Thursday, November 30, 2006

Look both ways before crossing

I have never raised a child. I've never had a child. I've never come close to raising a child, or ever had the opportunity to do so. I've barely even ever had contact with children in my 30 years of life. In fact, my feelings about ever actually raising children are tremendously ambivalent. However, if there is one thing that gets my blood fucking boiling, it's the spouting off by pompous, arrogant, idiotic conservative asshats who think they know what's right for everybody about how best to raise children in this country.

What I'm referring to specifically is this idiotic piece of garbage, written by one Patrick Fagan. For some reason or other I cannot comprehend, Tractorfacts wrote a post about it last night, albeit arguing against its main points, but nevertheless, I was inspired to respond.

I made a lot of assumptions about Mr. Fagan based on this article, and a simple Google search proved me mostly right. First off, the article was published in the National Review, and Fagan works for the ultra-conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, which is really just a terribly biased lobbying group for the ultra-right.

The gist of Fagan's article is that he argues that "Europe is dying because they don't love babies enough" (oh my god....) and that if America isn't careful, that could happen to us, because, according to Fagan's statistics, approximately 36% of all American children are born out of wedlock, and regardless of any circustances, that's bad and will lead to an eventual complete breakdown of society. And that's very, very bad. He argues that it builds a "culture of rejection and isolation from each other," and goes on to blame the churches, the media and the educational system for this heinous trend, all because they've made sex out to be something that can be done recreationally, as opposed for the sole purpose of procreating in a committed marriage between two heterosexual people. He blames the Supreme Court for legitimizing (i.e., decriminalizing) sexual practices between 2 consenting adults that don't lead to babies (i.e., the homos next door sodomizing each other into oblivion).

Predictably, and just as I suspected, Mr. Fagan is very anti same-sex marriage as well. Through some irrelevant and arbitrary statistics comparing the United States to the Netherlands, he tries his damnedest to blame the fags for the "recent public policy...that has facilitated the erosion of the family" in Europe because some countries there let the gays marry. It seems to me that facilitating any kind of monogamy and committment, whether it's between gays or straights would be good for everybody involved, but I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, and also anyone with half a fucking brain cell knows that as well.

But that's not even what really gets up my ire. And I'll give you an example of what really does: two men named Roger and Steven.

Roger and Steven are a long-term, committed, and one presumes monogomous, gay couple that used to live in the culturally rich and exciting city of Miami, Florida. They are both very successful in their chosen professions (one's a doctor, and the other a lawyer, I believe) and had money, time and energy to burn. So they decided they wanted a child. After much debating and exploring options, they decided to participate in Florida's foster child program, because for the Big, Bad Gays, adopting children in Florida is illegal (one of only three states, actually, that has laws expressely banning adoption by homos; the other two are Mississippi and Utah. Surprised?). They chose a 5-year-old black boy with HIV to take in.

Now think about that for a minute if you will. Two upper-class, wealthy, educated, committed men happily and lovingly taking in a 5-year-old black boy with HIV, to not only raise and provide for medically, but to provide a stable, loving home. Do you think anyone else would take in a 5-year-old black boy with HIV? Maybe for the monthly check, but even then, I seriously doubt it.

Turns out, Roger and Steven loved this boy so much, they wanted another. And another. And another. And another. Until they had 5 (FIVE!!) foster children, all unwanted, unadoptable, and all with HIV. They formed a family. The children all essentially became brothers and sisters, relying on one another for fun, for emotional support, for physical support, and Roger and Steven their unwavering fathers, basking them with love, opportunity, and top-notch medical care.

There was one problem, however. No matter how close they became, or how long the children lived with Roger and Steven, their relationships would always be tenuous, because since Roger and Steven are gay, they can't legally adopt these children in Florida, and technically, the state can come and take them away anytime they want to.

Which is precisely what happened.


When it was discovered that Bert, a 13-year-old boy they'd taken in when he was only an infant, had initially been diagnosed incorrectly, and did not, in fact, have HIV, the state authorities of Florida, with the full backing of Governor Jeb Bush, decided that what would now be best for Bert would be to remove him from these two unsuitable gay men, and throw him into the foster system. As a 13-year-old black boy in Miami. After he'd been living with Roger and Steven his entire life. Oh, and while the state was at it, they might as well take the other kids as well, since clearly being back in the system, or with a straight couple, would be far superior to being brought up in this home of love and privilege, since it's headed by two gay men.

Roger and Steven fought the system, tried to officially adopt the children, and lost. Even a personal appeal to Jeb Bush did no good (because, well, he thinks that children belong with a mom and a dad. Sorry Roger and Stephen, but you just don't cut it). So in a final act of desperation, Roger and Stephen left their entire lives in Miami, and moved their family to Portland, Oregon where they had some friends. I'm not sure what all the legalities involved were, but somehow, in Oregon, the men managed to certifiably adopt all 5 children, and start their lives over, keeping their family intact.

So what I would like to know, Mr. Patrick Fagan, in the face of stories like these, how you can possibly look in the mirror, or sleep at night, or write your ignorant, hateful columns, holding the opinions that you hold, and claiming to care so much about the youth of America. How can you say that these people aren't a family, and where was the outcry when the state of Florida wanted to take away these essentially unadoptable children from the only family they'd ever known? Call me cynical, but methinks you care more about your agenda than you actually do about families. Which leads me to wonder what your ultimate goal is, if you claim to care so much about families, but then turn around and advocate destroying them. So which is it, Fagan? Are you in favor of families and children being raised by loving parents, or no? You can't have it both ways.

Roger, Stephen and their family. Check out the docmentary, "We Are Dad" about them. It's devastating, but totally inspiring.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Misguided revenge can be so sweet, but really it seems like a whole lot of homos trying desperately to "pass" to try to make themselves feel better

Nevertheless, I kind of want to do it.

You know, just to see if I could pass.

Don't laugh. I'll have you know that 2 weeks ago, I was out with 2 straight girls, 3 gay guys, and at a gay bar, and one of the girls who didn't know me was totally hitting on me, then asked if I was straight. She was surprised (and disappointed!!) when I said no. Go figure. (And I might have considered at least making out with her if she hadn't been so fucking annoying.) Then the other gay dudes agreed that I was the "straightest" of the bunch. Except when I laughed. My laugh, apparently, is really gay.

You know, a few years ago I would have appreciated being able to "pass," even among my fellow fags, but now it just feels like I'm doing something wrong.

"You can keep driving all night if you want to, but I live right there."

What I said to the 21-year-old from work, when he was taking me home last night and missed the turn-off from Lamar. I asked him for a ride for no other reason than that we were leaving at the same time. I didn't need a ride; I walk to and from work every single day. I told him I was extra tired and didn't feel like walking.

I ribbed him for driving a big ole pick-em-up truck. "Well it's not...that big," he said. I told him I had imagined him driving a beat up old 4-door sedan. I like how I'm in second grade, and when I have a crush on someone and don't know how to relate to them, I just make fun of them, about needing a haircut, or the big truck they drive.

Last night I tried to find ways of justifying dating someone almost an entire decade younger than me, which would not only be depressing, but also kind of embarassing. Even if he is beautiful. And a co-worker. And sexually ambiguous.

I found out his last name, but he's not on MySpace. He is on Facebook, but his profile's locked unless you're one of his "friends." Damn it. I hate people who like their privacy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Finally, some intelligent introspection from the religious community

Baptist Minister Oliver "Buzz" Thomas has a really inspiring opinion piece on Yahoo today about religion slowly losing its credibility over the issue of homosexuality. He basically argues that it's becoming more and more apparent that homosexuality is a born trait, and therefore, releases the homosexual of any moral culpability. While I do take issue with the fact that religious people feel like they have to somehow explain homosexuality, as opposed to just accepting it as just one more option for living, it's an encouraging sign.

He begins by comparing it to Galileo proving that the sun is, in fact, the center of the universe, and not the earth, and how much damage that did to the religious community. He also takes the passage from Leviticus (you know, the one about men lying with men, and women with women...abomination...blah blah blah) and basically says, well, if you use this passage, then you have to take them all: being put to death for working on the Sabbath, not touching pig skin (no more football, folks), not going to church if you're menstruating, being put to death for sassing your parents, and on and on. He then goes on to further dissect Paul's argument in the New Testament, saying that Paul was only referring to the commmon practice of older men taking in younger boys as apprentices, and basically making sexual slaves of them. My favorite paragraph of the article:

For those who have lingering doubts, dust off your Bibles and take a few hours to reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Jesus. You won't find a single reference to homosexuality. There are teachings on money, lust, revenge, divorce, fasting and a thousand other subjects, but there is nothing on homosexuality. Strange, don't you think, if being gay were such a moral threat?

On the other hand, Jesus spent a lot of time talking about how we should treat others. First, he made clear it is not our role to judge. It is God's. ("Judge not lest you be judged." Matthew 7:1) And, second, he commanded us to love other people as we love ourselves.

Just what I've always said. One can only hope it happens sooner rather than later. Anyway, it's an interesting read.

He totally hearts the gays.

I love him so much it just turns to hate*

I can't help it: I'm completely obsessed with Courtney Love. I want her new book. I thumbed through it at BookPeople the other day, and it's almost nothing but pictures we've all seen a thousand times, and some incoherent ramblings about wanting to be famous and some random song lyrics. But I love looking at her. I could stare at pictures of Courtney all day. I'm especially fond, of course, of her early, dirty, grunged-out (strung out), slutty pictures. The pictures where she seemed desperately to be trying to say something and be relevant. (I think she's pretty much given up being relevant these days). But I really like the "glam" stage, too, when she was cleaned-up, surgeried, maked-up, with perfect highlights and perky boobs. Both eras hold their appeal to me for very different reasons.

My relationship with Courtney Love is like that really great first relationship you have when you're young, when you're still doscovering yourself, and they're basically a very bad influence on you, and eventually you realize that, and distance yourself, but for the rest of your life, you never forget about how that person made you feel, and what you learned about yourself from them. And the hand they had in shaping who you ultimately became, and of which you're proud (for the most part). We were inseperable. I loved her anger, her passion, her desperation to belong and to be respected, and yet her willingness to give the finger to anyone and everyone who didn't respect her or take her seriously when she just was who she was. Today I question what she really was, or what her ultimate goals were, and if pressed, she probably couldn't provide an honest answer, either, but that misses the point.

As pathetic as it might sound, as a sheltered, God-fearing, church-going, completely repressed homosexual growing up in the reddest and most conservative area of one of the reddest and most conservative states in the country, Courtney Love introduced me to Rebellion and punk rock. And it was the freshest, deepest breath I'd ever taken in my life. Struggling with my sexuality (which was getting harder and harder to ignore), and recognizing that I was starting to actually have real feelings for the boys around me, and being completely freaked out about that, one night seeing the video for "Doll Parts" on 120 Minutes literally changed my life. It was the first time I can ever remember hearing a song that I felt like I could 100% relate to, without having to switch the gender of the lyrics or the gender of the singer. I know Courtney was referring to something else in those lyrics, but hearing "they really want you, they really want you, they really do, but I do too," I immediately applied them to my life and my increasing feelings of despair and loneliness. In this awkward, sad, angry, ugly, misfit woman, I had found my hero. I was totally indifferent to Nirvana, and Morrissey had never uttered a single lyric that meant anything to me (at least not yet!), but here, this was it. As cliched as it is, this woman spoke to me.

I got Live Through This for Christmas that year, and it didn't leave my CD player for weeks at a time. Even today, I still love that record, and can't pop it in without wanting to listen to the whole thing all the way through. My mother, I think, sort of regrettably asked me what I heard in that music that I liked (and don't think she wasn't noticing my drastic shifts in behavior, such as starting to skip church and dumping my old friends for new ones who were, let's say, less clean) but how on earth could I explain it to her? I don't think I could explain it to her now, and that was 12 years ago!

Courtney Love was also the first woman who ever got me thinking about feminism, patriarchy, and the role of the underdog (women) in society, and the importance of honing your intellectual skills for fighting and rebellion. She laid the groundwork for my proceeding love of Bikini Kill, and Kathleen Hanna, who, for the first time, got me to thinking about the link between women's sexuality and homosexuality. How the way that society looks at homosexuality is indicitive of the way it views the feminine in general, and women's sexuality and gay men's sexuality have everything in common in terms of being maligned, repressed and feared by the straight, white, bigoted male patriarchy. This was an absolutely novel fucking concept to me when I was 19, and changed the way I looked at, and thought about, everything. The in-your-face, no-holds-barred sexuality of both Courtney Love and Bikini Kill (though with BK, it was a bit more theatrical and overtly political than in Courtney's case, who, I think, was just kind of a slut) that made so many straight men I know dislike them, served an absolute purpose to me: it gave me the strength to put my own sexuality in the forefront of who I was, and fucking own it.

Oddly enough, I never really got into too many "queercore" bands, per se, like Pansy Division, because I think I viewed them as being too cutesy, or, ironically, too gay. I now very much appreciate their glorification of, and bluntness about, things like kissing other boys and anal sex, but at the time, I didn't need some other gay man to tell me that it was okay to enjoy getting fucked up the ass; I needed someone to tell me that it was okay to make it political, to put my rage in people's faces (not my orgasmic joy), and that, in fact, the personal was the political, and how you lived your life mattered in the bigger picture. This was so empowering to someone who felt so ashamed of who they were (me), and whose internalized rage, resentment and homophobia was already threatening to destroy them at the ripe old age of 18.

Eventually, of course, I got through this stage, and while I can still enjoy Bikini Kill for their nostalgic value, and Courtney for her entertainment value, I've mostly moved beyond these feelings, or had them mature into a more enduring and healthy expression of love, activism and education. But it was such a necessary exorcism of my early demons (as I suspect punk rock is to most kids who get into it at a young age), and a crucial step to go through to figure out how my anger affects me, and how I can use that anger to a righteous and productive cause. It's something I'm still working on, but I think I'm almost there, and besides, the journey never really stops. Live through this with me, and I swear that I will die for you.

*still one of my all-time favorite song lyrics

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The finer points of Swing Out Sister

Saturday night, while we were all three drunk, Jody, Travis and I began discussing the frequency, and content, of our history of sexual dreams (and no one In the Know needs to enlighten me on the extreme irony of this anomaly of an event), and I mentioned that I'd only really ever had two sexual dreams in my whole life, and neither of them were even that overtly sexual, they were just sort of erotic. Travis already knew this about me, but I told Jody about them, and how the first I'd ever had was about George Michael in the 7th or 8th grade, at the height of my obsession with him, and how at night I would pretend to make out with his poster hanging above my bed (if my poor parents only knew; and to this day, I still think aviator sunglasses are one of the hottest things going). But I digress. I explained that in the dream I'd had about George Michael, I didn't even actually get to have sex with him, it was all post-sex, and we were lying together all sweaty and spent (probably because at the time of the dream, I had no idea how to really have gay sex).

So I've always been a little frustrated and a lot jealous when people have told me about how they have these hardcore, really explicit sex dreams about people, and especially about real people that they're actually attracted to! How cool is that?

But then last night, completely arbitrarily (or so it would seem) I was finally visited by the God of Hardcore Sex Dreams. And how! Me and Mr. did everything it was possible to do with two bodies, and then some, and it was fucking amazing. But there was one strange hitch: it was with a fictional character that I don't even find attractive, and whose personality (as presented through his character on television) I find totally repugnant. It was this guy:

who, while not being unattractive, does nothing for me, once more making me realize I am truly turned on and attracted to things I either find disgusting or are really bad for me. (Or maybe it's just further confirming my Doctor fetish. Which goes right along with my Professor fetish. And my cute and dorky Scientist fetish. Oh, wait; maybe it's just a man fetish!) But nevertheless, I was grateful to finally realize and understand what I'd been missing all these years. Only, well, I hate to sound ungrateful, but there's one more major drawback: I've been hornier all day today than I think I've been since I was about 15.

J-Date Update

They prefer that you actually be Jewish, but there's an option to say either "Unaffiliated" or "Willing to Convert" (mmm.... not so much).

They didn't answer my question about whether or not they cater to mo's. I'll take that as a negative.
Hot Jerusalem Mo Pride

Friday, November 10, 2006

Shut up & Direct

I hope you'll forgive my posting twice in one day, but I woke up this morning with a burning need to post about this today, then got sidetracked, and very excited, about the rat story, so that took precedence. But here I am back with my original intentions, which is all about the Dixie Chicks, or more specifically, the Dixie Chicks' movie's director, Barbara Kopple.

I loved Shut up and Sing. Thought it was fantastic, uplifting, totally riveting and dramatic. Great storytelling. But lately there have been some things about the director that have been bugging me, namely her blatant idol worship of Natalie Maines that's actually beginning to affect my opinion of this fine piece of cinema a bit.

The first is an interview I read with her recently that I can't find, so feel free to take my word for this or not, where she says that after Natalie made her infamous statement in London about being "ashamed" of the President, she really "stood alone."

Well, only if you don't count half of the American public, and pretty much the rest of the entire world that agreed with her about the war.

I remember those days leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and it was insane. Tensions and emotions were running incredibly high, but come on, alone? Maybe she was ostracized by the country music world (although Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, two of the most famous and popular country singers that exist are both outspoken democrats, and have publically voiced their disatisfaction with the war and President Bush numerous times, but no such fallout has struck them, strangely), but that's pretty much it. I can also certainly sympathize with the CD burnings, the boycotts, and especially the death threats, how terrifying all of that must have been. It's astonishing how blown out of proportion that statment was by the country music world and the media; it's absolutely absurd. What she said wasn't even that rude; I mean, she didn't attack Bush's character, or use profanity. It's just crazy.

Okay, so that's negligible, really, as an isolated statement. Not that big of a deal. But in a brief write-up in the latest issue of Rolling Stone about Shut Up & Sing, again, the director is quoted as saying, "In a way, Natalie was the first casualty of the Iraq war."


Has she lost her fucking mind??? Is she honestly comparing a bad PR incident with a pampered rock star to what the soldiers dying in Iraq are doing? I mean, seriously? I hope to God that I just misinterpreted that statement. It almost turns my stomach, I find it so offensive. And stupid.

What happened to Natalie Maines was unfortunate, and at times insanely harshly judged (and made for a great fucking movie), but let's retain a little perspective here. She's not in Iraq fighting a war, nor is she in any way a "casualty." Christ.
The director, Kopple, in front of Iraq's first three casualties.

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage

In my Social Psychology class this week we've been talking about aggression in humans, and being a social psych class, we've been looking at societal causes, cues, ramifications, all that.

Today we talked about a social psychologist, in the 60's, I believe who did an experiment on rats to study aggression in their societies and see if there were any useful parallels to human society.

People don't typically know that rats have very structured norms of behavior and have little miniature socieities. For instance, if a female rat is interested in mating with a male rat, she wiggles her ears at him, and that's his cue to respond. Typically the male rats honor this code, and if a female doesn't wiggle her ears, he leaves her alone. They also have hierarchical social structures (I guess like bees and aunts).

So this guy, John Calhoun, decides he's going to get a bunch of rats and build an enormous cage, about the size of a small house, and completely manipulate their environment so that everything is ideal, and just stand back and watch what happens. The results weren't pretty.

First off, since they were in a cage, they were totally safe from predators; no worry about them. It was climate-controlled. There was never a lack of food or water. They had everything that happy little rats could possibly want.

It started out nice enough. They ran around and did their thing, and ate and drank and slept. And bred. And bred. And bred. All they did was breed, until the cage became full of rats. And that's when the fun started, and all the rules of their societies began breaking down.

Disease ran rampant.

Male rats started becoming very aggressive toward female rats, and believe it or not, started engaging in gang rapes of females. Sometimes to the point of death for the female. Think about that for a minute.

There started being a sub-group of very anti-social rats called "floater rats," who spent all of their time alone (very unusual for social rats), usually sleeping, and only came out to eat at night when most of the other rats were sleeping. As a consequence, they were very lethargic and became extremely obese and starting dying off.

Maternal instincts broke down, and mommy rats began abandoning their baby rats, some of which were products of rape by the male rats, and the rat infant mortality rate became very high. And those baby rats that were abandoned and lived usually became very anti-social and aggressive toward the other rats as well.

In other words, the crowding, the (eventually) unsanitary conditions, and the lack of any real predators (aside from the rats themselves) led to a complete breakdown in the rat society that eventually devolved into complete chaos.

Take from this what you will.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Do you think you have to be a real Jew to become a member of J-Date? Jewish boys are so cute.


Dudes, check out this picture of Rick Santorum's family. Are they for real?
What a weirdo!

Things just keep getting better!

- The Democrats took both the House and the Senate.

- Rumsfeld was fired!!!!

- Arizona was the first state to vote down a hateful, discriminatory same-sex marriage
ban, which would have also included civil unions and domestic partnership benefits.

- South Dakota voted down an abortion ban!!

- And now.....drum roll please......Rush Limbaugh admits he's a liar and a scumbag and the Republicans' bitch!

Now, I mentioned to you at the conclusion of the previous hour that people have been asking me how I feel all night long. I got, "Boy, Rush, I wouldn't want to be you tomorrow! Boy, I wouldn't want to have to do your show! Oh-ho. I'm so glad I'm not you." Well, folks, I love being me. (I can't be anybody else, so I'm stuck with it.) The way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, "Well, why have you been doing it?" Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat Party and liberalism does.

I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it's much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future -- both in Congress and the administration -- are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal.

There must be a LOT of people so perplexed and scratching their heads right now. I feel like this country got turned upside down over night. And it feels wonderful.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I have been reprimanded for not including some kind of WARNING on my previous post to readers that perhaps it contains graphic images NSFW. Since they were stock, B&W, and not pornographic, I figured it would be okay, but I realize now that that was insensitive of me (though I did consider a warning before I published the post since I know most people read this useless thing while they're at work; I mean, why would anyone sit at home and read it?).

So, sorry dudes. And if you haven't yet read the preceding post, and you're at work, you might tread carefully. Medical photos of hermaphroditic genitalia abound.

I'm thinking of turning this blog into nothing but a medical anomalies/abnormalities site, with lots of graphic pictures. What would ya'll think of that???

The Surgical Management of Infants and Children with Ambiguous Genitalia

Or, Intersex, defined in Stedman's Medical Dictionary and in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary as "one having the characteristics of both sexes." Unfortunately, the characteristics are not defined in any way.

For the sake of simplicity, however, for my research project for my Child Development class, I am defining it as those infants born with either aspects of both genitals, or ambiguous genitals, meaning hypospadias (an abnormality of the penis in which the urethra opens on the underside), congenital adrenal hyperplasia (C.A.H.), developmental problems of the external genitalia, virilized females, undervirilzed males, and patients with gonadal tissue of both sexes. Micropenis.

What my paper is really going to deal with, though, are less of the medical ideas, and what the psychological ramifications are. Should children's parents and doctors determine their gender as soon as they're born, which has been the case for decades. Whatever it's "closest" to is what the kid becomes.
How a micropenis becomes a clitoris.

The problems with this are too in-depth to go into on this here little blog, but the argument rages on. One of the main arguments is, if the parents and doctor don't choose the gender, how do you effectively raise an intersex child? Is that more or less damaging than "choosing" a gender for them, and then have a 50/50 chance of them actually being the opposite gender of what's been chosen for them? There are few things more heartbreaking, the common wisdom says, than a man with a penis not much bigger than a clitoris left to grow up as a man, hoping that the penis will grow as he ages, but then it does not, and he's doomed to go through life as a man without a penis.

The most common of these incidents occurred with a set of twins born in the 50's. During the circumcision process, one of their penises was accidentally cut off (um...) and Bruce thus became Brenda, while retaining all the chromosomal makeup of a man. Though he was raised as a "girl," he was obviously always very masculine, played sports and had numerous temperamental problems, even before puberty. In adolescence the truth about her gender was disclosed and he elected to have surgery to turn back into a man. He eventually got married and had children, but never really adjusted to his new gender, either (it seems that neither really worked for him) and he ended up committing suicide in his early 40's. His suicide was soon followed by his twin who was so distraught at his brother's suicide that he did the same thing. Nature vs. Nurture? Speaks volumes about nature to me. Gender being inherent rather than constructed.

That's just the most famous case. In my research I've started to become a little obssessed with intersex and transgenderism. So much so, in fact, that I've been thinking it might be an area in which I want to specialize as a therapist. Either counseling adults who have suffered traumatic gender issues, or with families who have to make decisions about babies and children. The common theory now being that no surgeries should be done on children until they're old enough to offer consent, and make up their own minds.

Fascinating. Well, at least to me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Maybe the god I don't believe in hasn't abandoned us completely after all.

At least we know the machines aren't rigged.

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before

It happened last night. Work was slow. He was working at the register right next to me. There was a lull. He turned to me.

"You growing a beard?" he asked, grinning.

I shrug. "I guess. It's a little patchy, but I grew one last winter and I liked it."

He nods, still smiling at me.

"Nice haircut too," he adds.

"Thanks," I reply. I point at him. "You need a haircut." (I'm flirting, see.)

He gets all embarrassed. "I know! My sister's getting married this weekend, and blah blah blah....."

The details aren't important. What is important is that he kept talking to me all night.

He wanted to talk about Borat; he wanted my opinion on films, and what my favorite movies are, and what movies I think he should see.

What? When I asked him why, he said, "Because. You're a film guy and you probably have good taste."

Hmm. How does he even know about my past dalliances in film? I don't think I've told a single person there that I used to do that. Certainly not him. He and I have barely talked, and it wasn't about our pasts.

Anyway, it went on all night. We would frequently look up at each other and smile. At one point, he came and stood right next to me to tell me something.

So, this should all be good, right? Flirting heavily with a boy I find funny and very attractive, in a totally pressure-free environment like work? Not only that, but he instigated all of it! I swear!

Well here's the problem: he's 21-years-old!!!!!!

God damn you, cruel Fate! I was this close to seeing if he wanted to go grab a beer at the Draft Horse after work, but I was hungry and wanted to go home and eat. So I didn't (at least I know my priorities). And I was afraid he'd say no. And I was afraid that I was grossly misreading all of this. It wouldn't be the first time I've mistaken friendliness/kindness for flirting or romantic interest (story of my life, in fact).

Which I have discovered is the biggest problem with being 29, an undergrad in college, and working a part-time job at a hip Austin establishment: I meet tons of new people all the time (between school and work), but they're all, like, between 19 and 21. And no matter how attractive, or funny, or smart, or interesting they might be to me, they're still only 19-21, and possess no hope of giving me any kind of fulfilling relationship. I suppose I could just enjoy their company for what it is, maybe have some quickie rolls in the hay with some young, hot dudes, and then move on, but frankly, I'm just looking for a little more substance than that these days. Casual sex does not hold the allure it used to hold for me, for a multitude of reasons.

In fact, the last man I actually met in person (as opposed to the internet) was about 3 weeks ago, and it turned out we had some mutual friends, and the story got very twisted, but we were both very interested in each other, but he was only 25, and just as I suspected, he turned out to be flaky and unreliable. And I was actually disappointed. Just goes to show you I'm right. When you're working in the realm of men, always go older. Never younger. They only let you down.

Okay, this post was just supposed to be about Flirty Work Guy; how did I get into all this?

I have to go run errands.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ballerinas that have fins that you'll never find

I never knew this, but apparently many scientists believe that dolphins are highly-evolved dog-like creatures that used to live on land and have four legs. What?

An article in Britain's Daily Mail today talks about a dolphin caught off the coast of Japan that has an extra set of fins in the back, about the size of human hands, that may be remnants of the second set of legs.

Experts believe that the dolphin's ancestor was a dog-like creature which roamed the earth many millions of years ago. And now the extraordinary discovery of a bottlenosed dolphin with an extra set of flippers has provided living proof of the theory.

At first glance it looks like any other of its kind. But closer inspection reveals a rogue set of rear fins.

Each the size of a human hand, the fins are thought to be the remains of a pair of hind legs, adding to evidence that dolphins once walked on all fours.

I knew dolphins were supposed to be really, really smart (and I even once heard that someone, somewhere, posited a theory that dolphins were evolved humans, but I have no idea where this came from, or where I heard it).

I love shit like this, though. It's so exciting and always makes me wonder where humans are headed.

Recent fossil finds support the belief that, 50million years ago, forerunners of the present deep-sea mammals had limbs and were quick on their feet.

The creatures, which belonged to a group called Pakicetids, looked like a cross between a wolf and a tapir and had large heads, long powerful tails, spindly legs and ankle bones well adapted for running.

They also had bones in their ears which are unique to cetaceans, the sea family to which whales and dolphins belong.

It is thought the dolphin's land-loving ancestors first crawled into the sea to escape predators or seek food between 50million and 35million years ago.

Their hind legs became smaller and smaller before eventually disappearing altogether. The new aerodynamic shape reduced drag in the water, speeding their swimming.

God, that's amazing! It makes me positively giddy. I had no idea.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Everybody knows I'm just barely getting by

If at this point, I need to explain to you who Ted Haggard is, you need to get out of your bubble. Admittedly, when this news first broke, i was overjoyed. There's nothing I love more than hateful hypocrites, and people who thrive on demonizing others, getting their one-up, being publically humiliated and disgraced, and having their ignorant or naive followers have to face a little more reality than they're used to having to deal with.

But you know, this guy gets me. For some reason, much more than Foley, this story really moves me. I feel genuinely bad for the guy, and I kind of want to give him a hug.

Interestingly enough, Tony Campolo seems to get it, too, and in this interview actually blames religious leaders for not only causing, but perpetuating this type of behavior that Haggard has engaged in. He understands the shame of the closet, the irreparable damage that living in a society that hates you can do to one's psyche, and calls for compassion, forgiveness, and reaching out to gay people by evangelicals. Perhaps a new day is dawning after all. I mean, Jesus Christ, how many more times does this kind of shit need to happen before people start to understand and realize that it is society's prejudice that creates these monsters that hurt people and destroy families, not that they're inherently evil people who are driven mad and into a life of self-destruction simply by nature of who they are.

I sympathize with Haggard, I honestly do. Every gay person, if they're really honest with themselves, will. The ones who want to demonize him are not much better off than he is. Which is not to say that I think he should be let off the hook for his hypocrisy, or not be held responsible for the furthering of hatred in which he has engaged, but the man obviously hates himself on a very, very deep level. And not only that, nobody of his status buys drugs and visits the same prostitute every month for 3 years, and doesn't, on some level, want to be caught. This man is in pain, and caused irreparable damage to his family. I can't imagine what it feels like to be this man's wife right now. His life is effectively over. As I said, we don't need to excuse this, but I feel a little compassion is in order.

I sincerely hope that some positivity comes out of all this, even if it's the start of a new dialogue, or just the reconsideration of a handful of people about their beliefs and actions. I can only hope that it further damages the credibility of the Republican party, and the power of the evangelicals, but more than that, I truly truly hope that Haggard can recover from this and become a whole human being someday. I don't envy his journey; I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, and as painful as my own journey of acceptance has been, his will be a thousand times worse. So I feel for him. If I believed in his God, that he may, or may not, actually have any faith in, I would pray for him.

Sigh. This story breaks my heart, to be honest, and I've been following it very closely. I hope I live to see the day where the society in which I live moves on from these types of stories because these types of things no longer happen, because everyone is on an equal playing field.