This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
R e s p e c T e d
s o u R c e
f o R
G L B T
N e w s
s i N c e
J u N e
1 9 9 0
www.TheLeTTeRoNLiNe.com VOLUME 22, ISSUE 6 • jUnE 2011
2011 Kentuckiana Pride Festival June 17 & 18
The 2011 Kentuckiana Pride Festival (KPF), which is scheduled to include performances by singer Adam Barta and celebrities from RuPaul’s Drag Race, will once again kick off with the Pride Parade in downtown Louisville on Friday, June 17. The parade will be followed by Friday Night Fest, which is a free event. Friday Night Fest and the main festival on Saturday takes place on the Belevdere. Fairness Director Chris Hartman has been selected to be the Grand Marshall of this year’s Pride Parade. The parade will commence at 8:00pm, forming on Market Street at Preston, behind Tryangles bar. It will proceed west on Market to Floyd where it turns right (north) and then left (west) onto Main Street. The parade ends at 5th and Main Streets, which is in front of the entrance to the Belvedere, which serves as the festival grounds. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their beloved pet(s) to march in the Pride Parade. KPF organizers request the obvious: please bring everything you need to clean up after your pet! For the safety and comfort of everyone, pets are not permitted on the Belvedere during Friday Night Fest and the Saturday Festival. Saturday’s festival begins at 12:00 noon and admission is just $5.00 per person for a full day of great entertainment, including numerous musical groups and performers from throughout the region. For more information, including a detailed schedule of all Pride Month events affiliated with KPF, see the
Newspaper Hosts Dinner, Recognizes Community Leaders & Celebrates 21st Anniversary
In observance of the 21st anniversary of the founding of this newspaper, THE COMMUNITY LETTER is hosting a dinner open to all of our readers and all supporters of GLBT equality. In addition to scrumptious food, the event will feature a dynamic speaker, a performance of jazz and other music and presentation of three awards that recognize the hard work and dedication of GLBT community Mike Shouse members and allies. The festivities will take place on Friday, June 24 beginning at 7:30pm at Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, 4936 Old
festival ad on pages 11 – 14 or visit their website: www. kypride.com.
continued on page 10
Daniel Mason (502) 966-5178
4610 Outer Loop Louisville email@example.com
© 2009 Allstate Insurance Company allstate.com
LOSE 25-35 Lbs in 42 DAYS
No shakes, exercise or pre-packaged meals! It’s safe, easy and doctor supervised. Call today!
Dr. Charles E. Copeland, DC 502-454-5000
1525 Bardstown Road • One Block South of Eastern Parkway
2 The COMMUNITY LeTTer www.TheLeTTerONLINe.COM JUNe 2011
Instant Access to Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and the Nation’s Top Gay & Lesbian Realtors.
THE COMMUNTY LETTER encourages you to support your local Pride Festival
or Call Toll Free
FInd Your Perfect Agent Online:
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
THE COMMUNIT Y
Post Office Box 7842 Louisville, KY 40257
Tennessee Governor Signs “Special Access To Discriminate” Bill
by Out & About Newspaper Staff
Governor Bill Haslam has signed into law a bill that prohibits local governments from enacting their own non-discrimination policies, despite the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry reversing their earlier support and now opposing the bill. The measure – SB 632/HB 600 – passed the legislature last month. It effectively reverses an ordinance passed by Metro Council in Nashville that required city contractors to follow Metro’s rules barring discrimination against LGBT people. There are currently no state protections for sexual orientation or gender identity. “Discrimination should have no place in the Volunteer State and the Chamber’s opposition to this law sent a strong signal that corporations are on the leading edge of positive change,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “In contrast Governor Haslam has put discrimination ahead of the state’s values and even business interests by signing this horrible legislation.” Since the bill passed late last week, Alcoa, FedEx, AT&T, KPMG, UnitedHealth Group, Whirlpool, Comcast and other companies have publicly disavowed the bill. [Copyright 2011, Out & About Newspaper. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.]
Founded in June 1990 by Jeffrey Goldsmith & Humphrey Marshall
EXECUTIVE EDITOR/WEBMASTER ADVERTISING & DISTRIBUTION: Dave VanderPol: (502) 419-2597 firstname.lastname@example.org With an estimated readership of over 10,000, THE COMMUNITY LETTER is distributed throughout the six state region of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois, & Missouri REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Mike Buford Marie Davis James Hensley Margaret Hults Eric Jost Michael Kimmel Holly Knight Bryn Marlow George Morrison Beth Ann Rubin Brian Rzepczynski Ren Scheuerman David Williams Hazel Zimmerman DISTRIBUTION TEAM: Derrick, Cheese, Gerald, Hazel, Laura, Marie & James.
Bishop Gene Robinson Coming To Lexington
Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, a native of Kentucky, is scheduled to return to the Commonwealth for an appearance at St. Michael Episcopal Church, 2025 Bellefonte Drive in Lexington, on Saturday, July 16. Admission is free, although participants will be welcome to contribute to a free-will offering at the event. All community members are invited to attend. A prayer service, known as Evensong, will begin at 6:00pm, followed by a conversation on matters of faith an sexual orientation facilitated by Bishop Robinson. This event is co-sponsored by Kentucky Fairness Alliance and St. Michael Episcopal Church. Bishop Robinson, a native of Fayette County, Kentucky, has served as the spritual leader of the Diocese of New Hampshire since March 2004. He is the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a leader in a major Christian denomination. Citing the ongoing stress from threats of personal violence against himself and his partner, he has announced that he plans to take early retirement in 2013. For more information about Bishop Robinson’s Lexington appearance, write to robinsonevent@ gmail.com. Our Executive Editor, Dave VanderPol, has arranged to interview Bishop Robinson in anticipation of his upcoming visit to Lexington. The interview will be featured in our July 2011 issue.
Publication of the name, photograph or likeness of any person, organization, or business in articles or advertising in THE COMMUNITY LETTER or on its companion websites is not to be construed as an indication of the sexual orientation of such person, organization or business. THE COMMUNITY LETTER assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials submitted for publication. THE COMMUNITY LETTER reserves the right to edit or reject any advertisement. © 2011. The Community Letter. All rights reserved.
Bishop Gene Robinson
HUD Offers Significant Funding To HIV/AIDS Housing Programs
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced late last month that it is offering up to $9.1 million to address the critical housing needs of low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS including homeless individuals and families. HUD’s funding notice is offered through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program. “These grants will allow States and local communities to forge new partnerships and develop strategies to meet the housing needs of low-income and homeless persons living with HIV/ AIDs,” said Mercedes Márquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. “By offering our local partners these funds, we are giving them the necessary tools to provide real hope for those who might otherwise end up on the streets without the care they need.” HUD is making grants available new community partnerships to develop an Integrated HIV/AIDS Housing Plan (IHHP). The IHHP is a collaborative process that will seek to improve the delivery of housing and services to lowincome individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. Applications must be submitted by August 2, 2011. HOPWA grants support the Obama Administration’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. Together these initiatives address goals to: prevent and end homelessness; increase the supply of affordable housing; and increase the coordination of mainstream housing resources and other health and human services. HUD requires prospective grantees to submit their applications online through www.grants.gov. Any changes to HUDpublished funding notices will be made available to the public through a Federal Register public and published on Grants. gov. Applicants are urged to sign up for “Grants.gov” to receive periodic updates or changes to this grant offering.
JULY 2011 DEADLINES
Press releases and Regional Calendar items must be received no later than Friday, June 17, 2011. Advertising reservations must be received no later than Friday, June 24, 2011.
New Federal Guidance Protects Transgender Federal Workers
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national LGBT civil rights organization, has expressed strong support of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for publishing guidance regarding transgender federal employees. Pursuant to a June 2009 presidential memorandum regarding federal employees, OPM added gender identity to the categories protected under the equal employment opportunity policy for Executive Branch positions. The guidance published available at www.opm.gov/ d i v e r s i t y / Tr a n s g e n d e r / Guidance.asp, provides further information to federal managers and human resources officials to ensure that transgender employees are treated fairly and equally
All items should be sent to email@example.com.
4 The COMMUNITY LeTTer
Continued on 21
Legislation Addresses GLBT Youth Homelessness
Last month Senator GLBT youth.” John Kerry (Democrat— Under Section 106 of Massachusetts) introduced the legislation, Senator legislation designed to Kerry’s Reconnecting reduce youth homeYouth to Prevent lessness and specifically Homelessness would prevent homelessness establish researchamong GLBT teens. The based programming Reconnecting Youth to aimed at reducing Prevent Homelessness Act dejecting behaviors and would develop programs increasing supporting to improve family behaviors and relationships and thus understanding among decrease homelessness families to improve for queer and questioning the chances of LGBT youth. youth remaining at The bill would improve home. The programs training, educational would also focus on Senator John Kerry opportunities, and improving relationships permanency planning for to keep LGBT youth older foster youth. It also in a safe and stable strengthens programs to reduce poverty environment. and keep families together. The proposed legislation is supported by “As a father, it’s a punch in the gut to 39 organizations, including Families and imagine children living on the streets, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) but this year alone, one in fifty American National, National Center for Transgender kids will be homeless,” said Sen. Kerry. Equality, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight “There are common sense reforms we can Education Network (GLSEN). implement to help make things better for
Growing Congregation Moving To Downtown Jeffersonville
New Beginnings, a non-denominational church started in Jeffersonville, Indiana last March, has a new home beginning Sunday, June 12. The church, founded by Alan Jones (Deacon Coordinator), is relocating to historical downtown Jeffersonville. The location is convenient to I-65 and the Kennedy Bridge. The congregation’s new address is 300 Spring Street. Pastor Tracy Patton is not only excited about the beautiful new home of worship, but also the partnership that has been formed between New Beginnings and the new building, known simply as “300 Spring” (www.300spring.com). Mary Zoller, Director of 300 Spring, looks forward to providing a full line of commitment ceremony, wedding, and reception services to the GLBT community. Indoor and outdoor ceremonies are offered, with a wide variety of services available, including six caterers to choose from, dance floor, ceremony coordinator and a disc jockey service. Pastor Tracy noted that besides having a permanent and beautiful place to worship, 300 Spring is a well-known, established business in Jeffersonville that is thrilled to work with the GLBT community. She noted that the building owners “had been wanting to reach out to the GLBT community for quite some time, and then we came along. We really think it is a perfect match.” New Beginnings Church welcomes all persons to be part of their growing and diverse family of faith Sunday worship begins at 10:30am. For more information, contact Pastor Tracy at (812) 595-0571.
THE COMMUNITY LETTER 21 Anniversary Dinner
Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church 4936 Old Brownsboro Road (Highway 22) Doors open at 7:00pm. Dinner will be served beginning at 7:30pm Dinner will include a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian main course
Keynote Speaker Holly Knight • Musical Entertainment: Anthony Ransom
Tickets must be purchased in advance and are now on sale for $10.00 per person. For more information or to purchase a ticket, write editor@theletteronline com or call (502) 893-3122. Tickets may ne purchased by sending a check, payable to THE COMMUNITY LETTER (all three words), to Post Office Box 7842; Louisville, KY 40257. Payment for tickets must be received no later than Wednesday, June 15.
The COMMUNITY LeTTer 5
cordially invites you to attend our st
Friday, June 24, 2011
BEST OF THE WEB
Popular Website Connects Lesbians Of Color
Bryan Gatewood Attorney
Attorneys and Counselors at Law
PROUDLY SERVING OUR COMMUNITY FOR NEARLY A DECADE.
Our Sista Circle (www.oursistacircle. com) is a social networking website for lesbians of color from all around the world. While some websites specifically cater to only Asian or African American lesbians, many of them simply dispense information or listings. By contrast, OurSistaCircle encourages networking, promoting businesses and ideas and advocates a supportive and respectful online environment, according to Nicole Breedlove who launched the website in October 2009. The website boasts that it has 4,800 active members and this number is growing steadily. There are members are located all over the world— Canada, the US, Africa, Indonesia, Egypt, Greece, Jamaica, the UK and other countries. Members are welcome to post pictures (including video), chat live, read GLBT news and join or establish groups or forums and even maintain a blog—all of this in the process of meeting with lesbians of color worldwide.
231 South Fifth Street, Suite 200
Family Law • Estate Planning • Professional Small Business Charitable Planning • Debtor/Creditor
Volunteers Needed For Pride Parade & Festival
Louisville’s Fairness Campaign is needing 50 volunteers to represent the organization in the Kentuckiana Pride Festival parade, taking place on the evening of Friday, June 17th. Volunteers will need to show up by 7:00pm in the parking lot behind Tryangles Bar. In addition to marching in the parade, volunteers are also need to help with assembling balloon packs. This will take place at the Fairness office on Frankfort Avenue. Volunteers are also needed to staff the Fairness Campaign booth the following day at the festival. Shifts will last two to three hours. Volunteers get free admission to the festival. For more information contact Laura at (502) 893-0788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy under the bankruptcy law.
THE COMMUNITY LETTER extends our best wishes to Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof on his upcoming move to Spokane, Washington! A finer straight ally could not be found.
Former Editor’s Novel To Debut
David Williams, former editor of THE COMMUNITY LETTER (who is neither a Republican nor candidate for Governor of Kentucky this year), is debuting his first novel under the pen name David Walinski this month. Down in Doradilla tells the story of an average Midwestern couple taking a long road trip from their home in Ohio to Key West. But as they’re driving through southeastern Kentucky, they’re waylaid by a tornado. Unable to get back to the interstate, they find themselves wandering deeper and deeper into Owsley and Lee Counties: among the poorest counties in the nation. There, they come upon an array of odd and unusual characters, but not the type you might associate with contemporary Appalachia. First there’s the family who loves playing Vivaldi concerts on the front porch of their dilapidated cabin. The inside of their home, however, resembles a lavish mansion with a
spacious parlor, a library, and elegant dining room. Then there’s the elderly lady of wealth whose mansion is stacked to the rafters with junk, and who doesn’t seem to have a clue what a phone is, much less a television. When they meet a security guard casually dressed in the latest women’s fashions, they realize they’re not in Kentucky any more. They may not be in 2011 any more. “I call my story Jack and Diane meet Alice in Wonderland,” Williams says. “It’s not just a fantasy novel for the Age of Obama but a satirical commentary on American values and how they’re just as often ignored as honored.” Down in Doradilla, published by Outskirts Press, will be available in print and e-book form through Amazon.com and other online outlets. For a taste of the novel, go to www.downindoradilla. com. A trailer promoting the book has been filmed and will be on the internet as well in the coming weeks.
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
THE COMMUNITY LETTER offers our advertisers outstanding value for their money! For a price quote write advertising@ theletteronline.com or call (502) 893-3122.
JUNe 2011 www.TheLeTTerONLINe.COM The COMMUNITY LeTTer 7
Indianapolis: Jennifer Knapp In Concert At Wheeler Performing Arts Center
Singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp will be performing at Wheeler Performing Arts Center in Indianapolis on Saturday, June 18 at 7:30pm. The Grammy nominated performer took a seven year hiatus in the Australian outback where she gradually reclaimed a part of herself she felt she had lost. Not playing her guitar for five years, she stated that she divorced herself “from the whole thing because I never really took ownership of what music meant for me as an individual. I needed to figure that out, so I really left the music business with the idea that I may not ever do it again.” Jennifer returned to Nashville last year where she recorded her latest album, Letting Go. The recording features ten folk/rock songs showcasing Knapp’s straightforwardness and spirituality. “There is a strong sense of community that has been in the back of my mind throughout this whole process. I want my core audience to find something familiar, but refreshed, on Letting Go. At the same time, I am so happy to throw off any cloak that has been put upon me that would make any music lover hesitate to listen to my music. I am so excited to bring all different types of people to my party. I’ve written this for them.” Jennifer will be performing selections from her latest album at her Indianapolis concert, as well showcasing some new material and featuring classics from throughout her career. Wheeler Performing Arts Center is located at 1035 Sanders Street. To learn more about Jennifer, and listen to her music, visit www.jenniferknapp. com. Tickets are available online at www. BrownPaperTickets.com. General Admission tickets are $15.00, while front row seats are selling for $25.00.
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) Journeying Together In Christ 421 South 2nd Street (Downtown) (502) 587-1354 Sundays: 8:15am (Rite I); 10:00am (Choral Rite II) Concert & Choral Evensong: 2nd Sundays at 5:00pm www.christchurch.episcopalky.org Clifton Universalist Unitarian Church We Need Not Think Alike To Love Alike 2231 Payne Street, Louisville (40206) (502) 895-3189 | www.cliftonuu.org Rev. Todd Eklof, Minister Sunday Services: 11:00ish to 12:00ish, Social Hour, Vegetarian Lunch follows services Metropolitan Community Church ALL People Are Welcome at the Table 1432 Highland Avenue (Louisville) (502) 587-6225 • www.mcclouisvilleky.org Rev. Dee Dale, Pastor Sunday Morning Worship: 10:30am Wednesday Evening Worship: 6:00pm New Beginnings Church Defined By FAITH, Not Orientation! 1710 East 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN Pastor Tracy Patton/ (812) 595-0571 Sunday Worship: 10:30am www.newbeginnings4u.net Open Door Community Fellowship Reaching Out to ALL People 3938 Southern Parkway, Louisville (502) 893-6323 / Pastor Sherry Roby www.opendoorcommunityfellowship.com Sunday: 10:30am & Wednesday: 7:00pm St. Andrew United Church of Christ Wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here 2608 Browns Lane; Louisville, KY 40220 (502) 452-1777 / www.saintandrewucc.org Sunday Service: 10:30 am 2nd Sunday Taize: 7:00 pm Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church Proudly Standing On The Side Of Love! 4936 Old Brownsboro Road (Hwy. 22) Louisville, KY 40222 (502) 425-6943 | www.tjuc.org Sunday Service: 11:00am Unity of Louisville A Positive Path For Spiritual Living 757 South Brook Street Louisville, KY 40203 | (502) 583-5559 www.unityoflouisville.org Sunday Services: 9:00am & 11:00am
sponsored by mark england
Items of interest to the GLBT community are listed for FREE from non-profit community organizations, support and social groups. We also publicize events sponsored by businesses and professionals currently advertising in THE COMMUNITY LETTER. Please send details at least four weeks in advance of your event. Contact: Dave VanderPol: editor@TheLetterOnline.com. Be sure type “Regional Calendar” in the subject line of your message!
3rd Sundays 3:00pm. Metro Louisville chapter of Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays. First Lutheran Church, 417 East Broadway. For more information call (502) 2331323 or visit www.pflaglouisville.org. Confidentiality respected. Every Monday 7:00pm. Movie Mania at Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Cincinnati, 4119 Hamilton Avenue. Free. For movie titles click on the icon for the GLBT Calendar page at www.glbtcentercincinnati.com. Every Monday 7:00 pm. Dayton Gay Men's Chorus practice at Eternal Joy Metropolitan Community Church, 2382 Kennedy Avenue. For more information write DtnGayMensChorus@aol.com. Every Tuesday 2:45pm. GLBT Mental Health Issues Support Group at The Recovery Center, 2340 Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati. (513) 241-1411. 6:30pm. Triangle Martial Arts Association: Tae Kwon Do training for GLBT community. Beginners & experienced welcome. For location write: email@example.com. 7:30pm. Women's Tuesday Night Coming Out Group at Off The Avenue, 1546 Knowlton Street, Cincinnati. (513) 535-2517. Weekdays 10:00am - 6:00pm. Louisville Fairness Campaign has occasional needs for volunteers to help at their office, 2263 Frankfort Avenue. For more information call Laura at (502) 893-0788 or write firstname.lastname@example.org. 1st & 3rd Thursdays 7:00pm. Gay Men’s Support Group meets at Metropolitan Community Church of Louisville, 1432 Highland Avenue. Every 3rd Friday 7:30pm. “Family-Friendly” Coffeehouse at Day’s Coffee Shop, Bardstown Road at Edenside Avenue in Louisville. Music and readings, organized by Marie Davis, cartoonist for THE COMMUNITY LETTER. Wednesdays: June 1 & July 6 7:00pm. Crossport Crossdresser Support Group, Cincinnati. (513) 919-4850. Sunday, June 5 3:00pm. Monthly meeting of Owensboro chapter of Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays. Journey Fellowship, located at the corner of Alexander Avenue & 18th Street. For information: pflagowensboro@hotmail. com or call (270) 929-1399. Mondays: June 6 & July 4 7:00pm. Christian Men’s Fellowship Dinner. Organized by New Beginnings Church. Location: KT’s Restaurant, 2300 Lexington Road, Louisville. More information: (812) 595-0571. Tuesdays:, June 14 & July 12 7:00pm. Cincinnati PFLAG meeting. Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, 103 William Howard Taft Road. For more information call (513) 721-7900. Tuesdays:, June 14 & July 12 7:30pm Dayton PFLAG Monthly Meeting. 667 Miamisburg-Centerville Road (Centerville). For more information call: (937) 640-3333. Wednesdays: June 15 & July 13 6:30pm. Indy Bi-Versity, confidential discussion group. For more information, including the meeting location, write: email@example.com. Saturdays: June 18 & July 16 7:30pm. Monthly meeting of Sienna, transgender support group in Louisville. For location leave a message: (502) 291-9220. For more information about the group visit www.siennatg.org. July 1 - 4 Extended Fabulous 4th Holiday Weekend at Timberfell Lodge, Greenville, TN. Book early for your room or RV site. Book early to get your favorite room! Cookouts, Dance Party & lots of HOT men by the pool! For details or to make reservations for this or other upcoming special events visit www.timberfell.com. Reservations: (800) 437-0118.
a Pride tuckian & 18 Ken 7 June 1 dere in Belve on the n Louisville w n downto re informatio For mo ages 11-14. see p
HE SAVE T ! DATE!! Festival:
Selling Louisville's Most DIVERSE Neighborhoods
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
It’s the Experience!
RE/MAX 100, Inc. Voice: (502) 635-5936 FAX: (502) 637-8483 www.MarkEngland.com
Newspaper Dinner Recognizes Community Leaders & Celebrates 21st Anniversary
(Continued from page 1)
Brownsboro Road (Highway 22), south of Holiday Manor Shopping Center. Doors will open at 7:00pm. The Bobby Kyser Community Service Award will be presented to Mike Shouse and the current officers and members of the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation, the organization responsible for doing an outstanding job year after year in organizing the Kentuckiana Pride Festival. Mike Shouse stepped aside last fall after serving for six years as Director of the Kentuckiana Pride Festival. His ability to bring together one of the largest all-volunteer GLBT community organizations in Kentuckiana is a tribute to his outstanding leadership skills and tireless dedication to serving our community. The Rev. Dee & Judy Dale Spiritual Leadership Award is being presented to Rev. Cindy Weber, pastor of Jeff Street Baptist Church at Liberty for her dedication to providing leadership that has made her congregation one of the most inclusive and welcoming churches in the Louisville area. The Carla Wallace Friends of Fairness Award is being presented to the parents and straight allies affiliated with Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) from throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. PFLAG parents and straight allies are among the most hard working group of equalityminded activists who volunteer during every Kentucky legislative session to educate and advocate for GLBT rights to our state legislators. The evenings Keynote Speaker is Holly Knight, host of an Internet-based talk show that focuses on transgender issues. She has been involved in transgender education and activism for many years. Entertainment for the dinner will be provided by Anthony Matthew Ransom. He will perform an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, and pop standards. Tickets for the 21st Anniversary Dinner of THE COMMUNITY LETTER must be purchased in advance and are now on sale for $10.00 per person. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian main courses will be available, along with a decedent dessert bar. For more information or to purchase a ticket, write editor@theletteronline com or call (502) 893-3122. You may also purchase tickets by sending your check, payable to THE COMMUNITY LETTER (all three words), to Post Office Box 7842; Louisville, KY 40257. Payment for tickets must be received no later than Wednesday, June 15.
Licensed in Kentucky and Indiana. Oﬀering worldwide relocation assistance.
is earth an alien planet?
Louisvillian Kera McLain, the lesbian heroine of George Morrison’s critically acclaimed first novel, Out From It All (www. outfromitall.com), is back – on Mars in the 82-page novella Worlds. She battles harassment, homophobia and uncaring bureaucracy to win a spot on this historic journey, then shocks her colleagues by uncharacteristically breaking the rules, risking her life to save a seemingly doomed mission. Life on the Red Planet gives the misfit Kera an unfamiliar yearning for Earth and she heads home for her greatest adventures yet.
WORLDS is on sale in louisville at both CarmiChael's bookstores & Day's expresso & Coffee bar, 1420 barDstown roaD. & expressions of you Coffee house & Gallery, 18th street anD muhammaD ali boulevarD or, to orDer, Call iuniverse at (800) 288-4677.
10 The COMMUNITY LeTTer
THE COMMUNITY LETTER appreciates every one of our advertisers! We ask our readers to support them as they make your community newspaper possible. “Les-Bi-Gay and Trans-act business” with the GLBT community and our allies!
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
A warm thank you to our sponsors.
KENTUCKIANA PRIDE FESTIVAL
FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY
INCLUDING PERFROMANCES BY LOCAL ARTISTS JENN STOUT, BLUE UMBRELLAS, DANGEROUS LIAISON, and THE CAST OF LABOY LAFEMME
From RuPaul’s Drag Race
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
04 09 11 16 17 18 12
14 The COMMUNITY LeTTer
Mister KPF Pageant 6pm @ The Connection Pride Interfaith Service 7pm @ Douglas Blvd Christian Church Miss KPF Pageant 6pm @ The Connection VIP & Friends of Pride Party 8pm @ The Belvedere Kentuckiana Pride Parade 8pm @ Preston, Market & Main St Friday Night Fest 9pm @ The Belvedere Kentuckiana Pride Festival 12pm @ The Belvedere
For updates about events and more, follow us on Twitter @PrideInKY or like our Facebook page facebook.com/PrideInKY. Become a Friend of Pride today and enjoy a relaxed evening on the Belvedere before things get wild. Meet our sponsors, contributors, members and volunteers. For more details, visit our web site, www.kypride.com. Join us at noon for opening ceremony hosted by the Pride Interfaith committee. Stick around to celebrate with drinks, food and music. We are open to all. No discrimination allowed! Keith McGill Jacob Mudd Janelle Fitzpatrick Hurricane Summers Robbie Bartlett
Laugh Out Proud 8pm @ Comedy Caravan
Bible Belt Pol Comes Out For Marriage Equality—Will Obama Join Them?
Yep, I’m for gay marriage. I’ve lived a lie for most of my adult life. As a statewide elected official in Kentucky—an inner notch of the Bible Belt—I understood that coming out of the closet for gay marriage was tantamount to political suicide: an overwhelming majority of my constituents opposed it. But now as a recovering politician, I feel both liberated and morally compelled to holler from the cyber-rooftops: I’m proud as hell, and I’m not going to fake it any more! Growing up in Kentucky, gay marriage was never a topic of discussion. But late nights of philosophical experimentation in college helped me discover that I’d been for marriage equality all my life. With a father who’d marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., and a mother who’d been a statewide force for women’s rights, the notion that we were all created equal was absurdly obvious. As a Jew growing up in the South, I knew what it was like to feel discriminated, to be other. And that same faith taught me to “love your neighbor as yourself” and to “judge not, lest you be judged,” making marriage equality a natural extension of my core beliefs. I soon came out to my parents, close friends and ultimately, my future wife. (She was for gay marriage, too!). For the first decade of our marriage, living on the East Coast, we could be open about our beliefs. But then we decided to move back home and in 1998, I even made the youthful indiscretion of running for Congress. There was simply no other option: I had to shove my gay marriage views into a back corner of my closet. My consultants advised that any deviation or hesitation would immediately make me unelectable. Even my savvy gay friends gave me a pass: they understood that compromising on this issue was the only route toward the greater good. They’d rather have someone who sympathized with them and voted the way they liked 90% of time, instead of one that opposed them more often than not. And while I didn’t win that congressional bid (ironically, I lost the primary to a thencloseted, now openly-gay man, Judge Ernesto Scorsone), I soon won two terms as state treasurer, capturing large majorities in rural areas where my secret views would have been anathema. Many of my politician-allies quietly assumed that I was for gay marriage (as I did of them). So did my rivals, some of whom began to gossip about my political lifestyle. But I went out of my way to avoid the topic. When asked, I would parse my answers like a Clintonian deposition. In 2004, when state voters by a margin of 3 to 1 passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage—and anything that looked like it (presumably civil unions)—I was both horrified by the policy and relieved by the personal political implication: when
by Jonathan Miller
(See GUEST LETTERTORIAL, continued on pg 20)
When “Adults” Can't “Play Well With Others”
On this, the 21st anniversary of the founding of THE COMMUNITY LETTER (which also happens to mark one year since the word “COMMUNITY” was added to our publication’s name), I wanted to offer some thoughts about the challenges I’ve experienced when working with community groups. I bring up this topic because I believe that well run groups are an essential element of both building and maintaining a strong community. Groups, along with individuals, are the “building blocks” of community. When it comes to being part of a group, it seems some people don’t have a clue about how to behave, let alone know how to properly treat fellow group members. My theory is that when most of these folks were in grade school their report cards often included a teacher’s observation that they didn’t “play well with others.” I think we have a few politicians like this (ever heard of Kentucky senator David Williams, the Republican candidate for Governor?). Many of these toxic folks within our community regularly wreak havoc in GLBT social and support groups—not to mention in some gay-friendly churches. Some folks who create problems for the groups they join may suffer from some form of mental illness, including borderline personality disorder and narcissism. Mental health professionals point out that individuals experiencing these problems
by Dave VamderPol, Executive Editor
in GLBT-friendly and GLBT-focused community groups. If you aren’t already part of at least one GLBT group, find one and join it! Contact me directly if you need a referral. Within the group you are part of, take note when other members are behaving in a manner that could harm the group-as-awhole. When you have such an awareness, don’t hesitate to confront the situation (either directly yourself or through group leaders). If you feel a need to be part of a GLBTfocused social or support group, but can’t find one that meets your need or lacks a focus that you value, then start one! Contact me so I can lend the resources of THE COMMUNITY LETTER to help you get out the word, for FREE, about your community group. I’m also a pretty good resource to consult if you are struggling to find an affordable place to host group meetings. Remember that THE COMMUNITY LETTER is focused on and dedicated to Building Community through building up community social and support groups!
rarely respond well to either medication or therapy. Indeed they rarely overcome their group-destructive tendencies. What I’ve learned over the years is that the groups that do the best job at minimizing the damage caused by toxic individuals that have clear boundaries about what they are about and how they function. Groups that survive the presence of “crazymakers” also have leaders who are unafraid to be assertive when toxic individuals act out inappropriately. When reasonably sane group members fear confrontation to the point that they go out of their way to avoid dealing with problem members, the group will ultimately suffer. Refusing to face problematic group members is a sure way to run off good group members. So when you have a group member acting inappropriately don’t hesitate to confront the person. If your group has structured leadership, make the leaders aware of your concerns. Some behaviors of group members that I’ve found deserving of confrontation include: Individuals who dominate group discussion time. Group members should only share a second time within a meeting once all other members have had a chance to share. Some overly-talkative group members probably deserve to the title “Drama Queen”, where they would love
nearly every moment of every meeting to be focused on them. Unbridled selfcenteredness has no place in group meetings. Within a healthy group we focus on “we” more than just “me”. Support groups are not a substitute for professional counseling sessions. Beware of members who share “too much information” within the group setting. No meeting needs to turn into an “inappropriate-fest”. Individuals who use group discussion time to pick apart and overly-analyze comments made by other group members. The healthiest support group meetings don’t allow “feedback” from group members during the meeting after a member shares. Feedback, however, is encouraged one-on-one after meetings conclude. Some individuals are too lazy to organize their own group, so they seek out other groups (usually those that lack assertive leaders) that they can easily “hijack” in an attempt to change the group’s intended focus. These people can be passive-aggressive or openly hostile of the group’s they attempt to hijack. Either way they need to be shown the door if they don’t agree with the stated focus of the group they join. This Pride Month I challenge you to take the following actions as a way to “build community” through participating
Agree or disagree, Dave VanderPol would love to know your thoughts! Write to him at editor@theletteronline. com or call (502) 419-2597.
The COMMUNITY LeTTer 15
liberal on the sauce
Will Kentucky Ever Get Its Due?
I am constantly amazed at people from out of state who seem astonished that there are gays and lesbians living in Kentucky, much less LGBT activists, must less an active LGBT movement. Where have these people been? The back jungles of Myanmar? Last year I traded emails with a lesbian from somewhere far away from Kentucky (I think it was Oregon). In the last email I got from her, she said something to the effect that “It’s good to know there are gay activists in Kentucky.” I had to stop and think about that for a minute. Is the national LGBT movement that much Northern and West Coast centric that they never pay any attention to what’s happening in the so-called “flyover” states? It reminded me of the time my fourth husband and I checked into a gay resort in Key West, and some snobby guy from up East seemed amused there were gay people in Kentucky at all. He couldn’t get his arms around the concept. It seems that any time you mention you’re from Kentucky to anyone who’s not from here, no matter in what context, this invisible shield goes up. After that, nothing you say is going to get through to them, no matter how fiery a liberal you are. Yes, Dorothy, Kentucky does have an LGBT movement. We’ve been around since a year after Stonewall. We’ve had LGBT pride festivals and picnics since the early 1980s. While we haven’t had the spectacular successes that such states as Massachusetts and California have had through the years, there are no Southern states that can hold a candle to our achievements. Just look at what happened recently in Tennessee, where the state legislature actually passed a law prohibiting the adoption of fairness laws there. Kentucky has this image as a backwoods state, but do you seriously think that would happen here? Not a chance. The main culprit is, of course, all those horrible stereotypes that continue to circulate about our state. The national corporate media, particularly CNN, don’t help. Before they even venture across our borders, their reporters have already written their story. Why do they bother coming? They need a *$#*@ visual. I still chafe at the memory of that one CNN report in 2008 that honed into the most awful hayseed they could find to get a sound byte to show the rest of the country how backward we are, but it’s not just CNN. I’ve seen this happen time and time again on NBC, CBS, and ABC as well. They aren’t interested in the truth. All they’re interested in is selling Lexuses. But I think another problem is our lack of public relations and marketing savvy. Even though we’ve accomplished all these things, such as fairness laws in Louisville, Lexington, and Covington, and we raise the issue in such places as Richmond and Berea, it seems a
by David Williams
mystery to us how to get that news across to the rest of the country. It’s probably a combination of the two: stereotypes and lack of PR savvy. But the end result is the same. It’s a kind of Cassandra syndrome where no matter what we say, everyone’s going to ignore us: the ultimate insult. What can we do? I haven’t a clue. Once stereotypes about a place get lodged in the nation’s brain, no amount of good works is going to change it. It’s not just Kentucky’s problem. Look at other states, like New Jersey or Arkansas. Sometime in the distant future when the LGBT movement’s history is writ, maybe historians will notice this little state on the northern fringes of the South that got all this stuff accomplished in spite of the state’s conservative religious culture. Maybe Lexington and Louisville will suddenly come into focus. But it’s kind of like the dead artist syndrome. No one paid any attention to Vincent van Gogh until he was shot himself. Moby Dick was all but forgotten book until Herman Melville croaked. Are we all going to have to die before media images of our state begin to change? That doesn’t seem likely as long as the national media and the national LGBT movement continues to be enslaved by images that have little to do with our fair state, and much more to do with their own intellectual provincialism.
4033 Taylorsville Road Louisville, KY 40220 Mobile: (502) 836-1255 FAX: (502) 400-2796 firstname.lastname@example.org Century 21 Joe Guy Hagan Each Office Is Independently Owned & Operated
Classified Advertising in THE COMMUNITY LETTER is affordable and presented with a type font that is easy on the eyes! This is a great way to support the work of your community newspaper. Up to 40 words for $15.00, 41 – 75 words for $25.00. Ads must be pre-paid with a credit card through PayPal or by check. For more information write email@example.com or call (502) 419-2597. Deadline for prepayment and text: 20th day of the month for the following month’s issue. Paid ads appearing in print are also placed on our main website at no additional charge: www. TheLetterOnline.com.
CHUBS & CHASERS GROUP Now forming a social group for big men and their admirers. 1st & 3rd Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm. Crescent Hill location. For more information write flamboyantbohemian@gmail. com. GIFT SUGGESTION Give the gift of affordable fine art. Acrylic on canvas paintings featuring the Urban Realism genre from Louisville artist David Walinski. View his paintings online: www. davidwalinski.com. HELP WANTED Timberfell Lodge Men's Resort and Campground has staff positions open for the 2011 season. Live on property and wage package. Contact timberfell@ timberfell.com or 800-437-0118.
Now Selling Lesbian & Gay Videos
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (502) 419-2597
16 The COMMUNITY LeTTer www.TheLeTTerONLINe.COM
GAY LOVE COACH
Top 10 Secrets of Successful Gay Daters
Dating can be like a roller coaster ride sometimes with its fun highs and frustrating lows. Ever wonder why some guys have more luck with the dating game than others? Ever contemplate what it takes to become more successful with men? Well, that’s a tricky business and there’s no scientific formula that will yield those positive results. I believe dating is partly luck and lots of preparation. Here are ten characteristics common to the profile of a successful gay dater. The list goes on beyond this as well, but these qualities can provide a starting point for you to assess your possible strengths and weaknesses as a single gay man on the prowl for your Mr. Right and to develop goals for self-improvement that will maximize your efforts out on the dating scene. Profile Of A Successful Gay Dater 10. He lives a life that he loves with a clear vision of his future and is armed with self-knowledge and awareness. It’s critical that you avoid defining your whole life around dating and finding a boyfriend. This is just one aspect of your life and you don’t want to neglect and avoid the other parts of your identity. Know who you are, what you want, and where you’re going in your life. Develop a crisp, clear vision of how you want to be and the type of life you’d like to lead and succinctly define your personal values, passions, and life purpose and live according to them. Look and feel your best! And remember, “The Law of Attraction” states that like attracts like; what you put out there and show the world has the tendency to attract the same back to you—and that goes for dating too! 9. He knows his personal requirements and refuses to tolerate anything less. The best defense that you can have in the midst of all those men to choose from is to know what your nonnegotiable needs are; things you absolutely must have or absolutely cannot have in a relationship for you to be with that particular guy. This will help you weed through the potentials and the Mr. Wrongs. And don’t sway from your requirements, no matter how hot he is! You’ll be saving yourself a lot of grief in the long run. 8. He has a solid knowledge of what constitutes a healthy relationship. Be aware of the ingredients of a healthy partnership. This can help you detect any red flags in your dating relationship that might be “dealbreakers” or areas that the two of you could work on together. Such qualities include each person having a strong sense of self with solid boundaries, open communication, flexibility, commitment, ability to have fun, capable of non-defensive conflict negotiation, having emotional connection and intimacy, affection, sexual compatibility, etc. 7. He has a strong support system, access to resources, and is comfortable being alone. It’s important when your single to have a good friendship network going (they can be great matchmakers sometimes) and have a circle of people in your life who support you and care about you. Additionally, become knowledgeable about the resources that exist in your community for LGBT individuals as additional components you can add to your network. And learn creative ways for coping with loneliness by utilizing this alone time for self-reflection, relaxation, and movement toward your personal goals and vision.
by Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, D.H.S., M.S.W.
of our homophobic society, we were never taught how to date, so gays don’t typically have pacing rituals or milestones like our straight counterparts do for dating. This, coupled with relief after years of isolation and having a strong need to feel loved/wanted/connected, fuels us to rush intimacy too quickly and establish premature connections without knowing more about the other guy. It’s important to build a foundation first as this helps us make good choices. Learn how to pace and slow things down by learning how to add courtship, flirting, and romance to the mix. 3. He is emotionally and physically available and ready for love. Have the time and space to invite a person into your world. It will be difficult to establish a connection with someone if your time schedule is too booked up. Also be ready emotionally by ensuring you’ve resolved any baggage from your past or addressing any current personal issues that may distract you and sabotage your efforts at love. And most importantly, be yourself! Don’t be someone that you think he wants you to be. Don’t mold yourself around someone just to be in a relationship. You’ll end up resenting him and yourself for your dishonesty. Remember to live by your personal requirements and have your own individual identity. 2. He has a well-rounded repertoire of dating skills and knows how to use them. Dating skills include such things as knowing where to meet men (pick venues aligned with your vision!), being assertive, having good communication skills, being able to initiate and maintain conversations, differentiating between guys who are cruising vs. serious dating candidates, knowing how to flirt, etc. The more developed you are in these types of skills, the more savvy and confident you will feel when in social situations and you’ll be more magnetic! 1. He is a go-getter and takes charge of his life. He makes things happen! Nothing will happen in your life unless you take the proactive steps to make changes. This is not an easy task, especially if you’re shy or hesitant because of past efforts that didn’t work out, but you have to be the chooser and take risks. In most cases, things will not fall in your lap. You will need to do the work involved in making your vision become a reality. Whether it be combating procrastination or dealing with fears of rejection, conquer your anxieties directly. And do it NOW! The more you run from or avoid anxiety, the stronger it gets. And don’t put your life on hold either. One man once told me, “I’ll start dating after I lose weight.” No! Live your life to the max now while you’re working on such goals. There’s no greater loss than postponing living your life. You can assess yourself on the successful dater scale by examining these ten issues. Dating can be fun AND challenging, so the more prepared you are for inviting love into your life, the greater the chances of victory. Identify the strengths and weaknesses you may have from this profile and make a commitment to yourself to develop goals for improving up your weak spots and follow through with them. While it’s not foolproof, you will greatly improve your chances in the dating pool and you’ll also be strengthening your personhood in the process, adding more value and richness to your life. Your Mr. Right is out there. Now go get him!
The COMMUNITY LeTTer 17
6. He has overcome a lot of the male socialization barriers that can interfere with relationship quality of life. “Men are tough. Men don’t cry. Men don’t show emotions.”You know, all those mumbo jumbo messages all of us men, gay and straight, had to internalize growing up. These scripts that are supposed to define manhood limit our ability to live freely. As a result, many gay relationships tend to be highlighted by competition, status, power/control struggles, and lack of effective communication skills and expression of feelings. Put two men together in a dating situation with the same socialization scripts, and these are relationship killers!
Define for yourself what being a man means, develop comfort with your masculinity and gender, and don’t be held back by these prejudicial sanctions. 5. He has addressed any issues pertaining to internalized homophobia, feels a sense of acceptance and pride with being gay, and has overcome a lot of the gay stereotypes and myths that abound about gay men and dating. Coming out isn’t for everyone, but the more accepting you are about your sexual identity, the greater quality of life you can experience. You don’t have to live a double life any more, you no longer have to lie or hide behind secrets, you can live with less fear and stress, and your self-esteem tends to be higher in most cases. It’s not an easy feat, however—there’s years worth of shame to work through, but for most people the journey is beneficial as they can then live more authentically and truly be themselves. Dating and relationships can be made difficult without a resolution to this, particularly if both men are in different places on the coming-out continuum. Additionally, it’s important to counter any myths or stereotypes about homosexuality because these can be limiting as well. “All the good ones are taken.” “Gay relationships don’t work.” “All gay men want is sex.” “I have to be a stud to land a man.” “Guys will come to me.” If you believe any of these statements and the many others that exist, recognize these as misinformation that can be confusing and distort reality and work hard at challenging and defeating such negative self-talk so that they don’t get in the way of your goals. 4. He knows what dating means and how to do it instead of just having sex. For many gay men, having sex and/or jumping into a relationship too early is a common phenomenon. Because
GAY & FEMINIST
The media has been tripping over the Judd Apatow-produced comedy, Bridesmaids. Not only is it the filmmaker ’s first female-centric movie, but critics and journalists seem to be genuinely surprised that a film with a predominately female cast could actually be funny. I guess the 2008 remake of The Women is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Almost every female comedian will tell you that comedy is an old boys club—women have always been in the minority, with many male comedians frequent questioning a woman’s ability to be funny. Female performers have never outnumbered their male counterparts on Saturday Night Live. The Daily Show seemingly features one token female reporter a year. And in Hollywood, comedies geared toward women typically need to be romantic in nature. But in 2011, when attitudes have clearly changed, I’m a little surprised that so many are greeting the Kristen Wiig-penned Bridesmaids with such skepticism and shock. I suppose its a little naïve of me to expect anything different; focusing on the legitimacy of female comics is clearly reflective of larger, cultural attitudes towards women. But much like the pop music scene, film and television have become increasingly female dominated in recent years. We live in the age of Tina Fey, a woman who has won just about every award you could possibly imagine—beating out men and women—simply because she is funny. In fact, many female SNL alums
by Eric Jost
to Kathy Griffin—have intensely loyal and rabid fantasies that most male comedians seemingly lack (notable exception: Jon Stewart). The other issue the media seems to be focusing on is whether or not American audiences will actually pay to see Bridesmaids. For some reason, many Hollywood pundits have a hard time believing that women go to the movies, or that men will pay to go see a movie starring a woman. Granted, Bridesmaids is opening at a time when the highest grossing films are Thor and Fast Five; but that’s exactly why it can and will draw an audience—it is the anecdote to the testosterone-fueled, mindless action flicks that pervade theatres week after week. Bridesmaids might not appeal to adolescent boys, but I know more than one adult male who will join me at a showing of Bridesmaids. Granted, if it is a flop, it probably won’t break any glass ceilings or convince Hollywood to churn out more female-centric comedies. But with a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m hopeful. from the 2000s have gone on to have very successful and critically lauded careers. But Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler are still considered humorous oddities, despite the fact that hundreds of funny women came before them. And many of these comediennes—from Betty White
Eric Jost is a freelance writer living in California. His work ranges from first-person narratives to commentaries on pop culture and politics. You can check out more of his work at www.eric-jost.com.
The Good News: God Loves Homosexuals
Within Christian circles, the debate about homosexuality has been at the forefront over the past few decades. Much like the civil rights movement and the women’s movement, there was no problem as long as those in the GLBT community kept their place within a heterosexist religious system. Only when GLBT persons began to ask for equal rights did the church make it such a hot topic. The many arguments against homosexuality have been based upon a handful of Biblical texts, which have been misinterpreted by modern scholars as condemning of sexual behavior between two persons of the same sex. Most people have relied upon their clergy to instruct them on the biblical stance toward homosexuality. Unfortunately, many clergy have either been ignorant of the facts or do not present the whole truth to their congregants. Many people in the
18 The COMMUNITY LeTTer
by Pastor Sherry Roby
bible should be a moot point now. The most certain statement that can be made is that the bible does not address samesex relationships encountered in the church today. Those who still hold on to the idea that there are texts that condemn homosexuality, only need to be asked if they still support slavery or stoning sassy children (both of which are clearly sanctioned in the bible). Christians should spend more time reading the texts of the Old Testament and the gospels rather than the Pauline letters. If they did, they would note that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, but he did speak about judging others and welcoming all of God’s children.
Rev. Sherry Roby is the Pastor of Open Door Community Fellowship in Louisville. For more information about her congregation visit www. OpenDoorCommunityFellowship.org. JUNe 2011
church are still unaware that there is no word for “homosexuality” in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, the three original languages of the bible. It did not appear in the English language until the late 19th century. The ancient Israelites and the early church had no concept of sexual orientation, which is a relatively new concept for us today. Understanding the historical, sociological, and ideological background of biblical texts is essential in determining both an original meaning as well as a meaning for the modern faith community. In the Old Testament, Israelites were constantly on the verge of extinction; procreation was of the utmost importance. Anything that endangered the possibility for children was a threat to the whole community. During the writing of the New Testament, Christians were a minority group; the early church’s greatest threat
came from the Greek culture, especially their religions. In the attempt to establish their own identity, early church leaders tried to emphasize the sins of Greek religion, especially their incorporation of sexual behavior within their rituals. Anything closely resembling their behavior was strictly prohibited for the new Christian community. Given this backdrop for reading and interpreting biblical texts, homosexuality is seen in a much different light. The threats that existed for Ancient Israel and the early church are not what threaten today’s world and church. We face possible extinction due to over population, not the lack of procreation, and the Christian faith is no longer a minority voice, especially in the United States. Just as the biblical texts were written in certain historical contexts, so we must interpret them today within our own contemporary world. The debate about homosexuality in the
life beyond therapy
Years ago I was asked to write an article for a Honolulu gay newspaper about “fathers”. I can’t find the article, but I remember talking about the idea that fatherhood is a quality not determined by gender or genetics. To me, fatherhood is the ability to encourage, nurture, protect, support and serve as a role model for others. Looking at fatherhood this way makes it a quality that all of us men and women, single and married, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender – can demonstrate to the adults, children and animals in our life. In my private practice, I am pleased to work with many same sex couples with kids. No matter who these folks are, there is always one person who is more the “dad”, e.g., she or he is less protective of the kids, encourages them to be strong, try things, have adventures and risk failure. This is traditional “dad” stuff, but women can be just as good at it as men (maybe even better). Are there people, children or animals in your life that need encouragement? Folks who need a good kick in the butt more than coddling and fussing over? This is your chance to be a “dad”. Are there people who need someone to show them how to endure hardship or get through a tough time? Again, this is “dad” stuff and you can do it. Some of the best “dads” I
by Michael Kimmel, M.A., M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
writes that most of us (men and women alike) didn’t have dads who were really there for us, mentored us or gave us good examples of what mature, grounded adult men can be like. This is why we all need to embody fatherhood for each other. We’re all missing pieces of a “perfect” dad. None of us got one, no matter how hard he tried. Many of us had dads who were rarely around or too messed up psychologically to really be there for us. We’re all missing pieces of “dad” and – therefore pieces of ourselves. We can be “good fathers” to each other. We need to. Let me give you some suggestions on how you can embody fatherhood to all the people in your life: • Be consistent. A good dad knows who he is and what matters to him. His words and actions match. He’s not big on gossip and useless chatter. He speaks when he has something to say and listens when he doesn’t. • Be openly loving. A good dad is. Even teenagers may say, “oh yuck” or “oh grow up” if you hug them in public, but, in private, they’ll admit they need lots of hugs and encouragement. We all do. • Don’t be bossy and tell people what to do. Help people to find their own way. Encourage them to go after what they want, but don’t hand it to them on a platter. • When children (or adults) challenge you, be prepared to explain yourself calmly. A good dad doesn’t wig out when questioned, but will tell you what he’s thinking and the rationale behind it. • Be willing to set reasonable limits with people. Most adults, like children, are comfortable with structure and predictability. • Focus more on being respected than liked. Respect is powerful and lasting, popularity comes and goes…and people who are respected ARE well-liked anyway. • Pick your battles. You don’t blow up at a kid for every little thing they do; do the same with your adult friends and colleagues. A good dad can let stuff roll off his back. • Apologize when you’re wrong, explain things when you’re asked and give comfort when it’s needed. This is a good dad at his best. Whether your father is alive or not, whether he was fabulous or a total dud, and whether you like him or complain about him, today, why not trying to embody fatherhood yourself? Regardless of who you are (and your gender, age, etc.), why not be the best “dad” you can to everyone you know. We’ll ALL benefit (and thank you).
know are strong, powerful women. Don’t let your gender determine your behavior; we can all embody fatherhood. And…the truth is, we all need good dads in our life. Most of us didn’t have such great biological dads. Richard Rohr, in his book, From Wild Men to Wise Men
It's Hard To Be Humble
Pride gets a bad rap in many branches of Christianity and even other religious traditions. Pride is supposed to be Lucifer’s reason for the big falling out with his boss, the monotheist’s god. In Buddhism pride is a poison that keeps the soul attached to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth and impedes enlightenment. Hindus and Jains may be said to be suspicious of pride since it’s a trap that discourages release of the soul. It’s risky to make sweeping statements for Hindus and Jains because of the sheer diversity of belief and practice between groups that we Westerners see as “a group” but see themselves in a different light. But you get the picture. Religious folk in general are very suspicious of pride. It’s funny, especially when looking at Christianity and the other monotheisms, that pride doesn’t get all that negative a portrayal in their scriptures. There are very few people that would take the story of Lucifer’s fall (Isaiah 14) and warp it enough to equate Lucifer’s motivation with a normal person’s sense of self worth or self esteem. The whole “pride goeth before the fall” meme is a misquote of Proverbs 16:18 anyway. Scripture actually
by James W. Hensley
says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (New International Version) Nor are the Seven Deadly (Cardinal, Capital) Sins a list culled from some single passage in the Christian or Hebrew scriptures (see Galatians 5, for example). Philosophers and popes made lists of sins to watch out for throughout Christian history and the lists varied from one author to the next. It was Dante that popularized the list discussed today. Note that Dante didn’t write in English and we’re not exactly talking about a contemporary author. Check The Divine Comedy. There are translations in the library. Nevertheless, “pride is bad” gets a lot of play in contemporary society. Hook that to we queer happy few celebrating Pride in the summertime to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969 and you’ve got a PR nugget that bigots, haters, and extremists love to dish about. “Where’s the humility?” I have yet to see the mega churches and high dollar religious right leaders in the US practice the humility they love to demand from others but that’s the subject of another column. Hubris, however, is one of those things we do need to look out for. Hubris is a fancy Greek word that often gets translated “pride” but just as often is recognized as “arrogance” or “haughtiness”. It has nothing to do
with self-esteem or what early Christian theologians (following Greek philosophy) named excellence. I promise not to throw in any more Greek vocabulary but I encourage you to take a minute and see what Augustine of Hippo had to say about it. Excellence, I mean, not Greek vocabulary. Pride is not the problem. Between anti-gay hate groups, love the sinner-hate the sin churches, ‘ex-gay’ junk science, heterosexual privilege and sheer numbers you have to be living your delusions out loud if you think one celebration or parade or festival in the heat of the summer somehow threatens the stability of society in general, heterosexual marriage in particular or the future of humanity as a species. Snap out of it. It does get better (thank you Dan Savage) and pride is part of the process.
Rev. James Hensley is co-pastor of Progressive Pathways Fellowship in Louisville. His views do not necessarily represent those of his congregation.
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
Basic Information About Life Insurance
Life insurance helps provide peace of mind that your family is financially protected when you are no when you are no longer around. However, buying life insurance can seem like a daunting task because of the variety of products that are available, plus, it is hard to approach the idea that you should plan for a time when you’re not around. However, life insurance is a critical component to financial well-being, so it is a discussion you should not postpone. To help you get started, Allstate Personal Financial Representative, Daniel Mason, asks that you consider two common questions: How much life insurance do I need? What type of insurance should I buy? The answers to these questions will arm you with the basics to begin your assessment of life insurance options. How much life insurance do you need? “A general rule of thumb is that your life insurance should be at least five to seven times your annual salary,” said Mason. “However, the amount you need can vary because it is dependant on so many factors including income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. You need to think about your current situation and how that situation may change in the future. Your insurance agent or
GUEST LETTERTORIAL, continued from page 15
by Daniel C. Mason
renegotiate your lease or move out. Even if you rented the house for 30 years, you have no “equity” or value that belongs to you. This concept could be applied when thinking of term life insurance. You establish a term, or amount of time you’d like life insurance protection for, and you will pay the premiums for this certain period of protection. At the end of the term, you can choose to renew at a new rate, discontinue protection or select a new policy. Permanent life insurance is in some respects similar to owning a home. It provides insurance throughout your life. Because it is designed to last a lifetime, permanent life insurance accumulates cash value like the equity in your home -- and is priced for you to maintain over a long period of time. If you make regular premium payments and avoid loans, withdrawals or surrenders, the full-face amount will be paid. So, which one is better? Just like buying or renting a home, neither option is always right or always wrong. Rather, the type of policy that’s right for you depends on your specific situation. A financial professional can help you make the decision that may be appropriate for you. This is the first in a series of three informational pieces intended to educate readers on life insurance. Please call Allstate Personal Financial Representative Daniel Mason at (502) 966-5178 or danielcmason@allstate. com with any questions or to receive additional information about life insurance options.
Securities offered through Allstate Financial Services, LLC (LSA Securities in LA and PA). Registered Broker-Dealer. Member NASD, SIPC. Main Office: 2920 South 84th Street, Lincoln, NE 68506. (877) 525-5727.
financial professional will likely have a worksheet to help you calculate your needs.” What are the different types? There are many kinds of life insurance, but they generally fall into two categories: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Term life insurance is in some respects similar to renting a home. When you rent a home, you get to take full advantage of the entire property immediately and for as long as you continue paying rent. As soon as your lease expires, you must
asked in the future, I could say that the electorate had spoken; that my individual point of view no longer mattered. But it was a recent moment that revealed my position was no longer tenable. My 14-year-old daughter, Abigail, came home from a Young Democrats meeting flustered: she’d heard that her political hero, President Obama, was against gay marriage. How could we have supported someone with such an abhorrent position on such a critical civil rights issue? My stammering revealed that we hadn’t had the “talk” yet. Lisa and I had shared our equality views with both our daughters, and we were thrilled when they adopted these values as their own. One of our proudest moments was learning that our older daughter, Emily, had publicly defended a gay teenage friend who was being bullied. So how could I reconcile my public timidity with my private passion? I knew it was time to come out. Some will castigate me for waiting until it was too late to make any difference. I plead guilty. But while such a gesture might have been noble and potentially educational, I determined that, on balance, it wasn’t worth political hari-kari. There were too many battles on too many other fronts that I wanted to fight. Gay marriage is important, but so are poverty reduction, educational
20 The COMMUNITY LeTTer
opportunity, environmental protection and so on. I’d be giving up on all of the latter to simply make a statement on the former. Others will declare that my pronouncement signifies the demise of my own political future. They understand that there’s no way the same electorate that gave Rand Paul a landslide victory would support a marriage equality advocate. They’re probably right—in the short term. I deeply respect those Kentuckians who’ve delved deeply into their own religious or moral beliefs and reached a different conclusion on marriage equality. But I humbly and strongly disagree. And I feel compelled to fess up. For I believe that my admission today can do some good. First, it can help educate my daughters— as well as my friends and readers—about the complex, nuanced decision-making process of most well-meaning politicians. In a political system that forces candidates to the extremes, and with a media culture that portrays issues in black and white, there are a significant number of pols who struggle every day to accommodate their personal values with political realities. Second, I hope it gives some small measure of comfort to marriage equality advocates to know that there are politicians like me—even in conservative states— who support gay marriage and will come forward when it no longer will disqualify
them from winning office. Time is clearly on equality’s side: while recent polls show that somewhere between a small plurality and a tiny majority of Americans support gay marriage, younger Americans overwhelmingly are in favor. Last November, my hometown, Lexington—a light blue oasis in a deeply red commonwealth—elected an openly gay mayor, Jim Gray. And just a few months ago, a statewide poll revealed an overwhelming number of Kentuckians support anti-discrimination protections for gays. Neither would have been the case in my childhood, probably not even a decade ago. Finally, I pray that that my endorsement of gay marriage will encourage more people—politicians and average citizens— to make the same admission. We are close to a tipping point, when an anti-gay marriage stance could be seen as a political liability. Today’s politicians must understand that only a few decades from now, gay marriage opponents might be viewed the same way we today view civil rights opponents from the 50s and 60s, many of whom secretly supported race equality but were afraid of the backlash. Harvey Milk, perhaps history’s most influential gay rights advocate, was right: when more gays and lesbians came out of the closet—and the rest of us began to realize that friends and even loved ones were
gay—the stigma wore off, and it became politically and personally unacceptable to preach gay hatred. Similarly, when more people discover that those they respect support gay marriage, it will help lead us on a path to full equality. Unlike Lady Gaga, we’re not “born this way”—in favor or opposed to gay marriage. Our positions can be transformed by the wisdom and examples of others. So please join me today. Speak out on marriage equality; let your friends know where you stand. Perhaps then, they will change their minds, or even feel liberated to come out of hiding and stand with us. Indeed, there’s one politician whom I’m confident supports marriage equality, but has been afraid to admit it. I suspect he’s waiting for the right opportunity to announce it, when the electoral benefits outweigh the political downside. Mr. President, the time is now. Yes, you can... trigger the tipping point. Exercising bold leadership—instead of waiting to follow the generational tide—might be your most enduring legacy. I know my daughters would be proud. And I bet yours would feel the same way too.
Jonathan Miller, a Democrat, served as Treasurer of Kentucky from 2000–2007. Visit his website, www. TheRecoveringPolitician.com, or follow him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/RecoveringPol). JUNe 2011
We're Not There Anymore
Here’s the lesson that keeps smacking me in the face: we are defined in part by the space we no longer occupy. My husband Dave very recently retired after 24 years as chaplain with hospice. He looks forward to having time for creative pursuits. Yet even as he says hello to his creative self, he says goodbye to position and daily routine, patient contact and serving as part of a hospice team. He is defined by the space he no longer occupies. Dave’s last day at work was Friday. He left at 3:00, headed for a 3:15 doctor’s appointment regarding his heart. “This is not how I envisioned starting my retirement,” he said. He’s been feeling tightness and sharp jabbing pains in his chest—angina pectoris. And so we are at the hospital. He’s here for tests. I’m here for him. I feel a pang when I look at this man I adore, when I place a hand on his defined pecs, know I love him, fear losing him. I want to hear that all is well, that this pain is perhaps the result of stress and major life transition. Today Dave will undertake a treadmill stress test with radioactive dye coursing through his system. Just now he is in line for a blood draw when the man behind him engages him in conversation. This fellow had a heart transplant three years ago. Doctors had given him 10 months to live without the transplant, 10 years with it. He opted to pursue treatment. “I used to weigh 430 pounds,” he tells Dave. “I hated shopping for clothes. I felt like I was buying a couch cover when I bought a pair of pants.” Before his heart transplant he lost 60 pounds and had bariatric surgery. He’s now down to 180 pounds and says he is doing very well, feels great. Dave says hearing this man’s story helps him put his own troubles in perspective. “I realize I’m worried about my condition and there are people who face far greater challenges than I do.” What I hear is how we are defined in part by the space we no longer occupy. This man once weighed 250 pounds more than he does now, and he readily shares this information with a stranger. Part of who he is now is what he does not have. He no longer has the heart he was born with. He no longer has 250 pounds that were once a part of him. These losses allow him to live and to live more fully, but that doesn’t mean that he’s forgotten about them or no longer thinks about them. In an intangible, invisible way they are a part of who he is. Dave and I later stand at the radiology counter. An elderly woman comes out of the waiting room, looks about, looks bewildered. The receptionist turns her attention from us to the woman. “They wheeled your husband down to Area 2. You were on the phone so I didn’t interrupt you. Go down this hallway to the desk in Area 2 and they’ll tell you where he is.” The woman nods and steps away, then turns back. “When you’ve been married to a man for 60 years, you miss him when he’s not around.” Dave says he hears this as a need to talk, invitation to dialogue, plea for help. I hear a comment about loss, about selfdefinition, about defining oneself by what or who is not there—or here. I gauge such encounters through the screen or filter of my own experience. Who am I? I am who I am not; I am the space I no longer occupy. I am the father whose children are lost to him, whose children choose to have nothing to do with him. I am the father whose eldest son at age 10 said, “Dad, I don’t want to see or talk to you again.” I am the father whose twin sons when they turned 14, obtained a restraining order to put a stop to our visitation together. At issue: my being gay. My being an openly affirming gay man. My being a gay man with the temerity to believe I’m not going to hell for being who I am. I define myself in part by the space I do not occupy, by the children who are lost to me. By the heart space that is empty, the echo I hear when I call my sons’ names. Is this me, the un-father, not-father, usedto-be father? Yes, part of who I am is who I am not. But I sometimes wonder if I spend too much time looking at the empty half of the glass. Still, to be human is to experience loss. The stress test over, we go to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled. The woman in line behind us says she’s been up since 3:00 this morning. Her husband is in the hospital with an unknown heart condition. She received a middle-of-thenight call from the nursing staff suggesting she come sit with him. None of their three children could join her. She’s having to go it alone. “I don’t know what I will do if something happens to him,” she says. “We’re barely making it on two incomes now.” Who will she be when her husband dies? How will she handle a new definition of self when it smacks her in the face? How
by Bryn Marlow
does any of us handle loss? We adapt, we cope. We grieve. We move on, we get stuck. We do the best we can, the best we know how. We rely on each other. We tell our stories. To anyone who will listen. This is part of being human, too. Come Pride Day, I’ll be thinking of this as I celebrate us as a people of courage and spirit, as I listen to the stories told of who we are, where we’ve come from, how we define ourselves. We are who we are—and also who we are not.
New Federal Guidance Protects Transgender Federal Workers
(Continued from page 4)
in their public service to our nation. “It is an essential American value that workers be judged on the merits, not personal characteristics like sexual orientation and gender identity that have no bearing on how well you can do the job,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Today’s guidance will help to ensure that all federal workers -- whether fighting fires in our national forests, prosecuting federal crimes in court, conducting groundbreaking cancer research or making sure this week’s paycheck gets to your mailbox --
will be treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve. We thank President Obama and OPM Director John Berry for their leadership in providing a federal workforce that welcomes all who would enter public service, including LGBT people.” As part of its Blueprint for Positive Change, a series of policy recommendations to improve the lives of LGBT Americans and their families, HRC urged the Obama administration to extend protections to transgender federal workers.
—US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commenting on the May 17th observance of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
KISSES by Marie Davis is sponsored by Highland Chiropractic | Dr. Charles Copeland, DC To request your first appointment with Dr. Copeland, visit www.HighlandChirorpactic.com
Marie Davis is an internationally syndicated cartoonist. Her lesbian cartoon strip is published in five languages. Her first novel, Hey Diddle Diddle — for Lesbians and Other Grownups, can be purchased through Amazon.com. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
THE COMMUNITY LETTER Now Sells Videos Online!
You no longer have to fight traffic or worry about finding convenient parking when you want to shop for GLBT videos. In fact, if you are so inclined, you can shop for videos NAKED and from the comfort of your home, from the convenience of our main website, TheLetterOnline.com! Beginning this month we’re sharing with you our Top 8 Video Picks. All of these videos can be purchased through our website. Buying your videos from us is a great way to support the work of your community GLBT newspaper! Care to recommend a GLBT film on video to our readers? Write to hazel@ theletteronline.com.
as a story that is pays “homage to all those who lack impulse control.” Did we mention the story is set in Bloomington, Indiana?
by Hazel Zimmerman
emotions for all, even for the hustler. A Marine Story: A decorated Marine officer unexpectedly returns home from the war and is quickly recruited to help a troubled teen prepare for boot camp, but when the true reasons for her return become known it threatens the future for both of them. Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss: A must-have gay classic for your collection. Sean Hayes first starring role, before his work on Will & Grace. The Four-Faced Liar: Described as “a comedy about drama,” this is the story of a group of 20-somethings. The friends’ lives are hilariously complicated when the two of the women fall in love. Role/Play: When a popular soap opera star is outed as the result of a gay sex tape scandal, he seeks refuge at an exclusive Palm Springs resort. But quiet anonymity eludes him when marriage-equality activist checks in to escape the fallout from his own bitter divorce.
TOP 8 VIDEO PICKS
I Love You, Phillip Morris: Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor star in a true story told with an uncanny sense of humor and a lot of heart. An oddball tale of what can happen when the legal system, a brilliant conman and undying love collide. Elena Undone: A well-known lesbian writer and the wife of a pastor fall deeply in love, even though both are aware their future may be little more than a dream. Bloomington: Described as a funny and honest film, this lesbian is described by Bay Area Reporter
Strapped: A cynical male prostitute experiences a series of strange and life-changing encounters. Sex is the commonality, but out of that commodity comes raw, unguarded
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
Open Door Community Fellowship
is an interdenominational church where ALL are accepted WITHOUT exception.
Be proud of who God created you to be; after all He created you in His image! Check us out at the Pride Parade and come to our booth during the Pride Festival! Open Door Community Fellowship is an interdenominational church where ALL are accepted WITHOUT exception.
Sunday Worship: 10:30am | Wednesday Worship: 7:00pm
Open Door Community Fellowship Rev. Sherry Roby, Pastor
3938 Southern Parkway Louisville, KY 40214 | (502) 893-6323 www.OpenDoorCommunityFellowship.org
June 9 - 12 3rd Annual Camp Bear Come enjoy this fur-friendly event... Includes Mr. TimBear Contest! June 23 - 25 Trailer Trash/Sordid Lives Weekend “Brother Boy Boozey Bash” in the RV Park July 1 - 4 Fabulous 4th Holiday Weekend Book early to get your favorite room! Cookouts, Dance Party & lots of HOT men by the pool! July 15 - 17 Uniform Fetish Weekend
The COMMUNITY LeTTer
In your life In your community In your health
Dr. Charles E. Copeland, DC
1525 Bardstown Road, Louisville • One Block South of Eastern Parkway
The COMMUNITY LeTTer