Monday, October 18, 2010

Progressing Ever Forward

Earlier, last week a lesbian couple in North Carolina were ushered out of a public mall when they were chastised for public displays of affection! Now- let's get one thing straight- it's not as if they were snogging each other senseless like half the teenagers I see everyday outside of the high school. They were "embracing" and "kissed each other on the cheek" and were asked to leave by a security guard who admitted that the circumstances would be different if the pair had been a heterosexual couple.



Well, Caitlin Breedlove, (one of the women in this duo and a co-director of the social justice group Southerners on New Ground, I might add) planned a protest this past Sunday at the shopping mall. The owner of the mall issued a formal apology to the women and released this very positive statement, which I personally hope becomes a standard which all public shopping centers across the country will strive to achieve:

We apologized that the women were offended, and we affirmed that Cameron Village and York Properties have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind and believe all people deserve the right to be treated fairly in their work, homes and daily lives.


I must say, I was surprised and delighted to see the owner take this so seriously. It made my day, actually. Just as I was happy to see Target issue their apology to the gay community, I am happy to see people taking responsibility for the intolerance that is perpetuated across the country, and actively taking a stand against it. Good work, Cameron Village Mall and good going on the community out there in N.C. - you made a difference.


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Long Time No See


You may have heard of the controversial and excessively popular New Birth Missionary Baptist Church which is run by Bishop Eddie Long... but if you haven't, allow me to fill you in on their "mission". The suburban Atlanta church is notoriously anti gay and boasts an "ex-gay" ministry. Their Bishop is also notoriously homophobic and a major star in the Evangelical world. In fact, Long's church is one of the largest in the country.

Well...Bishop Eddie Long has been slapped with two allegations that he used his spiritual position to coerce two different men into sexual relations with him. Is it bad to say I'm not at all surprised? Long, a married man, preaches constantly about the sanctity of the union between a man and a woman and has perpetuated more hate against the gay community than can be covered in one single blog post. He may have to eat his words now...

Anthony Flaag and Maurice Robinson have stepped forward to expose Long for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. Both young men said Long "seduced" them with money, expensive gifts and even college tuition in one case in exchange for sexual favors.

Now.... I could care less what Long's true sexual preference is, but what disappoints me about this story is the fact that the massive counterattack has already begun. If he is in fact gay, why not use the fact that he also has his faith and a huge following to promote awareness and acceptance of homosexuality? Why deny who you are?


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay marriage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Maine Event


Today, the Senate will vote on whether or not to debate the issue of "don't ask, don't tell". Moderate GOP Sen Susan Collins of Maine just said she would not lend her vote later today if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid does not allow a full and open debate on amendments, including one she would oppose that would strike language from the bill that repeals the military's policy against homosexuals serving openly in the armed forces.

Collins admitted to feeling frustrated by the situation she finds herself in... yeah... so do we.

She says:

"It's not not fair. I am a strong supporter of repealing DADT. It's not fair to block out amendments from people who disagree with my position. For the life of me, I don't understand why the majority leader doesn't bring this to the floor and allow free and open debate from both sides. That would be fair."


Well, one thing's for sure... the pressure is on today, so everyone... keep those fingers crossed for equality.... and speaking of equality...

Lady Gaga lent her efforts to the cause in Collins' home state yesterday and I have to say her speech was quite stirring. She calls equality the "prime rib of America" and I tend to agree.

Check it out here:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/20/gaga.gays.military/index.html?hpt=C2

Let's all hope that our Senate can make us all proud to be Americans today and stand in support of repealing this highly unjust law. If Reid gets the votes, the Senate will likely have to put the bill aside during its pre-election recess and take it up again after November.

Here's what you can do: You can use Twitter hashtag #4the14k (“For the 14,000–a reference to the serivce members who have left the military under DADT) to follow along. And while you’re at it, give your senator a call at (202) 224-3121.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Monday, August 23, 2010

You Know You're Gay When...


So, I came across this interesting article on Christwire.org that lists ways to tell whether your husband is secretly gay or not.

"Right now in America there are over 2 million couples secretly struggling with homosexuality in their marriages."

If these people are "secretly struggling" ... how is this an accurate statistic?

The site lists tons of ways to be a clever wifey and "out" your closeted hubby. It also states that if you answer yes to the questions they pose, you may want to ask yourself "whether you’re honestly looking for a man or just a shopping companion. Is sharing gossip more important to you than raising children?"

Here are my top five favorite ways to tell if your husband is gay:

1.Feigning attention in church and prayer groups
2.Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home
3.Gym membership but no interest in sports
4.Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends
5.Travels frequently to big cities or Asia

Hmmm... I may have married a gay man... aside from the traveling to Asia thing, my man fits this list to a T... So... what else could possibly be assumed?!

Ridiculous! I cannot believe people actually believe this crap!


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -
"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay marriage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dancin' in the Streets!!




It was announced just a few minutes ago that a federal judge in San Francisco decided today that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry!! Prop 8 was struck down!

"U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker said Proposition 8, passed by voters in November 2008, violated the federal constitutional rights of gays and lesbians to marry the partners of their choice. His ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court."
(From the Los Angeles Times)

As a Los Angeles native, I can say that I am finally glad to see my home state doing something right! This is a huge win for gay rights and I believe a true win for humanity. Love is love and how can anyone in their right mind argue with giving all people the right to express their love through marriage?!

Good going Judge Walker! Hard to believe this guy was appointed by Mr. G.W. Bush!



-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -
"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Target Audience


Listen up, particularly all you local Mid-westerners, Target and Best Buy, both based in Minneapolis, have recently donated $250,00 to a political committee that supports Tom Emmer for Governor of MInnesota. Emmer is in fierce support of vetoing marriage equality legislation and has ties to a Christian rock band that advocates violence and even death to gay people. Um... quick question... since when is violence a "Christian" value?

Emmer is also pro-life and is in support of making it illegal for pharmacists to distribute contraceptives!

Well, I say shame on Target and Best Buy! It is odd, considering both companies have strived over the years to be a fair and equitable businesses. According to the HRC, Target and Best Buy have both consistently received 100 percent ratings on the HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index.



As a new mom, I feel like I live at Target sometimes... well, I can tell you one mama that will be taking her business elsewhere unless they can make this right. Babies R' Us, here I come.

Sign the petition by HRC to tell Target and Best Buy exactly how you feel about this issue:

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW PETITION


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer of Hate


So, most of you have probably heard of the National Organization for Marriage and their crusade to keep marriage between and man and woman sacred... if you haven't check out this link. I assure you, it is quite disgusting.

You may have also heard of their Summer bus tour, which in their own words, is meant to "encourage supporters to stand up for marriage". I am a straight, married mother of one and I will NEVER "stand up for marriage" under NOM's policies and ideology. The "faith based" seminars and Republican backing aside, what they have been doing recently is less promotion of "traditional" marriage values and more promotion of how "disruptive" and "violent" counter protestors can be.

Recently, NOM released this video of marriage equality supporters "intimidating young children" and being unruly...




Jim Morrison once said "Whoever controls the media, controls the mind." Well, I certainly think that is true of the above video. It's clear things were edited and taken out of context to better serve their agenda... but what else is new? Speaking as a new mom, if I felt that people were "intimidating" my family or getting too close to my kids, you know what I would do? I would move and get my kids out of "harm's way".

Here's my response to the above video:



They look pretty peaceful to me....

NOM has also claimed to have had their bus tires slashed by marriage equality supporters... without any proof at all. I wouldn't be surprised if they vandalized their own bus just to propagate more hate towards the gay community.

The HRC calls the bus tour "a sham". And HRC Vice President for Communications & Marketing Fred Sainz said today:

“Let’s add it all up: NOM and its allies are making a last-ditch legal stand in Washington and Maine that they should be specially entitled to hide their political activities, and they’re saying that harassment and intimidation should provide them this cover. At the same time, Brian Brown schedules a series of virtually unattended weekday afternoon events hoping for counter-protests that they can then use as evidence of harassment and intimidation. Why else would NOM execute such half-hearted non-events and then completely subjugate its so-called ‘pro-marriage’ message in favor of devoting its energies almost exclusively to condemning lawful protesters?”

Well said Mr. Sainz, well said indeed. In fact, NOM's public statements on the bus tour have scarcely mentioned the content of the programs or the substance of its anti-LGBT message. Instead, they really do seem to be focusing attention on the decidedly larger counter-protests and calling their right to stand in opposition, "harassment".

And one other point... if NOM views itself as this benevolent organization that would never promote violence or intimidation to get their point across.... what is this?

I would think that proposing lynching as a way of "dealing with" this issue could be considered... oh , I don't know... a hate crime in the making?!

Shameful.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Two Men, One God, and Zero Compassion to be Found

"This is sick, and it is therefore deviant. We do not want it."

These are the words spoken by a Ugandan pastor at an anti-gay rally held recently in Kampala. Martin Ssempa, the pastor of the evangelical Makerere Community Church in Uganda, has become the leading anti-homosexuality organizer in Uganda. Not only does he preach that gay people are pedophiles but he vows to ensure that "sodomy and homosexuality never sees the light of legality in this land of the people of Africa"! Strong and spiteful words coming from a man of God, wouldn't you say? But the horror doesn't end there...

Ssempa travels to churches across Africa preaching this filth and even uses homosexual pornography to further inspire disgust in people. And guess where he gets funding from? Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas!!!

Kevin Odor, the senior pastor there, says Ssempa has been "misrepresented." He says "His heart is not to kill people. He is a pastor of the Gospel that believes in redemption and his heart is to redeem people." Oh really?

Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill — which criminalizes homosexual practice — is working its way through the legislature. This bill, if passed, imposes the death penalty for gay sex with a minor, or having sex with your gay partner if you are HIV-positive. Two consenting adults can get life in prison. A straight person who knows someone is gay, and doesn't report it, could get prison time as well. Sound familiar? **cough cough** WWII** cough**

Watch the video below for a taste of what this guy is all about... FYI... it gets graphic...Ssempa discusses "gay sex" with terms like "poo-poo" and "licking the anus like ice cream". Clearly, this man is insane.



Odor goes on to say that they just want to help the AIDS problem in Africa and " we found somebody who is making a difference, so we support him" Puh-lease! Gay people are not the sole cause of the AIDS epidemic in Africa... just as they are not the sole cause of it here in the States!
To add insult to injury, Odor says his church has "a heart" for homosexuals. Canyon Ridge participates every year in the AIDS march.

"We love everybody, including people with AIDS. There are two things: how you got AIDS and that you have AIDS. That you have AIDS is a matter of compassion. The church should be compassionate for people with AIDS."

Hmmm... interesting distinction there Odor.

Well, I for one am disgusted by Ssempa and everything he stands for. And shame on Kevin Odor for supporting such an obviously one -sided view of the AIDS problem in Africa. I would like to quote here my favorite definition of what religion actually is:

something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience

To me, this is what religion is. Not some witch hunt, not some close minded perspective, and certainly not the persecution and unethical preaching against a group of people that Martin Ssempa has displayed of late.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Everything's Bigger in Texas...


And apparently everything's also dumber... well, at least where their GOP Platform is concerned.

If you haven't already heard, the 2010 Texas Republican Party Platform has some totally unbelievable planks in store.

For example:

- Gay people shouldn't have custody of children.
- Issuing a marriage license or performing a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple should be punishable by jail time.
- 19th-century Texas statutes outlawing sex between men should be restored.
- Homosexuality "tears at the fabric of society".
Is this unbelievable or what?!

Please sign this petition by the Human Rights Campaign to convince the national Republican Party chair to reject these ridiculous and unconstitutional ideas!


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The All American Family Revisited


Remember the Brady Brunch? Well, I was browsing CNN.com and came across this very interesting story of David Mayer and his partner Keith Kennard. David is a father of three and Keith has three sons of his own. Sound familiar?

"We really couldn't ask for a better opportunity to really raise our kids together ... you don't really hear that in our gay community, especially with black men."

In a time where gay rights are at the forefront of the media and public awareness, and gay adoption is an issue under fire in many states across the country, I think it very encouraging an informative to come across a story like this one. The article goes on to discuss the difficulties many gay couples face when beginning the journey through child adoption. As most of you know, adoption laws are different in every state. While Florida is the only state which openly bans gays and lesbians from adopting, other states like Mississippi and Utah will allow homosexuals to adopt if they are single, but will not allow a same-sex couple to adopt. Backwards? You're telling me! But, unfortunately this is the reality. About 20 % of same-sex couples in the U.S. are raising children and I have to wonder if perhaps that number would be higher if it weren't so difficult for same-sex couples to adopt. I also wonder if the laws were more lax, would there be so many instances of foster children ending up in unfit homes? Of course, I'm referencing back to a previous post of mine which can be read here.

Keith says of the challenges of parenthood:

"For David and I to actually have that little Brady Bunch thing going and for it to actually work is a wonderful thing. We just wish we could really see more of that."

Me too, Keith!

As a mother myself, I found this article very interesting in that it could have just as easily been a straight couple discussing the challenges of raising a family and running a busy household. I only have one and I am constantly in motion! The one difference? If I want to expand my family, whether biologically or through adoption, it's no big deal. But for a gay couple, who are just as in love as my husband and I are, it can be an awful lot of hoop jumping. And that is just simply unconstitutional.

Here's what you can do to make a step toward positive change and help millions of children in the process:

Sign this petition to help repeal the ban on gay adoption in Florida.


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator - "To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Politician Keeping A Promise?


That's right! Well... in Sweden anyway.

Sweden's Minister of EU Affairs, Birgitta Ohlsson promised that she would challenge the conservatives in other parts of the continent and that she would continue her campaign for the rights of women and the civil rights for all members of her community. Recently, gay rights has been her focus and her first task was opening Baltic Pride in Lithuania after it had been under much scrutiny by conservatives and was nearly banned.

”I would like to urge all European politicians from left to right to get out of the closet. Do not hide behind the LGBT-activists and let them fight on their own"

This is the kind of blood we need pumping through our own government channels, if you ask me!

Read more about this incredible woman here!!


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -
"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Monday, June 14, 2010

That's So Gay!

Just heard a great PSA this morning on the radio! It's a campaign that's been launched by ThinkB4YouSpeak and it's inspired!

The radio spot basically featured some high school students using the "popular phrase" we've all heard hundreds of times... "That's so gay". One teen then gives a history lesson of the word "gay". Brilliant. I checked out the website immediately and was pleased to see that this whole campaign is really geared toward teens/pre teens.

FYI, Almost 90% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students report being verbally harassed at school because of their sexual orientation.

From the AD Council's website:

"LGBT teens experience homophobic remarks and harassment throughout their school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe. Homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard; these slurs are often unintentional and a common part of teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment. This campaign aims to raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in America’s schools. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents; their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior."

Here, here! It seems like every month I read a story about LGBT students being harassed at school. As a parent, I love seeing ads like this that raise the awareness of the youth because quite frankly, that's where it all starts... sometimes it's easier to introduce the mind to a way of thinking than it is to change one. Acceptance begins with education and this campaign is not only informative, but it handles the issue with dignity and a sensitivity that is so refreshing to see!

Be sure to check out the website!!! And if you are a teacher or counselor, you won't want to miss their section of the site specifically designed for educators! Absorb it!


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Breaking the Silence - Ky Dickens Speech about believing out loud

This past weekend our director, Ky Dickens, was the keynote speaker at the Texas Annual Conference. This is a conference of Methodists clergy and laity that takes place in Houston Texas.

The speech hinged on the statistic that more than 70% of Methodists believe that gays and lesbians should be celebrated and included in all folds of the faith (from marriage to ordination) but only 7% have ever said so publicly. This means that clergy are not "believing out loud." Ky's hope, in Texas, was to motivate Methodists to take the next step and to vocalize their beliefs and values about LGBT worth and equality.

We're posting the final minutes of Ky's speech here. (The entire speech was over 20 minutes and we felt it was too long to post on our blog).

Our entire FOOW team in Chicago celebrates the brave attendees of the "Breaking the Silence" lunch in Houston and the honorable clergy who are sticking their necks out for the LGBTQ community.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lovin' It?

So- McDonald's has released a new ad in France which portrays the chain as "gay friendly".
Take a look:



What do y'all think? I love the slogan at the end, "Come as you are" and I love that McDonald's, a major restaurant chain, is clearly showing solidarity with it's gay consumers. I also hope that this sort of message will make it's way to the States for broadcast. However, some people think the spot is a tad sombre.

We want to hear what YOU think! Love it or hate it, you cannot deny it's original.



-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Update from Malawi

We recently blogged the story of a gay couple from Malawi, Africa who were sentenced to 14 years in prison for "gross indecency" simply because they are gay.


Well, word came today that Tiwonge Chimbalanga and his partner Steven Monjeza are being spared the 14 year sentencing!

From CNN:
The president of Malawi has pardoned two gay men who were sentenced to 14 years in prison this month for gross indecency and unnatural acts, the country's solicitor general, Anthony Kamanga, said Saturday.

The president's choice to pardon these men came after the incident sparked International outrage across the globe. In the UK, which is Malawi’s largest donor, the sentence was condemned by Alan Duncan, the International Development Minister, as “both shocking and disturbing". UN Secretary General , Ban Ki- moon had this to say:

“This outdated penal code should be reformed wherever it may exist. Any harassment or violation or discrimination against people based on sexual orientation is discriminatory. It’s against international human rights law.”

In an address to parliament, he called for changes to legislation on gay sex, which is illegal in Malawi and in another 37 out of 53 African nations.

So glad to see true justice prevail in this case. This is a big day for human rights and hopefully, this will serve as a powerful message to other countries to follow suit.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TELL Congress What YOU Think About DADT!!


It's been a big week for this issue.

On May 20th Servicemembers United uncovered a staggering 630 new DADT discharges, which had previously been discounted Department of Defense’s official “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers! They obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. These newly released numbers now bring the 17-year total number of discharges to at least 14,055!!! That's 14,055 capable US soldiers who won't be standing up for a country they love because of who they love!

Also this week, Nancy Pelosi made quite a powerful statement during an interview with The Hill.

"I don’t have any doubt that ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be a memory by the end of this year"

Well, for those of you who haven't heard, Congress is scheduled to vote THIS WEEK on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". If we're going to win this, we need as many Illinois residents as possible to speak out against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" within the next 24 hours.

Click the link below to find out what you can do to help take a stand for human rights.

REPEAL DADT NOW

This could really happen, gang!! But it's up to all of us to make this change possible. Gandhi once said "You must be the change you wish to see in the world"... let's be a part of the change we all want to see! Let's end this ridiculous policy!



-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gross Indecency


Today in Malawi, a gay couple were sentenced to serve 14 years in prison. That is the MAXIMUM possible sentence. They have been convicted of "unnatural acts and gross indecency".

This is a "gross indecency" to human beings everywhere.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga, a 20-year-old hotel janitor, and his partner Steven Monjeza, 26, were arrested in December, the day after they celebrated their engagement with a party at the hotel where Chimbalanga worked.

Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries in Africa, including Malawi. In Uganda right now as you read this, lawmakers are considering a bill that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison and sanction the death penalty for "repeat offenders."

It is archaic and disgusting that these law are even being considered.

Before the sentencing, Tiwonge released this statement:

“I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless.”

Human rights advocacy groups across the world are shocked by this conviction. And Amnesty International is doing all they can to offer some solution. According to their website, the couple have 3 weeks to file an appeal.

We will call upon the Appeals Court to overturn their conviction and release them unconditionally.
In the meantime... here's what YOU can do.

CLICK HERE to get information about how you can urge the US Congress to take action on behalf of Steven and Tiwonge.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Monday, May 17, 2010

PLEASE HELP STOP THE DEPORTATION OF KIANA FIROUZ!


Kiana Firouz, who is an Iranian queer rights activist currently living as a refugee in Britain to escape punishment for the film she recently appeared in where she openly discussed her life as a lesbian in Iran. But the Home Office is for some reason not taking the fact that she will most likely be killed if she goes back very seriously.

Kiana recently took part in the film Cul de sac, which focuses on her life and civil rights battles in Iran. “It was important for me to take part in the film,” she stated in a recent interview.

“As an Iranian lesbian I think the film is the best way to show how difficult life is for lesbians in my country. This film contains sex scenes that would be sufficient evidence for receiving a death sentence if I were sent back to Iran. Now, my only hope is to mobilize the international LGBT community.”

Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in Iran. Generally, homosexuality is punishable by 100 lashes with the death penalty being enforced after the fourth "offense".

Kiana, just 27 years old, now faces the very real possibility of deportation form England back to Iran.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION TO HELP KEEP KIANA SAFE
.


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Friday, May 14, 2010

The KAGAN Question


The White House denies it, feminists call it a distraction, the right wing wants to "expose" it, the left wing wants to "embrace" it.... but EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW!! Is Elena Kagan gay?
Kagan, who is a graduate of Harvard Law School, was recently nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama on May 10th of this year.
The question of her homosexuality has been the subject of much debate since her nomination and quite frankly, I think it's a tremendous waste of time. But does it matter? Does it matter to the gay community? Some people say it does. I say, since when does sexual preference have ANYTHING to do with a person's ability the hold ANY office in the United States? Home of the brave and land of the FREE indeed.

Here's why some people think it does matter...

A Cornell law professorhas said that Kagan clearly indicated she believes gay marriage is a political question, not a constitutional one, meaning there is no constitutional right to gay marriage, but Maggie Gallagher says that's not true. She cites the fact that the Human Rights Campaign agrees with her that Kagan supports marriage equality.
Furthermore, Ed Whelan notes that Kagan issues a slippery "clarification" of her stance on whether or not gay marriage is constitutionally permissible. I can see how her stance on this issue is of large concern to many Americans, gay or straight...but nevertheless, her position on this issue has no bearing, in my mind, on her own sexuality.

Naturally, the right wingers have been quick to jump into this debate. Many talk radio heads have critiqued the way she looks, stating she is masculine because she's been known to smoke cigars and play poker. It has also been brought up that while she served as Dean at Harvard, she kicked military recruiters off the campus because of the DADT policy.

Kagan was recently pictured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal playing softball. The picture is quite old, clearly from her college days. Pat Buchanan had this to say of the "suspicious" photograph:

"Women's softball has been associated with lesbians and being gay for a long time not exclusively obviously, a lot of girls teams play softball, but that's been sort of a signal, like two men sunbathing together on a beach or something like that - the immediate implication is that they're gay"

I see... well, Mr. Buchanan, I had no idea you were such an expert on gay lifestyle... let alone gay "signals".

Elena Kagan is 50 years old and unmarried... clearly... she must be gay! Do I detect a little sexism? Check out this clip from a Fox News program with Megyn Kelly that discusses the now notorious softball photograph of Kagan and issues of sexism:



I think there are so very fine points made here... but seriously people... it's one photograph!! Why is this causing so much upheaval?!

Granted, if she is gay and denying it, I could see how this would affect people in the gay community. An openly gay member of the Supreme Court would certainly be advantageous for the rights of gay people across the country. It would also send a powerful message of acceptance. But let's face it, if she is gay and denying it... it will eventually, pardon the expression, COME OUT. It always does (link to previous blog post of George Reckers)

I still believe that this is %100 nobody's business but what do y'all think?



























-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cause This Has Never Happened Before....


You may have heard by now about a recent "homosexual scandal" involving one of the co-founder's of Fundamentalist Christian organization Family First, George Alan Rekers. For those who don't know Mr. Rekers is also one of the top anti-gay activists in the country and is a Baptist minister.

Well, Mr. Rekers was recently... caught with his pants down, so to speak, when he was caught having hired a homosexual escort, whom he claimed he had hire to help him "handle" his "luggage" on a trip to Europe.

So... what did Rekers have to say for himself?

"I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them"

I have a question for Mr. Rekers... do you typically find your "sinners to save" by trolling Rentboy.com?

It is interesting to note that Rekers also serves as an advisor to the US Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services. He notably testified as a state's witness in favor of both Alabama and Florida's gay adoption ban. Oddly enough, Rekers, himself, has a long history of adopting wayward, sexually confused teenage boys. In fact, he currently has an adopted son who is the same age as his "rentboy".

I say... why does this have to be a "scandal"? So- he is a gay man and he loves God... why can't he be both homosexual and religious? I encourage Mr. Reckers to do some soul searching and stop denying who he is and who he loves. With such an influential standing, he could really open a lot of doors for the gay community. Also- does it seem to anyone else that this sort of thing happens all the time?


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Words of Wisdom from A Whole Lotta Woman...


A week or two ago we had a big DVD Release party for Fish Out of Water. It was a big success! Tons of people came out to support this amazing film! It was truly inspiring to see how much this project meant to everyone who had seen it.


I found one portion of the evening particularly poignant. Taj Mahal, the fiercest female impersonator in show business, was the opening act and she performed Gospel like I have never seen it performed! If I did not know she was lip syncing, I would not have doubted in a million years that it was her true voice! Here is a clip of what she had to say about FOOW:





Well said.

If you'd like to see more pictures of this event, please check out the website and the facebook page!! And if you still haven't bought your copy of this incredible film, CLICK HERE!!!

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Riverdale Welcomes Diversity



If you're not too familiar with Riverdale High and the fun loving boyish antics of Archie and Jughead...perhaps now would be a good time to check out Archie Comics! Recently, this traditional staple of American comic books (established in 1939), has expanded it's horizons and brought the changing world right into the comic setting of Riverdale!

Recently, the folks at Archie Comic's shook things up when they made the decision to explore the subject of interracial dating, by bringing in Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats to be Archie's new girlfriend. For those of you who don't follow this sort of thing- Valerie is an African American character. (This issue was released just yesterday!)

Well, they're at it again- later this year they'll be introducing a whole new character... KEVIN!!

Check out writer/artist Dan Parent talk about the some of the new things you can expect to see at Riverdale this Summer:



Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics Co-CEO said of this breaking news:

"The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books"

Thanks for keeping it real Archie Comics!

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

FOOW DVD Officially For SALE!!!


Sooooo exciting!!!

The DVD is finally out! Check it out here and pick up your copy today!

And if you're in Chicago tonight, head over to the DVD Release Party at Lincoln Hall w/ JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound w/ host Cameron Esposito! You can pick up a copy of the DVD for just $20!!

Also, as a bonus, the DVD included never-been-seen LGBTQ interviews!

-FOOW CREW-

"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just When You Thought Obama Didn't Care...


Yesterday President Obama ordered his health care secretary to sanction new rules which grant same-sex partners hospital visitation rights, hence acknowledging them as legitimate family members!

The changes to the laws will also make it possible for same-sex couples to make medical decisions on their partner's behalf. In a statement, the president mentioned how "uniquely affected" gays and lesbians are by this change in the law as they are often denied access to their hospitalized partner, on the grounds they are not "family".

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides”

Although President Obama seemed to let the gay community down with regard to Prop8, and although it will take some time for these changes to take affect, I think this is a HUGE step in the right direction towards equality for all Americans!

Today, I am proud to be an American. Good going Obama!

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why We Don't Heart Huckabee


Mike Huckabee is in the news this week after a recent interview he did with the College of New Jersey’s magazine, The Perspective. I sort of expected most of what came spewing out of his mouth to be bigoted nonsense about how same sex marriage is immoral and gays don't look good in camo... what I was not expecting was this little gem:

“I think this is not about trying to create statements for people who want to change the basic fundamental definitions of family. Always, we should act in the best interest of the children, not in the seeming interest of the adults. Children are not puppies. This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work?”

Take your time... it took me hours to get over the shock.

Several states, thankfully, allow gay adoption. There is no evidence to suggest that gay people make better or worse parents than heterosexuals. In 2004, 70 percent of the 73.2 million children under age 18 lived with two parents, 26 percent lived with one parent, and the remaining 4 percent lived with no parent. For that 4%, that EQUALS 2.9 MILLION homeless children.

Thousands of children are fostered everyday and it seems like every month, I hear a story about a foster child being neglected, abused or killed by their foster parents. There are so many children in need; it is inevitable that many fall through the cracks in the system and are placed with people who may look good on paper when in actuality, they are the worst choice imaginable.

I will cite here what I'm sure is on everybody's mind- The recent case of the little Russian boy who was adopted by a family in Tennessee and was SENT BACK to Russia! You want to talk about "experimentation" and how "children are not puppies"... let's talk about this family in Tennessee! You can't just send a kid back- like you would a dog to a pound!

I'd also like to bring to light a story which has stayed with me for some time and never fails to make me cry when I think of it. Sarah Angelina Chavez was just 2 years old when she was killed by her foster parents after being removed from the care of her previous foster parents, lesbian couple Corri Planck and Dianne Hardy-Garcia. The little girl was specifically removed from the Planck/Garcia home because her birth mother was "uncomfortable" with the fact that they were gay. If you ask me, that birth mother lost her right to have any opinion on the matter the first time she abused her daughter. The system failed this little girl and put her in the "care" of abusive family members, ignoring stern warnings from Planck and Hardy-Garcia that Sarah had been hurt there in the past- possibly even sexually abused. Little Sarah suffered internal bleeding from being kicked in the stomach and died within hours of the attack.

Personally- I do not think it is a straight thing versus a gay thing. But I think what we can learn from the story above is that there are evil people out there and there are kind people- and it doesn't matter who they sleep with. Love is love and that is what these children need more than anything.

So- Mike Huckabee- I want to ask you... when do you plan on adopting one of these orphans?
And more to the point- if you care so much about these children being placed into good homes- why not spend less time gay bashing and more time fighting for better standards and background checks at existing foster care facilities all over the country.

(And by the way, while we are on this topic- I'd like to point out that President Obama has declared April 2010 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In his presidential proclamation, he calls upon Americans to observe this month with programs and activities that help prevent child abuse and provide for children’s physical, emotional and developmental needs. Find out more about preventing child abuse and neglect)

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Go Costa Rica, Go!!


Costa Rican president, Oscar Arias, expressed on Wednesday that he feels it is archaic for the Roman Catholic Church to continue demanding celibacy form its priests. He also went on to voice his support of same sex marriage stating:

"We are made as we are. A young boy (or girl) does not ask if he or she will grow up gay or straight. Sexual orientation is given by God or by nature"

Gay marriage will, of course, still need to go through the proper legislative channels to be approved...but... I think THIS is great! Way to think progressively and most importantly... humanely.



-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Night to Remember?


Ah- prom... a night of dancing, cavorting with classmates, teen romance and flashy fashion... oh yeah... and did I mention bigotry?

You've probably heard all about Constance McMillen by now, but if you haven't - allow me to tell you her story. Constance lives in Mississippi and she, like every other girl in her class, had been looking forward to senior prom. 18 year old Constance was looking forward to donning a fabulous tux and bringing her girlfriend to the dance... *record scratch*

Back in December of 09, McMillen asked that the school board allow her to bring a same-sex date to her prom. In February, she asked AGAIN after a school memo was sent out, detailing date "restrictions". What did the school board do? They cancelled the prom rather than allowing ONE girl to bring the date of her choice. Constance fought back with the ACLU on her side and made headlines when a judge ruled that she was "allowed" to bring a girl as her date. However, the judge did not order the school to reinstate the prom because it was understood that McMillen would be invited to a prom which was being sponsored by parents of her Itawamba classmates.

Well... as if this story couldn't get anymore disgusting... it is now being reported that Constance McMillen, her date and a few other classmates, including two with learning disabilities, attended what they were told was a parent sponsored prom in Fulton, Mississippi while most of her other classmates from Itawamba Agricultural High School danced the night away at a separate prom that McMillen was not invited to.

McMillen had this to say in response to the fake prom fiasco:

"Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event. They had the time of their lives. That's the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn't have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom]."

Stay strong Constance.
If any of our readers would like to show their support in condemning the actions of the Itawamba County School Board, check out this petition by The Human Rights Campaign.


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Animal Instinct


A few days ago, The New York Times ran an article about "gay animals".

While this topic has been used before by the likes of radio personality Thom Hartmann and others to support the notion that homosexuality occurs "naturally", I have never read an account of homosexual animals quite like this one!

One example they offer is the work of biologist Lindsay C. Young, who studies albatrosses at the Kaena Point colony, which is a breeding ground for the famously monogamous birds. She discovered over a period of time that "one third of the pairs at Kaena Point actually consisted of two female birds, not one male and one female" , also citing that some of these birds had been a couple for "4,8 or even 19 years"!

"A discovery like Young’s can disorient a wildlife biologist in the most thrilling way — if he or she takes it seriously, which has traditionally not been the case. Various forms of same-sex sexual activity have been recorded in more than 450 different species of animals by now, from flamingos to bison to beetles to guppies to warthogs."
The article goes on to say that while study into this phenomenon has been sporadic and met with some resistance in the scientific community, more biologists are "looking objectively at same-sex sexuality in animals- approaching it as a real science". It would be nice to see human sexuality approached with such enthusiasm and open-mindedness.

However, like every insightful study that is done with the hopes of proving through science that homosexuality is not an abnormality or a "choice", there is always backlash. While some use examples of homosexuality in nature as a platform for equality, there are many who consider this "an effort to humanize animals or devolve humans to the level of animals".

"Many pointed out that animals also rape or eat their young; was America going to tolerate that too, just because it’s natural?"

Puh-lease! That's like the old notion that all gay men are pedophiles or that all lesbians are.... I don't know...a cat loving people... well, that last one may be true. ;)

The article covers every speculation from an evolutionary advantage to pure and simple attraction. Definitely a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the subject. Whether or not you feel it is research that will help further the rights of gays and lesbians, you cannot deny the impact this research will have in the long run on how we experience our evolving world as a whole.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Food for Comedic Thought


Lately there have been a lot of comedy television shows and movies portraying strong gay characters, and I'm certainly not hearkening back to the days of Will & Grace or even the string of drag queen flavored films which spawned from Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Has anyone seen Modern Family? True- the show is full of stereotypes but the pilot episode also tackled a big issue... gays adopting a baby. Pretty forward thinking for American TV. Or how about Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist? The main character, a straight teen, plays bass for a Queercore band with his best friends who are gay. They play it off as almost a side note- their sexual preference is not drawn into focus as a comedic diversion but rather used as a way to show the main character's "open mindedness" and dependability. Both positive qualities to see in a teenage boy- wouldn't you say?

Well, I came across this clip of Jane Lynch playing her Glee character Sue Sylvester... and hilarity ensued... but it also made me think....



What do you think? Are there too many "sneaky gays" out there? LOL.

While I do think that in the past homosexuality was sometimes used in film and television as a comedic device for men to appear in women's clothes or to show how "eccentric" a character was, I am happy to see more homosexual characters and themes used in a nonchalant way....

Now then... "swish it up gays!"


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"