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Daisy the dog: The journey to our family proves every dog has her day

Daisy the dogThe house in Mississippi where I spent the first four weeks of my life was run by dogs. There may have been a person’s name on the mortgage, but there was only one of her and over 80 of us, so who do you think was really calling the shots? I found out later that our person was what is known as an “animal hoarder.” I was not aware of this at the time. I just thought it was a party that had gotten a little out of hand.

Pandemonium broke out when the men with cages arrived. At least a dozen dogs all thought they were pack leader, so there were a lot of conflicting instructions.

Meanwhile, my mother trotted happily toward the men—she was friendly in the extreme, and not terribly bright, which explains why she had borne six litters of puppies.
My father lifted me by the neck and pulled me through the chaos to the kitchen pantry.

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Outspoken: Tim Gunn, Lady Gaga, Julian Bond and more…

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“Why must she dress that way? I think she’s confused about her gender.”

— Gay “Project Runway” host Tim Gunn, describing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s penchant for pant suits, in an interview on “Lopez Tonight.” (Huffington Post, July 27)

“Just got spam letter from M. Bachmann! My reply! Woman go back 2 school take history! & if I was on my deathbed & your best friend was JESUS!!! I WOULDN’T VOTE 4 YOUR GAY HATING, BULLY LOVING, POSER CHRISTIAN ASS!”

— Music icon Cher, mom to transgender son Chaz Bono, on Twitter, explaining why she will not vote for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for president. (On Top Magazine,  Aug. 1)

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Melissa Carter: My screen debut in a new kind of family video

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterUntil recently, my acting resume consisted of a non-speaking part on the “O.C.” for three frames. Seems that was enough to land me the role of Friend #4 in a new form of family entertainment: the adoption video.

I was not aware of this new marketing tool used by would-be parents and am still unsure of how common they are in the adoption world. But like everything, even adoption has apparently gone Hollywood. These days, even the loving act of bringing a baby into your family requires you submitting to judgment based on beauty, success and wealth.

My friends Ken and Matt had made their home the “set” and hours of filming had already gone into their adoption video. I missed earlier scenes which included “The Cookie Jar” and “The Band-Aid to the Rescue.” Earlier in the week, Ken and Matt had sent out the outline of the shoot and casting assignments to their friends and their kids. The couple had pulled out all the stops in their efforts to become new dads to some lucky baby and their mini-movie was the latest part of their attempt to show how welcome a baby would be.

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Outspoken: Queen Latifah, Rudy Giuliani and more…

“Being gay is fabulous...I have six new Facebook fan pages. And for every sponsor that falls out, I’ve gotten two more.”

—Fictional news anchor Shannon Love, a character played by Queen Latifah on the July 11 episode of the VH1 show “Single Ladies,” discussing the impact of coming out in the media. Queen Latifah, who is also executive producer of the show, which is set in Atlanta, has long been the subject of speculation about her own sexual orientation. (BET.com, July 13)

“Every sector of the New York’s travel and tourism industry will immediately benefit from the economic opportunities created by same-sex marriage.”

— New advertising campaign that adds a rainbow to the iconic “I love New York” logo to encourage same-sex couples to wed in the state, where gay marriage becomes legal July 24. (New York Daily News, July 15)

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Time to stop hurting each other

Earlier this month, our program hosted a discussion on sexual liberation. What started as a discussion about cultural taboos and sexual tastes, quickly became a discussion on how our LGBT community cannibalizes its own. It seems to come up in most discussions that I have with gay men – no one seems to be more critical and abusive of gay men than gay men themselves.

So, why do we do it?

Those who know me, know that I’m a huge fan of all things pop culture.  I love music, movies and television – and I can expound on this useless trivia ad nauseum. During the discussion, there was a voice that kept ringing in my head.  It was the somber alto of Karen Carpenter, and she kept crooning “can’t we stop hurting each other?”

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Melissa Carter: How our country’s journey into space inspired my own journeys

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterI still have stretch marks. They’re not from pregnancy or weight loss. Instead, my stretch marks came in the early ‘80s during a very painful growth spurt. And this week’s final space shuttle landing reminded me of that time.

My love of all things space began at a young age, and my first dream was to be an astronaut. Of course, at the same time my biggest fear was flying so I soon realized the only way I was ever going to see space was by watching “Star Trek.”

My room back in 1981 was filled with images of all things celestial and in my mind those walls doubled as NASA Control. Scotch tape framed images of the space shuttle Columbia, whose maiden voyage had just taken place, at about the time the aching of my growing legs kept me up at night in tears. And to see those images of Columbia’s dusty landing at Andrews Air Force Base helped focus my mind on something other than being elongated in torture like Stretch Armstrong.

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Topher Payne: Learning to love the order of a happy home

Playwright and writer Topher PaynePreppy and I had to have a little family meeting about the state of our house. My tendency is to leave dishes in the sink for several days, or remove my underpants and leave them on the dining room table. So when my husband gets up in the predawn hours, he’s dodging dog treats and toys, plus my shoes and various home electronics I left on the floor.

Not much can be done about the dog’s inability to pick up her stuff, so the responsibility for improvement falls on me. It’s your basic chaos vs. order scenario, with me representing chaos. So, I have to learn to love order.

I’ve only seen a couple episodes of “Two and a Half Men,” in syndication, back before we got cable, but I got the basic gist of the premise. Charlie Sheen, boning anything with a willing orifice, is chaos. Jon Cryer is order. Flaccid, pasty, unfuckable order.

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Outspoken: Katy Perry, Matilda Cuomo, FIFA and more

“NEW YORK! I [love] U! You’re OFFICIALLY the coolest place on the planet!”

— Pop star Katy Perry, via Twitter, reacting to the New York Senate vote to legalize same sex marriage. (MTV News, June 25)

“Not that doing the right thing should be a matter of public opinion, but support for marriage equality is climbing toward the majority. Voices of fear are being shouted down, winds of change are blowing and we approach a crossroads of possibility where the need for leadership is critical. Two words of advice, then, for President Obama: Evolve faster.”

— Syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, on how President Obama needs to speak out for marriage equality now (Daily Camera, July 4)

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Outspoken: Tracy Morgan, Joy Behar and more…

“The truth is if I had a gay son, I would love him just as much as if he was straight. I might have to try to love even more because I know of the difficulty that he would have in society.”

—Comedian Tracy Morgan in one of his many apologies since going on an anti-gay tirade at a June 3 show in Nashville, Tenn., including saying he would stab his son if he were gay. (ABC News, June 21)

“Rock being a male-dominated, testosterone-driven place … I realized that it can be a place that can perpetuate homophobic behavior unless it’s addressed by bands like us.”

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A little dirty talk from John Gidding gets me all hot and sweaty

Playwright and writer Topher PayneCritics claim that viewing pornography on a regular basis will eventually distort perceptions of realistic human behavior. The theory is that the first time you see that GayTube video of the UPS guy delivering a surprise package, you’ll recognize it as fantasy. But after you’ve seen 30 or 40 of those scenarios play out to delightful results, it seems a lot more credible.

Advocates argue that watching porn is more like an instructional video: We have much to learn from Matthew Rush. Instead of touching yourself, you’re supposed to be taking notes. I’ve begun to suspect the critics may be right. Porn may have caused me to completely lose touch with reality. But my porn does not feature the UPS guy. It features John Gidding on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal.”

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As a young man weighs his options, his mother does the same

Playwright and writer Topher PayneMy friend Barbara’s son has returned from his first year of college appreciably matured, and bearing a bit of intrigue: When asked for updates on the dating front, he announced he is “currently bisexual.”

“What the hell does he mean by currently?” she ponders. “If he’s gay he doesn’t have to dance around it. I’d be thrilled.”

I’m at the convenient midway point between Barbara’s age and her son’s, so I try to explain the current setup. Back in the day, claiming to be bi was seen as letting folks down easy. It was sort of a preview of coming same-sex attractions. For God’s sake, Boy George claimed to be bi, and he’s gay as a picnic basket.