Saturday Submissions

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Book Review: Dancer From The Dark

In: Saturday Submissions, The Arts

Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran is the story of gay life in New York in the late 70s, from the tenements of the Lower East Side to the beaches of Fire Island, from the bars and the baths to the avenues and the parks, all the places where gay men cruised for cock and love. It is a story about too often having to sacrifice substance for style, and how, once in a while, you do the opposite. It is a story of decadence and despair, of lust, love, and the lies we all tell, of coming out and the end of innocence. It is the story of Malone, beautiful, romantic, idealistic, and Sutherland, queeny, campy, and jaded. It is the story of how they met, became friends, and how their friendship intersected and impacted the lives of the people around them.

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US Supreme Court Hears Challenge to DOMA

In: Politics & Issues, Saturday Submissions

In the second day of back-to-back marriage hearings at the US Supreme Court, the justices heard arguments yesterday in United States v Windsor. Edie Windsor married her long-time partner in Ontario, after which the two of them moved to New York. At the time, New York did not permit same-sex marriages, but they did give full recognition to same-sex marriages lawfully performed elsewhere. When Windsor’s wife died, the federal government sent her a tax bill for over $360,000 because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Had Ms. Windsor’s marriage been recognized, her tax bill would have been zero.

Yesterday’s hearing was divided into two parts. The first, much like the Prop 8 hearing, was devoted to a somewhat dull but important procedural question: the issue of standing. Because the Obama Administration was supporting Ms. Windsor’s case, there was a question of whether there was anybody who was actually able to bring the case to the Supreme Court. In simple terms, courts resolve legal disputes. If both sides agree on the law, then there’s no dispute. No dispute, nothing for the courts to do. Republicans from the US House of Representatives have also tried to step in to defend DOMA, but there were also some tough questions about whether or not they had a right to be in court. With that said, a majority of the justices seemed willing (or at least more willing than they did with the Prop 8 case), to rule that the case was properly before them.

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I have to admit that I spent a lot of time staring at a blank screen trying to figure out how to write this piece. I do my best, in writing about legal matters, to find a way to cut through the jargon and make convoluted proceedings a little easier to understand. In listening to the approximately one hour of oral arguments released by the Supreme Court today it became quite clear that this wasn’t going to be a particularly easy task, but here goes.

Just over a year ago, the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that California’s Proposition 8, passed in November of 2008, was unconstitutional. Proposition 8 took away the right of same-sex couples to marry that had previously been granted by the California Supreme Court.

Unlike most cases, which tend to be straightforward, the Prop 8 case isn’t as simple as your usual win/loss situation. That’s what makes it so complicated. The Supreme Court has a number of options before it, and for any one of those options to be successful, at least five of the nine justices will have to support it. On the side of those who support Prop 8, there is one option for them to win, and that is for the Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8 as a valid and constitutional enactment.

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Today and tomorrow, the United States Supreme Court hears arguments in two cases about same-sex marriage. There’s going to be a lot of bluster, but in the end the whole thing boils down to a few key issues. Here are the issues as I see them, and the fundamental logical disconnect that anti-equality forces are hoping nobody notices.

First, they say “it’s intolerant for you not to tolerate my intolerance.” Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. Using the argument of race, that line of reasoning suggests that the people who were against different water fountains and different seats on the bus were the ones who were really intolerant, because they refused to tolerate the views of those who would deny liberty to everyone. The argument is laughable on its face.

The next argument (that seems to be made in court) is that it’s fine to exclude same-sex couples from marriage because the government has an interest in promoting marriage. Well, that one sounds nice, until you examine it more closely. For a government policy to pass the “rational basis” test, the policy has to have a (you guessed it) rational connection to the purpose it seeks to advance. The problem here is that there’s nothing to indicate that allowing same-sex couples into the institution of marriage compromises or defeats the purpose of promoting marriage as an institution. In other words, the policy and the goal have nothing to do with each other. The people behind these bans know that, so they’ve thrown in arguments like “this is all very new, we don’t know what the impact will be, so we have the right to proceed slowly.” The problem with that argument is what happens when you decode it. What it means is basically that they don’t know whether or not straight people will think marriage is tainted solely because gay people have been allowed in too. That’s called animus, and the Supreme Court held in Romer v Evans that animus against a particular group of people doesn’t count as a rational basis for government policy.

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The Boys Of Summer

In: Saturday Submissions

With the summer upon us, gays everywhere begin to think of one thing… well two things: (1) Looking good in the least amount of clothing possible and (2) PRIDE! Gay pride really is a second Christmas for homos and their straight/bi-curious friends, a Christmas laden with Speedos, binge drinking, camaraderie and making out with complete strangers from out of town. For those living in the Northwest, our summers are dominated by Pride events, with Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC Prides all occurring in succession. Pride is a mini-vacation, with the majority of us taking three-day weekends (or calling in sick on Monday) and driving short distances to break from our normal lives.

What once started with a march through the city, has now become a three-day event, filled with house parties, pool parties, BBQ’s and get-togethers. All ending in a huge block party. For those that have never been to a pride, the block party is truly something interesting. Within this one city-block, the sidewalks are lined with makeshift bars, grills cooking the usual summer BBQ fare for those who dare to be seen eating at a gay event, and a stage with rainbows everywhere. Gracing the stage with their presence are numerous foul-mouthed drag queens, muscular porn stars, twinky go-go dancers and D-list entertainers, usually some one-hit-wonder from the late eighties/early nineties or an American Idol runner up. Most importantly though, the block party is filled with every ‘mo and mary in a 20 mile radius. It is a literal “who’s who” of the gay community, or a “who’s that” depending on the city. Although it may look like a harmless shirtless boy-party, the debauchery that can occur rivals that of Spring Break on Girls Gone Wild. I have seen the ads: I know straight people are no better. But I digress. The point is all of these homos gather for one purpose: to dance and drink from 11am ’till 2am.

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YOLO: You Only Live Once

In: Saturday Submissions, Totally GAY!

Hello gays and gay lovers of Homorazzi! My name is Dave, the newest (and possibly youngest… I haven’t checked…) writer for this wicked website. I just did the same production of Footloose with Tyrell in Winnipeg, which has me here writing for you fine folks in Homorazzi-land! Well, Footloose is all over now, but I had one of the best theatre experiences I’ve had to date. Something that will always stick with me from that show was the incomparable cast that I got to spend every day with. Some favourite things include prefacing everything with YOLO (you only live once), and honouring the biggest fuck up each night with a squid-hat from the carnival.

It is hard to think that those are all just amazing memories now. There was one guy who I will always remember though, because he taught me so much about myself. And surprisingly enough, he wasn’t the wizened old jaded-painted-whore-of-the-theatre who has been around the block more times than a gay in the village on Saturday night. He was the youngest guy in the cast, a new gay, and greener than any gays I’ve met before, but it was like watching a movie of myself three years ago. It was amazing to relive that part of myself that I have moved on from.

Well one day we were sitting at the beach, I, bravely in my light blue Diesel speedo seen above (it’s a wonder I wasn’t lynched in Winnipeg), chatting about boys and life and whatever else the gays chat about on the beach. Well he was telling us about a potential new boy and how he is being careful and doesn’t want to get hurt like he was in his last relationship, I just had to stop him and say, “So what if you get hurt? Isn’t that the whole point? To try things out? Yes, maybe you’ll get hurt, but hey, you’ll learn from the experience.”

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Steroids: All The Rage?

In: Saturday Submissions

So the night’s finally drawing to a close, and that cute twink with the big blue eyes plants one last kiss on you before whispering in your ear, “so your place or mine?”. Your confidence is through the roof. That last cycle of juice really helped chisel out your shoulders and chest. You’re a little concerned about the black scars on your neck and back from the acne, but your boy will too drunk to notice them right?

Finally, you close the door to your apartment and push blue eyes up against the wall. You can feel the surge of hormones rushing through your body that must be from that extra set of bicep curls you hammered out at the gym today. As things get hotter, you tighten your grip and kiss him harder, but he tenses up and asks you stop. Stop? Forget that! You worked damn hard for this and you KNOW he wants it. Next thing you know, blue eyes is leaving, and you’re horny, fired up and pissed off…

As a personal trainer I often get asked… “what do you think of steroids?” , and my first response is usually to sigh and shake my head. Ever since Arnold graced American screens in Conan the Barbarian, the image of what a man is has gone from the idea of the athletic football or tennis player to the muscle bound god endlessly pushing stacks of weight on the bench press or lat pulldown machine. In the year 2010 health and fitness seems to be equated to how close you are achieving Taylor Lautner’s 8 pack. The fastest route to these “ideal” athletic bodies is also the most dangerous.

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To channel financial guru Suze Orman, “Anti-equality people, you are DE-NIED!”

In what can only be considered another major step forward on the road to equality, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied this morning a request by backers of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that stripped that state’s gays and lesbians of the right to marry, to have a larger panel hear the case all over again in what is known as an en banc hearing.

So what does this mean? The existing appeals ruling, which upheld the trial court decision overturning Prop 8 as unconstitutional, stands. The last shot that opponents of marriage equality now have is the US Supreme Court. With the narrow scope of the ruling, and also considering how few of the appeals it receives that the Supreme Court hears, it is anyone’s guess whether or not this appeal will even be heard at all.

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