3 min

Let the healing begin!

Everybody's fighting!  Today, I'm addressing some recent feedback I've received on pop culture topics like terrorist death threats, black homophobia, war in the Middle East and religious bigotry.  Man, where's Rodney King when you need him?

It's gotten so bad that even the adorable soap-opera gay teens Luke and Noah are at each other's throats on today's show: 

 
See what happens when you get a dialogue going?  It's lovely to see. 
 
In that spirit, I appreciate gay activist Wayne Besen for his new column trying to sort out "The Mess in the Middle East" (gutsy!) even if his ends-justify-the-means conclusions leave me cold.  It's hard to cheer on the "crushing" of the horrible Hamas while noticing that Malak hasn't updated his "Homosexuals in Gaza" blog in over a month.
 
Besen says the Palestians have to stop attacking Israel and end "the silly religious chest thumping." On this very last point, we agree.  I've been told lately that my Ahab-like ragging on religion may be getting Richard Dawkins repetitive. Fair enough but I consider this a friendly morning-news kind of blog and, as your friend, wouldn't you want me to tell you when people are spreading gossipy lies about you?  It's all part of the service.
 

And yes, there's been an awful lot on the California gay marriage ban since November but I loved seeing the explosion of activism that came out of it — not to mention delightful jibes like this: 

 
 
What I didn't like was the news that 70% of black voters voted against gay marriage. That fact alone was ugly but it quickly metastasized into a creepy "blacks vs. gays" meme and I witnessed some appalling racist responses (in person and around the web) from white gay men I thought would know better.
 
This weekend, I was disappointed to learn that the study I linked to on Thursday aimed at debunking this idea is itself being discredited so we're back to square one. Rightly or wrongly, however, I still resist the notion that black culture is inherently more homophobic (I grew up with Italians, after all!), just more "churchy" and further behind in having the internal discussions of homosexuality it needs to.
 
It's clear that more connections must be made between white queers and
black churchgoers (and all the combinations and contradictions in
between!) but look at how we loved Barack Obama for doing exactly that, then were horrified by him getting carried away and cozying up to the religious right. None of this is simple.
 

I sadly believe that gay people (of any stripe) will lose their
racial prejudices a lot faster than most ethnic groups will give up
their church-sanctioned bigotry against gays. I'm not letting black homophobes off the hook, just acknowledging that religion is, as always, the invisible elephant in the room (Ganesh?) in any attempts to find common ground.

 
The discussions continue but usually on the Xtra pages beyond my cutely glib one-liners here on the Roundup. I'm just the kick-off guy and it's why we have the comments box below!
 
What a great many of you lovely readers have been telling me lately is that you enjoy good news mixed with snark. Can't argue with that so here's your dose for today:
 
Seattle saw a great turnout in its gay bars this weekend, defying the bizarre death threats they received last week. I admit I didn't go near this one originally because
a) I don't like to comment on the ravings of a single lunatic hatemonger — unless he runs the Canadian government or the Catholic Church
b) Dan Savage weirded me out by insisting a gay man was behind it all
c) I felt too sorry for gay poet Mark Doty having his beautiful work tainted
d) it's hard to work "ricin" into a punchline
 
Meanwhile, a Burlington paper has a lovely profile of the gay couple who endured the "emotional rollercoaster" of adopting three foster kids. As a man who can barely tolerate the children on the subway, I salute these brave, foolish heroes!
 
And to end on some sugar (without resorting to the red button of "Shiny Happy People"), here's a strange clip from Neil Patrick Harris' "Saturday Night Live" appearance. The show was light on the gay but it was fun to see Harris make peace with his Doogie past: