July 31, 2011

For Every Winner There Is a Looser, In this Case Wives of Gay men


Revelers shoot confetti out of their window as they watch the Gay Pride Parade in Toronto on July, 3, 2011 in a file photo. As summer pride events are held across the country, Annie Lewis is among what one advocacy group estimates to be millions of straight spouses in the world who married a gay man or lesbian.

Revelers shoot confetti out of their window as they watch the Gay Pride Parade in Toronto on July, 3, 2011 in a file photo. As summer pride events are held across the country, Annie Lewis is among what one advocacy group estimates to be millions of straight spouses in the world who married a gay man or lesbian.

Photograph by: Mark Blinch, Reuters

Annie Lewis says she thought she had the perfect life — two kids and a loving husband, whose military career had allowed them to move across the country for 24 years.
But one Sunday afternoon in June 1996, her world came crashing down when her doting husband, whom she fell in love with during a summer vacation in Corner Brook, N.L., when she was 16, announced he was gay.
"I was in total shock," said Lewis, 57. "We had a great family, a wonderful sex life and there was lots of love and affection. I had no idea."
Lewis is not alone.
As summer pride events are held across the country, she is among what one advocacy group estimates to be millions of straight spouses in the world who married a gay man or lesbian.
The decision to come out of the closet can be difficult not just for person coming to grips with their sexuality — but also for their loved ones.
It’s a potentially heartbreaking revelation that can fragment the family unit and often leads to an icy split. But, as with any relationship, it’s not so easy to walk away.
Some straight spouses not only come to terms with their spouse’s sexuality but choose to stay together, either for the sake of their children, or for financial reasons, living separate lives under the same roof.
According the Straight Spouse Network in New Jersey, there are approximately two million straight spouses in the U.S. Seventy per cent are straight female spouses and 30 per cent are men of lesbian spouses, the group says. The organization, which bases its estimates on population statistics, says they receive five new emails from straight spouses every day.
"One of the first thoughts I had was, 'I'm the only one who is going through this,'" said Lewis. "When your husband comes out, the family goes in the closet."
Lewis pushed her husband out of the closet that fateful Sunday when he entered the living room looking distressed.
Their kids, who were 18 and 21 at the time, were informed of their father’s secret before he moved out of their home on the Canadian Forces Base in Toronto three months later.
"He said nothing had to change, we could still have dinners and go to the movies. I thought, 'I have enough friends, I needed a husband,'" Lewis recalled.
"I was in a lot of emotional pain, uncertainty. I was thinking where do I go from here? This military lifestyle was all I knew," said Lewis, who was a homemaker for the early years of her marriage.
To cope, Lewis threw herself into her work at a medical office, started a part-time master's degree at the Adler School of Professional Psychology and made money by being a Canadian mother to international students who shared her home.
Lewis, who has co-founded Straight-Forward, a support group for straight spouses of gay and lesbians in Toronto, said there are several stages in the coping cycle.
"At first, you’re shocked, and then you’re in denial, then anger and, in time, there’s acceptance."
Lewis cites religious, social and family pressures as factors to why gay men and women marry straight.
Amity Buxton, founder of Straight Spouse Network, has worked with 20,000 straight spouses of gay people since 1986. After 25 years of marriage, her first husband, a Second World War veteran, came out while they were separated.
Buxton, 82, and author of The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families, said there are no clear signs to tell if your spouse is gay.
"They are the best actors in the world . . . in hindsight, there are signs, like coming home late or dressing better, but those are also signs of an affair with anyone," said Buxton. However, online history is a common thread of exposure nowadays.
"When (the gay spouse) comes out, they feel relieved and may feel your wife should be cheering you on, but they don’t realize that finding your husband is not attracted to you, destroys your self-esteem . . . your sexuality. It’s shattering," said Buxton.
Diane, a 65-year-old retired teacher from Oakville, Ont., discovered her husband was gay five years ago after he was arrested for indecent exposure in a public washroom in the General Motors town of Oshawa.
"He’s very stubborn and didn’t want to say it," said Diane, who didn’t want her real name used for the sake of her children, who may not have shared their father’s story with extended family and friends.
She said she plummeted into debt trying to win her husband’s interest back, getting into the theatre — one of his interests — and raked up an enormous credit-card bill, shopping for new clothes and a gastric bypass that helped her shed 90 pounds.
"It left me in financial ruin," said Diane. "I did a lot of crying and yelling to express my frustration. I thought, was I not good enough with sex? I’m so fat. There was a lot of self-hatred and anger."
"It was a heterosexual world back in 1969," said Diane, of the year they married.
Diane and her husband remain married, living separate lives, saying a divorce would be too expensive. Her husband moved back with her recently after he was badly beaten by a younger man he was seeing during a break-in at his Toronto apartment.
Buxton said that one-third of couples break up immediately after the gay spouse comes out, another third separate tries to work things out, but separate eventually, another third remain committed to each other, but after three years, only half of these couples are still together.
Jane, a 44-year-old Toronto theatre teacher, knows this experience well. With two small children under the age of 10 and the main breadwinner of her household, she didn’t want to shake things up too much for her kids, and remains married to her gay husband and living in the same house but separate quarters for the time being.
Her husband, whom she has been married to for the past 22 years, came out in January 2009. She was having a good laugh watching comedian Russell Peters when her husband came in and dropped the bomb that he liked men.
"I felt like my heart was just being ripped out. I cried for a good year," said Jane.
"You are doused with enormous dreams for your future . . . but when they come out, you feel like it’s a huge abuse of a life, the betrayal and the feeling of being used was painful," said Jane.
"I’m really grateful to have the kids to keep me going because I had no choice but to get out of bed every morning."
Her husband grew up in a religious family who said homosexuality was a sin that would lead you to hell, explained Jane.
She said there were clear signs, looking back — when she found her husband’s deprogramming book to be brainwashed straight, his gay pornography collection, when he came out as bisexual after their first daughter was adopted, when she contracted pubic lice or when she found his online alias to contact other gay men. The list was endless, but she continued to turn a blind eye.
"I got scared of confronting when I found the obvious things, I was too scared of the answers," said Jane.
Time and therapy was a healer for Jane. She has since moved on and found a new boyfriend.
Her husband, who she still sees as a great father and committed family man, is less angry and moody, she said.
Jane said she feels more sympathy for her husband now because he was not able to be true to himself for so many years, because of his upbringing.
Jane didn’t want her real name used for her husband sake. He is still not out to his parents.
achung@postmedia.com

Perry's problem on Gay Marriage then His problem Endorsing NY's Gay Marriage



By Ed Andrieski, AP
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is considering a GOP presidential bid and preparing for his first political stop ahead of the key early primary in South Carolina.
The Republican governor is considering a GOPpresidential bid and preparing for his first political stop ahead of the key early primary in South Carolina, where social issues always play well. But Perry told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that a presidential campaign would concentrate on jobs, not evolution or gay marriage.
minds is jobs," Perry said.
"The issue that is most important and most on people's mind is jobs" 
"The candidate that Americans can get excited about, that truly understands that and can deliver that, I think, is a candidate that is really going to excite the imagination and get the juices flowing of the electorate out there," he said. Pointing to an increase in employment in his state, the governor said he's cracked the code for figuring out how to create jobs.
Perry said the stimulus and job creation efforts ofPresident Obama haven't worked. "I think we poured about $4 trillion down that rat hole and government has not created a job," he said.
Supporters of the stimulus plan point out that jobs were saved because of the effort congressional Republicans opposed. And while Perry fought Washington over accepting a portion of Obama's economic stimulus package because of strings attached to the money, the state ended up using billions of the federal aid to balance the state budget, avoiding a possible financial disaster.
Perry, 61, said social issues should be decided state by state and even remarked thatNew York's passage of gay marriage law was that state's business. Still, he said he would support a constitutional amendment that takes away the power of the states to decide who can get married.
"Yes, sir, I would. I am for the federal marriage amendment," he said. "And that's about as sharp a point as I could put on it."
Perry has used more than words to support tempering evolution taught in schools with creationism.
This month, he appointed a biology teacher who disputes evolution as chairwoman of the Texas State Board of Education. In 2009, that 15-member board put the national spotlight on Texas in a debate that led to adopting standards encouraging schools to look at "all sides" of scientific theory. It now is considering educational materials that promote intelligent design even though a federal court ruled against teaching the theory that life on Earth is so complex that it must have come from an intelligent higher power.
"There are clear indications from our people who have amazing intellectual capability that this didn't happen by accident and a creator put this in place," Perry said.
"Now, what was his time frame and how did he create the earth that we know? I'm not going to tell you that I've got the answers to that," Perry said. "I believe that we were created by this all-powerful supreme being and how we got to today versus what we look like thousands of years ago, I think there's enough holes in the theory of evolution to, you know, say there are some holes in that theory."
If there's a creator for Perry's candidate-in-waiting campaign, it's his wife, Anita. Hours before his 2010 election to a third full term, Perry told the AP that his out-of-mainstream views were proof that he could never run for president. Anita Perry changed his outlook.
Perry said his wife's political instincts have always been spot-on. She was concerned about last year's passage of federal health care laws hurting innovation and care as well as a soaring national debt that would burden their children. While her husband had a good job already, she told him "you need to do your duty," Perry recalled.
"That was a very sobering conversation. It was one that made me sit down and reconsider my blanket rejection, if you will, of my interest in running for the presidency. I've gone from 'no way, no how' to 'I'm going to think about this' to getting comfortable in my heart and calm in my soul that this is an appropriate thing to do," Perry said.
"I still don't wake up every morning and go, 'Man, being a president of the United Statesis something I dream about every day,' no more than, I suppose, a soldier on June the 5th or June the 6th of 1944 looked forward to running up the beach at Normandy," he said.
No decision has been made. Perry said that could wait as long as until Labor Day. Nonetheless, he's on a well-worn candidate-in-waiting trajectory: raising his profile, planning stump speeches in early voting states; putting feelers out for staff, and working key donors to fuel a campaign that would spend hundreds of millions to clinch the primaries, nomination and general election.
On the day he appointed the school board member, Perry headed to the hospital for back surgery. Doctors had discovered a problem when he was 16. "It never caused me an ounce of problems until I got to be about 50 and then it got to be a nagging thing," he said. His doctor persuaded him to try surgery for the pain.
The avid jogger — he was a triathlete between 2002 and 2008 — said he's about 80 percent recovered. "When I'm fully recovered is when I get to start running again. I'm kind of hooked on running," he said. For now, he's swimming and hitting the treadmill for 1 miles a day, listening to a playlist that includes country singer Clay Walker and a North Dallas alternative rock band, Forever the Sickest Kids.
None of that is keeping him from the campaign circuit, he said. That includes his first political stop in South Carolina, planned for Aug. 13, to talk at a gathering in Charleston sponsored by the conservative website RedStates. The next day, Iowa voters will hold a straw poll designed to show early strength ahead of the state caucuses. Perry's not on the candidate list there and won't make a bid announcement while here.
The one-time Air Force cargo pilot said that won't create a problem getting his campaign airborne if he decides to run.
"I think we'll be able to break ground," he said, "even with a combat load on board."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Also a point of view:

Perry’s problem on gay marriage

Right Turn reported on Friday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry tried to extricate himself from a kerfuffle over gay marriage after he previously said this was an issue for the states. His qualification seemed to please some social conservative leaders. Gary Bauer, one of the highest-profile Christian conservative leaders, wrote Friday in his daily e-mail sent out to his followers and other conservative subscribers:
Wednesday I took Texas Governor Rick Perry to task for his comment that he was “fine” with same-sex “marriage” in New York, even though he and the overwhelming majority of Texans oppose same-sex “marriage.” The problem with Perry’s “state’s rights” argument is that the militant homosexual rights movement has no intention of allowing each state to define marriage for itself.
In fact, the attorney general of New York this week filed a lawsuit seeking to have the Defense of Marriage Act declared unconstitutional. If that happens, Texas will be forced to recognize the “gay marriages” performed in New York. So much for states’ rights and the Tenth Amendment.
I’m pleased to report that Governor Perry clarified his remarks this week in an interview with my good friend Tony Perkins. During the interview, he made it clear he recognizes the threat that legalized same-sex “marriage” in New York poses to the traditional definition of marriage in Texas.
Moreover, Perry expressed his support for a federal marriage protection amendment, adding, “Indeed to not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas, and other states not to have [same-sex] marriage forced upon us by these activist judges and special interest groups.”
But Perry’s backtrack annoyed some in the party who saw this as waffling. Margaret Hoover, who originally praised Perry and who argues that the party will lose young voters with an anti-gay-rights message, e-mailed me, “As long as his stance hasn’t changed from being an ardent 10th amendment supporter, he can be personally opposed to same sex marriage, but still support states rights.” She cautioned against Perry muddying the waters by cheering for a federal constitutional amendment: “Perry should leave it where it is — and not go further to support a federal marriage amendment (that’s so 2004).”

You see the difficulty. If Perry holds to his principles on the 10th Amendment eventually he will be at loggerheads with social conservatives who want not simply want his personal opposition but also his support for restrictions on the spread of gay marriage. If he deviates from his “let states do what they may” position he’ll have a flip-flop problem and potentially lose younger and more libertarian voters. This is the sort of issue over which pols who lack experience in a national race can stumble. It should serve as a warning to Perry to figure out exactly how he is going to address and communicate on dozens and dozens of issues, some of which (e.g. foreign policy) he has never faced before.

Miley Cyrus Gets Inked In Support of Gay Marriage



LOS ANGELES, Calif. --
Miley Cyrus has taken a rather permanent stand in favor of gay marriage, by inking an equal sign onto her finger.
“ALL LOVE is equal,” Miley Tweeted on Friday, along with a picture of her new tattoo.
The bold statement from the 18-year-old former Disney darling quickly caused a flurry of fan responses (not all of which were favorable), prompting Miley to fire back.
“Where does it say in the bible to judge others?” she Tweeted to one of her followers. “Oh right. It doesn’t. GOD is the only judge honey. ‘GOD is love.’”
This is not the first time the “Party in the USA” singer has voiced her support for LGBT rights.
After Casey Anthony was found not guilty on murder charges, Miley Tweeted, “You know the world is skewed when people get away with murdering children but we cant get gay marriage legalized in the state of California.”
The new tattoo joins Miley’s various other body art, including a heart on her little finger, anchor on her wrist, dreamcatcher on her ribcage, and the words “Just Breathe” on the left side of her chest (in honor of a friend who died of cystic fibrosis).
Copyright 2011 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

DONT ASK DONT TELL repeal, impacts San Diego


The USS Stockdale is one of more than 50 naval ships stationed in San Diego.
BY JONATHAN YOUNG, SAN DIEGO LGBT WEEKLY


With more than 110,000 active duty military service members stationed in San Diego – the largest concentration in the U.S. – the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) could have a drastic impact here.
“It’s going to have a huge impact,” said Kristen Kavanaugh, co-founder and executive director of Military Acceptance Project (MAP), a San Diego-based support organization that serves as a resource to anyone interested in learning more about the repeal of DADT.
Enacted in November 1993, DADT mandates the discharge of openly gay, lesbian or bisexual service members. Since then, 14,000 service members have been discharged.
The repeal, which was certified by President Obama on Friday and takes effect in 60 days on Sept. 20, has been praised by national and local LGBT organizations, activists and politicians.
“This is a welcome step, and reflects what our members are saying, that the military is ready to move beyond DADT,” said JD Smith, active-duty co-director of OutServe, a national association of actively-serving LGB military personnel. “In 60 days, my life and the lives of thousands of other gay and lesbian troops changes. I cannot be more proud to be able to serve during this time.”
“Service members are sent all over the globe to risk their lives in defense of freedom. In 60 days, LGB service members will finally be able to openly partake of that freedom here at home,” said state Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).
“Our LGBT troops have made a commitment to serve their country, and their hard work, dedication and willingness to put their lives on the line deserves nothing less than the same respect, thanks and benefits given to their non-LGBT counterparts,” said Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center.
Along with the fanfare of praise, however, there are also warnings that the repeal of DADT is just one important milestone along the journey to achieving LGB equality in America’s military. First, despite the certification, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until Sept. 20, when repeal becomes final.
A helicopter flies over Camp Pendleton in North San Diego County.
“Rapidly changing events regarding the legal status of DADT may be confusing for service members and recruits. The bottom line is DADT is still the law of the land, the situation is still in flux, and it is not necessarily safe to come out,” reads a warning on the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Web site,sldn.org.
Second, even with the repeal of DADT, there is no military policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Such a policy would give LGB service members recourse outside their chain of command if they are experiencing discrimination or harassment.
“Every service member deserves equal respect in the work environment. Signing legislation that allows for repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was necessary, but it is not sufficient for ensuring equality in the military,” said Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis. “It’s critical that gay and lesbian service members have the same avenues for recourse as their straight counterparts when it comes to harassment and discrimination.”
The DADT training the military conducted was just a policy change, Kavanaugh said, and now social education is necessary.
“We, as an organization, are thankful for all those people that have been fighting for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for decades, but right now is where the heavy lifting starts for the Military Acceptance Project,” she said. “Now we are talking about people serving openly. How do we help people learn to accept that? How do we talk about these issues? How do we help people feel more comfortable? How can we help people begin to create a dialog about these things? That’s the only way this is going to happen.”
Kavanaugh said MAP’s recommendation is to evaluate the command climate before coming out after Sept. 20.
“Unfortunately, There are some units where it’s just not going to be safe,” she said. “People are going to do a risk assessment about their ability to come out 100 percent.”
If you are a gay or Lesbian serviceman and need to be put in contact with someone to help you, adamfoxie*blog will try to help in the purest confidentiality.
The email for adamfoxie*, (which is not posted on this site) since people that would like to make a comment can do so without getting in direct touch with the admin. You need to let me know how to contact you, since the answer can not be publish.
Adam

New Dustin Lance Black play ‘8’


Dustin Lance Black
Posted by LGBT Weekly
The New York Times reports that a new play about the legal battles over California’s Proposition 8 will be performed in several staged readings on Broadway in September.
Written by Oscar-winning Milkscreenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the play, titled simply 8, consists largely of dialogue from transcripts of the 2010 trial that ended with a judge overturning Proposition 8. After its Broadway debut,8 is set to be performed at several college campuses around the country.
According to the Times, Black said he became determined to write the play after the United States Supreme Court blocked the trial judge’s plan to broadcast the hearings over the Internet.
“One of my hopes about the trial was to get the opposition in court, hands raised swearing to tell the truth, and have the world see the opposition called to account for going on TV saying gay people harm children, harm families,” Mr. Black said. “Since the trial itself wasn’t heard or seen, I wanted to get that story out another way.”

'I will never be cut': Kenyan girls fight back against genital mutilation


 


New guidelines to target families that take young girls abroad to undergo female genital mutilation are being sent to prosecutors by the government.
Ministers want to encourage more action against those who inflict the brutal procedure on their children and relatives amid concerns that the current approach serves as little deterrent.
Female genital mutilation is an illegal procedure in the UK with those convicted risking 14 years' imprisonment. The Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2003 also allows for the prosecution of British citizens who breach the provisions of the act and perform the procedure abroad.
But while the law seems strict on paper, it seems to have limited effect in practice. Campaigners say 22,000 girls are at risk each year. However, MPs were this week told that there has yet to be a single conviction, despite 100 investigations being carried out over two years by the Met. By contrast the French authorities have successfully prosecuted in 100 cases.
Fears are currently acute because the long school summer holidays are when many girls are flown to Africa, the Middle East and parts of the far east, oblivious to what has been planned for them.
Outlining the new approach to the House of Commons, the Home Office minister Jeremy Wright said: "There are a number of things we can do. We should look not only to punish those who are responsible for committing these offences but to improve the guidance available to prosecutors so that they can prosecute more often. If there are difficulties with prosecuting, they might be to do with the types of information and understanding that crown prosecutors need to have and later this summer the CPS will therefore be issued with new guidelines to assist."
Advice compiled by the Home Office, Foreign Office, the education department and the health department will also be sent to teachers and GPs, the minister said. "We need to broaden awareness more generally and have sent out some 40,000 leaflets and 40,000 posters to schools, health services, charities and community groups, because wider society needs to understand what is happening," he added. "We also need to assist victims, which we are doing with 15 specialist NHS clinics offering a range of services, including so-called reversal surgery. Women can go to those centres direct and do not need to be referred."
The minister was responding to Jane Ellison, the Tory MP for Battersea, who made an impassioned plea for the issue to be taken more seriously. She described genital mutilation as "a brutal crime perpetrated against those who are least able to protect themselves: little girls and young women. In every case, the health of the girl or woman is damaged, often irreparably. What is most shocking of all is that a great many of these criminal acts are perpetrated against girls aged 10 and under, right down to infants."
Ellison quoted figures from the Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (Forward), which suggest that around 66,000 women and girls in England and Wales have already been subject to genital mutilation and well over 22,000 should be considered as "at risk". "In some areas of London, about 5% of women giving birth present with signs of mutilation," she told the house.
"Headteachers have described to me happy and outgoing young girls who have returned from their summer holidays withdrawn and distressed. I struggle to understand why the systematic and brutal wounding of young girls is not considered a national scandal. I know that right honourable and honourable members would not tolerate a situation in which little British girls were taken abroad and returned missing their fingers. Likewise, we should not tolerate female genital mutilation."
Two weeks ago the Met and the charity Kids Taskforce launched a teaching aid for schools: a short documentary made by pupils in south London with assistance from journalists from ITN and one of the producers of Come Dine With Me. Sharon Doughty, the founder of Kids Taskforce, said they hope to raise awareness among teachers but also pupils themselves.
"Any move towards a prosecution would be a fantastic development. We need a prosecution. It would send an important message."

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