Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rosie from Bushwick wants to talk to you about 'the gays'

The latest video from Fight Back New York features the amazing Rosie Perez...

...and she is taking on the Reverend Ruben Diaz, and I quote:
Senator Ruben Diaz? I am extremely disappointed with your position on this matter. With all due respect, Sir, your stand represents a lack of justice and equality on this issue. Please take note: You are not speaking for the majority of New York State Latinos.
For more information on the video click here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What are Pedro Julio and Ricky Martin up to?

Tweeted! Pedro Julio Serrano hanging out with Ricky Martin at a recording studio in Manhattan.
It's been six months since pop singer Ricky Martin came out on Twitter and he's been relatively low key since then.  As far as I know, he has only granted one official interview on the topic when he appeared on the cover of People en Español in June and discussed being a gay parent.  But that doesn't mean he has been silent.

The Puerto Rican pop idol has been surprisingly forthcoming when it comes to LGBT issues on his Twitter account. Not an insignificant thing when you realize that the man has nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers. No wonder he was recently named by The Advocate as the 6th most popular gay personality on Twitter in the world,

Just last week, as the doomed senate vote on 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' approached, he tweeted:
As a HISPANIC member of the LGBT community,I ask u 2 pls repeal #DADT and move fwd with the #DREAMAct #enddiscrmination
And today he sent Tweets about two young gay men who committed suicide in the United States as a result of being bullied.

Usually that's not how things go. First, a star comes out and then all media wants to ask about is his sexual identity. The star will be all demure and say that their art is about more than their sexuality. They will say they shouldn't be seen as role models or experts on gay issues. And then get angry if the press pushes them on the subject.

It's only later, when a star becomes comfortable with their 'out' lives, that they might delve into LGBT rights without thinking that it might define him or her.

Twitter has turned all that around. Twitter has allowed Ricky Martin to define his coming out process instead of media doing it for him.  He has been able to reveal what he wants to reveal about himself without being completely open about his personal life.  And it has allowed him to delve into LGBT-rights issues without reporters asking whether it means he's now decided to be a full time gay activist. Today, six months later, gossip sites and magazines are still speculating about who his partner might or might not be.

Things are about to change. The English-language version of Ricky Martin's autobiography "Me" is due out on November 2nd.

On her farewell talk show season, Oprah has landed the first television interview with the singer since coming out (Are you a Ricky Martin fan? Want to appear on the show? Here is Oprah's open call).

Before things blow up into the stratosphere:  On Saturday, my friend Pedro Julio Serrano sent this on his Twitter account:
Hanging out with @Ricky_Martin #instudio... Boricuas in the house!
Lordy lord! In a way, that's certainly no surprise. The moment I knew Ricky Martin would not wimp out on LGBT issues after coming out was the moment he thanked Pedro Julio for his LGBT activism back in May. So It was certainly no surprise that once Ricky came to New York he would get in touch with PJ.

By the way: Pedro Julio, who works at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), will be receiving an incredible honor himself as he receives the "Puerto Rican Pride Award" from the NYC-based November Committee.

The LGBT advocate joins past Boricua honorees Jennifer Lopez, Antonia Pantoja, Denise Quiñones and Sila Calderon in being honored by the committee. It's the first time that an honoree has been chosen for his LGBT advocacy and I dare to say that both Ricky Martin and I are super proud of his achievement.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Newt Gingrich uses "The Americano" to blame DREAM Act loss on teh gayz

A side-note on yesterday's Senate "Don't Ask Don't Tell" / DREAM Act vote fiasco....

Possible 2012 conservative presidential Republican candidate Newt Gingrich might have winked at the Tea Party recently when he gave his unqualified support to a crazy-ass cover-page Forbes Magazine article on President Barack Obama, but he's also setting himself up to be as the John McCain candidate of old (you know, the John McCain who used to be a lead semi-conservative voice for immigration rights before he turned into a cranky asshole).

If he runs, it's a safe bet that most of his rivals on the right will hem the xenophobic Tea Party mantra on immigration - and that he will position himself as the kinder, gentler conservative on the issue of immigration.

That, in fact, was probably the reason Gingrich launched The Americano in September of 2009, or, as the site's byline reads "your top source of Hispanic news and commentary".  Try not to think of FOX News when they describe themselves as "a more balanced view on all the issues that concern American Hispanics today".

Which brings us to today's leading headline: "Attempt to repeal 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' kills DREAM Act".

If you actually saw the proceedings, you'll realize The Americano is playing it both ways: The Republican Senate leadership actually argued they didn't vote in favor of the DREAM Act because they wanted a straight up and down vote on a Senate defense bill. In other words, they alleged they would have passed the bill if only the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" repeal AND the DREAM Act bill hadn't been included.  In fact, the rank and file of the Republican senate leadership used the DREAM Act to argue that the Obama presidency was "seeking amnesty for illegal immigrants".

Cue in a photo of angry Dan Choi on The Americano's entry page and an article with no byline saying that Republicans would have passed the DREAM Act if it wasn't for teh gayz pushing an end to "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Pluhezzz The Americano, have more respect for the intellect of Latinos.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My New York: Tornado Warning!!!






I hope nobody was hurt this evening in Jackson Heights or elsewhere throughout the area... Find out more at NY1.

Update: Tornado warning no more.

How about two tornadoes? Or is it 'tornadii'?

Queens (you might want to lower the volume level on your computer for this one)....

Meainwhile, in Brooklyn ("Duuuuude, bro, holy shit, it's a tornado!")...

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Some self-promotion: Go read about me and how great I am!

    OMG! My friend (and amazing queer activist) Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, who writes for, told me he'd be writing something about the homophobic poll Univision removed from their sites over the weekend and asked me for a photo he could use for the piece.

    Instead, he goes an writes this: "LGBT Latino, Andrés Duque, a Force To Be Reckoned With". Click on the link if you dare and read on.

    Gack! Or perhaps *blush*!  Thanks, Lorenzo!

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Update: Univision removes homophobic poll from website, apologizes

    That was quick: On Saturday I wrote about a poll Univision had posted on their website.  It asked readers "Is Soccer compatible with soccer?" and provided three possible answers, two implying it would be OK as long as the player kept his sexual orientation hidden, and one that read "No, soccer is a sport for macho men."

    Both Queerty and After Elton picked up on the post, Queerty noting yesterday that the poll had been removed from the site.

    It turns out the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) saw the blog post and followed up with Univision.  From GLAAD's blog:
    Just days after a CNN poll asked, “Are gay characters on television harmful to society?” the blogs Blabbeando and Queerty reported on a poll on that asked site visitors “is homosexuality compatible with sports?” Among the choices was: “No, soccer is a sport for macho men.” GLAAD’s Director of Spanish-Language Media reached out to on Sept. 13 to explain how this question demeans a number of people, including all gay and lesbian people already playing the sport and how the question perpetuates damaging stereotypes.
    Today, Sports Editor Joaquín Duro acknowledged that publishing the poll had been a poor decision and apologized for having done so. The poll was removed. The story that generated the poll accurately reported on a German agent who made anti-gay remarks about Spain’s soccer team, and we thank for that.
    “Leading ‘poll’ questions like this only serve to perpetuate intolerance and misunderstanding about our community,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “Univision’s swift action is the latest step in a trend of Spanish-language media becoming more responsible and open to covering LGBT issues in a fair and accurate manner.”
    We greatly appreciate the prompt responses from both and CNN. The next time any media outlet decides it wants to poll its viewers about whether gay inclusion is a good thing or a bad thing, we suggest that they instead ask themselves THIS poll question: “Does homophobia belong in the media?”
    The answer is no.
    Thanks, GLAAD!

    NYS primary elections: Vote for Francisco Moya and Charlie Ramos

    Today is primary election day in New York. I'm keeping my eye on a couple of races and would like to ask readers in those districts to vote for two specific candidates.
    Francisco Moya vs. Hiram Monserrate: The first race is in the 39th State Assembly District in Queens which is an open seat. It also happens to be the district in which I live.

    Long-time community advocate Francisco Moya has ran for political office before and has never been elected. I predict he will easily win the primary in large part because he's got the backing of several labor unions, a number of the leading politicians in the city and the Queens Democratic Party.

    Moya also has the backing of the leading LGBT-rights organization in the state, the Empire State Pride Agenda, potential future state governor Andrew Cuomo, and - in what is a heavily Latino district - the endorsement of the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the city, El Diario La Prensa.

    Funny thing about that El Diario endorsement: It doesn't mention a word about his lead rival.

    That would be disgraced former Councilmember and State Senator Hiram Monserrate, who was ousted of the State Senate after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend.  In his brief run as a state senator, he also threw the legislature into disarray when he wavered on siding with Republicans on grabbing control from Democrats.  Oh, and after years of saying he was in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples, when it actually came to delivering, he voted against them.

    Did I mention I considered Hiram to be a friend at one time? Heck, I took him to his first gay bar!

    The one caveat about Moya? He is deep, deep, DEEP into Queens Democratic Party machine politics (heck, he once worked for Queens Dem Party leader and US Congressman Joseph Crowley) and I've always been about independent politics.  There's no doubt Francisco will just give his stamp of approval on every single thing Crowley sends down to him. And that's not necessarily a good thing.

    On the other hand, it's Hiram he is running against. Today: Vote Francisco Moya.

    If that sounded like a lukewarm endorsement, the next one won't...

    Charlie Ramos vs. Ruben Diaz, Sr.: In what El Diario La Prensa has called a "David and Goliath" race, community leader Carlos "Charlie" Ramos is challenging homophobic state senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. in the Bronx's 32nd Senate District. Ramos, who has led a shoe-string campaign to unseat one of the worst homophobic politicians in the city.

    The extent to which Diaz has amassed outside national funding from anti-gay and "Tea Party" sources while failing to raise funds from constituents speaks to his lack of support from local voters.

    Unfortunately, people in his district vote at one of the lowest rates in the city and this has always worked in his favor. He has always been able to motivate his blind followers on social issues while those who might vote against him usually stay home and let him get away with it.

    I'll probably have more to say about this in the future, particularly if Ramos fails at his bid.  But, if you read this and live in the Bronx, please make an effort to cast your vote for Charlie Ramos.  If you do, it will stun the political world and relegate Diaz, Sr. to the history books. It will also get you a humbler Senator who will respond to the community's needs and not his own. At least not the needs of a Senator who believes he might as well cave in because the end of days are near...

    Please vote for Charlie Ramos!

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Univision poll: Is soccer compatible with homosexuality?

    [UPDATE as of 9/13/10: Univision has taken the poll off their site.  Thanks to Queerty and After Elton for picking up on this post]

    I've often written about homophobia in sports and, particularly, in soccer. Sometimes it seems not a single week can go by without some sort of incident and last week was no different.

    The gist of it: A representative for one of Germany's leading players opened up his mouth and blamed the German team's loss at this year's World Cup on a secret cadre of gay players ("German Soccer Manager Blames Gay Players")

    The interview with Michael Becker, a manager for Germany's Michael Ballack, was originally posted on Der Spiegel on July 13th, but didn't run like wildfire through the Latin American sports pages until last week (see Argentina's Clarin, Spain's El Correo, Honduras' Diez, etc.).

    Which brings us to Univision.

    Yesterday, on the site, they posted a pretty great opinion piece by Robert Elzmendi in which he responds to the furor raised by Becker's comments in Der Spiegel.

    In "Is soccer compatible with homosexuality?", Elzmendi argues that it's time for the sport of soccer to embrace a campaign against homophobia as it embraced a campaign against racism during the World Cup. If you remember, signs were held that said "Say no to racism" before every game and payers took turns decrying the practice.

    Unfortunately, the piece is marred by an editorial decision to also run a homophobic poll next to the article.

    The question: "Is soccer compatible with sexuality?". The options: 1. "Yes, sexuality is private and independent", 2. "Yes, but you don't have to make it public" and 3. "No, soccer is a sport for macho men".

    Sigh. I know online polls are silly marketing ploys to draw readers and page hits but, where to start?  There seems to be no difference between the first and second options: Basically, it's OK to be a gay soccer player as long as you remain in the closet and don't talk about it.  As for the third option, what exactly is a macho guy? Is Univision saying there are no masculine gay men? Or that it's OK to kick out someone as metrosexual as David Beckham from a team? What about all the female soccer leagues? Are only macho-like girls allowed.

    Silly poll. Univision should know better than to post it.

    Sunday, September 05, 2010

    Who knew?

    Who knew there was a Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadows?


    Pride & Glory...

    Yay! Jan Brewer Migration Challenge!!! Hm. Wait. WHAT?

    Tha bear!



    El Doug.


    Friday, September 03, 2010

    A break-up song for boys who meet backwards

    Today's edition of El Pais has a feature story on the increasing success of a few singers in Madrid whose song lyrics don't shy away from addressing LGBT issues. An excerpt:
    "And his huge eyes / And my tongue between his teeth".  It sounds like just one more song tinged with eroticism, but it has something that's peculiar: It's title is "David" and it's author, 26 year old Victor Algora, dedicates it to the great love of his adolescence.  That's why the last stanza leaves no room for soubt: "Our mouths wide open / And his dick between my legs".
    Ooops! Did I mention some of the lyrics are a bit NSFW?

    Algora himself admits it's unusual to find a song like "David" in a Spanish record. He also admits he won't perform the song live in more than a few places.  "It is auto-censorship, yes" he tells El Pais, "but us gays still see ourselves forced to repress certain attitudes when we are out with our partner."

    Other artists mentioned are Carlos Salinas, Andrés Lewin, Fran Loud and Manuel Ríos.

    I looked around for some samples of the music being discussed in the article and had to stop at "David".  I'm not sure I like the ending, which implies some sort of suicide even if the man being mourned as he lies on the floor is the singer and not one of the two men who've just broken up.  I actually love the song.  Here is "David" with my translation provided as annotations on the YouTube clip...

    Wednesday, September 01, 2010

    Miss Universe 2010 backs marriage equality for same-sex couples

    What a day! First Fidel Castro owns up to the persecution of gays in Cuba while the island was under his command, and then this monumental story...

    OK, I am kidding but this is sorta newsworthy.

    While watching Miss Universe a few days ago (yup, I watched the actual pageant when it was broadcast back on August 22nd), it quickly became obvious that Miss Mexico - Jimena Navarrete - would take the crown this year.

    And yet, when she answered her Top 5 finalist question on the effect of unsupervised internet use by minors and she said that it was important to teach kids "values" as taught "in the family" I cringed a little bit.  Not that it's bad to teach kids family values, but I wondered if she was simply parroting the "family value" rhetoric of the religious right in Mexico and elsewhere.

    That, apparently, is not the case.

    Interviewed yesterday on Mexican radio, here is what she said:

    Salvador Camarena (W Radio): I want to ask you about a topic that has been very controversial and it's the topic of marriage between people of the same gender. Do you agree with this type of relationships...

    Jimena Navarrete: Look, I believe that every person in this world has the right to profess the beliefs they have and I am in agreement. We have to respect what each human being decides to do with their lives, you know? Clearly, there are limitations, of course, also, as there are with heterosexual couples, right? Better said, there are limitations for any of the two - if they are heterosexual or homosexual - but I believe we have to learn to be respectful because they are people who are the same as us. There is no difference. And I don't believe it's just to discriminate somebody based on the gender they prefer, right? Based on the partner they choose to select, if it's a man or a woman. The truth is that I am absolutely against discrimination and, well, what can I say. I have many friends who are homosexual and I adore them. And they are equal folk: There is no reason we should want to set them aside, there is no reason why we shouldn't let them enjoy what they want to enjoy with their partner.

    I've posted a link to the audio clip, in Spanish, below. The remarks on marriage start at the 4:50 minute mark...

    Viva Miss Mexico! Viva Miss Universe 2010