It’s those damned homosexuals again!

Science? Bah! It’s those damned homosexuals again!

Have you seen the latest ultra-conservative preacher’s assertion that the current storm on record—Hurricane Sandy—is our fault? The LGBT community that is. You know the story. These preachers can’t help themselves, every time there is a devastating weather event, it’s because of the gays and lesbians. Now, hurricane Sandy has already plowed through the Caribbean, causing untold damage, and sadly, the deaths of some 69 souls and is bearing down on the east coast of the US. Rather than mobilizing their religious brethren in community efforts for rescue or other assistance to those in harms way, these “men of the cloth” instead use the tragedy once again to stir up their sinister brand of hatred for the LGBT community.

Of course, there is a long history of this false prophecy fear mongering among the hardliners of the religious right. John McTernan is only one of a sad list of so-called Christian leaders who regularly employ such tactics to get attention. There’s Pat Robertson, who has famously asserted that the LGBT community is responsible for Hurricane Katrina. 9/11, according to Jerry Falwell, is the evildoing of our community as well. Fred Phelps has his own special niche blaming the deaths of US service members on our country’s “acceptance” of homosexuality. Presumably, if we were all imprisoned or worse, all casualties of war and every natural disaster would cease. Our military would be invincible, impervious to every bullet or bomb, and never again would we see a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado, I guess. Wow.

What about science, you say? Hogwash! Scientific theories regarding climate change and evolution get in the way of the fire and brimstone scare tactics. Better to relegate groups of citizens to the realm of godless heathens, responsible for every ill of humanity than to accept reasoning or scientific theory. These same types of preachers once used race to demonize and blame, but now that’s passé, and besides they can get a lot more fundamentalist churches on their side on the issue of homosexuality. Ahh, now here’s common ground for biblical ultra-fundamentalists, regardless of race.

I realize that these types of preachers have always tried to use images of “vile” human behaviors to justify what they warn is God’s wrath, and many times the message strays into the demonization of a particular group. Jews, blacks, Asians, communists, Muslims, Catholics, gays, and lesbians, have all been targets of the same ideology at different points in history. Of course, forces of nature that we cannot control are events most easily exploited to summon the images of the wrath of a vengeful god, and who better to blame for terrible misfortune than some “other” group? Sadly, it’s a recurring pattern for those who supposedly are God’s messengers to the world, regardless of religious affiliation. I’d like to suggest to these folks that they would better serve their fellow citizens by demonstrating consistent charity and love. Tell your flock how to unite for the good of humanity, especially in times of hardship or natural disaster. If all of these preachers tried it, imagine the good they might actually accomplish.

Thanks for reading~LM

Holy Kluwe, these guys are awesome!

I’m a huge football fan—American football—college, professional, doesn’t matter. In my household, Saturdays and Sundays (and Monday & Thursday nights) are all about the pigskin. In the past couple of weeks, there have been some amazing equality-related events revolving around the game of football in our country. Turns out, not all big jocks are homophobic jerks, as we’ve been led to believe. Way cool!

Here’s the question: Does a pro football player have the right to speak out about social or political issues they believe in? If they share their opinion, should they be at risk of losing their job when the wrong person disagrees?

Consider Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who came out publicly in support of a Maryland referendum on gay marriage last month, drawing ire of Maryland House of Delegates Member Emmett C. Burns. Burns wrote to Ravens owner, Steve Biscotti, that he “found it inconceivable that Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Ravens football player.” Is Burns implying that it’s inconceivable that a football player should support equality? He said further, “I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL  player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”

Injurious actions? Exactly whom is Mr. Ayanbadejo injuring by supporting equality? The Baltimore Ravens? The NFL? The State of Maryland? Delegate Burns? Well, as it turns out, I’m not the only one wondering. Next up is Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who defended Ayanbadejo and wrote a letter lambasting Delegate Burns for his bigotry. In a very colorfully worded response to Burns, Kluwe rightly calls the question on both Ayanbedejo’s right to speak freely about his beliefs and gay marriage, by reminding us that as recently as the 1960’s pro sports were still segregated institutions. That changed in no small part due to the outspoken players such as Jackie Robinson.

We’ve talked here about the importance of lesbian and gay public figures coming out and the positive affect on the lives of countless people. These are outstanding examples of our straight allies having the courage to speak out about our human rights. Delegate Burns is correct when he says that it is unusual for a member of the NFL to speak publicly on issues such as marriage equality. That is what makes the words of public figures, these professional athletes—our gridiron heroes, even more potent. These men are showing great character in taking a stand for equality, when they clearly could remain silent. Their willingness to speak about equality to their fans, many of them conservative and clinging to irrational biases, is a positive force that cannot be understated.

I sincerely hope the NFL, nor their respective teams give these players any grief for their comments. After all, nobody is calling for the censuring of Tim Tebow when he supports Focus on the Family or other anti-gay groups. Or are NFL players only allowed to speak their minds when Mr. Burns and those like him agree with the message? Should the NFL or individual teams prohibit players from giving their personal opinions on matters outside the game? I don’t know. However, the point is that either players can speak openly about their personal beliefs or not; you can’t have it both ways.

“Its an equality issue. I see the big picture,” Ayanbadejo says. “There was a time when women didn’t have rights. Black people didn’t have rights. Right now, gay rights is a big issue and it’s been for a long time. We’re slowly chopping down the barriers to equality.” For me, Kluwe gets the last word. Topping off his very animated, pro-equality letter he said this: “You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails.”

 Amen to that. I’m not a Vikings fan, but I’m thinking my next NFL purchase is going to be a purple number 5 jersey.

Thanks for reading

~LM

 

First Review of Tactical Pursuit!

Terry Baker, prolific lesfic reader and reviewer, graciously agreed to accept an advance copy of my newest novel, Tactical Pursuit, for review.

Terry said, “Faithful Service, Silent Hearts was a brilliant debut book. Tactical Pursuit is stupendous. I wondered how Lynette Mae was going to top her debut book, now I know and I needn’t have worried. She did. Tactical Pursuit is a fast paced page turner from the very first page right through to it’s dramatic ending. I simply could not put this book down.”

Read the rest of Terry’s review of Tactical PursuitTerry’s Lesfic Review of Tactical Pursuit

And don’t forget, Tactical Pursuit is coming in 6 days! You know you’re ready!
Thanks for reading~LM

L-Chief to the rescue!

This past week while the GOP held their convention in Tampa, something truly amazing happened—well, didn’t happen.  The massive protests and violence that were predicted, based upon the angry mood of the country, Occupy demonstrations and encampments nationwide, and of course, past history of senseless violence seen at previous conventions, just didn’t happen in here in Tampa. Folks are already scratching their heads and theories are likely to abound regarding underlying causations, statistical data, and every manner of analytical scrutiny.

Yes, Hurricane Isaac skirted the Florida coast and gave the city and RNC planners a big scare, prompting the cancellation of day one. Yes, we had thousands of officers from all over Florida, along with federal law enforcement, and even National Guard Troops, patrolling our city. Yes, we were prepared.

But.

I submit to you that Tampa had a secret weapon, more powerful than any well-armed force, ultra rich conservatives, or devious anarchist hell bent on destruction and violence to incite the masses. Tampa has L-Chief. (Yes, L, just like the L Word) Who knew prior to this convention, that protestors could be handled with dignity and compassion? Dropping off water at a protest encampment? Allowing “minor” violations to go on without heavy-handed responses? Permitting unscripted protests to continue, when clearly the police could easily shut them down? What kind of commie ideas are these? I’ll tell you. They are smart policing ideas, L-Chief style.

Listen, I’ve been a cop for a couple of decades, and fully understand use of force. There are truly bad people in our society, but all good cops know that there must be a balance. Police officers see so much negative information about the evil protesters who are coming to attack them with all manner of weapons (including super soakers filled with AIDS tainted-body fluids), and who seek to obliterate the very fabric of everything we hold dear as Americans. All of the truly bad people I spoke of above concentrated in a protest bloc.

So, it’s no wonder we cops get all amped up for battle. Who wouldn’t? But, our chief maintained that citizens would be allowed to protest as long as they didn’t cross the line into unlawful behavior. That was a great plan, and often such ideas are difficult to put into practice. Many times crowd control situations get out of hand when a couple of troublemakers bait law enforcement into an unnecessary response. Then chaos ensues. L-Chief didn’t let that happen, and the measure of success was the empty Hillsborough County Jail that had been set aside for dealing with RNC arrests.

Back to the debate that has no doubt already begun regarding all the reasons the RNC in Tampa was so uneventful, protest-wise. All of the factors will be examined, and when they dissect every component, I hope they don’t overlook one subtle, but powerful fact: L-Chief was everywhere. She welcomed GOP delegates and big-name politicians, held court at press conferences, hung out with protestors, and grinned all the while. “If you treat people with dignity and respect, that’s what you’re going to get in return,” Castor said. Heck, the chief even won over reporters. Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “But this week protesters have regularly approached Tampa police Chief Jane Castor — presumably a symbol of Authority, the Oppressor, head of the very police state they rail against — and asked to take a photo with her. And except for one person dressed as a very graphic lady part, the chief has obliged — a rock star even in a city providing a stage to an America divided.”

Chief Castor laughs with Planned Parenthood activists

Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, being a woman and a lesbian was the intangible difference that calmed the masses? The L-Chief is always gracious in giving credit to the hard work of the officers under her command, and will likely shrug off the significance of the L in L-chief. That’s fine. But, I don’t care what anyone says, I’m sticking to my theory, L-Chief cast a spell of calm on all sides of this RNC, and once again, the LGBT community has a shining star. This one wears a badge.

Thanks for reading~LM

See LM at Girls out Loud

Big news! I’ll be at the Girls out Loud music festival on September 15th in St. Petersburg. I’ll have a stack of Tactical Pursuit copies, celebrating the release of the long-awaited follow-up to Faithful Service, Silent Hearts, and featuring Tampa as the setting for this action-packed, romantic tale. What a fantastic day this is going to be!

Author Tenea Johnson will be joining me, chatting about lesbian literature and signing her outstanding books! I can’t tell you how excited I am about that! Tenea is a real talent, and if you haven’t checked out her work, you should. This festival features music by Hunter Valentine, the killer band from this season’s Real L Word! Girls out Loud will be announcing additional artists and authors for this awesome Tampa Bay lesbian cultural extravaganza! Check back often for details as we add more super-talented lesbian authors to the list. I want to thank Girl2Girl Productions for the chance to spotlight the creative forces behind Tampa Bay’s lesbian fiction scene.

If you’re in the St. Pete/Tampa area, come by and party with us on September 15th!

~LM

Amazing Times

Hi gang! Hope you all are well this week. Whew! We’re halfway through August already, and what a busy month it’s been. The Olympics have wrapped up, and they were brilliant! So, I thought today we’d chat about some of the important LGBT news I’ve seen over the past week or so. I see these smaller victories as hope for the future of our LGBT community and all Americans.

We’ll lead off with military news, since most of you know I’m a veteran of the US Army. Last week the Army announced the first openly lesbian woman was appointed to the rank of Brigadier General. Hoo-ya! Who would have ever thought that would possible so soon after the fall of DADT? Then, I read an article in the September issue of Curve Magazine, with an interview of a lesbian Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. Sergeant Patterson is quick to point out that “…the military is still not exactly a gay-friendly environment.” And, “Anti-gay slurs are pretty constant…” Also, we’ll note that the end of DADT has nothing to do with Equal Opportunity Policy in the military, which still doesn’t include discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Sadly, even the general still isn’t fully protected. But the fact that she’s a lesbian didn’t prevent her promotion, and that, my friends, is progress.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about big corporations on either side of the equality divide, and praised Amazon and General Mills for their pro-equality stances. Well, I’ve been hearing a lot about KFC and McDonald’s coming out in support of the Chick-Fil-A position. Well, it turns out that the “proof” of those corporations solidarity with anti-equality are highly exaggerated; in fact, they are false. The marquee signs in question were fabricated on a website called Fast Food Sign Generator. Turns out KFC and McDonalds like equality just fine. And the newest edition to the growing corporate voice for equality list is REI. REI’s CEO, Sally Jewell, released her pro-equality stance on the company’s blog this month. My favorite toy store loves me back! Sweet!

LGBT youth scored a victory in Marion County, FL. Last May a couple of students at Vanguard High School requested permission to form a Gay-Straight Alliance Club. The principal denied the students request, saying he “wasn’t comfortable with a club based on sexual orientation on his campus.” On Thursday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the teens, citing violation of the Equal Access Act, as well as the students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. It’s a shame that once again a lawsuit has to be filed in order for kids to form a school club. The good news is that the school board relented on Monday, and the kids can have their GSA. Awesome. Check it out, if you want.

In political news, there were significant gains for LGBT candidates. How’s this for a headline from the Advocate.com: “Gay Candidate Wins Where Anita Bryant Once Roamed”. That’s right, voters in Miami Beach elected their first-ever openly gay candidate for state legislature, David Richardson. Also, here in Florida, Orlando elected an openly gay representative, Joe Saunders. In Wisconsin, Democrats chose openly gay Rep. Mark Pocan to succeed Rep. Tammy Baldwin (also an out lesbian), who is running for Senate this November. If elected, Rep. Baldwin will become the first openly lesbian US Senator. Go, Tammy!

While we still have work to do, all of these stories are more proof that momentum is building, and the march of equality is unstoppable. We have to keep the message alive in whatever way we can. All of theses stories above have underlying political consequences and it truly matters what choices we make at the ballot box. As Rep. Baldwin tells us, “If you’re not in a room, the conversation is about you. If you’re in the room, the conversation is with you.”

Let’s all join in the conversation. It matters.

Thanks for reading ~LM

Unchecked Hate Has a Price

After the disturbing news of several more hate crimes against lesbians and gays recently, my friend, Barrett wrote eloquently on her blog about this disturbing hateful trend that seems to be growing in our society. Check out her outstanding words.

I, too, have been deeply impacted by these crimes and it has made me wonder what’s happening. Barrett had a couple of ideas spot on: We should be able to disagree without violence and the hypocrisy and the hatred has to stop. One of the best ways we can do that is to take a stand against hateful rhetoric, wherever we hear it. But too often, our society turns a blind eye when hate and intolerance are broadcast via the airwaves or simply uttered in our presence.

Consider the popular comedian, Daniel Tosh, of Comedy Central. Last month he joked about rape in a standup show. When a woman in the audience objected, was Tosh apologetic? No. He doubled down. He followed with, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?”

Seriously, Daniel? Yes, I know, he offered a half-assed Twitter apology. Whatever. Here’s the thing. Daniel’s rape subject matter has a history. Here’s another example of his twisted humor, using his sister in one of his rape jokes. I’m only including his video because you have to hear it to believe it. This guy has issues. Worse, he has a following.

But the thing that makes my blood run cold is that, even with his propensity for this type of cringe-inducing stand-up, he is wildly popular. He should be a pariah, but he’s not. At least he hasn’t been until this last over-the-top rant. The fact that there has been at least some backlash is encouraging, but it’s not nearly enough.

Kids are getting bullied and committing suicide because of their perceived homosexuality or disability. In story after story, not only did other kids join in, but parents, and in some cases teachers, said nothing—or worse fueled the taunting behaviors, through tacit, even active encouragement. Popular pastors are preaching intolerance and hatred. Rush Limbaugh resurrects the old “Feminazi” label and calls a college student a whore for speaking about reproductive rights. Citizens at a political debate boo a gay service member currently serving in Afghanistan. All in plain sight and without any real consequence to the haters. Oh, but the consequence is very real, my friends.

I talk often about the power of touching one person at a time in my life. It’s the best way for me to fight the overwhelming feeling of helplessness that can so easily take over, because it seems so hopeless sometimes. The simplest part is also the hardest because human nature is usually to avoid conflict, and we mostly try to get along with our family and friends. But I suggest to you that we have to speak up. No, not make speeches or wear a t-shirt emblazoned with: I’m a Lesbian! (If you want to, that’s cool, though.) What I’m talking about is refusing to be silent in the face of this misogynist, homophobic, racist intolerance that too often goes unchecked. There are many moments in our daily lives that give us the opportunity to make statements large and small, and every one of them is huge when we do. Whether we boycott companies that bankroll anti-gay measures, calmly tell a male co-worker that his sexist remark is unacceptable, or explain to a child in our life why a cruel joke isn’t funny. It matters.

“Us versus them” is destroying us. Girls are being gang raped, a young lesbian couple is shot, a gay couple savagely beaten, and there was yet another mass shooting last night at a religious temple in Milwaukee. The tragic list goes on, chipping away at our collective spirit. It’s all about the different, the weaker, the other. Somewhere along the way, those who spew intolerance have gained a perverse acceptance, and those who speak for the different have been marginalized, as though they are saying something wrong. That is what we must change. I may be hopelessly naïve, but I believe it’s possible. Hate breeds in ignorance and division from one another enables hate to spread. Divide and conquer is the tactic. Demonize the different. The problem is, that fracturing of our collective whole is what’s taking us all down. Each of us has a role in stopping it.

There’s a saying: We become what we think about. What our society needs is a lot more thinking about our common humanity and a lot less looking for reasons to hate.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Peace.

~LM

Money changes everything…

Let that Cyndi Lauper musical anthem play in your head for this offering.

 

So, here we go again. The rabid religious right (or the RRR as I like to call them) is all flapped up and riled that corporations are donating to causes supporting diversity and gay marriage initiatives. Social conservatives are outraged—indignant I tell you—that corporations would sink money into this social issue. The conservative crowd is upset by the announcement that Amazon CEO Jeffery Bezos donated $2.5 million to help pass a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington State. And in June, General Mills came out publicly against a same sex marriage ban in Minnesota. The nerve!

Wasn’t it just last week that Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A, reaffirmed his moral position against gay marriage by stating that our country is “inviting the wrath of God” for our tolerance? That’s the same Dan Cathy who has donated nearly $2million dollars to organizations opposing gay marriage in 2010 alone (Source: equality matters.org) What happened then? Why, the conservatives were gleefully praising the chicken giant, and calling for a dine-in for support. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee were the standard bearers for the cause to defend the moral high ground, exhorting their followers to rush to buy chicken sandwiches and extra large waffle fries!

Help me to understand. I know Republicans believe in less government, and the less government, the better. Keep government away from my guns, my healthcare, my religion (only straight, intolerant Christian denominations here), fire all the lazy SOB’s with government jobs… the list goes on. That’s always their position. Government is bad. Right? Corporations should have unlimited ability to make political contributions without regulations. Regulation is another way for government to interfere. Right? Oh, wait, unless… GASP… a corporation gets behind causes benefiting women or lesbians and gays…

<That’s the sound of the needle skipping across the record>

Praise the corporations who funnel billions into certain causes, but supporting marriage equality for LGBT citizens? Nuh-uh. And when we respond by rightly saying we’ll spend our lesbian money somewhere else? Well, we’re just being…umm…reverse bigots! Yeah, that’s it! But if you’re cause is on the right, boycott or buycott as often as you can. So, I think our LGBT dollars should speak just as loudly for companies that support equality. And thankfully more corporations are realizing that a stance for equality is the way to go. We buy stuff, too! Wow, it feels good to know that my next lesbian ebook purchase will matter even more. Thanks, Amazon.

I read a newspaper article the other day that quoted a woman in MN lamenting that she is running out of places to shop because of all of those sinful businesses supporting gay and lesbian causes. She says they’re destroying thousands of years of tradition (read suppression) and the final indignity is that she’s had to take Cheerios off of her shopping list, presumably because of the General Mills stance on equality. I think that’s perfectly fine that she spends her dollars in accordance with her beliefs. She’s entitled to her buying decisions.

Tell ya what? With the money we save avoiding Chick-Fil-A, my wife and I will buy an extra box of Cheerios next week.

Thanks for reading,

~LM