Outspoken

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Sex & Dating: Learning to negotiate sex after marriage

Playwright and writer Topher PayneA few years ago, on the road trip leading up to our marriage, I made a significant sacrifice. It happened on the New Jersey Turnpike. That was the moment when I deleted all the pictures of penises from my phone.

It wasn’t much of a collection. My pal Mandy has an impressive menagerie of penis pictures sent to her over the years. Men love photographing their junk. The reason we’ve seen such rapid improvements in the cameras on mobile devices is because guys over at iPhone keep asking, “How can I take better photographs of my junk?”

Although I didn’t have many junk photos, each never failed to bring a smile to my face, amongst other physical reactions. Removing them was a symbolic gesture, making clear I had selected the manly parts I would like to gaze upon for the rest of my life. I could go in the kitchen right now and request to view Preppy’s junk, and though he might be confused by the sudden demand, I could score a quick peek if I asked nicely.

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Outspoken: Jonathan Knight, Cyndi Lauper, Tiffany and more…

NKOTB's Jonathan Knight recently announced he is gay

“I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay. Apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption ‘I am gay.’ I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected.”

Jonathan Knight of the now-reunited boy band New Kids on the Block, responding to questions after ‘80s pop star Tiffany, who he once dated, discussed his sexual orientation in a recent television interview. (MSNBC.com, Jan. 31)

“He became gay later. I didn’t do it. I had issues with that. I was thinking maybe I did. Now looking back when we were dating, he was so much fun. We used to do facials together. He was so easy to talk to.”

— ‘80s pop singer Tiffany, discussing former boyfriend Jonathan Knight from boy band New Kids on the Block, on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.” (MSNBC.com, Jan. 31)

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The fight moves to print on a lawless snow-covered street

Snowpocalypse turned out to be a welcome vacation at our house, for at least the first few days. Unencumbered by work responsibilities and forced to clear our calendars, my husband, my dog, and I settled onto the sofa and got caught up on TV shows.

There are some programs we watch together, and then there’s each other’s favorite shows that we just can’t agree upon — like my love of National Geographic’s Lockdown, which he can mock all he wants, but if we ever wind up in prison together my working knowledge of the hierarchy in The Yard is gonna come in mighty handy. I’m learning potential life skills here. I’ve learned how to make a shiv out of almost anything. Just give me some downtime and a few raw materials.

While my husband might not share my interest in getting to know prison gangs, he does monitor another unstable posse closed off from society: The Kardashians.

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Guest Editorial: Threats can and do lead to violence

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tuscon and continues her recovery

Only someone who’s never had to fight for their civil rights could wonder if there’s a connection between words and deeds.

As I watched the news of the violent attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), I was shocked. Not only at the horrific events, but at the commentators who questioned whether, as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, “toxic rhetoric can lead unstable people to believe [violence] is an acceptable response.”

Ask the kid who looks a little different than his peers, and he’ll tell you how it works: first the jokes, then the taunting and then the physical bullying. “Boys will be boys” he’s told, as those who should be paying attention dismiss the ramp-up to violence.

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Outspoken: Jane Lynch, Michael Jones, Dire Straits and more…

Actress Jane Lynch sees straight actors continuing to play straight roles in Hollywood

“I’ve never been turned down for a role because I’m gay. I’m a character actor, and that’s probably why. I don’t find Hollywood, in my own experience, to be homophobic. … But I do think the straight folks will continue to play the straight roles.”

— Actress Jane Lynch, who currently plays cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on “Glee,” explaining that studios still want straight actors in straight romantic leads (AfterElton.com, Jan. 12)

“How nice that [Chick-fil-A COO Dan] Cathy’s parents are celebrating their 63rd year of marriage. Know any gay couples celebrating their 63rd year of marriage? Nope. And you won’t until 2067 at the earliest (63 years after Massachusetts first legalized same-sex marriage in 2004). And that’s because many of Chick-fil-A’s friends work hard day in and day out to ban same-sex couples from getting married.”

— Change.org editor Michael Jones, responding to a video posted by Dan Cathy to defend the Chick-fil-A chain from controversy over its donations to groups working against gay marriage (Change.org, Jan. 12)

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Outspoken: Kathy Griffin, Sir Elton John, Natalie Portman and more…

Comedian Kathy Griffin sounds off on Bristol Palin

“In 2011 I want to offend a new Palin. [Willow Palin] called people a [faggot] on Facebook a couple of times. You don’t throw around the f-word without hearing from me about it.”

— Comedian and vocal gay rights supporter Kathy Griffin on her New Year’s resolution, which is to offend Sarah Palin’s 16-year-old daughter, Willow, who previously used anti-gay slurs on Facebook. (Hollywood Reporter, Jan. 1)

“Everyone was so worried about who was going to want to see this movie. I remember them being like, ‘How do you get guys to a ballet movie? How do you get girls to a thriller?’ And the answer is a lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that.”

— Actress Natalie Portman on the brief sex scene she shares with Mila Kunis in the film “Black Swan,” in theaters now. (Entertainment Weekly, Dec. 31)

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Outspoken: Johnny Depp, Mila Kunis and more…

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow

“When I sit here and I hear adulterers and womanizers and folks cheating on their wives and down-low brothers saying they are going to vote against this [civil unions] bill, it turns my stomach — the hypocrisy dripping in this chamber right now. We know what you do at night!”

— Illinois State Sen. Rickey Herndon (D-Chicago) as the Illinois Senate debated a bill to offer civil unions to gay couples, which passed Dec. 1. The governor has pledged to sign it into law. (Queerty.com, Dec. 1)

“That means the next TSA official that gives you an enhanced pat-down could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission.”

Eugene Delgaudio, a member of the Loudoun County (Va.) Board of Supervisors and president of the conservative group Public Advocate of the United States, in an email denouncing the TSA’s inclusive non-discrimination statement (WTOP, Nov. 30)

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A plan for the future makes it hard to accept the present

Playwright and writer Topher PayneI’ve never been much of a gamer, but in my early 20s I was in a relationship with a geek (his term, not mine) for several years, which allowed me to closely observe that culture.

I could never really wrap my brain around the large Tupperware bins of comic books or hours spent playing “X-Men” on PlayStation, but considering I brought a costume closet and several puppets into the relationship, I wasn’t in a position to judge.

The one exception was “The Sims,” which could trap me in front of my desktop computer for an entire day, staring slack-jawed at the screen. The player was supposed to create an avatar, build them a house, then get a job and become a productive member of society.

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Hurting Mom (or) My First Gay Christmas

There is so much distance in my mother’s eyes that I fear she may never come close to me again. Circling her stare are wrinkles of pain, betrayal even, and in her hand she holds the watch.

It was December of my senior year of high school, and things had calmed down considerably after my having burst forth from the closet that Fall, wearing go-go boots to school dances and openly flaunting my twenty-something boyfriend. But these were all healthy choices, I told myself.

If there was nothing wrong with being gay, then there should be nothing defiant about letting my family know about it. And my friends. And my teachers. And people at church. Never mind that we lived in Bossier City, Louisiana. Or that it was 1977.

But there was something about that look in my mother’s eyes, in that moment. It took all my arrogance to protect myself from it, to seek refuge from the shocked stare, the battle in her face between heartbreak and fury. She was squeezing tightly to the silver watchband, and her hand shook imperceptibly.

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Outspoken: Pope Benedict, Jim Carrey, David Letterman and more…

Pope Benedict eases Vatican's stance on condoms

"In the light of this broad and profound vision of human sexuality and the problems it currently faces, the Pope reaffirms that ‘the Church does not of course consider condoms to be the authentic and moral solution’ to the problem of AIDS."

— Statement from the Vatican after Pope Benedict said in an interview that condoms, which the Catholic Church bans, may be appropriate for HIV prevention in certain situations like male prostitutes. (NationalPost.com, Nov. 22)

“It was a very important statement that voters made, a statement that resonated across the country and one that I think will give legs to a larger movement over the next few years.”

— Former and possibly future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, also a Fox commentator, on Iowa voters ousting Nov. 2 three of the seven judges who approved gay marriage in the state. (On Top Magazine, Nov. 22)