provide some specifics about who we are. The study that came up with the news about married gay fathers was based on 2014 tax filings, but that was the first year that we could file jointly, after the High Court effectively repealed the Defense of Marriage Act. Imagine what kind of numbers we’ll be able to crunch after several years of gay tax filings, plus a few gay-inclusive census reports.

    Mexican Standoff

    There’s a photograph making the rounds that shows a 12-year-old boy, identified as “Cesar,” standing in front of a large antigay protest march that approaches his position on an empty highway in Guanajuato, Mexico. Cesar, who told reporter and photographer Manuel Rodriguez that his uncle is gay, has his arms spread wide and evokes the iconic image of the man blocking a tank in Tiananmen Square.

    The photo looks staged or shopped, so I went to Snopes to see if I could find it. But now it seems clear that it’s actually real. According to Buzzfeed, reporter Rodriguez said the boy was drawn aside as the protest went past him and he told the reporter that his gesture was meant for his gay uncle. Rodriguez posted the shot to his Facebook page, after which it went viral.

    The protest was one of several anti-marriage displays around Mexico on September 10. Same-sex couples have won marriage rights in nine of 31 states and several cities over the last several years, and the Mexican Supreme Court has ruled in favor of equality as well. Unlike the United States Supreme Court, however, the Mexican bench does not make federal law for the nation as a whole. That said, a legal marriage from one of the gay friendly areas must be recognized throughout the country.

    Anti-gay groups were protesting a plan to legalize marriage throughout Mexico through legislative action.

    FACT Check

    I’m not sure I follow the legal rationale for a bunch of conservative lawmakers from Tennessee to intervene in a custody dispute between two women. The 53 state legislators, along with a bunch of busybodies called the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), are trying to claim that the Supreme Court’s legalization of marriage should not have any impact on state laws that concern married families.

    The case involves two women, Erica and Sabrina Witt, who married in Washington D.C., in April 2014, a time when same-sex marriage was not legal in Tennessee. Nine months later, the two had a child. Sabrina got pregnant through artificial insemination, and given that the two were married, Erica did not think she had to adopt the child in order to be considered a legal parent.

    Obviously, a few months later, the Supreme Court ruled that heterosexual restrictions on marriage were unconstitutional. After that decision, all couples who had married legally in one jurisdiction were automatically married in their home jurisdiction, regardless of their home state’s previous policies.

    In February of 2016, the women divorced. Astonishingly, however, a judge ruled that Erica was not related to her own daughter, because Tennessee law makes reference to the “husband” of a woman who uses artificial insemination, and never discusses the “wife” of such a person. True, the Volunteer State has presumably not specifically changed the wording in each and every paragraph of the family law books, but that hardly means that Tennessee retains the ability to toy with the rights of marriage on a piecemeal basis at the expense of a divorcing parent. Nor are the state representatives in a position to claim that recognizing Erica’s rights in this context would be tantamount to reversing their lawmaking powers.

    It’s been nice to see the vast majority of our opponents resign themselves to the idea of marriage equality. I guess it’s because so many people seem to have moved on that cases like this one in Tennessee are a little bit shocking. I think the matter is going to the state appellate court, where life will probably revert to normal. I’ll let you know.