Category Archives: Uncategorized

Drinks

Here, in no particular order, are the drinks I love. This should probably go under “Recommendations,” but I already know what I’m going to do for tomorrow. 😉

  1. Diet Coke
    1. I don’t really like Diet Coke that much anymore. I like the memories attached to the Diet Coke. Every singer I’ve ever known has been all about it at one point, it’s the soda we always had at our house growing up, and everyone I know who Drinks Diet Coke drinks a lot of it. So ubiquitous that I can get it anywhere, and if things are quiet, a memory will come to mind, like this joke.

      Q: How many sopranos does it take to change a light bulb?
      A: Two. One to hold the Diet Coke and one to go get the accompanist to do it.

  2. Dr. Pepper
    1. Dr. Pepper took the period out of its name in the ’50s, and apparently, I still can’t adjust. My extended family on my paternal grandmother’s side are basically founding members of Waco, Texas, where Dr. Pepper was invented. I would like to believe that my family had something to do with it, because I often call Dr. Pepper the nectar of the gods.
      1. Dr. Pepper Ten, to me, is just as good as the original, and doesn’t leave that syrupy feeling on your tongue.
  3. Cheap Grape Soda- All of them
    1. Faygo, Nehi, Safeway Select… doesn’t matter. They all make Purple Cows, the point of the whole exercise. Get the same flavors in a cocktail with vanilla vodka.
  4. Beer
    1. I am quite a beer snob, and I could talk about it all day if you’d let me. I took one class on beer, and like everyone who’s ever taken one class of anything, I am an expert. However, when we’re poor, I’m just as happy with a cold can of Hamm’s or Pabst Blue Ribbon. Beer snobbery can only go so far when craft beer is up to ten bucks a six pack. But that’s what I’d rather have, of course. The brands I frequent depend on the season.
      1. Winter- Dechutes Jubelale on nitro and Ninkasi Sleigh’r
      2. Spring- Ninkasi Spring Reign, Widmer anything, Rogue Dead Guy
      3. Summer- Pyramid Apricot Ale, Mike’s anything, St. Arnold’s Krystal Weizen if I’m in Houston, McMenamin’s IPA (sitting outside)
      4. Fall- Ninkasi Oatis, Hopworks Urban Brewery DOA, IPA, ESB, McMenamin’s Hammerhead, and anything Belgian
    2. I could be way snobbier than that, but these are also affordable.
  5. Tequila
    1. Being from Houston, Texas, I am very picky. However, I am only picky about sipping tequilas. Throw whatever shit you’ve got into a margarita, Good tequila should never be wasted on serving it with mixers. If you need a good recommendation for a mixing tequila, I am awfully fond of both Two Fingers and Sauza Blue (Pure Agave). For sipping tequila, you can go industry standard and use Patron Añejo. It is also an axiom that for real sipping tequila, it’s going to cost you some bank. Be prepared to spend $50-60 for a bottle. In the times that I have done this, I have hidden it in the very back of the liquor cabinet and drunk it a half ounce at a time so it would last.
  6. Cheerwine
    1. It’s frustrating to love Cheerwine so much in the Pacific Northwest. It’s made in N Carolina, so the distribution isn’t exactly national. I can get bottles at Fred Meyer and Pine State Biscuits, but in terms of being able to buy a 12-pack in the grocery store, no dice. They also make a Diet Cheerwine that I would love to get my hands on, but in Portland, it’s as rare as a purse without a bird on it.
  7. Aloe Juice
    1. You need it in your bar and in your refrigerator. That stuff is amazing. It’s a quick pick-me-up when it’s hot outside, and excellent with peach vodka or in a margarita. I like the kind with pulp because it adds texture to cocktails and tastes amazing when you’re roasting.
  8. Root Beer
    1. Interestingly enough, I’ve always liked root beer, but I didn’t become an aficionado until I worked in a Cajun restaurant. How many of you knew that root beer was cajun? I didn’t. Barq’s was originally a New Orleans company, so we sell it at Tapalaya, along with a selection of small-barrel artisan batches  My personal favorites are Old Dad’s, A&W Ten, St. Arnold’s, and Abita. I don’t like a lot of the Portland microbrews because they are too sweet and go overboard on the vanilla. I prefer a lot of wintergreen. A lot. Did I mention I like wintergreen?
  9. Ginger Ale
    1. All of the commercially available ginger ales are pretty good, but there is a clear winner in my book. I am a big fan of all Fentiman’s sodas, but the ginger ale is outstanding. A note for recovering alcoholics who aren’t allowed to have alcohol at all: Fentiman’s sodas are fermented, so there is about the same amount of alcohol as a kombucha tea. If you don’t like ginger ale that much, try a different flavor, like Victorian Lemonade or Dandelion and Burdock.
  10. Caffeine
    1. I can’t pick a favorite, so I’ll just list them all. I’m a big fan of Folger’s Black Pearl coffee because it’s cheap and doesn’t taste like it. I’m also an energy drinks fan, and it doesn’t really matter what it is. If it will almost stop my heart, I’m for it. Currently, I drink Viso, and Will the most often. Careful, that shit is toxic. 300mg/per bottle. Handle with care.

What Are We Going to Do About Our Kids?

Originally posted January 2013

You don’t have to be queer to read it, but this message is not for straight people. This message is for all of my GLBT Facebook friends, because I’m issuing a clarion call. I hope you hear it loud and clear.

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT OUR KIDS?

If there is anything that my friend Diane has taught me over the last 23 years, it’s not to wait for someone else to step in and do something about gay kids killing themselves. It’s our community, they’re our kids, and we are their “parents,” but only for lack of a better term.

We are the non-bio superparents that these kids need because at home, they may not really exist. Coming out may be seen as an invitation for their parents or siblings to commit incest. Coming out may be seen as an invitation for their parents or siblings to commit assault, battery, or homicide.

Less physically damaging, but truly emotionally awful is that coming out may be seen as an excuse to pretend that their child/sibling has died. If you think that I am using hyperbole, it happened to my ex-partner.

If you are a child and GLBT, the chance that your news will be met with violence is high. Look at it this way: when a black child gets made fun of at school, in most cases, he/she comes home to a black family that will raise him/her up and teach him/her to be proud of his/her blackness. What are the odds that you have that type of family life as a gay kid?

There is no shortage of love in this community, but we have been taught to stay away from children. We have been indoctrinated with the falsehood that gay people molest children, and so we ignore them… but not because we don’t love them. Because we don’t want to be seen as inappropriate, so we walk away. I know I’ve felt it at times, and I’m done with that kind of shame. I hope you are, too.

The tables are turning. It continues to get better. But some of the kids we ignored took their own lives.

The children that are taking their lives now could have been us in a different situation. We need to ask ourselves what it was that helped us through, and find a way to take that strength and give it to others.

I am putting out the idea, but I cannot do it by myself. What are we going to do?

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT OUR KIDS?

An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey

Originally posted May 25, 2011

Dear Oprah,

For most of my childhood, I had a stay-at-home mom. Therefore, every afternoon at 4:00, your show was on at my house. I think the first episode I saw was when I was 9 years old. You’ve said in interviews that the fans you feel the most emotion for are the children who grew up with you, and every time you say it, I get a big lump in my throat… and the first time, I totally went into the “ugly cry,” the name you give for that “I don’t care who’s watching and there’s snot on my face” wailing. It seems impossible that the show is ending, but my grief is not for you. You’re going on to do amazing things, and I support that. You deserve every happiness for the thousands of shows you’ve already done. My grief is for the children who won’t grow up with you, won’t know you as the force of nature that you have become.

It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to see you scale unimaginable heights as a woman, and as the best example I know of building something from nothing. Though you have said many times that writing a biography isn’t your thing, I think it’d be a great book… because the best part of your story is not where you are now, it’s how you got there. Surely as a little girl in Mississippi, you had no idea where your life would take you, and even if you did, there’s no way anyone could imagine what you have done in such a short time.

For instance, here’s what I know for sure: the first time I saw a gay person was on your show. The first time I saw a person with AIDS was on your show. The first time I saw a transgendered person was on your show. You have such a large part of my heart because you were one of the people that taught me there was nothing wrong with me. My chest swelled with pride when you agreed to be Ellen’s therapist on her coming out episode. Not only were you one of the first people in television to say you were inclusive, you were one of the first people to truly walk the walk.

Marshall McLuhan said it best in the famous phrase, “the medium is the message.” Your television show reached out to all the senses, and burned into people’s minds sounds and images that have lasted these 25 years, and will continue to live on far beyond The Oprah Winfrey Show. In fact, I am willing to bet that phrases like “make the connection” and “what I know for sure” will live on for generations, even if they’re not aware of the original source.

But always know, Oprah, that I am glad to know the original source. My life has been changed and enriched by you and your show in greater measure than you can possibly imagine. All I have left to say is a heartfelt thank you, and a stolen line from another great journalist…

Goodbye, Oprah. Good night and good luck.

Big love from an enduring fan.

Always,

Leslie.

P.S. If there’s anything that I forgot to write that truly should have been included, it’s that part of my love and adoration of you comes from the way I feel about myself when I watch you. In half an hour, people will start feeling that feeling for the last time. For me, that moment will be unspeakably hard, but again, you have given your audience so much that it is my only hope for you to find a way to feel that feeling yourself. Though I know that now you are a network executive (“I have my OWN network… those initials worked out for me!), I’m rooting for you to delegate, delegate, delegate. Go to the mountains. Go to the beach. Play Scrabble on your iPad. Take the dogs for a run. In short, be amazing to yourself, find YOU outside the show, and let us know how it goes in O magazine. Gayle isn’t going to let you off that easy.

HATCH

A lot of us told our parents it was called “Houston Area Teen Crisis Hotline,” but it was HATCH- Houston Area Teen Coalition of Homosexuals. That is because in a lot of homes, hearing that your kid was a HATCH member was a deal-breaker. I’m sure in some homes, it still is. I didn’t join until I was 19, because my then-girlfriend had just moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick, and I didn’t have any gay friends anymore.

Yes, that’s right. At Clements High School, I only had one gay friend. And she was with me. Plus, the funny part is that she wasn’t gay when we met. I totally turned her gay. That’s real, you know. If you just put some of your gay DNA under someone’s pillow, they’ll sleep on it and it will change their brains overnight. It’s amazing how fast it works. You should try it.

HATCH was housed in a church near the Montrose, Houston’s largest gay area (or at least, it was in 1996). Because it was housed in a church, HATCH looked like every Methodist Youth Fellowship meeting I’d ever attended, complete with ratty carpet, the “Aunt Sally” furniture collection, and the kind of complete chaos that only fifty teenagers can cause.

There were several different meetings during the week, but I always went to Friday night. Friday night was the largest. We had guest speakers, as well as break-out sessions. The only break-out session I remember, because I went to it so often, is “How Was Your Week?”

I also occasionally went to Sunday nights, which was basically movie, popcorn, and chat. I saw some great films that way. I will never forget Brian’s Song, the only movie where it’s socially acceptable for straight men to cry.

As an adult, looking back, it had a very 12-Step feel. I have a few friends who are addicts/alcoholics/etc. and when they have big birthdays or they’re chairing a meeting, etc, I will go as moral support. It made my hindsight so much better- HATCH wasn’t trying to cure me so much as it was trying to heal the ills of being homosexual in the ’90s.

It was different, then. People had no shame about calling me names on the street. But one of the things HATCH gave me was perspective. In HATCH, I watched movies like Stonewall (Catch it if you can, even just to see Guillermo Diaz as a drag queen. You know, Guillermo from Weeds, Huck from Scandal, etc). Learning stories like that helped me to realize that I had gotten so lucky. I might get called names in the street, but I was unlikely to be arrested for what I was.

After I had been at HATCH for a while, I started being asked to speak at local churches about equality. One Sunday, it turned out that the church that asked me to speak was the one where my mom played piano. I got the gig completely independently of my mom, so I didn’t realize that it was her church at first. HATCH was in the middle of downtown, and this church was in Missouri City.

It wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it would be, and for that, I was very grateful. I spoke in the fellowship hall to the adult Sunday School classes. It is ironic that for people who are trying to educate, it often doesn’t feel that way. I kind of felt like an animal at a zoo- come see the real life LESBIAN (Do Not Feed)!

There was only one truly authentic moment that I remember about that particular day. The crowd was gathered around me, and one woman raised her hand. She said, “is it true that you can tell which people are gay? Like, um, gaydar?” My face tightened and I did not know what to say next. Looking into her eyes, she was not scared of knowing if there were gay people around her.

She was wondering whether people would be able to “sniff her out.” She was terrified. I did my best Lanagan Diplomacy Act and explained that for every person you can tell, there are ten more you can’t, blah blah blah.

I won a plaque from HATCH for all my work in public speaking. But I still see those eyes in my dreams.

SEX (Now That I’ve Got Your Attention)

My marriage post has been getting an incredible amount of attention, so I thought maybe I had some kind of good thing going. Maybe we can be adults, use our words, and move on from marriage into something deeper. I will warn you ahead of time that what I am offering is not the next big thing, it’s simple advice for hot monogamy. Some of you aren’t monogamous and that’s ok. Just know that the perspective from which I’m writing is Old Married Lady.™ I’m also a lesbian, so talking about sex is inextricably interrelated with emotion. I cannot speak to everything that runs through a man’s mind, so bear with me. I can only do what I can do, and keep it fairly genderless.

  • Your partner does not like you.
    • Well, they probably do most of the time. It’s just that in terms of sex, if you’ve been together a long time, the things that drive you up the wall about your relationship are the same things that will keep you from having sex. For instance, say you’re terrible about cleaning up the house, and your partner does most of it. You are not getting laid, because your partner is too tired from all the work and too pissed at you. It’s not that they really care they’re doing the work. Most of the time, they don’t notice. But resentment builds over time, and if you let it go too long, you have created an emotional imbalance where one partner always feels like the parent. What parent wants to have sex with “their child?” Sex is a meeting of equals, and if you’re not an equal in the rest of the marriage, you’ll be left out in the cold here, too.
  • One of you is more interested in the other.
    • Relationships come in seasons. The winter is friendship and functionality, while the summer is hot romantic love that lights up everything around it. All too often, one partner is in summer while the other is in winter. If you’re the one in summer, give a little. You need to respect that your partner is busy with other things, thinking about something else, too busy with work, etc. Attention gets spread all over the place and only so much of it can be directed at sex. If you are the one in winter, give a little bit. Your partner is clearly frustrated and wants to give to you, wants to be reassured that the connection is not dying, it’s just in the process of re-birth. Let’s face it. Sometimes you have to give in when you don’t want to- not in a violent, rape-y way, but in a “for the good of the order” way. Marriages stop and start with sex. Don’t believe me? If the sex goes, are you really more than roommates? Is that going to keep your attention? Magic 8 Ball says “no.”
    • The corollary to this is that the more sex you have, the more sex you want. A winter can push themselves into summer if they’re willing to have sex whether they’re turned on or not. This is because sometimes it takes sex to remember why you need it. You need it. Yes you do. You just don’t know you do. Don’t argue with me. Even if you both are too tired for penetration, sleep naked. Open the door for middle-of-the-night and early morning. Additionally, even without penetration, skin to skin contact is one of the best things you can do to make your connection to each other stronger. Sleep naked, wrapped in each others arms. Don’t let go until your arm is asleep. Trust me on this one.
  • Your Partner Does Not Like it
    • when you are intruding on their space. Putting either gender on the spot when you’ve been together a really long time is off-putting. It doesn’t matter when you’re dating. When you’re dating, you’d probably make do with pizza, chicken wings, and not getting caught in the bathroom. In a long-term relationship, people like to feel as if they still have a separate identity from each other. Neither of you is the other one’s sex slave. Being demanding will get you nowhere, even if you’re trying to go into “for the good of the order mode.” People don’t magically turn on and off at will, especially if they watch you pick your nose, burp, fart, and clip your toenails. Just because you’re not dating anymore doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be polite and ask if you’re interrupting something else because you have a better idea.
  • NOTICE
    • When the tables are so imbalanced that one of you is asking for sex all the time and the other one is saying no. In a relationship, sex is a cornerstone. If that cornerstone cracks, you’re going to be in a world of hurt (again, it has to do with attention). It will take a while, but if you say no consistently, they’ll find someone who will say yes. In fact, the person that says no the most frequently bears the responsibility of asking for sex even more. There’s only so many times that it’s ok to hear “no” without feeling a serious sense of rejection. If your libido is low, you are (not intentionally) saying to your partner, “I do not desire you.” What you mean is that your libido is low. What we hear is “I’d rather be doing someone else.” Turn it around by not saying no. Ask for sex more, and say “later” instead of “no.” Otherwise, you’ll turn your partner into someone that feels needy for even asking. You do not want this because you will reap what you sow. I know you don’t know you’re doing it. It’s ok. It’s not on purpose. Just notice more and handle it.
  • HANDLE IT
    • That one phrase says a lot. You have to be so proactive with close relationships, because it’s so easy for them to crumble in a nation with a 50% divorce rate. What I see the most in talking to people is that they just don’t have the stamina to stick around when things are circling the drain. The secret that these people don’t know is that your relationship won’t be that strong until things are circling the drain and you can still talk it out. I get it that there are problems that simply can’t be worked around, but if you stop communicating, stop having sex, and start fighting to end things, at least do yourself the favor of fighting it all the way through so that you can leave in peace instead of complete chaos. I learned that one the hard way, and hopefully, it will never happen again.
    • You might not think that the above has much to do with sex, but it has EVERYTHING TO DO WITH SEX. If you compile being bored with fighting with not being vulnerable, it will equal complete chaos. When times are rough, you should be having sex more and not less. This is because you have to have an anchor when problems are swimming around you. Staying close to your partner physically will, in turn, strengthen your emotional connection. Which, also in turn, will help you to be more loving, more compassionate, and more caring when you think there’s nothing left. The key to communicating emotionally is vulnerability. What do you have to offer anyone if all you’ve got is swordplay? If you hide behind your armor long enough, you are saying to your partner, “I don’t trust you enough to listen to me be vulnerable and give you that same courtesy in return.”
  • Do not fight during sex
    • For a lot of people, this is hard, because the only time they get vulnerable emotionally is during/right after sex. If you can’t listen without reacting angrily, then you need to table the discussion. It’s as easy as you make it. Both partners have to agree that “this is about us, and we’re going to save monster discussions until after our connection is stronger.”
    • Do not even think about telling your partner what you’re really thinking about during sex. That is because most people don’t want to hear things like “we need eggs” while they’re trying to concentrate on being smooth. You know they’re not smooth. That’s why you chose that moment to bring up eggs. Help your partner save face. Keep your egg comments to yourself, unless you are trying to get pregnant.

Again, I’ve probably left out a hundred things that could be on this list. Feel free to talk about them in the comments.

Right and Wrong

Today it felt like I held the congregation in the palm of my hand while, interestingly enough, I was reading the Psalm (poet and don’t know it, etc.). The psalm was from The Message, which allowed me to add emphasis that couldn’t normally be there because ancient language doesn’t ring the same way. In fact, I took my post on poetry slams seriously and decided to see if I could do it.

I thought it was awesome.

Because things are in such flux right now, I am tired of focusing on everything I do wrong, and trying to focus on what I’ve done right. It’s not so much trying to brag as it is getting down this memory so that when my world is upside down, I can point to today and say to myself, “calm down.” You’re doing fine. No one gets everything right, and if they did, I’m pretty sure they’d look like my wife, Dana.

Although, to be fair, I was right twice this week.

Dana being right all the time is not a sore spot between us. It would be if I was contractually obligated to like her every day. We’ve decided on Thursdays and holidays, and we’re still debating on Sundays.

I think we can add Sundays ok, I just don’t want to like her any more than I have to. I have a reputation to uphold.

That was a joke. It’s funny.

The Media or the Message?

I wrote this a few years ago, but I put it in my SkyDrive and let it sit. I think that this issue is still culturally relevant, so I’m publishing it, anyway

My partner, Dana, and I have been discussing what happened between Sam Adams and Beau Breedlove. Unfortunately, we don’t have the same take on things… which has led to a bit of friction as we try to talk about it. Her point, and she does have one, is that because Beau Breedlove was 17 years old when it happened, he can’t be completely innocent in all of this. I think that he’s responsible in only the way a 17 year old can be responsible, which is, to me, not very much. The average 17 year old balks at having to take out the trash. They don’t have enough life experience to know that doing a few chores is infinitely easier than the maintenance and upkeep of the whole house. The gift that comes with age is being able to look at the whole picture. Life experiences add, then multiply, with each year. How are we to expect that Beau Breedlove and Sam Adams could even be compared? To me, saying that Beau Breedlove wasn’t innocent, and was truly capable seeing what he was doing is only raising or lowering them both to the same standards.

Even if this were an extraordinary 17 year old, are we really to take his actions into account? For those who are brilliant beyond their chronological ages, there is no evidence that they are more socially adept than those of their “regular” peers. Because there are so many people interested in dating older (and by that, I mean all sexual orientations), it’s not so strange that Adams would be the object of his interest… even lust. Lust makes people do crazy things, especially teenagers, because again, they haven’t been alive long enough to see major consequences play out long-term.
Sam Adams had long passed the threshold that stands between adolescence and adulthood. It’s called a “threshold” because we don’t become adults all at once. In fact, most of us kind of stumble towards it, and hope the rest of adulthood is better than what we’ve seen so far. Breedlove was in that place- trying on the clothes of adulthood, and like most teenagers, finding them just right in some places, and too loose in others.

In terms of their stations in life, the clothing of adulthood for Breedlove was closer to The Men’s Wearhouse, while Sam Adams was sitting comfortably in Brooks Brothers… and perhaps a Louis Vuitton “murse” just for panache.
This controversy has nothing to do with whether Beau Breedlove and Sam Adams had sex before Breedlove turned 18. Although statutory rape is illegal (even when both parties consent), it happens all too frequently- even those running for high office. The real issue is an ethical one. Do 17 year olds have the presence of mind to fully understand the consequences of a relationship with a much older person? Does the older person have the presence of mind to fully realize what they might do to this young person’s life? Age gap relationships are notorious for generational quirks that are hard for people out of the public spotlight. On top of that, Breedlove has been subjected to an unreal amount of media attention- something that has made him infamous.

Sam Adams must have had the forethought that if anyone found out about the relationship he had with Breedlove, they both would have been skewered by media and public opinion polls. Is it fair to go into a relationship with a younger man (and a minor when the relationship began), knowing what you know? Especially the part about how it’s going to be seen as illegal? Does there have to be actual penetration for Sam Adams to have done the wrong thing? The man dated a child, setting a date for sex arbitrarily for two weeks after his 18th birthday.

The problem is not a large age-gap relationship- people of all ages date for all kinds of reasons. The common thread among those relationships (the healthy ones, anyway) is that when they met and started dating, they were both fully comfortable with their adulthood… established in that identity before the relationship started. How is that possible if Beau Breedlove was still enmeshed in the world of high school? It is unfathomable to me that an adult would be comfortable in a relationship where their lives have been and will continue to be so different.

Alternatively, how would Beau Breedlove get along in the world of high-profile politics? Could he be taken seriously as the Mayor’s partner? Perhaps I am reading way too much into this, but none of Adams’ or Breedlove’s interviews point to one night stands. It was ongoing, to the point of Adams attending Breedlove’s birthday party at his parents’ house. Whether or not Breedlove’s parents were aware of the situation is irrelevant. The point is that the affair was ongoing. Sam Adams treated Beau Breedlove like an equal, much to his detriment.

Children are protected by statutory rape laws for a reason. They may have the technical ability to blaze new pathways into the future for our entire society… but at the same time, does that replace human experience? Does that take into account the incubation period that needs to happen before an adult can say that he or she is capable of running his/her life smoothly? Does a quick mind replace the hard-earned lessons that life dishes out? The kind of relationship that Adams was cultivating with Breedlove is tantamount to stealing his ability to grow and mature at his own rate, instead of adulthood backing him into a corner.

Being 17 is all about learning to navigate the troubled waters of relationships, without the added pressure of having a boyfriend who’s already been thrown in without a life jacket. There’s no way to muddle through together.
With this particular relationship, there’s also no way to deal with that frustration privately. Breedlove and Adams will be analyzed in excruciating detail- something for which Adams hasn’t publicly acknowledged. We the people have the right to hold our leaders to certain standards. Not breaking the law is (should be?) one of them. However, we have also ripped a now 21 year old’s life to pieces, intentionally, because our drive to know more is overshadowed by the part where Breedlove’s privacy has been slashed to non-existent and he gets to wonder where the hell his old life went.
…and that’s the part where Breedlove will have to take responsibility. The affair is over, he is now past the point of any shelter from the law (unless the statute of limitation hasn’t run out), and soon the next big news story will make him less of a target for media attention.

That’s why what Sam Adams did is under investigation. If Adams had an affair with someone of his own age, they might already have the resources (emotionally, financially, etc.) to rebuild. And while I can’t accuse Adams of intentionally trying to hurt Breedlove, I hold him accountable for feeling urges toward a minor without suppressing them. Adams told Breedlove the first time they kissed that they shouldn’t be kissing. Sam had already reached adulthood, been through lovers and breakups and whatever else. How could he not know that he was changing this boy’s life?
Relationships between adults and children are supposed to be about enculturation, which the dictionary defines as the process by which a person learns the requirements of the culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviors that are appropriate and/or necessary in that culture.

Though Sam Adams may or may not have slept with a minor, and may or may not be prosecuted for that crime, the mere fact that he was willing to overlook this boy’s station in life and treat him as an equal hasn’t yet been positive or life-affirming. Treating him as an equal was a way to justify having romantic and sexual contact. Now that the story has broken, being treated like an equal to the Mayor has turned into him into Nabokov’s Lolita, planning and manipulating himself into Adams’ finely woven, yet completely unwilling, pants.

Which spin doctor came up with that brilliant plan? What journalist or press secretary was adamant that the only way to release this to the press was to vilify the person who wasn’t legally capable of making the decision to date a 42 year old man? It’s sickening to think that somewhere out there, a committee gathered to discuss what to do, and this is the best they could come up with.

Let’s turn our focus away from the Mayor for a second, and broaden into the cultural war waiting to happen.
This sex scandal upholds every value that fuels the backlash against gay marriage and other civil rights… a story that will be held up for years to come regarding why gays and lesbians cannot be trusted with children. Even though there are plenty of straight men out there that regularly patrol high schools for 16 year olds that look as if they could be 25, those cases rarely splash across the TV at 11:00. Though conservative Democrats are just as likely to be afraid of granting gay marriage and adoption, the Republican right-wing machine has clearly cornered the market.

In an article written for Mother Jones about former Congressman Mark Foley, author Cameron Scott had this to say:

Foley apparently includes being gay among the “wrongs” that the fifth step of Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12-step program requires him to admit. Foley, however, has yet to admit “the exact nature of [his] wrongs” against the teenagers who worked for him. Even more troublesome is the former Congressman’s conflation of pedophilia with homosexuality.

This stereotype is so widespread that even relatively tolerant people don’t address its absurdity. But, says psychologist James M. Cantor, at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, there is no scientific evidence linking gay identity and pedophilia. That bears repeating: there is no evidence that gay men are more likely to be attracted to or to molest underage boys (emphasis mine). Cantor suggests that the Christian right’s consistent depictions of “homosexuals” as pedophiles—the same stand the Family Research Council is currently taking—relies on “mere sophistry.” To generate these claims, right-wing researchers simply refer to a man who has molested boys as homosexual.

Because he’s the Mayor of Portland, Sam Adams will be that one guy inflated to represent millions of gay men. You know why they can get away with it? First, that Sam Adams developed a relationship with a minor is actually a fact; Second, there are more people in America that read headlines than all the way to the bottom of an article… so even if the article has a disclaimer, it is doubtful that the masses will see it, much less remember it in their talking points.This leads to questions that have vague answers at best:

  • Has the GLBT community in Oregon suffered as a result of Adams’ misconduct?
    • If so, how much time will it take to erase that damage?
  • How do these problems in the Portland GLBT community affect the way all heterosexually challenged Americans are treated?
  • What are the steps needed to ensure progress in erasing the image that gay and pedophile are inextricably interrelated?
    • By the local GLBT community in Portland?
    • By the people of the nation?
    • By state legislation and arbitration by the state’s Supreme Court?
    • By national legislation and arbitration by the Supreme Court?

As a political science student whose favorite, yet most difficult class has been Constitutional Law, I’m not in a position to discuss precedent in depth. Skimming the surface, however, it seems as if there is plenty in the Constitution to guarantee equal rights to the GLBT community- equal protection, right to privacy, freedom from religion, and that’s just the big three. There have been countless suits brought in lower courts that would also uphold same-sex marriage… not because there is precedent for marriage itself, but because the cases refer to federal rights that would have been granted automatically by marriage to begin with.

Marriage cannot and should not be defined as one man and one woman by the state, because it is not based on any sort of statute- only religious or cultural beliefs. As a result, it’s incumbent on the federal government to allow same-sex couples to marry… if for nothing but the fact that marriage is a civil contract that carries monetary, medical, and right-to-survivorship benefits.

So if marriage is a civil contract, why doesn’t the GLBT community have access to them?

In so many ways, homophobia has become kinder, less obvious. But the flip side of the coin is that sometimes, the GLBT community isn’t doing much to help itself. In years past, I have always had a great time, both watching pride parades and walking in them. The flip side is that the pride parade always includes those floats (and people, you know what I’m talking about), that force everyone to participate in a small group’s sexual fantasies. Those floats are even more obvious when the media shows up, because they always seem to miss the floats with PFLAG, Open and Affirming churches, COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere), and the ever-increasing supply of mainline companies that commit serious money to having parades in the first place. The longer we keep putting sexualized images into the public arena, the longer people will think that being gay is only about sex… because true to form, the media will never cover something such as mundane as the children’s coloring tent at the back of the pride festival if there are men wearing only micro-shorts in the front.

That brings us back around to Sam Adams, and what he really did wrong. In addition to putting a minor/young adult through a horrible situation, he’s managed to cover up all the things that the GLBT community is doing right. If Sam Adams is correct that sex never happened before Beau Breedlove turned 18, then of course, he hasn’t done anything illegal. It remains to be seen, however, if not committing a crime also releases him from responsibility.