Frank Ocean on SNL


Frank Ocean killed it on Saturday Night Live this week. I’ve always thought SNL was a difficult gig and many of the performances I’ve seen over the years are fairly awful, even if I like the artists in other contexts. It’s hard to take an audience from watching sketch comedy and get them on board with your performance with a single song, but Ocean totally pulled it off.

It seems like society is starting to be at this point where you can come out, and that doesn’t mean you have to make your whole life about being gay, you can just keep doing what you’re doing. Sometimes, despite all of the bullshit of election season and constitutional amendments, I can see a future where everyone can be themselves. Frank Ocean said that he wrote albums because “I wanted to create worlds that were rosier than mine.” I believe that his life (and the lives of everyone who is working to be themselves despite prevailing culture and opinions) is making that difference.

Brother Ali recently wrote this amazing blog on Huffington Post about the intersection of Homophobia and Hip Hop. He makes the case for why people need to stop using gay and fag in a negative context. Writing like that really makes me think the world is changing. We just need to keep on being the best we can be, shining, until everyone else either dies off or catches up and figures out what they were missing, wasting time on hate.

Outfront Minnesota’s Lobby Day

This Thursday, March 29th is Lobby Day
for LGBT Minnesotans. If you’re a Minnesota local you should think
about coming down to the Capitol to take part. Outfront has activities
going on all day, so check out their website for more details.

Minnesota can be a state of extremes. Michelle Bachman and Keith Ellison are examples of the kinds of polar opposites we elect.

Here’s a video of one of my favorite
arguments against the constitutional ban on gay marriage. In this video
Representative Steve Simon (DFL Hopkins/St. Louis Park) argues that the
Minnesota constitutional amendment is largely about religion and asks
“How many more gay people does God have to create, before we ask
ourselves whether or not god actually wants them around?”

Take action, make a difference and thank those who are supporting
equality in the state of Minnesota! No time? You can always donate to Minnesotans United for All Families, the umbrella organization that is working to combat the amendment.

Queering the State Fair

Yesterday
was the last day of the Minnesota State Fair. For those of you who
aren’t from Minnesota, you might not get the whole State Fair thing, but
in Minnesota people get into it big time. The fried food, the animal
judging, the crafts and canning and musical acts. It’s a throwback to
another era. I ask you, where else can you see a llama costume contest
and eat batter fried cheese curds in the same day?

As much as I love the State Fair it’s not usually a very queer event and is sometimes even downright homophobic. This year columbusgohome.com
reported that anti-gay marriage activists were granted a last minute
state fair booth, while gay rights advocates were denied a last minute
booth.

Fair-going gay rights activists took matters into their own hands, glitter bombing the homophobic booth from the Skyglider ride.

 

Patricia
Mack, a senior citizen from Minneapolis, expressed her opinions about
love and equality through seed art. Her 5th place seed art said “love
includes” spelled out in black beans.

In the most promising of gay state fair news, Minnesotans  taking a poll conducted by the Minnesota House of Representatives seem reluctant to pass the  marriage amendment.

“Of the record 12,549 people participating in the 2011 House of
Representatives State Fair Poll, 66.5 percent said the state
constitution should not be amended to define marriage as “only a union
of one man and one woman,” while 29.8 percent believe the constitution
should be changed.”

Maybe the state fair is getting a little queerer as time goes on.

American Experience’s Stonewall Uprising

It’s
Pride month, and although Pride has become something commercial that
many of us have mixed feelings about, it’s important to remember how
this all started. Everyone should watch Stonewall Uprising, even if
you’ve seen Before Stonewall
and read about Stonewall quite a bit. The footage they have of the
Stonewall Riot and of peoples’ lives at that time is amazing.

It struck me how much like war the beginning of the movement was and
it’s amazing that we’ve come so far since then. It also makes you feel a
deep gratitude for the rights you have.

One of the primary resources used in Stonewall Uprising is a New York Times article entitled: Homo Nest Raided: Queen Bees Stinging Mad.
It’s a fascinating read, because it is intensely trivializing and
sexist, but also (for its time) somewhat pro-gay. A neighbor who watched
the raid of Stonewall happen from her window was quoted in the article
saying, “It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of
hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”

Below is the first section of the documentary. You can watch the whole film online on PBS’ American Experience website.

Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.

3 Things to Read and Watch This Spring

1. Susie Bright’s Big Sex, Little Death:
I checked this book out of the library after reading a number of
amazing reviews and I have not been disappointed. Read this book less
for the titillating details of her sexy career and more for the
fascinating details of how she got there.

2. If you’ve been looking for new queer porn to watch, I would highly recommend heavenly spire.com.
This is Shine Louise Houston’s new endeavor into masculinity porn.
There is a beautiful diversity in how masculinity is defined on the site
and Shine really knows how to shoot porn in a simple elegant way that
allows you to enjoy the action. It’s artsy, but you don’t forget what
you’re watching it for.

3. If you’re looking to forget about your problems for a bit, I must emphatically recommend Randall’s youtube video entitled: The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger. I don’t see how you can watch this video without laughing. Remember, “honey badger don’t care.”

Thanks Glee

I’m a little behind on my Glee episodes, so I just recently
watched “Furt”. (If you haven’t seen it yet, the following description
contains spoilers) In this episode one of the characters, Kurt,
experiences continued harassment from a fellow student for being gay.
His soon to be step-brother, Finn, initially watches this happen and
chooses to do nothing for fear of sharing in Kurt’s fate.

Later in the episode, Finn reconsiders and apologizes publicly in his
best man toast. He proceeds to sing “You’re Amazing” with the help of
the Glee Club, and dances with Kurt in front of everyone at the wedding.

In my opinion this was an amazing moment. It is so powerful and
unusual to see that kind of expression of love unhindered by the usual
homophobic baggage that is almost omnipresent in life.

As someone who was pushed against lockers and spit on and harassed
for being who I was in high school this episode meant alot to me. I want
things to change for kids who are different, no matter what kind of
different. Watching people stand up for someone else in a similar
situation to what I had been in was really healing for me.

Towards the end of the episode, when Kurt’s bully was reinstated at
the school despite threatening to kill him, Kurt’s parents helped him
decide to leave the school and transfer. This was the other truly
important moment of the show. It’s so easy when you’re in the kind of
situation Kurt is in to forget that leaving that environment is an
option. How many fewer kids would commit suicide if they knew that they
could just change schools and start over somewhere less hostile? I know
that switching schools saved me on a number of levels.

I know that Glee isn’t always perfect but this episode made me feel
like the greater culture is changing in support of gay people.