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David Moore
davidm@q-notes.com

Two things that are definitely out this season

How does the old song go?
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay, From now on,  our troubles will be miles away.

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.”
Just 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 she’s 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 manner.

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.
Have 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 Army’s 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 his job performance and treated him differently than she did heterosexual employees.”
Logan also says that Pallak called him offensive names related to his sexual orientation and remarked to colleagues after he was fired that she hoped 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 Army’s comeuppence.
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
Editor


David Moore
Editor


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