National Commentary

Anything But Straight: Happy New Year

My last request in 2006 is that sleazy right wing preachers, especially in Colorado, will put aside their "Do Me," list so I can finish my "To Do" list. How many times will I have to blow off my busy work and write a press release about some homophobic holy man getting busy in search of a release? When will these men learn that their hypocritical happy endings with hookers will never end happily?

Mainstream Americans hopefully figured out in 2006 that the closet affects everyone. Evangelicals, in particular, must now come to grips with the fact they have no grip on reality. If the Village People ever reunited, they would add one more campy character to the line-up – a right wing preacher.

Much of the credit for discrediting the right wing goes to Mike Rogers, who has done more outings than a summer camp counselor. The enterprising activist has been a one-man wrecking crew and single handedly brought the GOP to its knees. Well, many of its members were already in this position, but Mike has brightly shone a spotlight on such hypocrisy and for this we should be grateful.

What I like best about Mike is his creativity and chutzpa. For example, this week he released a video where he and another advocate walked into the Republican National Committee to confront Ken Mehlman, the RNC chief, about his alleged homosexuality. Not surprisingly, they had a door slammed in their faces and were escorted from the building.

Nonetheless, this has to keep creeps, like Mehlman, up at night and lets them know that they get no free pass for their self-loathing homophobia. The price for being a modern day Roy Cohn is confrontation and exposure.

Another hero of 2006 is Lane Hudson, the former Human Rights Campaign staffer who posted the first set of Mark Foley emails on his blog. As a result, he lost his job, which is unfortunate, because our movement needs more bold and brave people, such as Hudson. While he may have lost his career, he did gain the admiration of countless people. More important, his contribution played a key role in returning Congress to the Democrats.

John Aravosis, the founder of Americablog, deserves recognition as well. This year, he solidified himself as one of this nation’s most prominent bloggers. He has now joined Andrew Sullivan as an elite gay newsmaker who has crossed over to yield considerable influence in the debate over today’s leading issues. Likewise, John Byrne, founder of Raw Story, deserves our respect for his ascension into this pantheon of pundits.

The web has also led to the explosion of online entrepreneurs who have demonstrably strengthened the GLBT movement. Strong voices have emerged from blogs such as Pam’s House Blend, founded by Pam Spaulding, and Jeremy Hooper’s humorous site, Good As You.

In 2006, the web also fostered the rise of what I refer to as the Truth Movement, where fundamentalist propaganda is vociferously challenged. The right wing "God Squad" is finally being held accountable for their lies by gadflies who no longer let them dehumanize GLBT people without suffering the consequences. Truth Wins Out’s recent video of a scientist refuting James Dobson’s misuse of her research is just one example.

The Truth Movement includes Mike Airhart, founder of the site Ex-Gay Watch, as well as Internet sleuths, such as Joe Brummer and Jim Burroway. While many people might not be familiar with these advocates, they are the movement’s fact checkers who play this game as if it were chess.

In terms of establishment advocacy, the GLBT community has much to be proud of. Under the leadership of Joe Solmonese, the Human Rights Campaign performed admirably in this year’s elections. Matt Foreman, of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has established himself as a voice of passion and emerged as a formidable leader. His words reverberate, which is a refreshing change from the poll-tested pabulum we are too often spoon-fed from our political organizations.

Another advance in 2006 was the growth of gay spiritual groups that are working to wrest back control of the Bible from extremists. Furniture mogul Mitchell Gold is leading the way with his tremendous new organization Faith in America. SoulForce’s Jeff Lutes also deserves credit for the highly successful Equality Ride.

Finally, philanthropists such as Tim Gill, the Gill Foundation, and Jon Stryker, the Arcus Foundation, are the engines behind much of the GLBT movement’s recent progress. Through their incredible generosity many gay organizations are finally on equal footing with our opponents.

Well, 2007 is nearly here and it has to be better than 2006, if only, because we know that former Sens. Rick Santorum and George Allen are on Monster.com looking for new jobs. And, we are one year closer to the end of the Bush error, I mean era. Hold that pleasant thought and have a very happy new year!

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