Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jazz Hands

For some time now I have found myself mired in the muck of the world's many problems. I've been searching for a conclusion, a solution that was right in front of me.

All we really need to save this economy, to save this planet, to save this country, to save ourselves...

Jazz Hands

Friday, November 14, 2008

What Would Liberace Do?

I'll tell you what He'd do? He'd fight for your rights bitches, with a candleabra in one hand and a picket sign in the other. He'd blind them with a rhinestone cape reflecting to glorious sun that shines on all god's children.

So, do it for Liberace. Let's get up off our collective asses and show this nation that relious belief should not govern social policy.

It's time to fight for our rights.

Join me THIS SATURDAY Nov. 15th at 1:30 PM EST for a nationwide protest of Proposition 8. Stand up and march for the people who can be fired just for being gay, for the couples who are seperated because their marriages are not counted by the INS, for each and every homo who pays equal taxes but does not have equal rights. Let's show them that we care enough to stand up.

Get info on a protest near you

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nov. 4th

Today I find myself in an odd state. I am tired beyond words.
Je suis trop fatigué pour les mots. I will start with a confession, something that I generally keep very quiet because it enrages some people and starts long drawn out conversations with no resolution, conversations for which I have distaste and which I have already had before.

Before this week, I have never voted.
I know it is my right, my civic duty, but honestly I have always felt and still to a great degree believe that the system is broken. If we didn't learn this in the 2000 election, then learning anything may be a hopeless cause. The electoral college is a system set up by rich white men who wanted a safeguard should the results of the election not meet their liking...regardless I've had this conversation before. I will not go into the details of my reasons for protesting a very non-democratic system for many years.

I am tired beyond words because I was restless on Monday night. I felt so tense. I stopped in the middle of the street in soho to call K. A homeless man standing 10 feet away began ranting in my direction about how white people are going to be exterminated from this planet like the disease that they are. I pretended I did not hear him, and walked away. I couldn't fall asleep that night. I think I fell asleep around midnight or 1am. I got up at 5:30 in the morning on Tuesday. Mind you, I am not a morning person. I seem to see everything in double vision until the clock strikes noon and two cups of coffee have churned away in my empty stomach threatening to bring a future self-induced problem with acid reflux. I'm sure there's a drug for that, a purple or blue or pink pill. There's a pill for everything.

You are probably wondering why I was up at 5:30 or maybe you're clever and know the answer. It's all the rage and all the buzz. Black is the new white. As a person who happens to be gay in a predominantly carribean neighborhood, I find that the word minority has a special meaning. It's all about where you are standing. Plop me on the upper east side and I'm an economic minority. Plop me in a sports bar and I'm a "social" minority. Plop me in any church and I'm a religious minorty. I am a card carrying member of a native tribe. I look white as a sheet but don't let it fool you. Plop me on an indian reservation and I am an ethnic minority even though I share bloodlines with the people. Plop me in a "whitebread" town and I have a supressed desire to put on war paint, do a rain dance, scalp my I kid and scalping can be traced to Mexicans. It is not a tradition of native culture. Push anyone far enough though and you better hold onto your hair.

At 6 in the morning I found myself in a line of people that wrapped around the block. Beaming smiles were painted on their faces. There was a sense of excitement, an energy that was palpable and electric. Parents with children took pictures with cellphone cameras. Most of the crowd were caribean americans/african americans, speckles of white like myself, all of us knowing that we were voting for the first black president, a pretty big deal. Though, honestly I don't think of Obama as black. He's half white, raised by a white woman in Hawaii. Much of being black in america is cultural. It is a shared experience that goes back to africa, crowded unsanitary boats, whips, chains, songs ripped from the soul, marching, death, rebirth, collared greens, the art of intriquite hair braiding, and the beating of a distant drum that you can hear if you listen hard enough. people kept coming, the line kept growing and growing. after an hour I was still in line, now double in size, almost triple. As I got closer, I began to get more and more excited, my heart beating like a hammer against my chest.

There was a woman who voted right before me. She had to be 80. She had a man holding her up on one side and a cane on the other side. She was glowing, an old african american woman who was voting in an historic election.

When it came to my turn, I stood in front of a closed curtain. Apparently the curtains are supposed to open, but mine was broken. There were no instructions or anything. I looked at the woman who was a volunteer in the process and said.

"What do I do?"

A girl behind me laughed. The woman smiled and told me to pull the lever, vote and then pull the lever back the other way...not the most eloquent or detailed of instructions but enough to get me where I needed to go.

When I pulled that lever, I felt like I had pulled down on a slot machine that was spitting out gold. It was like an electoral orgasm. My whole body tingled with power and satisfaction...uh huh. god it felt so good. I voted for the skinny man with the floppy ears and ooh did it ever feel like big ol' slice of pecan pie with whipped creme and sprinkles. mmmmm hmmm.

That evening K and I were sipping wine from a cheap bottle that tasted a little better than cheap, watching the results. When they called the election for Obama, we both started chearing and clapping. We heard yelling, clapping chearing in other apartments, people in the halls yelling OBAMA! We grabbed egg shakers and our Obama sign and took to the streets. People flooded the sidewalks and the streets, holding signs, banners, wearing t-shirts and buttons...hooting hollaring. Screaming. Cars slowed down honking, people hanging out the side, people drumming, dancing, playing music out their windows. We went to the bar right around the corner and the bartender who is our neighbor began pouring shots and handing them to everyone. We all raised our glasses together, cheering.

I mistakenly called my family. They are a group of conservative christian McCain supporters. I sometimes forget the pervasiveness of lies in negative campaigning and how they can seep into people's heads. I cannot repeat some of what came out of the mouths of my family members most noteably my sister. It absolutely horrifies me. Racist things, idiotic, crazy things. between coming down from this great historic victory and grappling with the evil discriminatory propositions that were passed in California, Florida, Arizona and Arkansas, I have found myself in a place of one who has had a sugar rush, bouncing off the walls and now everything has crashed a bit.

Last night, I went to visit my friend Beverly. Last week I was supposed to help her set up her cellphone. When I arrived at her building she was in the lobby holding a towel covered in blood, blood gushing out of her mouth, choking on her own blood. I had her doorman get in touch with her son. I rode in an ambulance with her to St. Vincent's hospital, truly the waiting room to purgatory. They managed to stop her bleeding and cauterized a broken blood vessel in her nose. Her son arrived and it was odd to look at him. He looked so much like his father, Norman Mailer, a notable writer who died earlier this year. Beverly had been involved in a love affair with jazz musician Miles Davis, but left him for Norman, became his 2nd wife and gave him two sons. She was a model on the price is right many many years ago and has acted in multipe movies, plays and commercials. She is full of so many stories. There are tales of spain and Hemmingway and of a New York that isn't here anymore. She is a special woman with a touch of southern charm and a dash of crazy...two elements I have as well.

Beverly seemed to be on the mend but still recovering. I helped her put some numbers into her new cellphone and show her how it works. I rushed from Beverly's to Mr. Dennehy's for the Leonard Cohen tribute night. K was waiting there for me. On my way I got into a heated discussion with my mother over the election. She preached doom and gloom, the coming apocolypse, her misguided view that Obama is a socialist and things bordering on racist....actually not bordering...truly racist. I became disgusted, angry. I said something with proceeded by the word *Fucking* and hung up on my mother. Oh my god. I hung up on my mother. She called back. I didn't answer. She called back. I didn't answer. She left a voicemail.

I called her back to explain that I was upset and horrified by what was coming out of her mouth. She apologized. I suggested reinstating our moratoreum on political discussions. She said it was not necessary. I love my mother deeply, but I am still horrified at the inherent racism of my family.

As a child the dreaded "N word" was used in our house. I had to train my parents, to tell them that it was offensive and not acceptable to me. The word disappeared, but I guess it is hard for some people to shake their surroundings. I carry the mud of radical christain hate which has been smeared on me like some coat of paint that might make me right. I don't know if it will ever wash off.

My parents have come a long way. I know they love me, but they think I am misguided and living in sin. They don't speak it, but I know it is there. I said that I wanted to spend christmas with K.. Instead of inviting him my mother made up a lame excuse about how there is not enough room in their house, of course meaning that K and I would have to sleep in the same bed, a horrible sin in the eyes of god for them. A part of me wants to cut ties with my family at times. It goes in waves. They love me. I love them. That's good and all, but they do not fully accept me for who I am. At times, it makes me feel like they are ashamed of me or embarrased of me.

It has been 12 years since my parents found out that I am gay. I knew long before that. I made out with my first boy in the 3rd grade. It felt innocent and natural. I hadn't learned yet that to some people I was stepping down the slippery slope to a heathen lifestyle. I live in a country which claims to be free yet has the highest per capita population of people incarcerated of any industrialized nation, a place where I cannot marry the man I love and have equal protection under the law. This election was an amazing powerful thing. I do think that people want change and that there is a renewed sense of hope in a new direction, but this nation is by no means free or equal. Gay people are second class citizens who are tollerated. There are not seperate water fountains or seperate seats on the bus, but we are not equal. Until every man and woman in this country has equal rights. This nation is not free. There is not freedom for all in my america. I hope that is the next thing to change.

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