Yesterday one of the original members of Marvel’s X-Men came out as gay; and despite the usual online cynics and haters, I’m pretty stoked. While Iceman (aka Bobby Drake) isn’t as well known as fellow mutants Wolverine, Cyclops or Storm, he’s been consistently well-represented in and out of comics since the team of super-powered outcasts debuted in 1963.
In animation, Iceman was one of the “friends” on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and he makes appearances on Cartoon Network’s The Super Hero Squad Show. On the big screen, Iceman has been portrayed by actor Shawn Ashmore in four of the X-Men movies. He had the most screen time in X2, where his strained relationship with his parents after he reveals he’s a mutant is a not-so-subtle allegory of a teen coming out of the closet.
Disclaimer: This is not an April Fools’ post.
Less than six months after same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana, Governor Mike Pence passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a law that many believe will allow businesses to use their faith as a reason to deny service. Now Arkansas has followed suit, an almost identical bill passing through the state legislature and needing only Governor Asa Hutchinson’s signature to become law. These men are clearly threatened by the strides LGBT rights have made in recent years, and are using taxpayer dollars to legislate the equivalent of “My mom made me invite you over, but you can’t play with any of my toys.”
Yet these RFRAs are anything but child’s play. And neither are they meant to protect or restore anyone’s freedom, religious or otherwise. They instead reward ignorance and legalize hatred in a way this country hasn’t seen since the 1950s.
Are they really that worrisome? Hasn’t there been a national RFRA in place since 1993? Yes, but Garrett Epps explains in an article for The Atlantic that these laws are different in two important ways: with the Indiana version giving businesses the same rights of refusal as non-profits, and barring any business for ever being sued for refusing. Epps reassures that the uproar over this bill is warranted:
“The statute shows every sign of having been carefully designed to put new obstacles in the path of equality; and it has been publicly sold with deceptive claims that it is ‘nothing new.'”
So why would the LGBT community (or anyone, really) need these awful pieces of legislation?
A new video from Similac does a near-flawless job of illustrating — and then defusing — the so-called “Mommy Wars.” Yet by excluding half of all parents from the name of their campaign, they undo much of the goodwill built up during the ad.
Take a look, and be sure and watch all the way to the end.
Founded in human nature and fueled by the Internet, the Mommy Wars have been raging in full force for quite a few years. Mothers, physicians, psychologists, educators and all manner of experts and amateurs weigh in on all manner of parenting-related topics: circumcision, vaccinations, diet, working or homemaking, spanking or time-outs, “cry it out” or co-sleeping, attachment parenting, Tiger Moms, helicopter parents, etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Often perched atop the list: breastfeeding vs. formula.
Similac, a primary purveyor of formula, tackles this titular issue (and several others from the list above) in their new spot, set within an initially humorous gang war between multiple parent posses. In addition to the bottle- vs. breast-feeders, you see baby carriers & stroller-pushers, stay-at-home-moms & corporate office moms, disposable & cloth diaperers – all posturing on the playground. A bunch of dads can even be found rocking baby carriers and (natch) manning the grill.
Two stories. Two lost children.
A girl born in a boy’s body, into a family not willing to see her.
Leelah was born Joshua. By her account (now removed, but not silent) she opened up her deepest, most intimate self to those that brought her into the world – those that protected, clothed and fed her. Yet they only saw a him — the him they created 17 years prior — and would see nothing else. They sent her to counselors who did nothing of the kind; and in spite of that, she still stood by her new self. And since those that made her could not have their boy, they removed all she held dear: her school, her friends, her connections, the things that helped her stand.
So she ran from her 17 years, and she fell and didn’t get back up.
Despite being home to gay-friendly Disney World, Fort Lauderdale, and scores of left-leaning retirees, Florida is just as well-known for its ultra conservative politics. As recent as 2010, same-sex adoption was still illegal — thanks in large part to Anita Bryant and her homophobia-disguised-as-Christian-concern Save Our Children campaign. Florida’s had a Republican governor since 1999. And Miami Beach didn’t have its first gay pride parade until 2009. Seriously?
A lot of people seem to be glad 2014 is behind us — in a hurry to forget all about it. Certainly it had its share of frustration, failure and loss. But there was also plenty of good I want to remember. I interviewed an author I’d grown up reading, wrote some movie-related stuff, shilled for the enemy, won Halloween, defended manliness (for mature audiences only), reviewed some children’s books, gave advice to parents of gay kids, added a buttload of magnets to my fridge, attended a couple of conferences, and helped raise over $35,000 for a dear friend in need.
And somewhere in there, I found time to write other things. Personal, soapboxy, silly and celebratory things. These are my 14 favorite blog posts of 2014, in chronological order.
Well, it looks like same-sex marriage is about to be legal in the entire U.S. And although it seems like it’s taken an eternity for all 50 states to come around, it’s pretty amazing when I stop and think about it. But you probably have no idea what I’m even talking about, do you? That’s why I’m writing you — to let you know how things will be when you’re an adult, so you can be encouraged and have hope and just hang in there. I’m also writing to remind myself how lucky I am and how far I’ve come.
Remember when you were about seven years old, and you started having thoughts that made you think you were different, not quite right, broken? And how you inherently knew you were doing something wrong, even though you weren’t doing anything but being yourself? And then you started looking in the index of every Bible you ever came across for mention of the word “homosexual” — hoping above all hope for an answer to what was going on inside your head and heart. I’m sorry you had to go through all that.
*LGBT community, I’m talking to you, too.
I’ve been remiss in my duties as a same-sex marriage magnetic merry-maker. I decided at some point (probably during the whole Utah kerfuffle, or perhaps Indiana flip-flopping) that I wasn’t going to fully celebrate a state legalizing same-sex marriage (with a magnet and blog post) UNTIL IT HAD FULLY LEGALIZED SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. The majority of recent court cases on marriage equality haven’t resulted in immediate (or lasting) positive results. I’m the kind of person that likes to wait to celebrate until the contract has been signed, the keys are in my hand, or the baby is in my arms. I’ve been burned a couple of times from premature revelry, so I’m particularly cautiously optimistic when it comes to this subject.
And it’s admittedly been confusing to keep track. Here’s the tally,** as of this writing:
- 18 states and DC have legalized same-sex marriage
- 2 states are in progress, with marriages set to start (or restart) later this month
- 9 states are in flux or on pause. In most instances, a court ruling was made declaring a same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional… resulting in marriages being performed… and then a stay being put on the ruling while the opposition got out their red tape to cause some clusterf*ckery.
There are scads of people (my husband included) with more legal knowledge than me, that could use more official terms and offer more detailed explanations. But this is how I explain it to keep my brain from imploding from all the minutia and two-steps-forward-three-steps-backwardness of it all.
One important thing to be gleaned from the current state of same-sex marriage in the United States is that momentum is clearly in our favor. Every single case that has gone before a state court in 2014 has ruled for legalizing marriage equality. Our team’s win column is filled to overflowing.
But I have a bone to pick with “our team” — the LGBT community and our ever-increasing number of hetero allies: Please stop raining on the same-sex marriage parade.
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The birthplace of Letterman, Lincoln and Larry Bird — and now home to a whole lot more little pink houses* — Indiana joins 18 states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage! Just over a month after gay marriage became legal in Pennsylvania, equality wins out two states over as U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young declared Indiana’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.
In his ruling, Judge Young states,
“In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as [the plaintiffs], and refer to it simply as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”
Until that time, congratulations to all the homo-Hoosiers who can finally get hitched! Indiana is the 11th state where a federal judge has struck down a marriage ban since SCOTUS overturned Prop8 and DOMA. We’re on a roll, baby!
BUT WHAT ABOUT UTAH?
First it was legalized. Then it wasn’t. Then yesterday a judge overturned the ban. While I’m very glad for this step back in the right direction, the governor still plans on appealing the overturn of the denial of the freedom for the refusal of rights on the ban and… OH MY GOD I’M SO CONFUSED!!! So until same-sex marriage in Utah is a once-and-for-all done deal, signed in blood and toasted with Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, I’m holding off on putting their magnet up gain.
Since the next step my very well be the U.S. Supreme Court, when they do get around to appealing, the decision could be monumental — and hopefully turn my whole map green…
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES
as of 6.25.14
Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia
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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at some of my previous magnet posts.
*In 2010, the song “Pink Houses” was used by NOM (a leading opponent to same-sex marriage) in an anti-gay rally. Songwriter/performer and Indiana native John Mellencamp sent them a Cease and STFU. Thanks Johnny Cougar, you R.O.C.K.!