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On Jodie Foster and ‘privacy’ vs. shame

This image released by NBC shows Jodie Foster, recipient of the Cecil B. Demille Award, during the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)

NBC/Associated Press photo

Actress Jodie Foster kind of officially, publicly came out of the closet the other night when she accepted an award at the Golden Globe Awards. Thankfully, the 50-year-old Foster’s apparent shame over her sexual orientation is rarer in our youthful non-heterosexuals today — no thanks to Foster, of course.

I don’t want this to be a repeat of what I wrote about lesbian astronaut Sally Ride’s posthumous outing in July, so I’ll quote what others have said about actress Jodie Foster’s recent quasi-coming out.

Matthew Breen, the probably-too-pretty editor of The Advocate, wrote this about Foster:

… Everyone should come out in her own time, but Foster was angry last night. One reason could be embarrassment at not having come out publicly (at least in her own estimation) until 2013. Last night’s speech clearly took a lot of guts for Foster to undertake. But too much anger was directed at a straw man of her own creation.

“But now apparently I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me, never was, and it never will be,” she said.

There’s where she’s got it wrong. By referencing Honey Boo Boo, a stand-in for all that is shamelessly confessional about celebrity in 2013, Foster’s implication was that the choices she faces as a public figure are few: (1) stay closeted, never acknowledge your sexual orientation in public, or (2) tell the world every sordid detail of your intimate life.

That’s a bogus comparison, and it’s one that reinforces the idea that being LGBT is shameful, worthy of being hidden, and that saying you’re LGBT is an invitation to the whole world to come into your bedroom. That’s patently wrong. There are numerous out celebrities who guard their personal lives: David Hyde Pierce, Anna Paquin, Zachary Quinto, Amber Heard, Anderson Cooper, just to name a few. … [Emphasis is all mine.]

Breen states in his piece on Foster that The Advocate’s policy on outing is this: “While we encourage everyone who doesn’t risk his or her own safety by coming out to do so, The Advocate has a policy of not outing people who are not actively doing harm to LGBTs through word or deed.”

That’s pretty much my personal view on outing, too. Those who can be out should be out, in my book. You can’t assert that someone who might face real physical danger and/or who might be tossed out of his or her home (or maybe even his or her job) should come out if you’re not the one who would have to face the consequences — but often closeted individuals exaggerate how awful it might be should they come out.

Still, that said, even if I strongly think that an individual should be out, in the end, in many if not most cases it’s up to the individual as to whether or not he or she should be out (assuming that everyone doesn’t already know or strongly surmise the individual’s orientation anyway — there are so many closet cases whose self-awareness is so low that they seem to think that no one knows that they’re not heterosexual when pretty much everyone does).

In my book, the individual deserves the “protection” of the closet until and unless he or she does not deserve it, such as if it’s a closeted guy who is not keeping to himself but is sexually harassing others at the workplace (as happened to me) or, of course, if it’s a closet case who actively is working against the “LGBT community,” such as a “Christo”fascist “leader” or a politician. No traitor deserves the “protection” of the closet.

Most people agree on that point, but there remains a sticking point — that of “privacy.”

I like what LGBT writer Nathaniel Frank has to say on this:

… It’s true that hiding [one’s sexual orientation] hurts. Research shows mental health consequences to holding major secrets over time. And yes, it’s absolutely a wasted opportunity for powerful, visible people who probably could come out unscathed to deny young LGBT people the nurturance of knowing that an admired public figure is gay.

Privacy and shame are closely connected. Adam and Eve covered their “privates” the moment they gained moral consciousness, an awareness of good and evil, setting the tone for a truism ever since: You don’t cover up stuff if there ain’t something wrong with it.

Any step a gay person takes to hide their identity that they wouldn’t take to hide the fact that they’re, say, Irish, vegetarian or left-handed is probably not a neutral quest for privacy but reflects their own doubt about just how OK it is to be gay. Foster’s reluctance to just pull an Ellen (“Yep, I’m gay”), and her tortured speech, with its resentful tone and its ultimate avoidance of the “L” word, made being gay and coming out seem tortured things in themselves. … [Emphasis mine.]

And that’s the deep and profound problem that I have with the widespread argument that one’s sexual orientation (if it is not heterosexual, and only if it is not heterosexual, of course) is “private”: The vast majority of heterosexuals don’t go around asserting that their attraction to members of the opposite sex is “private,” do they? And why is that? Because they’re not fucking ashamed of their sexual orientation, that’s why.

So to assert that one’s non-heterosexuality — not one’s specific sex acts, but one’s basic sexual orientation — is “private” is to keep alive the toxic, ignorant, bigoted, harmful belief that to be attracted to members of one’s own sex is shameful, abnormal, “sinful,” etc.

And to contribute to that toxic, heterosexist and homophobic environment — and yes, all of us are responsible for the environment, since all of us make up the environment — is only to add to the number of non-heterosexual people who become addicted to drugs and alcohol, who contemplate or commit suicide, who don’t protect themselves from STDs because (in their low self-esteem) they don’t find themselves to be worth protecting, and who are the victims of hate crimes, since they exist in such a heterosexist, homophobic environment that encourages such hate crimes.

You are contributing to the problem or you are contributing to the solution.

Lying that your basic sexual orientation is a matter of “privacy” — and lying that what others really want to know are the “dirty” details of your sex life when, in fact, no one is inquiring as to such details — is to try to excuse yourself for your own laziness, selfishness and cowardice for which there is no fucking excuse.

That is the problem that I have with Jodie Foster and with others like her who toss out the red herring of “privacy” instead of manning the fuck up already and working to make things better for everyone.

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YES, Sally Ride’s lesbianism matters

Late NASA astronaut Sally Ride (pictured above in 1984), who was the first American woman in space (in 1983 at age 32), died of pancreatic cancer yesterday at age 61. When I first saw the news of her death and saw her photos, I though, “Damn, she was a lesbian!” Shortly thereafter, it was publicly released that she had been in a same-sex relationship for almost three decades — which, the homophobes essentially argue, we should just fucking ignore, and focus only upon the space shit, because homosexuality always should remain in the closet, and you’re actually a homophobe yourself if you maintain otherwise.

I want to go all James Eagan Holmes whenever I hear some fucktard, usually a homophobic heterosexual (but sometimes a self-loathing, heterosexist homosexual), state that a gay man’s or lesbian’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter.

This right-wing fucktard, for instance, whose crap Yahoo! actually published, concludes in a commentary titled “Outing Sally Ride: Her sexual orientation has nothing to do with spaceships”:

For social liberals, Sally Ride’s posthumous out-coming is a luxury problem in the extreme. [Whatever the fuck that sentence means.] She was the first female [and] the youngest [true — at least as far as American astronauts are concerned] and the first gay in outer freaking space [um, that we know of] — and a major force in space policymaking.

What’s more, Ride alone served on the two presidential commissions that investigated both the 1986 Challenger crash and the 2003 Columbia accident, which together killed 14 astronauts. Without fear or favor, Ride concluded that NASA made the same errors in judgment both times.

Is it more important than any of this that, having been married briefly to a man, Ride eventually settled down with a woman? Ride’s identity as both gay and female is an embarrassment of riches that presents an irresistible opportunity, it seems, to kvetch [again: WTF?] rather than celebrate a life astoundingly well led.

This writer apparently is a wingnut who somehow finds the occasion of Sally Ride’s posthumous outing as a lesbian to bash liberals.

Yet it’s the wingnuts’ presidential candidate, multi-millionaire Mormon weirdo Mittens Romney, whose patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic “Christo”fascism holds that Sally Ride never should have been able to have marriage equality with her same-sex partner of almost three decades.

It is the right wing that for decades has made non-heterosexuals second- or third-class citizens. I know. I cannot marry my partner of almost five years here in the “land of the free” (not even here in California, the land of fruits and nuts) because of the freedom- and equality-hating, oppressive right wing, most of them “Christo”fascists that make the members of the Taliban jealous.

And indeed, Sally Ride’s surviving partner of almost three decades won’t be eligible to receive Ride’s Social Security death benefits, as a heterosexually married widow or widower would — and that’s the way that the majority of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors maintain that it should be.

Who is making a big deal of sexual orientation?

I can tell you, as a gay man and as an empathetic human being, that Sally Ride’s sexual orientation was a big deal to her.

My guess is that she heterosexually married out of societal pressure, and that it never felt right to her to be with a member of the opposite sex.* Such a societally forced marriage is wrong to all parties involved. (No? What if heterosexuals felt strong societal pressure to marry members of their own sex, even though they are attracted only to members of the opposite sex?)

And Ride, who was born in 1951 and thus spent her formative years in one of the most conservative decades of our nation’s history, most likely was expected to look, act, think and believe as heterosexual women were expected to.

I can’t imagine that the road to becoming an astronaut (she joined NASA in 1978) was easy for her, and my guess is that she experienced a lot of sexism and heterosexism when she earned her bachelor’s, her master’s and her Ph.D. in physics before she joined NASA. No, she most likely was expected to be a teacher or a nurse or the like and/or a mother and/or a heterosexually married housewife.

Sally Ride most certainly accomplished a lot in her professional life.

Of course, no one ever fucking said that her lesbianism was more important than her professional accomplishments.

But that’s a false fucking comparison in the first fucking place, and of course Sally Ride’s sexual orientation was a big part of her total human being, as it is for 99 percent of us human beings. Among other things, our sexual orientation influences our choice of partners, influences our decision of whether or not to become a parent, and often influences our career choices, based upon societally imposed gender roles (speaking of which, our sexual orientation, if it isn’t “right,” can induce us to pretend to be who and what we are not). Our sexual orientation can even influence where we live. (I’ll stay here in the blue, fairly-homo-friendly-despite-Proposition-H8 state of California, thank you; I’d rather die than move to a red state.)

To ignore these facts, to ignore how much a part of one’s being his or her sexual orientation is, is to dishonor the memory of Sally Ride.

Which is exactly what the wingnuts (and the “liberal” homophobes) do when they state that Sally Ride’s sexual orientation didn’t fucking matter.

It fucking mattered.

These fucking homophobes and hypocrites made fucking sure that it did.

And they still do.

*Wikipedia notes:

Ride was extremely private about her personal life. She married fellow NASA astronaut Steve Hawley in 1982 and they divorced in 1987.

After death, [Ride’s] obituary revealed that [her] partner was Tam E. O’Shaughnessy, a female professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and a childhood friend who met Ride when both were aspiring tennis players.

O’Shaughnessy became a science teacher and writer and, later, the chief operating officer and executive vice president of Ride’s company, Sally Ride Science.She co-authored several books with Ride. Their 27-year relationship was revealed by the company and confirmed by Ride’s sister, who also stated that Ride chose to keep her personal life private, including her sickness and treatments.

Would a heterosexually coupled NASA astronaut have kept his or her union a secret? Why, then, are so many people OK with the fact that so many same-sex couples feel the need to keep their unions secret?

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Will Kagan come out NOW?

Elena Kagan, John Roberts, Jeffrey Minear

Associated Press photo

Elena Kagan is sworn in today as the third woman on the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court. She is only the fourth woman ever to have sat on the nation’s highest court.

Comedian Wanda Sykes joked that after having been given so much shit by stupid hypocritical white men for her biography,* Sonia Sotomayor, on her first day as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, should have walked into the court’s chambers with a Puerto Rican flag draped around her, shouting, “Mira!” (“Look at me!”)

So: Will Elena Kagan walk into the court’s chambers on her first day draped in a rainbow flag? Maybe she can shout: “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!”

Really, though, it’s a lifetime appointment, so isn’t it safe for “bachelorette” Kagan to come out now?

Anyway, Kagan earlier in the week was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 63 to 37, showing the political weakness of the stupid white men in the U.S. Senate, who decried her as a raging liberal when she appears to be yet another Clintonesque centrist who was appointed by a Clintonesque, centrist president.

Kagan is allowed to function as a U.S. Supreme Court justice now that she has been sworn in, but won’t formally be sworn in until Oct. 1, the first day of the court’s next term.

*The white men’s backgrounds as priviledged white men couldn’t possibly have biased them, but Sotomayor’s background as a Puerto Rican woman surely has biased her, you see. The stupid white men are never to required to prove anyfuckingthing, but anyone who isn’t a white, conservative, heterosexual, “Christian” male is required to prove his or her fitness and worthiness.

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Mississippi is still burning

Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba County ...

Associated Press photo

Lesbian high-school student Constance McMillen was told by her rural Mississippi high-school officials that she could neither wear a tuxedo nor bring her girlfriend to her high-school prom — which the officials then canceled altogether because of her insistence that she be allowed to attend with her girlfriend, wearing what she wishes to wear. It wasn’t that long ago that mixed-race dancing was prohibited at red-state high-school proms, and the same “arguments” that were used to justify racial discrimination are now used to justify discrimination based upon sexual orientation — not only in rural Mississippi but even in the U.S. military, as the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is debated even though it clearly violates the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

If you have read me for any time at all, you know that there is a lot that I fucking hate.

I hate the U.S. military. Not the individual members of the U.S. military, necessarily — although I question how they can support the U.S. military when it has been debased into becoming little but bands of thugs for the megacorporations’ profits (bands of thugs paid for by us, the American taxpayers, and of course the megacorporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes) — but the whole damn idea of the U.S. military, with its might-makes-right, jingoistic bent. The majority of those in the military call themselves devout Christians, too, as though Jesus Christ would have had anything to do with their maiming and killing for the expansion and the preservation of the American Empire in the names of freedom and democracy — and even in the name of Jesus Christ.

Yet, as much as I never would have joined the U.S. military, opposing pretty much all that it stands for (patriarchy, violence and aggression, jingoism, misogyny, homophobia, “Christo”fascism, xenophobia, etc., etc.), I have a real fucking problem with the fact that non-heterosexuals don’t have equal human and civil rights in the U.S. military, that they can be expelled from the military or prevented from joining the military for solely who and what they are.

I never went to my high school prom, either. Not so much because I’m gay and because in the red state of Arizona in the mid-1980s there was no way in hell that I had the opportunity to go to my high-school prom with another male, but because I hate the whole concept of proms, too. I find them to be pretentious wastes of money, relics from the past. (I love the original film version of Stephen King’s “Carrie,” by the way…)

But the idea that high-school officials in rural Missifuckingssippi canceled the high school’s prom because a lesbian student wants to attend prom with her girlfriend boils my blue-state blood.

Reports The Associated Press:

School officials in a rural Mississippi county told a lesbian student to get “guys” to take her and her girlfriend to a high school prom and warned the girls against slow dancing with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to documents filed [today] in federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Itawamba County School District and some officials at Itawamba Agricultural High School on behalf of Constance McMillen, 18, who wanted to escort her girlfriend to the prom and wear a tuxedo. A hearing is scheduled for Monday to hear an ACLU motion that seeks to force the district to hold the April 2 prom it canceled after McMillen made her requests.

In the court documents, McMillen said Rick Mitchell, the assistant principal at the school, told her she could not attend the prom with her girlfriend but they could go with “guys.”

Superintendent Teresa McNeece told the teen that the girls should attend the prom separately, had to wear dresses and couldn’t slow dance with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to court documents.

The school district last week said it wouldn’t host the prom “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.” District officials said they hoped private citizens would sponsor a dance. The decision came on the same day the ACLU asked the district to act on McMillen’s prom requests.

McMillen said she approached school officials weeks ago about wanting to take her girlfriend to the prom.

“I want my prom experience to be the same as all of the other students, a night to remember with the person I’m dating,” McMillen said.

The district, located in northern Mississippi near the Alabama state line, prohibits same-sex dates at the prom. The ACLU has said that violates the rights of gay and lesbian students.

The school district had not responded to the ACLU filing by [this] afternoon.

Christine Sun, a senior counsel with the ACLU’s national gay rights project, said the organization is determined to put the prom back on the school calendar.

Fulton Mayor Paul Walker said he has heard that parents are making plans for a private dance but he didn’t know the details. It’s unclear if gay couples would be welcome at that event….

Shit like this makes me wonder why in the hell the blue states didn’t just allow the red states to secede way back in the day of President Abe. (Speaking of whom, did you know that red states started seceding from the Union after his election but even before his inauguration? Um, yeah.) But then I remind myself that the oppressed peoples of the red states, without the help of those of us of the blue states, would be completely at the mercy of the mouth-breathing fucktards who dominate the red states. It’s not right to allow that to happen.

Equal human and civil rights — liberty and justice for all — just don’t grow naturally in the red states. They have to be forced upon the red states from without. It’s unfortunate that that is so, but it is the red states’ fault — for all of their talk of the founding fathers, for fuck’s sake — for their absolute refusal to live up to the American ideals that every0ne is created equal and that everyone has the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Two female students or two male students dancing at prom together would “push people’s buttons.” Oh, boo fucking hoo!

Was not the very same argument made to outlaw mixed-race dancing at red-state high-school proms past? Or to disallow non-white students to attend prom at all?

And the prom was canceled “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events”?

Really?

Or was the prom canceled because the high school officials are a bunch of fucking homophobes and/or fucking cowards?

“Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events” — that is what you call blaming the victim, who in this case is the lesbian student who just wants the equal human and civil rights to which she is entitled by the founding documents of the United States of America, including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (which, I understand, are being rewritten for the Texas public-school textbooks…).

Goddess bless the ACLU.

If a good number of high-school students truly do have a problem seeing same-sex couples at their schools’ dances, that’s probably because they just never see it. What you never have seen, when you see it, can feel and seem quite alien.

But it’s fucking circular: Same-sex dancing at high-school proms is rarely or never seen at most high schools, and so it’s taboo, and because it’s taboo, it is banned at many if not most high schools, and because it is banned, it is never seen, and because it is never seen, it remains taboo, and…

Constance McMillen is brave; she is a sort of Rosa Parks for 2010.

I admire her.

I love her balls.

I hope that she gets to go to her high-school prom with the person of her choice, wearing what she wishes to wear, and that by so doing, she shows her classmates what the noble American principles that the red-staters only claim to value actually look like.

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My problem with Johnny Queer — er, Weir

Johnny Weir of the U.S. waves after his routine during the men's ...

Johnny Weir of the U.S. smiles after his routine during the ...

Johnny Weir of the U.S. reacts after his routine during the ...

USA's Johnny Weir reacts after receiving his scores following ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

Figure skater Johnny Weir, shown in Vancouver on Thursday, refuses to state his sexual orientation. Like we really need him to, but still

Some French-language Canadian broadcasters are under fire for having teased gender-bending American figure skater Johnny Weir on air.

Among other things, the two French male broadcasters (named Claude and Alain; I don’t know if it’s “The Claude & Alain Show” or not, but it would appear as though some things, like ignorant, juvenile white male radio hosts, are cross-cultural) suggested that Weir should go through gender testing, like South African track star Caster Semenya, who indeed possesses the XY (male) chromosomes although he/she was competing against biological (XX-chromosomal) women.

(As I noted at the time that that story broke, if Caster truly considers him- or herself to be a female, then I am fine with that, as I am happy to go along with any other individual’s own gender identity, and as I love gender-bending, but a biological male should not be allowed to compete athletically against biological females, as it is unfair to those biological females who do not possess the same biological athletic advantage.)

Although I haven’t been between his legs, I have precious little doubt that Johnny Weir is a biological male who is attracted, predominantly or exclusively, to members of his own sex.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I, too, am attracted predominantly to members of my own sex.

But I’m open about it.

Weir, however, despite the fact that Helen Fucking Keller could tell that he’s a poof, won’t say.

This is how Weir has responded to the question as to whether or not he is a flamer on ice:

“I don’t feel the need to express my sexual being because it’s not part of my sport and it’s private. I can sleep with whomever I choose and it doesn’t affect what I’m doing on the ice, so speculation is speculation.”

Bullshit.

One’s sexual orientation and gender identity are a huge part of him- or herself, as are one’s race and one’s biological gender — and one’s age, for that matter. One’s sexual orientation, like these other demographics, has profound affects on his or her social interactions.

Therefore, we cannot neatly compartmentalize our sexual orientation, as Weir apparently attempts to do, stating that his sexuality off the ice has no bearing whatsoever upon what he does upon the ice.

The fuck that his sexuality has no bearing upon his sport. Look at the news photos above, for fuck’s sake, and then ponder his claim, “I don’t feel the need to express my sexual being because it’s not part of my sport and it’s private.” He’s not expressing his sexual being in those photos? He keeps his sexual being strictly private?

Right…

Except that Johnny Weir doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but is a member of a social species, and so while he apparently would like all discussion of his sexual orientation to stop, it isn’t going to.

And, of course, by refusing to publicly claim a team, so to speak, Weir is only keeping the speculation alive.

Is that what he wants to do, though? Keep the speculation alive?

One wonders.

Regardless of his motives — whether he is too ashamed of being gay to come out (you only want to keep something “private” if you are ashamed of it, it seems to me*) or whether he likes the attention that making people “speculate” about the obvious gets him — Weir does a disservice to all gay men and lesbians and other non-heterosexuals and other non-gender-conforming individuals by refusing to just come out and say what everyone knows anyway.

I have no problem with the way that Weir dresses or acts. It’s his right to be who he wants to be. I’m not one of these gay men who is going to bash Weir or any other effeminate gay man because I, a non-effeminate (or so I’m told, anyway) gay man, doesn’t want to be associated with effeminate gay men. (Nor do I distance myself from the leather crowd or any other highly stigmatized segment of the gay community that the wingnuts bash, because fuck the wingnuts! They crow incessantly about freedom and liberty, but those motherfucking fascists want freedom and liberty only for those who march in lockstep with them.)

But I resent the fact that Johnny Weir refuses to claim his own tribe.

Many members of his tribe have even died fighting for his right to be who he is, and by refusing to acknowledge his tribe, he spits, shits and pisses on the faces of those who have been far, far braver than is he.

Until and unless Johnny Weir comes out, he sucks ass.

*Any actual sexual acts that Weir practices in private are indeed his own business, but his overall sexual orientation, in my book, is not. And again, to claim that one’s sexual orientation is “private” means that one is ashamed of his or her sexual orientation. It cannot mean anything else.

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Muuuwaaahaahaaahaaaahaaaaaa!!! We’re taking over the world!

This past week, openly gay Democratic state Assemblyman John Pérez of Los Angeles, 40, was chosen to be California’s first openly gay speaker of the Assembly (California’s legislative equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives). Yesterday, Houston, of all places, elected its first openly gay or lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, 53. The Associated Press notes that “Houston is the nation’s fourth-largest city and the biggest to elect an openly gay mayor.”

(As an aside, the media have been referring to Parker as “gay,” and although technically the term “gay” covers gay men and lesbians, as in such terms as the “gay community” or “gay rights,” this gay man prefers that, when referring to individuals, the term “lesbian” be reserved for females who are attracted to members of their own sex and that “gay” be reserved for males who are attracted to members of their own sex. Therefore, Parker is a lesbian mayor. Thank you.)

Parker beat her opponent, a 61-year-old black man, with 54 percent of the vote.

I can imagine how painful the choice was for many Texans: Vote for the white lesbian or for the black guy. Oh! My! God! A sign of the End Times for sure!

Anyway, both Parker and Pérez are to take office in January.

Their election to their posts is a victory for diversity; neither one of them is a stupid old white man, which, until fairly recently, was a requirement to hold powerful political office.

The AP reports that Parker “says she hopes [that her election] shows the world that Houston is a diverse international community that welcomes everyone.” The AP then immediately notes that “The city of 2.2 million has about 60,000 residents who identify themselves as gay or lesbian.”

That seems like an awfully low number of non-heterosexuals for a city of 2.2 million people. It’s often bandied about that one in 10 individuals is gay or lesbian. That would be 220,000 non-heterosexual people in a city of 2.2 million. If you don’t accept the figure of one in 10, fine; one in 20 people still would be 110,000 non-heterosexual people in a city of 2.2 million. Only 60,000 people in Houston cop to being non-heterosexual? The rest of the non-heterosexuals there are too terrified to come out of the closet?

Alas, I probably won’t be visiting the not-very-non-heterosexual-friendly-sounding city of Houston any year soon…

P.S. The Sacramento Bee reports of Pérez:

Pérez is described by friends as a congenial intellectual with a rapid-fire wit, someone so enamored of the Bears – he attended the University of California at Berkeley but did not graduate – that the logo for his Assembly campaign featured a bear and Cal’s blue-and-gold campus colors.

Political consultant Roger Salazar affectionately has dubbed the burly Pérez “Big Papi” – a throwback to the days of legendary Assembly Speaker Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh.

Pérez is extremely knowledgeable about Mexican, Mexican American and Jewish culture although he is not a Jew. He is a rabid college football fan, enjoys an occasional cigar, has a steel-trap mind, and has a fun-loving side, too, as exemplified perhaps by his collection of several dozen rubber duckies, said Erick Bauman, his best friend of many years.

Bauman said that he and Pérez raise eyebrows by engaging in a makeshift foreign language they call “Spiddish,” a mix of Spanish and Yiddish.

“People are amazed to hear us,” said Bauman, vice chairman of the state Democratic Party.

OK, so the many apparent references to the bear culture I won’t touch right now — I will say that I saw Perez at a gay-rights rally here in Sacramento not long ago, and that like I am, he is a big boy — but Pérez and Bauman sound awfully close.

If they are a couple, as they seem to be — I can’t see Pérez learning the Jewish culture and speaking “Spiddish” for a platonic friend, but I can see him doing that for a boyfriend — I certainly hope that they are not describing themselves as “(best) friends.”

It does not advance gay rights for us non-heterosexuals to describe our same-sex mates as “friends.” To do so minimizes our relationships and tacitly agrees that there must be something wrong with same-sex relationships.

Perhaps worst of all, however, is to not talk about our same-sex partners at all, and I note that the biography page of Pérez’s website does not mention his presumed same-sex partner Bauman at all…

P.P.S. I apologize for the photo. I could not resist.

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