does the old song go?
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay, From now on, our troubles will be miles
It’s that time of year again. Funny thing is though — my Yule-tide
isn’t feeling particularly pro-gay. It all started when I stumbled
across this tidbit a few days ago in Blender magazine: Paris Hilton is
about to release a CD. That in itself is not too surprising — but
here’s the part that had me guffawing: it’ll be a mix of rap
and hip-hop. The story goes on to confirm that she’s being produced
by industry heavyweights Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss and Fat Joe.
The New York Post mentioned recently another interesting bit of info
I was unaware of — Hilton is a classically-trained violinist. When
asked if she planned to play the violin in a concert tour to promote the
effort, she replied. “I’m not going to be onstage playing
the violin. That would be gay.”
say no: don’t waste your money on Paris Hilton’s new CD.
What?! What’s that suppossed to mean? Especially coming from someone
who was a Grand Marshal of the Los Angeles Gay Pride Festival this past
June. Here’s what she had to say in regards to gay then: “
I love the gay community, I love you guys, I love your style. You’re
hot, you’re sexy.”
Blah, Blah, Blah.
This bit of two-faced schizophrenia just goes to prove the point that
Hilton has no sense of moral-political responsibility or identity. When
hangin’ with queers she loves them — when she’s hangin’ with
known homophobes like Snoop Dogg she doesn’t hesitate to use us
for nothing more than an adjective to describe something in a negative
Looking for an unusual CD as holiday gift? Don’t buy this one.
My other rant for the season concerns Salvation Army and those persistent
bell-ringers posted outside places like Harris-Teeter and Wal-Mart.
In years past I associated the sound of that bell with warm holiday memories
of falling snow and slipping and sliding from store to store while shopping
for gifts for friends and family. I loved the sound! Ding-ding-ding. Especially
when you combined it with the sound of dry crunchy leaves, a rain-slick
street or a snow-covered walkway and the smell of impending winter.
All of that was taken away from me, of course, when I learned how homophobic
Salvation Army is.
yourself a merry little Christmas: don’t donate to Salvation Army.
Former actress-turned-director Amanda Bearse (“Married With Children”),
an out and proud lesbian, told me about her experiences with Salvation
Army when she was a homeless teenager living in Atlanta.
I had a girlfriend,” she recalled in the 1995 interview. “And
we were both on the street — at the time trying to stay at this
Salvation Army shelter. When they found out about us, they seperated
us. Either we
had to stay away from each other or leave the shelter.”
I never forgot those words. Every time I look at a Salvation Army donation
bucket I wanna fill it up with used cat litter (or something equally reprehensible).
Bearse’s experience was a long time ago, and one might think over
the course of several years things might have improved some.
It looked like it just might be happening back in 2001 when Salvation
Western Region granted domestic partners benefits to unmarried partners
of their employees, gay and non-gay. Col. Phillip Needham characterized
the policy as one that “reflects our concern for the health of
our employees and those closest to them and is made on the basis of strong
ethical and moral reasoning that reflects the dramatic changes in family
structure in recent years.”
That didn’t last for long. Less than a week later, national leaders
of the Salvation Army slammed the door in gay people’s faces, axing
the Western Region’s reform.
Chicago Commissioner Lawrence Moretz led the national leadership’s
attack against gays and lesbians who would have benefitted from the change:
“ We must stand united in the battle that will undoubtedly follow from
those who would now challenge our biblical and tradition[al] position.”
But that was four years ago, you might say.
According to an AP story published Nov. 18, A Salvation Army social worker
claims his supervisor harassed him because he is gay and Jewish and then
fired him when he complained. New Yorker Zachary Logan says that Michelle
Pallak, his supervisor, “acted hostilely toward him because of
his sexual orientation and religious background. She undermined him in
job performance and treated him differently than she did heterosexual
Logan also says that Pallak called him offensive names related to his
sexual orientation and remarked to colleagues after he was fired that
he “did not play the gay card.”
Despite Salvation Army’s attempt to ink a deal on the d/l with President
George W. Bush that would allow the organization — and other religious
non-profits — immunity from state and local laws banning anti-gay
discrimination, New York State Supreme Court Justice Richard F. Braun denied
the Salvation Army’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
If the allegations made by plaintiff are true, he should be compensated
for defendant’s bad acts,” Braun wrote. “This action
will go forward.”
Logan’s lawyer, Marc Susswein, said he was pleased that Braun found
that religious organizations are bound by the same rules as other employers
and will be held accountable for unlawful discrimination.
I’m pleased, too.
That doesn’t mean that everyone else is happy about the Salvation
Focus on the Family’s Donald Wildmon is a perfect case in point.
Wildmon and his ilk are particularly perturbed by the fact that Target
won’t allow Salvation Army to solicit for funds outside their department
store. So much so that he’s called for a boycott of the company.
So when it comes time to head for one of those mega-stores this season — make
sure to include Target in your line-up. If you find you simply can’t
bypass places like Harris-Teeter and Wal-Mart, try the tactics PFLAG used
back in 2001: drop some Monopoly money into the Salvation Army kettle with
a message on it letting them know you can’t donate your hard-earned
dollars beacuse of their history and policy of anti-gay discrimination.
— David Moore