16 The LeTTer www.TheLeTTeronLine.

com JULY 2008
L . A. C. E.
Lei sure, Ar t s, Cul t ure, Ent er t ai nment
by Andrew Collins
Considered to be the most progressive
city in the Bible Belt, Nashville has
developed into one of the South's gay-
friendliest destinations over the past decade.
The country music industry, with which
the city is famously identifed, does have
a fairly conservative reputation, but in fact
the city's legendary music business and fast-
growing theater and visual-arts scenes have
compelled quite a few gays and lesbians
to move here. Nashville now buzzes with
offbeat retail and entertainment districts,
several energetic gay nightspots, and a
wealth of attractions related to music and
the arts.
Downtown Nashville is set around the
courtly Greek Revival-style Capitol, which
is perched atop the highest hill in the city.
Behind it, the dignifed Bicentennial Mall
State Park contains elegant fountains and
a 200-foot granite map of the state. You
can learn a thing or two about the state's
history at the nearby Tennessee State
Museum. History buffs should also note
the Beaux Arts-style Hermitage Hotel,
where, in 1920, suffragists from around
the country and their opponents encamped
while debating the ratifcation of the 19th
Amendment (which granted women the
right to vote).
A block over, 5th Avenue was the
site throughout the '60s of Civil Rights
demonstrations, the success of which
inspired similar protests throughout the
South. These days, 5th Avenue has become
rather artsy - it's the site of several excellent
galleries and the nearby Frist Center for the
Visual Arts, which occupies a handsomely
restored, art deco post offce building
and hosts world-class art exhibitions and
traveling shows.
A few blocks east, toward the
Cumberland River, you'll come to
Nashville's old Market Street, now 2nd
Avenue, where a long row of redbrick
Victorian warehouses was rescued from
neglect in the 1980s and converted into
restaurants, music clubs, brew pubs, and
specialty shops. First Avenue runs along
Riverfront Park, a long brick promenade
with views across the river. Here you can
tour a reproduction of the settlement's frst
outpost, Fort Nashborough.
Downtown's most impressive
attraction is the Country Music Hall of
Fame, a handsome and huge modern
structure whose exhibits not only honor
dozens of legendary musicians (Patsy
Cline, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton
among them) but also give an impressive
overview of folk, bluegrass, rockabilly,
Continued on page 27
by Romeo San Vincente
Portia de Rossi Pilots Butch and Fay
Portia de Rossi's life before coming out professionally
was one of living openly while discussing nothing,
inhabiting the Hollywood glass closet. But in post-public-
disclosure interviews, the acclaimed comic actress (Arrested
Development) discussed that complicated life and its
subsequent diffculties. Now she's turning elements of that
past into a sitcom. Called - for now, anyway -Butch and
Fay, the pilot de Rossi is shopping around Hollywood
concerns two actors, one gay and one lesbian, who marry
in order to further their careers. And lesbian director and
former Married with Children star Amanda Bearse will take the pilot's helm. No
word on whether or not de Rossi will star herself, but it couldn't hurt the show's
chances of making it to the networks. Here's hoping we hear more about it soon.
Dan Butler to Karl Rove: I Love You
What happens when a liberal, gay, Hollywood actor falls in love with an arch-
conservative political strategist? The consequences of such a strange crush are explored
in the latest indie comedy from writer-director Dan Butler,
Karl Rove: I Love You. Best known for his role as Bulldog
on Frasier, Butler stars in this self-produced mockumentary
as "Dan Butler," a depressed careerist actor in 2004, who
dreams of making the leading-man fame-leap by creating
a one man show about President Bush's top (at the time)
political adviser. The goal? The win-win scenario of both
swaying the 2004 election and getting his own name above
the title for once. The Hollywood/D.C. satire is Butler's
debut as a quadruple threat: producer, screenwriter, director,
and star, and audiences can see the fnished funniness as it
makes the flm-festival circuit rounds.
Rose McGowan! In Chains!
It seems like Hollywood's suddenly into imprisoning women. Of course, they've
been doing that for years now, fguratively speaking, but
now the literal is taking center stage. First came news of gay
flmmaker Alan Ball's adaptation of the earnest U.K. prison
soap, Bad Girls; then Fox announced it would be launching
a female version of Prison Break. Now, Grindhouse co-
director Robert Rodriguez will bring his '70s exploitation
vibe to the pilot Women in Chains! That exclamation
point speaks volumes about the level of wild lesbian mud
wrestling planned for the series, set to revolve around Rose
McGowan, Rodriguez's fancee and _Planet Terror_ star.
The director is shopping the show around to networks and
looking to bring his deranged, Caged Heat-like vision to a TV near you. And that
mud wrestling will be tastefully shot, of course.
Portia de Rossi
Dan Butler
Rose McGowan
Romeo San Vicente can be reached at
JULY 2008 www.TheLeTTeronLine.com The LeTTer 17
by Sen. Ernesto Scorsone
Members of the GLBT community
working for state government can once again
breathe a little more easily. This is thank to
Gov. Steve Beshear’s recent signing of an
executive order banning discrimination in the
executive branch merit system on the basis
of sexual orientation and gender identity, an
important protection for all state workers.
First a little history. Gov. Patton frst
instituted the non-discrimination policy in
2003, a real act of courage on his part. Gov.
Fletcher reversed the policy in 2006, ironically
on Diversity Day. It's been a tense two years
for many state employees, being forced to keep
quiet about themselves and trying to evaluate
their bosses' opinions on sexual orientation.
Once again, all state employees can feel free
to put family pictures on their desk, discuss
their weekend plans, or have their partner
pick them up for lunch. This won't simply be
a step in the right direction for the employees.
Without the additional worry, these workers
can now be more productive, making them
more effcient for the taxpayers.
As the governor said on the day of the
signing, experience, qualifcations, talent and
performance are what matter. At a time when
state government is cutting back drastically,
both in terms of employee pay and the
number of new hires, it's important that we
hire and retain the best employees available to
us — not just the straight workers.
Importantly, Gov. Beshear did this at the
same time he made other moves regarding the
state's labor force, both public and private. It
sends a signal that treating all workers fairly is
a keystone to our state's progress.
State agencies now rejoin hundreds
of businesses across the commonwealth,
including nine of our ten largest employers,
in prohibiting discrimination on account of
sexual orientation. We're somewhat ahead
of the curve on gender identity, which is a
refreshing change. While the executive order
won't affect benefts for state employees,
like those recently offered at UK, UofL, and
NKU, it's certainly a positive step.
This move is also historic for another
reason. Patton's and Fletcher's executive
orders received extensive media coverage, but
the public reaction to this governor's action
was much more relaxed. As we've increasingly
seen in the last year, the idea of equality
and fairness are no longer as controversial
as they used to be, or as controversial as the
right-wing extremists would like them to be.
Fearmongering isn't as easy as it used to be.
Same-sex marriage is now legal on either
coast, and civilization has continued.
Our universities and many of our private
businesses offer domestic partner benefts,
and our economic progress has continued.
Preventing public sector bosses from
fring, demoting, or slashing the pay of
GLBT employees won't be the end of our
commonwealth, either. Citizens and voters
know that. Once again, we have a governor
who knows it, too.
Winning Isn't Everything
by Libby Post
After pouring over $100,000 of his own
money into his campaign, Jim Neal only took
second place in this year's primary for the
Democratic nomination to challenge North
Carolina's Republican U.S. Senator Elizabeth
"Liddy" Dole. Yet he's amazingly calm and
"I am in anything but depression," Neal told
me in a recent phone interview. "I was passionate
about what I was doing, and I continue to be
passionate about the issues that drove me to
That's an incredibly refreshing response from
a candidate. None of the multitude of candidates
I've worked with over the years who spent their
own money and then went on to lose were ever
quite so gracious or so upbeat. Maybe it's the
southern upbringing. Maybe it's because, as a
gay man, Jim Neal understands just how long it
really takes to win - whether we're talking about
one race or GBLT rights.
But what could be more quixotic than an
openly gay man running in a southern state
against a Republican incumbent? How about
an openly gay man running in a southern
state primary election against an establishment
Democratic woman candidate who was recruited
to run so that the openly gay man would not be
the nominee?
"People thought, 'He can't beat Elizabeth
Dole because he's gay.' Quite frankly, I think
beating Dole would have been easier than
winning the primary," said Neal, who lost the
May 6 primary to veteran North Carolina State
Senator Kay Hagan.
The story of Neal's campaign is simple. He
was an insurgent Democrat running against an
establishment candidate. He had success raising
money from that establishment in 2004 for
various candidates, but when it came to his own
race, "politicians have very short memories." He
was only able to raise about $330,000, with close
to a third of it coming from a personal loan he
made to his campaign's coffers.
But establishment Democrats weren't the
only ones to abandon Neal's race. The Human
Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian
Victory Fund both took a pass. For those two
groups, it all comes down to viability: Does the
candidate have an feld operation? Can she or he
raise money? Can the candidate win?
I understand the notion of not supporting a
gay candidate just because the candidate is gay.
There has to be a dividing line between investing
campaign funds and throwing the money down
a losing drain. But it seems to me that both
HRC and the Victory Fund missed the boat on
this race.
According to Neal and media reports, he
and Hagan were running neck and neck in the
polls until a month or so before the primary.
That's when Hagan, who had access to money
- lots of it - was able to put her message on TV.
That's when an infusion of cash from HRC, the
Victory Fund, and the network of donors who
follow their lead would have been crucial for
Neal to keep up.
"HRC and other GBLT interest groups do
their own calculus, they have their own notion
of viability," said Neal. "But if people are going
to wait to see if you're going to raise money as a
viability test, but aren't willing to give you money
to get there, you'll never meet the threshold. The
logic is twisted."
Viability is a real chicken-and-egg political
question, and unfortunately, there's no right
answer. Each campaign's strengths and
weaknesses have to be taken into account.
In Neal's case, I think HRC and the Victory
Fund only looked at the weaknesses. Jim has
some real strengths - he's a local boy who has
made good; his heart is in politics to speak for
those without a voice; and he understands how
money has become the "dirty underbelly of our
democracy." He also had a good campaign with
a feld operation across the state and access to the
Neal also went all over the state talking to
real people about their real problems. "I visited
communities where folks didn't have running
water, and where they were going broke just
trying to get to work," he said. "Unfortunately,
there's no money in these communities, so they
don't get the kind of attention they need when
budgets are drawn up and priorities are set. And
these are the people who need it the most."
He said running for offce was one of the
most wonderful things he's ever done, because of
the folks he got to meet along the way. And it's
those folks - the ones without indoor plumbing,
who can't afford gas at over $4 a gallon - who are
fueling what he does next.
"Every day people taught me more about
what was going in their lives than any research
paper or any article I could read in the local
papers or The New York Times."
And what are his next steps? "I have a couple
of ideas about things I can do in the private
sector to foster making social investments in
communities, like putting money behind people
who are trying to start businesses. The idea is
to create a venture capital fund that won't be
earning competitive fnancial returns, but will
be earning returns by strengthening the fabric of
Perhaps, like Al Gore, Jim Neal can have
more of an impact as a private citizen with a
vision than as an elected offcial with an agenda.
lesbiaN NOTiONs
libby Post is the founding chair
of the Empire State Pride Agenda
and a political commentator
on public radio, on the Web,
and in print media. She can be
reached at lesbiannotions@
Senator Ernesto Scorsone, the
commonwealth's frst openly gay
legislator, has been a member of
the Kentucky legislature since 1984,
serving as a State Representative
for 12 years and, since 1996,
representing Fayette county's 13th
District in the State Senate.
18 The LeTTer www.TheLeTTeronLine.com JULY 2008
I think any Kentuckian with any
sense of decency was stunned by a
poll taken after the primary elections a
couple of months ago. In the contest
for the Democratic nomination for
president, 20 percent of Kentuckians
baldly admitted that race played a
major factor in their decision to vote
for Hillary Clinton and against Barack
Obama. Common wisdom says that
fgure is probably low and the real one
is closer to 40. It literally made my
stomach turn.
The national media, of course, jumped
all over Kentucky and West Virginia,
which showed similar numbers. It was
Kentucky’s one moment in the spotlight
this year, and we blew it.
One pundit called us the “new
Mississippi.” A CNN reporter went out
of his way to fnd the most ignorant old
coot standing in a cornfeld spouting
racist remarks for the viewers back
home. The rest of the country laughed
and went on its merry way, smugly
confdent that the old stereotypes of
Kentucky were, indeed, right on the
mark. I began to wonder about that
In many ways I live in a bubble.
The neighborhood where I live—Old
Louisville—is one of the most liberal
neighborhoods in the state and by far
the most racially, socially, and culturally
integrated. Republicans don’t have a
chance here.
On top of that, most of my friends,
in and out of the neighborhood, are
liberal or moderate Democrats. We
share the same basic values on a range of
issues from abortion to civil rights to the
disastrous war in Iraq.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised how
primordial other parts of the state are,
but I always am. Dinosaurs are beautiful
to look at. Just don’t get too close. It
saddens me, though, when I look at
cities like Lexington and Louisville.
How can we ever get any respect when
we have places like Owsley County to
contend with?
I noted as much in a letter to the
editor of the Courier-Journal. In one of
my rare piques of anger, I wrote, “I used
to take pride in telling people outside
this state that I’m from Kentucky,
but over the last few years I’ve been
telling them I’m from Louisville, NOT
Kentucky.” How can Louisville hope to
thrive, I noted acidly, when we’re forced
to put Kentucky behind our comma?
I’m constantly reminded of that these
days as my lover and I prepare to sell
this huge Victorian mansion and fnd
something smaller and easier to clean.
When heterosexuals consider moving,
they give some thought to whether a
prospective new neighborhood is safe.
They think in terms of burglaries, auto
thefts, etc. But when a homosexual
considers moving, what’s near the top of
his or her list is whether or not they’re
going to be harassed or their property
I sometimes think a nice, suburban
neighborhood would be fun, but I
wouldn’t want to live in a place where I’d
be shunned, even spat at. It’s easier for
single gays, from what I’ve heard. But
when a same-sex couple moves in, things
can get ugly. I’ve seen too many gay
couples opting for older neighborhoods.
The suburbs are too dangerous.
Let’s face it. Louisville and Lexington
are surrounded by seas of multiple isms,
with racism at the top. We need to fgure
out how to cope with that predicament
in the 21st century as the rest of the state
slides inexorably backwards towards the
12th. That’s not going to be easy.
united Kingdom: AFA Demands
“Stop the Kissing!”
An outspokenly anti-gay religious group based in the United
States has succeeded in convincing a major food manufacturer
into removing a gay-friendly television ad. The commercial,
which featured a kiss between two men, was only shown in the
United Kingdom.
Ketchup manufacturer Heinz, headquartered in Pittsburgh,
was deluged with complaints from some of the estimated 3.5
million fundamentalist Christians who support the work of the
American Family Association (AFA). Similar tactics have been
used in recent years by the AMA to push for the removal gay-
positive images in other advertising campaigns. The AFA has
also encouraged boycotts of Ford and Disney because of their
commitment to equality.
"We suggest you forward this to all your family and friends
letting them know of the push for homosexual marriage by
Heinz," the AFA said in an e-mail message addressed to their
American devotees.
"This ad is currently running in England, but no doubt can be
expected in the US soon."
The AFA has also hate-crime legislation that would protect
GLBT citizens.
A First: Soldiers March in
toronto Pride Parade
For the frst time, members of Canada's Armed Forces
represented the military in Toronto's Gay Pride Parade, held this
past month.
The annual parade is the main event for Canada's largest
pride celebration. It is estimated that one million persons
attended the various events that made up Toronto’s Pride Week
Lt. Steven Churm was one of 10 soldiers selected to march in
uniform in the parade. He said the presence at the annual GLBT
Pride event sends a clear message that the Canadian military is
inclusive and an equal-opportunity employer. "The message to
the public is that the Canadian Forces is an employer of choice.
We have employment opportunities that people can pursue,
regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation," Churm told
CBC News. "For our own members, they can be proud of what
they're doing and also be proud of who they are."
To mark its place in the festivities, the Canadian Forces set
up an information booth in an area of the city where thousands
of people gathered for the start of the parade.
David Williams served as owner/editor of tHE
lEttER for nine years and is founder of the
Kentucky Gay & lesbian library and Archives
that is housed in the Ekstrom library at the
university of louisville.
libeRal ON The saUce
hOOsieR ValUes
Blog Spreads Anti-Equality
by Brandon Monson
The Indiana Family Institute’s blog,
Veritas Rex (www.veritasrex.com), is
usually a proving ground for the state’s
most well known anti-GLBT leaders
to spew their nonsense. Recently
though, something happened that I’ve
never seen, or at least not that I can
On a post from Executive Director
of the American Family Association
(AFA) of Indiana, Micah Clark,
Indianapolis politico Chris Douglas
brought up a point so eloquent and
pervasive my mind is still trying to
grapple with it. Micah Clark was
discussing the supposed negative
implications of the recent California
Supreme Court ruling and the
announcement by New York Governor
Eliot Spitzer that all New York State
departments and offces must adapt
their policies to include GLBT couples
recognized in places like California,
Massachusetts, and Canada.
Clark claimed "The revisions are
estimated to involve at least 1,300
incidents of marriage in state policies
including everything from the joint
fling of tax forms to the transferring
of fshing licenses between spouses."
Douglas then brought up the point that
the AFA of Indiana, the Indiana Family
Institute, and related organizations
have avoided this very fact for years,
now choosing to acknowledge the
many blessings that marriage grants
and the fact that GLBT peoples are
completely locked out of those rights
and benefts.
Chris continues his observation by
bringing up a great point, saying that in
his opinion, Mr. Clark is not driven by
wanting to protect “traditional family
values” (whatever that even means),
but rather he is driven by an interest
to further subjugate and marginalize
GLBT peoples in any way possible
because if they don’t, they fear we are
all condemned to damnination.
People like Micah Clark and others
leading the charge to force GLBT
folks into second-class citizen status
have become so vested in their quest to
personally and professionally denigrate
GLBT citizens that they have a
Continued on page 21
Looking Up from the Bottom of the Barrel
by David Williams
JULY 2008 www.TheLeTTeronLine.com The LeTTer 19
gay lOVe cOach
by Brian Rzepczynski, M.S.W.
Summertime has arrived! Everyone is coming out of
hibernation and there’s a buzz on the streets as people come
out in droves to partake in all the fairs, parades, sporting
events, and art shows. People are soaking up the sun at the
beaches, having barbecue picnics in the parks, and biking
and hiking along the lakeshores and in the forest preserves.
For many, summer brings about a reawakening of the
spirit, an invigoration of sorts for fun and activity. But for
others, however, the season brings about a feeling of dread
and helplessness. Why you ask? Let’s allow two fctional
characters, John and Brad we’ll say, illustrate this all-too
common experience.
John and Brad, two long-time friends, lay sprawled out
on a big towel on the beach and overlook the spectacular
landscape of bronzed Speedo-clad men prancing around on
the hot sand and basking in the waves of the ocean.
“I love this time of the year! Just look at all these gorgeous
guys!” gasped John, becoming intoxicated by all the eye
candy surrounding them.
Brad rolled his eyes and released a heavy sigh. “I can’t
believe you dragged me out here today! I’d much rather be at
home watching my Desperate Housewives marathon on TV
than to be here getting charbroiled by the sun! Some friend
you are!”.
“Aw, quit your bellyaching! I did you a favor by getting
you out of your cave. And will you take your shirt off already?
This isn’t Alaska!”
“That’s easy for you to say! You and all these other guys
out here are really gorgeous. I still haven’t gotten rid of my
winter love handles and there’s no way I’m going to showcase
them for the world to see!” cries Brad as his insecurities run
wild with every beefcake stud that walked by them.
“You’re too hard on yourself and you do this every summer!
So you’re still coming with Craig and I to the Pride Parade,
right?” said John.
“Another one of my favorite activities!” sang Brad
sarcastically. “I absolutely detest going to those Pride events
and seeing all those pretty boys with their boyfriends and
everybody is holding hands, and it just makes me sick! It just
reinforces the whole realization that I’m single, dateless, and
it royally sucks!”
Brad has got a serious case of the “Single Summertime
Blues!” Maybe you’re single and you don’t want to be. Could
it be that you just ended a relationship with someone and this
is your frst summer fying solo? Maybe you’re not sporting
those chiseled abs and biceps you’d fantasized about and
compare yourself disappointingly to those who do possess
these attributes. Or perhaps your life isn’t where you’d like
it to be, unattained goals and wavering motivation getting
you down.
With all the hoopla that the summer season touts, these
types of scenarios and many others can contribute to the
“blah” feelings that signify the “Single Summertime Blues”.
Those afficted with this condition can even feel depressed
sometimes, harboring loads of negativity and defeat.
Remember that song “Ain’t No Cure For the Summertime
Blues?” It can certainly feel that way at times, but good news
abounds for all those “Brads” out there with an aversion for
the summer season. There is an escape from the depths of
despair! Just embrace the following recommendations and
you’ll be well on your
way toward becoming a
summer worshipper! These
strategies, however, are
not for the faint of heart!
They will require initiative,
courage, and risk-taking on
your part to bring about
any positive movement as
this is a prerequisite for any
kind of growth. You must
choose it and be proactive!
5 TIpS foR BEcoMIng A SuccESSful
1. nourish your mind, body, soul, and sexuality
We all need to take care of ourselves, but especially when
you’re stricken with the “blues”, it’s even more critical to
engage in regular self-soothing and promote your own
personal growth. Learn something new. Take a class. Visit
a bookstore. Get a personal trainer and get on an exercise
regimen. Eat nutritiously. Do something that affrms your
gay identity. Meditate and practice relaxation techniques.
Keep a journal. Pursue a hobby. Get lost in music. While
this seems like common sense, it can be very easy to
take these simple self-nurturing necessities for granted and
neglect ourselves when we need them the most to rejuvenate
at diffcult times.
2. plan ahead for love and for your future
For optimal success, it’s important to develop a vision (a
blueprint or vivid picture of what you want) for your future,
for a life partner, and for a relationship. This will give you a
path to measure where you’re going and how you’re doing
along the way. It’s important to identify your values, the
things that would be most important for you in all those
areas as this will defne your mission. Then you can make
conscious choices to make sure you’re living with integrity, a
key component of living a life with healthy self-esteem.
3. Become available and ready for Mr. or Ms. Right!
This means making the most of being single by taking
this time to resolve any unfnished business from the past
to bring about closure, grieve any necessary losses, build
confdence and a positive self-concept, and defeat negative
thinking with more affrming, optimistic mindsets.
Embrace your singlehood and stop measuring your self-
worth on your dating status; see this as a valuable time to
get things in order so no baggage carries over when “The
One” arrives in your life.
4. Develop a dating action plan and skills toolbox.
Make a list of your non-negotiable needs that you
have for a partner and relationship. What are things that
you absolutely must have and absolutely cannot have in
order to be in relationship with someone? This becomes
your guidepost in screening dating prospects for potential
compatibility and will help you save a lot of time and
frustration along the way. Additionally, start building
your repertoire of skills in communication, assertiveness,
firting, boundary-setting, screening, etc. to boost your
sophistication and confdence in negotiating the dating
5. get out of your head!
When you’ve got the “blues”, there’s a tendency to
become self-absorbed with your negative thoughts. Get out
of your head and channel that energy into something more
productive. Nothing works better than helping others.
Volunteer for a worthy cause. Live your life to the max
and do something that will give you more of a sense of
meaning and passion. And take stock of all the strengths
and positives that you have. You’re a good person! Share the
gifts that you have and you’ll reap the benefts twofold!
So there you have it! This is just a starting point for the
cure for the “summertime blues.” The important thing is to
start viewing your single status as an opportunity. Your life
is what you make of it, as the old saying goes, and you have
the power within yourself to make this the best summer of
your life if you choose. You can convert the “summertime
blues” into “summertime bliss!” You’ll be great!
Overcoming the Single Summertime Blues
©2008 Brian l. Rzepczynski, All rights reserved.
to sign up for the FREE Gay love coach newsletter
flled with dating and relationship tips and skills
for gay singles and couples, as well as to check
out current coaching groups, programs, and
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20 The LeTTer www.TheLeTTeronLine.com JULY 2008
What Makes the Hump In My tent
by Bryn Marlow
Recently, I woke up to the long hours I was spending
online gazing at one beautiful male body after another.
Gorgeous frames, faces, pecs, penises. Each man different,
each man the same. Each one leaving me wanting more.
That’s the nature of desire. It is never satisfed, always goes
to bed hungry. Repeats itself ad infnitum, ad nauseam.
Poet Mark Doty jolted me awake to this fact with three
words—longing’s repetitive texts—from his poem, “Homo
Shall Not Inherit.” For two weeks I repeated this newfound
mantra, then unplugged myself from the sources that (at my
request) had been sending me daily doses of erotica.
“Enough is enough,” I said. I meant it.
“Enough is never enough,” Desire whispered.
But I was frm. I’ve heard it takes six weeks to change
a behavior. In the following six weeks I was back online
searching for erotica only twice. Had I changed?
Not a chance. I was waylaid at the local community
theatre presentation by one of the actors. Tall trim body,
chiseled features, large dark eyes, long brown hair that makes
my heart ache. His character appeared on stage bound and
bleeding. His expression mingled vulnerability and defance.
Long after the performance I replayed images of him, mental
theatrics that featured his front and center. Desire licked
his lips and they were mine. Of course. Who am I trying
to fool—escape Desire? This will happen only when I quit
breathing, if then. So long as I am alive, Desire is joint tenant
in my experience of life.
I want it to work like this: I give Desire room and board;
he stays out of the control room. But he is part camel. Given
an inch, he takes a mile. And I easily go unaware of my
actions. Somehow Doty’s phrase woke me up to the camel
in my tent.
I asked for a one-on-one with Desire. He sauntered into
my dining room, pulled up a chair. I thanked him for his role
in my life, for enlivening my days. I asked him what he wants
and needs from me. I listened to his reply.
Desire wants sex, power, excitement and more of it. I
pressed him about his underlying needs. He looked into
middle distance, spoke slowly. Said he needs to feel loved,
acceptable. We surprised ourselves, got teary. I asked to hold
him. I assured him he is loved.
We compromised, agreed to a limited amount of visual
stimulation. I reminded him that there is a place for him in
my life, but it is not the driver’s seat. He nodded. We were
back on track--for the moment.
Mindful of his camel nature and my own easy forgetfulness,
I wanted to mark the moment, erect an ebenezer to remind
me into awareness. But what, how? I turned again to Mark
Doty’s poem:
in each body, however obscured or recast,
is the divine body--common, habitable—
the way in a feld of sunfowers
you can see every bloom’s
the multiple expression
of a single shining idea,
which is the face hammered into joy.
Sunfowers, sexy men--all different, all the same--me, my
husband, the actor, the men who posed for the photographs
I ogled--we are all repetitive texts, a single shining idea writ
many times over in muscle and manhood, fesh and bone.
Sunfowers can serve as an apt reminder.
Hmm. Several sunfowers had sprouted beneath our bird
feeder. I asked Desire to accompany me. Picturing the actor,
we transplanted these fedglings to a small patch of earth
along the garden path. There takes root my lust and longing
for the sexy thespian. There grows a green and gold reminder
to stay awake to the nature of longing, to see past it to my
true heart’s desire, to give thanks even as my face, my life, all
I love, is hammered into joy.
Bryn Marlow lives in north-central Indiana with
his husband Dave and enjoys being surrounded
by the beauty of nature.
What’s In A name?
by James W. Hensley
Wedding bells are ringing in California for same-sex and
opposite-sex couples. The clamour is deafening. You would
think it would all be anti-climactic since California already
had statewide domestic partnerships. You would be wrong.
It seems that the little song I learned from Sesame Street is
correct. “One of these things is not like the others.” The
Supreme Court of the state of California did not fnd any
logical reason to call “an offcially recognized and protected
family” one thing for same-sex couples and a different thing
for opposite-sex couples. It’s the name that matters.
The Supreme Court of California failed to address the
entrenched and entangled relationship legal marriage has
with religion and the churches. We’ll come back to that. It’s
Let’s hop in the way back machine for a moment and
revisit the clamour from another Supreme Court decision.
That one was Loving v. Virginia. Ring a bell? It’s from the
Supreme Court of the United States and was handed down
in 1967. That decision struck down the Commonwealth
of Virginia’s marriage laws that were based on race. Anti-
miscegenation laws were all the rage back in the day. It was
ever so necessary to protect the sanctity of marriage from
interracial couples. Kentucky’s last bite of the miscegenation
apple was in 1932 when our legislature, in its wisdom, forbade
marriages between whites and “negroes or mulattoes.” Co-
habitation was also illegal. The punishment was $1000 fne
(big money for 1932) and 12 months imprisonment if done
Here’s what the “activist” court of 1967 said when they
overturned the bigoted marriage laws of Virginia, Kentucky
and a number of other states:
Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,”
fundamental to our very existence and survival… To deny
this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the
racial classifcations embodied in these statues, classifcations
so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart
of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the
State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The
Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice
to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination.
Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry,
a person of another race resides with the individual and
cannot be infringed by the State.
The outrage was tremendous. Inter-racial marriage
interfered with “God’s arrangement” of the races on separate
continents. God “separated the races” and “did not intend
for them to mix.” It was all very predictable and very sad.
The great state of Alabama fought back by waiting until the
year 2000 before taking their inter-racial marriage law off the
How very much like the denunciations and outrage over
the California Supreme Court Decision? “God made Adam
and Eve not Adam and Steve.” “Gay Marriage… The Final
Abomination.” How predictable and very much beside the
point. Marriage is a civil contract enforced by the state and
entered into between two parties. “God” is rarely invoked to
co-sign loans, liens and other contracts. How odd that this
one requires the Almighty’s seal of approval.
It’s all in the name. Marriage is something that happens
in church. California and a few other states (Vermont,
Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Oregon, Hawaii,
the District of Columbia, Maine, and Washington) tried to
keep the church crowd happy by separating church marriage
from state civil unions or domestic partnerships. It’s not
working. Civil unions and domestic partnerships don’t
convey the rights and responsibilities of marriage and are
mostly ignored by Federal agencies, disapproving businesses
and other groups that have a heterosexist agenda. And in
the state of California it was very clear to the Supreme Court
that a domestic partnership was separate and unequal to
Let those wedding bells ring. The clamour is music to
my ears.
While he is co-pastor of Progressive Pathways
Fellowship in louisville (www.progressivepathways.
org), opinions expressed by James Hensley do not
represent the offcial policy of the church.
JULY 2008 www.TheLeTTeronLine.com The LeTTer 21
PRacTical FaiTh
• Some of the greatest prejuidce lies withIN the gay community. Open your eyes to
your own bigotry! You deserve to be marginalized for the way you mistreat your
gay brothers.
• I can't stand most gay people...most gays are the worst enemy to how society views
gay people...drama queens, backstabbers, gossipers, druggies, whores...stay away
from me!!!
• Attention Bar Flies: After 15 years your cuteness has worn off. I see how the years of
drug and alcohol abuse have weathered your face and body. So why do you continue
to wear Hollister and A&F? Please grow up and get serious about your life! You are
well on your way to becoming just like the haggard queens you made fun of when you
were in your 20s.
• Why is it that just because I ask you your HIV status and we fnd out we're both
negative that you automatically assume we're going to do it bareback? Wear a
condom or go away!
• If you want good service then TIP YOUR BARTENDER! And please stop sleazing for
free drinks! Talk about tacky!
• So you work at a store in the mall I go to. True: I used to have a crush on you.
It was because I thought you were cute and nice. I'm so over it! So get over it,
and quit thinking that I'm stalking you. You have a face like Frankenstein and a
personality to match.
• How about some “truth in advertising”? If you insist on putting "hot", "cute", or
"sexy" in your screen name, at least make sure you live up to it!
Faith Arrives
by Greg Bullard
It is amazing the ways that various people can see the same
object. If we are standing around a house that has different
siding on each side of the house we could plausibly argue
that it had brick, stone, clapboard or even plaster siding. We
might see only our perspective and argue that it is the only
correct one, but it actually be all of them. Alternatively, we
can say that all perspectives are correct and that none are
wrong. While there are times all perspectives may be true
there are also times when there are some that are just wrong
– because a person does not have authority or authenticity
in their views.
In regards to faith, different faiths view different person
differently. Let us look at Jesus as an example. Muslims see
Jesus as a virgin born messenger of God, not the son of God.
The Ahimadiyya movement in Islam believes that Jesus died
of old age in Kashmir. The Bahá'í faith teaches that Jesus
is one of the messengers of the great religions on par with
Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna and Zoroaster. Mandaeans
views Jesus as a false prophet. Christians view Jesus as the
Messiah. As you see, each faith has very different views of
the same person. There are even more ideas of who Jesus
is and was out there, but we do not have he space to share
them all.
What each faith has as belief is what defnes its action
and view of the world. The unique claims of the Christian
Community for Christ means that their faith is not mingled
with the Mandaean faith. The same is true for Islamic an
Zoroastrian views. Our society has lost the power and mystic
that comes from faith that can direct a person to goodness
and God because we are so concerned about not offending
Really, we need to be more concerned about how we share
our faith than if we should have defnitive beliefs. We are
told, “iron sharpens iron.” If you have no solid belief or you
cannot, or worse, will not proclaim your faith with a positive
and strong voice do you have any? My argument would be
that you do not.
Your statement of belief is not relevant if it does not cause
an actual change in behavior. Your behavior heralds your real
belief. In our rush and desire for knowledge we seem to think
that the knowledge we have is what defnes us – whether it
is an education, or just some other type of knowledge. We
seems to think that because knowledge RESIDES it is better
because you can build upon it. Yet, faith – the thing that
pleases God does not reside – it ARRIVES. Today I will
use up every piece of faith that I have. Tomorrow we will
get new faith to take me through that day. It is written:
“faith comes by hearing…” You must choose to allow faith
to arrive in your life each day. To be sure it becomes easier to
allow it to arrive each day as you follow intentional practice,
yet it is something that will still not arrive until you need it.
I urge you to let faith arrive in your life. Know what you
believe so that you can be a positive promising infuence on
people’s lives.
Pastor Greg
Pastor Greg Bullard is pastor of covent of the cross, an inclusive
christian community located in nashville, tennessee.
congressional leaders urged to Approve Revisions to A.D.A.
In letters submitted to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and Rep. John
Boehner, House Republican Leader, Lambda Legal urges the House of Representatives
to pass H.R. 3195, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, a bill that clarifes the defnition
of what qualifes as a disability, to cover anyone who faces unfair discrimination because
of a disability.
“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court, and lower courts have narrowed the defnition of
disability and have limited the protections that the ADA provides,” said Bebe Anderson,
HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal. "This bill makes it clear that people with HIV
are protected from being discriminated against because they have HIV, consistent with
the purposes of the ADA."
The bill has broad bi-partisan support, as well as support from many leading
disability, civil rights, and employer trade organizations. Its provisions more specifcally
outline the defnition of disability and overturn Supreme Court decisions that caused
some people with disabilities to lose protection under the law.
A foor vote in the House is expected soon.
On June 18, 2008, the bill was approved unanimously by the House Judiciary
Committee and by a 43 to 1 vote by the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Continued from page 18
completely different fear altogether,
explains Douglas. This new fear, the root
of their ever present prejudices, is that
Clark and others have realized that their
homophobia has been renounced as fawed
and unacceptable.
These anti-GLBT leaders don’t fght to
protect marriage—they fght to maintain
the smoke screen that their inherent beliefs
are not wrong; they know that if they do
not put up that smoke screen, if they do not
try over and over and over to disenfranchise
GLBT Hoosiers, then that says something
about them.
Douglas ends his comment beautifully
by stating “It isn't about society's views of
us any longer; like the racists of the past, it's
about society's view of them.”
As you can see, the battle continues.
I urge you to join Indiana Equality
(www.indianaequality.org) in this fght.
Contribute your time, talents and yes,
fnancial support. The other side can win
this if we do not do everything in our
If you would be interested in throwing
a house party, volunteering for Indiana
Equality, or even just making a monetary
donation, feel free to contact us. If you’d
like information on volunteering we can be
reached at ieinfo@indianaequality.org, or
by phone at (888) 567.0750.
Brandon Monson is the
communications Director for
Indiana Equality.
22 The LeTTer www.TheLeTTeronLine.com JULY 2008
L . A. C. E.
Louisville is home to a number of
sophisticated Italian restaurants, such as
Vincenzo’s and Volare, chain eateries like
Macaroni Grill and the Olive Garden and other
spots with a fair amount of pasta specialties.
But when it comes down to digesting a platter
of spaghetti and rich, meaty sauce you cannot
beat Ray Parella’s restaurant.
Located on Frankfort Avenue in the midst
of that area’s restaurant row, Ray Parella’s ofers
homemade goodness with their casual menu
of Italian-American entrees. Te restaurant is
housed in a historic building that dates back
to the nineteenth century. Te front porch
has been adapted for al fresco dining while
the interior boasts a dining area with 10 or
so tables. As is expected in older homes, the
ceilings are quite high which gives the room a
sense of spaciousness but does not detract from
the cozy atmosphere.
Te menu refects that same feeling of
comfort with familiar pasta items with slow
cooked Italian gravy. Te Parella family has
been serving diners since 1961 and they are
proud of their real Italian cooking and strive to
continually perfect their pasta and sauces. Tis
is one place where there is no wood burning
oven on display and you don’t have to wait an
hour and a half for a mediocre meal. I was
looking forward to some good food and a glass
of wine in a locally owned restaurant. And my
companions and I got just that.
We started the meal with glasses of house
wine which we selected from a short yet
thorough wine list. Bottled beer is also
available. As we perused the menu, we noted
that an appetizer would ft the bill quite nicely
and there were seven options from which to
choose. With the exception of the Bruschetta
Bread ($5.95), all were priced at $6.95.
We decided upon the Stufed Pepperoni
Loaf which consisted of a loaf of garlic bread
sliced and flled with pepperoni and three
diferent cheeses. Te bread was served with
a side of Marinara. Te buttery goodness of
the bread along with the redolence of the garlic
married perfectly with the meat and cheeses.
We fnished our appetizer quickly and were
pleased to note that our meals would also be
accompanied by more of that delicious garlic
bread sans the pepperoni and cheese.
Te entrees do not come with a salad but
the restaurant ofers a nice selection of greens if
you feel the need for a healthy start. Tey do
ofer a house salad ($3.50) in addition to four
diferent pasta salads. Soup is also available
and you can try the Chicken or the Minestrone
for $3.25 for a small or $4.00 for a large. After
indulging in much bread, we opted to skip
the salad and select our entrée from the “Pasta
and Other Favorites” portion of the menu. All
of the usual suspects can be found including
Spaghetti, Lasagna, Ravioli and Parmigianas.
Most of the pasta choices are ofered with a
red sauce, be it tomato or meat. Dinner prices
start at $9.25 for Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce
and top out at $14.95 for Chicken Parmigiana.
Four diferent styles of Pizza can also be had
for $8.95.
My one dining partner decided upon the
Meat Ravioli ($12.00). Five plump pasta
pockets were stufed with meat and cheese
and served under a chunky tomato sauce with
melted cheese on top. She enjoyed her meal
but could not quite ft all fve raviolis into her
petite frame so, alas, we had some leftovers for
the next day.
My other partner abstained from the red
sauce and ordered the Penne and Smoked
Chicken ($13.95). His dish consisted of a
plate of penne pasta topped with a creamy
white basil sauce and chicken and then covered
with smoked Provolone cheese. He found the
dish somewhat bland although the chicken had
a distinctive basil favor from the sauce. He felt
the dish could have used more “smokiness” but
he still managed to ingest most of the pasta.
I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana which
came with a side of Capellini pasta or Asiago
Mashed Potatoes. I departed from the pasta
norm and selected the spud option. I found
the dish delicious. Breaded Chicken breast
was covered with a tomato and wine sauce
and then topped with cheese and baked until
melted. Te cheesy mashed potatoes truly
complimented the chicken and I found the
pasta alternative quite pleasing.
We thought about dessert, especially the
tasty looking Cannoli, but passed since we each
had a doggie bag for home. Tere is always
next time and there will be a next time.
Ray Parella’s is really a great choice when
you have that pasta craving. Te food is good,
the atmosphere is pleasant and you leave the
restaurant feeling like you just enjoyed your
Italian Grandmother’s Sunday meal.
gUesT leTTeRTORial
I don't think there's anything weirder
than religious sexual obsession. Sex is
tough enough without layering our
obsession about it with some bizarre
religious viewpoint.
Jim Jones was obsessed with sex. David
Koresh couldn't keep his hands off his
female followers. A group of radical
polygamists were recently exposed for their
dirty little secret of sex between older men
and the young teenage girls who became
their wives.
Like sex, religion is tough to keep
squared away without it being overrun
with bizarre social and personal viewpoints.
Flannery O'Connor aptly said, "You shall
know the truth and the truth shall make
you odd." I don't think she was inviting
us to make weirdness into an art form and
blessing it in the name of God. I think she
was holding up a mirror so we would see
ourselves more clearly.
Over the years since the takeover of
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the
ickiest viewpoints about sex, procreation
and pleasure have been lurking in the
theological minds of the president and
professors who teach there.
Once a viable center of creative and
respectable theological thinking, now we
are subjected to the strangest of sexual
obsessions that focus on the means and
motives of sex slimed by the notion they
claim to represent the viewpoints of the
God who created sex.
Remember, this is the seminary that
has defended the torture of prisoners of
war by our government as a means of self-
defense in a world marked by international
One is left to ponder what it means
that both viewpoints are held by the same
professors of theology and about the
theological worldview that is now forming
the faith and thinking of those who study
In the past few years, the greatness of the
seminary has been tainted by an obsession
with procreation and flling the womb of
young Christian women who are sexually
submissive to their husbands as an act of
their commitment to God. The Southern
faculty have advocated in the past that
Southern Baptist young women must
serve as willing sexual partners with their
husbands making babies together as often
as God (as in the life-giving reproductive
powers of nature) wills.
Why would these professors make
pronouncements that God wills for these
young women to be so open to their own
fertility as to spurn birth-control methods
and label them as acts of disobedience?
Such a theology they call "a full-quiver
theology," meaning the quiver of a man is
flled with the arrows of the offspring they
sire with their obedient wives.
These Southern professors have also
condemned the rebellion of young
Southern Baptist men and women who
might choose not to marry until they are
older. Again waiting until they are ready is
deemed as disobedience and condemned,
as if such condemnation was according to
the eternal plan of God. Should there not
be some gladness to such wisdom from
our young adults who would thoughtfully
enter into marriage and creating a family?
Does it really matter much to the rest of us
when they make this choice?
Back to the latest weirdness at hand ...
this past month, a report was carried on
EthicsDaily.com of a sermon preached
recently by Bruce Ware, professor of
Christian theology, at the Denton Bible
Church pronouncing that women bring
physical abuse by their husbands upon
themselves by their desire to have their
own way rather than submitting to the
authority of their husbands.
There's only the thinnest of blame
offered to women who suffer brutality at
the hands of their abusive husbands, which
he claims is linked to Eve's sin of rebellion
in the Garden of Eden. Men whose wives
demonstrate such rebellion often act in
one of two ways, claims Professor Ware.
They react either in strength and beat their
wives, or they acquiesce and become weak
male partners with their domineering
Perhaps warning signs should be posted
at the entrance of the seminary: "Warning!
Sexual Obsessions Abound Here ... Enter
at Your Own Peril!"

the Strange Sexual Obsessions at the
Southern Baptist theological Seminary
by Keith Herron
Keith Herron is senior pastor of Holmeswood
Baptist church in Kansas city, Missouri.
Ray Parella’s Italian Restaurant
by Beth Ann Rubin
[Ray Parella’s Italian Restaurant; 2311 Frankfort Avenue;
Louisville, KY 40206. (502)899-5575
JULY 2008 www.TheLeTTeronLine.com The LeTTer 23
by Simon Sheppard
"Gay men have a reputation for fooling
around," says one idealistic guy in his
mid-20s. "But my partner and I have been
faithful to each other for over fve years, and
we both love it. Sure, some of our friends are
skeptical, but we manage to make it work."
It can sometimes seem that there's a
pitched battle in the queer community
between men who put down promiscuity
and guys who proudly identify as sex pigs.
Says a fellow from the slutty side of the
fence, "Sure, monogamy might seem like a
nice ideal. But in reality? From what I can
see, it rarely works over the long haul."
Other guys would beg to differ. Many
men - especially younger ones - view open
relationships with suspicion and disdain.
Sometimes, though, the considerations
are more practical. Says our mid-20s
monogamist, "One of the nice things about
fdelity is that it simplifes matters. We're
still attracted to other guys, of course. But
not giving in to - well, let's call it 'lust' -
reduces the risk of everything from jealousy
to venereal disease. And by restricting our
outlets, I know that when I'm horny, he'll
be ready, too."
It may not be easy for two men in love
to maintain monogamy. As our monogamist
proclaims, "Fidelity's not for the faint-
hearted." Nature seems to have hardwired
guys with an itch to mess around. Urban
gay communities are full of tumescent
temptations. And - let's face it - after having
sex with the same guy for years, boredom
can set in. But monogamy need not equal
monotony. Being fnely tuned to a steady
partner's responses can make things go better
in bed, and trusting your partner can lay the
groundwork for edgy sexual exploration.
Still, the urge for variety is strong.
Says one fellow in a decades-long
partnership, "Though there are tricks to
keeping the sexual fame alive, it's almost
certain to burn less hot with time. You either
accept that fact and go on from there, or live
a sex life of frustration. Or you can do what
my mate and I did, and decide on what we
call 'modifed monogamy.'"
Such almost-monogamous relationships
aren't thoroughly open, but abide by
mutually agreed-upon rules. Beyond good
old "don't ask, don't tell," there's the once-
only decree, the not-in-our-bed agreement,
and the only-on-business-trips escape clause.
Our guy in a decades-long relationship
relates, "In our case, we decided to only
have sex with other men in three-ways. That
added welcome variety, but unfortunately
led to jealousies when the third was more
interested in one of us than the other. So
now we have occasional one-on-one fings,
and just trust that they're not big threats.
After all, our messing around on the side
doesn't mean we love each other any less."
It's not only long-timers who face
challenges. One young guy just starting his
frst steady relationship says, "I really love
my hubby, and I'd like him to be my one and
only. But he has a terrible self-image, and is
just not into sex that much. Since I'm always
horny, if I intend to stay with him, we're
either going to have to give up monogamy,
or I'm going to end up masturbating three
times a day."
Not everyone approves of such
compromises, though. "Some gay guys can
be such spoiled brats," our faithful mid-
"By the By"
A puzzle that adds "by" to popular
phrases to change their meaning
1 pull a boa behind you?
5 "I'm not in the ___!"
9 coward's milieu
14 cicero's queer
15 Isherwood's ___ Camera
16 like Alexander pope?
17 open a crack
18 She played gay in Silkwood
19 like bounteous breasts
20 Dogcatcher's counterpart in old flms?
23 Little Miss Evil writer Raphael
24 Rough stuff underground
25 part of a Tommy lyric
27 Abbr. of old in Tatu's land
30 one-armed bandit's opening
33 like Whitman's leaves
36 chain with fruit syrups
38 Bear's den
40 About to blow
41 Spike lee fick about Melville's Dick?
44 "please" to Marcella hazan
45 Drag queen ___ phace
46 160 rods
47 Talk by Jane Spahr
49 With Malice Toward ___: A Life of
Abraham Lincoln
51 Madonna's pair
52 little bikers in a gay pride march
54 come together
56 continent of the Anc
58 op-ed columnist post as a feminist
64 frida's husband
66 "___ need Is the girl" (song from Gypsy)
67 "You're the Top" songwriter porter
68 Maria's "do" equivalent
69 Aspen vehicle
70 Enjoy on the foor, in days of yore
71 It helps you get to gay.com
72 gay cable network
73 Spills one's seed
1 "nuts!"
2 Indian head
3 gaza Stripper, e.g.
4 Queen Christina star
5 Williams of Brokeback Mountain
6 Island of Diamond head Beach
7 hint to the future
8 comes quickly
9 Meat that you hold in your hand
10 lid for Barrie
11 Delicious fruit stewed to a pulp
12 oz visitor Dorothy
13 how far up it goes (abbr.)
21 '69 and others
22 head lines?
26 She played with Sherman on The
27 Boobs
28 Dinah of a golf classic
29 Mike Brady portrayer
31 Scout's promise to be "morally straight"
32 Tennessee tight end, e.g.
34 howard, who cross-dressed for Miss
35 Ass-kissers' responses
37 Rain forest native with a small package?
39 Tow job
42 Roddy McDowall's Batman villain
43 Where to ogle boxers
48 Keanu in The Matrix
50 long, slippery one
53 overhand stroke, for Amelie Mauresmo
55 Beats or pleasures
56 gay video directory name
57 one who may want a bone
59 Woods of Legally Blonde
60 glenn Burke, formerly
61 chastity is one
62 pleasure orally
63 Weapon suppliers in Robin Hood: Men
in Tights
65 When doubled, slang for the rectal
(See Q PUZZLE ANSWERS on page 24)
seX TalK
Continued on page 24
24 The LeTTer www.TheLeTTeronLine.com JULY 2008
from page 23
On l i n e Da t i n g
20s man says. "It may be a trade-off, but
I'll gladly sacrifce the transitory thrills of
tricking for the rewards of focusing in on one
special fellow, and him alone. I can't imagine
wanting anyone else as much as I desire the
man I love."
Ultimately, there's no simple answer to
the monogamy question. Is the one-dude
decree a heterosexual invention that's ill-
suited to male/male relationships? Or is it a
sign of deep and abiding love? Maybe both,
depending. Circumstances change: child-
rearing enters the picture, guys get older,
emotions evolve. If fdelity is what both men
want in their heart of hearts, it's more likely
to work out than if monogamy is prompted
by jealousy or fear - or if one partner is guilt-
tripped into it by the other. And, should one
fellow slip up and screw around, forgiveness is
more constructive than anger and reproach.
The basis of the gay movement, after all,
is that a one-size-fts-all model doesn't work
when it comes to sex and love. So whether
you forsake all others, or fool around on the
side, be nice to each other, be honest, and
don't bring home crabs.
seX TalK
Continued from page 23
Simon Sheppard is the editor of Homosex: Sixty
years of Gay Erotica, and the author of Sex Parties
101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and
can be reached at Sextalk@qsyndicate.com.
by Dan Woog
It's summertime, so Kevin Jennings' thoughts turn to...
ice hockey.
The energetic educator/activist - who has recently
stepped down as executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and
Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a youth advocacy
organization he founded 13
years ago - is a lifelong hockey
fan. He grew up rooting for
the Boston Bruins, and during
a three-year span, attended
every minor-league game in his
hometown of Winston-Salem,
N.C. Moving to New York City
in 1993, he became a regular at
Madison Square Garden, where
the Rangers play.
But adults in the stands
often sounded as ignorant and
immature as the schoolchildren
whose behavior GLSEN works
so hard to change. Players were routinely mocked as "faggots"
and "queers"; a season-ticket holder who tried to incite the
crowd with an antic dance was derided as "Homo Larry."
Even the scoreboard was booed, when it briefy fashed
the name of the New York City Gay Hockey Association
This year, Jennings had enough. As fans near his seat yelled
"faggot!" at a Philadelphia Flyer, Jennings confronted them.
"Are you really gay?" one asked. "No," Jennings thought to
himself. "This is just a cool way to win a popularity contest
in a crowded arena."
But he kept quiet, and didn't hear when one man muttered,
"That's your problem." However, Jennings' nephew - a
former college football player - heard the slur. He stared at
the homophobe; the man apologized. "Maybe he thought
my nephew would kick his ass," Jennings says.
In his best teachable-moment manner, Jennings wrote
to the Rangers about the incident, and about homophobic
slurs at games in general. "Naively, I thought they would do
something," he says. No one responded, so he wrote again.
Finally, Jennings received "a blow-off reply." The Rangers
said they had completed their charitable donations for the
"That wasn’t what I was looking for," he says. "I told
them, 'I want you to educate your fans.'"
So the media-savvy GLSEN leader enlisted the help of
two heavy hitters: City Council speaker Christine Quinn,
who is a lesbian, and Ted Rybka, director of sports media
for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In
March, the New York Times ran a story documenting the
long tradition of gay slurs at Rangers games. It included a
response from a Madison Square Garden spokesman. He
said that "homophobic or racially or culturally insensitive
behavior is unacceptable at any event (here), and we have
taken aggressive steps to deal with the offensive behavior of a
very small minority of game attendees."
Part of that statement is true, Jennings acknowledges:
the Garden does eject fans who use racial epithets or scream
four-letter words. And that makes the inaction surrounding
antigay speech even worse.
He had high hopes after the Times story, when Rangers
executives agreed to meet with him. But by late spring, there
was still no follow-through.
Jennings is not demanding major changes. He simply
wants offcials to air public service announcements during
games, urging fans to act more respectfully. Jennings would
also like the Garden to train its staff on how to intervene with
offensive fans. And he has offered to facilitate a partnership
between the Rangers and NYCGHA.
He's skating on thin ice. So far, none of his requests have
been granted.
"I know people are busy, and blah blah blah, but the
lack of response makes me nervous," Jennings says. "The
silence for fve months after our frst contact shows a lack of
seriousness. I hope it wasn't all a smokescreen."
He does not believe the Rangers are malicious. "I just
don't think they were aware they had gay fans - or the
[straight] fans realized it either. Change is a process, not an
event. I'm under no illusion that everything would change if
they called today and said, 'Let's meet.' But I want them to
realize that everyone is there to have fun. When name-calling
is tolerated, a lot of gay AND straight people can't enjoy the
Jennings draws parallels between his work with schools
and his outreach in sports. "GLSEN's mission is acceptance
of everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. Sports is another
arena to teach acceptance. Sports is where a lot of young men
learn how to behave. If they get the message there that it's
okay to be antigay, that's wrong. Schools can't do it alone.
We need to send the message at hockey rinks, too."
Like a good teacher, Jennings understands that no issue is
black and white; there are always shades of gray. His partner
is from Columbus, and when they're in Ohio, they attend
Blue Jackets NHL games. Jennings has never heard "faggot"
slurs there. Earlier this year, the couple took 15 nieces and
nephews to Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets' rink.
"I'm not sure I'd do that at Madison Square Garden,"
Jennings says. "I don't want to send the message that
I'm comfortable in an antigay environment, or that that
atmosphere is acceptable."
The OUTFielD
Dan Woog is a journalist, educator, soccer coach, gay activist, and author
of the "Jocks" series of books on gay male athletes. Visit his website at
www.danwoog.com. He can be reached at OutField@qsyndicate.com.
Kevin Jennings
JULY 2008 www.TheLeTTeronLine.com The LeTTer 25
The Palace of Varieties
by Richard Labonte
[The Palace of Varieties, by James Lear.
Cleis Press, 284 pages, $14.95 paper.]
England is mired in the depths of the Great
Depression, there's no work for young Paul
Lemoyne, and he's tired of his father's abuse.
What's an 18-year-old with a handsome face,
a lean body, an awesome endowment, and a
late-blooming libido to do? Why, leave his
impoverished family for the bright lights of
London, where the lissome lad can consort
with men of means willing to pay a cutie for
toe-curling sex - though he isn't averse to
servicing working-class toughs as well.
Lear's novel sends up a classic genre: the
innocent who is led astray by the wild, wide
world and, after a spell mired in down-on-
his-luck depravity, returns to a righteous
path. But there's a twist: it's a cheerfully flthy
work of fction. Lear is endlessly inventive
about sex, and Paul is sexually insatiable,
so someone is rutting with someone every
couple of pages, always enthusiastically and
often poetically. The wonder is that the sex
in this extravagantly smutty novel is never
rote, while Paul's erotic pleasures culminate
in a redemptive moral message.
by Cubbie Britches
From all outward appearances, Lionel is
a happy gay man with a career as a cultural
commentator on Swiss radio and a family
who accepts his devoted lover, Serge, as one
of their own. After discovering the story
of a scurrilous ancestor who emigrated
from Poland to Switzerland, Lionel begins
to immerse himself in everything Polish.
Lionel’s life begins to heat up when he meets
a pretty Polish immigrant facing deportation
and decides to marry her, which threatens
his domestic harmony. In pursuit of his
family’s roots Lionel and his sister, Lucy, a
social worker, take a road trip to Poland. This
sweet oddball story shuffes between sex,
family love and adventure with a confused,
self-absorbed vision. (French with English
Stealth is available for rent at Wild &
Woolly Video, 1021 Bardstown Road in
ViDeO sPOTlighT
Richard labonte has been reading, editing, selling,
and writing about queer literature since the mid-'70s.
He can be reached at BookMarks@qsyndicate.com.
RaDically seReNe
Important lessons from A Sleepy Midwestern town
by Dave VanderPol, Executive Editor
Will you love me any less because you know that I occasionally watch soap operas? I
hope not! “Tolerance”, right?
While my all-time favorite soap is still The Young & The Restless (I sure wish they
would bring back Brenda Dickson, the original Jill Abbot!)¸ I have come to have much love
and respect for As The World Turns (ATWT) since they added an openly gay character,
Luke Snyder (played by Van Hansis).
Thirteen months ago ATWT introduced us to the character Noah Mayer (portrayed by
Jake Silberman), who has since more-or-less come out of the closet and more-or-less (most
of the time?) become Luke’s boyfriend. In soap opera shorthand Luke & Noah are referred
to simply as “Nuke”. Nuke is the frst gay couple to be portrayed on a soap opera. This is
historic, is it not?
In true soap opera fashion, Nuke has had more plots twists and relationship ups and
downs than I can count. One day they are solidly in love. The next day they are “splitsville”,
or on the verge of never having anything to do with each ever again. Don’t we Drama Queens
just love the drama?!?
But can any important lessons be learned from the trials and tribulations of Luke and
Noah? Defnitely! Most of them are painful and ones I would like to forget. My short list of
Invaluable Nuke Reminders goes like this.
• Growing up gay can be very painful – especially in a sleepy Midwestern town like
Oakdale, Illinois, which is ground zero for ATWT. Being raised in a medium-sized
Indiana town (Terre Haute) makes me tremendously grateful for the many GLBT
community resources we have here in Louisville (and most major metropolitan
areas). Apart from the Internet, many small town folks don’t have “instant
community” available to them. I’m GLAD folks in small towns have the Internet
available to them, but that’s hardly a substitute for face-to-face community.
• Being raised by a homophobic parent (as was Noah’s character), along with being
exposed to potentially many other societal factors, is sure to produce TONS of
internalized homophobia (e.g., self-hatred). Noah’s in-and-out relationship with
the closet -- and on-and-off relationship with Luke – serve as painful reminders
that no matter how much you may love your signifcant other, there is simply no
“fast track” to instantly zap away internalized homophobia. As a community, we
need to avail ourselves to coming out and other support groups and gay-affrming
professional mental health therapists in order to rid ourselves of the emotional
pain that goes with being raised gay in a hostile family and/or society. Wishing
and hoping that pain will disappear without effort and support isn’t rational.
• Richard Bach was right when he observed that it is best let go of people who can’t
make a commitment. His quote is worth re-quoting: “If you love someone, set
them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were.” The
way that Luke goes chasing after Noah, begging him to come to his senses, just
drives me nuts! How I’d love to slap a copy of the best selling self-help book
CoDependent No More in his hands! (Then again, to coerce someone to read a
codependency self-help book would be rather codependent, would it not?).
Sending Noah off to a coming out support group and encouraging Luke to fnd a therapist
to help him with his codependency issues seem like great ideas to help our beloved soap
characters move on to the “next level” of their existence. But back here in the “real world”
what can be done to help the real people whose stories often parallel the many plot twists
experienced by Nuke?
• Every town, regardless of the size, needs a chapter of Parents & Friends of
Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to our loved can fnd support to overcome their
issues. It is often overlooked that PFLAG offers great support for us GLBT folks,
whether we’re still in-process or fully out.
• Every town, regardless of the size, needs a coming out support group. It disturbs
me that Louisville no longer has a group (for either women or men) with the sole
focus of helping folks come out. Do we have any qualifed individuals amongst
our readers willing to help begin such a group in Louisville or elsewhere within
Continued on page 27
We're all ears!
26 The LeTTer www.TheLeTTeronLine.com JULY 2008
"let off Steam, cancer!"
by Jack Fertig
A Mars-Saturn conjunction in Virgo makes
everyone more hateful; hard aspects from the
Sun and Eris don't help! Rein in your inner
critic, thank others for sharing, and let it
ARIES (March 20 - April 19):
Anything felt as a threat to your turf,
family, or community may raise your
ire beyond reason, or at least beyond strategic
good sense. You may be wildly overreacting to
unintended slights. Offer people a chance to
explain before launching the missiles.
TAURUS (April 20 - May 20):
Everyone is being a bit touchy. It
will take more than the usual effort
not to react. Your own reactions and
resentments will surface with embarrassing
ease. Give your frustrations a creative outlet,
which will abate the problem, but only some.
GEMINI (May 21 - June 20): You may
be at odds with your usual allies
and friends. Conficts between
ideals and traditions appear to be at the heart
of the problem. The answer is more likely found
in your heart than in any doctrine or history.
CANCER (June 21 - July 22): This
birthday may have you feeling
old and overly aware of life's
annoyances. Give yourself an
opportunity to rant and let off steam about your
frustrations with career and authority fgures.
Just be very careful where you do that!
LEO (July 23 - August 22):
Commitment to certain values is
important. It's also possible to take
your own beliefs too seriously. You're
tempted to argue with others, but the challenge
you really want is with yourself. Questioning a
teacher can be helpful. Remember that you are
the pupil!
VIRGO (August 23 - September 22):
It seems you are "supposed" to ft
somewhere in your GLBT community,
but you don't. Being an individual and queer
even among queers is fne, even if it gets you
some fack. Still, making some compromises to
ft in might be worth considering.
LIBRA (September 23 - October
22): Careers should be fulflling,
and relationships should alleviate
stress - that's the basic idea. A retreat from
both seems tempting, but there is no escape.
You need to work on the issues with your
partner, who can then help you with the work
SCORPIO (October 23 - November
21): It's a little too easy to come off
as overly critical. Remember those
sayings about throwing stones, whether frst
or from a glass house. Focus your acuity on
yourself and on any improvements you'd like
to make!
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 20):
Trying to have fun may seem more
trouble than it's worth. Perhaps
you're being too competitive. You
need to excel in your work and _some_ creative
endeavors, but relax! The best fun is more
about fun than about being best.
CAPRICORN (December 21 - January
19): Having to be right about
everything is only part of the stress
you're having at home, but it's the
frst part you need to work on. Try to listen
humbly to others, and to accept their point of
view without necessarily understanding it.
AQUARIUS (January 20 - February
18): Meaner, harder, and kinkier
might juice up your sex life, but is
it really what you need? The answer is in your
own heart, not in the fetish ads. If you do get
kinky, be especially careful! Accidents are just
begging to happen.
PISCES (February 19 - March 19):
Efforts to play with your partner may
fall fat. Is your baby being clear
about his or her needs? Are you really
paying attention? The real problem may be
more about a difference in values and priorities
than in playing well together.
Jack Fertig has been a
professional astrologer
since 1977.
JULY 2008 www.TheLeTTeronLine.com The LeTTer 27
and many other genres with close ties to Nashville. The nearby Ryman Auditorium
is one of the grand music icons of downtown, often hosting Grand Ole Opry shows.
Seating is in old wooden pews, and behind-the-scenes tours are given during the
It's a short drive from downtown to reach the hub of the city's recording industry,
Music Row. You can tour Studio B, where everyone from Elvis to Dolly Parton has
recorded, as well as a few other music-related museums. Follow Broadway beyond
Music Row to reach Midtown and its main drag, West End Avenue - you'll pass
several of the city's schools and medical facilities, including Vanderbilt University, as
well as an art-flled, full-scale replica of the Parthenon.
West End Avenue eventually leads into ritzy Belle Meade, where many music
celebrities and politicians reside. There are a couple of notable museums in this area,
including the Greek Revival Belle Meade Plantation, once the site of a 5,300-acre
Thoroughbred breeding farm, and Cheekwood, a 1925 Georgian-style house on
whose grounds you'll fnd the Tennessee Botanical Gardens & Museum.
Dining in Nashville has become increasingly sophisticated of late. In a railway and
warehouse neighborhood on the edge of downtown, you can dine at one of the city's
current stars, Radius10, a snazzy, white-on-white restaurant with exposed air vents
and an unfnished cement foor. Top dishes here include Kobe beef short ribs with
black-truffe grits, and halibut with andouille sausage, dirty rice, and crawfsh. A
more traditional option is long-running Merchants, which is set inside a masterfully
restored 1892 brick building downtown and serves tasty American fare.
Two neighborhoods that have developed increasingly gay followings in Nashville
in recent years are East Nashville and 12th Avenue South, and both have a slew
of great restaurants, too. Along 12th Avenue South, sexy and sophisticated Mirror
restaurant serves Mediterranean-inspired tapas, such as smoked-lamb gyros with
cumin sauce, and saffron ravioli stuffed with shrimp, mushrooms, and brie. Nearby
Rumours Wine and Art Bar is fun for dinner or just to snack and sip wine - there's
a popular branch of Rumours in East Nashville, too. For an unusual and refreshing
dessert, pick up one of the oddly favored popsicles (chai tea, cucumber-pepper,
chocolate-wasabi) sold at Las Paletas.
East Nashville eateries with superb food include lesbian-owned Margot, which
turns out delicious French bistro fare. This is the place in town for Sunday brunch
(reservations are a good idea). The same owners run the nearby coffeehouse and
bakery, Marche, which serves up all sorts of tasty snacks. For sweets, check out Pied
Piper Creamery, whose playfully named and concocted ice cream favors are a big hit
- order a scoop of "Trailer Trash" (packed with assorted candy parts), or tuck into a
dish of "The Professor" (toasted coconut, almonds, pecans, and cashews).
Additional worthwhile dining and shopping opportunities await in funky
Hillsboro Village, near Vanderbilt University, which offers an intriguing selection
of stylish boutiques and distinctive restaurants. Here you'll fnd Cabana, which
serves crispy and delectable fried chicken, along with several inventive takes on
down-home Southern food. Caffeine addicts get their fx at Bongo Java, in a
turn-of-the-century house flled with local art. Bongo Java earned international
infamy as the home of the "nun bun," a cinnamon roll that bears an amazing
likeness to Mother Teresa. The same owners also operate a cool coffeehouse and
restaurant in Hillsboro called Fido.
For gay nightlife, head to Church Street in the West End. Arguably the
neighborhood's hottest gay bar, Tribe is a hip spot with a cute and diverse crowd and
a full restaurant, an open-air deck, a decent-size dance foor, and a lounge area with
plenty of comfy chairs. If you're seeking a more high-energy experience, venture
next door to Play, a sprawling dance club that packs in huge crowds on weekends.
Although it's a GLBT establishment, plenty of straights party here, too. Other gay
hangouts in the same area include Blue Gene's, a relaxed neighborhood joint, and Blu
Bar and Nightclub, which is especially popular with Nashville's African-American
gay community. Nearby you can shop for books and Pride items at OutLoud, which
also has a pleasant little cafe open for breakfast and lunch.
Over in East Nashville you'll fnd one of the liveliest lesbian bars in the South,
Lipstick Lounge, set inside a brightly colored and attractively furnished old house.
On the main level there's a small dance bar, and live music is often featured. Upstairs
there's a lounge with darts, video games, and the like. One neighborhood hangout
worth going out of your way for - if you're up for a quirky scene and hanging out
with a completely unpretentious crowd - is Trax, a hard-to-fnd little dive bar in a
somewhat industrial neighborhood south of downtown. Amid the linoleum foors
and a fun juke box playing everything from country tunes to The Cure, you'll fnd
a pool table, darts, and an all-ages, mostly male (but all-welcome) crowd sucking
down cheap drinks.
Although not a gay establishment, the famed Bluebird Cafe does have something
of a community following. This intimate spot serves passable comfort food, but you
really come here to listen to outstanding live music in an intimate setting. There are
two shows each night, the frst more amateurish, the second generally featuring quite
seasoned professionals.
Nashville's once staid hotel selection got a nice boost with the fall 2007 opening
of the Hotel Indigo, a gay-friendly, moderately priced, and sleekly designed mid-rise
in the city's West End - it's a short walk from gay nightlife. Also near West End gay
bars, the posh and refned Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel has dark cherry furniture, a
slick white lobby, and frst-rate service. This is the top business hotel in the city, and
also a favorite of music celebs.
Occupying a turn-of-the-century railroad terminal on the edge of downtown,
the Union Station Hotel has a gorgeous lobby and warmly furnished rooms. Light
sleepers should keep in mind that freight trains rumble softly by some rooms, so
request a unit away from the tracks if this concerns you. Run by the same team
behind Portland, Oregon's swanky Lucia and deLuxe hotels, the Hotel Preston offers
the hippest accommodations in Nashville. Alas, the location leaves a bit to be desired
- it's 10 miles southeast of downtown, by the airport.
About a 20-minute drive east of downtown, the giant Opryland Resort comprises
a huge hotel, spa, golf course, and the Grand Ole Opry performance center. If you're
hungry, keep in mind that the open-air buffet at the Water's Edge Marketplace offers
terrifc food, at least as buffets go, and at fair prices. Although it's largely the domain
of conventioneers and tourists, Opryland is at least worth a quick visit to admire the
acres of indoor gardens and courtyards, and partake of some of the most colorful
people-watching in Nashville.
OUT OF TOWN - Continued from page 16
the region we serve? If so, please allow THE LETTER to share this information
with our readers.
• Every town, regardless of the size, needs mental health therapists who
are visibly gay-affirming. Sometimes support groups aren’t enough and
professional assistance is called for.
• Every town, regardless of the size, needs welcoming and inclusive faith
communities that can facilitate healing of religious-based internalized
homophobia, for those struggling with this type of pain.
It sure is easy to write about these issues (probably as easy as it is to write a decent
soap opera script). But the reality is that, as I see it, more of us need to be more
involved in groups and organizations that can make the world better for our GLBT
sisters and brothers. Will Louisville ever again have a GLBT community center, let
alone Coming Out Support Group? What resources are missing in your corner of the
world? What are you doing to meet these unmet needs?
Dave VanderPol invites y’all to attend our Luke & Noah/As The World Turns Fan
Party on Thursday, July 24. For more information see the ad on page two of this issue.
RADICALLY SERENE - Continued from page 25
28 The LeTTer www.TheLeTTeronLine.com JULY 2008
S U N D AY, S E P T E MB E R 2 8 , 2 0 0 8 • T H E B E L V E D E E R E
T H I S Y E A R W E N E E D Y O U R S U P P O R T N O W M O R E T H A N E V E R B E F O R E .