Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Top Gay Colleges Are Back

The Princeton Review has ranked the nation's top 20 gay-friendly colleges as well as some of the least gay-friendly ones, via Pam's House Blend.

Here's who topped the list:
1.) New College of Florida
2.) Macalester College
3.) Wellesley College
4.) Eugene Lang College/New School University
5.) Mount Holyoke College
6.) St. John's College (MD)
7.) Bryn Mawr College
8.) Lawrence University
9.) Emerson College
10.) Harvey Mudd College
11.) St. John's College (NM)
12.) Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
13.) Wesleyan University
14.) Marlboro College
15.) Carleton College
16.) Smith College
17.) Haverford College
18.) Reed College
19.) Bard College
20.) Oberlin College

And at the bottom of the list are:
Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia
The University of Notre Dame
Baylor University in Waco, Texas

Both Notre Dame and Baylor were on the list last year as well, which isn't that much of a surprise. Although, I will admit that a school the size and stature of Notre Dame is still struggling with this. And here I thought homophobia didn't exist anymore (do I make that point too much?).

My twin brother is going off to attend Baylor this fall for Law School. I think he'll be fine, in spite of the school's dubious award. (Side note- I might write a post about his leaving and how it will change our lives (or at least my life) if I feel up to it in the next month, so stay tuned).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is this the Ex-Gay Danger?

I've always said that while I disagree with much of what groups like Exodus and other ex-gay organizations stand for (and the tactics that they sometimes employ to get their message heard), I've never advocated having the places shut down. I just want them to fully inform their clients of what's involved in attempting to become ex-gay, including success rates, any connection to increased depression and suicide (if one exists), etc. I also want them to stop using their "I used to be gay" claims as a way to try to change the gay rights debate. It's not honest, and it's not fair.

But, I read a story over at Queerty that gave me some concern. A judge in Spain told a lesbian mother that she either had to find a male companion (essentially becoming ex-gay) or lose her child. Sadly, because ex-gay groups don't track their success rates and harp so much on any negative they can find about gay people, they trick people like this judge into thinking that being ex-gay is both somehow possible for the majority of gays and better than being gay. The judge (and honestly most outsiders to gay life) hear claims of people that used to be gay and just assume that this is doable for most gays--they don't even give it a second thought. What we get is laws and perceptions that aren't based in fact, and it's a bad place to be in.

Until ex-gay groups start proving their success rates, rulings like this one just don't make any sense. I realize ex-gay groups want their voices heard, but appealing to the lowest common denominator without being completely straightforward isn't being honest.

Fortunately, the Spanish Justice Minister agrees and is investigating the judge for not following the law in gay cases.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

On The Lighter Side--J's 100 Things

To lighten things up a bit around here, I'm posting J's "100 Interesting Things About Me" list. He was inspired (albeit belatedly) and made a fun one of his own. Feel free to compare the two to see how cute (or not so cute) we are together. ;-) You guys should do one for yourself too--they're fun!

Here Goes:

100 Interesting Things About J

1. I own every Madonna album.
2. I try to learn the lyrics to every song I hear.
3. I make up the lyrics I don’t know.
4. I hate the winter and any time it’s cooler than 70 degrees.
5. I cry when it rains too much.
6. I am allergic to cats.
7. I love kittens.
8. I could eat pizza and/or Mexican food all day every day.
9. I laugh hysterically at The Simpsons, I Can Has Cheezburger?, and my own jokes.
10. I think I am one of the funniest people I know.
11. Brady wouldn’t necessarily agree.
12. I love reading Rosie’s blog.
13. Dancing to David Gray at my wedding was one of the happiest moments in my life.
14. Red Bull and Vodka is my drink of choice if I can’t find a margarita.
15. I totally think I rock at karaoke.
16. I try to go to as many concerts as possible.
17. My favorites have been Madonna, Jewel, the Dixie Chicks, and most recently, Beyoncé.
18. I wish I was famous so I could have dinner with people like the Dixie Chicks, Cher, and Diane Sawyer.
19. I whine a lot.
20. I think it’s funny to sing along to Celine Dion and try to sing in her register. Brady does not agree.
21. I have always had weight issues and self-image issues. I hate having issues.
22. I would wear flip flops forever if I could.
23. I can’t wait to retire, and by retire, I mean at 35.
24. I love going on cruises.
25. I am the only boy in my family. My last name ends with me. Oops.
26. I procrastinate any chance I can get.
27. My dream job is to be a talk show host like Rosie or Ellen or Graham Norton. Not like Oprah – I don’t want to discuss important issues. I want to fawn over celebrities.
28. I hate over analyzing anything. A movie is a movie; it doesn’t always have to represent the fall of post-feminism or start a discussion about French nu-wave.
29. I am great at BS’ing my way through conversations about the fall of post-feminism and French nu-wave symbolism.
30. I love taking long showers.
31. I hate alarm clocks, but I consider myself a morning person.
32. Watching TV is my favorite hobby.
33. I can play the trombone, guitar, and the piano (as long as no one expects too much out of my performance).
34. I am horrible at keeping up with my friends via email and phone calls.
35. My friends would say my music tastes lean lesbionic.
36. But Jewel, Fiona Apple, and the Dixie Chicks are super great.
37. I am self-diagnosed OCD and anal retentive.
38. I majored in Art History and Spanish.
39. I lived in Toledo, Spain for four months with a Spanish family.
40. I consider myself liberal, but I hate when people bring up politics in mixed company (e.g. board meetings – inside joke, people).
41. Brady taught me to enjoy basketball, and the Spurs are my favorite team.
42. I miss watching Martina Navratilova in tournaments.
43. I’ve seen Steel Magnolias at least 30 times.
44. I sunburn really easily.
45. Drinking and swimming at the same time is really fun.
46. I look for dolphins every time I go to the beach.
47. Splash is one of my favorite movies, and probably the last time Tom Hanks was good. Oh, that and in Big.
48. I don’t like children between the ages of 2 and 15.
49. People at my office label me the loud one.
50. I think older men are hot.
51. I love New Orleans and would move there tomorrow if possible.
52. I live too far away from my immediate family, and it’s hard to get time to visit them.
53. People who complain about free food are really annoying to me.
54. I’ve grown to like coffee in the last six months. It has to be iced and made with chocolate.
55. I hate that Brady and his family are so athletic. I have few skills in that department, and he can beat me at any sport. When I complain that he always beats me, he says, “it’s not a competition.” My response – “Yeah, well, you’re not losing.”
56. Correcting people’s grammar is really fun for me.
57. I am the most competitive person I know. If I don’t win, then I get very upset. Game nights are not my idea of fun.
58. Drinking is my idea of fun.
59. I hate when people beat around the bush, especially at work, and I want people to always just ask for exactly what they want.
60. I feel I have very few character flaws. Brady again would disagree.
61. I toured in the musical Godspell as Judas. My church youth group put it on. It is one of my most fun memories from high school.
62. I will win an Oscar one day. Or a Daytime Emmy. Not sure how, but I am sure I will.
63. It’s very pretty in my head.
64. I like yard work.
65. I like to complain.
66. I am usually over-anxious about any number of topics or issues.
67. Currently, I am anxious about the fact that it’s supposed to rain all weekend, and I have yard work to do.
68. I floss regularly.
69. I don’t look good in white or black.
70. I am pee shy.
71. I love our dog Parker, I just wish she was a little more self-sufficient. Like could make her own dinner when she got hungry or could let herself out when she needs to use the bathroom.
72. I am not convinced Parker even knows her own name yet.
73. That’s because Parker was supposed to be “Janet,” but Brady vetoed that name. She probably has identity issues now.
74. Some people think I’m passive-aggressive.
75. I hate gambling.
76. I consider myself a very blessed person – good job, good home, great family, wonderful husband. (I just threw up a little in my mouth.)
77. I hate when celebrities thank God in acceptance speeches.
78. Anderson Cooper is dreamy.
79. I think it’s fun to catch frogs.
80. I love all types of music and have no shame when it comes to buying CDs.
81. Golden Girls is one of the best shows ever made.
82. I hate cleaning bathrooms.
83. I like vacuuming.
84. I am a Virgo and love other Virgos, except when they get too anxious or try to be in control too much.
85. Dolly Parton makes me happy.
86. I like people instantly, and I am a pretty poor judge of character.
87. I never remember anybody’s name. Even after meeting them 4+ times.
88. I hate when someone forgets my name. I take that very personally.
89. I was raised in West Texas in a small city where everyone knew everyone else’s business. Going to church was a social event.
90. I love living in Houston and fancy myself very urbane.
91. I really feel like I don’t deserve nice things or shouldn’t splurge money on ANYTHING.
92. I am afraid of snakes and have snake nightmares at least once a week.
93. Chocolate milkshakes are one of God’s greatest gifts.
94. I have a need to be liked at all times. My jokes must always be funny. If I feel someone doesn’t like me, I am instantly anxious and try to win them over or start disliking them back immediately.
95. Madonna is my hero, and she made me who I am today.
96. I love eating.
97. I love theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks.
98. I can’t stand receiving feedback or constructive criticism. If I’m wrong or not perfect, I don’t want to hear about it, and I never want to be wrong or grow from my mistakes. I hate being corrected.
99. My friends are my family.
100. I heart Brady.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Ex-Gay Article (and Michael Glatze)

Edge, of Boston, has an article out currently that discusses the Michael Glatze story and ex-gays in general. The article is the first installment of a four-part series on ex-gays, and is definitely worth taking a look. So far, this first article does a good job of being fairly well balanced about the ex-gay issue.

The parts about Michael Glatze don't cover a lot of new ground except to quote Michael as claiming he is "totally, extremely heterosexual." This is the first time I've seen Michael be that up front on the issue without being pushed to say he is straight, rather than just celibate. He does not elaborate, though, on whether or not he is pursuing heterosexual romantic interests.

As long as we are on the subject of Glatze, I mentioned in the comments here and at Ex-Gay Watch that I'd discuss my personal email conversations with Michael Glatze here on the blog. I've been trying to put my thoughts together about all of this, so sorry for the delay. Here's what I've come up with though..

Unfortunately, my email exchanges with Michael (which were personal and were not part of the "open letter to gays" that Michael posted on this blog and many others) were a bit frustrating for me. In fact, I commented to J that my only post on the subject was going to be to write the unfortunate motto I've come to use at work, which is, "you can't reason with crazy people." In my line of work, it's a motto that is sadly true and comes in handy sometimes, but J helped me realize how unfair and short-sighted such a response would be. Michael was kind and gracious (if frustrating) to me in his responses, and I deeply appreciate him taking the time to respond to my emails. So, to respond so negatively wouldn't be right or fair.

Let me be clear that the "crazy people" response had nothing to do with Michael's decision to become ex-gay. It had everything to do with the way in which he was responding to my questions and emails. For example, Michael quickly glossed over answering my questions in about a paragraph or so into his response and moved on to say how homosexuality was indeed disgusting and how it needed to stop. Even going as far as to say that he "happen[ed] to know that [homosexuality will stop]" and that "God will cleanse the earth of this sin." He signed the email by thanking me for helping him in his quest to rid the earth of homosexuality (I'm assuming I'm "helping" by posting about his story on my blog). Hopefully you can see my frustration, and utter disbelief, in that exchange.

I appreciate Michael's time and responses, but to spend a fraction of an email answering my questions and then to go on a tangent about how he is positive that homosexuality will end is too much for me to take. I'm not sure what Christian denominations believe that any sins will end completely (except for in heaven--but that's not what Michael was alluding to), but I know it's not mine. That whole part of the email left be completely confused.

As for the parts of the emails that he did answer, I spent a good deal of one email asking Michael to keep in mind how damaging the terrible descriptions and words he used about gay people would be to vulnerable gay teens. His first response was that we all (he included) basically needed to toughen up, which I found worlds away from the person that once worked with suicidial youth.

However, Michael did acknowledge that his article in WND was indeed "harsh." And then admitted to initially sending two articles to WND--one harsh one and one with a softer tone (I'm not sure if the "softer" article was this one that was released later). Much to no one's surprise, WND chose the harsher one, "for a reason" according to Michael. I agree they chose it for a reason, I just wish Michael could see what that the reason was--to demonize gays rather than to help them. Calling people and people's families and lives disgusting never helped anyone. Telling them they need help without being offensive is where the help and salvation comes. He's new to this, so maybe he'll realize that at some point in his quest.

Recently Michael Glatze has agreed to, and then cancelled a few interviews with both gay-positive and mainstream media. He told me he'd be doing some stories with the gay media that would show me that my concern about him appealing to the anti-gay crowd and not really trying to offer any salvation or hope to gays was misplaced. Hopefully he's still trying to get out there. I know it'll be somewhat of a disbelieving audience, but when you tell someone their life is digusting, you have to expect to get some heated responses in return.

If I continue to have conversations with Michael Glatze, I may post them here, but for now I think I may lay this story to rest.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Another Gay Editor Goes Ex-Gay (and Anti-Gay)

Michael Glatze, the founding editor of the highly acclaimed Youg Gay America magazine has come out as ex-gay in two (1, 2) WorldNetDaily columns out today. I was actually quite saddened by the two articles--not the news itself. I'm not saddened because this guy has decided he doesn't want to be gay anymore, but because he falls into using the rhetoric that he fought so hard against back when he was an editor for YGA.

I read YGA's first issue when it came out in 2004 and found it amazingly compelling. All I could think of was how much I could have used something like that when I was dealing with being gay back in junior high and high school. The magazine is targeted towards gay young people, and it's positive stories about young gay life I'm sure provides hope to thousands of gay kids out there. It would have for me. Even as a 25-year old, it was heartening to see a publication dedicated to showing the positive side of being a gay teenager.

I was even more saddened, though, when I read that Glatze was a co-producer of "Jim in Bold," a compelling documentary about gay teen suicide. I heard about "Jim in Bold" about the same time that I found Young Gay America and just reading the website nearly brought me to tears when I first saw it several years ago. It's an amazing and award-winning documentary that talks about the pain and anguish many gay teens deal with and then shows how that anguish can lead to suicide, and did for Jim Wheeleter, the documentary's namesake.

So, for me, the problem isn't that Michael Glatze came out as ex-gay, it's that he decided to go to WorldNetDaily, an openly anti-gay publication to stir the pot and claim the evils of homosexuality. If Michael would have had the salvation of gays in mind, he would have sought to find another outlet, one where he could reach a gay audience to "save," not where he only reaches an audience of mostly anti-gay readers. All he does with this article is reaffirm the homophobia and negative view of gays the WND readers typically already have.

One of the WND articles says Glatze "doesn't mince words [about homosexuality]," and they're right. Instead of saying he came to believe that homosexuality was wrong for him, he goes on a tirade about the ills of being gay. From lust to sin to lies to calling himself and homosexuality repulsive--he resorts to using the language of the anti-gay crowd--the language that, according to his own documentary, directly leads to the depression and even suicide of gay teens.

The website of "Jim in Bold" says matter-of-factly that "Jim in Bold shows that homophobia can kill." Unfortunately, Michael Glatze seems to have forgotten that and what he has worked for all of his life, and he's sold saving the lives of gay teens for the anti-gay rhetoric of his new cause. So, Im sad, not because he's found a new way of living his life, but because he's already forgotten that the words he is now using can kill.

**On one side note that I won't cover in detail here, I'd like to point out that one WND article claims that Matthew became straight, although he personally makes no such claim in either article.