Outspoken

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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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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: 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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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)

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Won’t you be my neighbor?

Playwright and writer Topher Payne

Our interactions with the real-life crazy person next door reached Situation Critical this week. Anita’s screams over our fence grew from the usual “Stop putting listening devices under my house,” to the new “Stop sneaking into my house and disabling my security system.”

While I could appreciate the impressive set of spy skills Anita is fully convinced we possess, she capped off the new list of offenses with death threats. I called my husband at work.

“So, Crazy Pants just threatened to murder us. And Daisy. She said she’s gonna kill Daisy.”

“Oh, Jesus. What did you say?”

“I was pretty composed until she said she’s gonna kill the dog. Then I lost my cool a little.”

“Call the police, Topher.”

“Come home. You do it.”

“No,” said Preppy. “We need to let them handle this. Hang up and call 911 right now.”

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Outspoken: Katy Perry, Sir Elton John, Sir Ian McKellen and more…

Musician Katy Perry

“After a hurricane comes a rainbow.”

— Lyric from “Firework,” the new Katy Perry song that includes two boys kissing in the music video. The New York Times noted the current string of gay inclusive pop songs. (New York Times, Nov. 5)

“It will completely get rid of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ as the gay anthem.”

— Sir Elton John on the title track to Lady GaGa’s new album, “Born this Way,” set to be released in early 2011. (Entertainment Weekly via the New York Times, Nov. 5)

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Outspoken: Sesame Street’s Bert, Fran Drescher, George York and more…

Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie

“Ever notice how similar my hair is to Mr. T’s? The only difference is mine is a little more ‘mo,’ a little less ‘hawk.’”

— “Sesame Street” resident Bert, in a comment on the children’s show’s official Twitter account that was posted June 11 but made news this week, reigniting rumors that Bert and his roommate Ernie are intended to be gay. (New York Daily News, Oct. 25)

“They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets. They don’t exist below the waist.”

— Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell in a 2007 statement regarding the rumors. (New York Daily News, Oct. 25)

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Make it Better

Playwright and writer Topher Payne

My husband and I are not keeping complimentary schedules lately. We still see each other every day; unfortunately one of us is always sleeping when it happens. Our most consistent interaction is by phone, or checking each other’s status updates on Facebook. We’re actually having a long-distance relationship while living in the same house. Promises have been made that things will improve very soon, but looking at the upcoming calendar, I’m not entirely certain that’s true.

Because Preppy gets up at five, he’s asleep before I return home from the theater. So I take the dog out of her crate and hang out on the back porch, catching up on emails and YouTube. I’ve viewed the trailer for “Burlesque” at least 20 times. First off, I’m pretty sure it’s a remake of “Showgirls,” which is very exciting.