Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Dan Savage to CNN: Stop the Hate

“We need a cultural reckoning.”

This is Dan Savage’s response to a CNN reporter’s question of how mainstream society can increase acceptance for gays and lesbians. Savage goes on to make his point even more unequivocally: Stop providing hate groups like the Family Research Council to spew hate under the guise of impartial journalism. Said Savage:

“There are no ‘two sides’ to the issue of LGBT rights. Right now one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on CNN.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently added 13 virulently anti-gay organizations to its list of “hate groups”–a designation based on each group’s propagation of lies against the minorities it wishes to demonize.

Savage lambasts CNN for its seemingly innocuous journalism. Why shouldn’t the cable network question the anti-gay–now officially categorized as hate-mongering–“experts” that it regularly provides a megaphone for?

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Filed under: hate, media, , , , , , , , , ,

The Boys of Glee

Happy Thanksgiving Eve (or, as I sometimes say if I’m in a particularly sour mood, Happy National Day of Mourning). For the break, I’ve been indulging in TV, and it’s been heartening to watch glee of late; they’ve toned down the celebrity tributes to Britney Spears and Rocky Horror (though I did love reminiscing about midnight showings of Rocky at the Omaha shopping mall).

This week’s story of Kurt’s anti-gay bullying–and his support network of family and Glee Club members–was timely and entertaining. Where it could have taken a wrong turn into after-school special zone, glee creator Ryan Murphy managed to bring to the fictional story a sense of community responsibility. Hell, even Sue Sylvester stuck up for the bullied teen.

Seems like Season Two is turning out to be focused on Kurt. Next week, after his transfer to the private boys’ school Dalton Academy, he participates in a version of “Hey Soul Sister” with his gay mentor, played by Darren Criss. Looking forward to it. My dirty little secret: I’ll probably always be a sucker for everything musical theater.

Filed under: entertainment, music, television, , , , , , , , ,

Removing a Gay Joke Isn’t Censorship

Ron Howard says he won’t cut a derisive joke from his new film, The Dilemma, just because protesters want him to. Last month more than 2,700 people signed a petition seeking to cut the gay joke from the film’s trailer.

Lead actor Vince Vaughn has also defended the joke:

Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together.

“Electric cars are gay,” says Vaughn’s character in the film.

I wonder if the gay kid and the school bully watching the film in Idaho realize that the joke’s meant to break any tension and bring them happily together.

How do we measure the impact of a careless quip like “That’s gay”? Dan Savage and Margaret Cho put in their two cents on gay jokes in The Daily Beast.

 

 

Filed under: censorship, film, gay rights, , , , , , , , , , ,

Fort Worth Councilman: “It Gets Better”

Likely you’ve seen this clip from Forth Worth City Councilman Joel Burns (it’s been a crazy week, and I’m just catching up now).

In a public meeting earlier this week, Burns told a personal story of bullying: cornered at school by bullies and being called a “faggot” and that he should die. What’s particularly moving is Burns’ emotion, tear-filled, genuine, in the midst of an otherwise humdrum city meeting.

Ten teenagers have committed suicide in the past few months. Hanging themselves in garages, using guns in their own homes, jumping off the GW bridge out of fear and embarassment. This is an epidemic.

Our collective burden, as educated adults who care about our young people, is to be honest and straightforward with the kids we counsel and love. Dan Savage started a moving campaign; President Obama addressed cyberbullying at a town hall meeting on MTV; ordinary folks around the country have uploaded their own stories of being bullied and posted them on the Web.

In Massachusetts, where I live, we passed strongly-worded anti-bullying legislation last May. Though a concrete, enforceable measure, the law still relies on adults in the community to become standard-bearers: the school principals, the teachers, and the parents themselves.

Let’s hope that kids out there who might feel alone–called perhaps the ugliest names imaginable by insecure, ignorant jerks–might hear all the voices, those that have lived through it, calling in unison that it gets better.

It really does.

Filed under: gay life, gay rights, government, homophobia, , , , , , , , , ,

Kudos to the “It Gets Better” Project

I knew there was a reason I loved Dan Savage.

Besides being one of the most reasonable and fiercest advocates for gay and lesbian rights, Savage has charisma that stretches for miles. In this new video about being bullied in high school–and the acknowledgment, many years later, of a bright present–he and his partner talk frankly about how difficult life was.

And how satisfying family life (they have a teenager named TJ) is today.

More about the “It Gets Better” Project–aimed at an audience of young gay kids who may be considering suicide–is at the newly launched YouTube channel. Good, heartfelt, stuff.

Filed under: family, gay life, , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
August 2019
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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