I have written a number of blog posts about Barack Hussein Obama (30 mentions to be exact). Last May, I wrote a blog titled Why I Will Be Voting for Barack Obama, and I stand by all that I wrote in that blog as well. If you want to know why I am voting to support our President, please check out one of those two links above.
I am writing today to talk about the practice of voting itself.
Back in late April-ish, my Facebook wall was bombarded by several of my loved ones who posted a call for HIV-positive models to participate in a new project that Jack Mackenroth, the HIV positive gay man of Project Runway fame and with a boogina that makes me think of sin and putting on a bib. FIRE IN THE HOLE!
Oops sorry ... that was my outside voice.
While many in the LGBTQ community take paid sick days for granted, half of all workers in New York City -- and two-thirds of low-wage workers -- get no paid sick time. Many of these workers are LGBTQ. These workers don't have the luxury of putting their health first. When they get sick, instead of focusing on getting better, they are forced to choose between going to work sick to make rent at the end of the month or sacrificing their days' wages and/or getting fired. No one should be forced to make this choice.
Today is the day. I pick up my prescription for HIV meds. And tonight at dinner, I will take my first pill.
Let's start this way: I have an amazing job with amazing people, especially my co-director Amber Hollibaugh and my Shelter Program Director Jay Toole. I've known them both for years and years before working with them and I love them both dearly.
In 2006, I was at the Creating Change Conference, the nation's largest LGBTQ conference, in Oakland, CA. At the time, I had met and eventually dated Pedro Julio Serrano. At the time, he was working for Evan Wolfson at Freedom to Marry.
Freedom to Marry held a workshop on marriage, and at one point, they panel was taking questions and comments from the audience. I walked up to the microphone, and I told the panel exactly why I was not on and would never join the marriage "movement." Since 1996, quite literally tens of millions of dollars have been spent on the gay marriage battle front by the LGBTQ community. At the same time, we saw a drastic decline in giving to any and all other fronts of the LGBTQ agenda except Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal.
Let me begin by saying that being a bio boy that grew up with a penis and male privilege, that I have one and only comment to make about abortion: as a man, I fully respect the autonomy and sovereignty of women over their own bodies and my only legitimate opinion on abortion is that I am required, by the privilege of being male, to use that privilege to protect in anyway and every way possible the right of a woman to choose.
You know, I am just learning about the 99% Spring ... and I am having some mixed feelings. I know a number of the letter signers, and I trust them (for example, Sarita Gupta -- Jobs with Justice -- and I were student organizers involved with USSA together in the mid-90s, and Rashad Robinson and I go way back). I do, however, have some issues with how organized labor centric the push is considered how few folks are actually part of organized labor at this point. Now, I believe that organized labor should be a central component of any organizing related to economic justice, but immediately, on looking at the signers and the labor focus, my first instinct was to say ... this isn't about me ... which is deep on a number of levels, right ... both on the level of why don't I see myself as an inheritor of the right to organized labor but also it has clearly to do with the racism, homophobia, and lack of ability of organized labor to speak to me and my experience as a nonprofit worker. Aka ... those of us that have spent the bulk of our lives agitating for change have largely done so within the non-profit industrial complex, which organized labor has ignored or been unable to crack (I am being clear that there have been widely divergent reasons and what is true on the national stage regarding energy and willingness does not often match up with local labor organizing).
So, being gay famous and all, I have had the occasion upon occasion to meet folks that are actually famous. One of my best friends is Bebe Zahara Benet, I am acquainted with Cheyenne Jackson, though better with his partner (fellow Minnesotan) Monte -- you meet the craziest people at our dog park including Michael Urie, as well as Wilson Heredia (the other Angel from Rent), but there is one person I have come across who is legitimately famous and who is not only really real and sweet but lives his life, his politics, and gives to his community in a way that goes way beyond cutting a check or posing for a PETA ad.
Today I received word from Mr. James White that Great Expressions Dental has filed a defamation suit in federal court and a counterclaim saying that the EEOC finding of discrimination and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was erroneous in his employment discrimination case in Detroit where Great Expressions followed him around and sprayed down surfaces with Lysol after he disclosed his HIV status.